Ancestral Voices: Navagraha (Horo)

A concept album based on Hans Cousto’s “Cosmic Octave”. Hmmm all very po-faced. Not sure we need to know that, or if it’s just irrelevant intellectual ingenuity. Plenty of different shades of grey over the the 1:34 play length for sure, some dark some light, but sorry, it doesn’t “create a profound effect on the consciousness of the listener.” Not on this one anyway. No more than any other technically accomplished ambient outing. (Compare and contrast for example, to the equally cosmic newly released 1999 recording Kshatrya (The Eye of the Bird)’ from the avant-garde composer Igor Wakhevitch on Transversales Disques).

We’re all too tainted as cultural consumers in the cinematic sweep of common or vulgar film scores, the failed attempts at sublimity (pathos). It gets way more interesting when harnessed to a pulse, a beat and ultra low tectonic sub bass.

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Malleus: We Float Like Concrete

Experimental (via Dubstep origins) 140bpm excursions with some industrial noise flavours, supported by the likes of Goth Trad, Joe Nice & The Bug.

‘Falling Through Inner Earth’ is the stand out sound system banger here, everything zeroed in to the one point of focus; a dentist’s drill incessantly and sadistically probing the same cavity as you float on a bed of opioid sub bass. Raw nerves are jagged as it starts to squeal against bone. We’ve all been there…

Von Grall: Three Waves (Horo)

Grallish

I dunno about the waves reference in the title? To me it’s an immersive drift down a long dark river – ‘Aguirre’/‘Heart of Darkness’ etc. each track perhaps portraying a distinct vista or section of the same journey?

Fuzzy, incessant, polyrhythmic beacons pulse in the gloom and murk. There’s the sense of an unknown beyond… and a feverish, indifferent blankness (as opposed to any menace or peril) to the somber walls of impenetrable chattering Amazonian canopy he builds. ’Suffrage Campaigners’ is (possibly?) the heaviest, maze-like cut here on what for me is his best and most complex release yet.

Passive Smoking

An instrumental/beat based around a bike chain sample! Making the ‘grinding’ of beat making literal. Pure genius. The album is dope too. I’m particularly into the first two cuts, produced by Thook. Pure red eye business, dripping with louche, hydroponic street smarts. You don’t even have to inhale to feel baked off this.

And speaking of dusted business, I only just discovered Earl Sweatshirt a while back. I’m always behind with hip hop. This tune off his 2015 album “I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside’…

Vargdöd: Bitten

Vargdod

One of those tunes where I was casually listening to the radio (Verity Sharp/”Late Junction” BBC Radio 3, cooking mi dinner, as you do heh) but had to stop and listen with full concentration when this came on. It grabbed me by the scruff of my neck! Had me thinking of Unit Moebius/Den Haag “dirge” techno but with heavier production.

A fine builder that could go on and on, but ultimately leaves you hanging for more when it cuts dead at the peak (as the best often do). Damn it all.