I would never dream of imposing my will upon any of the great musicians I've had on the air over the years (except to say, "uh, play now"), but I really wanted to title this session "Suite: Castle Blue Eyes." Why? Bad rock joke? Not necessarily, as Towering Heroic Dudes sit firmly on the wooden front porch of improvised noise; they're friendly, approachable guys, whose "organic" nature is plainly evident in their creations, which are basically lurching, giant paramecium in search of constant sonic nourishment. (Hell, I have no doubt THD have a lot more to offer socially than CS&N at their peak! Those guys were probably dicks! And why aren't THD playing the big, outdoor stage at the Sonoma Jazz Festival?)
I've been listening to this session over and over, and I continue to hear new layers of communication and activity each time I do. Gentle piano gives way to violence, metallic scrabbling accompanies vocal murmurs, and sheets of digital noise drive past like suspicious white vans. Enjoy!
What sets Anthony Saunders' sonic creations apart from the hundreds of other performers using a table of pedals and mic'd-up metal accoutrements? For one, an intense performer's energy (which almost burst when I tried to make a few gig announcements—sorry, man, I still feel terrible about that!) Add to this a lifelong obsession with brutal sounds (including being one-half of Dataclast), combined with a true musician's meticulousness and finesse. The tentative, delicate passages in Explosive Improvised Device make the crashes and clusters that much more arresting. Power electronics to be sure, but informed by Bayle, Parmegiani and Varèse.
EID's My Castle of Quiet session will likely be released on tape or vinyl in the near future, but with Anthony's obsessive cutting, layering and EQing, there's almost no chance of the final release sounding quite like it does here ---
Thanks to Glenn L for making it all sound extra-purty for the airwaves.
Thanks to Tracy for making my crap photo of Anthony look like a still from Begotten.
Every time I stare into the maw of black metal I find something new. That mainstream media can't seem to get past the genre's origins of sensational murders and church burnings in Norway is I guess no surprise, but such tunnelvision neither accounts for, nor does justice to, the evolution of powerfully inventive, genre-bending artists such as Malkuth.
I feel fortunate to have been able to present NYC's two finest black metal bands (first Liturgy last October, now Malkuth) on My Castle of Quiet within only a few months' time.
This was quite a monumental session; Malkuth played ultra-hard, and tight as a hangman's noose, their epic songs filled with wild time-signature shifts and snaky, melodic riffage. A good brain cleansing with steel strings, drums, and screaming.
Much credit must go to our own Jason Sigal who made sure that Malkuth's mighty set turned out a mighty audio document. Thanks also to Daniel Blumin and Gabriel for popping up to the Castle and helping me out.
As several songs were rendered in continuum mode, Malkuth's six-part live opus is presented here in three distinct chunks, and labeled accordingly:
Last week, the Los Angeles-based, New Zealand-bred improv duo of Andrew Scott and Helga Fassonaki graced my program with a donated disc of ultra-rarities and collaborations, both released and to-be released, though all in extremely limited editions.Métal Rouge's music lent an air of bright, feathery sophistication to what can often be our dark, dungeony Castle broadcasts. These pieces come from above, like psychedelic aerial attacks, and though there's lots of space, there's also a lot of percussive activity and general tonal collision. So enjoy, and be prepared to view the clouds from a different angle. Below is the entire disc for download and/or in-browser listening, including two tracks that did not air in the broadcast (WFMU Playlist & Streaming Archive for My Castle of Quiet, Dec 9 2009).
Individual track information below written by Andrew Scott. Photo by Ged Gangras.
Will eventually be released as one side of a split 10” lathe cut record on the New Zealand label Root Don Lonie For Cash with one of Clayton Noone’s many projects. Will be in an edition of around 30. I’ll be shocked if any copies even make it out of New Zealand.
Nest is Andrew Scott (from Métal Rouge) and Nigel Wright. This is taken from their self-titled double LP lathe cut, which came out on New Zealand’s CMR imprint this year in an edition of 33.
This is the trio formation of Métal Rouge: Andrew Scott, Helga Fassonaki and Caitlin Mitchell. From the recently releasedEphemeroptera 5 CDr on Seymour Records.
Recently completed collaboration with San Antonio-based one-man black metal maven Husere Grav for one his forthcoming releases, which is I believe an album of collaborations.
Un Ciego is Andrew from Métal Rouge solo. This is an alternate mix of the 2nd side of a forthcoming lathe cut 7” on New Zealands CMR imprint in an edition of 30.
When you're already in a dance with noise and free improvisation, the Kosmische is less than one membranous step away. And so it was with Ghost Moth, the duo of suitcase electronicist Todd Pendu and multi brass/woodwind blower Daniel Carter.
This was Ghost Moth's third set as a duo (reduced from a trio), continuous play totaling over 50 minutes. So many of my favorite records come to mind upon listening: Bob Ostertag's Getting a Head;Merzbow & Christoph Heemann's Sleeper Awakes on the Edge of the Abyss; Miles Davis' In A Silent Way. But Ghost Moth are really their own thing, and must be heard to be believed:
I'm running out of ways to gush about Slasher Risk. Point is, this relatively young band, a duo, doesn't seem to yet realize how good they are, or how amazing they're going to be in just a short while. That's a fine thing, because it means they're only doing what must be done—what comes naturally. And what comes naturally is dynamic improvised music, with one limb occasionally stuck in something that remembers rock, but just as often or more so, dances in the air above the unimaginable maw of the Lovecraftian abyss. Frightening to some, but not to Andy or Sara, who do it seemingly just because it's their thing.
A two-person Can? Lou and Sterling? Moe and Sterling? Or a guitar-noise duo whose work makes Solmania seem "uptight"—just who the hell are Slasher Risk?
Here are 37+ minutes that at least put us closer to an answer:
Good photo and top-notch session engineering by Trent. Lousy photo and video (after the jump) by your host and author.
Black metal doesn't always have to be a wallowing in vitriol and hatred, or a focused venting of negative emotions, and Liturgy are a case in point. Remember the first time you heard Enslaved's Frost album? Or to stretch genre definitions only slightly, Don Caballero's What Burns Never Returns, or King Crimson's Discipline? Think soulful exactitude, with a profusion of spiritual power.
Liturgy are energized players—and their music is definitely black metal—but to listen to them is to take flight on wings of ever-arcing melodic and trebly crescendos. Not so much shoveling shit on the grave of Christ here. There's a decided uplift to Liturgy's songs and performance.
A magnificent set, and engineered with expert ears and hands by Jason Sigal. Jason, Jed and myself were somewhat in awe of the musical spectacle happening on the other side of the double glass—and here it is—on mp3, from WFMU and the Castle, to your hard drive or portable listening device (full set here or after the jump)
The duo of Josh and Jesse have real, university-type musical educations, met while playing brass in ska bands, and yet somehow arrived at playing this music, that which would peel the paint off Lucifer's '71 glossy-black Dodge Charger. Though the on-air session happened in late August, and the archive of the full show has been up since that time, I held back posting these cleanly cut mp3s in the hopes of making an impression, one separate from the band's on-air appearance—that this blissed-out, Krautrock-flavored, spine-shuddering set amounts to no less than the Irrlicht of contemporary noise/electronics. A horrid dungeon, no question, but also one where hope has not quite died, and pretty things occasionally flutter by the window bars.
The music of Jabladav (aka one-man, metal virtuoso James H. from NC, USA) takes me almost as often to The Court of the Crimson King as it does to screaming out my soul's anguish in a bone yard. Jabladav donated this monster exclusive track to our blog and Free Music Archive, available below.
You can hear my (somewhat technically blunderous) interview with James, as part of the full My Castle of Quiet program archive from 9/16, by clicking here, and selecting your poison playback of choice.
The new Jabladav full-length, Atta Vinter, is perhaps James' finest work yet—a cohesive, album-style vision, that's very much a black metal record, as much as it's all over the map with surprising elements and influences. This is clearly a guy with tastes and a record collection to rival most WFMU DJs. Enjoy.
Woolgathering vocal melodies hover foundationless over sheets of noise, drone and buzz. You get scared, though you're oddly comforted at the same time. Still, it feels better with that night-light on. You hear what might be footsteps, or bells, or someone sawing sheet metal. Such is the music of Caldera Lakes.
The chaotic, sonic hailstorm conjured up by artists like Merzbow or Masonna meets the buoyant-but-bent psychedelia of Azalia Snail, or Fifty Foot Hose, in these enjoyable recordings. The epic closer, "Arctic Ghost," is especially magnificent. Enjoy.