Published on July 24th, 2019 | by Aaron Scholz0
Nü Directions in Modern Music
Nü Directions in Modern Music is a Feedback column that quickly reviews and promotes music that explores new terrain and pushes the boundaries of convention.
Welcome to Nü Directions in Modern Music! This column will serve as a way to quickly review and promote music that explores new terrain and pushes the boundaries of convention. And there is so much of it! 2019 has already shaped up to be an exciting year.
Starting a new music column midway through the year means I’ll likely spend time playing catch-up trying to cover some albums and EPs that came out earlier in the year, and then move toward albums that are presently being released. If you like any of the artists featured, please consider buying their tape/LP/CD or at least throwing $5 at the bandcamp link for a download. Support the artists you appreciate.
Thank you to The Feedback Society for letting me join their ranks, and I hope you return for another read. Get at me on Twitter for recommendations, submissions, and dialogue at @aaronscholz_.
Bitter Fictions – Walker (Shaking Box)
Artist Devin Friesen has been releasing music under this moniker since 2011 and his compositions are only getting stronger. Solo guitar abstraction, synths and tape manipulation make for a playful, yet meditative listen. Notes dance around each other before dissolving in waves of ambience. I watched Devin play a solo improv guitar set at the Sounds Like festival last year, which left him covered in sweat by the end. This is notably more chill, and very good.
Burden – Let Vibrate (Pseudo Laboratories)
Burden is a Winnipeg duo dealing in electro-acoustic compositions using a deconstructed piano. With the frame removed and the guts of the instrument laid bare on the floor, the duo manipulate the strings and sound board with a variety of tools and contact mics. I’ve heard a lot about Burden via word of mouth and have missed my chances to see them perform, so am happy to finally hear what the craze has been about.
DRI HIEV – DRI HIEV (Self-released)
I saw this band live recently, and I could not fucking believe my ears. This was the most compelling thing I’ve seen in a while, and DRI HIEV’s self-titled album delivers just as many ferocious moments as the live show, with just as many head-scratching ones. Industrial rhythms and vaporwave synths are complimented by a mournful saxophone and sewer-goblin vocals. None of this should work, but it does. If Throbbing Gristle’s 20 Jazz Funk Greats had been filtered through a hardcore punk lens, DRI HIEV’s album might be the insane result.
Sote – Parallel Persia (Diagonal)
Iranian experimental composer Sote returns with another tremendous work. While his last album focused on electroacoustics and use of silence and space, Parallel Persia is a busy work of electronics and synthesis. There is still plenty of attention paid to use of traditional instrumentation, and one can readily hear a dulcimer and maybe a lute. There appears to be singing and chanted poetry in what I assume is Farsi. I can’t be sure, as it joins a wondrous musical kaleidoscope that blends and buries the discernable elements. I wasn’t even sure that I liked this one, but it’s sonically fascinating, and I find myself returning to it again and again.
Wasted Cathedral – Atmospheric Hangover (Cardinal Fuzz)
Psychedelic disco loops, film samples, ambient drones and more are found on Wasted Cathedral’s debut for UK label Cardinal Fuzz. Christopher Laramee has been at this game for a while, and it has culminated in his greatest work thus far. Featured guests on the record are those within Laramee’s tight-knit crew, including Clayton Lithicum of folk-tripper duo Kacy & Clayton, and Josh Rohs of The Avulsions. This is hypnotic shit, and not without a sense of scumminess – like the first and final sip out of the beer can you’ve been ashing in all evening.