Published on August 14th, 2019 | by Aaron Scholz0
Nü Directions in Modern Music Vol. 2
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 back for the second edition of Nü Directions! 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. Get at me on Twitter for recommendations, submissions, and dialogue at @aaronscholz_.
Carnivorous Bells – Big Bronze Theory (Human Headstone)
Deranged hardcore a la Saccharine Trust or Spike In Vain comes blasting through on these 30 minutes of madness. Adventurous and outside the box, the songs blister in chaos until they mutate into unhinged oddities. The punk pedigree is certainly here, with members previously having served in bands such as Cult Ritual, Merchandise, Latishia’s Skull Drawing, and other groups that focused on pushing the artform forward instead of rehashing foundational elements of the genre.
Sam Hooker – On The Water (Two Rooms)
Journeying through Sam Hooker’s debut album unveils twists and turns, but the path is ever pleasant. The Detroit musician’s mangled tape loops, spoken word, and unorthodox percussion are combined for thoughtfully assorted arrangements that never bore. The variety of the writing from song to song is what stands out, as is their quality, making On The Water an engaging listen. I’m ready for what’s coming next from Hooker.
Horseman, Pass By – All Curses Are Mirrors (Black Bough)
Possibly named in tribute to W.B. Yeats, Horseman, Pass By are an Ottawa/Havelock, ON duo applying noise rock and free jazz elements to structured improvisation using cello, drums, piano, theremin and various electronic components. Drummed rhythms lurch with heavy and uneven steps but with bizarre reliability, allowing other instruments to improvise atop freely. The band is not prone to overplaying nor overdrawn ideas; instead the songs are succinct, even catchy. This one has become a personal favourite.
Moon Ra – Promenade Magnétique (Czaszka)
Artist Marie e le Rose states very plainly that everything heard on this tape is a digital simulation of mysteriously playful musique concrète, describing it as, “a field recording on artificial landscapes.” Using a Macbook as her principal instrument, the listener is treated to counterfeit sounds similar to wind chimes, air blowing through tubes, droplets of an unknown substance, pipes being struck, and so on. Promenade Magnétique is a process, and is processed through filters to create an alien world sometimes warm and faintly familiar.
Claire Rousay – a moment in st louis and a moment at the beach (Self-released)
Utilizing atmosphere and ambience, Rousay offers a snapshot of two location using only found sound, as it were, and it is rather beautiful. One “moment” is encapsulated by the sound of dripping water, plunked piano notes and a series of text messages read aloud. The other moment, a sonic snapshot of waves washing upon the shore of a beach with increasing intensity while notes faintly sustain here and there, harmonizing and dissipating. Or did I just imagine them? An emotionally moving listen.