Issue #9 Hitting Stands

Get ready… Issue #9 is jam packed with five stellar pages of art by The Rita (only available in this zine), a local spotlight on BOMBER, a guide to Chris Corsano (by Chris Dadge), reviews of local music and a compilation of live noise from Alberta. It’s ready for consumption…. NOW!
Cover art by Jessica Mccarrel

Review: Nick Kuepfer – Rural Route No 7

Artist: Nick Kuepfer
Album: Rural Route No. 7
Label: Standard Form
Year: February 2011
Format: Mini-CDr (Limited Edition of 150)

Nick Kuepfer utilizes droning elements (some washes of guitar others hypnotizing, fast-moving samples) that bring to mind the vast, haunting wilderness in a cerebral way. Perhaps the desolation and sense of the outdoors apparent on Rural Route No. 7 can be attributed to the album having been recorded in a secluded house in the woods of Northern Ontario as well as a cabin in the Gatineau Region of Quebec.

Each track is something new, using different styles and samples. While the guitar in “A River” washes over the soundscape like a gentle wave on other tracks the guitar repetitiously and frantically meanders through forests in a lost desperation. “A Pursuit” is driven primarily by percussion accompanied by bows on strings and acoustic bass and ends the album off on an eerie note if there ever was one.

This release certainly gives Kuepfer the chance to flex his sound-making muscles. Unrelated sounds (like mountain goats, a choir, wolves and plucked guitar) are mixed well into “A Wave” to give a more exotic element to the record while the other tracks mentioned earlier exert the same ability to transport you to another place and time. Given a longer album I’m sure Kuepfer could craft an entire wild journey to take the listener smoothly from the loneliness of the wild, the fears of being alone and everything else that he must of felt while in the cabin in Ontario.

Review: Comparative Anatomy – Mammalia

Artist: Comparative Anatomy
Album: Mammalia
Label: Mind Flare Media
Year: 2010
Format: CD

This album contains rhythmic hardcore metal meeting breakcore meeting samplism. It’s like taking a walk through a nightmarish zoo. Every track presents samples of different mammals and rips them apart with brutal distorted guitar and thrashing drums. Other disturbing samples are thrown in there as well, like people screaming and the naive, giddy sound of childs’ toys. The effect is disorienting and discomforting on most of the tracks, particularly “Eruption of Cats,” which made me want to physically vomit.

Everything is pretty interesting here. For the most part the instrumentation has this lo-fi, hardcore, black metal intensity to it but elements of post-rock sludge and grime creep in from time to time as well. The samples are thrown in and used to an almost nauseating excess (not that this is a bad thing), but this is nicely offset with the playing. There’s very little in the way of melody but more so than the usual noise album you’re going to find. The melody that does creep in is usually so amped on distortion that it really rips up the stereo.

Comparative Anatomy have honestly accomplished something quite original and interesting. Throwing in dramatic relief and all sorts of dynamic components the album could definitely be compared to a walk through a rabies infested zoo. Positively terrifying.

Call For Submissions: Issue #9

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Review: FOSSILS – Fall In America

Artist: FOSSILS
Album: Fall In America
Label: Middle James Co.
Year: 1 January 2011
Format: Digital

This release presents a croaking and grinning cavalcade of sounds where the microphone sounds like it is used as much like an instrument as everything else in the room.

The recording style is consistently lo-fi, recorded all to tape during performances. Each of the five tracks is quite unique and named after the day they were presumably recorded, which certainly makes it interesting. You’ll hear everything from deep and solid drones, improvisational sax lines and even some improv turntableism. The spiralling madness creeps up in every track.

Review: Eric Chenaux & Bent Spoon Duo – Live In Calgary

Artist: Eric Chenaux & Bent Spoon Duo
Album: Live In Calgary
Label: Bug Incision
Year: 2009
Format: CDr (limited run of 100)

This album is quite unique from other works by Bent Spoon Duo. Eric Chenaux brings in a nylon string guitar, and with it an almost freak-latin-folk feeling, heavy on the freak. For the most part, the performance is subdued with traces of melody coming from Chenaux’ guitar and at rare points from Munro’s trombone as well. Otherwise there are restrained explosions from the Bent Spoon Duo’s mix of percussion, strings and brass.

About a third of the way through a much more eerie atmosphere begins to sneak in with an increased use of electronics. This marks a notable shift from the soft mood created up until then, however the playing is for the most part quite minimal allowing each player to take the lead at some point. At some parts all three play together with equal importance.

Another departure occurs another third of the way in. Discordance takes hold and sound prevails to build a chaotic climax of sounds. The electronic exposure takes an all time high until it slowly dissipates into a lo-fi and strange cacophony of winds, percussion and strings.

The ending is muted, soft, and almost too quiet to be real although you could hear a pin drop. The players retire to a confused and reflective state. This is the moment where they summarize the past half an hour of performance in a haze and end it off with a brilliant resolved discordance from the guitar.

Review: Darren Williams + Bent Spoon Duo

Artist: Darren Williams + Bent Spoon Duo
Label: Bug Incision Micro-Editions
Year: 2010
Format: Mini-CDr (limited run of 30)

A rowdy sax, percussion and bass piece in the free improv-jazz genre. Most of the album is driven by the saxophone, which Darren Williams plays, with accompaniment from the Bent Spoon Duo (Chris Dadge on drums, Scott Munro on bass and ds). Williams certainly struts his stuff. The saxophone playing moves in various forms. Angry and pained squelches walk alongside more composed saxophone solos, which are then broken up with explosions from the entire cast. Considering there are no further effects applied to the piece, Williams sure is able to draw a lot out of his instrument creating a plethora of moods – mostly confusion and franticness.

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