"Buh Records, based in Lima, Peru... launched in 2004... specializes in Latin American experimental music, and while its catalog features plenty of contemporary artists from across the region—and the globe—it maintains a strong focus on unearthing overlooked classics and unknown gems that reassert Latin America’s place in avant-garde history" - Pitchfork presents the notable label, and picks out some stand-out tracks.

White noise is the music industry’s next big thing. Streaming services have seen an explosion of tracks in the last year consisting entirely of hissing, humming, fizzing and other varieties of radio static, as well as recordings of rainfall, ocean waves and crackling bonfires. Some of the recordings have earned their creators millions of pounds. Record companies and tech firms have taken notice" - Guardian is looking into the into the interesting phenomenon.

People are strange, wher your music is strange
July 06, 2022

An interesting thought about "weird" music

Jennifer Lucy Allan shared an interesting thought about "weird" music in a Music Journalism Insider interview: I think there’s something deeply conservative about pointing out something’s weird, I always imagine it being said in inverted commas, or with a sneer. Even worse is using it with pride to distance yourself from so-called pop music. It’s not weird music, it’s unfamiliar music—often unfamiliar to you. The logical conclusion of this is a stagnation of the mind and the ear. Total nightmare.

"Incorporating everything from Mayan flutes to medieval choirs to ancient Mediterranean pots, contemporary producers are looking to the past to help unlock the present"- Pitchfork writes introducing their piece about a new wave of electronic music. "Shuttling between avant-garde contexts and popular celebrations", this new wave is "a link to the past that refused to be stuck there".

September 09, 2021

Funny little new album - office sounds

The New Yorker is welcoming people back to the office with an introduction of brand-new album 'Now, That’s What We Call . . . an Office!' comprised of eight one-hour songs. The funny album includes song titles such as 'Water-Cooler Chatter', 'Loud Work Call' and 'Printer Percussion'.

"With paintings, when you draw a body, you try to make your drawing look like the body more or less everywhere, even if it’s different from Africa to Asia or anywhere. Each time, you want to recognize something like a face or nose. But in music, it doesn’t exist" - Parisian composer and improviser Jean-Luc Guionnet says in a Tone Glow interview. He adds: - "I like to think that there was a deep crisis when language came, and music changed. Perhaps before, for example, a guy was coming back from somewhere, and wanted to describe the landscape that he saw yesterday. Perhaps he played music to imitate the sounds of this landscape, because he couldn’t say, because he didn’t have language. But when language came, it wasn’t useful to do that anymore. So then music appears".

Drums really can be used to convey speech - an award-winning new study published in the journal Frontiers in Communication shows. It proved Dùndún drumming, an oral tradition among the Yorùbá peoples of Western Africa which involves a special type of drum that, when used properly, can mimic the unique patterns and sounds of Yorùbá speech. So close is the resemblance that the instrument is sometimes referred to as the “talking drum”, Cosmos Magazine reports.

People are strange, music isn't
July 26, 2021

The best experimental albums from the last three months

Ceephax Acid Crew

Looking for some quality experimental music? Tone Glow writers chose 32 albums from the year’s second quarter that they enjoyed. Their selection includes various albums: there's vocal jazz and Mongolian long song on Enji's 'Urgal'; Vanessa Rosetto's 'Legends of American Theatre' recorded from artist's New York window showing "a theatre deprived of curtain calls where people-watching persists"; Naoko Sakata's 'Dancing Spirits' characterized by "wilderness"; Neupink's 'Seaweed Jesus' which just might pass as hard-core hyper-pop; and plenty more unusual music.

"His endearing videos are part history lesson, part nerdy tech outlet, part philosophical soapbox" - Pitchfork writes lovingly presenting Hainbach, an old-machine enthusiast and music producer. "The project grew from his fascination with obsolete test equipment—everything from particle accelerator components to lunks of antique metal used in nuclear research to a dolphin-locating device once used by the U.S. Navy". When he collected plenty of those, he arranged them into towers, and recorded their sounds live, calling the album 'Landfill Totems'.

ex-directory presents several new artists and audio-makers who are producing field recordings in order to tell stories, connect online communities and even distill entirely new, otherworldly sounds. Field Recordings is a podcast dedicated to (literally) “standing silently in fields”. There are over 240 episodes, including ASMR-like clatter of fisherman sorting clams on a Portuguese beachchirping froglets in New South Waleswaves crashing on the frozen shores of Lake Ontario and a dog dreaming in the Wirral. Sounds of The Forest is an interactive "sound map" platform with one-minute recordings from local woodland from all over the world. MycoLyco's producer connects synthesisers to giant oyster mushrooms and quartz crystals, then records their output, with sounds ranging from the gentle ambient bubbling of an amethyst playing a Eurorack to the erratic chatter of oyster mushrooms performing on a modular synth

Revolutionary American composer Alvin Lucier will get a very special 90th birthday present that will be performed by 90 artists and is about to last for 26 hours. Artists will stage their performances of Lucier’s paradigmatic 1969 work 'I Am Sitting In a Room', an experimental work Lucier made to explore his own voice, consisting of echo and dissonance of his reading voice. Beginning on his birthday eve, Thursday, May 13th, 8pm EST (2am, Friday, May 14th Berlin time, 9am, Friday, May 14th Tokyo time) and continuing throughout all of Friday, May 14th, Lucier's birthday. The marathon on Thursday and Friday will feature members of his family, students and colleagues performing in various spaces, some of which have been part of the composer’s life. New York Times looks back into the artist's career.

Lego released a streaming-only album 'White Noise' which was made by the Lego pieces being poured out of tubs, sifted through and clicked together. Lego’s “head of creative” Primus Manokaran describes the streaming-only album as “a collection of soundscapes” designed to promote relaxation and mindfulness. Manokaran told Guardian that producing the album was “like composing with 10,000 tiny instruments”.

"Taking from ambient, soundtrack, harsh noise, jazz, and a host of other types of music, 夢遊病者 simply does not care about fitting into one specific mold" as they "craft something indistinguishable from anything else" - Brooklyn Vegan writes in awe of this extraordinary debut album by the anonymous international avant-garde metal trio. The band as an entity is also quite fluid - their early Bandcamp releases credit them as a Russian/ Japanese/American entity, they use Chinese characters for their name (Sleepwalker in English), the title of the album 'Noč Na Krayu Sveta' is in Slovenian, while the band members are named as PBV, NN, and KJM.

Dozens of flowers
February 20, 2021

Senyawa release an album on 44 different labels

Experimental Indonesian metal Senyawa are releasing their new album ‘Alkisah’ on 44 different independent labels around the world (release dates vary from Feb 19 to Feb 21). Labels span from the experimental duo’s hometown of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to the United States, United Kingdom, EU and other Asian countries, the New York Times reports. Senyawa confirmed the album release will vary by label, each with their own “different design and packaging, with multiple remix/reinterpretations by various artists”. Senyawa said that the concept of releasing through multiple labels would decentralise the “former hierarchical system of music distribution” and would allow shipping distances and cost to be reduced, and empower “smaller scattered powers to grow and connect”.

There's more to the world...
January 26, 2021

An amazing work - 100 songs of a century of global music

LA-based collector Jonathan Ward released a new 100-track compilation, 'An Alternate History of the World’s Music', focused on music recorded across the non-Anglo world, and beyond popular music, between 1907-1967. There's Crimean Tartar Orchestra, as well as music from the Persian Gulf, the Okinawa islands, Afghanistan, Sudan, the former Yugoslavia, Uganda, Spain, Albania, Mongolia, Mexico, etc. Ward is a collector of old 78rpm records who started his website Excavated Shellac in 2007, posting up a recording every day, which means this is just a glimpse into his collection. Guardian's Garth Cartwright calls it "the best album of 2021" (it actually came out in December). Bandcamp sells digital copies for $35.

The great gig in the sky
December 27, 2020

Songs of the sky: Aurora borealis turned into sound

BBC aired a lovely Christmas story about northern lights turned into music. The two people behind it are biologist Karin Lehmkuhl Bodony who lives in Alaska, and Alaskan composer Matthew Burtner, who works with natural sounds and scientific environmental data to make a piece of music derived from the sounds of the aurora.

British bird-enthusiast and producer Cosmo Sheldrake recorded his latest album 'Wake Up Call' with pieces composed entirely from recordings of endangered British birds. Created over a nine year period, the aim of the album is to make people conscious of bird sounds and the loss of wildlife from our lives. Guardian talked to the lovely eccentric: “Once you can identify them as species or individuals, it just turns into this completely insane conversation across huge amounts of time and space. You have these themes essentially rippling through the woods. Everything that happens in a woodland is like a stone dropping into a pond. It sends out these ripples as those birds respond and then respond to those responses … there are so many layers and levels to it".

UK collective UKAEA is made of "superheroes" of UK experimental and alternative music, who are deeply influenced by immigration and sounding global. UKAEA have just released their debut album 'Energy is Forever', coming deeply from techno and industrial background, with Middle Eastern and African influences also prominent on the record. “I think ultimately the goal is to make music that sounds like it's from nowhere” - collective's leader Dan Jones told the Quietus. (Not overly) unusual music with a substance.

von Henselt statue

'Piano Concerto Op. 160' by virtuoso pianist and composer Adolf von Henselt was too hard to play even for Russian pianist virtuoso Anton Rubinstein who called Henselt "a freak”. Von Henselt's fingers had an unusual elasticity that allowed him to achieve a technique most players cannot hope for no matter how much they practice - Ludwig van writes as it chooses 7 most difficult classical music pieces to perform.

The sound and experimental music BBC unit, Radiophonic Workshop is preparing to make history with a musical project that will make the internet a musical instrument. A performance of their composition 'Latency' is inspired by lockdown Zoom calls and the delay that appears, which they will extend into several seconds. Instead of trying to play at the same time, which they can't due to latency, the Radiophonic Workshop will play one after another, in sequence, rather than in parallel, as RW's Bob Earland says to Guardian - “The sound gets sent to someone, and they add to it, and it keeps going round". The performance is on 22 November on YouTube, the day before the anniversary of the first transmission of 'Doctor Who' theme song in 1963 which is also Delia Derbyshire Day, in honour of the Radiophonic Workshop’s leading light, who created the sound of the show’s famous theme tune.

French singer and sound designer Hélène Vogelsinger explores abandoned places and connects with their energies to create immersive and suspended moments in her modular synth compositions. Her last piece was made for an abandoned cloister, but she ended up playing it in a castle at the south of France (the family who lived there helped refugees who fled war).

"Sometimes we had used twenty channels of really noisy shit... But the good thing with noise is, it just melds into itself... A lot of this kind of noise can go really far and sound good. Anyway, a lot of music today is trapped in noise: I think that is where the world is now" - Sam Karugu of Nigerian experimental metal band Duma told the Quietus about the process of producing their debut album, an electro-metal noise record. Explaining the strong physical imagery on the album Karugu said it - "concerns exposing your true self and asking, 'Who is that inner person you are hiding inside yourself?' We have the same lungs, stomachs, kidneys and blood types. We don’t care where you come from. There are just different ways of living and maybe different perceptions of the world, but we are essentially the same and that is what has been forgotten".

Music Expo Q3
October 02, 2020

The best experimental music this summer

Tone Glow's experimental music-lovers chose 30 albums released July through September they liked the most (streams added). It's not just some serious and hard-to-swallow music, they promise fun: on Secluded Bronte's 'What? Yes!' one member of the trio reads an absurdist script while the others interrupt with outraged “WHAT?”s, and every time the response is a resigned “Yes”, also there's experiments to be made on bagpipes - YES! - as Donald WG Lindsay & Richard Youngs prove. There's also highly conceptual music like Network Glass, a unique project on the verge of even being music. All in all, a simple and quick way to find out what's going on in the world of modern experimental music.Music

In this week's edition of Tusk is Better Than Rumours, the avant-guard newsletter presents Zeena Parkins, a harpist who "did for the harp what John Cage did for the piano - expanded its possibilities by testing its limits". Parkins experiments with techniques, plays both acoustic and electric harp, makes a harp sound like an electric guitar. So, there's much more to the harp than we usually think...

Saturday afternoon (September 6) an organ chord that's been held since October 2013 will change in Halberstadt, Germany. It's a musical and concept piece, part of a 639-year performance of John Cage's 'Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow As Possible)'. Saturday's chord will be held for the next 20 months. Check out the latest chord here. Soprano singer Johanna Vargas and organist Julian Lembke manually changed the chord on Saturday, drawing hundreds of fans to witness the event, Associated Press reports. The composition is played on a special organ built specifically for this piece, with a compressor in the basement blowing air into the pipes to create a continuous sound. If all goes according to plan, the performance will end in 2640.

Rocker and metal fan Valentin the Mad recorded 'Boar Metal', a "brutal death metal song with wild pigs on vocals", as he said, and it is literally like that, Loudwire reports. The guitarist and producer from Haifa, Israel recorded boars on the streets of his city - "wild hogs were always present in the city, but in recent years there has been a massive increase". The accompanying video also shows boars roaming the streets of Haifa, and Valentin the Mad sporting - boar's mask.

Strangers in the light
June 01, 2020

Unusual music: Witch 'n' Monk - almost unlistenable

"How precisely should we actually digest sounds such as this?" - the Quietus asks in their review of the new album by experimental duo Witch 'n' Monk (previously, they were named Bitch 'n' Monk). What's so hard about it? - "scrapes and squeaks... phonetic radio play... cosmic jam", and also "thrashy guitar riffs... Amazonian panpipe melodies... Bollywood strings... ecstatic samba". Guardian tagged it "best contemporary music" because they liked "stream-of-consciousness music", and some "manic musical collages". The general advice is - don't try this with your headphones on.

American bottled water manufacturer Liquid Death Mountain Water has taken hateful social media comments about their water and turned them into a death metal album, Loudwire reports. 'Greatest Hates' is a 10-song collection made using gripes concerning the company whose slogan is "Murder your thirst". Tracks such as 'Dumbest Name Ever For Water', 'Get Slaughtered on Shark Tank' and 'This Crap Is Pure Evil' use verbatim quotations from angry Internet commenters to make the lyrics of the songs. Music was made by a group of real death metal musicians - Gus Rios (Gruesome, formerly of Malevolent Creation), James Malone (Arsis), Seth Ringer (Eternal) and Torin Ridgeway.

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