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    Robert Rutman – 1939

    March 31st, 2013

    Robert Rutman - 1939

    This is a 1998 CD reissue of an old Pogus LP from 1989 with a bonus 20-minute track. That makes a total of five selections of superb-sounding, Eastern-bound ambience via steel string cello, buzz chimes, bow chimes, chants, tablas and Tibetan horn recorded 50 years after its namesake. Fans of Toho Sara, Nijiumu, Marginal Consort and minimal forefathers like La Monte Young will really enjoy this attractive collection of beautiful, dim and wide atmospheric works that are perfect for any lofting soul to float about in. This CD is so nice, mere words could never do it justice. I just strongly urge you to buy it.

    Label: Pogus Catalog Number: P21017-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 5 Total Time: 58:18 Country: United States Released: 1998 More: Discogs, Pogus

    Text ©2003 Arcane Candy

    If, Bwana – Tripping India

    March 30th, 2013

    If, Bwana - Tripping India

    Recorded in 1994 but not released until 1997, Tripping India is the fourth CD by Pogus label honcho Al Margolis’ improvisational music group If, Bwana, which boasts an ever-rotating lineup of players with each release. The album contains three long tracks that that take you on a journey through a full hour of uncompromising sound inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The first, “3 Out of 4 Ain’t Bad” is played by three pianists, who start off with some pleasurable deep rumbles, then engage in a stop / start, melodic / dissonant, tinkle ‘n’ pound fest as electronic tapes chatter and churn in the background. “PR-DR” is a somewhat more subdued affair, as two percussionists proceed from quiet and spare frottage and light pinging on their instruments to loud, metallic rattling and schwinging—all manipulated by Al, and completely coated with maximum reverb turned up to 14. Closing the album with an epic, dense sound collage that lasts 26 minutes, the title track is constructed with layers of manipulated percussionists whose rhythms are blended in with field recordings from India, including percussion and singing from religious festivals, street sounds with shouting, etc. The beats were intentionally mis-matched, which results in a crashing, crushing cacophony. With Tripping India, chalk up another fascinating release chock-full of challenging music from If, Bwana.

    Label: Pogus Catalog Number: P21013-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 3 Total Time: 61:14 Country: United States Released: 1997 More: Bandcamp, Discogs, Official, Pogus, Soundcloud

    Text ©2013 Arcane Candy

    If, Bwana – Breathing

    March 29th, 2013

    If, Bwana - Breathing

    Way back yonder in 1996, experimental music entity If, Bwana unleashed its third-ever CD, Breathing, which followed hot on the heels of a slew of cassettes over the previous decade and the CDs R.ISMV.1 and 33 Birds Went. After taking a big, deep breath, this album exhales three huge gusts of after-dinner minimal music that’s sure to lull you to sleep quicker than a food coma–and that’s a good thing. The title track opens up the program with a fantastic mass of smokey, acoustic drones courtesy of cello, dijeridu, oboe, tapes and effects. Second up, the nearly half-hour long “R.Ism V.2PF” adds low, rumbling piano and electronics into the mix. Although the music as a whole flows along in a similar vein as the first track, the playing of each instrument is less continuous, with pleasant little melodic tinkles audible during sparse passages. “Barump Poe” closes up shop with wind, organ and strings added to the cello and tapes, along with keening, vague vocals off in the distance. Eventually, it all coalesces into a dense web of cacophony before fading away. I highly recommend Breathing for anyone who is into minimal, acoustic instrument-led atmospheres.

    Label: Pogus Catalog Number: P21010-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 3 Total Time: 70:10 Country: United States Released: 1996 More: Bandcamp, Discogs, Official, Pogus, Soundcloud

    Text ©2013 Arcane Candy

    Leo Kupper – Electro-Acoustic

    March 28th, 2013

    Leo Kupper - Electro-Acoustic

    Born in 1935 in Nidrum, Belgium, Leo Kupper worked with Henri Pousseur from 1959 to 1962 at Apelac, the first electronic music studio in that country. In 1967, he became the founder and director of the Studio de Recherches et de Structurations Electroniques Auditives in Brussels, and, from 1977 to 1987, he followed that up with Sound Domes in Roma, Linz, Venezia and Avignon. His first foray into the world of commercial recordings was back in the era of vinyl records in the ’70s and ’80s, followed up in the ’90s by discs of the compact variety. I’ll have to admit that on first listen, his Electro-Acoustic CD from 1996 caught me by surprise, as I was expecting a more Xenakis-like lamination of huge, grainy placemats, only to receive pretty much the opposite. The three-track “Electro-Acoustic Santur” (1989), for the Santur (an ancient, 72-string Persian instrument played with sticks, fingers and brush) and electronic sounds, stretches out beautiful taps and plucks of clear string resonance over a canvas of deep hisses, subdued drones and bird-like warbles.

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    If, Bwana – 33 Birds Went

    March 27th, 2013

    If, Bwana - 33 Birds Went

    Since 1984, If, Bwana has existed as an ongoing, freeform music project of Al Margolis, he of Pogus label fame. Following numerous cassette albums in the ’80s and early ’90s, 33 Birds Went emerged in 1995 as the second-ever CD released by this outfit that features different guests each time out. Don’t be fooled by the bright rubber ducky on the cover, because the music on this compact disc will grab you by the shirt collar, dunk your whole head into a vat of Whisk, then throw you down the laundry chute for an all-night journey through a vast nocturnal netherworld. The first track, “Mal Air,” is a live group improvisation that billows out some prime, dark, avant-garde chamber classical flotation via bass clarinet, percussion and synth accented with gorgeous female singing. “Ellensbirds” finds cut-up bird samples and the same singing lady battling it out in a titanic reverb tank. The final three tracks, “Pi = Sinbad,” “Debtetc” and “Flute Thang,” continue the madness with sparse, super dreary and sometimes woozy sound worlds delivered delivered straight to your headspace via bass clarinet, cello, oboe, percussion, sax and snyth. It’s all so strange…yet somehow meditative.

    Label: Pogus Catalog Number: P21007-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 5 Total Time: 58:16 Country: United States Released: 1995 More: Bandcamp, Discogs, Official, Pogus, Soundcloud

    Text ©2013 Arcane Candy

    Big City Orchestra – Greatest Hits and Test Tones

    March 26th, 2013

    Big City Orchestra - Greatest Hits and Test Tones

    Recorded by a loose, Bay Area-based collective called the Big City Orchestra* in the 1980s and released into the wild by the Pogus label in 1993, Greatest Hits and Test Tones is a beguiling collection of sounds that float around way out there by the crossroads of art rock, electronic drone music and wacky sound effects. This CD quietly boasts nine tracks that alternate back and forth between atonal, woozy, screeching avant-rock chock-full of muffled speaking and off key singing, and grating, static-filled drones accented with vibrating speaker-activated humming beads, beans, etc. (Of the latter, industrial music fans should note that “Go” was arranged by John Duncan, and “Strange Experience” was arranged by Monte Cazzaza.) The remainder of the album–tracks 10 through 43—is composed of very short blasts of random dialog and strange found sound snippets. Overall, Greatest Hits and Test Tones rates pretty high on the weird scale, and is sure to please fans of any of the music categories mentioned above. *Since 1985, this outfit has released dozens of wildly diverse albums (mostly on cassette), and are, unbelievably, still active as of 2012!

    Label: Pogus Catalog Number: P2015-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 43 Total Time: 55:31 Country: United States Released: 1993 More: Discogs, Official, Photobucket, Pogus

    Text ©2013 Arcane Candy

    The Keffer Family – Tales of the Mushroom People

    March 4th, 2013

    The Keffer Family - Tales of the Mushroom People

    As head of the Poison Pie Publishing House, David Keffer has spent years writing novels, poetry and stories, and filling the noggins of netherworld nutcases with in-depth knowledge of Japanese avant-musician Keiji Haino over at the Unofficial Keiji Haino Website. Now he has teamed up with his family to produce the book Tales of the Mushroom People, a story of an epic search and rescue mission complete with a classic battle of good vs. evil. This war is not faught by actual humans, of course, but rather adorable, colorful, fanciful, felt fingerpuppets called Mushroom People bearing names like Doomshroom, Moonshroom, Roboshroom, Freakshroom, Plumeshroom, Strawshroom, Snowshroom, Crystalshroom and Myxomycetes.

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