LX Rudis MP3s

Live, Lx Rudis, who’s based out of San Francisco, does many things, key among them using motion-controlled CD players to transform sound in realm time, a DJ more interested in texture than in beatmatching. He’s got three songs up for download at myspace.com/lxrudis. “Dong of the Damned” warps rising scales played on the piano, flicking them this way and that, before it veers into muffled death metal (MP3). “All Over the Landscape” maintains its slow, steady pace, a leisurely one that brings to mind early Peter Gordon (circa Innocent), with what appears to be William Burroughs (or someone doing a pretty good Burroughs impression) intoning on top (MP3). “Wanting Falling” mixes vocal and keyboard samples for an extended piece that gets more percussive as it goes along; the spoken bit, though, maintains an eerie consistency (MP3).

Gothic MP3s

There’s a repeating click in “Taucher,” the first of the three tracks that comprise Pawel Grabowski‘s Kissing Evil Ghosts Goodbye. It’s a Lynchian touch, suggesting the seam in a tape splice, or a skipped record, perhaps a noir-ish footstep. It is all of these things and none, a rare plosive moment in an otherwise spooky, but entirely disembodied, piece of music (MP3). There’s no way it’s a mistake, that click, and it is to Grabowski’s credit that such a seeming error can be taken unhesitatingly as a compositional motive.

“The House the Gods Die In” has just as Halloween-ready a soundtrack, plus a gothy spoken bit calling from the echoey recesses (MP3). “Kissing Evil Ghosts Goodbye” has a similar brief moment of human presence (MP3). Grabowski is credited with “voice, objects, field recordings, bass, samples.” More info at darkwinter.com.

Post-Grindcore MP3

It’s October, around the time when the brain starts, on some distant back burner, to ponder what’ll make the year-end best-music list. It’s quite likely that Grist by Drumcorps (aka Aaron Spectre) will be up there, certainly in the running if not among the final cut. Drumcorps mixes analog and digital rock noise, the slashing guitars of deathmetal and the broken beats of digital hardcore, into an event-packed, pulse-quickening, imagination-challenging, synapse-pummeling mash of maddeningly cross-hatched cadences. The album is due out next week.

Grist builds on the legacy of metal-tronic hybrids like the old Earache act Godflesh; it switches gears expertly, locating choice samples amid the riffage of Slayer and the splattered beats of drum’n’bass, and sewing them into a Frankenstein instrumental pop. (Following the model of Warp artist Battles, the album, Drumcorps’ first full-length, collects some material from previous releases, including the excellent EPs Rmx or Die and Live and Regret.)

There’s a concert-length performance by Drumcorps available courtesy of Resonance FM (c), recorded toward the end of March 2006 for a party in Kingston (the London suburb, not Jamaica, though it does have its dubby moments). Also, MP3 snippets of Grist are up at Drumcorps’ site, drumcorps.cc, and at that of the album’s co-releasing labels, Cock Rock Disco, cockrockdisco.com, and Ad Noiseam, adnoiseam.net.

Proto-Electronic MP3s

George Antheil (1900-1959) was the self-styled Bad Boy of Music. That’s no mere quip later foisted back on him as a nickname; it was the title of his autobiography. To electronic listeners, Antheil is best known as a practitoner of classical composition during the age of mechanization, doing work with player pianos and motors and other unexpected sound sources.

In his continuing process of uploading archival radio broadcasts from KPFA to the Internet Archive, aka archive.org, Charles Amirkanian has posted a three-part Antheil segment, originally broadcast in 1970 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the composer’s birth. None of the instruments are electric, or even motorized, but you can hear aspects of both the lacey Debussyian impressionism and the worldly noise that came into its own during this period, and that prefigured what we later came to think of as ambient. The three-part set (MP3, MP3, MP3) was uploaded on October 4 to the Other Minds catalog at archive.org.

Already up at the website was a half-hour KPFA documentary on Antheil, originally broadcast in 1980 (archive.org, MP3), with more details on his futurist insights and exploits, and some funny anecdotes about wandering around Paris’ red-light district with Igor Stravinsky.

Xenakis Tape-Music MP3

The website of PS1/MoMA, wps1.org, is Byzantine, which is to say, yes, it may be hell to navigate, but that’s only partially because of an interface that employs pulldown menus, javascript popops and nested subdirectories to seeming crosspurposes. It’s also because it’s just so rich with goods. Take, for example, the Sonorama series of audiocasts, curated by longtime Downtown music figure Elliott Sharp, whose dozens upon dozens of broadcasts thus far range from Max Neuhaus’s take on John Cage’s “Fontana Mix” to selections from Bernard Herrmann’s film scores, to work by Sharp himself. If you manage to navigate to it, the list of Sonorama entries at that PS1 site is in alphabetical order, but according to the site’s RSS feed, among the more recent Sonorama entries is Persepolis by Xenakis: a tape-music, sound-installation commission by the Shah of Iran in 1971 (MP3). Despite its origin and subject, the piece is neither classical nor celebratory; it’s a fairly harrowing cycle of found and manipulated sound. More info on the track and the cast series at ps1.el.net and at wps1.org.