By Robin Smith | 29 May 2015
This podcast of bumbling transitions and rudimentary disintegration is dedicated to Loren Connor’s Airs, which makes a brief, jarring feature towards the end of things. Sean McCann’s label Recital recently had the good sense to reissue Connor’s late ‘90s record of ghost-sized guitar improvisations, and if my mixing proves anything, it’s that you can’t just march in like the local government of ambient and add clouds to an empty sky. The track you’re hearing back there is “Airs 9,” a recently unearthed piece that was lost in the first go-around. May its sudden and abrupt appearance be a blessing rather than a hindrance.
Elsewhere things are more like, from this year, though we should also talk about fifto’s gorgeous album with miur, which finally exists in the flesh realm via Home Normal. Fifto’s music has been living in happy solitude since 2009, but now we get to hear his attempt at asking ugly real life sound and beautiful composed fragments to just fucking get along. Fifto does not make ambient, by the way; he punctuates it. Listen to with miur for the dropped pins, of which there are many.
And then there’s the actual drone, which I suppose I may have heavily implied by calling this a dronecast. Hopefully these pieces will do. Raica offers glassy synth on what is otherwise a downtempo, texturally modest techno record called Dose. For her closer, she takes chemical reactions and neutralises them. For similar results, see Sara Davachi’s new record for Students of Decay; influenced by the longform works of Elaine Radigue, Baron’s Court has deceptive tensions, layers of languishing synth settled by a cosy surface.
Leila Abdul-Rauf wins the award for music that sounds exactly the way its accompanying album art sounds, which, specifically: train tracks empty of trains. On “He Sits In His Room,” her vocals are distant enough to feel louder than anything else in the world; her incredible new record Insomnia will appeal to fans of Dirty Beaches’ final record of disorientating sax bluster. Also, again: “He Sits In His Room”? Same.
Siavash Amini released What The Wind Whispered to the Trees last year, but its romantic sounds need an overspill of love and cred. Amini’s humble web presence put me on to A Minor Music, a blog detailing the best in Iranian electronic music, who have highlighted fellow droners Tegh and Kamyar Tavakoli. They’ve collaborated to create caustic, almost rhythmic drone that seeks, with noise as scarred as Tim Hecker’s, to tear objects from their sockets. Through the Winter Woods is short and sublime.
We’ll sign things off with the most fitting of things: the sound of an apology. Áine O’Dwyer recently sought out a church organ to improvise on, but had to compromise and use it at the same time as the cleaners were in. On the raw recordings that make up Music for Church Cleaners, you’ll hear the sweetest juxtaposition: reverence and routine, playing out in dialogue. You’ll also probably hear some vacuum cleaners, and people asking O’Dwyer to move so they can clean around her. Sounds like collaboration to me.
1. Leila Abdul-Rauf: “He Sits in His Room”
- (0:01 – 4:14)
- from Insomnia (2015)
2. Raica: “Entrldam”
- (4:14 – 10:15)
- from Dose (Further Records; 2015)
3. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma: “The Last Time I Ever Saw Your Face”
- (10:14 – 17:37)
- from A Year With 13 Moons (Mexican Summer; 2015)
4. Siavash Amini: “Dusk”
- (17:38 – 23:53)
- from What the Wind Whispered to the Trees (2014)
5. Tegh & Kamyar Tavakoli”: “Fractal”
- (23:50 – 30:44)
- from Through The Winter Woods (Hibernate; 2015)
6. fifto: “dan lo”
- (30:28 – 34:33)
- from with miur (Home Normal; 2015)
7. Sarah Davachi”: “Tiergarten”
- (34:33 – 41:16)
- from Baron’s Court (Students of Decay; 2015)
8. Loren Connors: “Airs 9 (The Lost Track)”
- (41:58 – 42:50)
- from Airs (Recital Program; 2015)
9. Aine O’Dwyer: “Hymnals of Love Against the Grain”
- (42:50 – 48:34)
- from Music For Church Cleaners, Vols. 1 & 2 (MIE; 2015)