Poltergeists: Week of December 26, 2016

Michael

AmeshA SpentA - “Faces”

The depth of this song is crazy. There are so many little elements in the background, especially in the beginning of the song, that stand out so clearly. Sébastien Béné-Le Touarin is a very talented producer and almost every track on the new AmeshA SpentA album, Simplexity, shows that he can compose really beautifully perfected masterpieces. “Faces” is the track that I would choose to show anyone what the entire album sounds like because I think that this one track contains so many wonderful parts that play out in more depth throughout the album. The way that it progresses from this kind of slow breakbeat mashup of plucking strings and subtle shifts in the rhythms to this giant guitar-driven conclusion is incredible. It gets really heavy at the end, but still maintains its clear, subtle nature and that is something that is really hard to do.

AmeshA SpentA is the solo work of the French composer Sébastien Béné-Le Touarin. The new album, Simplexity, is out now on Audiotrauma Records.

Von Magnet - “Growing vs. Fading”

I am late to the Von Magnet party and I am extremely sorry about that! I was searching through some of the older Ant-Zen releases this week and was drawn in by the artwork for Von Magnet’s ni prédateur ni proie: two hands clasped together with black paint dripping from them -- which seems simple, but is very beautifully done. The opening track, “Growing vs. Fading,” is chaotic and compelling in that it contains a lot of call-and-response type vocal exchanges between Phil Von and Flore Magnet. These escalate from just talking softly to each other to a dramatic calling out, switching to an English vs. French dialogue, and then back again to English entirely. It is extremely effective. The music that also escalates under this exchange is subtle and equally epic. Minimal drumming and atmospheric droning pass through a number of variations and additions. There are pauses in the songs that act as false endings, only to come back through again with more elements added.

Von Magnet is a collective project that has gone through a number of variations and incarnations in their long and obscure career. I would suggest going through all of their material, but I started with their 2008 album ni prédateur ni proie, which is up on the Ant-Zen Bandcamp page.

Wes

M‡яc▲ll▲ - “Faceted”

It just wouldn’t be right to let a new M‡яc▲ll▲ release go by unnoticed! M‡яc▲ll▲ continues to build on their past work, making small incremental changes to their presentation and sound. In “Faceted” we can hear almost what feels like a return to a more classic M‡яc▲ll▲ sound; fast moving synth lines, backed up by equally fast bass and shuffling kicks and hats push the song into a level of aggressiveness that I don’t typically associate with M‡яc▲ll▲, but it works very well. We have vocals again from M‡яc▲ll▲, vocoded and obscuring the still mysterious person behind the music. The song evolves quickly over the course of its seven minute playtime, making tonal switches at just the right moments and never becoming boring to listen to.

M‡яc▲ll▲ is a project of the post-witch house diaspora. You can find their latest release, Aberrant Symmetry, on their Bandcamp.

Cursive - “Staying Alive”

I have been listening to Cursive’s The Ugly Organ a ton over the past couple weeks. “Staying Alive” I think captures a lot of what I love about the album; from the twinkling guitars at the beginning of the track, to the noisy, chaotic center, there is always a feeling of raw emotionality, barely contained, always ready to explode. In the end, the cellos sawing gently under the refrain, “The worst is over”, signal a return to the songs early lightness. It’s a beautiful track that I can listen to over and over without ever getting tired of it.

Cursive is a post-hardcore band from Omaha, Nebraska. Their latest album, a re-issue of The Ugly Organ, is available from Saddle Creek.

Poltergeists: Week of March 9, 2015

Poltergeists is a biweekly feature in which Michael and Wes share tracks that they have had on repeat over the past two weeks.

Michael

Lunch - “Not An Ocean”

Portland-based post-punk band Lunch brings a new single from their upcoming album Let Us Have Madness Openly. This is my first taste of Lunch, but judging by a quick scan of their previous release, I am excited to say that I am hooked! “Not An Ocean” has that very distinct post-punk sound brought gently into town by a finely painted hearse. It speaks to my deep love for spooky music set to that familiar punk background.

23:31 - “Labyrinthe (Hologram_ Mix)”

My newest obsession: 23:31 hits their debut album on Audio Trauma in all the best ways. It is a perfect blend for me: hard synths, deep beats, and an superbly eerie atmosphere that sulks and pulls its bloodied limbs through a very dark forest. This may be dramatic, but it has to be said! A Hologram_ mix?! Who could ask for more?! The original version of “Labyrinthe” was really good, but when you add Hologram_ to the mix it builds to such a beautiful blend of cinematic strings, atmosphere, and rhythmic noise.

Wes

M‡яc▲ll▲ - “The Stone And The Heart”

It’s interesting to look back at the original releases from M‡яc▲ll▲ and then to listen to the newer material; the changes from release to release are so smooth and incremental that it’s easy to not realize exactly how far M‡яc▲ll▲’s sound has come. “The Stone And The Heart” breaks that incremental momentum; rather, it is a large step away from the witchier tones of M‡яc▲ll▲’s earlier work. It builds on a movement M‡яc▲ll▲ has been making for some time towards more giallo inspired tones, and it continues to work wonderfully.

Frenquency - “Drop Down”

I’ve been off the future bass tip for a bit, and just recently I started exploring it again. One of the first bands I came across in this Bandcamp wormhole was Greyscale. In “Drop Down” Greyscale makes use of a lot of the future tropes that I enjoyed in the past; heavy, sometimes strange percussion rings out unconventional beats, deepening as the song progresses. The vocal sample and trap style hihats almost give it a sort of witch house feel; the whole song feels dark beginning to end.