KILLED in CARS

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KILLED in CARS is a 'thank you' to the musicians who enrich my life, and a way to reach people curious about expression through sound.

This site has thrived as a destination for discussion and listening thanks to its disregard for the canon and its dedication to making esoteric genres accessible. I appreciate your readership, and I hope that you choose to participate!

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KILLED in CARS
c/o Paul Banks
2644 N 192nd Terrace Ct
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Elkhorn, NE 68136

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Posts tagged ambient


True Detective Themes from killedincars on 8tracks Radio.
Here is a mix I made based loosely on moods I felt from True Detective. There are a few tracks in here to help define the mix, but otherwise this is a mix of some favorites that I think work as a replacement to some of the (excellent) scoring in the show. Check the tags for the artists, and enjoy!
Zoom Info

True Detective Themes from killedincars on 8tracks Radio.
Here is a mix I made based loosely on moods I felt from True Detective. There are a few tracks in here to help define the mix, but otherwise this is a mix of some favorites that I think work as a replacement to some of the (excellent) scoring in the show. Check the tags for the artists, and enjoy!
Zoom Info

True Detective Themes from killedincars on 8tracks Radio.


Here is a mix I made based loosely on moods I felt from True Detective. There are a few tracks in here to help define the mix, but otherwise this is a mix of some favorites that I think work as a replacement to some of the (excellent) scoring in the show. Check the tags for the artists, and enjoy!

Millions - The Notebook Behind Your Eyes (2008)Artificial Memory Trace - Vol. 5: Th Ality Absfract (1996)Biosphere - Dropsonde (2005)Michael Fahres - The Tubes (2007)
After a long while, I’m putting up a few more records from the Blogger site. As always, these multiple posts are limited-time-only re-ups of stuff that was posted a few years ago. Hopefully I’ll finish this process some day.This particular set ranges from drone to ambient to concrete. They fit fine with each other, and they represent my mid-’00s listening in this area. While not quite in the dark amient direction I’ve veered in recent years, each of these (especially the three outside of Biosphere) were important records to me when I first heard them. The main piece on The Tubes is gorgeous, and its conclusion comes after a great deal of patience, patience that the album taught me.
Hopefully you enjoy this quartet of albums, and you can see how they fit together. I think they’re quite complimentary, existing on a sliding scale between texture (Millions) and space (Fahres).
Zoom Info
Millions - The Notebook Behind Your Eyes (2008)Artificial Memory Trace - Vol. 5: Th Ality Absfract (1996)Biosphere - Dropsonde (2005)Michael Fahres - The Tubes (2007)
After a long while, I’m putting up a few more records from the Blogger site. As always, these multiple posts are limited-time-only re-ups of stuff that was posted a few years ago. Hopefully I’ll finish this process some day.This particular set ranges from drone to ambient to concrete. They fit fine with each other, and they represent my mid-’00s listening in this area. While not quite in the dark amient direction I’ve veered in recent years, each of these (especially the three outside of Biosphere) were important records to me when I first heard them. The main piece on The Tubes is gorgeous, and its conclusion comes after a great deal of patience, patience that the album taught me.
Hopefully you enjoy this quartet of albums, and you can see how they fit together. I think they’re quite complimentary, existing on a sliding scale between texture (Millions) and space (Fahres).
Zoom Info
Millions - The Notebook Behind Your Eyes (2008)Artificial Memory Trace - Vol. 5: Th Ality Absfract (1996)Biosphere - Dropsonde (2005)Michael Fahres - The Tubes (2007)
After a long while, I’m putting up a few more records from the Blogger site. As always, these multiple posts are limited-time-only re-ups of stuff that was posted a few years ago. Hopefully I’ll finish this process some day.This particular set ranges from drone to ambient to concrete. They fit fine with each other, and they represent my mid-’00s listening in this area. While not quite in the dark amient direction I’ve veered in recent years, each of these (especially the three outside of Biosphere) were important records to me when I first heard them. The main piece on The Tubes is gorgeous, and its conclusion comes after a great deal of patience, patience that the album taught me.
Hopefully you enjoy this quartet of albums, and you can see how they fit together. I think they’re quite complimentary, existing on a sliding scale between texture (Millions) and space (Fahres).
Zoom Info
Millions - The Notebook Behind Your Eyes (2008)Artificial Memory Trace - Vol. 5: Th Ality Absfract (1996)Biosphere - Dropsonde (2005)Michael Fahres - The Tubes (2007)
After a long while, I’m putting up a few more records from the Blogger site. As always, these multiple posts are limited-time-only re-ups of stuff that was posted a few years ago. Hopefully I’ll finish this process some day.This particular set ranges from drone to ambient to concrete. They fit fine with each other, and they represent my mid-’00s listening in this area. While not quite in the dark amient direction I’ve veered in recent years, each of these (especially the three outside of Biosphere) were important records to me when I first heard them. The main piece on The Tubes is gorgeous, and its conclusion comes after a great deal of patience, patience that the album taught me.
Hopefully you enjoy this quartet of albums, and you can see how they fit together. I think they’re quite complimentary, existing on a sliding scale between texture (Millions) and space (Fahres).
Zoom Info

Millions - The Notebook Behind Your Eyes (2008)
Artificial Memory Trace - Vol. 5: Th Ality Absfract (1996)
Biosphere - Dropsonde (2005)
Michael Fahres - The Tubes (2007)


After a long while, I’m putting up a few more records from the Blogger site. As always, these multiple posts are limited-time-only re-ups of stuff that was posted a few years ago. Hopefully I’ll finish this process some day.

This particular set ranges from drone to ambient to concrete. They fit fine with each other, and they represent my mid-’00s listening in this area. While not quite in the dark amient direction I’ve veered in recent years, each of these (especially the three outside of Biosphere) were important records to me when I first heard them. The main piece on The Tubes is gorgeous, and its conclusion comes after a great deal of patience, patience that the album taught me.

Hopefully you enjoy this quartet of albums, and you can see how they fit together. I think they’re quite complimentary, existing on a sliding scale between texture (Millions) and space (Fahres).

I featured this in my random cover collection earlier, but I hadn’t heard it until now. This album from Sundrugs is between ambient and dark ambient, with the latter being a greater portion of the sound. I’ve sworn off tonal ambient for the most part, and as a result, when my dark ambient hits the “bliss button” out of nowhere, there is a renewed feeling when it hits, like setting down Slowdive for 5 years or so and then hearing ‘When the Sun Hits’ out of nowhere.

The Dept. of Harmonic Integrity - In Deck and Depth, A Whim, A Weft

Beest has just been born in Iowa City, and among the first releases of this new label is the debut of The Dept. of Harmonic Integrity. Before I even begin to address this music, though, I have to say that I find this album art almost impossibly beautiful. Like fetish object beautiful. Head over to the BandCamp page for this recording to look at the other Beest releases in the right column. Go ahead and click on “more releases,” while you’re at it. I love the colors, the font choices, the layout template, and that Beest logo itself, a clever stylization of a chord fingering diagram. While I’m much more interested in music than visual design, these are seriously awesome, and a damned striking way to launch a label.

As it turns out, the fellow behind these eye-popping album covers is also half of The Dept. of Harmonic Integrity. You may already know “Wayne Longer” as “Adderall Canyonly" from Field Hymns, and along with "Min Roach," the pair have delivered a marvelous debut.

This kind of recording is totally refreshing to me from a review perspective, because I like the music immediately while still having to do a lot of work to describe what I think is happening here. In the last few years, particularly coming from cassette labels like Field Hymns and Orange Milk, there is a new genre coalescing, a subset of electronic music that is heavy on synths and sprinkled with samples and field recordings. In terms of influence, these recordings seem to draw from musique concrete/early electronic music without taking themselves too seriously and disappearing into academia, while absorbing technical and emotionally evocative contents from a potpourri of under-respected musical forms: B-movie horror and sci-fi soundtracks, cartoons, early video game sound design, library music, cheesy Moog albums, 80s neon shapes and stripes and cracklepaint, Wal-Mart synths, early/naive iterations of consumer culture, etc. In other words, whatever one would call this genre (is there a name that I don’t know yet?), it unites highbrow and lowbrow forms of music with an ease that reminds me of what Juxtapoz magazine did in the ’90s for under-appreciated forms of visual art like hot rods and graffiti.

My first thought about this album’s cover is that it looks like the world’s most awesome “library album" jacket. And the music really manages to sustain that kind of vibe, sounding both exotic and vaguely familiar at once. It’s all synths, unfolding with a deliberate patience I associate with highbrow minimalism and timbres from early Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze and the like. Tempo choices are laid-back, and layers of synths rise and fall to build space. Smoother waveforms generally form slowly-evolving pads, and slightly more aggressive timbres are introduced when melodies need some differentiation. Some pieces like "Limbs +" focus on rhythmic and textural ideas, while others like "Upon the Starry Skies" have much more emphasis on harmonic content.

In addition to the more “classical” and early komische influences on this music, moments of sci-fi or horror soundtrack drama creep into the album at times: the last few minutes of “Upon the Starry Skies,” for example, has a tense organ bass melody and ethereal synth chords seems to indicate trouble in a spaceship in a dark forest, and “The Ouudan” could serve as an alternate soundtrack to “Chariots of the Gods" in my book. That’s my favorite track here, which is broken into two sections. The first third phases a metallic-sounding riff against itself within a rich bath of delay and reverb, and gradually fades out into a long metamorphosis of aviation-sounding drones finding their way back to ancient synths and sirens and feedback-like drones. It’s a real treat of spatial and dynamic effects.

But in general, this music is made from a very minimal collection of elements—the quality of the synth sounds themselves is such an important factor in digging this music, I suggest swinging over to that BandCamp page again. If you dig these synths, you’ll have a good time getting lost in this album. Here’s to hoping Beest gets a chance to release this stuff on vinyl, too, as this music and its artwork already seem like a treasured relic from the retrofuture.

—Scott Scholz

Akio Suzuki - Odds And Ends (Horen, 2002)Toru Takemitsu - Complete Piano Works 1952-1990 (Woodward) (Etcetera, 1991)Nobuo Yamada ‎– Daydream Of Wok (ABH, 2009)Toshio Hosokawa - Deep Silence / Gagaku (WERGO, 2004)Joji Yuasa ‎– Music For Experimental Films (Edition Omega Point, 2008)
Here is an odd grouping of Japanese music of various genres. I’ll include some of the original reviews (by Matt and Danny, respectively), and then wrap it up.(Matt, re: Toshio, 3/31/10) Well, originally slotted for this post was a collection of Mr. Hosokawa’s string quartets to compliment that wonderful Nancarrow False Bread so kindly posted the other day. However, as the days have become longer and my shirt sleeves shorter, I have found it harder to tolerate this vitamin D deficient music — thus, Deep Silence.One word frequently comes up in descriptions of these compositions — shimmering. And I agree, though the adjective need apply in two cases. First, as the sun peeks through the window pane while you are enjoying your first cup of coffee (or whatever caffeinated beverage you enjoy in the morning), its glare temporarily blinds you, obfuscating the screen of that laptop you were hiding behind. Ah yes, shimmering! On the other hand, when you become affixed to the dancing of the flames at the first bonfire of the season, whereupon the radiant colors against the dark of night haunts you for what seems like ages. Yup, that kind of shimmering as well!Let me explain what this has to do with Mr. Hosokawa. Contained in this release from Wergo are seven compositions, three written by Toshio and four Gagaku (Japanese classical music). All seven are performed by Stefan Hussong on accordion and Mayumi Miyata on Shō (a bamboo mouth organ), with Hosokawa and Gagaku pieces alternating. Therein lies the shimmering bifurcation: as one might expect, the Gagaku pieces are dissonant yet still tonal (remember, tonality only just died a century ago), whereas Hosokawa’s compositions are fiercely atonal. Even still, the theme remains constant throughout each piece; extended drones link the room-filling “shimmers” with deep silence. Because without orchestration, without performance, a composition is merely just annotated silence. And here, on Deep Silence, one can almost see the notes being carried from parchment to the aural plane.
(Danny, re: Joji, 7/8/08) It came fast and hit hard. If you’re not familiar with Japan’s experimentators, hearing this and knowing it comes from a classical composer would be quite startling. If you’re a devotee, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Joji Yuasa’s compositions are intensively asseverated pieces; vocal manipulation & sampling, echoes and feedback and, finally, the last & longest piece, “Document of the Thin White Line”, which has entire minutes which resemble those 60s sound library albums we’ve all heard (not that there’s anything wrong with that) intermixed with some kind of mutant electroacoustic big-band-small-chin-chamber-orchestra. Does that sound dated and cartoonish? YES! And it is! And if you don’t like those attributes I assume you cannot enjoy music. Do you know John Zorn’s soundtrack series? Well, this puts it to shame.Read more about the music and the very films it scores right here.This album is not compatible with a fondness for the Czech New Wave.
I think the two records above are the best of this bunch, but the remaining records here have a lot to offer. I find Akio Suzuki and Nobuo Yamada to be on the same spectrum, albeit distance ends from one another. Where the former is calm and slowly developing, somewhat like a manually created Radigue record, Yamada is exceptional, to my tastes, but more standard drone. Perhaps there are connections here to Yuasa, but only of the most general type. Clearly the Takemitsu will probably be of interest if you enjoy the Hosokawa, although my affinity for his pieces come from a chance recital by a friend of mine a few years back. It might be “safe” avant classical compared to much of what we cover nowadays, but nonetheless it is a nice collection and worth your time. Indeed, I’ve found that if you stagger the composition records with the other material here, the music stands out more, as if the ear latches onto structure after long drones and silences.
Zoom Info
Akio Suzuki - Odds And Ends (Horen, 2002)Toru Takemitsu - Complete Piano Works 1952-1990 (Woodward) (Etcetera, 1991)Nobuo Yamada ‎– Daydream Of Wok (ABH, 2009)Toshio Hosokawa - Deep Silence / Gagaku (WERGO, 2004)Joji Yuasa ‎– Music For Experimental Films (Edition Omega Point, 2008)
Here is an odd grouping of Japanese music of various genres. I’ll include some of the original reviews (by Matt and Danny, respectively), and then wrap it up.(Matt, re: Toshio, 3/31/10) Well, originally slotted for this post was a collection of Mr. Hosokawa’s string quartets to compliment that wonderful Nancarrow False Bread so kindly posted the other day. However, as the days have become longer and my shirt sleeves shorter, I have found it harder to tolerate this vitamin D deficient music — thus, Deep Silence.One word frequently comes up in descriptions of these compositions — shimmering. And I agree, though the adjective need apply in two cases. First, as the sun peeks through the window pane while you are enjoying your first cup of coffee (or whatever caffeinated beverage you enjoy in the morning), its glare temporarily blinds you, obfuscating the screen of that laptop you were hiding behind. Ah yes, shimmering! On the other hand, when you become affixed to the dancing of the flames at the first bonfire of the season, whereupon the radiant colors against the dark of night haunts you for what seems like ages. Yup, that kind of shimmering as well!Let me explain what this has to do with Mr. Hosokawa. Contained in this release from Wergo are seven compositions, three written by Toshio and four Gagaku (Japanese classical music). All seven are performed by Stefan Hussong on accordion and Mayumi Miyata on Shō (a bamboo mouth organ), with Hosokawa and Gagaku pieces alternating. Therein lies the shimmering bifurcation: as one might expect, the Gagaku pieces are dissonant yet still tonal (remember, tonality only just died a century ago), whereas Hosokawa’s compositions are fiercely atonal. Even still, the theme remains constant throughout each piece; extended drones link the room-filling “shimmers” with deep silence. Because without orchestration, without performance, a composition is merely just annotated silence. And here, on Deep Silence, one can almost see the notes being carried from parchment to the aural plane.
(Danny, re: Joji, 7/8/08) It came fast and hit hard. If you’re not familiar with Japan’s experimentators, hearing this and knowing it comes from a classical composer would be quite startling. If you’re a devotee, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Joji Yuasa’s compositions are intensively asseverated pieces; vocal manipulation & sampling, echoes and feedback and, finally, the last & longest piece, “Document of the Thin White Line”, which has entire minutes which resemble those 60s sound library albums we’ve all heard (not that there’s anything wrong with that) intermixed with some kind of mutant electroacoustic big-band-small-chin-chamber-orchestra. Does that sound dated and cartoonish? YES! And it is! And if you don’t like those attributes I assume you cannot enjoy music. Do you know John Zorn’s soundtrack series? Well, this puts it to shame.Read more about the music and the very films it scores right here.This album is not compatible with a fondness for the Czech New Wave.
I think the two records above are the best of this bunch, but the remaining records here have a lot to offer. I find Akio Suzuki and Nobuo Yamada to be on the same spectrum, albeit distance ends from one another. Where the former is calm and slowly developing, somewhat like a manually created Radigue record, Yamada is exceptional, to my tastes, but more standard drone. Perhaps there are connections here to Yuasa, but only of the most general type. Clearly the Takemitsu will probably be of interest if you enjoy the Hosokawa, although my affinity for his pieces come from a chance recital by a friend of mine a few years back. It might be “safe” avant classical compared to much of what we cover nowadays, but nonetheless it is a nice collection and worth your time. Indeed, I’ve found that if you stagger the composition records with the other material here, the music stands out more, as if the ear latches onto structure after long drones and silences.
Zoom Info
Akio Suzuki - Odds And Ends (Horen, 2002)Toru Takemitsu - Complete Piano Works 1952-1990 (Woodward) (Etcetera, 1991)Nobuo Yamada ‎– Daydream Of Wok (ABH, 2009)Toshio Hosokawa - Deep Silence / Gagaku (WERGO, 2004)Joji Yuasa ‎– Music For Experimental Films (Edition Omega Point, 2008)
Here is an odd grouping of Japanese music of various genres. I’ll include some of the original reviews (by Matt and Danny, respectively), and then wrap it up.(Matt, re: Toshio, 3/31/10) Well, originally slotted for this post was a collection of Mr. Hosokawa’s string quartets to compliment that wonderful Nancarrow False Bread so kindly posted the other day. However, as the days have become longer and my shirt sleeves shorter, I have found it harder to tolerate this vitamin D deficient music — thus, Deep Silence.One word frequently comes up in descriptions of these compositions — shimmering. And I agree, though the adjective need apply in two cases. First, as the sun peeks through the window pane while you are enjoying your first cup of coffee (or whatever caffeinated beverage you enjoy in the morning), its glare temporarily blinds you, obfuscating the screen of that laptop you were hiding behind. Ah yes, shimmering! On the other hand, when you become affixed to the dancing of the flames at the first bonfire of the season, whereupon the radiant colors against the dark of night haunts you for what seems like ages. Yup, that kind of shimmering as well!Let me explain what this has to do with Mr. Hosokawa. Contained in this release from Wergo are seven compositions, three written by Toshio and four Gagaku (Japanese classical music). All seven are performed by Stefan Hussong on accordion and Mayumi Miyata on Shō (a bamboo mouth organ), with Hosokawa and Gagaku pieces alternating. Therein lies the shimmering bifurcation: as one might expect, the Gagaku pieces are dissonant yet still tonal (remember, tonality only just died a century ago), whereas Hosokawa’s compositions are fiercely atonal. Even still, the theme remains constant throughout each piece; extended drones link the room-filling “shimmers” with deep silence. Because without orchestration, without performance, a composition is merely just annotated silence. And here, on Deep Silence, one can almost see the notes being carried from parchment to the aural plane.
(Danny, re: Joji, 7/8/08) It came fast and hit hard. If you’re not familiar with Japan’s experimentators, hearing this and knowing it comes from a classical composer would be quite startling. If you’re a devotee, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Joji Yuasa’s compositions are intensively asseverated pieces; vocal manipulation & sampling, echoes and feedback and, finally, the last & longest piece, “Document of the Thin White Line”, which has entire minutes which resemble those 60s sound library albums we’ve all heard (not that there’s anything wrong with that) intermixed with some kind of mutant electroacoustic big-band-small-chin-chamber-orchestra. Does that sound dated and cartoonish? YES! And it is! And if you don’t like those attributes I assume you cannot enjoy music. Do you know John Zorn’s soundtrack series? Well, this puts it to shame.Read more about the music and the very films it scores right here.This album is not compatible with a fondness for the Czech New Wave.
I think the two records above are the best of this bunch, but the remaining records here have a lot to offer. I find Akio Suzuki and Nobuo Yamada to be on the same spectrum, albeit distance ends from one another. Where the former is calm and slowly developing, somewhat like a manually created Radigue record, Yamada is exceptional, to my tastes, but more standard drone. Perhaps there are connections here to Yuasa, but only of the most general type. Clearly the Takemitsu will probably be of interest if you enjoy the Hosokawa, although my affinity for his pieces come from a chance recital by a friend of mine a few years back. It might be “safe” avant classical compared to much of what we cover nowadays, but nonetheless it is a nice collection and worth your time. Indeed, I’ve found that if you stagger the composition records with the other material here, the music stands out more, as if the ear latches onto structure after long drones and silences.
Zoom Info
Akio Suzuki - Odds And Ends (Horen, 2002)Toru Takemitsu - Complete Piano Works 1952-1990 (Woodward) (Etcetera, 1991)Nobuo Yamada ‎– Daydream Of Wok (ABH, 2009)Toshio Hosokawa - Deep Silence / Gagaku (WERGO, 2004)Joji Yuasa ‎– Music For Experimental Films (Edition Omega Point, 2008)
Here is an odd grouping of Japanese music of various genres. I’ll include some of the original reviews (by Matt and Danny, respectively), and then wrap it up.(Matt, re: Toshio, 3/31/10) Well, originally slotted for this post was a collection of Mr. Hosokawa’s string quartets to compliment that wonderful Nancarrow False Bread so kindly posted the other day. However, as the days have become longer and my shirt sleeves shorter, I have found it harder to tolerate this vitamin D deficient music — thus, Deep Silence.One word frequently comes up in descriptions of these compositions — shimmering. And I agree, though the adjective need apply in two cases. First, as the sun peeks through the window pane while you are enjoying your first cup of coffee (or whatever caffeinated beverage you enjoy in the morning), its glare temporarily blinds you, obfuscating the screen of that laptop you were hiding behind. Ah yes, shimmering! On the other hand, when you become affixed to the dancing of the flames at the first bonfire of the season, whereupon the radiant colors against the dark of night haunts you for what seems like ages. Yup, that kind of shimmering as well!Let me explain what this has to do with Mr. Hosokawa. Contained in this release from Wergo are seven compositions, three written by Toshio and four Gagaku (Japanese classical music). All seven are performed by Stefan Hussong on accordion and Mayumi Miyata on Shō (a bamboo mouth organ), with Hosokawa and Gagaku pieces alternating. Therein lies the shimmering bifurcation: as one might expect, the Gagaku pieces are dissonant yet still tonal (remember, tonality only just died a century ago), whereas Hosokawa’s compositions are fiercely atonal. Even still, the theme remains constant throughout each piece; extended drones link the room-filling “shimmers” with deep silence. Because without orchestration, without performance, a composition is merely just annotated silence. And here, on Deep Silence, one can almost see the notes being carried from parchment to the aural plane.
(Danny, re: Joji, 7/8/08) It came fast and hit hard. If you’re not familiar with Japan’s experimentators, hearing this and knowing it comes from a classical composer would be quite startling. If you’re a devotee, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Joji Yuasa’s compositions are intensively asseverated pieces; vocal manipulation & sampling, echoes and feedback and, finally, the last & longest piece, “Document of the Thin White Line”, which has entire minutes which resemble those 60s sound library albums we’ve all heard (not that there’s anything wrong with that) intermixed with some kind of mutant electroacoustic big-band-small-chin-chamber-orchestra. Does that sound dated and cartoonish? YES! And it is! And if you don’t like those attributes I assume you cannot enjoy music. Do you know John Zorn’s soundtrack series? Well, this puts it to shame.Read more about the music and the very films it scores right here.This album is not compatible with a fondness for the Czech New Wave.
I think the two records above are the best of this bunch, but the remaining records here have a lot to offer. I find Akio Suzuki and Nobuo Yamada to be on the same spectrum, albeit distance ends from one another. Where the former is calm and slowly developing, somewhat like a manually created Radigue record, Yamada is exceptional, to my tastes, but more standard drone. Perhaps there are connections here to Yuasa, but only of the most general type. Clearly the Takemitsu will probably be of interest if you enjoy the Hosokawa, although my affinity for his pieces come from a chance recital by a friend of mine a few years back. It might be “safe” avant classical compared to much of what we cover nowadays, but nonetheless it is a nice collection and worth your time. Indeed, I’ve found that if you stagger the composition records with the other material here, the music stands out more, as if the ear latches onto structure after long drones and silences.
Zoom Info
Akio Suzuki - Odds And Ends (Horen, 2002)Toru Takemitsu - Complete Piano Works 1952-1990 (Woodward) (Etcetera, 1991)Nobuo Yamada ‎– Daydream Of Wok (ABH, 2009)Toshio Hosokawa - Deep Silence / Gagaku (WERGO, 2004)Joji Yuasa ‎– Music For Experimental Films (Edition Omega Point, 2008)
Here is an odd grouping of Japanese music of various genres. I’ll include some of the original reviews (by Matt and Danny, respectively), and then wrap it up.(Matt, re: Toshio, 3/31/10) Well, originally slotted for this post was a collection of Mr. Hosokawa’s string quartets to compliment that wonderful Nancarrow False Bread so kindly posted the other day. However, as the days have become longer and my shirt sleeves shorter, I have found it harder to tolerate this vitamin D deficient music — thus, Deep Silence.One word frequently comes up in descriptions of these compositions — shimmering. And I agree, though the adjective need apply in two cases. First, as the sun peeks through the window pane while you are enjoying your first cup of coffee (or whatever caffeinated beverage you enjoy in the morning), its glare temporarily blinds you, obfuscating the screen of that laptop you were hiding behind. Ah yes, shimmering! On the other hand, when you become affixed to the dancing of the flames at the first bonfire of the season, whereupon the radiant colors against the dark of night haunts you for what seems like ages. Yup, that kind of shimmering as well!Let me explain what this has to do with Mr. Hosokawa. Contained in this release from Wergo are seven compositions, three written by Toshio and four Gagaku (Japanese classical music). All seven are performed by Stefan Hussong on accordion and Mayumi Miyata on Shō (a bamboo mouth organ), with Hosokawa and Gagaku pieces alternating. Therein lies the shimmering bifurcation: as one might expect, the Gagaku pieces are dissonant yet still tonal (remember, tonality only just died a century ago), whereas Hosokawa’s compositions are fiercely atonal. Even still, the theme remains constant throughout each piece; extended drones link the room-filling “shimmers” with deep silence. Because without orchestration, without performance, a composition is merely just annotated silence. And here, on Deep Silence, one can almost see the notes being carried from parchment to the aural plane.
(Danny, re: Joji, 7/8/08) It came fast and hit hard. If you’re not familiar with Japan’s experimentators, hearing this and knowing it comes from a classical composer would be quite startling. If you’re a devotee, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Joji Yuasa’s compositions are intensively asseverated pieces; vocal manipulation & sampling, echoes and feedback and, finally, the last & longest piece, “Document of the Thin White Line”, which has entire minutes which resemble those 60s sound library albums we’ve all heard (not that there’s anything wrong with that) intermixed with some kind of mutant electroacoustic big-band-small-chin-chamber-orchestra. Does that sound dated and cartoonish? YES! And it is! And if you don’t like those attributes I assume you cannot enjoy music. Do you know John Zorn’s soundtrack series? Well, this puts it to shame.Read more about the music and the very films it scores right here.This album is not compatible with a fondness for the Czech New Wave.
I think the two records above are the best of this bunch, but the remaining records here have a lot to offer. I find Akio Suzuki and Nobuo Yamada to be on the same spectrum, albeit distance ends from one another. Where the former is calm and slowly developing, somewhat like a manually created Radigue record, Yamada is exceptional, to my tastes, but more standard drone. Perhaps there are connections here to Yuasa, but only of the most general type. Clearly the Takemitsu will probably be of interest if you enjoy the Hosokawa, although my affinity for his pieces come from a chance recital by a friend of mine a few years back. It might be “safe” avant classical compared to much of what we cover nowadays, but nonetheless it is a nice collection and worth your time. Indeed, I’ve found that if you stagger the composition records with the other material here, the music stands out more, as if the ear latches onto structure after long drones and silences.
Zoom Info

Akio Suzuki - Odds And Ends (Horen, 2002)
Toru Takemitsu - Complete Piano Works 1952-1990 (Woodward) (Etcetera, 1991)
Nobuo Yamada ‎– Daydream Of Wok (ABH, 2009)
Toshio Hosokawa - Deep Silence / Gagaku (WERGO, 2004)
Joji Yuasa ‎– Music For Experimental Films (Edition Omega Point, 2008)


Here is an odd grouping of Japanese music of various genres. I’ll include some of the original reviews (by Matt and Danny, respectively), and then wrap it up.

(Matt, re: Toshio, 3/31/10) Well, originally slotted for this post was a collection of Mr. Hosokawa’s string quartets to compliment that wonderful Nancarrow False Bread so kindly posted the other day. However, as the days have become longer and my shirt sleeves shorter, I have found it harder to tolerate this vitamin D deficient music — thus, Deep Silence.

One word frequently comes up in descriptions of these compositions — shimmering. And I agree, though the adjective need apply in two cases. First, as the sun peeks through the window pane while you are enjoying your first cup of coffee (or whatever caffeinated beverage you enjoy in the morning), its glare temporarily blinds you, obfuscating the screen of that laptop you were hiding behind. Ah yes, shimmering! On the other hand, when you become affixed to the dancing of the flames at the first bonfire of the season, whereupon the radiant colors against the dark of night haunts you for what seems like ages. Yup, that kind of shimmering as well!

Let me explain what this has to do with Mr. Hosokawa. Contained in this release from Wergo are seven compositions, three written by Toshio and four Gagaku (Japanese classical music). All seven are performed by Stefan Hussong on accordion and Mayumi Miyata on Shō (a bamboo mouth organ), with Hosokawa and Gagaku pieces alternating. Therein lies the shimmering bifurcation: as one might expect, the Gagaku pieces are dissonant yet still tonal (remember, tonality only just died a century ago), whereas Hosokawa’s compositions are fiercely atonal. Even still, the theme remains constant throughout each piece; extended drones link the room-filling “shimmers” with deep silence. Because without orchestration, without performance, a composition is merely just annotated silence. And here, on Deep Silence, one can almost see the notes being carried from parchment to the aural plane.


(Danny, re: Joji, 7/8/08) It came fast and hit hard. If you’re not familiar with Japan’s experimentators, hearing this and knowing it comes from a classical composer would be quite startling. If you’re a devotee, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Joji Yuasa’s compositions are intensively asseverated pieces; vocal manipulation & sampling, echoes and feedback and, finally, the last & longest piece, “Document of the Thin White Line”, which has entire minutes which resemble those 60s sound library albums we’ve all heard (not that there’s anything wrong with that) intermixed with some kind of mutant electroacoustic big-band-small-chin-chamber-orchestra. Does that sound dated and cartoonish? YES! And it is! And if you don’t like those attributes I assume you cannot enjoy music. Do you know John Zorn’s soundtrack series? Well, this puts it to shame.

Read more about the music and the very films it scores right here.

This album is not compatible with a fondness for the Czech New Wave.


I think the two records above are the best of this bunch, but the remaining records here have a lot to offer. I find Akio Suzuki and Nobuo Yamada to be on the same spectrum, albeit distance ends from one another. Where the former is calm and slowly developing, somewhat like a manually created Radigue record, Yamada is exceptional, to my tastes, but more standard drone. Perhaps there are connections here to Yuasa, but only of the most general type. Clearly the Takemitsu will probably be of interest if you enjoy the Hosokawa, although my affinity for his pieces come from a chance recital by a friend of mine a few years back. It might be “safe” avant classical compared to much of what we cover nowadays, but nonetheless it is a nice collection and worth your time. Indeed, I’ve found that if you stagger the composition records with the other material here, the music stands out more, as if the ear latches onto structure after long drones and silences.

Alastair Galbraith - Talisman (Next Best Way, 1995)


Alastair Galbraith’s albums are about as consistently un-ambitious as he has been consistently indifferent about ambition, specifically in terms of musicianship. Responding in an interview, Galbraith mentioned that, “To me, my musical career is not as important as my life itself, and that was something I’ve found very difficult about touring. I am always ‘Alastair Galbraith: The Musician,’ and it’s hard to feel like you’re still a painter, or a person who likes walking around picking up driftwood or whatever else you may be.” Somewhat like driftwood one finds on a rainy beach, Galbraith’s work has the feel of something molded by aimlessness and wandering. Happening upon one of his album’s for the first time feels as though one is among a lucky few who’ve touched it, that it could have been collecting dust in a record store for twenty years, waiting to be handled by you and you alone.

Raised in Dunedin, New Zealand, Galbraith formed his first band—The Rip—with his high school buddy Robbie Muir after seeing The Clean play in the early eighties. Without the kind of global communications infrastructure we’ve enjoyed with things going digital, New Zealand might as well have been at the end of the world. Much of the influence musicians were toying with at the time was up to two years out of vogue by the time they’d get to touring. That compounded with what could have been an inferiority complex among the New Zealanders and/or a superiority complex among Londoners, manifested a sense of necessary self-sufficiency in the minds of many coming out of the scene; in some ways, there was nowhere to go but home—one of the key ingredients to a potentially excellent milieu. Interviewed by the Guardian a year ago, Martin Phillips (of Flying Nun Record’s The Chills) commented that, “From our perspective it was, ‘We are those of you brave enough to jump on rickety little boats and head off into the darkened seas to set up brave new colonies because we didn’t want to be part of this class system. But we are still part of you.’ The British perspective felt like, ‘They have the nerve to say they’re part of our ongoing history when they ran out on us at a crucial time.’ And they’ve given New Zealanders minimum publicity ever since.”

Following a number of line-up changes and two EP’s produced through the late eighties, The Rip eventually disbanded, and by 1987, Galbraith was producing his own records. Influenced by Peter Jefferies (of This Kind of Punishment), who had advised Galbraith early on that, “recording in a professional studio and paying a lot of money was a very bad idea,” Galbraith perfected the 4-track aesthetic, mixing Velvet Underground elements via his cello work with bagpipe drone gleaned from his Scottish ancestry, and injecting it with his preternatural lyrical poise.

In 1995 Galbraith released his third LP, entitled Talisman. The album was produced after a year of living about an hour south of Dunedin near a small fishing village called Taeiri’s Mouth. Not totally secluded, Galbraith apparently used the Taeiri River gorge to his advantage, canoeing downstream every day to his friends’ house to play and record. One can see how that kind of lifestyle came to influence the music, not just on this album but all of his works: the specifically kiwi ethos of a 4-track in one hand and a canoe paddle in the other.

The album has the dynamism of a mountainous landscape, where ridges fall to valleys and crumple into gulleys that fold into lakes that rise again to mountains: a cyclical sense of change that’s not unlike a fugue. It’s fast paced and constantly changing—only a few of the tracks are longer than a minute and a half. Beginning with one of Galbraith’s signature sounds, mingling backward looped guitars with his double-tracked vocals thrumming a lullaby, we’re led to the caustic chant of Yuhahi, a Cherokee recitation to frighten storms. From there we’re led back to Galbraith’s superb, lyrically tuned pop-sensibility with Carlos, and just as we’re about to get comfortable, switches gears again with the metalloid drone of Xtra 1, prefacing the incantarory Black Flame, a turbulently contoured anthem colored black with snare splashes. This oscillating pattern in the first four or five tracks continues as the modal direction through the rest of the album, repeating itself as necessary. Liquid loops transform into combustible reveries as breezy lyrics segue into earthy drones, articulated with unintelligible spoken word. It achieves what a series of charcoal sketches can that oil masterpieces cannot.

Talisman is a good start if you haven’t heard Galbraith before, but only because it comes at the middle (of the beginning) of his project. As I wrote above, Galbraith’s work is incredibly consistent, so if you like Talisman, definitely check out his other albums—he’s coming out with a new one just about every three seconds.

Travis Meyer

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