‘Masculinity is a wonderful thing’ is a dense, sculptural clutter of gauze-thin cut up samples, loops and embellished found sounds. It’s an intense, and incredibly direct listen. Louis Johnstone seems resolutely artless and at the same time all the more an artist for it. He would no doubt hate a sentence like that. I just can’t think of a better way to describe the incredible way his collages make all formal music ideas seem worthless whilst you become lost in his world.
The second release from Anti-Ghost Moon Ray records is the debut from Bernholz.
‘Consequences 1 (Variations on a theme)’ is a mixtape-come-mini album comprised of unused, reworked and freshly composed 4 track, reel to reel and digital experiments. It’s a small introduction to what will be the first fully realised album from Bernholz later this year.
It’s a free digital download available from antighostmoonray.com on 9 May 2011. You can stream it below, either as the split up tracks via the bandcamp widget, or you if you feel brave, there is the constant stream via the official.fm widget to listen to it as originally intended.
Last year, NNA Tapes released a collection of songs by Julia Holter. The cassette arrived at my door early this year, after what seemed like an age. I was incredibly eager to hear it, as what I had already discovered of Holter’s music leant itself to the nature of tape incredibly well. ‘Try to make yourselves a work of art’ and ‘The Falling Age’ are hazy, detached, cyclical pieces of music that astounded me on first listen. I followed up hearing these by indulging in what I could find of hers that still remained to be heard. Thankfully, she is an incredibly prolific artist, and there is a lot she has to offer on different compilations, drone videos, and an album of field recordings, the latter of which I am yet to have had the pleasure of hearing.
Julia Holter comes across not only as a musician, a composer and a performer. She is at the same time performance artist and sound collagist. The title of the album is in quotations, not merely telling you what you are listening to, but the nature of it. Like Bowie’s “Heroes” the title is to be read with a degree of irony. It defies the assumption that you are hearing a fully blown concert. Yes, these songs are played live, but you are never sure where. Perhaps some of them are at a venue of some kind. But others appear to be nowhere you would assume a live recording to take place. A lot of the time it sounds like her front room, with a film casually playing off the TV in the background. Incidentally, the dialogue and soundtrack of said film has its moments of complementing and then aggravating the performance in a strange, mesmerising way. The music becomes a dense fog, the lyrics are impenetrable, and as a result, all the more intriguing. There is something in the quality I can identify with, the act of just grabbing a ghetto blaster with a tape record function, and just setting off. Song titles such as “Me more than I need” seem to contain a playfulness and spontaneity that almost undermines these fully realised compositions. The execution always seems to have an urgency, ‘I must record this right now’.
I will shortly be posting up an album, or mixtape, of sketches, tracks, and unfinished ideas that have never made it off my 4-track. In addition, there will be some new material that I am making, newly invigorated by rediscovering the creative process I’ve been missing for a while.
I recently discovered White Rainbow, who has done something similar, and I was just astounded by it. Judging by the title, it looks like there is more of this exciting material to come. Enjoy the album stream from bandcamp, and then buy the thing.