Other Experimental (not especially electronic, dronescape, or new classical) on eMusic
What to say about this list? Very challenging. Nothing I’d subject anyone I know to, so welcome, strangers! Similar to the new classical list that apparently underwhelmed, there are plenty of melodious moments tucked away to be appreciated, but noise and deliberate inaccessibility are far more frequent. Be brave.
1. “Narcisos” - Caco (2018). The first track’s clarinet is mighty fine, guitars carry later songs, and the rest of this EP has some urban electronica/hip-hop and doesn’t feel like it was made by just one group of musicians. Cohesive and quite mellow overall. An interesting case to examine why some EPs are 99 cents and some like this are $1.49.
2. “Alimpatakan” - Bombo Pluto Ova (2019). Noise rock that’s more noise than rock from the Philippines. Not relentless but still pretty overpowering. Will clear your mind, the dancefloor, or your house of all current inhabitants in no time flat. https://bomboplutoovaph.bandcamp.com/releases
3. “Burn to Grow Greener” - Dès Vu (2019). If you’re like me, your collection could use more experimental music by women of color. Distant, distorted vocals under rather than over lurching synths just barely melodic enough to make this one distinctive and engaging, but feel free to take your pick of Alabama’s finest experimental music on the Step Pepper label. Note this 99-cent eMu album is extended over https://desvumusic.bandcamp.com/album/burn-to-grow-greener
4. “Vietnam” - Revolutionary Ensemble (1972). Classic, free jazz on strings on—where else?—ESP-DISK for 99 cents. Never noisy or grating like a lot of experimental music can be, and each instrument gets its proper showcase at some point over two long tracks.
5. “Vardo” - KUSHT (2019). I really wasn’t sure what to make of this 40+ minute, five-track, 99-cent album for a long time. Given the length of each songs, there’s a long build to most of them, and while the label is Latin, multiple other world music elements are featured. Vocals and accompaniment seem to shoot for entrancement and come close to achieving it, with more electronics involved as the album progresses. Add a beat to the imagined caravan of your choice.
6. “Fears” - Hawk of the Low Hills (2014). Electronic dub working with a lot of spoken word vocal samples, especially on the third track about jazz which talks time signatures while sounding more like rockabilly. Worth the extra 50 cents over most EPs as the only semi-sound collage entry on here. I’d love to know if anyone knows more like this, whether on eMu or not. https://hawkofthelowhills.bandcamp.com/releases
7. “Héroe Anónimo” - Prinz (2003). Had been on my wishlist for ages, and the high price was admittedly a deterrent. Zappaesque in terms of fusion-y composition or like an acoustic Nobukazu Takemura, from Spain given the lisping, course language but often with Latin salsa elements. There are some weak tracks on here like the electric piano “Para Inma,” and in ten+ minutes the best ones also have highly questionable moments. Laid back lounginess won’t be to everyone’s taste. One is likely to prefer either the instrumental or explicit tracks, but having both makes for quite an uneven epic. If only the guy on the cover had successfully whacked Dubya with a frying pan at the turn of the century, he’d truly be my hero.
8. “Costuras Que Me Bordam Marcas na Pele” - Paola Kirst (2018). A fantastic bargain at 99 cents, as are many on Escápula Records, I don’t know any Latin jazz I’d prefer over this. Vocal experimentation sometimes reminds me of Zap Mama on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop as well as Sheila Chandra. Fun guitar work on the second track’s intro, pretty wild piano throughout, and other surprises abound. This album will keep one guessing what’s next.
9. “The North” - Sergei Zagny (2013). To call this stark and uninviting would be a great understatement. Woodwinds take turns evoking a Siberian landscape in a mild blizzard that threatens to clear but never does.
10. “Abstractions” - Europa 51 (2003). The lineup of a supergroup, mostly instrumental and mixing unusual genres like bluegrass in surprising ways, with occasional vocals from deceased Stereolab member Mary Hansen. Universally given 4-star rating by eMu & AMG. https://lorecordings.bandcamp.com/album/abstractions-lo38
11. “Sacred Vacation” - Lexie Mountain Boys (2008). Ironically named with apparently all women in the group, this is a cappella and somewhere between chanting, rounds, and general moaning. This one is every bit as polarizing as the ratings suggest. Sample before dropping $6.50 on it, or pay the price.
On other lists: “Dislalia” - Carlos Marks. “Beneath the Waves” - Seacircle. “Milk” - PeroPero. “V” - Senko.
On wishlist but haven’t afforded yet: “Jumpcut” - Man Jumping (1985). XIU XIU.
Formerly on the site but gone: Masayoshi Fujita https://masayoshifujita.bandcamp.com/album/apologues
; Cheval de Frise; The Books/Zammuto/Paul De Jong; The Evolution Control Committee;
I think I need to take a break from experimentation but will come back to ambient and dronescapes later. Promise.