As one of the first artists released in Bass Clef's 12000 Seconds series, American multi-instrumentalist Ashley Paul has a head start on showing what can be done with time as your only creative constriction. Her particular approach hinges around avant-garde approaches to saxophone and clarinet, ranging from the arranged and composed slow march of "Distance" to the short squawk of "Lines", right down to the seven second reflection of "Hero". It's a fascinating insight into what an artist deems achievable in a specific time frame, with Paul's specific style captivating through its sparse and tense delivery.
When Austin Cesear and Public Information combine, the results are never less than special; back in 2012, it was the London-based label which first served notice of the San Francisco-based artist's talent for bleak yet beautiful sonics with the excellent debut LP Cruise Forever. Since then Cesear has brought his sepia-toned brand of house and ambient music to Anthony Naples' Proibito label, and collaborated on a cassette release with Stefan Jos for Opal Tapes earlier this year. The sight of a new Cesear release on Public Information is most welcome then, with West Side apparently inspired by the artist's time spent amidst the industrial machinery and wildlife of Oakland, California. Spread across six tracks, the results veer through mood and tone, yet feel like one cohesive whole thanks to Cesear's ever refined touch.
Having spent plenty of previous tape-spooling minutes shored up at Hospital Productions (as well as Opal Tapes, Silvox and More Records), Exoteric Continent return once more with their gritty, industrial-flavoured techno that edges more towards sonic dread than dance music. The tightly-pressed rhythms tumble out in unforgiving arrangements that lay monochrome textures on heavy and let the drum machines call the shots. There's space of course for more contemplative production as well, but it still comes daubed in battleship grey for the darker kind of hardware head. That there is so much atmosphere and tension in the music tells you just how skilled the Barcelona-based duo are in their craft.
Hospital Productions is a non-stop operation and following this year's long-players from Alessandro Cortini, Ninos Du Brasil and Ron Morelli, Vatican Shadow's latest swoop is this ambient album produced with Function. The seven-track LP was recorded between Berlin and New York, and it's described as best suited for after-hours home listening, but whether you really want to listen to this after a big night is up to you. Indeed "A Year Has Passed" and "A Year Has Gone By" are downbeat and melancholic, whereas other tracks lean more towards industrial ambient, similar to fellow Hospital artist Lussuria's work. "The Nemesis Flower" is a darker highlight while "Red Opium" and "Bejewelled Body" is where the house and techno beats lie.
The Essence Of The Earth As Arch As Arc - (4:30) 152 BPM
Bodycells Fortress - (4:42) 89 BPM
There With The Boxer The Fog & Pale Queens In White Panties Dance - (3:19) 96 BPM
Blind Guide Killing A Lioness - (2:36) 89 BPM
On The Roads A Message Of Home - (2:22) 150 BPM
Her Prints Will Light The Path - (3:01) 90 BPM
Birthnight - (13:57) 140 BPM
Prince Of The Immortal Woods - (4:17) 157 BPM
With a mind-bending array of releases behind him, largely on cassette, it's not easy to get a firm grip on what Hans Dens' Innercity project is all about, but then that's not necessarily what it's about. In the same spirit of adventure that possesses the likes of Ekoplekz, the music on A Lion Baptism is a chaotic blend of noise and drone studies with a nod to Musique Concrete in the manic and detailed deployment of samples. At times this can reach discernible musical peaks, only to be manhandled by another barrage of sonic grot wielded with a thrilling impulsiveness. The diversity on the release will keep your brain on its toes, touching upon so many different tones and moods across the eight track savagery.
The ever prolific Kevin Drumm is back on Editions Mego after his last outing on the label with the Relief single in 2012. Trouble is a long-form piece that deals in the most subtle harmonic tones, from barely audible sub drifts to distant cries of strings from his signature weapon of choice, the tabletop guitar. There are moments when the sound swells ominously, and progressively over the duration of nearly an hour the sound reshapes itself with glacial progress. Occasionally it falls away again, only to re-emerge in a marginally altered configuration, but over the slow-moving course of the album the subtle shifts are less significant than the overall swell of the piece as a single solid experience.