In general, I listen to SuperPang albums on the way home from band practice. But, I’ve been stuck on The Untitled for about a month now. The first time I listened, I got so absorbed, I took a wrong turn and almost ended up in Berkeley.
It’s an unusual record, Vida calls it “Musique concrète”, but it sounds like there are some instruments and computers involved. I would call it spooky, haunting, atmospheric, and far more compelling than it’s relative brevity would lead you to believe possible.
“Musique concrète recorded in Shady, New York, Summer 2020. Computer, Hardware, Mixing Console.”
Gelotophilia is joy in being laughed at. Katagelasticism is joy at laughing at others, often at their own expense. (I had to look them up.)
Gelotophilia is piano with electronics, with the piano dominating and the electronics fading in and out in the background. Katagelasticism is electronics with piano, with the electronics more to the fore.
The piano playing is vaguely “classical” in style, rolling sheets of consonant chords. The electronics are more drone-ey. I can’t tell from listening if the electronics in either piece are processing the piano or independent, though the two seem to share some tonal centers. Overall an entirely pleasant recording to listen to, engaging yet not demanding.
“Recorded in Elektronmusikstudion EMS, Stockholm and Studio W, Brussels, 2015/2020”
Allegedly algorithmic music, but really pretty cool and organic feeling. I would describe it as “nonchalantly menacing”. Reminded me a bit of some Cluster related music. Maybe my fave Superpang release so far.
“All tracks are performed, mixed, and mastered by William Fields using Bohlen–Pierce tuning.”
Pretty much a harsh noise album. The passages of sound where the instruments in the credits are identifiable as themselves are few and far between. Mostly wet sound coming off of whatever live electronic processing is going on. There are some nice bits about 15 mins into the first track. I also liked the framing device for the second track, sound of piezo mic’d cardio and/or respiration.
“Compositions by Mats Gustafsson (STIM/NcB). Baritone and bass saxophones, organ, live electronics, bass drum.”
“These works form a study of an experimental implementation of a waveguide synthesis algorithm.”
Metallic KO. Almost all the sounds on this recording sound like they were generated from some sort of metal striking another (even though they were probably entirely digitally generated.) Well, one thing I like about recordings on Superpang is they usually use very original sample sets and sound sources.
A group of shorter abstract electronic pieces. The rhythmic sensibility feels more like that of spoken language than music. Described as, “Un-ornamented and Brutalist”, I was expecting it to be a bit more harsh than it is, while not exactly Brutalist, it is enjoyable and original electronic music.
“Composed and recorded by Elías Merino between CeReNeM (Centre for Research in New Musics) and Madrid.”
If you want to give your speakers a workout, play this loud. (Various extremely high bpm manipulations of sounds from drum machines.)
“Explorations of sounds created by drum synths + saturation at very high bpm. Mathematica software was used to generate MIDI files in which the bpm increases/decreases exponentially, with an exponent set at the Golden ratio (1.618 or 0.618). The tempo of the drums goes up to 300,000 bpm.”
The only information accompanying the album is, “Microphone + Computer assistance.”
Mics left live in the wind? Mics inside a crumpling paper bag rolling in the wind? Those are my best guesses, but I’ve no idea what systems or devices Kevin Drumm used to create this album. Still, despite its mysterious origins, a strangely compelling recording.
I do love a project. Anyway, I drive to Oakland every Monday for band practice. On the way home, I usually listen to something. But, anything too long gets cut off. I decided, the SuperPang catalog is a good choice, as most releases around 20-30 minutes long and all, (so far,) seem to be at least pretty interesting.
It really is pretty goofy, vintage video game like sounds over stompy quasi-dance beats. I swear some of the sounds come from frogger. Changes frequently enough to stay interesting. Perfectly appropriate for late night driving among the Uber drivers and tech bros Tokyo Drifting from one exit to the next.
“A pair of long wabbit acid techno pearls from the infamous trans-European duo: Roc Jiménez de Cisneros and Stephen Sharp aka EVOL.”
This album is dedicated to those who recognize living as a heroic act: the occupiers of sunup barstools; the cubicle-planted; the ghosts of Greyhounds; the reasonably sketchy. A burlap hero is one who marches—consciously or not—back to the sea in hopes of making no splash, who understands and embraces the imperfection of being, and in that way, stretches the definition of sainthood to fit.
Nate Wooley, 2022
Framed by 4 interludes, (all named with an open parenthesis a sequence of periods and a close parentheis), which start with what sound like field recordings of fields or beaches into which the band gradually inserts itself, Ancient Songs of Burlap Heroes roots itself in the natural world.
These interludes present a world where composition and improvisation are part of the order of things, not one where man and his ideas impose their will on nature or the world.
The 3 longer pieces on the album skirt any labels such as “Jazz”, “Free Improvisation”, or “New Music”. (Though, at any point, the music might sound like one, the other, or all at once.)
The core group of players, Halvorson, Alcorn, Sawyer, and Wooley, are all distinctive voices and Wooley gives ample space to express themselves solo and interact with each other over the course of the longer pieces.
Particularly fascinating is the interaction between the two guitarists, the pitch sliding of Alcorn’s pedal steel guital and the temporal sliding of Halvorson’s patented digital delay damaged playing.
Wooley himself has some burning passages and some poignant moments in his playing on the album, including a particularly nice break in “A Catastrophic Legend” that is practically Bebop (but not quite).
Sawyer displays astonishing flexibility, interacting and complementing whatever these iconoclastic players throw at him with poise and grace.
The album closes at the sea shore, perhaps in reference to the quote above, a group of saintly players ending their pilgrimage, and fading into silence.
Mary Halvorson; Guitar Susan Alcorn; Pedal Steel Guitar Ryan Sawyer; Drums Mat Maneri; Viola, Track 2 Trevor Dunn; Electric Bass, Track 4 Nate Wooley; Trumpet and Amplifier, Compositions
Recorded by Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio, October 14-15, 2021 released July 29, 2022