The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Gig #147: Of late 51: Tashi Dorji, Tobin Sprout, Oliver Coates, AMANI + KING VISION ULTRA, V. Kristoff, Imperial Triumphant, Siavash Amini, Jeremiah Sand, Richard Skelton, Damaged Bug, $hit & $hine, Metz, KTL, Hyph11E, Ai Aso

 

Tashi Dorji
Tobin Sprout
Oliver Coates
AMANI + KING VISION ULTRA
V. Kristoff
Imperial Triumphant
Siavash Amini
Jeremiah Sand
Richard Skelton
Damaged Bug
$hit & $hine
Metz
KTL
Hyph11E
Ai Aso

 

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Tashi Dorji End of State, Part III
‘Arriving after Dorji’s collaborations with everyone from Aaron Turner to Mette Rasmussen and C Spencer Yeh in recent years, the hugely versatile improviser is spotlighted solo with utterly captivating results in ‘Stateless’. Presented as an intensely emotive expression of the “confusion, rage, helplessness and resolve of an immigrant in America today” the recording witness Dorji take blues guitar back to its lyrically expressive roots as a voice of dispossessed people, reeling off a burning range of emotions from his flying fingertips that speak to his exceptional ability to conjure fleeting feelings, sustain or suspend disbelief, and remarkably change direction in the blink of an eye.’ — boomkat

 

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Tobin Sprout On Golden Rivers
‘Artist, illustrator, writer and lo-fi innovator, Tobin Sprout was the super-productive partner of Robert Pollard in the legendary Guided By Voices. The gifted songwriter returns with a pensive, expansive part autobiographical new album ‘Empty Horses’. Here he’s part Townes Van Zandt, part John Prine, part Robbie Robertson at his retrospective best. The album is a meticulously observed study of America and Americana (not the music, but the state of mind). An alternative American Songbook, if you will, a collection of laments to simpler times and the struggle for what’s right, peppered with an examination of faith and the search for a sense of justice. Close up and personal, ‘Empty Horses’ is a poignant carefully etched experience, a rolling journey in modern times, nodding back to tradition, a personal snapshot filled with honesty.’ — Fire Records

 

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Oliver Coates Butoh baby
‘In his follow-up album to 2018’s Shelley’s on Zenn-La, the British cellist and producer leads an impassioned performance of string through viscous, synthetic modulation, triggering a darker side of his compositional sensibilities. skins n slime’s iridescent contrast of light and dark continues through tender, individual moments of pure cello beside decaying drone. The plaintive strokes of “Philomela Mutation,” from the soundtrack of Marianna Simnett’s short film The Bird Game, lead into the lucid string soliloquy of “Butoh baby” and the blistering “Reunification 2018.” The latter is the notable storm of metal organum which Coates played to close his performances supporting an extensive international Thom Yorke tour.’ — RVNG INTL

 

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AMANI + KING VISION ULTRA A Not So Fruitful Wealth
‘THIS BODY OF WORK REPRESENTS AN ERUPTION OF BURIED TRIALS AND PERSPECTIVES – WARPED TO THE CADENCE OF SURVIVAL. LOVE IS ALWAYS OVERLYING IN PURSUIT OF THE DOLLAR.’ — AMANI

 

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V. Kristoff The Curtain
‘Elusive electronicist and co-captain of the Jungle Gym ambient assembly line Jared Carrigan has cycled through a gallery of aliases across the past half decade but his recent work as V. Kristoff ranks among the most refined and rapturous in his vast catalog. His new LP Sydra was recorded in California and Catalonia using an array of compact equipment; some tracks were crafted using only an iPhone and FX plug-ins while sleeping in cars along Costa Brava last spring.’ — txt

 

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Imperial Triumphant Swarming Opulence (live at The Dome)
‘Masked New Yorkers Imperial Triumphant have been pushing the boundaries of extreme metal for years now. By incorporating horns, strings and jazz composition on dizzying albums like 2018’s Vile Luxury and 2015’s Abyssal Gods, they’ve positioned themselves as one of the leading American representatives of black/death metal’s avant-garde wing — an otherwise largely French movement led by bands like Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord.’ — Revolver

 

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Siavash Amini Moonless Garden
‘Following up on »Harmistice« together with fellow Iranian artists 9T Antiope, the six tracks were conceived in close collaboration with another artist and see the prolific composer intensify his interdisciplinary approach. The six tracks enter a dialogue with the photographs of Nooshin Shafiee, an acclaimed artist whose work capturing their hometown Tehran becomes the starting point for one of Amini’s most visceral and haunting records. »A Mimesis of Nothingness« translates the ephemeral situations and melancholic moods of Shafiee’s pictures into suspenseful soundscapes that masterfully navigate between the concrete and the abstract.’ — boomkat

 

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Jeremiah Sand Golden Desert
‘Indie label Sacred Bones has announced Lift It Down, a “reissue” from notorious (fictional) Seventies cult leader Jeremiah Sand. As a teaser for the album, out October 30th, Sacred Bones has shared an unearthed video of Sand in his studio recording the song “Message from the Mountain,” a six-minute spiritual for the Children of the New Dawn. If Sand seems at all familiar to you, that’s because, well, he’s not a real person. He’s the primary antagonist, played by Linus Roache, from the highly stylized 2018 action-horror film Mandy, directed by Panos Cosmatos and starring Nicolas Cage. In the movie, Roache beautifully portrayed Sand as a sleazy cult leader with a passion for folk music, psychedelics and psychedelic folk.’ — revolt

 

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Richard Skelton For The Application of Fire
‘Over the past sixteen years, Richard Skelton has developed a signature sound, often comprised of strings, piano and other acoustic instrumentation. Since 2013 he has increasingly buried these organic sources in layers of detritus and static. The process, as he articulates it, is to use signal-degradation as a means of reflecting the processes of decay and transformation in the natural world. His music has been placed alongside giants of experimental music, such as Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Stars Of The Lid, William Basinski.’ — Phantom Limb

 

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Damaged Bug In My Heart
‘Originally planned as a Record Store Day exclusive, but shifted due to pandemic, John Dwyer’s put together a collection celebrating the catalog of Yonkers. While the impulses that work their way through Yonkers’ music could easily be threaded through the stripped folk approach of OCS or the noise excavations of Oh Sees, Dwyer chose to use the moniker that most often accompanies his personal and exploratory works — Damaged Bug — for this outing. I asked John what it was that drew him to the Yonkers catalog in the first place. “I really just heard it and immediately feel in love,” he admits. “Then I dug in deeper and saw that his catalogue was pretty far out and hard to pigeon-hole (heavy, mellow and breezy, weird home brewed A Capella etc). I think we are birds of a feather. He did what he wanted with his career and his art and I’ve spent my whole life working under that flag.”’ — Raven Sings the Blues

 

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Jockstrap acid VAPOURWAVE rap RMX
‘Conservatoire-trained twisted electro-futurists Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye met at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and clearly have no idea yet what they’re meant to be. In the meantime, they’ve been spending a couple of years treating us to EPs that mix baroque synthetic pop with semi-classical jaunts, before tearing them up again and releasing a remixed version. ‘acid VAPOURWAVE rap RMX’ – as the untethered typography suggests – is completely bats, with pitched-down vocals sounding like Rufus Wainwright fed through a mincer, buffeted by bursts of white noise. It’s so disorientating, there’s barely a chance to decide if it’s a good idea or not.’ — Matthew Horton

 

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$hit & $hine Hillbilly Moonshine
‘The only expectation any relatively well-adjusted person should have of Shit & Shine remains the unexpected at this stage, with Clouse having released well over thirty records on multiple labels in a storied, questing and uniformly invigorating catalogue – just as comfortable with both bloody-minded electronic assaults and noiserock-driven dirge, as adept at kraut-hammered rhythmic mantras as dancefloor-friendly abstraction. ‘Malibu Liquor Store’ is none of these things exactly yet simultaneously flirts cheerily and irreverently with all of them.’ — Rocket Records

 

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Metz A Boat to Drown In
‘‘A Boat To Drown In’, kicks in, guitars and drums expanded to massive proportions, as if Metz have taken to a colossal stage, a reverb soaked sonic cloud drifting out into the horizon, stretched out across a hypnotically droning 7:38. All things considered, this is a brilliant record from Metz, and perhaps the closest they’ve yet come to capturing their incredible live performance on record. One word of warning – tinnitus sufferers (like myself) should perhaps resist the temptation to crank this up too loud through headphones.’ — Sean Kitching

 

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KTL The Director
‘A new studio album from the duo of Peter Rehberg and Stephen O’Malley recorded and mixed during an unexpected extended stay in Berlin when the borders of the world suddenly closed. The claustrophobic urgency of this scenario is seared into the colossal vibrations set into this vinyl release. Proceedings are launched with The Director. Sitting somewhere between contemporary classical and doom this is a sliding and menacing mass of sound, more Masque of the Red Death than The Decameron.’ — Editions Mego

 

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Hyph11E Barnacles
‘“Holes accompany us throughout our lives, dilative and devoured, fillable but indispensable”, explains Hyph11E. “On one hand, they are the driven force for evolution, on the other hand, holes are also the layer of scab that signals growth.” In the visual for the record’s second single, ‘Barnacles’, we are invited explore a natural occurrence of one such hole. In the video artist and designer WangNewone takes us down into the depths of a mutated, sci-fi rendering of the titular arthropod, travelling through its mouth to view its grisly inner workings in microscopic detail. Descending through a series of undulating biochemical mandalas, Hyph11E’s breakneck alien industrial track soundtracks the exploration of what exists inside the aperture.’ — FACT Magazine

 

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Ai Aso The Bright Room
‘The voice of Ai Aso hangs on a single vowel, quivering like bird wings adjusting on the wind. Each pluck on her acoustic guitar is framed by the tips of fingers halting notes prematurely, or creaking up the fretboard to prepare for the next chord. Each gesture on The Faintest Hint is granted the space to exist. Each lyrical syllable, each string resonance. They emerge into the air, hung upon silence like porcelain mobiles, sharing a moment of intimacy with their surroundings before disappearing, gifting the space wholly to Aso’s next proclamation. These are pop songs when considered in their entirety. There are verses and choruses. There are overt sentiments of solemnity, gentle hope, tilts of sunlit nostalgia. Yet where so much pop collapses into a blast of present tense, this album makes clear the daisychaining of individual actions that somehow culminate in the passing of time. Each track is a Zeno’s paradox; Aso is so enrapt in each moment that the elapsing of a whole track feels like a logical fallacy.’ — Attn: Magazine

 

 

*

p.s. RIP Lewis Warsh ** Henry Vaughn, Hello, Henry. Welcome to here, and thanks very much. That was super twisty and beautiful of you. Here feels graced. How are you? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I feel like Wenders pretty much completely lost it after ‘Wing of Desire’, I wonder why. Okay, eek, I’ll share, and very best of luck. Everyone, David Ehrenstein has an urgent notice and plea: ‘My financial situation is more dire that ever. I am in overwhelming need of 400 dollars STAT so please write me about the items I have for sale. The latest is ”Timeless Audrey” a truly spectacular massive book of photographs of Audrey Hepburn’s entire life and career which was published by the Bunkamura Museum in 2004. I’m selling it for $75.00. Believe me it’s worth every penny. cllrdr@ehrensteinland.com.’ ** Tosh Berman, HI. Yes, this blog has a mind or at least a digestive system of its own a lot of the time. ** Bzzt, Hey, Q. I’m definitely slow on the writing front, or I think I am. I can be pretty swift on the actual first draft writing front, but 90% of my writing happens in revision, and that’s where I get very meticulous and gradual. That’s why non-fiction and I finally parted ways. Its rhythm and mine are pretty incompatible. I don’t know that I envy fast writers, but I’m filled with wonder at that gift. And work written quickly has a different quality and vibe than the slowly inched out stuff, and that storming quality can be very exciting to read. I guess there are those who would say the world has been dystopian since the invention of the electric light bulb. Hey, I only became kind of a multi-media writer/artist in my 60s, so don’t count expanding out. I always recommend collaborating with differently talented artists — film, theater, music, visual, etc. That can sometimes trigger an interest and talent you never knew you had. Great Monday, sir. ** Bill, Yes, and he’s 7 ft tall! My weekend was a bit adrift, I guess. Not in a horrible way or anything. I’m still feeling kind of run down, so that didn’t help. Watch anything that made a difference in you? ** Ian, Hi, Ian. Great to see you! I’m so happy you noticed and liked that sentence because that was my personal favorite sentence in the entire post. I had writer envy re: it. You doing good? What’s going on with you? ** Chris, Well, hello there Mr, C. Always a divine pleasure when you crease this locale. Yeah, the trauma center work must be even especially difficult at this thoroughly traumatic worldwide moment in time. Great about the restoration and upcoming release of that No Safety gig! Oh, wow, that’s the kind of question that is ill-suited to the pell-mell brain I use when writing the p.s. Uh, what interviewer angle are you looking for? Thurston? Zorn? Linton? Someone who was around and attentive at the time and maybe wrote about music then or knows their stuff and does now, or …? I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it. Or you could write down bullet points and just have a related one-on-one conversation that you can edit tight later? I’ll think. Magic day somehow to you! Love, me. ** Niko, Hi, Niko. I’m … okay, a bit under the weather, but okay. Honestly, I’m not at all happy with my literary agency, and I can’t in good conscience recommend them to you. Great news about the novel and, needless to say, the translation. The agency is Conville and Walsh, but, really, I don’t recommend them. Take care. ** G, Hi, Golnoosh! Yes, the mosque goer, if he really is, intrigues. I share your other faves too. Mind meld! You good? I sure hope so. xoxo. ** Steve Erickson, I don’t have VPN but a friend does, and I’ve been thinking about seeing if I can mooch. I can only imagine a shutdown in NYC is imminent. I don’t see any other option. And, if so, yes, I hope the govt., local or beyond, shell out to protect them, as is standard fare here in France, but it’s awfully hard to imagine that happening at least until the beast up top is officially replaced. ‘Aromantic’: It’s always interesting when one can find a term that consolidates one to one’s satisfaction. ** Brian O’Connell, Howdy, Brian. Yes, DumBumtheClown provided the most lovely breath of fresh air. The post owes him a lot. My weekend was a mostly big fat nothing much too. Still not feeling all that hot, so I’ll blame that. I don’t think I know ‘Come and See’ unless I’m blanking. I watched a documentary about the attempt in the early 90s to make a Superman film directed by Tim Burton and starring Nicolas Cage. It was no great shakes as a film at all, but if you’re into ambitious failed projects like me, it held the brain. I’m a giant fan of Ozu’s films. Well, the thing about Ozu is his films are very much about emotion and are even quite sentimental but are rendered in an ultra austere style at the same time, which those of us who love his work find deeply moving, so maybe you’ll get into ‘Tokyo Story’? I’m curious what you’ll think. Thanks about my Monday, and a boomerang wish at yours. ** Gus, Hi, Gus. Thanks, man, I’m getting there. I’m still a little hazy and blah at the moment, but clarity is in the offing. ‘Andrei Rublev’, wow, nice. Sadly, ‘Jerk’ is finally being retired. Jonathan Capedevielle just doesn’t want to do it anymore, which is understandable after performing it a lot for 12 years, and it can’t be done without him. It was supposed to be on a kind of farewell tour right now, but everything got cancelled because of you-know-what. The good thing is we’re going to do a professional filming of it in the spring, probably for television or as a short film, so at least there’ll be permanent record of it available. Thanks, pal. Take care over there. ** Right. Today I made one of my gig posts consisting of music I’ve been listening to and liking lately for those of you who, like me, enjoy going on a sonic adventure when you click the word Play. A lot of variety in this one, and I hope you’ll find stuff or at least something you dig. See you tomorrow.

8 Comments

  1. G

    Haha I’m so happy we’re in agreement re the boys… I’m okay, thanks – good would be a bit of a stretch though if I’m honest, but hopefully getting there. How is Paris? Things have been slightly intense of late over here. I’m finally reading GOD JR. – the only novel I haven’t read by you yet – I love the depictions of loss, grief, and guilt. Very relatable, but it’s very different from the rest of your novels in many ways, what do you think? (Obviously, it’s still awesome!) Anyway, I was wondering if you received the email I sent you last week – re the writing competition and anthology et cetera? Also, thank you so much for this musical post; I just found some top favourites: I love On Golden Rivers, Moonless Garden by Siavash Amini, and The Director by KTL. Pieces to be treasured <3 <3 <3

  2. Steve Erickson

    I’ve listened to the whole Jeremiah Sand album on Spotify. While I don’t have the urge to download it, it’s a real achievement. It captures the period psych/folk sound, with the egotism and sinister overtones of the character: superficially blissed out, but just one step away from a very bad trip. “taste the Whip” sounds like a parody of DIRTY MIND-era Prince. I have trouble thinking of any other fictional character movie offshoot albums that are even listenable (the Blues Brothers?), although it’s a shame Michael K. Williams never went ahead with his plan to record an album in character as Omar from THE WIRE.

    BTW, have you heard WFMU’s weekly hour-long show consisting of music produced and inspired by cults and “new religious movements”?

    I did like Oliver Coates, Richard Skelton, Ai Aso, V. Kristoff and Siavash Amani. I’ve been following Imperial Triumphant since the release of VILE LUXURY. Did you know they have their own coffee brand?

    I’m surprised how much I like Juice WRLD’s LEGENDS NEVER DIE. I hated his breakthrough hit “Lucid Dreams,” which was impossible to avoid hearing in the US for most of 2018, but he grew a lot in less than two years. His lyrics stopped blaming women for his problems with depression and addiction, he became more eloquent about writing those issues without abandoning an emo bluntness, and he developed a real gift for vocal melodies. For a posthumous hip-hop release, it’s also tastefully put together, rather than being loaded with gratuitous guest features and songs that should’ve been left on the cutting room floor. The Chicago rap scene has developed a bluesy, deeply sad strain, often based around dirgey piano melodies, which I also appreciate on Lil Durk’s JUST CAUSE Y’ALL WAITED 2.

    Yeah, there’s something liberating about being able to put a name to your emotions, although I also understand why so many young people want to be honest about their sexuality without needing to put a name on it.

  3. Bill

    Intriguing lineup today, that will be taking up most of my time tonight. I couldn’t resist a quick look at Butoh Baby, of course. It’s nicely done, though I would have made it rougher. (“Rough” is my middle name, especially on Mondays.)

    Hope you’re feeling a bit better, Dennis. I had a fairly typical weekend, hanging with a friend, who borrowed my copy of The Sluts, and charged through it in a day. I guess we should keep hanging out! Saw the new Wojnarowicz and Bill T. Jones docs at docnyc.net, both very worthwhile. Unfortunately they’re only streamable in the US, but I’d guess they’ll get to your side of the pond eventually.

    Bill

  4. Brendan Lott

    Hey Dennis,

    I’ve been in full lurker mode. Shit is dark right now. But I’ve been busy working on my show of the photographs. It went up last week so I’m feeling lighter. Wanted to say that some of the images will be a part of a story by Quinn Roberts on the Evergreen Review. I’ll send a link when it’s live. Do you know him or his work? He wrote something about The Sluts this year for the The New Inquiry so I thought you might. Anyway, I thought it was a lovely confluence of my many lives.

    LA feels like a graveyard. But at least I’m getting a lot of work done. I’ll send images of my show to you soon. Be well, my man. B

  5. Misanthrope

    Dennis! Well, first things first. It looks like Damien Ark and Joshua Dalton have books coming out, so congrats to them (if they see this).

    The vaccines, particularly the one announced today, look very promising. Even their skeptics are giving them winks. We’ll see.

    Regardless, I hope you can have some joy and happiness and all that mushy stuff. I’m going to see to it that I do.

    I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow for what looks like skin cancer in my right ear. Place has been there for about 4 months and won’t go away, no matter what I put on it/wash it with. It itches, it bleeds. It’s scaly. All the hallmarks of basal cell carcinoma, like what my mom had under her eye. So we’ll see.

    David got a car today. 2003 Toyota Corolla. 143k. $2,500. He says this will be the gamechanger, so it’s all on him. Everything’s in his name. Put up or shut up time. In the meantime, we’ve not seen him for the last 3 hours since he drove it home. Hmm.

  6. Brian O’Connell

    Hey, Dennis,

    Ooh, this one’s a treat. I’ll be dipping into this between classes all week. Metz’s entry is a total banger. And I rather like the Damaged Bug as well. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling unwell. Like specific symptoms of something, or just a general under-the-weather bug? Either way, may you have the swiftest recovery.

    Oh man, if you haven’t seen “Come and See”, then I really really recommend it. It’s a traumatizing Soviet war movie about the Nazi invasion of Belarus as witnessed through the eyes of a fourteen year old boy; it seriously plays like a surreal horror movie, super nightmarish and unsettling and all the more despairing given its basis in fact. And there’s an amazing use of montage at the end that takes my breath away. It really bowled me over. If you ever do see it, please share your thoughts. I’ve heard about that Tim Burton Superman documentary. It sounded so bizarre, but for some reason I haven’t got around to it yet. Will do now—I also find failed projects interesting. That’s very helpful about Ozu. I really think I’ll enjoy “Tokyo Story”. Actually my film Professor, when I asked her about it, mentioned Bresson as a similar spirit: this austere, almost flat style that nonetheless can elicit enormous emotion. Of course, they may not actually have a lot in common stylistically, but I’m curious as to what you make of that comparison. (And I still have to watch “Pickpocket”!)

    I’ll have a blast listening to these songs. Talk to you tomorrow.

  7. Niko

    Hey Dennis, I’m so sorry to hear about the agency. Obviously you deserve representation that could take your needs into consideration and fulfill them to a satisfying degree. It’s a small heartbreak for me to read that you’re unhappy with them, because I want to think that someone in your position having written complex, ambitious books would get what they need in the literary field. I’m probably projecting now, because writing my debut was already an intense and extreme mental trip so I’d hope that the work stood for itself, but it’s dawning on me how much extra effort is demanded in order to first prove people that the book is worthy of even reading. I sent the translation excerpt to a Swedish agency thinking this is gonna blow their minds, but they rejected it saying that they enjoy the style but it isn’t right for their list. I hope that means that they were just bothered by the amount of eroticism and the lack of conventional plot. My most gruesome nightmare is that my novel’s too weird for the commercial market but not transgressive enough for other artists I respect. If it ever gets translated, I’d love to send it over to you.

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