Here’s one that is definitely a pleasure to write about because doing so entails I’m supporting some Portland show buddies in the process: an April sleeper from Pac Northwest underground staple Acre, Beyond Cease to Exist, off Los Angeles’ Monorail Trespassing. Sound artist Aaron Davis has churned out some pretty wicked drone-noise under this moniker for the past fifteen-something years, with the project perhaps reaching its apex in the scoured epic Painless, off Alex Cobb’s always reliable Student’s of Decay. There, Davis’s feedback soundscapes found a killing emotionalism in their slowly shifting, unrelenting layers– however, this new cassette might be an even better introduction to his stuff if only for its conciseness. Beyond Cease to Exist was recorded and mastered by Mike Erwin, who performs as The Exploding Couch and also recently produced new work by underground staples ABSV and Galaxy Research.
This isn’t really the realm of harsh noise agitation– indeed, from the opening moments of “Low”, you get the sense that you’re in for something with a cosmic sweep to its unease. The music of Acre gives off a mantric ambience, almost as if Florian Fricke had tried his hand at blistering guitar-based drone. Moreover, I think I have heard the melody from the enveloping closer “Trust” in dreams many a time. Through its steadily rising and falling agony and peace, Beyond Cease to Exist gets you into a head-space of both calm and dread where soul secrets can be considered carefully. And it does not take too much more than twenty minutes in total for this aural isolationism to run its course. Excellent stuff. If you are at all into dark ambience, noise, or electro-acoustic music, this one needs to be on your must-listen list for the year.
For my Portland readers: Acre will be performing at the Projection Museum (53 SE 80th) with the Dolphin Midwives and Andrew Tomasello on August 12th. It’s been a great summer for experimental sounds and it’s sure to be a great show!
Don Gero is my show buddy Zach D’Agostino’s noise rock-influenced one-man whirligig for drum kit and modular array. Weirding, off Ewe of Now Recordings, is Don Gero’s debut tape and damn is it good. The first image that comes to mind as I zone out to this is a sort of krautrock console adventure– we’re racing with endless psychedelic streaks across a parched plain, weaving in-between towering red hills. Zach’s garbled war cry urges us further and faster through the manic, percussive maze and rippling sequences on synth increase a sense of urgency and claustrophobia underneath the reeling, unreal sky. “Keys Open Doors”, my favorite, gives that sense of the hero’s quest, both real and imagined, hurtling towards the finish line that becomes the beginning all over again just the same. And by the time “Stone Burner” finally gets us there, we’re dazed yet ready for another round. Like Boredoms’ Vision Creation Newsun and Destruction Unit’s Sonoran, this stuff barrels through insistent rhythms and glittering near-cacophony to scale serious spiritual spires. This lo-fi gem most definitely deserves your attention right now!
For my Portland readers: you can get your hands on a copy of Weirding from Zach at the release party tonight at Human Flesh Body World show house at the corner of Northeast Williams and Fremont. Don Gero will be playing with Sean Pierce of ASSS, Disxiple 113, and Stress. It’s sure to be a great one!