[2010] Urfaust - Der Freiwillige Bettler

The perfect follow-up from Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist and with hints of Einslieder and the split with Joyless, Urfaust delivers after 5 years without releasing a full length. The duo conformed by IX (vocals, guitar) and VRDRBR (drums) proved that they didn't waste their time. Der Freiwillige Bettler (The Voluntary Beggar in german) is an excellent album, which makes me miss a bit of the orchestral sections in Verräterischer..., but it has some of the melodic side of Einslieder which made that EP so worthy of several listens.
Big favorite of the album: Der Mensch, die kleine Narrenwelt.

Download it here: [320]

Buy it directly from Ván Records here.

[2008] Tetragrammaton - Elegy For Native Tongues

Debut of this japanese drone/psych folk trio (their second album was released by Utech Records this year), which mixes the slow building structure of drone music with a dense layer of free jazz and traditional instruments manipulated via electronic equipment. There's few groups going for a similar approach (as far as I know), so this is one of these albums worthy of praise. For fans of free improvisation and drone music unlike most minimalist releases out there.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Subvalent here.

[2008] Æthenor - Betimes Black Cloudmasses

Second album of the trio conformed by Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O))), Khanate), Daniel O'Sullivan (Mothlite, Ulver) and Vincent De Roguin (Shora), starts out quiet and slow, with blasts here and there, and then turns into a full-blown free jazz arrangement (brought by the collaborators Nicolas Field and Alex Babel, who also joined later in Faking Gold and Murder), while a tense atmosphere is sustained by the main trio until the end. This is the first album featuring Krystoffer Rigg (also known as "Garm" from Ulver) in vocals and sound processing, and he'll become a main part of the crew for the next albums.

Download it here: [V2][V0]

Buy it directly from VHF Records here.

[2010] Julie Christmas - The Bad Wife

The first solo effort of Julie Christmas (Battle of Mice, Made Out of Babies) is a solid start on a solo career in which her past experiences with Battle of Mice and Spylacopa (not so much Made Out of Babies), become very prominent. Her vocals (like usual) touch several moods through every song, ranging from sad and mellow to raging and violent at times. Definitely, worth a check if you're a fan of the previously mentioned band and if you're already familiar with her style (which I'd describe as "Björk gone post-hardcore").

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Rising Pulse Records here.

[1999] Fate of Icarus - Suffocate The Angels

One of the first bands where Ryan Unks (The Human Quena Orchestra, Creation is Crucifixion) was involved, this is unlike both of these projects. Fast, brutal delivery, in which some experimental elements (later found on the bands previously mentioned) can be heard. Short-lived and obscured by the bands where their members took part of after their split-up, this band still represents a highlight in their career.
This album in particular is an LP which also serves as a compilation, seeing as it gathers the songs from their previous splits along with some new material.

Download it here: [V2][V0]

Currently out of stock on Willowtip.

[2005] Black Boned Angel - Supereclipse

First album of this well-known Campbell Kneale project (Birchville Cat Motel, Our Love Will Destroy The World, and many, many others), it's also their most approachable release, since it's split into three tracks instead of the 1h monolithic slabs that characterize the next releases of this drone-doom metal project.
 Heaviest and slowest than most bands of its genre, it features mostly guitars and bass, with the heavy thumping drums of the second and third track. Definitely worth a try.

Download it here: [320][V0]

Currently sold out on 20 Buck Spin.

[2007] Rahmane - Black Cross / Red Crescent

Duncan Bruce, part of the underground New Zealander scene, delivers an interesting mixture of dark afghan folk with free-jazzy, spaced out melodies reminscent of Klangmutationen (the malaysian free jazz quartet) in this 2-sided cassette. Sounds extra noisy (product of the live sound manipulation), though most of the influences and ideas can be heard buried beneath the layers of noise.

Download it here: [256][V0]

Currently sold out on 8mm Records.

[2009] Tom Hall & Bonnie Mercer - MIDweekMID

A collaboration between the visual artist, photographer and noise/drone musician Tom Hall and the ex-member of the well-known free improv/sludge band Grey Daturas (now defunct and recreated under the name Breathing Shrine), guitar improviser Bonnie Mercer. This collab release contains three heavy tracks, two of them recorded live. Truly another great display of the underground talent present in Australia.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Weird Appendage Tapes here.
Buy it directly from Tom Hall here.

Ulver announcement: new album on the works

Shirt design courtesy of Ulver's official site

Yesterday Ulver announced through their official site that they'll be releasing a new album (finally!) sometime during 2011. Entitled Critical Geography, it represents their tenth full length effort, 4 years after Shadows of The Sun.

"2011 is the future, a Critical Geography, the new album of Ulver. The anthological presentation we've been hiding behind since Lillehammer is history after Warzaw."

It's still unknown how this will tie with the previously announced album Psyche, which consisted of tribute covers. My guess is that it'll be released as an EP instead, seeing as it's not new material but rather reinterpretations of other songs.

The band has been quite active lately, with multiple shows across Europe and some festivals, and next year they'll be performing along with Virus, another legendary band born from the ashes of Ved Buens Ende (another one of my favorites) on London at the KOKO (more info here), so there's a big chance they'll be perfoming some of their new material live.

[2006] Æthenor - Deep In Ocean Sunk The Lamp Of Light

First release of this great collaboration between Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O))), Khanate), Daniel O'Sullivan (Mothlite, Ulver) and Vincent de Roguin (Shora), which was part of the main lineup at the time. Together they've released a series of albums under VHF Records, taking the most abstract side of their past influences and mixing them in a sonic melting pot, taking it to close territories of albums such as Nurse With Wound's Spiral Insana and the like. This is an (almost) beat-less album, in which the soundscapes are left to exploration and constantly grow and shrink for the listener, painting a darker, more abstract mental picture than O'Sullivan's side-project The Stargazer's Assistant (which was conceived a year after Æthenor). On the first manifestation of this band, field recordings manipulations are the main highlight, leaving some of the subtle melodies surround and overwhelm the listener.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from VHF Records here.

[2007] Sachiko - Kunado

Unobxtrusive noise/drone solo project of Sachiko, it uses her own vocals layered in dense noise walls, creating interesting soundscapes not unlike other noise/noise-rock bands from the same country, but keeping it low key. For those interested in noise music that goes beyond the violent, harsh atmospheres typical of the genre.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Utech Records here.

[1974] Henry Cow - Unrest

Essential avant-prog/RIO band and one of my all-time favorites, Henry Cow doesn't need much introduction. Pioneers of the Rock In Opposition movement in which their members thrive to compose quality, complex music outside of the common denominator of the big labels (such as Virgin Records at that time, which brought them a lot of problems that ended up in this detachment) and with a strong leftist/socialist leaning, this album is a blend of jazz with progressive rock put forward in a unique way, almost typical of the Canterbury movement but still detaching a lot from its regular style. Almost completely instrumental, it features some vocals from Leigh and Wyatt (who also collaborated with them during Leg End).

Download it here: [320][V0][FLAC Part 1 Part 2] Updated!

Buy it directly from Recommended Records here.

[1999] Tarentel - From Bone To Satellite

First album of what I consider one of the best second wave post-rock bands that came out of USA.Coming from the same circle that later would release projects such as Sonna and The Drift, this is Tarentel's most post-rock/jazz focused album. It's very unlike their canadian counterparts that were around at the same time as them, they use a dense style of playing where the crescendos and buildups are usually arranged over the already present grounds. Also, when I say this is their "most" post-rock album it's because they progressively turn into a free improvisation quartet, which is great since I love that stuff. Ghetto Beats In The Surface of The Sun is one of these albums in which every successive listen unveils more and more. From Bone To Satellite has some of that, so it's not your passive post-rock band with nothing special going on.

Download it here: [320][V0]

Buy it directly from Temporary Residence Limited here.