Short Circuits 19 - By Volume

What is this life, why do we strive? Fast on a wheel, too fast to feel. One day, my love, this life will slow. Sam Brookes - One Day
Clay Rendering - Waters Above the Firmament

Short Circuits 19

Get ready for fun. It's the least danceable Short Circuits ever! Thanks to Valerio Tricoli, Tirzah, Powell, Clay Rendering, Rosen & Spyddet: you made this possible. Author: on May 16, 2014
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Valerio TricoliMiseri Lares (PAN, 2014)

Attention! Anyone with an appetite for ambient soundscapes and taped field recordings, sound collages and cinematic concréte, experimental music and PAN Records: Miseri Lares is the record for you. That said, if you’re easily spooked, best give this one a miss, as the album’s title track is a good example of how unnerving the LP can be. Pitched metallic sounds, fuzzy thunder and rainfall and gasping voices all make an appearance over the course of “Miseri Lares”, though its strength lies in its cohesiveness, weighing more than the sum of its distorted, alien parts. Tricoli weaves these sounds into a narrative, with build-ups and climaxes theatrical in scope, knocking on your door and never quite letting up. It’s a horror fantasy presented in a very real sense, beautiful in its neo-noir morbidity, echoing around the room of your head refusing to leave – it’s probably best to just embrace the darkness.

Rosen & SpyddetFantasia  (Posh Isolation, 2014)

Posh Isolation just turned five years old. It was born in 2009, co-founded by Damien Dubrovnik members Christian Stadsgaard and Loke Rahbek (the latter of Vår and Lust For Youth), and since then it’s grown into a prolific platform for Copenhagen DIY. Rosen & Spyddet were first published on the label last year and they’ve followed up their debut with another limited cassette release, Springet Som Symbol, a delightful mesh of synthpop and techno. It’s rounded off with “Fantasia”, which makes for a silky extended outro, patiently drifting along shores of unkempt chords and steady, unassuming kicks. Aquatic samples bubble to the surface before lighter percussion dances in the distance in what’s a very centering experience for the mind. Everything falls into an easy stillness, gradually washing over. It’s interesting to hear the sound come from Danish underground as this could certainly be mistaken for something from the L.I.E.S camp in New York, definitely standing up to their work. The four-track release it’s on is generally lovely, though if you do want it you’ll have to grab it on tape from here.

TirzahMalfunction (Greco-Roman, 2014)

Tirzah’s work with Micachu spawned “I’m Not Dancing”, a spirited pop statement that seemed to fly low under the radar and then triumphantly burst right into the centre of my life. The pair teamed up again for the No Romance EP, a piece that’s helped me come to realise why Tirzah’s music is so fulfilling to come back to: her personality seeps through her songs, essentially personifying them, and listening becomes a tangible two-way relationship. That undoubtedly rings true on the Sunday coffee contemplations of “Malfunction”, as Micachu strips back the bubbly aspects for a barebones beat that ticks over like the ruminations in Tirzah’s mind. The regret that’s apparent is one of self-development and disappointment, discovery of human dynamics and ex-relationship archaeology, over-thinking and under-thinking on mistakes made and lessons learned, justification and admonition. And that one thought that the mind can’t seem to shake, “The things you said for love”.

PowellSo We Went Electric (Diagonal, 2014)

Oscar Powell spends a fair bit of his time running Diagonal Records along with Jaime Williams, with a monthly slot on NTS to share his tastes. It’s been a couple of years since Powell last released his own material on the label, though Club Music slots pretty nicely with his previous works. “So We Went Electric” exists at that sweet confluence of streams techno, post-punk and power electronics, where the rush of energy is lightly peppered with acidic dissolution. As amazing as the cover art is, it’s probably a coincidence that it depicts what I deem a hallmark of Powell’s production: the beat sounds like it’s in a constant state of falling forwards, stumbling and staggering with increased momentum, a precarious equilibrium of imbalance that might be floored by any misstep. It’s interesting then, that Powell hits the reset button a few times during the track yet it never quite loses that momentum, even at the behest of a complete meltdown of distortion. Each time it gleefully swings back into action, it takes a rambling vocal and haughty guitar riffs to come in before Powell dares stick a lid on it.

Clay RenderingMyrrh Is Rising (Hospital Productions, 2014)

To round off what might well be the least danceable Short Circuits ever, “Myrrh Is Rising” is the closer from the latest Clay Rendering EP. Clay Rendering is a duo formed from Hair Police and ex-Wolf Eyes man Mike Connelly, and his wife Tara Connelly (The Pool at Metz), both having previously collaborated as The Haunting. The Clay Rendering project came to formation as a result of surgery on Tara Connelly’s right hand – being a strong right-hander, this had quite the effect on her lifestyle and she had to rely on Mike Connelly much more than before, whilst at the same time she was exploring the piano with the new perspective of her left. For the most part, Waters Above the Firmament is all sprawling industrial riffs, though its final vignette is a delicate, uplifting passage through post-rock. “Myrrh Is Rising” can be taken literally as far as its theme is concerned, with buoyant atmospherics steadily gliding, a slow but forceful rush of cold wind that paints the air in tender but stunning piano movements. The beat is light and almost completely absent, unobtrusively adding a sense of time passing in what would otherwise be a still meditation, whilst that piano melody steals the show and sticks to the soul like a dawning revelation of enlightenment and hope that may be forgotten but never really gone.

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