featured: Finlay Shakespeare “Routine”

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Like most people with ears, I’ve long been an admirer of the Editions Mego label and it’s Editions-less predecessor. Starting in the mid-1990s with techno-adjacent dance music, Mego quickly shifted sideways to abstract sound art, experimental pop and all sorts of radical and forward-thinking digital (and otherwise) music/noise. I try to listen to whatever they publish, and tend to enjoy a lot of it… but this single is especially exciting. I hadn’t heard of Finlay Shakespeare before checking out his “Routine” single, but I’ve since discovered his own Bandcamp page and listened to some earlier albums. They’re all worth hearing. “Routine”, though, has become one of the most-played tunes around my home. It’s driving and catchy and intense and a lot of fun.

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featured: Oxidation

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Here is one very appropriate and appreciated use for Bandcamp! As long-time noise collectors know, old CDRs tend to develop awful artifacts when they’ve sat around awhile. Many of those limited-edition gold discs you paid $10+ for at the No Fun Fest merch table are probably a decaying mess of flaking plastic with sections of the disc you can see right through. To the rescue comes noise artist Marc Benner (aka Dead Shall Not Have Died In Vain) with the perfectly-named Bandcamp-only label Oxidation. The label’s mission statement is to resurrect decaying old noise CDRs and make them available again as free (yep, free!) downloads.

So far, Benner has dusted off early titles by Luasa Raelon, Stefan Widmann (as both Leere and Azoikum), R4, Maim, Oscillating Innards and more. Whether your own discs have succumbed to disc rot or you’re new to underground noise of the 00’s, everything here is worth checking out. As a bonus, your download won’t smell like spray paint.

Here are a few selections to get you started:

featured: White Fluff “Squaring the Circle”

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Kinda figures that some noise nerds would create a track like this in honor of Pi Day… which is, of course, March 14th… because Pi is the irrational number that begins 3.14 and then goes on forever without (as far as anyone has been able to discover) repeating or developing into a pattern. It’s the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. But you knew that. This track consists of (in their words) “dueling non-linear pattern generators filtered thru five EHX Big Muffs & one torn Leslie speaker” by the four members of Bremerton, WA, band White Fluff. Naturally, it sells for $3.14… but it lasts for 25 minutes! What, not 3 minutes and 14 seconds? Just fell in love with your own static and threw conceptual rigor our the window… isn’t that right, math geeks? Ah, but it sounds like static and is probably worth a few bucks and change.

featured: Relay For Death “Natural Incapacity”

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Nothing else sounds like Relay For Death‘s “Natural Incapacity”. I know, I know… hyperbolic nonsense, right? And yet, this double-CD has the same capacity to astonish with it’s out-of-nowhere incomprehensible originality as towering giants like Nerve Net Noise, Sukora, Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock or Darksmith. I don’t really know how sisters Rachal & Roxann Spikula made this music or what their intent was, and I don’t want to know. Maybe there’s some overarching concept. I enjoy not knowing. Suffice it to say that “Natural Incapacity” floored me when I first heard it, continues to floor me whenever I have the guts to submit to it again, and multiple deep listens have not yielded any of its mysteries. Note that I haven’t mentioned what it sounds like… I wouldn’t dare attempt to. Just accept my full-throated recommendation.

featured: Normal Brain “Lady Maid”

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Say, I’ll betcha didn’t know that a Swiss label with the self-evident and unnecessarily defensive name of We Release Whatever the Fuck We Want was about to reissue “Lady Maid”, the classic 1981 Vanity Records synth oddity by Yukio Fujimoto/Normal Brain. Maybe you already knew about that. But if you didn’t, well… now y’do.

Vanity Records was a short-lived label run by the late Yuzuru Agi, who was the editor of Rock Magazine. You can read about this guy’s place in Japanese music history in David Hopkins’ Dokkiri! Japanese Indies Music 1976-1989 A History and Guide. During its brief run from 1978 to 1981, Vanity produced some truly unclassifiable records and tapes of bedroom bloop by Tolerance, RNA Organism, Kiilo Radical, Mad Tea Party, Dada, Salaried Man Club, Perfect Mother… and other artists that (with the exception of Aunt Sally/Phew, Sympathy Nervous and out-of-place folkie Morio Agata) left behind only their Vanity album as evidence that they ever existed. Kinda shocked that it’s taken this long for someone to reissue this stuff (though there was a gray-area Tolerance LP some years ago).

Noisy UK & Ireland (Artists M-Z)

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Massimo Magee

Phil Maguire

The Microgram

Midwich

Mlehst

Morphogenesis

Mutant Beatniks

Mutant Beatniks Mix Series Collection

Nacht Plank

Nagamatzu

Namke Communications

Napalm Death (Cardiacs cover/fundraiser)

Paul Nagle

New Age Steppers

Nocturnal Emissions

Tomas Nordmark

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Nurse With Wound

Michael O’Shea

Ogre

Oliviaway

Daphne Oram

ORE

Our Glassie Azoth

Owsey

Pacific 231

Daniel Padden

Andrew Paine

Andrew Paine & Richard Youngs

Pale Sketcher

Mike Paradinas/µ-Ziq

Pausal

Genesis P-Orridge

Anna Peaker

Pearlclutcher / Jiyah Kelley

Aleksi Perälä

People With Manners

Petals

Phonospheric

Pluto Inhabitant

Porest

Posset

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Postdrome 

Colin Potter, Ora, Monos

The Prairie Lines

Pulco

Rapoon

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Colin Riley

Jez Riley French

Rimarimba

Shaun Robert

Matt Robertson

Cathal Rodgers / Wereju

Nigel Samways

Philip Sanderson

Satori

Pascal Savy

Scanner

Janek Schaefer

School Tour

Hopton Shader

Matthew Shaw

James Shearman

Shit Creek

Shurayuki-hime

Sleaford Mods

Slow Clinic

Slow Listener

Sly and the Family Drone

Small Hours

Smell & Quim

Softman

Spoils & Relics

Stereocilia

Stimulus

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Storm Bugs

The Stranger

Sun Curves

Suplington

TAGC

The Telescopes

This Heat

Daniel Thomas

Touch

Twilight Circus Dub Sound System

Tyrannic Horizon

Umber

United Bible Studies

Untape

Usurper

UV Pop

VÀG

Elizabeth Veldon

Vibracathedral Orchestra

The Vitamin B12

Volcano the Bear

Tony Wakeford

John Wall

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Wanda Group

Mark Ward

Simon Whetham

Tom White

White Static Demon

Whitehouse

Wire

Trevor Wishart

Gideon Wolf

Wolf Maps

Xenis Emputae Traveling Band

Xqui

Richard Youngs

Zero Info