Slide 1
Guest Playlist #06: Matt Bower of Wizards Tell Lies

By Steve Dewhurst

“When I started buying films on VHS, I would record the sound onto tape so I could take the film with me on journeys.”

Pete Swanson
Enough Dark Intensity: An Interview with Jimmy Lacy of SiP

By Jason Cabaniss

"I like the idea of “cocktail music.” Something intentionally light and pleasant. I’m always trying to write music that communicates some type of positive mood and when I’m playing, trying to focus my energy there"

Slide 2
Clean is Dirty: An Interview with Flowertown

By Lindsay Oxford

The birth of San Francisco’s Flowertown makes for a good story: longtime Bay Area scene compatriots Karina Gill (Cindy) and Mike Ramos (Tony Jay) compose a song together for an upcoming show in later winter 2020, and the day before they’re slated to play it, the world stopped.

Slide 3
Needles and Pins: Derek Piotr's Journey to the Heart of Britain's Folklands

By Steve Dewhurst

“Yorkshire is not so dissimilar to my home in the Northeast of America,” Derek Piotr tells me from York, the latest stop on his great British journey. “Connecticut is part of New England, so that makes sense.”

previous arrow
next arrow

Kcin & Brendan Clarke, “New Landscape”

New Landscape is the sound of a world in ruins, with no familiar directions or common signifiers to guide us through the wreckage. Alarm bells, air raid sirens, nuclear submarines and evil drones rust in the forgotten vaults of a long-dead civilisation. Our ears can scarcely distinguish between sorrow and joy anymore—there’s nothing left to mourn. The Australian duo of Kcin and Brendan Clark, working here for the Focused Silence label, have truly dropped a stunner for the ages.

It should be impossible to make a drum-and-bass duo sound as full as a symphonic orchestra, but not unlike fellow Australian percussionist Oren Ambarchi, they manage to squeeze enormous soundscapes out of a limited textural range. On opener “Short Bow,” for instance, Kcin’s cymbals roar like waves crashing against a cliffside, with a sheer army of brass plates wailing under the measured violence of a well-timed drumstick, while Brendan Clark’s bass manipulations sound like an entire string quintet waking up from a drugged slumber. On other tracks, they match the controlled chaos and bombastic verve of another underrated duo, Richard Pinhas and Yoshida Tatsuya.

But they’re just as likely to switch on a dime from futuristic jazz-rock to primitive meditations.

The epic “By the warmth of your devices” suggests a dystopia bereft of order and civil society, not too far from our own. Humans as mere flesh-bags huddle for survival by the flickering lights of their screens, emanating some changes in air pressure that can hopefully pass the time in a somewhat interesting and endearing way. Distortion, humming resonance, and aqueous non-rhythms sputter in and out of attention, but there’s nothing resembling drums or bass to latch on to in your conscious being. You fall ever-deeper into a void of uncertainty, with nothing to break your fall.

“Machine,” meanwhile, doesn’t suggest anything mechanically operational at all. Far from it—a violent, slapdash rhythm merely suggests the cranking gears of some hideous contraption left on autopilot, long-abandoned by production, a perversion of automation.

Other epic, bewildering journeys on the album leave you gasping for air, awaking with night-sweats, crying for the primordial embrace of the womb. But there’s no going back—this is where we are now, in this wretched muck, and they’re determined to make a damn good racket out of it.

It may have all been a performance, an elaborate prank, or a serious study into what happens to the earth’s sonic atmosphere after humans are gone.