The Needle Drop


YUNOREVIEW: March 2016


The magical monthly segment in which Anthony briefly touches down on a gauntlet of albums he didn't get a chance to review this past month. These are just his short, straightforward, passionate, biased opinions:

M. Ward - More Rain

Primal Scream - Chaosmosis

DVSN - Sept. 5th

Violent Soho - WACO

Quelle Chris - Lullabyes For the Broken Brain

Polysics - What's This???

Bwana - Capsule's Pride

Ocean Wisdom - Chaos '93

Merzbow and Boris - Gensho

SAMIYAM - Animals Have Feelings

Guerilla Toss - Eraser Stargazer

Merzbow Starter Pack

theneedledrop1 Comment

We've been in a pretty noisy mood lately. Last week we brought you a sprawling noise rock playlist and now you're getting a 2.5-hour-long set of tracks from the master of harsh noise, Masami Akita (b.k.a. Merzbow). In a sense he is the perfect subject for one of these starter packs, as his career spans nearly 300 studio albums over the course of four decades and features a wider array of textures and recording techniques than just about any other harsh noise musician's. However, some of his great works (for instance Rainbow Electronics) are comprised of one very long track, thereby not lending themselves to playlist listening. And many interesting releases, like much of his 80's sound collage output and his masterpiece 1930, aren't on Spotify. Nor are his collaborations with Boris (with the exception of the too-long Sun Baked Snow Cave), which is a potential disappointment for those looking forward to next year's double-album Gensho.

With all that being said, hopefully you will find this set to be as varied and comprehensive as possible. We understand that harsh noise isn't the easiest genre to get into and we can't really help you "get it" if it's not your thing, but if you're looking for some insight into how this type of music can be enjoyable, check out Anthony's talk with Mike Rugnetta about noise, among other styles of experimental music. Whatever y'all get out of it, enjoy!

Further listening - the lighter side of Merzbow:

20 Years of Tzadik (Favorite Releases)

theneedledrop2 Comments

Compiled & Written by Austen R.

Up there's the mission statement of Tzadik Records, the label founded by saxophonist, composer, and Downtown musician extraordinaire John Zorn. 2015 marks its 20th anniversary, so we thought it'd be fitting and fun to round up our favorite releases up til now.

The feature has been left up to me, TND's resident Tzadik nerd,  and what follows are the label's 20 albums I find most astounding. I've written very brief blurbs for each entry because the uninitiated should have some idea of what they're getting into, but seeing as Tzadik, to a greater extent than other imprints, embraces mystery in music, it only seems right to leave most things unsaid.

Now let's get into it (in random order):

Kayo Dot — Choirs of the Eye (2003, TZ7092)

Kicking things off with an avant-garde metal masterpiece, the debut album from Kayo Dot. I'd be remiss if I weren't to mention that frontman Toby Driver's 2005 Tzadik release In the L..L..Library Loft is also phenomenal in its own right.

Derek Bailey — Carpal Tunnel (2005, TZ7612)

Derek Bailey, arguably the cleverest guitarist of the 20th century, makes his last stand against motor neurone disease on this album. Harrowing stuff, but Bailey's resoluteness in the face of inexorable decay is ultimately uplifting.

Luc Ferrari — Cellule 75 (1998, TZ7033)

For his cheeky approach to classical composition and tape music, Luc Ferrari has always been my 20th century composer of choice. The title track here, a half-hour-long piece for piano, percussion, and field recordings, is among my favorites of his (I couldn't find a clip from Tzadik's issue anywhere, so I've linked to another version of it above).

Ni Hao! — Gorgeous (2005, TZ7259)

We don't believe in guilty pleasures at TND, but if one exists in the Tzadik catalog, it's this debut full-length from Kyoto J-pop/"cheer punk" trio Ni Hao! Come on, though – it's a blast!

Merzbow — 1930 (1998, TZ7214)

Merzbow's 1930 is a perfect point of entry into the world of harsh noise and, to my ears, contains the most profound sounds and arrangements the genre has to offer.