Pan Gu > Primeval Man Born of the Cosmic Egg > Utech Records > URLP077
In Chinese mythology, Pan Gu is the primeval man, born of the cosmic egg. One day the egg split open. The top half became the sky and the bottom half the earth. Pan Gu, who emerged from the broken egg, grew ten feet taller every day, just as the sky became ten feet higher and the earth ten feet thicker. After 18,000 years Pan Gu died. Then, like the cosmic egg, he split into a number of parts. His head formed the sun and moon, his blood the rivers and seas, his hair the forests, his sweat the rain, his breath the wind, his voice thunder and, last of all, his fleas became the ancestors of mankind.
The material for Pan Gu’s debut release was improvised in Lasse Marhaug’s rehearsal space with Leslie Low (The Observatory, Arcn Templ). With not much talk about what they would do or accomplish from it, the duo played for the moment. Up to that point, this would have been only their second time improvising together. The first time was a live performance in Singapore where they discovered that whatever sound or noise they made, they would never get in each other’s way; Lasse with his harsh electronics and Leslie’s looped manipulation of acoustic guitar and voice. Cold and warm; harsh and soft; polar opposites coexisting in one space. This perhaps, is the simplest way to describe Pan Gu’s music, but by no means lacking in nuance and subtlety which each listener will discover on the record.
The cover art was painted by Denis Forkas Kostromitin who studied traditional Xieyi painting for several years on frequent trips to rural China. The composition has a tall scroll-like proportion creating a truly unique artifact via medieval Chinese perspective and materials. The Chinese canon is all about harmony and the legend of Pan Gu’s death/transformation is stripped down here to a metaphor. The sacrificial nature of the legend is reflected through the posture of the corpse, subtle composition touches (the body “undressing” itself from life while entering the realm of death) and the misty morning landscape. Kostromitin’s ambition was to avoid the effect of an image inspired by Chinese tradition. Instead, he attempted to create a genuine Shan Shui painting.
Packaged in a heavy, black folder with obi. Limited to 300 copies. Black vinyl + download.
Dead Neanderthals > Polaris > Utech Records > URCD078
FUCK conventions and FUCK expectations.
Dutch sax/drums duo Dead Neanderthals aims directly for the jugular with their new album Polaris, an all-acoustic tour de force mastered by the king of noise: Lasse Marhaug.
This abrasive duo ventures into more abstract territory, where they firmly uncouple their music from structure, leaving behind any restrictions that the seemingly reasonable combination of sound and rhythm might bring and which results in an unhealthy dose of acoustic noise.
Photographs by Alessandro Puccinelli.
Keiko Higuchi > Ephemeral as Petals > Utech Records > URCD035/Shokyo Ontei 8
Reaching out for the impossible while love is running underneath,
under our skin, running all over, like a rhizome.
Those two may stand as a phenomenon.
I want you to feel them.
They are already there.
That's why they can easily be forgotten.
Ephemeral as Petals conjures a nuanced, emotion drenched world from a minimalist core of voice and piano. Higuchi’s voice slides from bombast to mournful chant effortlessly, channeling Diamanda Galas as much as Freddie Mercury, with the instrumental space between vocal passages serving to amplify its affecting resonance. From interpretations of jazz standards to her own compositions, this is album makes for a difficult but captivating new direction in sound.
Jacob > The Ominous > Utech Records > URCD080
Jacob is the new project by David Cordero (Úrsula) and Marco Serrato (Orthodox). The duo first collaborated on the arrangements that would become the Emma soundtrack. With a mutual love for sci fi and horror films, Jacob push their dark sonics further on The Ominous, a piece for el cine de la mente. Atonal, dissonant string scrapes meld together in discomforting walls of noise, while hidden forces project an ambiguous malignance lurking in the deep fog. Bleak atmospheres and an abyss of subsonic howls threaten to devour all. A sliver of melody occasionally arises as the only light that shines into this dark place. Xenakis worship of the highest caliber.
Packaged in a black translucent cover with a set of art cards.
Photographs by Jeremy Jansen.