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Experimental / Avant-garde / Sound Art / Field

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Arve Henriksen
Places Of Worship

Rune Grammofon’s versatile trumpet dude Arve Henriksen is getting all spiritual on your ass this week with the release of ‘Places of Worship’, a graceful convolution of spiritual music and his mysterious smoky Scandi-jazz, backed tastefully by cleverly us...view item »

The Visitors

I listened to this again whilst I was watching channel 4's programe about dogging, it made it feel even more like a dark creature comforts and fits well with Ossians book "Haunted Air",wierd looking people wearing masks with dubious intentions. If you like dark and mysterious you should listen to this great album, If you want guitars drum and ba...view item »

Black To Comm

One of my favourite customer reviews ever submitted to this site came in just under a month ago from a certain "Vanessa Emma Goldman", who had apparently never heard Black To Comm but was furious - seriously livid - that he had named himself after an MC5 song. Why? Because she loves the MC5. ""Black to Comm" is most certainly NOT the 'chappie ...view item »

Nicola Ratti
Ossario Vol. 2

Through the use of sound generated from modular synthesizer, tapes and samples Ossario is a collection of ten separate and independent songs - in two volumes, available separately - introducing a new and radical composing method. The aim is to build some kind of musical skeletons designed not to be covered in flesh and tissues, but trying to red...view item »

Shareek Hayaat

Oh nice! I’d heard that this was happening so it’s a pleasure to see the finished article plonked in my review pile. Safiyya is the remarkable combination of two of your favourite prolific and mind-bending minimal dark ambient arty types; in the red corner we’ve got Brad Rose aka The North Sea...view item »

Alexander Turnquist
Flying Fantasy

I loved Hallway Of Mirrors so much that it was my favourite album of 2011. I was 40 then and I still did things like that. Anyway his new album sounds like a return to form and it's more lush orchestration and 12 string guitar wonderment. I 'need' to spend more time with this fella but I reckon it's an absolute winner (on first listen!)....view item »

The Silver Chimney Club / Wat Tyler

Droning through the British countryside, Petrels has finally remastered and released these two tracks on a physical medium. Clocking in at 17 and 22 minutes respectively, The Silver Chimney Club/Wat Tyler are two songs that tell a noisy story. Recommended for fans of long, slow ambient and intense drone. Pressed on 180g...view item »

Joe Evans

I have here a CD of chin-strokey delights from composer Joe Evans, the title taken from a musical term referring to intervals derived from the 7th harmonic. The composer asserts that "While I think this is better left open to interpretation, themes of abuse, tyranny and war are clearly stated". Real Estate t...view item »

The Plane's Gone Dad

Ol' Dave Lazonby (ex of the remarkable Lazerboy amongst others) is one of the most endearing & quirky people i've ever met on the Leeds scene. His band Geese have collaborated with Damo Suzuki from Can on some serious improv freeform projects in recent years & now shout out with their debut 7" 'The Plane's Gone Dad', a white vinyl trea...view item »

Orchid Spangiafora
Flee Past's Ape Elf

Strange things were afoot in the upper Midwest around the late '70s. Here's the week's most baffling reissue, an album of wild and wacky concrete tape manipulation by Orchid Spangiafora from 1979, which found an unlikely home on legendary Minneapolis label Twin-Tone, better known for releases from the likes of the Replacements and Soul Asylum....view item »

Eggs, Eggs
Taste of Sundress

Eggs, Eggs are David Russell and a collection of anarchic musicians on everything from synths, violins, autoharps and all sorts of mad screams and peculiar sounds. A spoken word cacophony on this two track album creates a frenetic, uncomfortable sound reminiscent of a contemporary take on Captain Beefheart ...view item »

Membrane Pop

Daniel Lopatin’s Software label is a strange beast. At first it looked to be an outlet for dance music primarily but as it’s matured the label has naturally veered toward Sound Art territory with Sculpture being a primary example of the shift. Sculpture’s music is a difficult one to decipher let alone dissect and transl...view item »

Deison & Mingle
Everything Collapse[d]

Straight from the Italian drone and noise scene comes a collaboration from Deison & Mingle. Droning onwards, ever onwards, in an unpleasant and paranoid soundscape where no human emotion is safe, these two Italians have taken it upon themselves to share, with us, what is left after Everything Collapse[d]. And it ain...view item »

Small Town by the Sea

Dropping field recordings over simple and pleasant beats, connect_icut’s newest release should be both accessible and enticing to a broad audience. WIth layers and structures slowly peeling away and revealing themselves through the ethereal pads, Small Town is sure to please the existent fans and create a few new ...view item »

Bruno Spoerri
Teddy Bar / Lilith

“German yet fun”, screams a slightly racist quote from 808 State’s Graham Massey in the press release to Swiss composer Bruno Spoerri’s previous reissue on the mighty Finders Keepers. Well, everyone liked t...view item »

Terzo Mondo

Third album titled ‘Third World’ in Italian from Nastro, Manuel Cascone and Francesco Petricca. Limited edition. This avant-garde album of spastic sound played on a huge range of electronic instruments and voice was recorded live, along with other-worldly percussion create a disjointed but beautiful post-punk, psyche...view item »

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra
Live On Planet Earth

The Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra is one of Alien Transistor’s craziest and biggest acts, always going their own path, somehow defining a route between the 18 of them. Known for their work on label buddies the Notwist’s work, they also draw their own weight: Live On Planet Earth was recorded live and is m...view item »

Martin Creed
Mind Trap

Best known for his controversial Turner Prize-winning installation 'Work No. 227: The lights going on and off', there's a lot more to multimedia artist Martin Creed than a light switching on and off. Here's his latest album of music, which features a selection of his charming minimal pop ditties and three of his numbered works - orchestral compo...view item »

The Alvaret Ensemble

A collaboration between Dutch Frysians and Icelanders, Skeylja is a soft, haunting collection of songs that all seem to ooze the greyness of the North Sea. With horns that stir memories of ships passing by in the distance, this album will leave you in weary nostalgia for the lonely lighthouse where you spent so many winters by yourself,...view item »

Kronos Quartet
A Thousand Thoughts

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of legendary string quartet Kronos Quartet, A Thousand Leaves is a wide-ranging compilation of works from their vast oeuvre of reinterpretations. Covering a vast geographical range these 15 pieces go a long way to showcasing their talents and eclectic tastes. A fantastic entry point...view item »

Lydia Lunch

Retrovirus is a career-spanning (1977 to present) live set from Lydia Lunch. The tour that spawned the set featured a band made up of Weasel Walter on guitar, Algis Kizys, who has played with Swans and Foetus, on bass and original Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert. ...view item »

Chris Connelly
Forgiveness & Exile

The Scottish singer-songwriter drifts ever further from his industrial roots (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pigface) with this song cycle concerning the experiences of immigrants in the United States. The album nevertheless retains the confrontational realism characteristic of industrial music, wit...view item »

Peter Jefferies
The Last Great Challenge In A Dull World

Reissue of New Zealand singer / songwriter Peter Jefferies' brilliant debut album 'The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World'. Originally released in 1990, the album received some critical acclaim before disappearing into the ether. But it was just too good to remain forgotten. Incredibly strong songwriting, demonstrated no better than with the s...view item »

Nid & Sancy
The Cut Up Jeans Technique

Got a really fun bit of oddball samplepop madness here from the comedically monikered Nid & Sancy. It's got a hard-hitting synthpunk feel in its wild synth tones and relentless rhythms, it would seem this duo are from the Factory Floor/Hacker Farm/latter era ...view item »

Jan St. Werner
Split Animal Sculpture

Jan St Werner of Mouse on Mars notoriety is getting arty on this new 10", which is beautifully presented with a numbered insert, an actual photograph, and most excitingly of all, a purple 10" plastic disc which is screenprinted on one side. As an added gimmick, if you put this plastic disc on your record playe...view item »

Made To Break
Cherchez la femme

Here's a pretty crazy LP from sax wizard Ken Vandermark's latest project, an electro acoustic whirlwind of bouncy and melodic free jazz and minimal electronic experimentation. There's one track on each side. 'Sans Serif' on side A is dedicated to Betty Page and Sleater Kinney and in honour of their favourite ...view item »

Anla Courtis

I tried to give this LP a preliminary listen at dinner time last night, but it quickly became apparent that its disjointed avant garde ambiance was a bit too high brow for my long-suffering housemate so it didn't last long. Listening to it on my own at half past seven in the morning, however, is another story entirely as I'm able to properly d...view item »

Baby Dee & Eliot Bates
The Big Bumble Bees

Well you wouldn’t think to look at it. This is by Baby Dee and Eliot Bates despite neither of the artists being mentioned on the frront cover, the spine and only amongst a load of wordsearch like text on the back. Print your names clearly, in blocked capitals, please. Thank you. The lengthy search to find out who this was by at lea...view item »


Cyclobe have recorded three pieces to go with a triumvirate of what have been called “alchemical dream pieces” filmed by Derek Jarman. The core of Cyclobe, Ossian Brown and Stephen Thrower are augmented by Michael J. York, Cliff Stapleton and...view item »

Eugene Skeef & Rae Howell
Heavy Forest Air

Eugene Skeef and Rae Howell recorded this collaborative piece live at the Rolston Recital Hall at The Banff Centre, Alberta in Canada. In a room full of percussion instruments, the project began as a three month study of winter musics. Recorded by Jared Miller, the three collaborators have produced something won...view item »

John Zorn
Fragmentations, Prayers And Interjections

To some it's probably the most terrifying idea anyone could possibly have, but to others, John Zorn making music for an ensemble is a welcome and delightfully disastrous notion. The grindcore jazz maestro made Fragments, Prayers and Interjections to be played by large orchestras with plenty of resources to han...view item »

Libbe Matz Gang
Infantilised Britain EP

One of the outfits (along with Hacker Farm and Ship Canal) currently positing an angry, politicised alternative to hauntology. Here they offer a brutish 7” EP of filthy electronics and scabrous polemic railing furiously at a nation gone ga-ga (not Gaga). Wrapped in a fittingly monochrome sle...view item »

Shampoo Boy
Nebel / Nadel

I'll try to make this short. I have over 10,000 LP's, am 64, retired, owned a record store while going to college in the 60's. While working from 1975 to 2010 might have purchased maybe only 500 LP's. So it's only the last 4 years that I started getting back into the VINYL scene. Southern Records in London has a series called ...view item »

Black Hat
Thought of Two

Seattle resident Nelson Bean a.k.a Black Hat is an experimental drone man working on the fringes of the underground dance scene and producing some pretty interesting and, considering the connotations connected with the style, very rhythmic work. Here we’re presented with three distinct pieces of out there dance music meant for home...view item »


The only box I want to put music in is my record box and yet my role as a writer here at Norman Towers in a sense dictates that I kinda have to, to some extent in order to attempt to articulate what a record sounds like to our readers. Genre references can be useful at times but so much is postmodern these days that it simply defies genre tags a...view item »

Bill Horist / Jakob Riis
The Cessation Elegy

Here's a peculiar CD on which guitarist Bill Horist of America teams up with sound artist Jakob Riis of Denmark on laptop and real time processing on a two-act suite of instrumentals which they confidently declare "a new wordless opera". Rather good it is too, I'm quite surprised they've only made 100 of these. Opening with the Americana...view item »

Zea / Oscar Jan Hoogland
Exploding Head Syndrome / Solo Electric Clavichord

Got a split 7" of Dutch weirdness here. Confusingly the two sides play at different speeds. I've never understood why people do that. I mean, presumably the 45rpm side will sound marginally better, but they really don't think about people like me with Pro-Ject turntables who have to lift the platter off every time they want to change speed. ...view item »

Asmus Tietchens
Der fünfte Himmel

Listening to Der Funfte Himmel, or the fifth heaven, makes you wonder what kinda guy wrote this stuff. Based on the collection of weird yet sometimes subliminal minimalist themes that trickle through the noise, you feel a natural born multitasker has released a record that was all about doing exactly what he wanted. And that is exa...view item »

Asmus Tietchens

Back when synthesizers were still machines and computers were still guys doing calculations, Asmus Tietches aimed his binoculars through the fourth dimensions across time, to the fertile fields of electronic music. Recorded in the 1970s, Nachtstücke are challenging and reissued as pure as can be....view item »

Free Nelson Mandoomjazz
The Shape Of Doomjazz To Come + Saxophone Giganticus

You’ll be pleased to hear that The Shape Of Doomjazz To Come + Saxophone Giganticus by Free Nelson Mandoomjazz sounds pretty much as you’d expect ‘doomjazz’ to. Relatively traditional jazz passages (but with heavy bass) lurch into grinding metal with wild saxophone over the top. I also applaud th...view item »

World Arena

Bronze impressed us a lot when they released 2011's 'Copper' LP but nobody else seemed to be paying much attention so they're back at you with another one, 'World Arena'. I'm going to review it as if I didn't already know what they sound like since nobody bought that last one. This lot have a clever and woozy aesthetic which pairs repeti...view item »


Those wacky industrial avant-goths Laibach are, erm, back. When Phil handed me this CD he said "There's a new Laibach album, it's very funny." I wasn't sure what he meant. Now I'm listening to it and I know what he meant. Opener 'The Whistleblowers' opens with some whistling but then there's some big Slavonic-sounding gang vocals and uplifting s...view item »

Nicolas Bernier
frequencies (a / fragments)

Get ready to stroke your beard, there's a new CD from Line in the office! This one's from Nicolas Bernier and contains a combination of sine wave drones and "a series of custom made devices in which computer-controlled solenoids activate a variety of tuning forks", it's a detailed exercise in high pitched, glassy drones in which the physical rin...view item »

Belfi / Grubbs / Pilia
Dust & Mirrors

The trio of Andrea Belfi, David Grubbs and Stefano Pilia have brought out an album together before, but I’ve not heard that. I’m familiar with their individual work, however, and was expecting this to be more of a challenging listen than it is turning out to be from these three experimentalists. Opener ‘Charm Offensive’ i...view item »

Bushman's Revenge
Thou Shalt Boogie!

The Norwegian jazz/prog scene is a highly divisive topic at Norman Towers. On one side of the office there's me, Kim, Mike and Ian who will happily listen to Motorpsycho and El Doom all day long, and in the other camp there's Clint, Phil, Brian and Li'l Biz, all of whom would r...view item »

A.R.C. Soundtracks
Archive: Volume One

The Little Crackd Rabbit label bring you this latest full length from A.R.C. Soundtracks, in the past they have remixed the likes of Aiden Baker and Fuzzy Lights, they produce a sound of gloomy twisted folk drone with odd sounds of tribal percussion and fuzzed out guitar and sy...view item »

People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz
Moon Magic

This is a nice tinkler for christmas. Its kind of an amalgamation of ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ but done in such a sweet way that it makes you want to go and stroke a bauble. The music consists of tinkling bell-like sounds then over that are layered vocals and if I heard this later tonight after a pint or t...view item »

Glitch Jazz

Never has an album title described the music therein so much, ‘Glitch Jazz’ by Swiss producer Sknail does exactly what it says on the tin and I mean EXACTLY!, when this promo landed on the Norman Records doorstep I just had to check it out, being a fan of both jazz in its many forms and guises and electronic music especially the glit...view item »

Framework Seasonal - Issue #4: Spring 2013

Framework Seasonal is a regular series of collections of field recordings, and here is the edition for Spring 2013. Some of these tracks / pieces / recordings are presented ‘straight’ and unadorned, others use the recordings as the starting point for other approache. Artists include Francisco López...view item »

Piano Improvisations / Electrical Interferencies

Very limited (50 copies) CDr release from Given, aka Italian Dona Basile. Basile’s practice is broad, encompassing all manner of musics, up to and including Drum & Bass. Here though, he turns to the piano, for a series of improvisations. Surprisingly melodic, at least in comparison with most of the improvising I usuall...view item »

Ghedalia Tazartes
Voyage à l‘ombre

Hinterzimmer are really spoiling us this week. Not only have they sent us a stunning new hour-long CD by Lubomyr Melnyk, there’s also this new offering from another underappreciated veteran of the European experimental community, France’s Ghedalia Tazartes. Originally released in 1997 and ...view item »

Kemialliset Ystavat
Kultaista Kaupunkia Etsimassai

Firstly, format chat time and I’ve never seen the like of it - this has a picture disc on one side and black vinyl on the other. The black vinyl side plays music whilst the picture disc bit is just for show. Being the kind of British 'meat and potatoes' idiot that I am, I almost ignored this because I can’t say, never mind spell the ...view item »

Gabriel Saloman
Solider's Requiem

Gabriel Saloman has featured in Pete Swanson’s Yellow Swans project and now brings us a solo effort on Miasmah Records.   ‘Soldier’s Requiem’ is a dark, brooding journey taking the basic set up of guitar, bass and drums into doomy te...view item »

Adrian Utley’s Guitar Orchestra
In C

This is of course Portishead’s Adrian Utley and an assembled orchestra of 18 guitars, 4 organs, bass clarinet and percussion performing Terry Riley’s history-changing minimal masterwork ‘In C’. The ensemble boasts the likes of ...view item »

David Grubbs
Borough of Broken Umbrellas

Grubbsy. The Grubbsmeister. Grubbsmania. Tony Grubba’s. However you want to greet him, it's clear that David Grubbs has followed an interesting and idiosyncratic path since the sad demise of Gastr Del Sol. This is his first release of solo guitar improvisations....view item »

Secret Boyfriend
This Is Always Where You’ve Lived

Hailing from North Carolina and part of a group called Boyzone (which amazingly isn’t the reformed Boyzone who recently popped the Jonathan Ross show to its very foundations, whilst at the same time wearing carefully manicured beards) what we get here is a messy strum that veers between Sentridoh like acoust...view item »


Papillon is one of my favourite films. I’ve seen it more times than I can possibly remember and I can’t think of a better film to watch on a Sunday afternoon. Watching Steve Mcqueen deteriorate from hardnut to frail old man over 3 hours is a feast for the mind. It also features lepers and to date this is my only experience of lepers ...view item »

Triumph of the Will

60 minutes of noisy, distorted, lo-fi, naïve Musique concrète/ tape music. Black sonics from the void > An obsession with the fragility of existence. B-side is the A-side in reverse. Edition of 23 copies. Tracks: A: Is There a He...view item »

Henry Flynt

Graduation is a collection of hillbilly songs put through the Flynt sonic whisk. Rather than the unrefined, meandering jam of the, to my mind, amazing collaboration with CC Hennix, known as Dharma Warriors, this is much sharper. Apart from the closing track - played on a vibrato guitar - there’s less of the ass...view item »

Derek Piotr

Not heard either of Derek Piotr's first two records so I’m a little lost for reference. He was nominated for the Rix Ars Electronica for Digital Musics prize last year so his music is definitely recognised within it’s field but somehow his output has passed me by. Sorry Poitr lad. His digital cut-up approach makes for a slightly diso...view item »

C. Spencer Yeh, Okkyung Lee and Lasse Marhaug
Wake Up Awesome

I have never, ever in my entire life woken up awesome. Instead I usually wake up grim, hollering at the alarm clock for having the bare faced cheek to wake me up. The only positive being that I’ve survived another night, something I rarely think possible when attempting to actually get to sleep. If my alarm clock woke me to this cacophony ...view item »

Cabaret Voltaire

Synth gloomers Cabaret Voltaire originally released the delightfully titled Micro-Phonies in 1984, taking us down the pop route with a record of unapologetic hits -- hey art, you've gotta make money sometimes. No matter: the record delivers on its catchy intent, "Sensoria" features, and the band flie...view item »

Sarah Neufeld
Hero Brother

Sarah Neufeld is a Montreal violinist best known for being a member of the Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre. Here she’s going it alone, travelling to Berlin to record a collection of solo violin pieces with the esteemed Nils Frahm twiddlin...view item »

Oneohtrix Point Never

Oneohtrix Point Never, the one man analogue synth machine that is Daniel Lopatin certainly knows a thing or two about synth prog minimalism. 'Rifts' collects Lopatin's recorded output to date which includes 'Betrayed in the Octagon', 'Zones Without People' and 'Russian Mind' (all released in limited quantities of wax-o-vinyl) as well as a collec...view item »

Li Dai Guo
Music For Advertisments

Li Dai Guo is a master of many trades: an artist, a musical polymath on both instruments and voice, as well as a performer known for working with a huge range of characters. Music for Advertisements is inspired by Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan Province in China. With pipa and erhu as well as piano and beatboxing L...view item »

Land Of Kush
The Big Mango

Osama Shalabi's project Land of Kush is where esoteric sounds congregate: his mix of free whatever-you-want (as long as its improvised) is met with vocal howls and hums, strangely programmed electronic work in one big sonic ambiguation. The Big Mango uses this lens of odd sounds to consider gend...view item »

Sparkling Wide Pressure
Stream Returner

We’ve got a couple of these limited CDs in from the reliable Analog Path this week and one of them is this one by Sparkling Wide Pressure. There are four tracks in all, totalling about 45 minutes of music, which is of the lo-fi droney ambient variety. Layers of shifting, shimmering synths are joined by echoed, unintelligible vocal ...view item »

Midnight Doctors
Midnight Doctors

Three new LPs from alt.vinyl have arrived in our shop today, one of which is this self-titled effort by The Midnight Doctors, an LP which boasts 19 tracks and a mammoth 26 contributors. The press release informs me that it contains you should expect a confused mess, right? Well, wrong in this case. Phil Begg created this album as a studio ...view item »

Hazy Lights

Experimental, hazy folk stripped bare, with breathy female vocals and a slightly unnerving feel. Much more ambient than the previous release 'To the other side', 'Hazy Lights' is meditative, subtle and minimalistic-sounding. Slow-burning, melancholic and emotional. Vinyl LP on the Boring Machines label. ...view item »

Colour Tones

What does the colour Green sound like? Machinefabriek attempts to answer that question, then asks the same of Red, Grey, Blue, Brown, Mosaic (?) on another alluring release, this time on Fang Bomb. Is it possible to evoke colour in pure sound? Hide the track titles from you friends and ask what they see to these...view item »

C Spencer Yeh / Jon Lorenz / Ryan Jewell
Live At The CAC 7.21.08

We seem to be living in a special time for C. Spencer Yeh 7"s at the moment, I think this is the third one in a couple of weeks. On 'Live at the CAC 7.21.08' he's scratching away manically on a violin like a John Cale possessed (yes I know he played the viola before we get inundated with angry letters) while Jon Lorenz honks away lyrically on ...view item »

Lonnie Holly
The Sandmans Garden – A Film By Arthur Sloss Crenshaw

This DVD will be a tempter for anyone who swooned over Lonnie Holley’s fascinating couple of albums that came out in the last few years. The Sandmans Garden exposes Lonnie in the grips of his instinctive, boundary-less folk-art. It also traces the sometimes traumatic past of this remarkable artist over the course ...view item »

John Layton / Christopher Wood
The Green Curve

Phil tells me we’ve been given a Norm-sclusive on this latest CD from John Layton and Christopher Wood, the third in a series following ‘Sfumato’ and ‘When? Softly’ on Benbecula which came out in 2010 and ‘11 respectively. O...view item »

Debt of Nature
Order : Spoil the Entire State

I worried last week that it’s very possible subconsciously I have something against Brad Laner. I never seem to rate his music, in whichever format it takes, he must keep catching me on an off day as its nothing personal. In recent weeks we’ve had to deal with a reissue of his school band Earth ...view item »

Helderberg Howl / FTW

Golden Lab Records have this week sent this sloppy mess of a 7” from Chalaque, a self-proclaimed “double B-side” single featuring the songs ‘Helderberg Howl’ and ‘FTW’. I’m starting with the B-side ‘FTW’, which is two minutes of harsh vaguely rhythmic po...view item »

The Books
The Way Out

Aw man the Books are back! I got completely obsessed by The Books when Lost & Safe came out. I couldn't put their records down! 5 years later comes 'The Way Out' on their new home Temporary Residence! In that 5 years I got married and I'm gonna get divorced, I had a kid, I got gradually more stupid and the centre of me grew. A lot has ha...view item »

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