End of Life Entertainment Scenario #1

This is just pure musical addiction. Hypnotic loops? check, retro computer game thing? check, pitch changes? check, cool? you know it.


High Wolf

Listen to the magnificently titled Do You Have a Moustache? High Wolf song by clicking here

Sitting in my flat on a sunny afternoon with the windows right open, my headphones cranked up, and High Wolf’s album from 2009 Incapulco trying to induce me into some sort of trance is something I have enjoyed regurlarly of late. High Wolf is the moniker of Max who originates from France and has been releasing some intoxicating and hypnotic grooves (generally in the form of cassettes) for the last few years. I first listened to High Wolf in 2009 with afore mentioned album Incapulco; a hazy blend of tribal rhythmic loops, fuzzy keyboards and sun drenched guitars occasionally making way for peaceful bliss-outs.

I caught up with Max (over the internets) a couple of months ago and asked him firstly about how he approaches the process of recording, if the tracks are already written in his head or if it comes through finding a rhythm and jamming...

Max: I never write anything (I never learned how to write music), my music is some kind of spontaneous composition. Sometimes I do think a bit before recording, for example; I have some mood or feeling I'd like to express, or I think like let's try to use this kind of instrument with this specific effect. But it mostly comes while doing it. I record rhythm, loop, something to start with, and then I add layers and layers. The best pieces are done very quickly, it's like a huge brainstorm inside, when I record a layer the idea of the next one is coming and so on. Very exciting process, but sometimes it's harder than that, it doesn't come and then it's frustrating. After a few hours I listen to what I recorded and sometimes what I thought was great while I was doing it sounds very bad...in that case I delete a few layers and try again later or simply give up on that track. So actually most the thinking comes after recording, it's like should I keep this tabla layer? Would it be good to add some keyboards around there or should I keep this track like this?

BTE: That's an interesting approach, it sounds like you do all the playing personally, how do you perform your music live?

Max: I’ve never played solo live performance so far, (I’m) not really interested in that. The thing is, as I use a lot of different layers on my recordings it's not really possible to do that alone on stage.
I only started to play High Wolf live shows very recently, but my idea is to ask local people or people playing in same night than me to join wherever I play. I know some people in many places of the planet thanks to this internet world we live in so it's not really difficult to find people to play with, wherever. I've played live with Uton, Ben Reynolds, Chicaloyoh, Gnod and soon with Helvette, Dolphins Into The Future, Bear Bones Lay Low...I hope the list will be very long soon...

BTE: Do you feel you have an artistic advantage over some other artists because you're not trapped in the conventions of music it maybe allows you to see the reality outside of it?

Max: Maybe... It has, for sure, a strong effect on my music. At first, before High Wolf, I was afraid to mix different instruments because I don't know anything about harmony...I was afraid to play guitar solos because I don't really know how to play...And then I started to get confidence and this new music (new for me) could begin. Everything is made with feeling, listening, there is nothing academic for sure so no barriers or obstacles now that I'm more comfortable with my way of playing. And as I play a lot I discover new things and become better every day, and still in my way of doing things. I learn alone so it gives a more personal touch to what I do than if I learned at music school, I guess. But there are some negative aspects as well. For example it's sometimes hard for people to jam with me because my guitar is strangely tuned and I can make weird stuff sometimes. Anyway the more important thing for everyone will always be creativity and inspiration and this is not taught in school.

BTE: I hear what you're saying, I'm a big fan of your approach to music and if you could recommend some music/musicians you listen to that either inspire you or you just think are brilliant that would be great...

Max: Sylvester Anfang II : I played with two members of this huge band recently. With Glen & Hellvete in Ghent and with Ernesto & Bear bones lay low in Brussels. Both have released killer LP's on Kraak lately. Last Sylvester Anfang LP from Blackest Rainbow is great too, especially side B.
Yellow Swans : got a few stuff from Pete Swanson a few weeks back and I can't get enough of them. Cd on release The Bats & LP on Type are both perfect. Don't know any other band doing this kind of psychedelic noise / drone.
Robedoor : the new one, on Important, is just insane.
Harappian Night Recordings : this guy is just like the new Sun City Girls. I like how he uses global music patterns and I feel close to his ideas even though the result is quite different.
Magic Lantern : just discovering the new LP.
L'afrique radio vol 1 : A tape released and given to me by Paddy from Gnod, it's a compilation from various tapes from Morocco...Heard it first in Gnod's van and now I'm lucky enough to own it because it's unbelievable.
Omar Khorshid : The best label in the world released a new double LP last month...After 30 seconds you wonder how you could live without knowing this music.
Traditional music from Batak people in Sumatra : I stayed a couple of days in Den Haag in April and I stayed in a squat where this amazingly talented Zeloot artist lives...She played this CD, a major hit for me!
Steve Reid : the news of Steve Reid's death made me listen to the "exchange sessions" LP with Kieran Hebden. Steve Reid was a great drummer.

High Wolf’s latest LP Ascension is now ready and will be out on Not Not Fun around June 28th. Uk tour is also starting around now, so get along if you can, check the tour dates at the High Wolf myspace

Zola Jesus

Here is a little widget of Zola Jesus's new single which you can either listen to or download (or both..). It's a nice dark little song and well worth a listen. It's not the most challenging song ever(TM) but not everything can be eh.


Earlier this year, Gonjasufi (Sumach Eck) released an intoxicating album on Warp produced by Flying Lotus (among others). The title A Sufi and a Killer is very apt insomuch as it encourages the image of two very different sides of Sumach's personality if not his music. The music is almost like a melting pot of references from wailing vocals reminiscent of Al Green to some Hindi Chants but it rarely feels forced, it's probably no coincidence that the music these vocals travel over often sounds intensely psychedelic. Have a listen to one of the tracks on YouTube here. Go on.


Emeralds latest in a long line of releases (roughly 40 in 4 years..) is called Does it Look Like I'm Here? And is at the same time easily recognisably as Emeralds and yet not quite like anything I've heard of theirs before (which in all honesty is only another 4 or so albums and collaborations). The arpeggios are still there, what seems to have changed more obviously on listening are more defined melodic themes weaving between the formulaic arpeggios - this sense of melody was never so apparent in the other albums I've heard.
Click here to listen to the first track off their latest LP mentioned above, the song is called Candy Shoppe.
This is essential listening for any fans of Oneohtrix Point Never or Jonas Reinhardt or anyone else of that ilk.


Whilst travelling on a train that snaked under the belly of the city I had my first experience of Guanaco. And this seemed like the perfect place to absorb the gentle drones and picked guitar sort of working as a protective shield from the serpent-like shrieks of the trains brakes. All this seems a little pretentious, and, well.. It probably is, but I'm hoping it in some way helps the image of a sort of unstated and calm beauty that can serve as a neat distraction from everything that kind of swirls and races past. Listen to a few tracks on the myspace.

Oneohtrix Point Never (Returnals)

Okay, so here's a nice little Oneohtrix Point Never track that Pitchfork were kind enough to recently post, so please have a listen here. Very nice.

Andreas Brandal

Andreas Brandal is a Norwegian musician with a penchant for drone-y noise. He's been making music since 1994 and has a large back catalogue (which you can see here). He's made music with/under various other guises, including the superbly named Flesh Coffin and Hour of the Wolf. To have a listen to one of his tracks, click this link. The track is called 'A Flashlight through the Woods' and is off his record 'Secrets of the Snow'. This is one of those tracks that is only really done justice through a decent set of speakers/headphones as the sonic complexity of the drones is difficult (impossible) to pick up through some tinny laptop speakers. Enjoy.

City Center

City Center released an epony ous debut in 2009, and it was a mixed bag of a record. When in full swing it really is stunning, referencing the glorious freak folk of Animal Collective circa Sung Tongs and occassionally nodding towards the more ambient/sample heavy leanings of Growing. Open/House is a high-point of the album. Listen here.
The frustrating aspects of the album mostly come when the influences are worn a little too much on the metaphorical sleeve, see: Bleed Blood which could easily be a Panda Bear demo.
Caveat notwithstanding it's a lovely little example of lo-fi experimental pop. Explore.

Black to Comm

Recently I have been listening to Black to Comm's release Alphabet 1968 a lot. It's a wonderful little record with some unforgettable and intensely rewarding tracks. In particular Musik Für Alle which you can listen to here. The actual album is a mix of chimey-acoustic guitars and electronic drones which sound at times like a rodent biting away at a speaker cable. Or something of that ilk. Anyway, Black to Comm is essentially a one man project, that man being Marc Richter and I thoroughly recommend you explore some if his other works. Clicking here might be a good place to start.

The Sight Below

If you have spotify click here and you will hopefully find yourself listening to the latest release from The Sight Below titled It All Falls Apart. Indeed. Anyway, it's a whole load of shimmering ambient guitars and drones totally drenched in reverb and particularly pleasant through headphones.

Derek Bailey

Click here to listen to 'Laura'. One of my favourite performances from the late Derek Bailey.


Artist Focus - Pyramids

Click here to listen to ‘Another War’ off Pyramids with Nadja.

Pyramids are a fascinating band, although this reflection isn’t purely based on their music - there is little to no information about them available anywhere. I mean, we know they are a four piece; they’re from Texas and... Well, that’s about it. That the band are from the lone star state is largely interesting insomuch as it has historically been a breeding ground for musicians who have almost thrown different genres and styles together haphazardly (see: Roky Erickson, Ornette Coleman, EITS...).

Beyond this curtain of secrecy the real interest is clearly found in their sound which exists somewhere roughly between shoegaze and black metal. Although, to think this explanation sufficient would be lazy - for example they have little of the rhythmic trappings so identifiable in these genres playing largely in free time.

Their eponymous debut, released in 2008 on Hydra Head, was a brilliantly unnerving listen skipping between the terrifyingly-haunted and lush-warm sounds that swirled around the record. One of the features that made it such an intriguing listen was the contrast between the heavily treated guitar and drums in relation to the human voice. Vocals are an integral part of Pyramids’ sound, though not through any message – there are no lyrics – but through their textures.

Pyramids also proved with their first release a huge potential for collaboration with a second disc of remixes from Blut aus Nord and Jesu among others. This all leads us neatly to 2009 and Pyramids with Nadja – again Pyramids eschewing a title – and one of the most natural pairings I’ve probably ever heard, a really impressive release that even included *some* decipherable lyrics. I asked r. loren from the Pyramids a little about this project.

“Collaboration is what we enjoy most. Making something out of nothing in tandem with artists that inspire us to create to begin with. Nadja are currently one of the most prolific groups trotting the globe, and I personally have been very touched by their music. The pairing just felt natural, and the idea had arrived prior to the release of our debut album. The physical album was in the making for over one year ... Each band was responsible for initiating two tracks. One was to be almost finished, and the other barely started. That way, we could each put finishing touches on a piece the other had a heavy hand in, as well as build our own piece based on a foundation laid by the other. We recorded in our various spaces across the US, and Nadja in Canada. Initially, we were each to make sure one track was "heavy" and the other more "ambient," but it did not really end up that way. Regardless, we are thrilled with the result.”

As a final note, I asked what music he was listening to at the moment to give anyone interested an opportunity to explore some other artists...

“Currently, I still cannot stop listening to Katatonia's ‘Night is the New Day’, also playing is Celestiial's ‘Desolate North’, There Will Be Blood soundtrack, The Blood BrothersYoung Machetes’, Prurient, Portal, Marissa Nadler's ‘Little Hells’.

Ólafur Arnalds

Over the past few years Ólafur Arnalds has been quietly crafting beautiful neo-classical pieces, often with just piano and a small string section although he does occasionally embrace nice things like glitchy electronics and processed beats. His first LP - 2008's 'Eulogy for Evolution' - was a gorgeous little album that positioned Arnalds somewhere fairly comfortably between his fellow countrymen Sigur Rós and Jóhann Jóhannsson. Anyway, he's got a new record coming out in may titled '...and they have escaped the weight of darkness' ...and you can have a little listen to a track off that album, released on 'Erased Tapes' by clicking here. The track is called 'Þú Ert Sólin' which apparently is pronounced something like 'thu ert solin'. Glad we cleared that one up.

Recommended Records #1

Recently I've been listening to a lot of the Oneohtrix Point Never 2009 release 'Rifts'. It's basically a collection of three of his previous records that have been released as one and with it clocking in at around 3.5 hours it's probably not surprising that I've not actually managed to listen to it all in one sitting. However, it is one of those records you can just dip into here and there. I think I read somewhere that this album was made entirely out of synths but the beginning of standout track 'Format & Journey North' clearly samples some water pouring and sort of jungle noises. Said track is a delicious mix of airy synths reminding me a little of a western film or something with arpeggios working as the foundation for five minutes or so until a warm wash of fuzz drones the track out to the end. Honestly one of the best pieces of music I've heard for a long time. Special.

Still looking back to 2009 - I recently picked up a copy of Pyramids with Nadja. I was a huge fan of Pyramids' eponymous debut in 2008 so I'm not sure why it took me so long to get round to picking this album up. Better late than never though. From start to finish this is an album that really pulls you into a strange little world - slightly haunting yet paradoxically relaxing. And, stranger still is the inclusion of actual lyrics in the second track of four 'Another War'. If you're not familiar with their first album then you will be forgiven for not knowing that there is not a decipherable word anywhere, the voice being used more as a texture within the music. [Expect to hear more from Pyramids on this blog very soon...]

A band that needs a bit more exploration from me is Hammer of Hathor. I've recently been listening to 'False Teef' a lot, which is three tracks long, the first 'Yucka Drucka' lasting around 25 minutes is a challenging listen to say the least. But, when taken with an open mind reveals some real beauty. The last track on the album is the brilliantly named 'Left foot right foot' which is presumably called so because of the plodding feel of it, full of acoustic guitar loops and occasional piano hits, really involving stuff. Listen to 'Left foot right foot' here.


The humble intention of this blog is to explore, discuss and celebrate all corners of the far reaching umbrella of experimental music.
Along with recommendations of music to explore I will be in discussion with musicians all over the globe exploring their approaches, influences, ambitions etc.