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.