NNA059: Nate Young/Regression – ‘Blinding Confusion’ LP
Over the past few years, iconic noise artist Nate Young has been carefully crafting his own signature solo sound, as evidenced through his progressive recordings and performances with American experimental music staples such as Wolf Eyes, Stare Case, Demons, and Moon Pool & Dead Band. After the completion of his recent Regression trilogy (part one being the self-titled disc on Ideal in 2009; 2011’s “Stay Asleep” LP on NNA as part two; and part three “Other Days” on Japanese label Rockatansky in 2012), Young begins a new chapter in his personal sound world, and it is perhaps his biggest leap forward musically thus far. Regression “Blinding Confusion” enters a new era, retaining the techniques and studies from his previous work and raising them to new levels. Intense compositional building and structure seep through each track, traversing new ground melodically while still upholding Nate’s patented over-bearing weight of dread and slow-burning darkness at all the right moments. Deep, percussive brutality and pulsing neurosis mesh with somber burial hymns, held together by Young’s technical prowess and mastery of his chosen gear. Each frequency is given it’s own unique role and characteristic voice, deeply chilled by the arid space of decay via tape manipulation/disintegration, howling its way through the grooves of the record like a cold wind of dead space that billows throughout, unrelenting. Atonal, morphing, and modulating bass lines pulse and plod their way through, like the unseen presence of the undead ascending a creaking stairway, leading upwards toward a nebulous void. This establishes a truly horrific atmosphere while honoring primitive technology, refined with a thick dose of originality. Self-recorded at Burning Log Studios and M.U.G. in Young’s native zone of Detroit, Michigan, combined with high definition mastering and cutting by Lupo at Calyx in Berlin, Germany, make “Blinding Confusion” the defining artifact by one of the United States’ most talented voices in noise and experimental music.
NNA060: Ryan Power – ‘Identity Picks’ LP
Over the last decade, Burlington, Vermont songwriter/producer Ryan Power has tirelessly embarked on the quest to write the definitive song-based music, full of accuracy, refinement, deliberation, and perfectly-placed shifting harmonic puzzles. Ryan’s latest “Identity Picks” for NNA Tapes is an eight track song cycle that dances through lush jazz pads, aquatic smooth jazz funk styles, and the sensitive side of progressive rock. These songs are long, shifting compositions, slowly unfolding and patiently circulating within a refreshing variety of stylistic modes. Throughout these colorful arrangements, Ryan creates a polyphonic choir with his own voice, adding symphonic embellishments to his calculated and catchy hooks. Ryan addresses contemporary issues in his subject matter, including the music industry, lust, self-evaluation, identity crisis, and the contemplation and acceptance of a world gone mad. Unlike the phobic, neurotic head spaces of 2012’sÂ “I Don’t Want to Die”, “Identity Picks” is a life assessment, a meditation on putting yourself out there and the struggle to maintain integrity under scrutiny. The production is astonishingly hi-fi â€“ recorded, engineered, mixed and performed entirely by Power himself, aside from the occasional guest appearance from members of his newly-formed live band. According to the artist, the songs on this album were written “to help give my life meaning” through the purity and timelessness of classic, addictive songwriting. In an era of technological A.D.D. and fleeting vogue, “Identity Picks” is a record to listen to over and over again, finding new meaning and appreciation with each revolution.