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    10 CDs of 2006 (with mp3s): part 3

    The countdown to number one continues...

    4. Mrtyu!, Blood Tantra and With Throats As Fine As Needles, s/t
    I know that putting "ties" on year-end lists is kind of a cop-out, but these two discs complement one another so well that by year's end it was difficult not to think of them as a unit. They showcase two opposing sides of dronemaster Antony Milton's technique: on Blood Tantra, he submerges the listener into the cauldron of Metal's deep distortion and roar, whereas on Throats Fine As Needles he and his cadre of NZ experimentalists (Campbell Kneale, James Kirk, and Richard Francis) work with quietude and stillness, their palette built largely out of cheap electronics humming softly in subterranean darkness. Look beyond the differences in surface turbulence, though, and both discs reveal themselves as similar investigations, exploring stasis, modulation, tension and release. On 20 Buck Spin and Digitalis, respectively.
    Listen: "The Worldy Skein," by Mrtyu!

    3. Mountains, Sewn
    For the past five years, Brooklyn's Apestaartje label has released a cool twenty discs of pastoral drone, organic noise, and sound art. I own about half of them and there's not a dud in the bunch. Mountains is an Apestaartje "supergroup" of sorts, representing a collaboration between two one-man acts, Anderegg and Aero, who have each recorded albums of abstract electronica which are individually superlative. Together, though, they seem to reinforce one another's strengths, and this album--a combination of pretty acoustic passages and warm electronic texture--is as fine as anything the label's ever put out.
    Listen: "Sheets," by Mountains

    2. Ghosting, Why Not Be Utterly Changed Into Fire?
    The single track that comprises this album spends a half hour exploring the title question, using distorted guitars and squealing machines to conjure a circle of angelic flame around the listener, threatening to consume but also promising to transfigure. This could certainly be described as a noise album—it spends a lot of its time channeling a storm of white-hot needles through the open spaces of your skull, and the experience is undeniably harrowing—but remember that the goal here is transcendence and the methods suddenly invert, seeming magical instead of menacing. No MP3 of this one, as the disc's only track is single-minded in a way that fundamentally resists excerpting. On Jyrk.

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    Saturday, February 03, 2007
    5:25 PM


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