A CLOSER LISTEN weekly #7
Grey Wolf, Podcast with Maria Chavez, and further dispatches from Ukraine
Listeners! Happy holidays to those who celebrate.
Last time I mentioned that it seems to me we’re in the midst of a renewed appreciation for guitar music, after looking back on my conversation with Amulets last year. One might also think of the success of Mdou Moctar, who has recently returned to touring.
Foregrounding the guitar in a very different way is Path of Urda, the debut record from Richmond, VA-based, multi-instrumentalist Grey Wulf aka Abdul Hakim Bilal. They are a longtime member of Among The Rocks And Roots and Richmond Avant Improv Collective (RAIC), and have previously released solo material under their noise moniker, Shame. But Grey Wulf sees them exploring subversive new territories of Black metal in communion with ancestral rituals and multi-planal existence. Grief is a part of life that has become foregrounded in recent years as so many traditional rituals have been suspended by pandemic conditions. Grey Wulf spurs us to think differently about our relationship with the dead, to learn to live with the dead “as a walker between worlds.”
NEW PODCAST EPISODE
The latest episode of the Sound Propositions podcast is now available on our soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts. The accompanying post will be on the blog soon. This episode features Maria Chavez.
Maria Chavez is a pioneer of Abstract Turntablism, a self-described practice she developed under the guidance of Pauline Oliveros' Deep Listening. Born in Lima, Peru and raised in Houston, she cut her teeth as a DJ spinning techno and drum & bass, but the male chauvinism of that scene roused her to experiment further with the materiality of vinyl, using broken needles and non-musical sounds. Oliveros inspired her to ditch dance parties for improvisation with a single turntable, an artistic practice which has evolved to include installations, workshops, visual art, and curation. A true sound artist (she adamantly eschews the label “musician”), until recently, Chavez had released only one recording, 2004's Those Eyes Of Hers, focusing instead on her career as longform performance. But after beginning a medical sabbatical in 2019, which forced her to cease touring (a year before the rest of the world shut down), Maria began slowly releasing new recordings into the world. In this episode, we discuss recent and upcoming collaborations, her switch to using four turntables (with double needles), and staking out her rightful place in art history contra White supremacist power structures.
CALL FOR NEW WRITERS!
Over the past decade, our original writers have gone through the passages of life. They’ve moved, changed jobs, gotten married, had children, and celebrated many other occasions along the way. Others have come and gone since then, but we’re running a little low on writers and could use some fresh blood!
Do you have a passion for instrumental music? Do you enjoy delving deeply into the music you hear? Are you able to write in a professional, friendly and appealing fashion? Would you like to call attention to the music you love? Now, here’s your chance! We’re especially looking for female writers (since we have none, save for occasional contributors), but we are interested in all inquiries.
The process is simple. First, send a cover email to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a few words about yourself and your musical taste. Include a sample of your writing. The sample can be about any type of music, vocal or instrumental. If we like what we read, we will invite you to audition. (Read more)
UKRAINE AID COMPILATIONS
The sheer plethora of fundraising releases for Ukraine can be overwhelming, from single tracks by music stars such as Sakamato to monster compilation just shy of 200 tracks. The music world has reacted quickly, with the first releases, like Gost Zvuk’s Stop the War! coming out a mere two days after Russia’s invasion. Proceeds are going to different causes, ranging from the Red Cross to BIPoC, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalised communities and individuals.
The following list of 55 compilations for Ukraine is just a selection. A Closer Listen has already reviewed, or featured, a number of compilations, with some of the Ukrainian releases scheduled as part of future interviews for the ongoing Ukrainian Field Notes series.
UKRAINIAN FIELD NOTES III
Speaking of Ukrainian Field Notes, Gianmarco Del Re returns with yet another dispatch from Ukraine, featuring interviews with Nikolaienko, Vogel Ray, Dmytro Avksentiev, Waveskania, and Endless Melancholy.
In response to Russian President Putin’s unprecedented and unprovoked military attack against Ukraine, the EU adopted a “comprehensive and robust package of restrictive sanctions designed to:
-cripple the Kremlin’s ability to finance the war
-impose clear economic and political costs on Russia’s political elite responsible for invasion
-and diminish its economic base”
A fifth round of sanctions was approved on April 8 with an additional 217 individuals and 18 entities now been sanctioned. “This includes all 179 members of the so-called ‘governments’ and ‘parliaments’ of Donetsk and Luhansk. In total, 1091 individuals and 80 entities have been sanctioned since 2014.”
In Ukraine, the representatives of the music community called for a ban on the Russian music scene urging all interested parties to:
Cancel all cooperation with Russian artists, promoters, clubs, organizations, who do not actively resist the actions of their government and do not explicitly take action to stop the Russian military invasion of Ukraine;
Demand that every citizen of The Russian Federation takes to the streets to protests against the war in Ukraine, or resists silently by boycotting his/her job, and sabotaging Russia in any other possible way;
Remove all representatives affiliated with the Russian state from the supervisory and advisory boards of your organizations;
Refuse any donations, funding or sponsorship from Russian organizations and their affiliates based in other countries.
Read the entire piece here.
(complete list with Bandcamp links here)
Dave Hawley ~ Gift Horse (7 May)
Manel Fortià ~ Despertar (Segell Microscopi, 12 May)
The Corrupting Sea ~ Talking to Trees (Histamine Tapes, 13 May)
India Galley ~ to you through (Redshift, 13 May)
Martin Küchen ~ Utopia (Thanatosis, 13 May)
Reykjanes ~ Water Wanderings (Piano & Coffee Records, 13 May)
Spencer Zahn ~ Pale Horizon (Cascine, 13 May)
V/A ~ Healing Together: A Compilation For Mental Health Recovery (Past Inside the Present, 13 May)
Eric Copeland ~ Spiral Stairs (les albums claus, 15 May)
First Third ~ Salvage (Machine Records, 16 May)
Trance Farmers & Kourtney Roy ~ Queen of Nowhere (IIKKI, 19 May)
Andrew Bernstein ~ a presentation (Hausu Mountain, 20 May)
Automatisme & Stefan Paulus ~ Gap/Void (Constellation, 20 May)
Brandon Seabrook ~ In the Storm (Astral Spirits, 20 May)
Joe Rainey ~ Niineta (37d03d, 20 May)
Jon Porras ~ Arroyo (Thrill Jockey, 20 May)
Koray Kantarcıoğlu ~ Loopworks 2 (Discrepant, 20 May)
Leon den Engelsen ~ Home (Piano & Coffee Records, 20 May)
Mary Lattimore & Paul Sukeena ~ West Kensington (Three Lobed Recordings, 20 May)
Matmos ~ Regards/Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer (Thrill Jockey, 20 May)
Peter Coccoma ~ A Place to Begin (Whatever’s Clever, 20 May)
Traverse ~ Slow Moving Apocalypse (Somewherecold, 20 May)
Zoh Amba feat. William Parker and Francisco Mela ~ O Life, O Light Vol. 1 (577 Records, 20 May)
Ichion ~ One (Audiobulb, 25 May)
Barkum Deer ~ S/T (First Light, 26 May)
Orphax ~ Spectrum (27 May)
ragenap ~ Thriving Culture (American Dreams, 27 May)
Shiva Feshareki ~ Turning World (NMC Recordings, 27 May)
Soft Ffog ~ S/T (Is It Jazz?, 27 May)
Timothy Fairless ~ Rising Water (Flaming Pines, 27 May)
V/A ~ Perceptions Vol. 3 (Bigo & Twigetti, 27 May)
V/A ~ Spring Snow (Mirae Arts, 27 May)
FILM ~ S/T (Qilla, 28 May)
Giacomelli ~ Return of the Return (Somewherecold, 28 May)
Spacepilot ~ Hyaena Worlds (577 Records, 31 May)
Daniel Carter, Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Gerald Cleaver ~ Welcome Adventure! Vol. 2 (577 Records, 3 June)
Jim Perkins ~ Immersed in Clouds Reworks (Bigo & Twigetti, 3 June)
Ralph Heidel ~ Modern Life (Kryptox, 3 June)
RedGreenBlue ~ The End of the Beginning (Astral Spirits, 3 June)
x.y.r. ~ Aquarealm (Not Not Fun, 3 June)
Mario Salvadore, Marcos Morales, Yasel Munoz ~ MASINTIN (Orbit577, 7 June)
Osheyack ~ Intimate Politics (SVBKVLT, 8 June)
MimiCof ~ Distant Symphony (Karlrecords, 10 June)
Yamila ~ Visions (Umor Rex, 10 June)
Yann Tiersen ~ 11 5 18 2 5 18 (Mute, 10 June)
Yoo Doo Right ~ A Murmur, Boundless to the East (Mothland, 10 June)
Andrew Tasselmyer ~ Music for Nonexistent Films (Somewherecold, 17 June)
Heroes Are Gang Leaders ~ LeAutoRoiOgraphy (577 Records, 17 June)
Glenn Jones ~ Vade Mecum (Thrill Jockey, 24 June)
Black Sky Giant ~ Falling Mothership (Made of Stone, 30 July)