Jun 202020
 

 

In many weeks the title of this round-up hasn’t been entirely accurate, because although I post them on Saturdays, sometimes I’ve listened to the songs before Saturday has arrived. Not this time.

This time I let the entire week go by without listening to much new music other than what I had agreed to premiere. My day job has been unusually annoying this week, and I continue to be distracted by the unnerving daily news of what’s happening in the world around us. This time, after gulping a couple of cups of coffee, I started the day by trying to catch up, and these selections survived that Saturday morning sifting process.

Needless to say, I didn’t make much headway in my giant list of things I wanted to check out from the past week (and the weeks before), but I had really good luck with what I did decide to check out.

PRIMITIVE MAN

I contend that there’s no better “intro” to a Primitive Man song than the gashing of ears with feedback, because what usually happens next is an ugly and unnerving experience. Why sugarcoat it? Continue reading »

Apr 252020
 


Rebel Wizard

 

My habit for a long time has been to stop posting things at NCS by around noon here in the Pacific time zone. At that point it’s getting into the late-night hours in Europe, where about half of our daily traffic comes from, and I usually need chunks of the afternoon to deal with work and personal business. But after sleeping for 10 hours last night and waking up much later than usual today, and then having to spend even more time getting my foggy head moderately clear, most of the morning was already gone.

I knew I wouldn’t get this post finished by noon — hell, I didn’t even start writing it until noon. But I thought, fuck it, if that noon-deadline rule comes from nowhere other than inside my own head, I can break it if I want to, even if a lot of people won’t see this until sometime Sunday.

The three Zoom happy hours I participated in yesterday, which began in the afternoon and went late into the night, prevented me from listening to any new music. And because I got such a late start this morning, I didn’t spend much time going through my list today either. But it was enough time to find and become satisfied with the following choices. Continue reading »

Jul 192019
 

 

Before we move into the weekend I want to recommend two EPs. The first was released last night — I happened to notice the Bandcamp alert in my e-mail not long after it landed there, and bought it immediately. The second was released in May, but I overlooked it until a friend pointed me to it earlier this week — and it was love at first listen.

REBEL WIZARD: “HARK! HARK! HARK!”

To any regular visitors at NCS my admiration (okay, “adoration” is probably more accurate) of Rebel Wizard‘s music is well-known. Having been so consistently enthusiastic about B. Nekrasov‘s previous releases under this moniker, I was predisposed to like this one (I’ve already confessed that I bought it before listening to it). Conceivably, I could have been disappointed, in which case you would not be reading these words. Obviously, however, I’m very happy with my impulsive purchase. Continue reading »

Feb 222019
 

 

I’m starting to feel the wolf at my heels. Honestly, I could easily keep this list going for another month, and that would be a helluva lot easier than stopping next week, but since it’s the only 2018 year-end list in the known universe that’s still rolling out in FEBRUARY 2019, I feel pressure to stop. Maybe it’s only self-imposed pressure, but regardless, it’s pressure, and I’m feeling it.

Something is going to get left off this list when I finish next week, the omission of which will make me miserable the day after I stop. Many somethings, most likely. But there’s just no way I could omit  these three songs.

ANTLERS

Speaking of year-end lists, it was Andy Synn‘s 2018 “Personal Top 10” list that finally made me pay close attention to Antler’s second album, beneath.below.behold. Stupid of me to wait so long, since Mr. Synn had reviewed the album eight months earlier and pronounced it “one of the most pleasant surprises of the year so far”. But this is definitely one of those better-late-than-never situations. Continue reading »

Aug 162018
 

 

I have an ingrained habit when I’m listening to music that I’ve already decided I want to write about, probably not that different from anyone else who scribbles their thoughts about music for public dissemination: I make notes to myself as I listen (not the first time I listen, but the times after that). In my case, my notes take the shape of messages to myself, like one side of a conversation, or like a memoir — messages from a self that’s caught up in the immediacy of what I’m hearing to a future self that’s more considered and more calculating about how to express those thoughts to others.

The future self tries to turn such notes into something readable, and more reflective. On his best days, that future self tries to avoid the kind of track-by-track reactions that are there in those past messages, for fear that tedium would otherwise overcome the reader. The future self often fails in the effort to pull everything together in a way that’s concise and thoughtful; and even on the best days, words and phrases from the past self who was carried away by the songs survive.

But this time, for the first time I can remember in the 9 1/2 years I’ve been messing with NCS, I decided to just give you my notes, slightly cleaned-up, but still essentially the same words that poured out when I let this album rush through my head the second time I heard it. Why did I decide to do this, at the risk of losing all of you? Continue reading »

Aug 152018
 

 

This is an interview of NKSV, the Australian man behind both Nekrasov and Rebel Wizard, though the latter project was the focus of this discussion. The interview was conducted through a long chain of back-and-forth e-mails that lasted for several weeks, ending only yesterday when I forced myself to stop asking question because we’re only a couple days away from Prosthetic Records’ release of Rebel Wizard‘s new album, Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response.

I ought to explain that I swore off doing interviews more than a year ago after I finally accepted the reality that they consume time I don’t have, because I agonize too much in an effort to come up with non-standard questions that won’t bore the shit out of both myself and the person on the other end of the conversation. I made an exception here because, based on previous communications with NKSV, and because I’m such a big fan of Rebel Wizard, I thought it would be fun. And man, it really was.

This interview is also very long. VERY LONG. And sometimes it turned into a meeting of a mutual admiration society, which in retrospect might prove a bit embarrassing to both of us (though I don’t take back anything I said). If for those reasons, or others, you lose patience with this, I don’t need to tell you how to escape, though I do believe that this will prove interesting, insightful, thought-provoking (and fun) to a lot of readers despite its length — because, man, NKSV is an unorthodox wizard of a talker/writer, too. So maybe don’t pull the plug too soon?

One last word of advice before we begin: I think this conversation will make a lot more sense if you listen to Rebel Wizard’s first album (The Triumph of Gloom) and/or the new one (which premiered through a full stream at DECIBEL yesterday) before you begin reading, or while reading, or maybe even afterward. I’d encourage you to listen to those albums whether you read any further or not… and I’ll have some thoughts about the new one tomorrow in case we don’t completely exhaust your reading faculties today (you can get the new record here). Continue reading »

Aug 102018
 

 

It seems everyone these days is wearing a black hood, pulled down low so you can’t see the faces. Well, maybe not you (though with a face like yours, you should think about it). No, I’m talking about metal bands who want to add a sense of menace and mystery to their personas, in keeping with the menace and mystery of their music, or perhaps as a way of underscoring the message that “it’s not about us, it’s about the music — and if you didn’t notice, we don’t use names either.”

The Australian rebel wizard NKSV who has adopted the name Rebel Wizard doesn’t wear a hood. He obscures his face with the kind of hat Gandalf wore, pulled down low, brandishing a guitar instead of a wand. He’s also drunk on the wizdom of unicorn semen. Continue reading »

Jun 222018
 

 

As was also the situation on Wednesday, when I posted the last round-up before this one, I’m feeling hurried. Too much stuff going on in the fragments of life that aren’t devoted to NCS. But even though I don’t have time to cogently explain just how much I like the music I’ve chosen for this collection, and why, I didn’t want the week to end without putting more new music before you. (And of course we will have more for you this weekend as well.) So, without further ado, and without many complete sentences, let’s begin…

INNUMERABLE FORMS

…slow, titanic, teeth-loosening heaviness… a groaning melody that bespeaks utter soul-shattering misery… a monstrous voice that roars from an ice-cold void… and in the middle it becomes a rumbling, thundering, bone-snapping tank attack with a delicious solo (and there’s one more ravaging assault at the end)… This is “Punishment In Flesh“. Continue reading »

Feb 202018
 

 

The first track on the new Rebel Wizard EP, “The sickness of all knowledge“, begins with an excerpt from a recording of a public talk given in 1981 in Amsterdam by the philosopher, speaker, and writer Jiddu Krishnamurti (b.1895 – d.1986). It reads as follows:

So knowledge has become all important
but knowledge is never complete.
Knowledge about anything is still incomplete,
will always be incomplete.
Therefore knowledge always goes with ignorance,
knowledge always lives within the shadow of ignorance.

Except you never make it to the final word “ignorance” at the opening of this EP. The word is cut off by a shocking explosion of sound. It’s as if you were calmly unlocking the door to your home while thinking deep thoughts, and becoming immolated by a blast furnace upon opening it. Continue reading »

Aug 272017
 

 

I spend so much of each day scurrying around to find and write about new songs from forthcoming releases and to prepare introductions for our own premieres that I rarely have time to write my own reviews of full releases, except in the context of introducing our premieres. On a whim I decided to stop scurrying for 24 hours and share at least a few thoughts about three recent releases I’ve been enjoying.

REBEL WIZARD: THE WARNING OF ONE

The new Rebel Wizard EP is out now. It’s described as “Four anti-shamanic pre-fetal negative metal anthemic warnings of ‘one'”. You should listen to it. You should especially listen to it if you have a taste for the kind of creativity that turns out music which is off of metal’s most familiar beaten paths — although you could also think of it as music that creates intersections of well-loved pathways that usually diverge. Continue reading »