♫ Listen: High aura’d – If I’m Walking in the Dark, I’m Whispering

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Halloween may be over, but I love laying awake at 2 a.m., zoning some spine-tingling jams from Cleveland, Ohio’s High aura’d (John Kolodij). TMT was fortunate to catch up with John a year ago, where he talked about his passion for scoring films, cooking, and fly fishing in Ohio. He has a new release, If I’m Walking in the Dark, I’m Whispering , which encapsulates what we’ve come to know and love from this project: sprawling Americana/drone hybrids via acoustic guitar, piano, and various effects. Split between two sides of a cassette, If I’m Walking… is a surprising, haunting autumnal sonic journey best experienced the whole way through. With the shorter daylight hours, High aura’d provides a cold yet comforting soundtrack for barren trees in the forest, snow beginning to trickle out of the sky, and the trudging bleakness that is winter.

If I’m Walking in the Dark, I’m Whispering is available now through Unifactor, in cassette and digital formats, and also as part of a batch that includes similar autumnal acoustic sorcery from New Hard Folk and Shells.

If I’m Walking in the Dark, I’m Whispering by High Aura’d

♫ Listen: Headband – Magnetic Earth

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My first-grade son’s report card has a “study of magnets” entry for which he received no grade, so I assume he’ll tackle those bad boys in marking period 4. The timing’s not great — I could’ve really used his input on this one, Headband’s Magnetic Earth (Unifactor). I can never remember how magnets work — something about positive attracts positive, because like attributes should hang out together? I could probably google it. C Monster would certainly approve of me taking more online initiative. (Hi, C!)

But I have no time to google at the moment, because I’ve stuck my noggin into Headband’s proton exhaust manifold and come away with a shimmering galactic space dome for my troubles. Physics warp all around Duncan Moore’s synthesizers — he’s the captain of this crazy ship after all — as if everything we do and do not know about Earth is fair game out in the vastness of space, liable to be rendered insignificant when faced with wider universal truths. For example: magnets — do they work like we expect them to? (To be fair, my expectations are more confused than anything.) Another example: will this beard that I’m growing continue to flourish out here in zero G?

Whether or not you can make sense of this crazy science foray is less important than hurling yourself unprepared into Headband’s void here. Knowledge of anything is secondary — the only prerequisite is allowing your mind the capacity to expand as far as it goes and in whatever shape it goes in. Maybe the oscillations and textures are messages. Maybe they’re catalysts intended to fire up the parts of our brains we don’t consciously use. Either way, I got nothing useful beyond my eternal prattlings. Nothing but a shimmering galactic space dome now. For my troubles.

Magnetic Earth by Headband

Watch: MSHR – “Wave Guide Edifice”

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My brother-in-law’s a sculptor. He’s into Rodin. There’s just something about Rodin that he gets, something that speaks to him. He’s got this thing for The Burghers of Calais — he’s just wild about that one. Perhaps he feels the deep sense of self-sacrifice inherent in the piece, the heroism in the face of almost certain death. Perhaps he’s confused by this display of bravery following humiliating defeat, and his attempts to process that conflict within himself has led him down a path of artistic expression.

But he’s also super into H. R. Giger, so of course most of his work looks like biomechanical superwomen or xenomorphs. Inner turmoil obliterated by a chestburster.

Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy, the duo MSHR, are digital sculptors, fashioning pixelated monuments in code and sonic formations in circuitry. The video for “Wave Guide Edifice,” the lead track from their forthcoming (4/20!) tape Phased Trance Constructions on Unifactor, combines, seemingly effortlessly, the interplay between sight and sound. But what the hell am I looking at here? These glowing, ahem, edifices, these undulating waveforms, these bright structures, all triumphs of imagination, all projections of extraordinary insight.

All these things, born of the process of personal discovery, supernova’d outward in dense manifestation of intricate detail — no single idea is wasted, none is omitted. The noise and the form rage within MSHR, striving to connect! Or maybe that’s just whatever narcotic cocktail they’ve decided to ingest, who’s to say. Still, the synthesized soundscapes form the basis, the backbone, of the psychotropic workbench, undulating and pulsing with otherworldly energy. And again I ask: what the hell am I looking at here?

This isn’t Rodin. Or Giger.

These are abstract monuments to soundwaves, terraforming cassette players via magnetic tape interference.

Don’t you just want to be a part of that? You can. You will. There’s no reason not to. Use your imagination. Sculpt all kinds of crazy stuff in there. Phased Trance Constructions is your navigational matrix.

♫ Listen: Liz Roberts & Henry Ross – Death Knell

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i run the rough with thick – right
Up and down the thoroughfare
Like a parade,   apprecia

  still as a soaked rock
If you think I’m pretty upright
  look down forever
with it pretty glass
Spent eternity my loss
  in the bad one