K Leimer — The Useless Lesson
(Palace of Lights PoL o7o1, 2007, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-01-01
At first listen, it might seem like The Useless Lesson takes two paths, one of melodic avant-garde chamber explorations, and another of more spacious ambient territory, interleaved throughout the album, the odd tracks being the former and the even tracks the latter. Further close listens, however, reveal a lot more secrets between the grooves, clues, and keys that offer clear evidence that all seven tracks are indeed part of the same dream sequence, linked together like a cinematic continuum that has a unifying theme. Using layered keyboards, guitar feedback, occasional muted percussion, strings (violin, cello, or excellent samples thereof), and sound processing, the composer seems to strike a theme of solitude and introspection, with an evolutionary guiding spirit that directs and guides the listener through portals from one section to the next. Titles may offer clues, but to this listener they have only further obscured what the concept might be, although it matters not – the music speaks for itself. The overall subtlety and delicacy of the carefully layered sounds that comprise each section are at times wondrous and beautiful, yet never pretty, and at other times paralyzing, haunting and transfixing. Each repeat listen reveals something new that hasn’t been apparent before, even after several dozen spins. Overall, a very satisfying listen on any number of different levels.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more