Daydream Nation and the Speculative Music of Sonic Youth

In October of 1988, Sonic Youth released Daydream Nation, an album littered with references to the speculative cyberpunk fiction of William Gibson. While I have never read Gibson’s work (though I have seen the god-awful film adaptation Johnny Mnemonic), it is my understanding that his writing predicted many of the technological and cultural developments we now take for granted, including the ubiquitous influence of computers and the Internet on our daily lives. Just as Gibson’s writings predicted these developments in technology, so too did Daydream Nation predict developments in rock music; if there is such a thing as “speculative music,” then surely Sonic Youth’s sprawling masterpiece (and really their early career as a whole) falls squarely into this category.

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Nyogthaeblisz – Apex Satanist (Iron Bonehead, 2016)

To say that Texas’ Nyogthaeblisz exists on the outermost fringes of black metal would be an understatement.  Their highly corrosive, blown-out sound has a lot more in common with an album like Venereology or Inner Mind Mystique than it does with Transilvanian Hunger. There very well might be something resembling traditional black metal lurking under the layers of distortion, but it is buried so deeply that it becomes something completely and utterly alien in Nyogthaeblisz’s hands.

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Lord Time – Mandatory Human Livestock Reduction (Universal Consciousness, 2016)

My introduction to Southern California’s Lord Time was 2013’s Drink My Tears, an hour-long mind-fucking odyssey to the outer fringes of black metal, noise and experimental music which ended up being one of my favorite albums released that year.  Since then, the one-man project has only gotten darker, harsher and weirder, as evidenced by the utterly warped Mandatory Human Livestock Reduction, released earlier this year on sole member Andorkappen’s own Universal Consciousness.

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20 years of Masonna’s Inner Mind Mystique

MI0000109313A few years back, I wrote a piece about Relapse Records’ noise/ambient sub label Release Entertainment, which concurrently exposed me to a variety of experimental sounds as I was in the beginning stages of my deep dive into the worlds of death metal and grindcore.  One of the key albums in the Release catalog was Inner Mind Mystique, the seventh full length from Japanese noise provocateur Masonna (aka Yamazaki Maso).

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White Spot – Everything Changes, Nothing Disappears (self-released, 2015)

a0749226604_10Those of you that read IG on the regular or follow me on social media know that I’m always up for some good noise rock.  As such, White Spot’s Father Songs proved to be one of 2015’s most pleasant surprises so far, a noise rock album that showcased mainman/madman Marcus Lemoine’s knack for concise yet devastating songwriting and an attention to craftsmanship not often seen within the genre.

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Melt-Banana’s joyful noise.

035It’s been a few weeks since I saw Melt-Banana at Harlow’s, and for some reason I just can’t get their set out of my mind.  Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that I actually got to see Melt-Banana; sure, they’ve toured the states many times, but keep in mind that I was living in the middle of Iowa up until a year ago, not exactly a hotbed for extreme and/or experimental music.  Since we’ve moved to Sacramento, I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing a handful of bands I never imagined I’d get the opportunity to see without traveling great distances (Sargeist and Ufomammut immediately spring to mind), and the Japanese duo are probably number one on the “holy shit, I can’t believe they’re actually playing where I live” list so far.

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Sewer Goddess – Painlust (Malignant Records, 2015)

a4098605531_10My first exposure to Sewer Goddess came back in 2013 in the form of Mutilation Process, a thoroughly unsettling live recording released on cassette by the always great Graceless Recordings.  Ever since that initial taste of their harsh electronic depravity, I’ve longed to hear more from the band, but tracking down their releases is no easy task.  Fortunately, they’ve opted to release Painlust, their most recent studio assault, through high profile noise/electronic/industrial label Malignant Records, making it much easier for schmucks like me to track down this half-hour long exercise in mechanized malevolence.

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