“Bewitching” is the only word we could come up with to describe “Seraphastra” when we first heard it in 2013. Originally released on an extremely limited cassette by the Digitalis label, the album makes a welcome debut to the vinyl format. Matchess is the solo project of Whitney Johnson, singer & keyboardist for Chicago band Verma, whose banshee-like wail & synth squall can be heard over the band’s more recent Trouble In Mind releases “Coltan” & “Sunrunner ” but Johnson’s work as Matchess is a different beast all together. Foregoing her band’s skyward arching krautrock jams for a more subtle, ‘Radiophonic’ approach, “Seraphastra”s alien drones & rhythmic pulse are grounded in the mystic & cosmic efflivium of modern spiritual synth music.
The tone is immediately set from the first track “The Need of the Greatest Wealth”; it ‘s somber mantric drone, envelops the listener in it ’s simple, comforting embrace before ending in a deafening scree of Johnson's electric viola. Other tracks like the entrancing “Letters of Blood & Fire” & “Utterly Delightful Cry of Outrage” are simultaneously exotic as they are familiar, operating just outside the realm of traditional song structure, dipping a toe in here & there. Johnson’s minimalist sensibility owes as much to the Berlin school as it does to early industrial & minimal synth pioneers like Throbbing Gristle & Cabaret Voltaire. Light is finally being shed on the pioneering work of women in electronic music & composition like Delia Derbyshire, Laurie Speigel, and specifically Ruth White (whose spiritual & organic approach to electronic music eschewed it ’s chaotic roots for a more thoughtful & meditative path, with startlingly unsettling results) and Matchess places Johnson in league with counterparts like Zola Jesus and Liz Harris (Grouper), carrying the torch of female experimental & electronic musicians in the 21st century.
Natalie Chami adopted the TALsounds moniker in 2009 for her solo explorations in the drone, ambient, and electro-acoustic improv disciplines. In live performance, Chami's analog synthesizers weave together into drifting loops that evolve in tandem with her vocal leads and choral harmonies. Her meditative sessions stretch into hypnotizing depths of stream-of-consciousness multi-instrumental input, sinking into expanses of infinite sustain and cresting into bursts of noise from an arsenal of oscillators and effects pedals. She has toured the country and performed on five physical releases as a member of drone improv trio Good Willsmith, including their debut LP The Honeymoon Workbook (Umor Rex, 2014). Chami performs as half of ambient duo l'eternebre, and co-founded the experimental collective/netlabel Screaming Claws. She was born in Ontario and lives in Chicago.
I am a Chicago based musician working with guitar, effects and laptop to create abstract ambient music that is both minimal and dense. My main focus has been the interaction of sounds/notes with themselves.With only the use of delay, layering and distortion I attempt to make a lot of guitars no longer sound like guitars.I like to call this minimal dense music for that reason.
Scott Cortez - (b.1969) is a guitarist that has been creating ambient textural music and video work since the late 80’s.
‘.. a founding father of guitar-abstracted ambient-drone tradition. Cortez’s artful recontextualisation of the tropes of the ambient-shoegaze genre; floats free from de rigueur digital means,... lo-fi colour - guitar-wrought, loop-pedal-refracted, 4-track cassette-captured’