Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

January 4, 2013

new FOSSILS cdr album, “Bells and Gulls” (KSE #239)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 8:50 am


“Bells and Gulls” (KSE #239)

CDR album, $8 postpaid in US, $10 elsewhere

payment via paypal to  django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com


Since 2004, the FOSSILS collective, working out of Hamilton, Ontario, have been issuing a constant flow of exciting, micro-label editions of fascinating, edgy, complex, and often witty experimental music. Can’t really think of a similar outfit—the approach is not unlike The LA Free Music Society, and they have a DIY cut-up/xerox aesthetic to the releases that always gives the music a warm human feel (like KSE, I’m thinking they are animated by the true original spirit of punk, when punk was a spirit and not a commodity and a set of images), and the music itself is always a surprise…you cannot put a label like “drone” or “harsh noise” or “free improv” on this body of work. I’ve got about a dozen Fossils releases, and each is REALLY different. They can be brutal, they can be tender and elegant, they can be absurdist, they can be trippy, but usually they will be delivering a unique blend of off-kilter sound experiments, always fresh and unexpected. They also have the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to instrumentation that reminds one of the early AACM/Art Ensemble of Chicago and the above-mentioned LAFMS. So if those names interest you (one is tempted to add Jandek, AMM, and Half Japanese too), you should be on the Middle James mailing list (go to Yahoo Groups and look up Middle James Co. and subscribe) and you will want this exciting and decidedly different new FOSSILS creation from KSE: BELLS AND GULLS.

This new release, recorded especially for KSE, features core Fossils members Daniel Farr on piano and David Payne on accordion, and the first two tracks feature this duo material…although you should think of these instruments as  “sound sources” as the material is treated heavily. The piano is clearly a piano in some parts (reminiscent of the “broken piano” found on Coum Transmissions “Sugarmorphoses” LP), though the playing is of a wobbly nature that reminds me of a gyroscope falling off its axis (and that’s before it’s slowed down and stretched like elastic), and the accordion is used to create various chunky, streaky layers. Thus, the overall effect is one of cold candle-lit bubbling, churning other-worldly experimental library music filtered through Two Virgins. It’s atmospheric and as you listen it leaves melted residue on your mind. Also, the hand of the artist is clear in the edits/overlays which are not intended to be un-noticed and seamless, so it’s almost like an action-painting in sound.

The remaining 7 tracks consist of solo pieces from Farr (tracks 3-5) and Payne (tracks 6-9), which use recordings from the same source-material sessions, but go much further out. I have images of AMM rehearsing in a dank chamber of Boris Karloff’s dungeon, full of Jess Franco-esque zooms and garish-colored lighting, and with someone tripping while messing with the sound source. You can conjur your own picture, but this is the perfect music for the freezing wet 5 a.m. winter atmosphere in which I’m typing this.

And the exciting news is that the next Fossils release will be nothing at all like this. These guys are doing important work. They are unconcerned with image and hipness and being part of some clique, as so many “experimental” musicians in the so-called noise world are. This is original creation of the purist sort–in the great North American tradition spanning from Harry Partch to Jandek and beyond. Fossils and Middle James Co. are creating one of the most original bodies of work being done today. People will look back on this and pretend to have been champions of it while they were actually over-praising the darlings of the drone/ambient/noise world instead. Get on the Fossils Train To Surreal Lalaland NOW with BELLS AND GULLS. KSE is honored to feature Messrs. Payne and Farr’s work and to welcome them to the KSE family. Fossils and Middle James are the kind of groups/arts collectives that I look up to and respect…and most of all, ENJOY as they document the pure joy of creation, with the blinders taken off, the training wheels removed, and the fences taken down. It’s a wild ride…

FOSSILS, “BELLS AND GULLS,” KSE #239, only $8.00 postpaid in the US ($10 ppd. elsewhere).

And while you are ordering it, why not also pick up some of our other forward-thinking KSE cdr music releases:

($8 each, ppd…$2 extra for postage outside US if ordering only one CDR):


KSE #251 (cdr), FORBES GRAHAM, “Return: The Journey”

KSE #235 (CDR), BOOK OF SHADOWS, “Chimaera”

KSE #237 (CDR), MICHAEL BARRETT & MIKE GRIFFIN, ““Birtual Seme-Alabak” (aka Belltonesuicide and Parashi)

KSE #228 (CDR), UNMOOR, “Night Driver”

KSE # 210 (CDR), HEATHER LEIGH, “Empire”

KSE #226 (CDR), DEREK ROGERS, “Born Into Systems”

KSE #247 (CDR), MARCUS RUBIO & BILL SHUTE, “Only The Imprint Of An Echo Remains” (poetry and electronic music album, recorded in San Antonio, TX)

KSE #207 (CDR), ALFRED 23 HARTH & CARL STONE, “Gift Fig”


KSE #222 (CDR), MASSIMO MAGEE, “Sopranino Solo, “ cover art by MP Landis.

KSE #220 (CDR),  MATT KREFTING, “Sweet Days of Discipline”

KSE #223 (CDR), ALISTAIR CROSBIE, “A Campfire In The Snow”

KSE #214 (CDR), SABRINA SIEGEL,”Bottlecaps” 

As always, thank you for your support of KSE and your support of all independent artists

fossils, tv magic

Fossils, “TV Magic” cassette (Beartown label)

fossils t-shirt

Fossils T-shirt (from Cardinal Records website)

fossils box

Fossils, “black in black boxXx” from 2007

fossils, 7 inch

Fossils 7″ release on Kye

middle jamesMiddle James Co.,  “limited edition cassette and cdr label documenting DIY lo-fi efforts of fossils & friends…”…be sure to join the MJC mailing list via Yahoo Groups (see info above)

fossils poster

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