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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

They say good things come in threes. That’s certainly the case with releases on Boston’s own Intransitive Recordings. Specializing in experimental music, noise, and sound art, the label has released some tremendous CDs over the years by acts like NERVE NET NOISE, BRENDAN MURRAY, and KAPOTTE MUZIEK, pretty much always in groups of three.

This month, label head Howard Stelzer unleashes a new batch of recordings by an international array of experimental music luminaries and cult figures (in law enforcement, no less) from the outer reaches and beyond. After the jump, some MP3s to give you a sense of what’s happening on one of New England’s most adventurous record labels.

The first of the spring crop of Intransitive releases is a reissue of a long out-of-print album, Knud un Nom de Serpent, by Lionel Marchetti. In this haunting and dreamlike record, the acclaimed young French composer works with sounds from around the world, constructing intricate collages from fragments of reggae, French chanson, sound poetry, location recordings, and more.

San Francisco sound artist (and head of the fantastic 23Five and Helen Scarsdale labels) Jim Haynes crafts immense, powerful drones out of corroded metallic textures. As Stelzer sees it, Haynes’s records aren’t really drones per se. He describes his music as being “made up of layers upon organic layers that are in constant motion, and yet seem somehow still.”

Hands down, the weirdest of the lot is the album Asylum Lunaticum by the husband and wife team, Kommissar Hjüler and Mama Bär. The duo hail from the German town of Flensburg, where Kommissar Hjüler is in fact a bona fide police officer. Using crude, lo-fi equipment (basically their voices and microphones), the two make supremely unnerving music. Their strange records have been available in insanely small editions (think single digits) on lathe-cut vinyl or CD-R. Asylum Lunaticum is Hjüler and Mama Bär’s first proper CD release and collects some of their favorite tracks from the last few years.

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