This Just In: Miscontinuum

If you follow “This Just In,” then you know I’m a fan of contemporary, experimental takes on classical styles, especially opera. Last year we lost two great composers who really opened my eyes to how far you can push opera; Robert Ashley and Elodie Lauten. But their legacy lives on in the artists who are taking the challenging form, skewing it and running with it. It’s exciting that Jan St. Werner is one of them. Probably better known as one-half of Mouse On Mars and Microstoria, I got into St. Werner’s solo Lithops project and his subsequent work under his own name a bit more than the aforementioned. 2013’s Blaze Colour Burn was on heavy rotation in the shop when it dropped, sparking lots of strange looks and customers asking “is this just a whole album of parade recordings?” It wasn’t.

Now, with Miscontinuum, St. Werner has raised the skewed bar even higher with an electronic opera. When applying the term “opera” to this work, you can’t begin to think of it in a concrete sense. Yes, there are libretti, but they’re written by Markus Popp (Oval) and read by Dylan Carlson (Earth). And the vocals? Well, they’re screams, whispers, pitch modulations and beyond. Overall, Miscontinuum is an extension of the operatic form, utilizing experimental/electronic approaches and sounds to create a journey through an abstract atmosphere with an obtuse narrative that’s more sense- than language-based at times. It’s a feeling, a complete experience, and definitely not intended for casual listening. And if you happen to be in London early February, you can fully experience Miscontinuum live. Please go and tell me all about it. Full details from Thrill Jockey and our weekly in-stock list are below…

Jan St. Werner – Miscontinuum Album 2LP:
Listen/Watch: “Miscontinuum Album Medley”
Miscontinuum Album documents an impressive new work by seminal electronic musician Jan St. Werner, whose innovations with Mouse on Mars and Microstoria are well documented. Over a period of approximately four years Miscontinuum has been developed and refined as an operatic live performance in Munich, as well as a radio play. This recorded incarnation of the work is the third entry in Werner’s lauded Fiepblatter series, and features contributions by Dylan Carlson (Earth), Markus Popp (Oval), Kathy Alberici, and Taigen Kawabe (Bo Ningen). It is a challenging listen not compromised for casual music consumption habits, but with time and close listening it yields vast rewards. Miscontinuum Album is a radical convergence of sound exploration and storytelling that has few precedents.

The central concept of Miscontinuum explores misconceptions of time and memory, inspired by unique acoustic phenomena derived digital phasing and musical time stretching techniques. There is an aura of doom that pervades the work. Much of the album’s evocative nature comes from the interplay of Werner’s electronics with Alberici and Kawabe’s voices and the contrast between those organic and inorganic elements. Popp, a longtime collaborator with Werner in Microstoria, wrote the libretti, which is presented in five distinct scenes and recited redolently by Carlson. The surreal plot involves a progressive distinction of time as a force rather than a structuring system, and an individual who can shift consciously between states within that force. The high concepts and unusual creative partners combine for an album that is uncommonly emotionally resonant.

Miscontinuum was first performed as a part of Werner’s Asymmetric Studio series in Munich on June 18th, 2013, and also featured video by Werner and Karl Kliem and stage design by Christina del Yelmo & Sonia Gomez Villar. It was broadcast by Bayerischer Rundfunk public radio ten days later. The striking visual elements, flowing dresses and impressionistic masses of color, make appearances on the album’s art, and will be presented in new forms in the coming months. The first revised version of the Miscontinuum featuring live video by Zoya Bassi will premiere at the St Luke’s Church in London on Feb 8th 2015 and is the first in a series of more shows to come in 2015.” -Thrill Jockey

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The new release, reissue and restock continuum…
A Tribe Called Quest – Anthology 2LP; Midnight Marauders LP; People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths Of Rhythm 2LP
Alejandro Jodorowsky – Dance Of Reality OST LP
Alt-J – This Is All Yours 2LP
Amy Winehouse – Back To Black LP
Aphex Twin – Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt2 EP 12”*; Selected Ambient Works 85-92 2LP; Syro CD
Asid Bateri – Demo CS
Bad Brains – Bad Brains LP
Barrington Levy – Too Experienced LP
Beat Spacek – Modern Streets 2LP*
Big Star – #1 Record LP
Bjorn Torske – Nedi Myra 2LP*; Trobbel 2LP*
Black Keys – Chulahoma LP
Black Sabbath – Master Of Reality LP
Boards Of Canada – Geogaddi 3LP; Music Has The Right To Children 2LP
Bob Dylan – Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan LP; Highway 61 Revisited LP; Nashville Skyline LP
Bob Marley – Exodus (30th Anniversary) LP; Marley OST 3LP
The Body & Thou – You, Whom I’ve Always Hated LP*
Budos Band – The Budos Band III LP
Can – Delay LP; Monster Movie LP
Caribou – Our Love LP
Catholic Guilt – S/T LP
Charles Bradley – No Time For Dreaming LP; Victim Of Love LP
Clark – S/T 2LP
The Clash – London Calling 2LP
Cold Waste – Primitive CS
Daft Punk – Discovery 2LP
Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables LP
Decades/Failures – G00DBY3 LP*
Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030 2LP
Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward LP
Die Antwoord – Donker Mag 2LP
Disclosure – Settle 2LP
Dr. Dog – Live At A Flamingo Hotel 2LP
Elliott Smith – New Moon 2LP
Erykah Badu – Worldwide Underground LP
Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa 70 – Sorrow, Tears & Blood LP; Expensive Shit LP; He Miss Road LP
Feral Trash – Trashification LP*
Flaming Lips – Yoshimi LP
Floor – Oblation 2LP
Flume – Flume LP
Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma LP; Until The Quiet Comes 2LP; You’re Dead 2LP
Foo Fighers – Foo Fighters LP; Sonic Highways CD
Funkadelic – Cosmic Slop LP; Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On LP
Gary Numan & Ade Fenton – From Inside OST 2LP*
Ghostface Killah – 36 Seasons LP
Gogol Bordello – Super Taranta 2LP
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach 2LP
Grizzly Bear – Shields 2LP
Homestretch – Wars Of Attrition… LP
Jake Xerxes Fussell – S/T LP*
Jay-Z – The Black Album 2LP; The Blueprint 2LP
Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? LP
Joey Beltram – Energy Flash 12″*
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme LP
Karen O – Crush Songs 2LP
Kenny Dorham – Afro-Cuban LP
Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence LP
Lee Perry – Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread LP
Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband LP
M.I.A. – Arular 2LP
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming 2LP
Madlib – Shades Of Blue LP
Menace Beach – Ratworld LP*
Mikky Ekko – Time LP*
Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue LP; Relaxin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet LP; Sketches Of Spain LP
Model 500 – Sonic Sunset 2×12″*; The Passage 12″*
Moreno Veloso – Coisa Boa LP
Nas – Illmatic LP
Nightmares On Wax – Carboot Soul 2LP; In A Space Outta Sound 2LP
Nina Kraviz – DJ Kicks 2LP*
Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine LP
Noveller – Fantastic Planet LP*
Outkast – Aquemini 3LP; ATLiens 2LP; Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik LP; Stankonia 2LP
Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper Deluxe 3LP; Tomboy LP
Peter Tosh – Legalize It LP
Phantogram – Nightlife LP
Pink Floyd – Endless River 2LP
Post Teens – The Heat 7″*
Rancid – Honor Is All We Know LP
Rollins Band – Weight LP*
Sam Cooke – Harlem Square Club, Miami, FL 1/10/63 LP
Sharon Jones – Naturally LP
The Smiths – Hatful Of Hollow LP; Meat Is Murder LP; Strangeways, Here We Come LP
Talking Heads – Fear Of Music LP; More Songs About Buildings & Food LP; Remain In Light LP
Tame Impala – Innerspeaker 2LP; Lonerism 2LP
Thelonious Monk – In Italy LP
Todd Terje – It’s Album Time 2LP
Tom Waits – Mule Variations 2LP
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Gone Girl OST 2LP
Trophy Wife – All The Sides CS
Various – Afro-Cuba: Tumba Francesa 2LP
Various – Beatles Reggae LP*
Various – Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness 2LP*
Various – Haiti Direct 2CD
Various – Legendary Studio One Records 63-80 2LP
Various – Where Soul Began: 2 1955-1962 2CD*
Various – Witchcraft In The Air: Detroit Soul 57-62 2CD*
Various – World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love’s A Real Thing 2LP
Velvet Undergound – Scepter Studios Sessions LP; White Light/White Heat LP
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2LP.
Wire – Document & Eyewitness 2LP

*Indicates new release or new reissue