Monday, May 30, 2011

Jonas Reinhardt - Music for the Tactile Dome

Golden times for the krautrock lovers and kosmische musik worshippers. Jonas Reinhardt is a San Fran unit revolving around Germanic electronic synthesis and forging new beautiful soundscapes from the material pioneered by the Teutonic masters. In the vein of Forma or Food Pyramid, but these guys shift it slightly to the ambient side of Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze with a bit of Neu!-like moments. Buy the LP at the Not Not Fun Records website.

link found on the Random Shit shoutbox

Religious Knives - Smokescreen

New album from the New York dark psych masters. Continuing the vein of previous albums, Smokescreen carries on with the smokey, organ-rich Velvet Underground worship with cymbal-heavy drumming. "Big Police" is the standout track, featuring some of the heaviest rhythm I've heard in a long time. Good stuffz. Buy the CD or the LP at Sacred Bones Records website.


link found on Random Shit shoutbox


Debut album by the kosmische Brooklyn trio, first released on cassette on Sam Goldberg's Centre label, later on Editions Mego sub-label Spectrum Spools as a vinyl LP. You know very well what you can expect - relaxing analog miniatures in the vein of Cluster, Harmonia or Harald Grosskopf. Recommended! Grab the vinyl at Mimaroglu or Discriminate Music.


Stream the entire album here:
Forma: FORMA by alteredzones

Review: Venn Rain - Humming Hills (GoldTimers Tapes, 2011)

Venn Rain’s Humming Hills is an all-analog, New Age-like relaxation float among lo-fi drones and warm tape hiss. “Foreign Body” takes up the entirety of side A and revolves around a simple synthesizer motif, reverbed and delayed into near oblivion (or, oblission?) throughout the course of the track. There is little variations, with more bassy vibrations kicking in every now and then, which only adds to the hypnotic/hypnautic haze. The whole thing rises and falls like a carefully programmed, tireless tide (or, indeed, like humming hills: representing the primordial rhythm of the pre-human times).
The tracks on side B follow the same formula: “Velvet Trees” revolves around a similar and exhaustingly simple synthesizer loop with a gradually rising buzzing electric guitar-like drone living its own life and creating its own snaking melodies around the pillars of pulsating, shimmering sound. The last track, “Object Daze”, feels a little less constraint then the previous tracks, creating a wider, more spacious ambience, still incredibly delayed and reverbed, but now less locked into a synth loop repeating every few seconds. The waves come and go and the spark-like high notes create a beautuful melody somewhere in the distance. Despite the electronic equipment used, the music feels (maybe because of the intentionally lower quality) incredibly organic, like a living being, breathing and pulsing, feathered and colorful.
Humming Hills is a neat little tape for the fans of vintage, somewhat hazy ambient music with a touch of the New Age aesthetic. The listener won’t find any revolutions here, no strange experiments. The album follows the analog bliss scheme and follows it well. Audiophiles and people who want to hear every smallest glitch should also stay away from this tape though.

Listen to the sample on GoldTimers Tapes page.

Review: Den - Bronze Fog (Retrograde Tapes, 2011)

When reading the description for Den’s Bronze Fog attached to the cassette, I expected this to be a slow-burner harsh noise/drone dirge (after all, who would’ve thought different after reading phrases like “shrill electronic abrasion”, “lifeless landscapes” and “nuclear winter jams”?). How pleasantly I was surprised when the cassette turned out to be filled to the brim with hi-energy stoner/noise/sludge/scum rock with hardcore punk leanings? The very first track, “Grindstone”, kicks you in the face with synth wails and maniacal drumming set to some of the most ridiculously low-tuned bass guitar I’ve ever heard. Fucking insane!
It only goes better from here: the second track, “Saint of Killers”, begins with distant siren-like synth sounds, waiting for the drums to kick and give way to a series of brutal sludge breakdowns set to a plodding rhythm, EyeHateGod style (down to the title). “The Ground” sounds like a bastard child of Boris’ “Ganbou-Ki” and the no wave Magik Markers at their vilest, down to the tireless drumming a’la Pete Nolan and droning, bassy, sustained guitar. “TDJ”, the shortest track on the cassette, is dinghy, dirty fuckin hardcore punk with a penchant for guitar tuned lowwwwwww.
Side B is more abstract and actually fitting to the album description attached. The only proper rock track is “SotU”, reaching nearly 7 minutes of hardcore stoner rock with a funky interlude when the acoustic guitar is played instead of an electric one. The three other tracks are dark synth soundscapes sounding like scattered, dying and abandoned radio transmissions in the post-apocalyptic world.
Den’s Bronze Fog is an ultra-energetic blowout, packing hard and hitting even harder. A fine debut by this Chicago label – looking forward to hear more, both by Den and by Retrograde Tapes. Fuckin’ A!

Wooden - Birch Boulevard

Angelo McCulloch's Wooden project gives an idea what Christian Fennesz would have sounded like if he eschewed his electric guitar for an acoustic one and stopped fucking around with granular synthesis so much; or what Sean McCann would be if he fell in love with laptops, glitch music and MAX/MSP (or similar software). Oneiric ambient laptop folk textures for hazy summer days.

The tape will be released soon on Bathetic Records. Expect it!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

El Marrano de la Razón - La Incoación de las Desbordantes Anomalías Apocalipticas

Holy shit, this is legitimately weird. A solo project by Oliver Lorenzana Medina from Mexico, this psychedelic-tribal-noise-folk-experimental sounds as if it was ready to swallow the whole Belgian psychedelic/weirdo scene, Ultra Eczema included. Also, it can be compared to less letharghic (as in: less murky/more dynamic) Skaters. Beautiful and incredibly trippy. Check it out!

SeaBed - SeaBed

SeaBed is the moniker of truly international artist Craig Johnson, who was born in Wellington, New Zealand and has since lived in places like Reykjavik, Iceland or Berlin, Germany. SeaBed is a debut EP by the project, bringing images of watching a low, steely sky on the ocean shore - like a more spacious, drawn out Tim Hecker. Not really a summer jam, but still recommended! Released on Berlin netlabel TrueCall.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: Stitched Vision - Ocean Glow (Eternal Solitude, 2011)

Australia’s Jason Campbell comes back with another release. This time I was lucky enough to receive the physical copy of Ocean Glow (along with another tape from Jason’s Eternal Solitude label, Live  by Tailings, which I will review soon). Ocean Glow is less harsher and more floating than Open Palms. And just like the title suggests, the music on the album is both radiant – with hope and beauty – and lacking with details, yet powerful and eternal, like an ocean. Campbell represents the calm, warm kind of ambient, which is suitable to listen in a quiet room at a modest volume, to paraphrase the liner notes of Pale Blue Sky’s Shades of Grey. But while Pollard’s music was completely lo-fi, skeletal and reduced to pure, analog drones, Stitched Vision “hits” (or rather, immerses) the listener with perfectly weighted balance of bassy, slowly pulsing drones and tastefully muted white noise, which adds to spaciousness of the entire album. The only harsher (of course, I use the word “harsh” in the context of this record, this is in no way harsh for, say, Japanoise fans) moment of this record is a one-minute miniature “Covered”, in which the white noise is pusher more toward the front. This interlude is soon smoothed out by “Energy Deposit”, which sounds similar to Fabio Orsi’s Winterreise. I can only expect more quality zones from this Australian fellow soon in the future. Apparently, he has another tape coming up on Eternal Solitude soon!

The tape got sold out on Eternal Soltiude, so you can now download Ocean Glow for free! Download it here.

The tracklist is as follows:
1. Recede
2. Fading Light
3. Covered
4. Energy Deposit
5. Kingsley Pt. 2

Review: Peopling - Peopling EP (Self-released, 2011)

                Although the cover of Bushwick resident Ronnie Gonzales’ Peopling project’s self-titled EP may or may not be a reference to Lightning Bolt’s Wonderful Rainbow, the music on the CD is much closer to the broken guitar IDM of later Sigthings than the ecstatic dopamine rock of the Providence duo. The album still stays in the noise rock area, albeit a very abstract one. The music here is hidden beneath crunchy electronic noise – “Come Home Eccentric” and “Fiji” are what can be considered closest to actual songs. The droning organ opening flows through the high-pitched ever-fluctuating noise and finally gives way to maniacal drumming/drum machine and a simple, yet menacing guitar riff and ridiculously overdriven vocals. The second one sounds almost like a collab between The Dead C and Alva Noto with bleak, distant guitar and glitchy atmosphere punctuated by distorted repetitive shouting in the style of Brian Chippendale.
                The rest of the tracks sound like mere sketches – “Regprog”, “Middle Vanessa Yeast” and “Meetings” are harsh collages, with high-pitched feedback noise fighting with fried electronics and tortured, primal yells. In fact,  “Middle Vanessa Yeast” shows true potential, with a droning riff and sloooow drumming, all together sounding like a distant cousin of The Dead C’s “Head” off their album Tusk. “Summer Such and Such” is an interesting standout,  which sounds like Roy Montgomery circa Temple IV gone completely out of control with the guitar pedals and controllers.
                The Peopling EP is filled with interesting textures, somewhat menacing atmosphere and sizzling synthesizer noises. Clocking in a mere 15-20 minutes, this short piece leaves the listener starved for more. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011


A damn near full discography from this Finland-based experimental unit, featuring members of such heavyweights as Circle or Magyar Posse. The band's style stems from krautrock and jazz rock, but offers some exciting deviations (in a very positive sense) and a perfect balance between tongue-in-cheek attitude and musical seriousness and professionalism. Futuro is a hauntological journey among early electronics and strange samples in German, Italian, Russian, English, Finnish and god knows what else. Music for Supermarket is a hilarious amphetamine-fueled MIDI miniature. Pingvin and Ukkossalama is the band at their most jazziest, delivering tightly-knit and lengthy jams. Arpeggio is a series of kraut-jazz workouts drenched in electronic madness, like a more song-oriented Supersilent, while Integral is a meeting point of jazz-laden post-rock, hissing and crackling synthesizers and hypnotizing acid techno tracks.

Ukkossalama (link taken from this blog)

Holy McGrail

...more like Holy McFuck! This mysterious Brit released three full albums and one EP in his career and we're dealing with some heavy psychedelic droning doomness with a tinge of ambience here and there. Collecting Earthquakes (recorded with Stephen O'Malley himself) and Smashed Amps & Sunn Guitars are lengthy excursions somewhere between Sunn O))), early Earth, Shit & Shine at its most minimal. Raw Power Suite is a fuzzed-out, wah-wahed and totally distorted tribute to Stooges' legendary Raw Pawer. Highly fucking recommended, especially, Collecting Earthquakes. I've still yet to find Burning Holy Rome, I guess I'm gonna simply buy it at the guy's official store.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Breatherholes - Give It to U (Self-released, 2011)

            With the tape wrapped in trick cardboard and words „Jakub, here’s the tape. Enjoy – lew” being scribbled on it and a black & white xeroxed cover adorned with random blue and pink marker doodles being actually GLUED to the tape (with silicon), and as the insert informs, the music “recorded in an RV in a driveway in Austin, tx in the third month of the 11th year of the 21st century”, Breatherholes’ Give It to U is almost a dictionary definition of terms “DIY” and “hand-made”.
The sounds on the tape is no less DIY than the packaging – a lo-fi, somewhat psychedelic, urban singer-songwriter collection. Sparse, almost cold in its simplicity, yet warm with melodies and lyrics. Despite the makeshift packaging, Lew took the effort to collect on the lyrics in the insert – cool points to him (even though some parts of the lyrics are mysteriously crossed out – last minute decision to drop fragments of the lyrics while recording the songs or an aesthetic?). The addition of the lyrics is very useful, because it might be hard (at first at least) to get through the delayed lyrics. Despite the limited instrumentarium and recording space, the tracks sound exceptionally spacious and well-arranged, bells and primitive drums intertwine with acoustic guitar noodlings, creating catchy hooks.
Lew recorded a simple, joyful and highly enjoyable album, which fuses the outsider music leanings with lo-fi indie pop and urban folk aesthetic. It seems that Lew does not care about money at all, creating music for the fun of it, not the cash. He’s okay with the Internet, putting his music on both cassettes and in the form of free digital downloads. He wants no conflict, no grudges. To quote one of his songs, “let’s be alright with each other”.

Give It to U can be downloaded for free from Lew's website.

float together by noothhing

Wildildlife - Give In To Live

New LP (Dec 2010) from the San Francisco based trio, who released their previous brilliant album Six in 2007. Heavy and catchy psychedelic sludge rock, pumping metallic stoner anthems. Recommended.

Ophibre - Untitled Drones for Iron Oxide

Two sides of drooooooooning goodness from Benjamin Rossignol. Side A is an unknown lifeform, pulsating and constantly fluctuating synth line hidden in a low-end bass ambience in the style of Stellar Om Source's "Harvest". Side B is a bucolic synth/guitar (I don't even know) improvisation buried beneath piercing high-frequency analog drones.

Link courtesy of Iridescent Headspace.

No Mind Meditation - Paramita

A collection of interestingly textured synth drones sprinkled with various electronic effect - kind like Super Minerals latest, The Hoax. You can buy No Mind Meditations cassette Face Skull Spirit from Goldtimers Tapes. This here is a free debut EP.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Von Himmel - Space Communion

Wonderful mysterious tape released in 2009 on Belgian label Sloow Tapes. If the cover (an obvious homage to Ash Ra Tempel's Schwingungen) wasn't enough of an indication, then the music should be. The album plays like a forgotten tribute to Krautrock and German experimental music in general - ranging from Stockhausenian musique concrete to Deuter/early Popol Vuh semi-new-age Eastern improvisations, field recording filled sketches of psychedelic jams, dusty organ/synth excursions in the style of early Klaus Schulze. The only "straight" rock song on the album is a minimal, bass driven affair, strangely similar to NY's Koi Pond. Recommended.

Brut Choir - Barest Bones

Raw, skeletal (pun intended) droning psychedelic synth punk. You can definitely feel the spirit of Suicide lurking behind the cold, echoing sounds. Plus, you can't help but love the menacing guitar on "A Bullet North".

Liquid Skulls - Dead in Yr Eyes

A collection of six simple guitar (both acoustic and electric) excursions, soaked in glacial ambience. The first track ("Void") sounds like a less hazy, purely instrumental Grouper, the fourth track ("I Am the Flood") puts a booming, lo-fi beat over the gentle guitars and track five ("Eye Dive") reminds of Roy Montgomery circa And Now the Rain Sounds Like Life Is Falling Down Through It. Nice stuffz.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lead Stones - Set + Setting

And now for something more song-oriented: blissful, NYC based psychedelic rock in the old-school vein, pretty similar to The Velvet Underground or Religious Knives, except less misanthropic and more lysergic. Highly, highly recommended.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Andy & Zeus

Shall I call it "drone pop"? This term may apply (sometimes at least) to this Brooklyn, NY based duo of Andy Plovnick and Zachary Wilson. Cosmic, psychedelic synth sounds, occasional nostalgic melodies, poppy guitar interludes. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

SLZR - Demon Lain

Fun little EP from this Mexican psych/kraut unit (pronounced "Salazar"). Hypnotic motorik drum variations, ridiculously processed and overdriven guitar and dubby bass. Like Neu! on the verge of a nervous breakdown.