Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Caligine - L'Autunno di Rame


Remember Caligine? The psychedelic folk/improv unit from Italy whose few albums I posted in 2009? They asked me to post another one of their albums, this one's from 2010 and released on Sturmundrugs label (one of the best label names ever btw). While Minimalia Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 as well as the 4-way split on Stunned were heavily improvised, sparse and noisy excursions, L'Autunno di Rame is a way more focused and clear effort, with carefully constructed songs with lyrics in Italian and beautiful guitar passages. Standout track: "Hastings (Parinirvāṇa Blues)".

Brown Bread - Is Dead

Brown Bread is the pseudonym of Rebecca Doerfer, who combines hazy dream pop aesthetic with soft psychedelia, gracefully blending simple electronics and basic instrumentarium with soft vocals. Kinda like Fielded, but less heavy on experimenting with vocals, but still steeped in druggy ambience and pretty haunting at times.

Myrrh - N'ajzabi Beats

This one totally took me by surprise. After receiving all the e-mails about some another artificially hyped bullshit indie pop/indie electronic/indie rock band or some big corporate e-mails informing me about some produced remixing a well known rapper song it feels really refreshing to get an e-mail from little known, amateur artists who just give links to their bandcamps, small websites or Mediafire links with their albums. Such was the case with this mysterious act. Check out their website and their Myspace. This dude/these dudes (?) create a special outsider brand of psychedelic music: rudimentary, raw, dancey electronics combined with vaguely Eastern vocals modified beyond recognition create hypnotic atmospheres somewhat reminiscent of Gang Gang Dance. Check it!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sacred Phrases four tapes batch review

The story goes like this: Adam from the wonderful young ambient/drone label Sacred Phrases sent me four tapes from the latest batch. He didn't ask me to review them, but I did anyway, as a token of gratitude of sending me the tapes. I hope you find the reviews useful and if you don't know this label yet, check it out immediately! Really quality stuff.


Red Electric RainbowCome and Melt Your Face Off (SP-17)
The strongest (or at least the most immediately accessible) cassette of the whole batch, Daniel D. Smith’s tape opens with a simple, yet powerful arpeggio backed with Astral Social Club-like bubbly synth squeals, faithful to Daniel’s tradition of making self-proclaimed “face-melting music”. RER hits the listener with immediately recognizable melodies amidst dynamic synth sequences, which makes the tape stand in contrast to the slow burners in this batch.  The music here is zoned out, dreamy and somewhat nostalgic. The album’s title challenges the listener to lose one’s physical form and dissolve into sounds and this tape is damn effective at doing so. The music gets slower and more meditative towards the ending. The entire side B is filled by the track entitled “Mayan Forest”, which features faux-tribal synth drumming providing a skeleton for lush, rainforest ambience reminiscent of French tropicalist High Wolf. Recommended.


Sound Out LightOrnamental Skies (SP-18)
Sound Out Light’s “Ornamental Skies” is the longest cassette of the batch, clocking at some 40 minutes. A long drone ornamented with the high-pitched droplets lasts for the vast majority of side A, near the end this soothing soundcape transforms into a nondescript field recording voyage accented by regular echoing bass outbursts. The whole thing sounds like walking through an abandoned factory which somehow manages to keep running by itself even though all the workers are gone. Side B begins with dark ambient atmospherics: a slow, bassy drone with some indescribable, mangled field recordings slowly gives way to a distant pulsing sequence which starts to rise; the sounds, hidden in the back in the beginning now begin to take a shape into something that sounds like a cross between cracking ice and falling bricks. Like a soundtrack to a tale of a group of survivors of a giant mine/building collapse: serious and somber yet gradually filling itself with light and hope (akin to the project’s name) in the style of Emeralds’ “Allegory of Allergies” minus the guitar. As the drones get softer and more relaxing, they are accompanied by gentle washes of white noise, like the shore of analog sea where the survivors take the rest, watching the waves.


Christopher MerrittThe Constant Farewell (SP-19)
Christopher Merritt’s tape begins with pastoral drones descending upon one another in the style reminiscent of Loren Chasse’s OF project. As the whole thing gains more layers, everything gets submerged in calm washes of electronic noise. This is no harsh noise though; the edges are rounded, everything is smooth beyond recognition and coexists harmoniously with the glassy drones which sound surprisingly un-synthy. But the best is left for the end, when guitar improvisations rise from the sea of drones, crowning the ambience. Side B is more dynamic; Caboladies-like spikes “attack” the listener from the very beginning, paving the way for long (way lengthier than on side A) sustained notes. The difference here that instead of pastoral meditiation here things get immense – the washes of white noise are present again, but this time they seem to propel things forward at a great speed instead of providing lush ambience. This leads to a rising and falling melody, which constitutes the main part of side B and gets gradually fragmented towards the end, eventually becoming a set of reverbed pulses. 

 
Slag HeapHushing (SP-20)
Perhaps the most demanding tape of the whole batch, Slag Heap’s “Hushing” is a lo-fi drone expedition in the vein of pre-Rene Hell Jeff Witscher; improvised synth melodies emerge from a rudimentary, two-tone basis, a melancholic, retrofuturistic vision of loneliness and fear (there’s a reason first track on Side A is called “Missing Persons”) and “Slime” is a rough, murky sewer exploration, where a melody can be barely recognized under a wall of distortion. While side A was still keeping some semblance of melody, side B consists of harsh drones stacked upon one another: in “Warm Dust” a bassy note provides a background for a noisy tsunami that rises at falls at a tectonic rate, this is cut short and suddenly goes to “Dirt Dad” which is a relentless electric sunburned pulse, which feels like burning a hole in the forehead using a magnifying glass during a sunny day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ea

NOT the funeral doom band. Ea was a mysterious and little known ambient/drone/field recordings/electroacoustic project from Poland active from 1999 to 2002. Psychedelic synth/guitar soundscapes from the times before everybody and their mom was making psychedelic synth/guitar soundscapes.





Tardigrades

Tardigrades is an electronic musician from Lille, France. This bro stays true to the game; churning out sleepytime dreamzones and the pulsing, slowly-changing dronescapes that sound like less abrasive "Deterioration" era Yellow Swans. Good stuffs. Check out his Myspace page and the Et Pourtant label website!

Head First Into Space Vacuum (2007)
Through the Shared Wall of Our Darkness (2008)
Infinity Disintegrating (2008)
Neutron Star (2009)
Tardigrades / When the Day Chokes the Night Split (2010)
Sunbathing on Asteroids (2011) - available on CD-R and 3" DVD-R on Et Pourtant!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mother Night

There are three bands named Mother Night. The one I'm writing about is a three piece instrumental math rock unit from New Bedford, MA. Their music is often fast, angular, sometimes aggressive and with a certain influence of noise and psychedelic rock. And you can download their two albums from Bandcamp for free. Good shit. Check out their Myspace, too.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Hills - Hills

Psychedelic rock/space rock/krautrock,
Göteborg, Sweden
2009/2010.

Download here!

Myspace

Wounds

Wounds is the "winter ambient" project of Bartosz Szturgiewicz. Bartosz creates cold soundscapes and brooding visions of endless frosty forests. Sending shivers down your spine, one drone at a time. Let the descriptions and the music speak for themselves.

Winter Ambient Works originated from, who would have thought, winter. I would stare into the endless white of the horizon and watch the endless commotion of blurred entities. No faces, no identities. Struggling not to be consumed by the white monster but still failing miserably. Powerless, that's the best way how you can put it. Yet, throughout the overwhelming amounts of snow and wickedly low temperatures, I always saw the more subtle, let's say esoteric, side of it all. I tried to incorporate this more melancholic sound into this work. Hope it worked out all right.
Greatly inspired by "Reading All The Right Signals Wrong" by Final.

The idea behind Winter Remix Works came to me shortly after the release of the original – Winter Ambient Works (on Assonance Records) mainly because I was bored and annoyed with the album, but I still felt that something could be done with it. That’s when all the lovely people, mainly from the Avalanchers board, agreed to participate in the remix album. Finally my awful music would become listenable as it was worked on by the gifted people from England, Finland, France and Slovakia. Help with artwork came from Canada. I salute you all. Thank you for making this happen.
Thierry Arnal, Lukas Lundén, Mark Chickenfish, Juraj Jr Marko, Josh Elliott 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Verma

Krauty spaced-out psych with a stoner rock edge from Chicago, IL. Thanks to the righteous bro KyoteeSun for introducing me to this band. Recommended! Check out their Myspace page and download their albums for free from their Bandcamp:


Friday, February 4, 2011

A short interview with Brian Pyle + new single!

Here is a short interview I conducted with Brian Pyle, the guy behind Starving Weirdos, RV Paintings and Ensemble Economique. The interview originally appeared on a Polish music website Niezal Codzienny. Here is the link to the interview translated to Polish. Below is the interview in English.


I just love the band name „Starving Weirdos”. Where did the idea for the name come from?
It just came to merrick and myself one day while driving around Arcata where we live.  There's loads of really 'off-the-grid' type 'fringe' characters and we're thinking how the most freaked-out we're 'starving weirdos' like the ones who just don't give a fuck and really freak out more conventional/normal type people.  Full-on indifference!  and it hit us what a killer name that would be for a band. And really LOVING the idea of not giving a fuck and just going for it.

How many people are there in Starving Weirdos? Is the band’s lineup fixed or is it an open collective?
The main folks are Merrick and myself and our main collaborator Steve Lazar whom Merrick and myself have been playing with for years. Beyond steve there's 2-3 more people we like recording with. And after the initial recording it's just Merrick and myself.  Cutting up the recordings, reconceptualizing/composing the pieces, overdubs, mastering. This post-recording 'process' takes up most of our time with SW. It's not an open collective and esp. when we perform live we have a fixed line-up.

The music projects you partake in are often described as ambient, drone, or simply psychedelic music. Many musicians have their own name for the music they create – do you have any?
Avant-wow! Psychedelic is also pretty apt.

Do you happen to record music in unusual places, like forests, caves or beaches?
Not so much anymore. But we have done loads of recordings in these giant concrete chambers over at the local university.  It was like a giant reverb chamber...fucking NUTS. I do LOVE recording in different locales.  We had a tremendous jam out on some bluffs over-looking the ocean a couple months back but the recording wasn't great.  Most of the material we release nowadays is recording in like a 'living-room' type enviros.  Just enough space to stretch our gear and recording equipment.

You expressed your interest in performing on OFF Festival. How did you find out about it? Under which moniker are you planning to perform?
Just searching over at LastFM for festivals happening in europe around late July/early August and looking for fests that had interesting line-ups.  It would be solo under my Ensemble Economique moniker. i really wanna visit poland.  Ii LOVED the VBS doc 'From Poland With Love' and SW has collaborated with Polish artists in the past.

With which ones?
With Wilhelm Sasnal & Roman Dziadkiewicz on the EN/OF series. Edition 038.   SW did the LP and they did the art.

Your albums often make use of field recordings. Do you record all the recording yourselves or do you also use found sound?
Both. But it really doesn't matter to us.  With both SW and EE.  the primary concern is the sound itself and how it relates to the music in regards to both field recordings and found sounds. I've used fire sounds in the past with EE and to really get that sound from a field recording i don't think I'd be typing now!

The album “Psychical” by Ensemble Economique uses many spoken word passages. Are they samples or were they recorded from scratch specifically for the album?
Both! The samples I labored over.  Really hard to connect some random sample and have it be really effective.   So yeah really happing with how the voice samples turned out.

Some reviews compared the sound of “Psychical” to artists like Shackleton or Demdike Stare. Are you a fan of their music or are the similarities a mere coincidence?
Mere coincidence.  I hadn't heard either Shackleton or Demdike Stare until after 'Psychical' had been released.  I've of course heard them now and i think they are both GREAT!  Really exciting for me to hear other artists exploring similar terrain.

What are your plans for the future? Any exciting collaborations/new projects?
Yeah!  I'm collaborated with High Wolf on a live set soon here in Humboldt on his west coast tour soon.  I'm releasing an Ensemble Economique single this friday!  Feb. 4th!  Super-excited for everyone to hear this new EE single...I'm really stoked on it.  I also have a special collaboration with the Outer Church for the 'Weird Tales for Winter' airing every night over at Resonance FM.  Our episode airs Feb. 5th...it's great!  SW has an LP coming out soon on Bo'Weavil Recordings and we've just finished a record for Amish.  Bunch more neat things in the works!  can't think of them all right now.

The “Weird Tales for Winter” will airing on Saturday, Feb 5th on the London radio Resonance FM from 10:30 to 11:00 PM GMT. You can listen to the radio on this website: http://resonancefm.com/listen

EDIT: Just like he said, Brian released a new single on Feb 4th, as Ensemble Economique. It is called "To Feel the Night as It Really Is" and you can listen to it below via Soundcloud. You can also buy the mp3 (it's only in digital form) on Midheaven.

To Feel The Night As It Really Is by Ensemble Economique

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Free Rein

"Formed in late 2008 and based in Oakland, CA, Free Rein is a trio playing improvised music. Andrew Joron, is the Theremin and waterphone operator. Brian Lucas uses 6 string bass, tapes, percussion, voice and keyboards. He is also a visual artist. In a previous life he was a member of the free form psychedelic band,Mirza. Lucas has recently worked with Big City Orchestra and was a member of Caroliner in the mid-90s. On various flutes, bowls, and percussion is the poet Joseph Noble, blowing long meditative one notes and flurried runs that hearken back to a time when Space Was The Place."

By the way - if you haven't heard Mirza, you really really should get into it. Free form psychedelic post-rock. Get their discog on this blog



Zvoov - Everbrown EP

"Zvoov is a three-piece instrumental math rock band from Brooklyn, New York. Their music is a blend of many themes and influences, such as Don Caballero math rock, Russian Circles post metal, Tortoise post rock, and Om-style stoner music. Formed in early 2009, they’ve begun playing energetic shows in New York and their Everbrown EP is slated to be self-released in February 2011."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dim Dusk Moving Gloom / Pregnant Spore / Dementia and Hope Trails

And, now something completely different... Something harsher than usual. Dim Dusk Moving Gloom (later renamed Pregnant Spore) is a solo noise/power electronix project of Baltimore's Justin Marc Lloyd, who also runs Rainbow Bridge Recordings. Crunchy post-apocalyptic visions.

Dim Dusk Moving Gloom - Our Dark Lord
Dim Dusk Moving Gloom - Articles of Faith

Dim Dusk Moving Gloom - Elysian Dreams
Dementia and Hope Trails - Depress

I have to say, this album took me by surprise. Very good stuff, probably the best stuff I've heard so far from Justin. Three tracks of droning guitar ambience, sometimes amplified to a wall of shoegazey noise, and sometimes processed beyond belief in a Sunroof!-like manner. Grab it NOW.


Skin Graft / Dim Dusk Moving Gloom Split
Pregnant Spore - Snap Argue Cry

Pregnant Spore - Pristine Brain