Monday, November 10, 2008
Xiphiidae - Used Parts Galaxy (Housecraft CS)
I believe Xiphiidae is the name of Jeff from Housecraft's solo project, though that's only through some potentially misguided research... whoever it is, it's another Housecraft winner that presents a bit of an airier vibe than so much of the drone out there these days. Where many bands opt for the thick as curry take, Xiphiidae ventures into thinner, more refractive waters.
Side one, "Paper Giant Blind with Age," opens in a kind of ultra stripped down take on modal, Paul Bleyish improvisations over ambient cut ups that create a whole world unto themselves. Almost sounds like a Hammond under there, weaving these slow and speculative riffs around one another. Specifically I think of this Muhal Richard Abrams solo on Marion Brown's Sweet Earth Flying (coincidentally, an album that also has Paul Bley sitting in at the keys...), but a more obvious touchstone would be Sun Ra's bare piano explorations, spaced out but not lacking in soul. Yet really it's none of these, and in fact couldn't be mistaken for jazz at all... just that that keyboard sound conjures some warm vibes while the background creates a sort of sputtering backdrop, though really more of a simultaneous sonic happening than that term might suggest.
Side two, "When Trees are Bare," starts with some sort of wagon wheel thing before more natural sounding wood and leaf sounds come through. A high end warbling of blissed out keys roll through, emanating like the negative space of the forests. Lulling stuff, with a distinct tide pool air about it, voices bouncing about in the backdrop, never infringing but, as in the previous track, entering to say their peace before receding into the heavily oxygenated murk.
It's only a C-20, but the tape makes its mark with such immersive material that it'll feel like an hour. Real slow paced drooling stuff, blown apart and then airbrushed back together again. Another one from Housecraft that has all of its shit together. And it ends pretty much right where it begins, chimes and all. And how bout the, again, delicious cover morsel? Eat up.