Thursday, May 14, 2009

Various Artists - Psyched Punch (DNT Records 2XCS)

Here's a double cassette offering I've been trying to wrap my mind around in the last couple weeks. In celebration of DNT's 3 year anniversary and the 50th release on the label, Tynan put together this double cassette compilation featuring past favorites from the label alongside one final side of new material from four DNT-style projects. Four sides and about 15 projects is a lotto ingest at once, but the compilation does a fine job of reminding us what a strong aesthetic stamp DNT has, making for a pretty nicely flowing offering here.

With something like this it seems impossible to cover it all, but highlights come from the opening track, an early Robedoor track called "Tribe Rites" off, I believe, the first DNT compilation. Real plodding and much buzzier and weirder than their more doom oriented stuff of late. Forbici's manic electronic psychosis on "Remote Concentrator" is out of control while Yellow Swans' "Untitled" crackles and leaks static all over the surge lines. Jazzfinger and Plankton Wat make swell appearances, as does Mudboy's "Untitled" and Super Minerals classic "The Piss." The gentle and extended "Pink Hotel" by Quilts is also a real highlight, spreading out for 15 long minutes of organ drone and simmer that lasts long enough to clear the pallet for the incoming new material on the fourth side.

As for the new material, time is given to Blank Realm, Plankton Wat, Super Minerals and Birdcatcher. It's a nice way to present the material, looking back on the label's past without feeling like a straight retrospective. Pointing firmly toward the future, these four bands all present some swell material, with Blank Realm's "Cat's on the Edge" grooving like the Doors on floors in a kind of lazy goth psych groove. Nice stuff that reaches a nice rolling boil of numb nod and trod. Think a lyrically spare, post-Can take on Question Mark & the Mysterions. Plankton Wats' "Ghosts" is a spare guitar and voice drifter whose open incantations present a kind of ritualized summer haze, tinkling bells and all. Super Minerals "Purple Gravity Spindles" finds the unit meshing their minimalist Clusters sound with the dirty and hollow groove of earlier releases, though the sound here treads slightly heavier on the side of The Piss, only with a warmth and cavernous glow to it. Like some slowly deteriorating jungle cave, humid and sticky. Quite a beautiful one here, a real full and defined sound. The closing "Dusk" by Birdcatcher is a fine end to the excursion, not only closing out the tape as a milestone of arrival, but also pointing its deranged finger forward toward a future of more psychosis-stemmed sounds from this consistently killer label. Really nice package that got snagged up pretty quick from the label, but poke around. Well worth finding, and a great way to hear some stuff you probably won't get to hear again.

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