Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sudden Oak - Causeways of the Sun (Bezoar Formations CS)

After a long journey across, through and around the ol' U.S. of A. the Bezoar Formations folks returned and laid a couple of their tour items on me for review's sake. Great to see that these guys are back at it and not only that but that they seem to have continued refining their sound. I only wish I had gotten a chance to see them live with jams this good.

To be honest, I've given this one a listen a few too many times to keep track of which side is which but their both being untitled I figure I can get away with it. Whichever it is, the first side I'm listening to right now opens with some drum and thump clatter before slipping right into some alien spa realms with lurking guitar drawl and creepy atmospherics for exfoliations' sake. Real warm bath water material, with algae gripping at the sides of the spring and thriving for real. Picks up a bit actually, with some vocal/saxophone/who knows what murmur and increased tempo, but it always remains heavily soiled and mud-caked. The duo has a way of keeping things brief too, moving from locale to locale without dropping any of the mood but definitely inspecting it from a different angle. Sax air gets thrown around in some cloud constricted forest, weaving through the trees and the moss as small creatures with big eyes sprint over vines in search of prey. By the end it moves to a rocky ledge where you just lie and watch as three-toed sloths descend into the water for a slow and lugubrious wade, claws drawing their way through the water. Seriously, though, this is straight field recording it seems, lovely.

Somehow that closing makes me think that the side just reviewed is actually part deux, but I'll just go with it and move on to the next (first?) side. This one starts off in similar territory, really working the tape hiss to create a damaged and wet sound where everything collides together into a hum under which there's so much activity it's tough to keep track of. Little details emerge and dissolve from behind the buzz, giving it a feel not quite of a drone track but more of a kind of deep listening thing, maybe some La Monte Young sax and guitar duet. Just slow and steady drift that really makes for a sound I can get behind. At times the thing is so blown out it turns into cross-tundra Mastodon calls that foreshadow the massive extinctions to come. Bleak, but too blurry to be gloomy. More dream-like, one step removed from fairy hallucinations but you can still see the remnants of glittering pixie dust trickling around you from invisible flybys. It's funny, in a lot of ways the group reminds me a bit of Skaters though they're going for totally different things. But the crude tape sound creates the same kind of ambiguity, focusing on changes in the fold rather than changes of the fold. Nice one for sure. One more to come from these guys shortly.

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