Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Xiphiidae - Waning in Archaic Color Sequence (Vanishing Hour Revival LP)
About to head down to New York for the birthday weekend, but first things first. Reviewing must be done. And first on the list is one that I've let slip by for far too long. The last remaining culprit in that first batch of Vanishing Hour stuff, this is actually numero uno in the catalog and it sure is treated as such. DELUXE treatment here, with gnome-conjuring psychedelia as its cover story and super lucid day dream hand-job on the inner sleeve. One of the fairer looking productions I've seen in a while, and it doesn't even look like it broke the bank.
Of course the sounds ain't half bad either, and I've been tooting Jeff Astin of Housecraft's horn for a good stretch now. By the way, anyone know what happened to Housecraft? Site's down and no word... hope it hasn't gone the way of all things... Regardless, this is one of Xiphiidae's nicest outings yet, which is saying something. Moves away a tad from the earth crunch of yore in favor of a more high pitched, white drift vibe. Opening with the nicely titled "Pan Cyan Essence," the album sort of floats through its course, moving from backyard worm digs to pink sunsets over miniature puddle lakes. Deeply psyched stuff that moves into a sort of muddled church takeover as conducted by rainbows and bees. Maybe it's just the cover leaving it impact, but the holy vocal backings and the squiggly, almost Tomutonttu style warbles call to mind a special locale being made more so by a steady infusion of glee. Nice stuff.
The flip presents one extended go of it in the form of "Aeckt Wetting Shower," which lays down some cicada buzz and layered flitting that totally lurks beneath the tumbleweeds like some tiny mystical critter. Reads like some Miyazaki creation or something, totally harmless but mysterious as hell, leaping in and out of eye sight, between this world and the next. Call it a ghost or what have you, but its fuzzy allure is undeniable. Really deep stuff here, highly layered and full of commitment to its cause. More Astin does, more it seems he's moving away from any recognizable influence and into his own pseudo new-age genre. Though to say it calls on what so many of the other new-ageists are pulling from is dead wrong. It's too filtered of any direct connotations, instead just grabbing hold of the general vibe and letting it take hold in his own sound world. Beautiful stuff, absurdly limited to 100. Really, one of the best goes I've had all year. Grab one, I think there are some left at the label operations base. The art alone, but all together it's something special.