Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Expo 70 - Corridors to Infinity (Sonic Meditations CS)

From Foxy Digitalis:

Expo 70 is, by now, a fairly well regarded name in the world of kosmiche/drone world, and truth be told the hype is well earned. Few have explored the outer space ways in recent years with such consistency and direction as Justin Wright. This hour long tape, presents two side long tracks, remarkably recorded in the same day. With this much time to work with, Wright and his compatriots are able to stretch out, in and over each other in the name of some truly zoned excursions.

The first side belongs to “Meetings of the Lunar Bridge,” a duet between Wright, on guitar and drum machine, and McKinley Jones' Moog. The results are fantastically rich, and far fuller than most would assume was possible between such a limited instrumental lineup. Opening with a punch, the side soon slips into a meditative drift aided by Wright's loping pulse, which enters and dissolves at will while the two veer around, peaking first at this sun, then at that moon, and that quasar, and that nebulae. Hubble happenings to be sure.

The flip side, “Black Pyramids Under the Martian Sun,” adds Matt Hill's organ to the mix, which fills the sound out even more. The trio's smart though, knowing full well the freedom this allows. Rather than lifting off together they fade in gently, playing little and merging textures as they trod towards their soupy abyss. A beautiful side and release overall, with stellar artwork to boot.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Padna - Siberia/Hinterland (Stunned Records CS)

Here's another treasure trove uncovered on the remote beaches of Stunned. Padna, who as far as I know hasn't ever released a thing on this or any planet, emerges out of the grove fully formed and truly unique here. The solo moniker of Nat Hawks, who also works in the swell group Christian Science Minotaur (whose release on Peasant Magik earlier this year was a big winner in my book), this situation is one of stripped down and subtle play that nestles inside the funny bone and tickles till it hurts.

The almost hour long excursion is split into two side long works, which are in part broken down further. Siberia, the opening offering, takes the chilly countenance of its title and turns it on its head, presenting the blustery winds of its locales tundras, but also revealing its hidden gnome dwellings and elven passings. Electronic bloops emerge like pointed red hats, tiny and faint among the blizzard, a lone passerby riding a snow fox and whistling as he does so. There's a definite combination of feels going on here, with a heavy Tomutonttu vibe but less crazed and acid-drenched. Think Tomutonttu played by some loner electro-buzzer whose trying to play a "joyful" tune, but can only muster moves of slight lucidity. Eventually the dude gives up and heads face first into the glaciers, finding dense and ancient smoke under the ice. Some golem's thrill nest no doubt. Light to dark, sure, but the feel is remarkably consistent.

The flip side takes us to Hinterland, whose opening strums find an oasis of beach beauties bathing on some far off peninsula. Quickly come to find the peninsula isn't so much a land mass as the tail of some gigantic sandy ocean roamer, and you the mere passenger, so as said beast decides nap time's over your in for the ride. Much briefer cuts here, as if you're getting a repertoire of the world's offerings one stop at a time. Only you only get the pit stops--travel time is frighteningly forgotten. So instead, here's a chorus of jellies, wrapping around each other while the light glistens, merging them into one. And over there's a whale leaping towards the some festering sea gull, who taunts the leviathan with its jeweled amulet. "Metronorth," (yes, the bits are individually titled) doesn't so much recall the commuter line as it does the tracks, rust covered stretches of steel that rumble in communication at night. Between the opening number, "CCCP," "Tapewars," "Metronorth," "Norbit," "Funnystoned," "Newpaltz (For Mother 33)" and the closing "They Shut Off Our Gas," you actually have, more or less, an eerily similar trajectory of my mid-Hudson valley college career. Played tapes, took Metronorth, saw "Norbit," "Funnystoned," girlfriend lives in New Paltz, and boy did they ever shut off our gas. Weird, though I suppose that's a similar scenario for many a Hudson wanderer. Great stuff, lively and always in motion. A real voice, and one who I'm sure will get a bevy of offers post this. Maybe Tomentosa? Find it whether you're a fan of Sick Llama or Es alike.

Friday, October 23, 2009

DNT Sale

Yo folks. Likely going to get a review or two in later today but first wanted to clue people in to a pretty great sale going on over at DNT. Tynan just had his place ripped off, so he could use the dollars, and the prices are pretty unbeatable on some totally worthwhile stuff. Check it here:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sun Araw (feat. Matthew Lessner) - In Orbit (Stunned Records CS)

Okie doke, back on task here after a rough weekend of student break-ins and cranial breakdowns, but here I be and off we go. New batch of Stunned material arrived on my doorstep a few days back and it's another head spinner to be sure. Figured I'd start with the most well known of the offerings, a point indicated by the increased print run (222 copies) and near immediate selling out. Sun Araw's been making a bit of a splash in the last year it seems, and good for him. This is more than another lad resting easy on the tropical bandwagon. It's a cog in the wheel itself, whose veins run far deeper than mere easy-living vibes--look no further than the yesteryear offering of The Phynx for proof.

While that disc had a kind of acid kraut feel to it, Cameron Stallones has veered into balmier waters since, but not without losing his sense of controlled cajoling into mental pockets hitherto left cool. And maybe for good reason. The first cut, "Luther," has all the slowed down, 60s psych sneer of a band like the Seeds, just stripped back and numbed into submission. As if they've acknowledged that the only freedom is of the mind, so kick back and enjoy the journey. No attitude, no sexuality, no condemnation. Only solo flights to lunar landscapes. Float on maestro, float on. And while you're doing it, blast some of that hot air in my direction, will ya?

Major achievement of this stuff is how little it takes to make it all happen, and how patient and slight the general arch is. Smooth as a balloon, the thing practically reflects light off it, a big sphere of sound that moves forward like a boat drifting in a tidal pool. It might get somewhere, but that's not necessarily any different, or more significant than its original locale. Till it all turns klippity-kloppy for a hot minute after having pulled up on dry land for some cosmically inclined fire pit ritualism.

Flip side rights it into a jolly good romp on "That Geosynchronous Feeling," which bounces about in a droning, yodeling, joyful glide that avoids some of the proto-primitive tendencies of a lot of stuff that works with the same materials without taking it there completely. Instead these dudes just ride the wave from beginning to end, that vibrato guitar surfing along atop a constant pulse and cascaded vocals while some organ drone just hums around behind. Great sound, and probably my favorite thing of his since Beach Head. But maybe I'm biased--the beachier the better in my book. Especially as the cold stretches it's icy fingers my way. Burr?? Stallones says nay.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Black Eagle Child - Two Days (Black Eagle Child CS)

Was looking around for a couple of Stunned tapes that I haven't gotten to yet from a ways back when I remembered that my sister stole my car for the week, and they've been holed up in there for cruising for a time now so they'll have to wait till the weekend I suppose. Thought I'd put in a word on the new batch though, which is of course already almost gone but hey, better late than never. It looks killer as always.

Of course good things come to those who leave tapes in their car, and I had to hit up the review pile for new options which reminded me of this beauty from Michael Jantz and his rightfully respected doings as Black Eagle Child. I had gotten in touch with Michael about doing a Wet Merchants release and he was nice enough to throw a couple releases my way, so here be one. According to Michael these two sides were each recorded in one take over Two Days close to his daughter's birth. Just a delay and acoustic guitar, the sides are simple and elegant excursions into repetitive and lush beauty, at once minimal and rich. Totally of the earth stuff that glides out from the speakers like honey over wax. Terry Riley's guitar counterpart, only with a softer melodicism. If this were released in '68 people would have been dropping and rolling around to this for sure but avast, we be in the new millennium now, so it'll have to happen alone between me and the headphones.

It seems arbitrary, but the fact that Michael was a new father when he recorded this makes a lot of sense. It's soothing stuff, almost lullaby-esque in its apparent ease of movement, but also contemplative and thoughtful. Especially the second side breathes in an open air, fresh as dew manner that's neither pointed skyward nor internal. Very content in itself. Beautiful little package too, with dainty flower cloth and felt cradling the red tape close. It's so cheerful it's almost cute. Though cute is far too belittling for sounds this complete. Lovely, and available a number of places if I recall.

Lifetones - Quivering Mass (Holy Cheever Church Records CS)

A lot of folks've probably been wondering what happened to ye old Ear-Conditioned Nightmare of late, and rightly so. Been straight bogged down for weeks now, and anytime I get a moment I have to take it for the noggin rather than the bloggin. Not to mention a new acquisition, namely this old 82 soviet synth which is oh-so-scrumptious and pleasing to knobify. But fear not, the blog ain't dead and it won't be so long as I have something to say about it. Which gets me to the point I suppose. The review.

Truth be told I've been playing this tape so much lately it hardly feels new anymore. And in the grand scheme of Holy Cheever it actually isn't, as it's way back at catalog number 028 (up to 033 now, which by the way is a free download that'll only be up till the 20th of this month, so go get it quick at the new address--). Still though, it wasn't so long ago that I got this number in the mail, and it's a nuthouse. First off, it's over an hour long, which is lengthy by most any standard. But it's also a new group consisting of Matt Endahl and Riggs, with Endahl on Fender Rhodes and Riggs on the trust axe. Sounds like it has potential to be a real jam out right? Of course not. The thing is called Quivering Mass for chist's sake. Starts out in this low murmur rumble with high tones coming in and going in a totally mesmerized and totally zonked manner. And yes, I use the term zonked to describe a lot of stuff. But this is ZONKED. Like Sunn 0))) without the Sunn or the 0))), just hollow volumes beckoning the heat of noon. Really amazing stuff that slides out and into more weirdo territory right quick. Can't believe that's an electric piano going there... totally whacked sounds that are subtle and dry and fresh as fungus. Each little pocket they hit is a total vision, pittering life forms (man, tough to avoid the title of the work in the description ain't it?) just futzing about in the slime. Amazing.

Best part is there's an hour of it, so you can really commit to the vision. They hit some high points here and there, staying still and bouncing between one another, but the transitions are where it really gets kooky and fried. Come hither sounds of the future. The world is ready to unite. Like the soundtrack to the pre-post-2012 mindstate, and it's right as acid rain. Grab it, for my money it's one of the best things Cheever's done yet. Which of course is saying A LOT.