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.

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