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.