Thursday, February 25, 2010
Xiphiidae - Sewn Within a Circle (Housecraft 2XCS)
Housecraft man. Way back when, like a year ago, Housecraft was cranking out more shit than an Elephant at Thanksgiving, but things have slowed a bit for the label. Lucky for us though, the stuff keeps sneaking out, with the last two releases being highly constructed, multi-tiered beauties. This one celebrates Housecraft's 100th release, and it goes right back to the beginning for the label, serving as an exhibition of head honcho Jeffry Astin's Xiphiidae project and including tracks from older releases plus new material. Apparently some of this stuff dates back to 2002, which is quite a ways in the world of tape output really, so you get a full range on this number for sure.
Consisting of two hour-long tapes, it's pretty tough to know where to start with this one. There's a ton of music here, all of seeping in and out of itself in the earthy electronic manner that Astin's so good at. The guy really sounds like no one else, walking a fine line between New Age throwback, tape loop crud and shimmering ambient stuff without really wading a toe into the nostalgia fair grounds. His stuff is always packed high to low, with delicacy and rugged laid over one another like bed mates after a brawl. Sometimes opposites do attract, and pork string stutters feel right at home in guitar and synth slight of hand vibrations. Even vocal tape finds of the preacher/discourse realm manage to be used musically enough so that they feel comfortably aligned and new. Making something alert from the tired pieces of promise.
Great stuff for cozying up really, if you feel like soundtracking. It's rainy here, so I can't help but feel right at home with the fireside feel of this stuff, but it's fireside feel with balls enough to crackle erratically. Don't curl up next to the flames, put your head right on them and feel their warmth softly whisp by your ear. Sure, it'll hurt at first, but soon you'll be melting right in and home is where the heat is ain't it? Ride on Housecraft, and take me there every time. Or at least let me visit.