V/A Rural Psychogeography (Nexsound) cd 11.98
From the mysterious Ukranian label that brought us those amazing Moglass records comes this new comp, heady in concept, but equally heady in sonic experimentation. Psychogeography is explained in detail in the accompanying leaflet, but is a little too dense to explain here. The gist, as far as we can discern, is that psychogeography is a search for secret places, in cities, where madness and transgression result from areas of concentrated sociality. The pieces on this compilation, are the impressions of certain artists, of many of these places, real or imagined. A who's who of minimalism, Francisco Lopez, Courtis (of Reynols), lNexsound label head Andrey Kiritchenko, the Moglass, Radian, Tom Carter, Martin Tetreault, Kim Cascone, Rosy Parlane and more. All utilising the sounds of, or crafting a sonic homage to rural New York state, Patagonia, Arentina, Zurich, France, the Ukraine, Croatia, Bullhead City Arizona, New Zealand and more. From slow subtle rumbling shimmer, to distorted, fractured melodies, to straight up field recordings, this is an amazing document of abstract minimalism.
THE MOGLASS "Koktebel" MPEG Stream:
RADIAN "Unje" MPEG Stream:
ROSY PARLANE "Nica"
V/A Rusty Axe - Under The Axe Vol. 3 (Rusty Axe) cd 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. From the label that brought us the mind blowing blackmetalnoise of Enbilulugugal and the noise flecked Midwestern redneck black metal of Blood Cult comes a label sampler featuring a whole hellish mess of demented and damaged, fucked up and retarded, baffling and utterly brilliant metal mayhem. Rusty Axe and its stable of musical miscreants is not for the metal dabbler, or the true grim warrior, this shit is messed up, in the best possible way. Metal sure, but all drenched in goats blood, satan's semen, huge splattery gobs of noise and loads of what-the-fuck! Some of these bands are so fucked up they seem like they must be joking, others are deadly serious and are as heavy and buzzingly brutal as any black metal you've heard. Probably the most exciting band on here is Baphomets Horns, super fast and heavy grim black metal, furious and recorded so hot, it sounds like the band is spitting blood and flame right into your lap. On the other end of the spectrum are bands like Defecated Corpse, who sound a bit like Venom fronted by a lounge singer, but with loads of shredding lead guitar. They also cover the Benny Hill theme song. Yup, "Yakkety Sax". And then there's Satan's Almighty Penis, who do have a hilarious name, but their music is far from a joking matter, fucked up and furiously fast, another band that could go up against the Scandinavian elite for sure. The whole comp is pretty jam packed with the grimmest weirdest heaviest most fucked up black metal you've never heard from groups like Kill All Resistance, Wollfsschanze, Dark Energy, Sacrificial Blood, Mephistophelian, Demonic Mortuary, the brilliantly named FINISHER!, Tjolgtjar, Bethledeign, War Plague, Melkor, and loads more. We're already dying to hear full lengths from all of these bands! Fans of Benighted Leams, Rehtaf Ruo, Rigor Sardonicous, Emit, Furze, Detsorgsekalf, and all that sort of OUT black metal may have just found their new favorite label!
DEFECATED CORPSE "Female Half Erection O'Brewer" MPEG Stream:
SATAN'S ALMIGHTY PENIS "Perishing Jehovah" MPEG Stream:
TJOLGTJAR "Midnight On Witches Sabbat"
V/A Sanity Muffin Label Sampler (Sanity Muffin) cassette 4.50
We only recently discovered Oakland label Sanity Muffin, but their first two releases kicked our asses, blackened Dutch doom/dirge/drone outfit Torture Corpse, and the project of the guy behind the SM label, Galena, a gorgeous collection of droned out blackened buzz. So here's a nice priced chance to check out some of the other stuff on Sanity Muffin. Not only do you get new and exclusive tracks from both Torture Corpse and Galena, you also get a hole mess of strange and wonderful sounds from a whole bunch of bands we'd never heard of. In fact, the only group we knew was hip hopper Odd Nosdam, but his track here is a whole different thing, a creeping, lumbering chunk of hazy, droney drift, swirly and abstract, crunchy and softly noisy, had us wishing all his records sounded like this! The rest of the comp is all over the place, from thick distorted buzzing drones to blackened rumbling creep, to gorgeous and epic field recording flecked collaged post rock ambience to spacey psychedelic skitter, nearly 90 minutes, pretty much not a bad one in the bunch, and will for sure have you looking for more from a lot of these folks. Super swank full color fold out covers, with photocopied inserts and a Sanity Muffing guitar pick!
V/A Scatter (Ash International) cd 14.98
Low-end experimentation from five Americans. This is the sequel to the all-Japanese "Chiky(u)u" comp listed last time. Jim O'Rourke, Earth, Daniel Menche, Kevin Drumm, and John Hudak.
V/A Scenes from the Ringing Isle (Rural Electrification Program) 2cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. I'm just going to admit that I love the name Rural Electrification Program for a label. It's just so antiquated and it fits so well with the squalid noise that Matthew Bower (Skullflower, Sunroof, Total) has collected for this compilation. As a whole, this compilation offers an excellent state of the union for the free noise compatriots around the globe. Humid blasts of muddled guitar feedback from Flies Inside the Sun, Sunroof, and Ashtray Navigations. The tectonic plate shifting from Surface of the Earth's low-end amplifier rumble. The bad-acid improvised 'pipe fights' of No Neck Blues Band's offshoot K. Salvatore. Also featured are Bradley / Campbell, Richard Youngs & Simon Wickham-Smith, and Dr. Gretchen's Musical Weightlifting Program.
V/A Shutupalreadydamn!:The Prince Tribute Album (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon) 2cd-r 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. More electronic-ambient-out-there fuckery from Campbell Kneale, sole member of Birchville Cat Motel and head honcho of Celebrate Psi Phenomena. And as I'm sure you already surmised from the title this is indeed a Prince tribute record. The versions are all over the map, From Birchville Cat Motel's almost straight rock version of 'I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man' to Afghan Cyborg Predator's 13 second noise blast version of 'Let's Pretend We're Married' to B.C.'s droned out, blissed out, almost ambient version of 'Little Red Corvette' to A.Ra's stumbling acapella version of 'Sign O' The Times to Antony Milton's glitched out melancholy powerbook version of 'When Doves Cry' to the C.M. Ensemble's sparsely gorgeous, reverb drenched version of 'Nothing Compares 2 U' and on and on and on and on. Two discs, over two hours, of Prince songs fucked with, fucked up, chopped up, rearranged, destoyed, honored, digraced, torn apart, turned inside out, played note for note, made completely unrecognizable, respected, disrespected and plain ruined!
ANTONY MILTON "When Doves Cry" RealAudio clip:
CM ENSEMBLE "Nothing Compares 2 U" RealAudio clip:
B.C. "Little Red Corvette" RealAudio clip:
BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man"
V/A Singing At The Moon (Singing Knives) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. BACK ROOM FIND!!! Dug up 5 or 6 of these awesome comps, grab em while you can... A killer comp from the fairly new Singing Knives label, a who's who of underground cd-r artists, only a few of which we've actually heard, a bunch of which we will most definitely be trying to find more music by. Not sure exactly what the theme of this comp is, maybe all these folks have records coming out on SK, or maybe it's just a killer mix tape, either way, it's a beauty and flows really well. One of those comps that sounds like it could be the best record by the best (and obviously most eclectic) band ever.... From the super blown out ultra distorted Eastern buzz of Tirath Singh Nirmala to the haunting gypsy folk of The One Ensemble Of Daniel Padden to the murky string buzzing drone of Bridget Hayden to the burbling underwater drift of Ben Reynolds to the simple stripped down moody folk of the Feather Gatherers to the flute flecked spacey krautrocky drone (fuck yeah!!!) of the Michael Flower Band and every stop in between. Those and a handful of equally pretty and buzzy and droning tracks from Peril Hill, Chora, McWatt, Directing Hand, James Green, Inecto School, Nalle, Tau Emerald and the Big Eyes Family Players might not have you singing at the moon, but at the very least will have you in absolute headphone mixtape bliss!
TIRATH SINGH NIRMALA "Singing At The Moon" MPEG Stream:
ONE ENSEMBLE OF DANIEL PADDEN "Low Clowns" MPEG Stream:
BEN REYNOLDS "Golden Arm"
V/A Six Doors - A Housepig Compilation (Housepig) cd 7.98
From the label that brought us the amazing Unicorn cd-r we reviewed a while back and the WAY too limited Lhasa Shore Leave (don't ask, long gone!) comes this compilation of 'ambient music' or 'drone music', various artists exploring ambience in their own unique way, giving that glorious drift and drone we love so much subtly different spins. And the results are pretty darn amazing. First up is Unicorn, who unleash a totally creepy and gorgeous funereal trudge through warms swells of sound and huge reverberating low end pulses, like standing on the side of a black river beneath a sky of ash, as a barge piled high with bodies drifts by. Tendrils of backward guitar drift by like smoke from funeral pyres, everything speckled with little glitchy sparkles like sun refelecting off the water. Then comes Japanese sound technician Aube, whose modus operandi is the use of a single item or element for all the sounds on a track. This one is called "Shackle" but it's hard to imagine any sort of shackle or chain being used to produce these sounds, but Aube routinely baffles us with is deft sonic manipulation. "Shackle" is a long drawn out chorus of electronic cricket chirps floating above a dense tapestry of glistening dog whistle high end, all warped and warbly like listening through a cracked kaleidoscope. Bastard Noise show their softer side, a surprisingly restrained (for these guys at least) rumbling swirl of hissing black metal voices, creaking, keening feedback, thick warm drones, and soft shimmering whir, definitely intense and threatening, but simultaneously gorgeous and dreamy. Next up, Luasa Raelon, who we've never heard of, but we definitely need to hear more. A thick slab of slow swelling ambience, grand and ominous, soft distant distorted guitar shimmer drifts beside jagged slabs of muted white noise and smeared percussion. Lovely! The next track features one man noise outift Guilty Connector teamed up with Zeni Geva guitarist Tabata for an intense and cinematic dronescape, guitars and synths and electronics, all tangled and twisted, into a long slow, low expanse of moody sonic exploration. Finally, finishing things up is Oblong Box, who unfurl a soft subtle cavernous rumble, like feeling your way through the pitch black, whirls and whorls of dark sound and low end vibrations shimmer and spread out like ripples in a tarpit. An essential batch of ambient drone for sure!
UNICORN "Sleeper Wave" MPEG Stream:
V/A Small Melodies (Spekk) cd 17.98
From the same label that brought us the latest from Tarentel mainman Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and the collected works of The Alps (both reviewed elsewhere on this list) comes this compilation called Small Melodies. And that is precisely what this is, each artist was asked to contribute a piece of music which represented their interpretation of small melodies, given simple guidelines such as "warm" and "calm" and the results are absolutely lovely. Exactly what you might imagine a record of warm, calm, small melodies might sound like. Each artist offers his own particular sound, but they all work surprisingly well together as a whole, a bit like a more varied Pop Ambient compilation, or how you might imagine a Morr Music Pop Ambient record would sound. Lots of familiar faces, Oren Ambarchi, Ultra Milkmaids, Stephan Mathieu, Taylor Deupree, Sogar, Tape, but even more unfamiliar ones: Naph, Aen, Mondii, RdL, Fenton... Glistening expanses of digital glitch and sparkling drift, fuzzy muted melodies buried under thick swirls of dreamlike fuzz, blissed out post rock splintered into drifting shards of soft focus melody, ultra abstract field recordings wrapped in barely there drones, digital abstractions smeared into warm bleary blurs, thick swells of sound like distant bells wrapped in thick sheets of reverb, pretty pop pulled under a slowly spreading swirl of otherworldly thrum, wheezing accordions and intricate steel string fingerpicking tangled up in strange alien bleep and buzz, every track is the perfect soundtrack to a dream, the whole record an all night drift through a warm and calm world of small melodies. Packaged in a cool, sleek oversized digipak style folder, with striking silver foil printing on white matte background.
ULTRA MILKMAIDS "My Electric Laddy Land" MPEG Stream:
SOGAR "For A Pulse Or Two" MPEG Stream:
OREN AMBARCHI "Thirsty Boots" MPEG Stream:
STEPHAN MATHIEU "Small Melody (Fur Richard)"
V/A Smalltown Supersampler (Smalltown Supersound) cd 13.98
Smalltown Supersound is a Norwegian label that defines itself by the artists on the label and not through a unifying aesthetic; yet, they've decided to release a sampler of all of their artists, from the minimalistic and pulsing sounds of Elektro Nova/Electro Nova, to the melancholic beauty of Continental Fruit, to the abstract electronics of Lasse Marhaug, to Jazzkammer's glitch electronica, to Kim Hiorthoy's wonderful and warm mixture of the organic and the electronic, and to the slow, beautiful and hypnotic sound of Monopot.
V/A Smashed 40: Slummer Jams (Folktale) 2 x cassette 16.98
This long in the works comp features a bunch of underground outfits, some aQ faves, but way more unknown to us weirdos, all tackling their favorite top 40 jams, and we're not talking contemporary, we're talking top 40 as far back as anyone cared to go. Some of the names we know: Alvarius B, Amps For Christ, Carla Bozulich, Dennis Callaci from Refrigerator, R. Stevie Moore, Simon Joyner, Wckr Spgt, but there's THIRTY THREE MORE! Including: Marmits, Treasure Mammal, Key Losers, Captain Ahab, Nicole Kidman (not THAT one), Pregnant, The Receptionists, Knight Rider (not that one, at least we don't think so), Clark 8, Gulliver, Thundersnail and obviously loads more. But the song choice is pretty crazy too, Bananarama's "Cruel Summer", Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi", John Lennon's "Woman", the Beach Boys' "Kokomo", Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun", Yes' "Owner Of A Lonely Heart", Blondie's "Heart Of Glass", Dolly Parton's "9 To 5", Talking Heads' "Burning Down The House", R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts", Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up", Foo Fighter's "Everlong", and tons more, lots of songs we recognize but don't know who did them originally, and then plenty that we MIGHT have known, but here are so warped it's pretty much impossible to tell. Some of our favorites? Amps For Christ covering John Lennon, which other than the warbly background buzz, is actually a pretty straight cover, Alvarius B does a seriously intense version of a song called "Prisoner", no idea whose song it is, but it sounds like it could be an Alvarius original! Someone called Whitman transforms the Foo Fighters' anthemic "Everlong", into a creepy, minor key lo-fi ballad, rife with moaning strings and warbly vocals, giving the song a whole different vibe. Simon Joyner does a darkly delicate version of Dream Academy's "Life In A Northern Time", which again, sounds like it could be his own song, creepy and dreamy. Pregnant Rick rolls us in the best possible way, with a super murky elecro-flecked slo-mo creep reimaging of "Never Gonna Give You Up". The best tracks here are the ones that DO sound like originals. Or sound JUST different enough from the original to make them new and exciting. There are plenty of goofball moments too, Wckr Spgt doing Yes, singing in falsettos is definitely one, and lots of damaged outsider freakiness, but for every WTF moment, there's a carefully crafted reinterpretation, and in many cases, hearing songs you may have grown to hate, recast as bizarre homebrewed sonic concoctions is all it takes to get you to fall in love with the song all over again (at least this new version). Cool, warped, fun and fucked up stuff. Comes packaged in a super spiffy oversized plastic clamshell case, with full color artwork, and a download code!
AMPS FOR CHRIST "Woman" MPEG Stream:
PREGNANT "Never Wanna Give You Up" MPEG Stream:
ALVARIUS B "Prisoner" MPEG Stream:
SIMON JOYNER "Life In A Northern Town"
V/A Snatch Paste: An Assortment of Snatch Tapes (Vinyl On Demand) lp 27.00
An amazing and elaborately packaged vinyl compilation of tracks originally released on the infamous Snatch Tape Compilations, volumes one through three, which were first released way back in the late seventies / early eighties. Some familiar names: David Jackman of Organum, Storm Bugs, Philip Sanderson (who also put together this comp) as well as some names we've never heard or seen before: Alien Brains, The N4's, Orior and more. The interesting thing, is sonically, almost all of these tracks could be some strange cd-r micro release from two weeks ago. It's hard to believe these tracks are from more than 25 years ago. Not sure whether it speaks to the prescience of these artists, or the mighty debt today's crop of noisemakers owe to those that came before. Probably a little of both. Needless to say, this will appeal to fans of the modern field of limited cd-r label free noise ambient sound makers, Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, PseudoArcana, Digitalis, if you've been loving all that stuff, this will absolutely hit the spot. Jackman offers up "Blues", which is indeed some sort of blues, but dense with buzzing steel strings and distant clatter, The Storm Bugs unfurl huge slabs of cavernous rumble and whir, a little Dead C, a little Organum, some wailing crooned vocals drift in and out, everything doused in reverb, Sanderson unleashes some strange alien new wave, muted drum machine rhythms, bloopy synths buried under fog horn bass rumble, primitive FX swirl and swoop, everything wrapped in a crumbling lo-fi ambience. Other tracks explore damaged synths, garbled vocals, primitive Plunderphonic soundscapes, malfunctioning electronics, and all manner of abstract lo-fi buzz. Pressed on outrageously thick vinyl, and packaged in a gorgeous sleeve, matte finished with subtle embossing. So nice. LIMITED TO 500 COPIES, each sleeve hand numbered.
V/A So-on Meikyu: Alchemy Mysterious Sound Collection (Alchemy) cd 21.00
And when Alchemy says it's a mysterious sound collection, it IS a mysterious sound collection! The ever-excellent Japanese noise/psych label has assembled a very interesting four-way split release here. Probably if we could read Japanese it would all be a little clearer, but from the Siamese twin motif of this cd's graphics, and the info on the artists featured, we'll conclude that this experimental, abstract sound compilation intentionally features only duos -- perhaps being duos formed soley for this comp (perhaps not...we don't know). We've never heard of any of these acts, though we have heard of several of the individuals participating in each duo. The disc starts off simply and beautifully with Mr. So-&-So's "Unknown", which features the two electric guitars of Seiichi Yamamoto (Boredoms, Omoide Hatoba) and Masahiko Ohno (Solmania) -- so when some more extreme sounds begin to filter in it's no surprise. Next up is A X A, the duo of Aya Ohnishi and Akifumi Nakajima (Aube). With kazoo, drums, voice, field recordings and synths they make a fascinating soundscape which we won't really try to describe since, well, it is mysterious. As are the other two contributions to this disc, from Swastika (between them, members of CCCC, Incapacitants, Tangerine Dream Syndicate, etc.) and kishidashin (dunno who these two are). All are well worth investigating, if you're into the more controlled and crafted side of "Japanese noise". Maybe that's not the term to use at all, one could just as easily call this psychedelic industrial improv or somesuch. In any event, another worthwhile Alchemy release.
A X A "Lift Lock" MPEG Stream:
V/A Somethings #1 (Last Visible Dog) cd 11.98
V/A Sonar (Advanced) 4cd 29.00
Oh my god, are you ready for this? Mouse on Mars, Porter Ricks, Coldcut, Sloan, Noto, Neotropic, Pan Sonic, Farmer's Manual, Surgeon, Jimi Tenor, DJ Vadim...54 tracks total. From the annual electronic music festival in Spain.
V/A Sonar 2000 (Sonido Denso) 4cd 27.00
Low price 4 disk set commemorating the seventh annual "Barcelona International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Arts" that just happened this last June. We were pretty excited when we saw this, hoping we'd get to finally hear the much touted embarrassing Funkstorung "shout out" track, but alas this is not the live concert album we'd dreamed about along with sugar plums. Nope. Instead it's a compilation of all previously released tracks from a wide variety of artists in field of... ahem... "Advanced Music". Such notables as Pan American, Carl Cox, Rich Hawtin, Christian Vogel, Dr. Rockit, Kit Clayton, Autechre, Panacea, Mira Calix, Hecker, Francisco Lopez, Otomo Yoshihide w/ Sachiko m, Add n to (x), Merzbow and much more. But for anyone just dipping into the area of "IDM" and electronic music in general, this is a darn cheap and fairly rounded introduction.
V/A Sound Of Nature, The Nature Of Sound, The (Kaon) cd 16.98
"The Sound Of Nature, The Nature Of Sound" is an excellent compilation put together by the Kaon label, which has actively been promoting the artform of the manipulated field recording. Francisco Lopez - perhaps one of the more well known composers of manipulated field recordings - offers one of his incredibly quiet pieces, so quiet in fact that we'll take Frans de Waard's recollection that there is a distant bass rumble somewhere on the track. Giancarlo Toniutti presents an eerie recording of the wind scraping against a small set of bells, or some toy piano parts. Easily one of Toniutti's finest moments! It appears that Jeph Jerman's offering isn't one of his explorations of rock scraping, instead he offers a field recording of water rushing in and out of a resonant cistern. Seth Nihil and Toy Bizarre have produced the only collaboration for the compilation, with a delicate manipulation of dropped pebbles into fluctuating drones. Eric La Casa allows much more of the computer and the digital sound processing techniques to speak through his downpitched recordings of rain and metallic pipe fighting, while Mnortham turns similar material into what we like to hear in Francisco Lopez' audible pieces with steady crescendos of grey sound slabs. Kiyoshi Mizutani offers a very straight recording of a waterfall overlaid with a squeaky door (I was hoping they were ducks, oh well.).
"track 2" RealAudio clip:
V/A Space Is No Place (Psych-o-path) cd 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Cool comp collecting the current crop of NY underground hipster nosieniks. Exclusive tracks from the No Neck Blues Band, Sightings, Terrestrial Tones (feturing Black Dice/Animal Collective folks), Enos Slaughter (NNCK/Sunburned Hand Of The Man folks), Breast Fed Yak and a bunch more.
NO NECK BLUES BAND "For Russia With Love" MPEG Stream:
TERRESTRIAL TONES "Experimental Farm" MPEG Stream:
CENTURIES "Born That Way"
V/A Speed Dating (No. 6) 2cd 14.98
This double disc compilation is a music geek time machine. For a handful of you, these collected singles will immediately tranport you right back to your bedroom, where you'll find yourself laying on your bed, headphones on, a messy pile of 7"s spread out on the bed in front of you, as you meticulously assemble the perfect mixtape. And for those of you who somehow missed out on this stuff, holy shit are you in for a treat! Some of the best singles ever released on the super cool No. 6 label, run by legendary A&R man Terry Tolkin. Highlights include the two Ornament tracks, which was a short lived group featuring the Afghan Whigs and Marcy Mays of Scrawl, doing a killer cover of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow", appearing here on cd for the first time, the very first Dwarves single, a filthy, heavy drug fueled racket, the first two post Galaxie 500 songs from Dean Wareham, the very frist US Tindersticks release, two killer versions of Unrest's "Winona Ryder", the Cagney And Lacee single, which was Dean Wareham and his wife, some brooding noisy creep fron King Carcass, and Bewitched, Bob Bert of Sonic Youth's sort of solo project band thingie. All that and some lesser knowns who still kicked ass: Vegetarian Meat, Pork and Glue! This stuff is so good, and has definitely stood the test of time. Hate to sound like old fogies, but they sure don't make indie pop like this anymore...
ORNAMENT "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" MPEG Stream:
DWARVES "Free Cocaine" MPEG Stream:
DEAN WAREHAM "Anesthesia" MPEG Stream:
UNREST "Winona Ryder (XX)" MPEG Stream:
CAGNEY & LACEE "Time"
V/A Spire Live: Fundamentals (Touch) lp 21.00
Gorgeous vinyl only double lp collection of various performances from various Spire events that occurred between 2005 and 2006. Five mostly sidelong tracks from the main Spire performers, three of whom should be well familiar to most aQ list readers by now: Philip Jeck, BJ Nilsen, Fennesz, and the lesser known but equally as sonically compelling Charles Matthews (who shared a Spire related 7" with both Jeck and Fennesz recently) and Marcus Davidson. Jeck's side is everything we could hope for, long lazy loops, slathered in record static, hiss, crack and pop, dreamy melodies skipped into haunting rhythms, everything washed out and blurred, a worn weary sonic drift, organs and voices, soaring and whirring, very mechanical and machinelike, but simultaneously, warm and emotional. Serene, hypnotic, mesmerizing, what else can we say about the magic of Jeck's music that we haven't said before?? Matthews' half of side two is super minimal and hushed, mostly organs, allowed to wheeze and whir, slightly dissonant, but dense and layered, the tones hovering in a suspension of rumbles and shimmers, very dramatic and cinematic, understated and reverent, almost like some strange religious musical ritual. The second half, ostensibly Davidson's, although he is credited with a locked groove, is a dark drone-y flow, keyboards blurred into warm streaks, also slightly atonal, ominous, intense, the muted rumble builds to an almost cacophonous organ-ic frenzy, that heard at full volume must have stirred the soul for sure. The second disc is split evenly between Nilsen and Fennesz. Nilsen's side, recorded in a church in Sweden, is a dark, harrowing, rumbling, post industrial dronescape, the tones rough around the edges, the melodies lugubrious and caustic, building up into a serious din, metallic washes of sound, thick shards of pulsing buzz, very brittle and sharp, before slipping into something a little more serene, but no less intense, more muted metallic tones, drifting in a churning sea of hissing static and electronic grit, a barely noticeable rhythm, more of a pulse or swell, finishing off in a deep grinding low end blur, like a much more minimal 20th century SUNNO))). The Fennesz track is all organ, the root of all of these pieces, but here, the organ is unaltered, barely unadulterated, allowed to warmly wheeze, strange tangled melodies, glistening and glimmering, the tones beginning to change shape, the melodies allowed to elongate and blur slightly until they're swallowed up by a warm cloud of static and hiss before fading out completely. The second half of Fennesz' side is a more murky underwater reading of the first half, not as much grit and gristle as we usually expect, instead, the sound is whirling and muted, reminding us of Oval, but with the glitching skips smoother out, leaving just warm shimmering sonic swells, sun dappled melodies, and rich layered high end drones, drifting serenely, pastorally. Gorgeously packaged, super thick full color gatefold sleeve, super striking Wozencroft photos, pressed on thick vinyl. And as if you even need to be told, quite limited indeed.
V/A Spire: Live In Geneva Cathedral - Saint Pierre (Touch) 2cd 19.98
In 2004, Touch's Mike Harding co-curated an concert at the Saint Pierre Cathedral in Geneva, inviting three of Touch's most creative artists -- Fennesz, BJ Nilsen, and Philip Jeck -- to perform live pieces based on the pipe organ found within that church. This double cd documents the live performances from that series of concerts which also featured contributions from the far more academically minded composer/performers Marcus Davidson and Charles Matthews. Spire: Live is actually the second compilation released by Touch based on works that in some way, shape, or form relate the unmistakeable timbre of organs. While the first Spire compilation focused on a dynamic minimalism extended from the ideas of Charlemagne Palestine, LaMonte Young, and Tony Conrad, Spire: Live is much more a dichotomy between Touch's abstractionists and the structuralist principles adopted by Davidson and Matthews. Nilsen smears a single monotone chord through a series of pitchshifting and timestretching filters offering a cybernetic mimesis of the organ's intrinsic sound. Fennesz suspends millions of pixel points within a digital fog of sound, occasionally allowing the organ to speak but mostly returning to bleary washes found on his 2004 album Venice. Philip Jeck is far more caustic than he's ever been before, with a locomotive clattering of his turntables growing darker and more volatile amidst a judicious sampling of AC/DC. Matthews and Davidson, however, both offer very straight renditions of classically derived organ compositions from Gorecki, Liana Alexandra, Andre Jolivet, and Davidson himself. Despite the similarity in source material, these pieces from Matthews and Davidson couldn't be further from the staple of Touch musicians, focusing on a polyphony of dissonant clusters of notes and almost random dodecophonic passages.
MARCUS DAVIDSON "Opposites Attract" MPEG Stream:
BJ NILSEN "La Petite Chapelle: Rues Basses" MPEG Stream:
FENNESZ "La Petite Chapelle: Morning"
V/A Spire: Organ Works Past, Present & Future (Touch) cd 19.98
Compilations can be dodgy affairs, often half-baked ideas from compilers who can only garner throw away tracks from previous recordings. Mike Harding and Jon Wozencroft of Touch Records have consistenty been the exception in their collections. The Touch Sampler series have long been outstanding compilations, and this new collection of work inspired by or directly influenced by church organs continues in this tradition. Harding lucidly explains in the liner notes that "the organ represents the marriage between acoustic complexity and ritualised space. It is impossible not to be drawn upward, towards the spire of the church or cathedral, or to the huge daunting forest of pipes themselves." On this compilation, the artists typically emphasize the transcendent expansiveness of sustained organ chords, in many ways emulating the polyphonic minimalism of Arvo Part's organ works. The track that best typifies the ideas behind Spire is that of BJ Nilsen, better known as Hazard. Having captured various recordings of Charles Matthews performing the psalms of Marcus Davidson on the organ at St. Mary's Church in Warwick, England, Nilsen processed these sounds with only multi-tracking, EQ, and volume at his disposal; thus, his track holds onto the rich tonalities of those church organs as he builds up to a majestic crescendo of overwhelming sound. Spire also features the first fruits of the collaboration between Sparklehorse and Fennesz (!), with Sparklehorse's drummer Scott Minor offering a smattering of mellotron and Wurlitzer samples for Fennesz to run through digital aesolization of bleary eyed distortion and fanciful detailing. Other contributors to Spire include Z'ev, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, Philip Jeck, Leif Elggren, Zephyr, Marcus Davidson, Finnbogi Petursson, Biosphere, Toshiya Tsunoda, Tom Recchion, Lary Seven / Jeff Peterson, Scott Taylor, Jacob Kirkegaard, Oren Ambarchi, and the ever amazing Chris Watson! Very highly recommended.
BJ NILSEN "Breathe" MPEG Stream:
FENNESZ / SCOTT MINOR "Dwan" MPEG Stream:
SIGTRYGGUR BERG SIGMARSSON "Details Of A New Discovery"
V/A Split Series 9-16 (Fat Cat) cd 15.98
You suckers without turntables are spared once again. The last eight split 12"s in Fat Cat's amazing series finally get digitized and compiled for convenient listening. Tracks from Dat Politics, Christoph De Babalon, Kid 606, Fennesz, Main, Avey Tare, Matmos, David Grubbs, Ultra-Red and loads more!
CHRISTOPH DE BABALON "Cum On (Feel This)" MPEG Stream:
FENNESZ "47 Blues" MPEG Stream:
MATMOS "Freak N' You"
V/A SR:ample (souRce research) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Label sampler from souRce research records limited to 1000 copies and packaged in a cool blue vinyl sleeve featuring tracks (some exclusive) from: CoH, Cylobe, Leif Elggren, Matmos, Andrew Poppy, Cattivo and more.
V/A SSSSSOSS2 (Folding) cassette 4.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Cool local cassette compilation compiled by Mike Donovan (Sic Alps, Big Techno Werewolves, Nam, Sounds Of The Barbary Coast, The Ropers, Dial Records) and artist Chris Johanson. Features tracks by Coachwhips, Big Techno Werewolves, No Doctors, Condor, California Lightening, Enablers, Ponies, Tits and a bunch more! As with most releases by these two fellows, there is only going to be a very small homespun run of these made, so needless to say, don't snoooooze! Pssst... we also have a very small number of some other Folding cassette releases, all with hand made covers -- a couple of short ones from Death Sentence: Panda and Donovan's own band Sic Alps plus ones by Dark Yellow Swans (aka Yellow Swans) and NVH with Six Organs Of Admittance's Ben Chasny. Dust off yer cassette deck!
V/A SSSSSOSS3 (Folding) cassette 4.50
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Volume 3 of the Folding Cassettes compilation series featuring tons of badass weirdo rock outfits, lots we already love, and a few we've never heard before... Sic Alps, Metallic Falcons, Fuckwolf, Octis, Numbers, Car Clutch, Si-Cops, Andrew Duke, Patrick Michael Mullins, Arsenio, Gass & The Bleed Sea, Tre Ferocious, Mammals, Bananas, and Magic Bag. Cover art by Jo Jackson and Chris Johanson!!
V/A Star Switch On (Touch) cd 15.98
"Star Switch On" is a collection of commisioned pieces which use Chris Watson's field recordings of wildlife from "Outside The Circle Of Fire" as their source materials. Watson's original has been one of the most celebrated field recording albums as an incredible anthology of cheetahs purring, tinkerbird songs, spider monkeys, deathwatch beetles, elephants, and many more. It's probably not wise to think of the recordings on "Star Switch On" as attempt to improve upon Watson's recordings, but perhaps as alternative viewpoints of the same material. Or maybe not. Regardless, this album does make for a nice introduction into the experimentalists and electron engineers who make their home at Touch Records. Mika Vainio (of Pan Sonic and many of the Sahko titles) opens the album with a transformation of a recording which initially appears as swarming bees into a very calm atomization of sound, with frigid gaspings and resonant sonar bleeps quietly moving across barren spaces. Hazard (a project that has used Chris Watson's recordings of weather phenomena on a number of occasions) offers a fractured drone of whirring vibrations. Fennesz keeps the digital fuckery to a minimal with a sampled repetition of what could be the aforementiond tinkerbird song, quite subtle parametric filtering, and additional samples. AER (aka Jon Wozencroft), Biosphere, and Philip Jeck also offer their reinterpretations.
MIKA VAINIO "Outside The Circle Of Fire" RealAudio clip:
HAZARD "Debugged" RealAudio clip:
BIOSPHERE "Night and Dawn"
V/A State of the Union 2.001 (Electronic Music Foundation) 3cd 35.00
This is the third installment in an ongoing series of compilations of experimental and avant garde artists, with its profits directed toward the National Coalition Against Censorship. Compiled by Elliot Sharp, the general concept here is to compose a track under one minute in duration. 171 artists are involved this time around, most of which are somehow involved with the Downtown NYC scene. Some of the more interesting artists this time around: Jonathan Bepler, Kato Hideki and Kazuhisa Uchihashi (both of Ground Zero and Altered States), Koji Asano, Loren Mazzacane Connors, Marianne Nowottny, Merzbow, Zbigniew Karkowski, Tape Beatles, Voice Crack, Zoot Horn Rollo (of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band!), Alfred Harth, Alvin Curran, Carl Stone, Foetus, John Duncan, Lloop, WE, White Out, Phill Niblock, Thomas Dimuzio, and so many more... A nice idea and a fine collection of new music. However, keep in mind that these tracks are sixty seconds or less in duration, and may not be indicative of the artists' usual output.
V/A Static (CCI Recordings) cd 17.98
Electronic drone soundscape experimentation by Jim O'Rourke, Ryoji Ikeda, Alan Lamb, David Toop, Christophe Charles, Paul Schutze, Akira Yamamichi and others, collected by the Japanese label CCI.
V/A Steel Trap (Chondritic Sound) 3xcassette 26.00
V/A Street = x 2 (Pseudo Arcana) cd-r 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. One of my favorite drone records in recent memory (Streets=X, see above) gets the remix treatment from a who's who of NZ artrock / dronerock / freerock artists. Birchville Cat Motel, Seht, 3rd Octave Band, AM and a bunch more, take the sound of the Street=X record, all droning shimmering high end skree, and try to make it their own. Birchville Cat Motel, smooths the edges and adds some humming dreaminess. Seht chops and pastes and adds the sounds of a busy highway. 3rd Octave Band turn up the volume and add some layers ofgrit and grime, feedback and amp buzz. Paul Wickham slows it all down and adds even more hum and hiss. A pretty amazing remix project in a world that certainly doesn't need anymore. It helps that the original was so goddamn good!!
BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL "RMX 1" RealAudio clip:
3RD OCATVE BAND "RMX 4"
V/A String Of Artifacts (Resipiscent) 2xcd 11.98
V/A STRP1 - Reactions To Raaijmakers (Basta) cd 21.00
One of the early Dutch electronic music masters, Dick Raaijmakers, gets his due here with this compilation, released as a companion to Basta's 3cd Raaijmakers Complete Tape Music set (seen elsewhere on this list). A bunch of big names on the experimental/electronic cutting edge either remix or entirely "reinterpret" old Raaijmakers pieces, among them Keith Fullerton Whitman (aka Hrvatski), Mouse on Mars, Jason Forrest, Phantom Orchid (Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori), David Grubbs, Thurston Moore, Atom TM, Isolee, Beautyon, Vert. All sorts of cool sci-fi sounding shimmery sizzle, bleeping drones, and glitchy poptronic silliness (like Atom TM's version of Raaijmakers' version of that old chestnut "Colonel Bogey") abound.
KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN "Vier Fanfares" MPEG Stream:
ATOM TM "Colonel Bogey"
V/A Sur-Terre.Net (Ytterbium) cd 9.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE** Sur-Terre.Net is an interactive project by the Parisian multi-disciplinarian Gregory Chatonsky, involving film, sound, and a generative web interface. With only a cursory glance at the website (go figure, it's www.sur-terre.net), it appears that the work deals with layers of observation and being observed within social spaces, all with a vaguely psycho-sexual overtone. The project also happens to incorporate a very impressive soundtrack from a who's who in the world of abstract electronica and fractured sound-art: Fennesz, Scanner, Francisco Lopez, Steve Roden, Tim Hecker, Hazard, Pita, General Magic, and many others! We'll leave discussion of the sociological insights of the entire Sur-Terre.net project to the experts (or if you want to tell us what you think about it, be our guest!); but we most definitely can say that the soundtrack is exemplary almost from start to finish. The one minor hiccup is the clumsy rhythms of the Vladislav Delay track, but beyond that, richly textured electronic ambience and static vibrations dominate the compilation, laced with historical allegories, memory, disillusionment, and dislocation. Standouts include Fennesz' impeccable blurring of pixel-points, Atau Tanaka's eerie field recording manipulations, Francisco Lopez' grinding swells of gritty hiss, and even the sometimes lackluster Scanner contributes a brilliant piece of crepuscular electronics more in keeping with Biosphere's work. Unlike a lot of compilations which merely collect interesting tracks to be unceremoniously dumped onto the iPod, the soundtrack to Sur-Terre.net is totally engaging from start to finish. Recommended.
FENNESZ "The Man With The Sewing Machine" MPEG Stream:
HAZARD "Bronze" MPEG Stream:
ABSTRACK KEAL AGRAM "Echotrain"
V/A Surrealism Reviewed (LTM) cd 19.98
A document like this is awfully difficult to listen to in the store, even more so than a number of the ultra-minimalist compositions that grace the experimental section. Yet, from what I could grasp, "Surrealism Reviewed" appears to be an important art-historical documentation of audio recordings made by the chief proponents of Surrealism and Dada, dating back as early as 1928 and including Marcel Duchamp, Jean Cocteau, Max Ernst, Tristan Tzara, Phillipe Soupault, Salvador Dali, Herbert Read, Lee Miller, Man Ray, Roland Penrose, Robert Desnos, Andrea Breton, Louis Aragon, and Antonin Artaud. Spotted with a few musical interludes (including the tango from the Bunuel / Dali film "Un Chien Andalou" and an odd "snapshot from the jazz age" by Jean Cocteau), this is mostly a spoken word document with poems, lectures, and interviews, spoken alternately in French and English, and the liner-notes translate some of the French texts into English. Highlights include the incredibly bizarre Dali interview, Duchamp's lecture elaborating on the poetry of mathematics as a metaphor for the creative process, and the amazingly contrived radio interview between Lee Miller, Roland Renrose, and CBS radio host Ona Munson.
V/A Surrounded By Sun (Fonal) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. From far north in Finland, the Fonal label, home to Es, Kiila, and a bunch of other fine bands, has just released a compilation focusing not only on their countryfolk but also likeminded artists from around the world. Psychedelic, experimental, indie, folkish music contributed by Greg Weeks, P.G. Six, Kemialliset Ystavat, Kiila, Tinsel, Fursaxa, Ville Leinonen, Scorces, Kuusumun Profeetta (Moon Fog Prophet), Floating Flower, Ring, Janne Laurila, Pekko Kappi, Alien Heart, and Sleeping Bags. Some names we know (several AQ-faves among them!) and some we don't, mostly obscure (to us) Finnish folks. All are exclusive to this comp, except for the Floating Flower track, which is a remix of an older song of theirs. Floating Flower is an Acid Mothers Temple side project, featuring Kawabata Makoto on acoustic guitar, Yuki on vocals and violin, and Kaneko Tetsuya on tabla and electric guitar. A very lovely six minute track indeed. The P.G. Six track is another of his fragile, folk/psych compositions featuring just his voice, acoustic guitar, and piano. Greg Weeks, Janne Laurila, Ring, Ville Leinonen, and, well, quite a few of the artists on here take a much similar approach: sparse, homerecorded songs that are both quiet and melancholy (of course, some are better singers than others...). Fursaxa (who just played here in San Francisco with fellow psychedelic Philadelphians Bardo Pond) combines droning organ and sustained, sad female vocals. Scorces (members of Charalambides and Ash Castles On The Ghost Coast) does something similar, using bells instead of drones to back their extended, wordless vocal duet. Kinda creepy. The disc concludes with Kemialliset Ystavat's beautiful hippy-chant-folk-jam "Milla", which could have been an International Harvester outtake. This comp is very Ptolemaic Terrascope, to say the least! We like.
FLOATING FLOWER "Desert (remix version)" RealAudio clip:
GREG WEEKS "Howling For Blood" RealAudio clip:
PEKKO KAPPI "Aksyn Tyton Tanssi" RealAudio clip:
VILLE LEINONEN "Unisuudelma" RealAudio clip:
KEMIALLISET YSTAVAT "Milla"
V/A Technicolor Hell (Malleable / Badmaster) cd 8.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE** As we've mentioned in the past, we're a little wary of the noise. We love us some Merzbow now and again, some Hijokaidan of course, maybe some Masonna, New Blockaders sure… but pure noise, harsh noise, is an acquired taste we just haven't acquired yet. But while Technicolor Hell is by definition a 'noise comp', it's a lot more than that. The sounds are varied and rife with fucked up rhythms, bizarre textures and a world of grinding grating roaring whirring sounds that are somehow both hard AND easy on the ears. It makes sense that this wouldn't be your run of the mill noise record, as it comes by way of a Mr. Dave Smolen, whose last record we reviewed and dug heavily a while back (still got a few in stock), and who also played on the mind blowing Flittermice Of Eld disc, a single track, abstract not-quite-black-metal-not-quite-noise tribute / homage to the Darkthrone song ""As Flittermice as Satan's Spys", drawn from just a handful of notes from said song. What the fuck?!? But so awesome. So Mr. Smolen's on here, and it's his label, and it's one of those comps where we pretty much don't recognize a single artist, but the names have us convinced before we even hear them that we'd have to love 'em: Cars Will Burn, Drums Like Machine Guns, Tweeter, Mincemeat Or Tenspeed, Sharks With Wings… Yeah okay already, but what the hell does it sound like, you're thinking, well, obviously the simplest description would be, well, NOISY. But like we mentioned before, that's just the tip of the ruptured eardrum. Mincemeat Or Tenspeed offer up their own sort of metal, but it's pulled apart and shattered into a million jagged pieces, the resulting skree sounds more like a crumbling wall of blown out distortion, wrapped in sheets of brittle feedback, but part way through, the track morphs into some creepy buzzing Goblin-esque synthscape. Smolen's track has Flittermice in the title, but if there's any Darkthrone in there we sure can't hear it. Instead it's a black sonic sky filled with streaks of ear piercing feedback and fireworks of grinding high end. Sharks With Wings is more traditional noise, channeling Masonna, a garbled vocal transmission caked in filthy FX and blown to bloody bits. Cars Will Burn weave a gorgeous little soundscape of downtuned grind, sine wave glitch, skittery static, all assembled into a strangely rhythmic jam. We had high hopes for Drums Like Machine Guns, c'mon, with a name like that? They don't disappoint, but they do surprise with a kind of lo-fi Atari Teenage Riot thing, pounding techno beats in a field of distortion and buzz, vocals hyper distorted and buried in the mix, almost like a synth squealing and shrieking above the din. Pretty dang cool. In fact this whole comp is pretty bad ass. Surprisingly (or not) we seem to be getting more and more noise in our diet lately, and quite frankly we're digging it big time. I guess it's about time we reconsidered our general position on noise music… Packaged in an oversized, eye popping color booklet, packed with liner notes, track info, color photos, diagrams and designs, a printed insert with the cd affixed to the last page. And probably pretty dang limited…
MINCEMEAT OR TENSPEED "Teammate's And Mandkind's Greatest Adventure" MPEG Stream:
DAVE SMOLEN "Divebombs And Flittermice Screams" MPEG Stream:
DRUMS LIKE MACHINE GUNS "Pay What You Owe"
V/A The Bone Tickling Nightmare Pig: An Exercise in Futility (PsychoChrist) cd 9.98
In 1961, Piero Manzoni offered the artworld 90 cans of his own shit for its own consumption. It certainly stands as one of the greatest moments of artistic transgression that reveled in culture's jettisoned waste. While the idiocy of Jackass has trumped every single aspired transgressive artist with scatalogical inclinations, there are enough elements within the "morally upright" society who will get upset at Chris Ofili lumping piles of elephant shit on his bedazzled paintings. It's this reaction that has perpetuated the shit-vomit-labia-testicles-n-piss ethos for the misanthropic bastions of bedroom Dadaists around the world. The Bone Tickling Nightmare Pig is a compilation that features the next generation of contenders for Nurse With Wound's crown. So willfully obscure is the compilation that Aquarius has only encountered three of the projects on this compilation: those being the Broken Penis Orchestra, Mixed Band Philanthropist (aka Richard Rupenus of New Blockaders and Organum infamy who has contributed a rare track from an old cassette dating back to 1983) and Forms of Things Unknown (longtime AQ patron Ferrara Brain Pan with a well done offering of plunderphonics with exotic rhythms and decontextualized spoken samples). With projects entitled things like snma, and Nequaquam Vacuum, this is definitely an album made by wacky absurdists for wacky absurdists. Within the context, The Bone Tickling Nightmare Pig is a pretty well done concoction of Fflint Central electronica damage, Sylvie 'n' Babs tape collages, and shit-stained Surrealism.
MIXED BAND PHILANTHROPIST "Le Systeme De Domination" MPEG Stream:
FORMS OF THINGS UNKNOWN "Interrupted By Interior Design" MPEG Stream:
BROKEN PENIS ORCHESTRA "Could Somebody Please Turn This Off? "
V/A The End Of The Fear Of God (Tochnit Aleph) cd 17.98
V/A The Free Design: The Now Sound Redesigned (Light In The Attic) cd 13.98
A lot of the makers of today's sweet indie-pop and a lot of the crate-digging DJs and producers of contemporary hip hop both seem to share an appreciation for the late '60s familial singing groop known as the Free Design, if this compilation is anything to go by -- featuring as it does the likes of Madlib, Super Furry Animals, Caribou, Styrofoam, Peanut Butter Wolf, Mellow, and many others (including members of Mars Volta and Belle & Sebastian) all giving props to these soft pop cult faves. A sweet tooth for this sort of stuff is universal, I guess. The Free Design's beautiful harmonies, lush orchestration, and dayglo lyrical content have lead us to describe 'em before as being like "The Carpenters on ecstasy, or a less cynical Stereolab unplugged." And guess what? One track on this tribute indeed features Stereolab teamed up with The High Llamas. Bringing together all the tracks from the three-part series of vinyl 12" remix eps released earlier this year by Light In The Attic, some of the cuts here are remixes, others are re-interpretations (covers), and some are not quite classifiable hybrids. They say Redesigns, some might say plunderings. You'll hear snippets of actual Free Design tracks, as well as bits that we don't think have anything to do with the Free Design at all (like, why does track seven consist of a sample of dialogue from the zombies-on-motorcycles movie Psychomania??). It's all over the place stylistically, from the rapping of Murs on the Danger Mouse's track to vocalist Sarah Shannon and Styrofoam's great pop-electronica version of "I Found Love" (our favorite Free Design song, by the way) to the scratch attack of Kid Koala to the psychedelia mined by Nobody...but through it all shines the sunshiney pop of the four members of the Dedrick family that made up the Free Design -- sometimes brightly, sometimes casting shadows.
STYROFOAM & SHARAH SHANNON "I Found Love" MPEG Stream:
KID KOALA & DYNOMITE D. "An Elegy"
V/A The Great Koonaklaster Speaks: A John Fahey Celebration (Table Of The Elements) cd 16.98
How many tribute albums can one man have? Ok, what we should be asking is how many good tribute albums can one man have? Ones that don't just have contemporary artists covering their favorite songs merely to add hip factor to an older artist, or ones that don't contain hip artists who are now dubiously rushing to be associated with someone who has had major cultural influence over a current scene. Thankfully, the folks at Table Of the Elements manage to avoid the tribute album pitfalls by selecting a range of artists from the current avant-garde not to perform covers but to create original compositions in the spirit of the Master's most peculiar, eccentric, far-flung and sometimes corn-ball humor. Of course from Table Of The Elements, who championed Fahey's later and most outre work, we are going to hear less of the Takoma-era acoustic guitar compositions (though Jack Rose and Sir Richard Bishop provide the stalwart gate-keeping role for that sound), and hear more of a dark yet celebratory experimentalism from the likes of New Zealand's Pumice, Lichens, R. Keenan Lawler, and No Neck Blues Band, who in the guise of country cousins, Coach Fingers manage to sample some of Fahey's voice (Don't be surprised if you think Jandek was invited to the party). Michael Hurley, Ben Vida, Badgerlore, Greg Malcolm and David Daniell also make some stellar appearances.
MICHAEL HURLEY "My Babe, My Babe" MPEG Stream:
LICHENS "Escapisms In A Comedic Forum" MPEG Stream:
PUMICE "Ceremonial Knives"
V/A The Harmonic Series - A Compilation Of Musical Works In Just Intonation (Important) cd 14.98
As the title truthfully advertises, this is a compilation of avant-garde compositions all incorporating Just Intonation in some way, shape, or form. While the liner notes go into great detail as to the specifics that define Just Intonation, the trademark sound of Just Intonation is the harmonized buzz that's found equally in Tony Conrad's abraded viola and the angelic choirs of Gregorian chants. Many 20th Century composers had incorporated such tunings as a stance against the Twelve-Tone tuning practice which had become the standard operating procedure for Western composition during the previous 200 years or so. We won't go too much into the musicological details, but we will say that this is a nice primer, featuring Pauline Oliveros, Michael Harrison, Ellen Fullman, Charles Curtis, Greg Davis, Zachary James Watkins, and others. The highlights are found in Greg Davis' very nice Andrew Chalk impersonation through his network of low-end frequencies, Michael Harrison's extract of buzzing piano chords (which, it must be said, is an extract from his amazing Revelation album), and the bellowing horns which ground Zachary James Watkins' track. Curated by Duane Pitre.
GREG DAVIS "Star Primes (For James Tenney)" MPEG Stream:
PAULINE OLIVEROS "The Beauty Of Sorrow" MPEG Stream:
ZACHARY JAMES WATKINS "Country Western"
V/A The Jewelled Antler Library (Porter) 4cd box 61.00
Oh wow. It's here, though not for long. You may have seen it announced on our blog or elsewhere, and really should have preordered one... we've already sold most of the copies we got (which was a lot, as many as we could afford, really). But at the moment we still have, like, a dozen. And possibly will be able to restock a few again next week, though we don't know that for sure. The label only pressed 1000 copies, and we know they're going fast. So perhaps listing it here is just for posterity's sake. So, what's all the excitement about you ask? If you're a fan of San Francisco's acclaimed Jewelled Antler collective of psychedelic/drone/improv/nature folks you should know, some years back (2003), they decided to release a series of 3" cd-r eps, once a month or so, with entries from JA regulars like Thuja, likeminded folks such as Dead Raven Choir and Antony Milton, and also odd, one-off quirky projects like Loren Chasse's frog-sounds disc dubbed Green Laughter. The idea was to release stuff that stood alone in twenty-minute doses and didn't need to be padded out to full-cd length. These cute lil' 3"s proved quite popular here at AQ, and of course are now long, long out of print like all Jewelled Antler cd-rs. Apparently a set will put you back about $100-120 on eBay nowadays, or until recently anyway... Well there'd been talk for some years now of these wonderful eps getting reissued on cd, in a box set or something, and lo it has finally come to pass thanks to the enthusiasm (and deep pockets) of Porter Records. The Jewelled Antler Library box contains 4 discs in cardboard sleeves, Books One to Four, comprising all 12 original entries in the approximately-monthly 3" cd-r ep series plus some extra bonus material! 59 tracks, four hours and forty minutes in all. It breaks down like this... Book One: Loren Chasse/Tomes/The Ivytree/Hala Strana, Book Two: Dead Raven Choir/The Famous Boating Party/Uton, Book Three: Claypipe/The Muons/Thuja, Book Four: Fursaxa/Kemialliset Ystavat/The Ways Of God To Man. And interspersed between each of the thirteen volumes are twelve "Footpath" tracks of brand new field recordings by Loren Chasse, up-close-and-personal documents of rain and wind and other evocative textural cracklings and rustlings from the natural environment. The box also contains individual, full-color cards with the cover art and credits from each ep. We reviewed all of them when they originally came out (or almost all of 'em, not sure what happened to the last few). Waste not, want not, so what follows is a conglomeration of our reviews of each library installment, slightly edited for clarity and to eliminate redundancies. Note how several of the entries in the series may have been the very first time we'd heard from a particular artist, such as Finland's Uton for instance, now well known to us and AQ customers... Volume 1: Frogs!!! Can AQ-customers resist frog recordings? We think not. Certainly we can't. Green Laughter is primarily frog field recordings made and edited by Loren Chasse (Thuja, Id Battery, Of, Blithe Sons, etc.). It's twenty minutes of the call of the wild (featuring frogs, cicadas, and perhaps birds), starting off as a fairly straight documentary and then blending into a computer-processed drone-wash constructed by Chasse from his original recordings. It's like wandering in a dense creature-inhabited forest back East somewhere in the summertime, your ears overwhelmed by the natural sounds, you getting dizzy and almost passing out, the ribbitting and chirping and buzzing and tweeting taking over your mind. But it eventually dissolves back into a blissful background ambience. Real nice. And many of the sounds on here that sound insect-like or electronic Loren assures us are in fact frogs. It's nature's electronic music, the sound of a laptop computer overwhelmed by heat and long grasses and the green laughter. Just the thing for when I (Allan) get homesick for Pennsylvania. Volume 2 is the debut recording from a group called Tomes, who are, as it turns out, basically Jewelled Antler flagship group Thuja (Rob Reger, Loren Chasse, Glenn Donaldson, absent Steven R. Smith), letting themselves get a little bit louder and noisier than they usually do in Thuja, harking back a bit to precursor band Mirza in fact. Probably the main reason this wasn't put out as a Thuja release is because Tomes' title and artwork are in fact the Jewelled Antler collective's knowing nod to a black metal aesthetic (which has fascinated Glenn particularly of late). But while intended as a tribute of sorts to black metal, the psychedelic drone music found here only holds subtle echoes of dark Nordic woodlands and burning churches. The twenty minutes of abstract heavy improv of The Dreadful Gift is darn good stuff regardless of the tangential conceptual framework. With noisy phantoms clanking chains, groaning drones, tell-tale heartbeats and and distorted freeform guitar feedback, this does achieve a dark n' dirgey but beautiful atmosphere. Too beautiful perhaps to leave the black metal hordes quaking in their corpsepaint, it still could be a Jewelled Antler Halloween soundtrack of sorts - I wonder why didn't they wait 'til the October Library installment for this? Definitely recommended. Volume 3 comes from The Ivytree, a solo project of one of the Jewelled Antler's chief protagonists, Glenn Donaldson (who can also be found in Thuja, The Blithe Sons, Knit Separates, The Birdtree, etc). Donaldson has publicly announced an affinity for creating different monikers to accompany the innumerable variations of his musical productions, so The Ivytree may be just one in a number of upcoming 'tree' projects from Donaldson. Certainly this 18 minute ep has a lot in common with his previous 'tree disc, The Birdtree album, which garnered high praise from us. Centered around a plaintive, elliptical finger-picking guitar technique which renders every note full of melancholia, The Sun Is The Lamp weaves in and out of harmonium drones, field recordings of birds, and Donaldson's evocative vocals. As strong as the best Richard Youngs projects that might be the closest comparison we can make, this is another fantastic recording from Jewelled Antler! Volume 4 is by Thuja's Steven R. Smith, who has taken up the Hala Strana moniker for his Eastern European-folk music inspired meditations. Karst continues down the path of his previous Jewelled Antler production Kohl, with a more ramshackle production for his dense acoustic arrangements for guitar and scratchy violin, which often hints at Eastern European timbres but as played by Nikki Sudden. In fact two of Smith's tracks are versions of traditional Polish and Romanian folk songs. Often beginning with a clutter of loose sounds, Smith coaxes his orchestrations into melancholic melodies and has smothered everything with an unusual patina of crunchy vinyl static, giving these 18 minutes a distinctly antiquated feel. A great entry in a great series... Volume 5 is by Dead Raven Choir, the Texas-by-way-of-Poland based folk/improv one man project that the Jewelled Antler powers-that-be seem to be totally in love with of late - this was their 3rd DRC release of 2003! As with his previous Jewelled Antler cd-rs, DRC here conjures up some eccentric vocal theatrics and sparse, haunted acoustic guitar playing, like some sort of Eastern European Jandek. And his black metal obsession with wolves continues in the title here as well. Scarily beautiful, with atmospheric piano and unknown other sounds providing a hissing soundscape for his vocal, all three tracks here featuring macabre poetry by Paul Verlaine. Volume 6 is something a bit different, yet familiar too to Jewelled Antler aficionados. It features the Blithe Sons (Glenn Donaldson and Loren Chasse, both also of Thuja and much else besides) joined by Eleanor Harwood on vocals. This trio's music is totally inspired by '70s art rock ensemble Slapp Happy, it's actually an intentional tribute of sorts. Eleanor is the heart of this, and we must say that for an untrained vocalist in an improvised setting, she's very impressive! Singing lyrics taken from a book of Kenneth Patchen poetry that was near to hand, "The Famous Boating Party", she totally inhabits the Dagmar Krause role, her vocals all wonderfully warbly and birdlike and lovely. She reminds us of Bjork at times too, no bad thing! Backing her up/leading her on, Glenn strums melodically on his 6 & 12 string guitars and adds comforting keyboard coloration, while Loren's "percussion & noises" both provide a steady beat and contribute the usual detailed, natural Jewelled Antler ambiance. It's very hazy and folky and fairytale like, a summer's afternoon encapsulated in a magical music box. Maybe not to everyone's taste (Slapp Happy certainly isn't either) but for some this will be a highlight in the Library series. Volume 7 is also from outside the immediate ranks of Thuja and company. Although they've had a couple of cd-r releases popping up from tiny labels around the globe, this was our introduction to Uton. This anonymous, acoustic-noise-drone band hails from Finland, although they seem far more at home within the New Zealand community of Birchville Cat Motel, Anthony Milton, and Handful of Dust. Zwuiji is a bit more grating than most entries in the Jewelled Antler Library series, which typically opiate themselves with hazy improvised psychedelia and obtuse folk renderings. Rather Uton revels in mistreating their electric gear in order to fill up the audio spectrum with buzzing drones that swarm out of their amplifiers like angry wasps. Scratchy violins and atonally shifting wind instruments hover behind these gritty walls of vibrating feedback which comes across more as a misaligned engine block rattling all of those tones inside your head than as a typical trick with a couple of effects boxes. Certainly the fans of cd-r labels Celebrate Psi Phenomenon or PseudoArcana will like this. Volume 8 hails from New Zealand's Claypipe. It seems Jewelled Antler have found some kindred souls Down Under, no not Gandalf and Frodo but in this case Antony Milton (who runs a cd-r label himself, Pseudoarcana) and Clayton Noone (C.J.A., Armpit) who together are known as Claypipe. Repetition and drone and field recording grit coexist with lovely acoustic guitar - it's real nice. With wistful, earnest vocals, some distorted and layered, this is neither indie-pop nor environmental ambient, but a hybrid that totally fits with Jewelled Antler 'groups' like the Blithe Sons and Child Readers, while possessing that special New Zealand magic we all adore. Seven tracks, 20 minutes, and you're left wishing it were longer. Volume 9 is a disc from SF's Muons, not a Jewelled Antler band per se, but in those guys' orbit. There's five songs here, just under twenty minutes of fragile, psychedelic folk recorded live, where they really shine. Inspired by traditional British folk music, but made soooo minimal and spacey that they've been called the "Bernhard Gunter of space-folk", the Muons make forlorn lullabys for adults. For this performance, the Muons were just the duo of Greg Bianchini and Rickey Reneau. Greg, who has played with Jewelled Antler acts Franciscan Hobbies, Thuja and Blithe Sons, is an gifted instrument maker, and on this recording plays a home-built 14-string electric lute as well as sings. Rickey plays an electric dulcimer, probably also built by Greg. Greg's languid strumming and melancholic vocals seem to drift out of the smoke and mist of another era, and could be from a lost UK psych-folk comp, although this is so slow and sad and desolate that no hippy could have made it - they'd be too bummed out. We're also reminded of some Galaxie 500, or old NZ stuff like the Chills. Certainly this is a bit different than much else in the Library series - it's got to be the most 'composed' set of songs found on any of these 3" discs. But we think JA fans will like it, a lot. It has a 'flowers in the rain' vibe that's just lovely. And the loveliness extends to the paintings Greg did for the 3" cover. Very nice. Volume 10 is from Thuja. With the series getting close to the end, it's about time for these guys to finally make an appearance (unless you count the almost-Thuja entry by black metal inspired alter ego Tomes). 20 or so minutes, 2 tracks. Again, the Thujans (Loren Chasse, Rob Reger, Steven R. Smith, and Glenn Donaldson) make some of the most beautiful and mysterious abstract instrumental improv we've heard. All we're told is that Fable was "recorded at night in the Garden of Kains, August 30, 2003". There could have been weird old hippies sitting in, or magical woodland beasts (of the past), or academic dronologists gone a bit strange on natural pharmacueticals...but probably it was just Thuja, and their music is conjuring these imaginary visitors not the other way around. All those above reviews from our archives get us up to book/disc four, volumes 11, 12, and the previously unheard by us quasi-volume 13 in the Library series. We'll briefly describe 'em here (as if you needed us to...): Volume 11 is from Fursaxa, and consists of one haunting track, "Harbinger of Spring". Nearly 18 minutes of wordless vocal drone, tumbling tribal drums, and other mysterious atmospheres. Good music for the next time you're trapped inside a Wicker Man. Volume 12 comes from Finnish freaky forest folks Kemialliset Ystavat, who always seemed like Jewelled Antler soulmates. Five tracks here of their moody, magical improvs. Primitive, krauty jams we love. And then the "bonus" Volume 13 is by Jewelled Antler act Ways Of God To Man (Christine Boepple, Kerry McLaughlin, Loren Chasse and Glenn Donaldson). It was originally released in a very limited edition on a NZ cd-r label in 2004. Despite featuring 2 former AQ employees, we never even got any... Three tracks ("Nothing", "Everything", and "Anything") of dark psychedelic throb and abstract, distorted melodic murk, over 28 minutes total. It sounds to us like Jewelled Antler's tribute to Ya Ho Wa 13! Even if you already have the other 12 volumes of the library on the original 3"s cd-rs, and getting them again on the more durable medium of actual compact disc isn't a compelling enough reason to buy this box, we'd imagine that getting to hear the Ways Of God To Man could sweeten the deal considerably. All right, considering we KNOW we're gonna run out of these right away, this review is quite long enough! Just one more paragraph to go... Need we say, pretty darn recommended. But do we have any complaints? Well, musically, not really, of course some volumes will appeal more that others but that's the deal, and you can't get 'em individually anymore anyway. Also, just in terms of physical production, any ambitious, unique project like this is bound to have a few flaws. Will the metallic foil debossing of the Jewelled Antler logo on the box top IS quite handsome, the box itself is a bit of a disappointment. It just a bit flimsier than we were expecting ("heavy chip board stock" it's not), apparently due to the difficulty of debossing on heavier cardboard. Also it's bigger than it needs to be, leaving empty space inside for the cds and cards to rattle around. Had each one been stuffed (in true Jewelled Antler style) with twigs and moss and suchlike, that would have solved the problem, unfortunately that probably proved to be impractical, but you could do it yourself once you get this! There's also just a couple of proofing errors we noticed, nothing serious (Hala Strana got left off the back of the box, alas) but it's still too bad. However, the overall presentation is still pretty nice and of course it's the music that matters. So, that said, we can only reiterate: pretty darn recommended!
TOMES "The Dreadful Gift, Part 1" MPEG Stream:
THE IVYTREE "White Sun" MPEG Stream:
HALA STRANA "Karst" MPEG Stream:
WAYS OF GOD TO MAN "Nothing"
V/A The Night Gallery 2: 21st Century Psychedelic Underground (Alchemy) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. And we've also got the second of Alchemy's Night Gallery underground Japanese psych comps too, from earlier this year. Six bands this time (68 minutes, 11 tracks in all). Two of 'em have names only given in Japanese that we can't translate. The four with English names provided are She Brings The Rainbow (nice Can reference there), Magura Mozart, Subari, and Coa. Some contribute just one long track each (like the aptly-titled "Psych-Out" from Magura Mozart) others a few shorter cuts. The disc starts with a few tracks from one of the Japanese-name only bands, kinda Ghost-ly, or like Nagisa Ni te, all gentle and drifting and melancholy with female vocals. Then She Brings The Rainbow makes their contributions, way more shiny and uptempo, more female vocals but poppier I guess. Good stuff. That's followed by a long piece from Subari, a band consisting of Eddie and Bill (both girls, despite their names) from Coa plus one Keizo Suhara on vocals and guitar. It's a spacey one, quite nice. Eddie and Bill just the two of them then step up with another long track, the noisy, droney, heavy, dense clangor that is Coa's "Mirror To Mirror". That's tough to follow but the band known as Magura Mozart manage to do so with an epic of their own, starting off with ritualistic piano, percussion, and bells that gives way to pulsing drumming and waves of distorted guitar, coming closest on this comp to the Les Rallizes Denudes territory that LSD-march and Up-tight explored on the first Night Gallery (and on their own albums too of course). The last band on this collection is another whose name we don't know, and stick out as being almost more 'no-wave' than psych, very quirky and poppy and ramshackle and punky. So, the six bands here are sometimes a weird mix, but the highlights are many, and both volumes of the Night Gallery prove (if you weren't already aware) that there's a lot of interesting "psych" bands doin' their thing in Japan right now besides good ol' Acid Mothers Temple! [After we first posted this review, our customer Alan Cummings was kind enough to provide us with the following additional info: "the two bands you don't have the names for on Night Gallery 2 are Eddie Marcon (the gentle and melancholy one -- again Eddie and Bill from Coa), and the no-wavey one is Oshiripenpenzu. The title of the Eddie Marcon track you have streamed is 'Ikuyonoshitaku'."]
(UNKNOWN) "(Japanese title)" MPEG Stream:
SHE BRINGS THE RAINBOW "(Japanese title)" MPEG Stream:
MAGURA MOZART "Psych-Out"
V/A The Night Gallery: 21st Century Psychedelic Underground (Alchemy) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Released last year, this first "Night Gallery" comp from Alchemy basically picks up where the PSF label left off with their classic Tokyo Flashback series (though I think these bands quite possibly from Osaka, where Alchemy is based, not Tokyo). But the "modern Japanese psychedelia" concept is the same. Freaked-out, heavy, spacey, drifting, dark, drugged...differing doses of each of those descriptors apply to each of the five bands found here, which include some names now much better known to us today than when this disc first came out. The line-up: LSD-march, Up-Tight, Miminokoto, Doodles and Chouzu. The first three of those have all had domestic US cd releases in recent months, and on this very list you'll also find both a great new disc featuring Doodles (a female duo) collaborating with Hijokaidan guitarist (and Alchemy label boss) Jojo Hiroshige and an awesome new Up-Tight full-length on Alchemy. So from lighter fare (the blissful Chouzu, for instance) to the heavier stuff (the disc ends with a punishing 13 minutes from Up-Tight) this ought to please most folks from most points on the psych geek/Japanophile spectrum. 66 minutes, 11 tracks total.
LSD-MARCH "track 1" MPEG Stream:
DOODLES "track 5" MPEG Stream:
CHOUZU "track 9"
V/A The Or Some Computer Music Series: Issue 1 (Or) cd 15.98
The first in a series from Or exploring the nature of computer music. With Aphex Twin (contributing an odd piece for computerized congas beating erratically), Beautyon (from Irdial Records), cd_slopper (aka Hecker), General Magic (Mego's Ramon Bauer maintaining the digital glitch), Kevin Drumm, Stephen Travis Pope, Trevor Wishart (doing a nihilist sound collage for the 21st century), Ubik, and Zbigniew Karkowski & Kasper Toeplitz.
V/A The Radiophonic Workshop ['70s] (BBC Worldwide) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The classic 1975 album reissued, chock full o' quirky and/or moody cutting-edge compositions from the the madmen (and women) who inhabited the legendary BBC Radio Radiophonic Workshop in its heyday -- you know, the folks responsible for all the electronic music on the Dr. Who TV show. So, you get all the mysterious whooshes and percolating scifi bleepage you'd expect. Sound effects and music converge here, utilizing the most advanced synth technology of the day (such as the EMS Synthi 100 'Delaware' machine, described as "massive"), and a lot of imagination. Combining electronically-generated sounds with tape loops and live instruments, tracks here range from spritely, happy video arcade pop toons to spooky, creepy soundcapes (or the disturbing gastrointestinal ambience of "Major Bloodnok's Stomach", track 8). Clever montage, music box melodies, and assorted mad-computer sounds abound. Unlike the other BBC Radiophonic Workshop disc (the '60s collection "BBC Radiophonic Music"), most of this was composed especially for this album, rather than taken from prior BBC productions. The musicians/technicans saw this as a chance to express themselves in ways not always possible in commissioned works (in stereo, for one thing, rather than the mono most broadcast work required), and certainly their experimental tendencies came to the fore. Pretty neat.
JOHN BAKER "Brio" RealAudio clip:
GLYNIS JONES/MALCOLM CLARKE "Nenuphar"
V/A The Sound Of Ascension: Audio Kool-Aid From The 70's Most Eccentric Cults & Communes (Blue Cult Records) cd 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Could there be a more aQuarius record? A compilation of recordings by various cults, including Ya Ho Wa 13, the Manson Family, the Aum Shinrikyo (we had a 7" by them a while back), the Hare Krishnas, as well as a bunch of others we had never heard of. But that's just the beginning. These recordings were supposedly recovered from beneath a compost heap behind the house of Peggy Luciene, who, during her life had followed a bunch of those cults and who eventually went missing. Assumed dead and buried, some assume she ascended or transformed, depending on which cult you believe. The truth is, this disc is part of an art project, which involves the fictional life and death of Peggy Luciene, the cults she was involved in, the people she knew...it's pretty immersive. The cd features a hidden track, that is the audio of the art project, a sort of guided tour through the Mission and Dolores Park, you can also listen on a walkman radio, tuned to 107.9. We've yet to do the actual walkthrough, but listening to the disc, we can almost visualize the various buildings and spots the mother and daughter visit over the course of the 17 minutes. It's pretty awesome. A huge project, beautifully realized, from the audio to the concept. And then there's the comp. Even without all that art angles, we would have flipped for this comp. Some awesome rarities, with each group / cult getting a little paragraph description. There's the awesome "Mechanical Man" by Charles Manson and the Family, some awesome outsider folk, with some very creepy lyrics, plus you can hear various other family members talking and laughing in the background. Then there's some awesome psychedelic rock courtesy of Father Yod and -his- family. But what about the Shiva Lillas, who we had never heard of? There track is a creepy piano ballad, with a child speaking over the top. Followed by Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, whose folky hippy jam is pretty groovy, could be any seventies folkie, but of course these guys were obsessed with doomsday! The Hare Krishnas offer up an Indian influenced chant / raga, that again, if it was on some weird world comp, folks would be freaking out. The People's Temple, led by Jim Jones (although Jones wasn't part of the band as far as we know) deliver a joyous gospel celebration, while the All Saved Freak Band unfurl some gorgeously lush freaky Christian folk. Up next is Sun Ra, whose Interstellar Arkestra commune is about the uncultiest of these cults, but heck, Sun Ra is pretty inspirational, and if any one could convince us to sit in a field naked and wait for aliens it would definitely be him. The Bugotak Project is more modern, and do a sort of metallized throat singing rock, pretty trippy and far out, and would also probably be a big hit around here if it was some weird cd-r from who knows where, and finally, the Breatharian Institute Of America, whose members aspire to a state of ascension where they can exist without consuming food, their musical contribution is a creepy recitation over a sea of chimes and bells, really haunting, and super intense. A killer comp for sure, seemingly custom made for all you freaky folks into far out sounds and underground weirdness, an obsession with cults probably helps too, and the fact that it's all tangled up with the imagined life of a lost directionless young woman who spent her life looking for meaning in these sounds and with these groups, only makes it that much cooler. Definitely recommended, and for folks in the Bay Area, you should definitely lose yourself in the piece, throw some headphones on, and wander through another time and another world, right here in the Mission. Beautifully packaged, full color cover, with pictures and notes for each group / artist / cult, as well as liner notes pertaining to the art project.
THE MANSON FAMILY "Mechanical Man" MPEG Stream:
THE SHIVA LILLAS "The Mystery" MPEG Stream:
AUM SHINRIKYO "Superior Commune" MPEG Stream:
THE PEOPLE'S TEMPLE "Something Got A Hold On Me"
V/A The Threshold Of Silence (Deep Listenings) cd-r 12.98
The title of this compilation as well as the label name, not to mention the artists involved, should give you a pretty clear idea of what this comp is all about. Some serious deep listening, music on the Threshold Of Silence, featuring loads of AQ faves like Aidan Baker, Troum, Paul Bradley and others... Yep, this is a collection of inward looking outward seeking minimal ambient drone music, and it's all quite gorgeous. Seven groups, utilizing a fairly standard array of instrumentation, synths, voice, percussion, guitar, effects, strings, keyboards, cello, electronics, analog modular system and water (!) between them, each picking some tiny microscopic corner of the sonic universe to open up and explore. Deep resonant cavernous underwater drones, warm bleary eyed drift, muted melodies floating above crystalline shimmers, dense melodic blurs rippling with subtle tonal color, fragments of guitar loosed and allowed to hover amidst opaque swirls and glimmering streaks of sound, long drawn out notes, layers of synths piled atop warm swells, all sorts of drones, from bright and sparkling, to murky and muddy to blissfully blown out, this without a doubt has become THE late night drifting off lullaby record of choice for some of us. Packaged in an oversized full plastic sleeve, with an oversized card, full color image on one side and liner notes on the other. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES, each disc hand numbered.
AIDAN BAKER "Untitled Guitar Drone" MPEG Stream:
TROUM "Ultrachronos" MPEG Stream:
PAUL BRADLEY "Fissure"
V/A The Tone Of The Universe (= The Tone Of The Earth). (Pseudo Arcana) 2cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This long in the works compilation from the always reliable PseudoArcana label, is one of those comps that we barely need to describe. A list of the bands involved will have most of you frothing at the mouth: Blithe Sons, Peter Wright, CJA, Anla Courtis, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Antony Milton, Uton, Moglass, Neil Campbell, Birchville Cat Motel, The Skaters, Of, 1/3 Octave Band, My Cat Is An Alien and more!!! Holy crap! Two whole discs. And with a lineup like that, it would be a bit hard to describe all the tracks anyway. The sounds within though are all conceptually linked, but sonically all over the map. In a good way. The concept being the receent discovery of a galaxy cluster light years away that has been resonating in a steady B flat drone (although something like 57 octaves below the threshold of human hearing), so all these tracks are theoretically 'cover versions' of that mysterious galaxy's song!
PETER WRIGHT "Haboob" MPEG Stream:
VIBRACATHEDRAL ORCHESTRA "3 Bb Moods" MPEG Stream:
A.M. / UTON "Ground Curve"