Acid Birds – Acid Birds II LP (Blackest Rainbow) 11.50
“Acid Birds was formed in 2004 in Brooklyn, NY by Andrew Barker (drums & percussion), Jaime Fennelly (harmonium & electronics) and Charles Waters (alto saxophone & bass clarinet). NY-based Barker & Waters are both founding members of Gold Sparkle Band, and Fennelly, who recently relocated to Chicago from the Pacific Northwest, is 1/3 of Peeesseye, and recently embarked on his new solo project Mind Over Mirrors. Their first self-titled LP came out on the Italian label QBICO in 2009. Their second LP, Acid Birds II, on Sagittarius A-Star, and their first cassette, entitled Mock Load, out on Electric Temple were released to coincide with their Midwest / East Coast Winter 2011 tour. This trio work tirelessly on some wide ranging genres of fine musical output; Barker has worked with Gold Sparkle Band, Sirone of the Revolutionary Ensemble, Daniel Carter, Roy Campbell’s TAZ, Rob Brown, Chris Jonas, Sonny Simmons, Sabir Mateen, Virginia Genta, and many others.He has appeared on several recordings, including Apostolic Polyphony (with Matthew Shipp and Charles Waters) and The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra’s Mayor of Punkville. In addition to several ongoing projects, Barker has also recently formed a metal band called Hallux. Fennelly is a founding member of Peeesseye, the transatlantic amalgam of minimalist rock, noise, folk, drone, psych, improv, sound poetry, and absurdity that has produced nearly twenty releases. Fennelly recently released his solo LP under the name Mind Over Mirrors on Digitalis Industries to some excellent reviews. Through blending together harmonium, piano and synth drone slabs, hemorrhaging feedback and percussive tape loops, he creates music operating somewhere between a hypnotic ritual, kosmische-inspired minimalism and seriously blurred out american folk music. Releases of his various projects/bandscan be found on labels such as Chocolate Monk, Locust Music, Utech, 8mm, Unframed, Archive, Digitalis Industries, QBICO, Smeraldina-Rima, Misanthropic Agenda and Evolving Ear. Charles Waters is a member of the Gold Sparkle Band, a large collective of musicians that has included Nate Wooley, Sabir Mateen, Matt Lavelle, Hill Greene, and many others.Waters studied clarinet with Eugene Kavadlo of the Charlotte Symphony, and has also worked with William Parker’s Little Huey Music Orchestra, Matthew Shipp, and Chris Jonas’ Brooklyn Comprovisers Orchestra. ‘Red Beak, Yellow Eye’ opens up the record with wild drumming, electronic screeches and raging alto sax, building to a rapid waterfall of incredible sounds and then falling back out to minimal electronic pulses and clarinet bursts leading to disintergrating electronics, percussive clatter, and back to full force with Barkers drums and Waters sax fusing together seamlessly with Fennelly’s crumbling electronics. ‘Rings and Lenses’ is a shorter darker piece with Fennelly laying down a bleak electronic landscape with Barker adding sinister cello and Waters monsterous bass clarinet adding a real deep texture to the almost ritualistic piece. ‘Acid Birds III’ comes to a close with ‘Rapture Rupture’, an absolutely wild piece of free music, insane electronics, pummeling drums, and sax that at times doesn’t even sound like a sax. What Acid Birds do here is completely tear down the walls between rhythm and noise music, creating something entirely new and pushing the genre of jazz and experimental free music to new limits and standards. Mastered by Scott Colburn. Pressed on 140 gram black vinyl in an edition of 500 copies with stunning artwork by Jacob Magraw and Rachell Sumpter.” (BR)
Astral Social Club / Tomutontto split LP (Tipped Bowler) 13.25
“Two of Europe’s finest collide on a 12” 45 RPM platter loosely inspired by the club single. On “Wet Wheel / Hot Wheel,” Neil Campbell of Astral Social Club succumbs to the heartbeat throb of house, but tops the bass with a frenetic squall of darting alien melodies. On cursory listen, the elements congeal into honest-to-goodness body music, but the track is riddled with stutters and gaps that the flooded synapses fill with aural afterimages. On the reverse, Jan Anderzén of Tomutonttu buries the dance influence, retaining only the genre’s neon shimmer and linear logic. “Syvät Svyät” overflows with cuckoo loops that briefly cohere into musical shapes before casting off, replaced by an ecstatic march of manic squiggles. One must focus to follow the train of musical thought, but Anderzén’s humor and intuition reward the effort. Silk-screened Alan Siwa sleeve” (TB)
Atlantis – House of Tomorrow cassette (Digitalis) 5
“this new guise from maps & diagrams takes an unexpected aquatic turn with a half-hour set of short & sweet synthesizer compositions. it’s not all float-y and dream-y, though – the opener sounds like an outtake from bladerunner and at various other points i feel like i’m listening to a lost soundtrack for some weirdo spy movie. it all stays together, though, and even hints at a pop song or two. get your rockets on, shoot for the stars and ultimately get drowned.” (Digitalis)
Black Church – Vawan cdr (Reverb Worhsip) 6
Black Church is the work of LA-based musician Kim Free and this release compiles previous releases “Madeline Blue” (2008), “Less You” (2009), “YxY” (2010) and “Down With Hades” (2010) plus an unreleased track. Reverb-heavy shoegazery bedroom pop.
Buchikamashi – New Astral Projection cassette (Digitalis) 5
Gorgeous mix of minimal synth undulations and huge enveloping vapourizing drones. Two long tracks to get lost in.
Cray – Show Fakes cassette (Digitalis) 5
“australia joins the party as ross healy flexes his muscles on some serious machines. buchla & voyager collisions from the cosmic outback cooked to perfection, bleep and blop into your subconscious. bizarro vocals are cut to shreds and thrown down an echo chamber while static cuts through the underwater buzz. healy mines a lot of territory here but with considerable skill. drowned pop elements even bleed through before being crushed with more bloopy, library sound-infused goodness. dripping dreams” (Digitalis)
Datashock – Pyramiden Von Giessen 2LP (Dekorder) 18
“Datashock is a south-german collective of young punks pretending to be old hippies. They have released albums on Qbico, Textile, Chocolate Monk and their own Meudiademorte label, and have collaborated with Family Battle Snake, Aidan Baker and Black To Comm. Pyramiden Von Gießen is their most psychedelic, mature, song-oriented and krautrock-infused outing so far (think Kosmische Kuriere, Ash Ra Tempel et al). It’s a vinyl-only double-lp in a gorgeous fold-out cover with liner notes by seminal german cut-up poet and novelist Jürgen Ploog” (Dekorder)
Dead Black Arms / Fire Serpent cd (Ark Tarp) 9.50
Excellent Danish drone. Dead Black Arms contribute one long piece of gently undulating tone, which will appeal to fans of Gareth Hardwick. Fire Serpent’s 3 tracks are more visceral, reminding me of the searing tape delayed flicker drone of Our Glassie Azoth. Handmade packaging.
Denied By Character – Wrecks cdr (Reverb Worship) 5.50
Duo featuring James Brewster and Andreas Beraha. Recorded live at Malmo’s Cafe Montag the pair use guitar, pedals, laptop and metal objects to create a huge wall of fuzz that engulfs everything in its path.
Diva – The Glitter End LP (Alt Vinyl) 9.50
“essential debut album by the ethereal and mesmeric LA based former front woman of cult alt.indie band blackblack and of pocahaunted. This is the real diva coming out, quirky, catchy alt.pop for those hankering after a hook and looking for a middle ground somewhere between the cure and joy division. Variously described as a psychedelic assette tape princess and a mythicalcreature lady diva, frsh frour playing with os mutantes and ariel pink, is touring across Europe from april, so enjoy the record and catch the live show and get in on the ground floor. ” (AV)
Driftwood Manor – The Same Figure (Leaving) cd (Rusted Rail) 7.50
Another splendid release from Eddie Keenan and his band who contain members of United Bible Studies. Dave Colohan appears on this and if you’re a fan of Agitated Radio Pilot (and you really should be!), it’s safe to say you will love this too. This is a re-release of the Rural Faune cdr, long sold-out. ALSO: Holy Ghost 3″ cdr (Rusted Rail) 3
Evening Fires – Holy Ghost Explosion cdr Deep Water) 5
This release features Evening Fires as a sextet with the addition of Jennifer Breimhurst on theremin and violin. The tracks were recorded in a large 1920s barn in the Pennsylvanian countryside live to 2 track. The resulting sound is as warm and spacious as you would hope for which suits the band’s spaced-out psych rock.
Flaming Creatures & Hering Und Seine Sieben Sachen – Kein Stress cassette (Digitalis) 5
Collaborative recording. Two long dreamscapes of twinkling synth, gaseous drones, delayed guitar and wordless vocals that build into ecstatic reverie.
Billy Gomberg – Give or Give In cassette (Digitalis) 5
Long, slowly evolving compositions comprised of synth / field recordings. Side A recalls the eerie submarinal drone / noise-scapes of Bjerga / Iversen. Side B floats in a calm sea of watery synth and restrained feedback.
Hahn Kult – Across Ashen Faces And Leaden Gazes cassette (Golem) 4
“Aafalg was recorded in 2009, and has been on its way out ever since, finally ending up here. It is the first release by Hahn Kult since 2007, and is very different from their old experimental black metal-output. The sound will be recognizable for people who have experienced them live the last couple of years, as it consists of a studio-versions of this set. The sound of the A-side is that of complexly collaged and constantly evolving drone-rock soundscapes wi th a cinematic feel, the B-side features one 24-minute droning organ-based soundscape.” (Golem)
Hobo Cubes / J Hanson split cassette (Digitalis) 5
Split cassette release featuring one side of magnificent weird synth cinematics from Frank Ouellette of Montreal. Half radiophonics, half early instrumental Human League and totally unsettling. On the reverse more synth magic, this time from modular synth-meister J Hanson.
Robert Horton – Ducksnort! Boot III cdr (Nothing Out There) 8.50
Fairly recent recordings made on the homemade “boot” (acoustic and electric). The unadorned sound of the boot is Horton’s warped folk-blues at its best. At times the incessant repetition of notes and particularly the frenzied bowed strings remind me of Henry Flynt’s hillbilly drones. This comes in a handmade 8 page card sleeve with art by Robert and Constantin Dubois who runs the label. ALSO: If I Can’t Play My Boot, I Don’t Have A Leg to Stand On cdr (Nothing Out There) 5
Isadore Ducasse – s/t LP (Blackest Rainbow) 11.50
“A new collaborative project from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and William Trevor Montgomery. Both musicians played together in Tarantel and Moholy-Nagy. Cantu-Ledesma also runs the superb Root Strata label, releasing solo material under his own name (including a recent LP on Type), and also plays in The Alps. Montgomery also releases music under Lazarus, The Drift and Believer. This project was originally conceived and composed as a soundtrack to an unreleased western. The 14 tracks on this record are beautifully delicate, textured, sparse pieces ranging from slow acoustic reflective moments, to fully electric strumming, they capture the feel a western perfectly. It’s a shame the film never made it out, because judging by the music it would’ve been a beautiful spectacle. The project was was recorded by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and William Trevor Montgomery and mixed at studio Lamantia, the record was mastered by Greg Davis. The image on the cover is a still from a Paul Clipson film, whose films have previously featured the music of Jefre, Barn Owl, Tarantel, Gregg Kowalsky and Metal Rouge. Sleeve layout by Jefre. Pressed on 140 gram black virgin vinyl. Limited to 500 copies.” (BR)
Mpala Garoo – Sur Satori cassette (Digitalis) 5
Wondrous spaced-out electronics that floats somewhere between Monopoly Child and Moondog.
Mazurka – Fruits cassette (Golem) 4
“Amplified clarinet and drums-duo playing free, noisy, psychedelic klezmer. This is the second press, limited to 25 copies with second-sorting of covers and on black tapes, the first being ltd. to 30 on red tapes.” (Golem)
Mythic Sunship – Colour Out of Space cassette (Golem) 4
“The sound on colour out of space is that of minimalistic repetitive spacerock. Simple line-up (guitar-guitar-drums), simple song-development, flat dynamics, no fancy production, and a characteristic hypnotic flow. Spacerock is a tough genre to reach; too much dynamics and it’s postrock, too complex and it easily goes bluesy, too short it’s psych, too long it’s drone etc. But these guys seem to find the right balance here.” (Golem)
- Doubles LP (VHF) 10.75
- Doubles cd (VHF) 9
Two gorgeous long tracks by Irish guitarist Cian Nugent, imbued with the spirit of Takoma. The first track “Peaks & Troughs” builds slowly through drone-based finger-picking into an ear-buzzing drone that almost drifts into atonality. “Sixes & Sevens” features a full band including drums, viola, clarinet / bass clarinet, flugelhorn and trumpet, replacing the melancholy of the previous track with a delightfully upbeat melody for the opening section. Things become quieter and tense with descending arpeggios, long breathes of silence broken by drum and chimes, then quieter pastoral finger-picking like an intense sunset fading to monochrome. Audiophile vinyl, gatefold sleeve.
Paintings of Windows – Plazas de Armas cdr (Bunkland) 7
New set of field recordings from Antony Milton (A.M. / Nether Dawn etc) following on from earlier releases featuring recordings from India and Pakistan. This one captures sounds recorded during Antony’s time in South American. Crowd noise from markets and buses, water, wildlife, wind, music and nightlife. A fascinating audio portrait. Comes with a 12 page booklet.
Psychic Frost (Mike Tamburo / Matt McDowell) – s/t cdr Deep Water) 5
Two long pieces from regular collaborators Mike Tamburo and Matt McDowell. “Hey Enis Dance” starts out as a hypnotic piece of acoustic fingerpicking accompanied by tones of guitar feedback. The piece goes through a process of disintegration, fragmenting into reverberant throbs of decay and fuzzing feedback drone, before returning to the meditative feel present at the start. “Taste the Frost” finds the duo in an intense modal duel of electrified tenor banjo and hammered dulcimer. Great stuff.
Pummeler / The North Sea split cd (Ark Tarp) 9.50
Pummeler is Dane Mikkel Dunkerley and on here he contributes one long track of synth disintegration. The North Sea’s explorations of weird synth-scapes continues with this lengthy track that mixes a background of infernal tape-wowing hum with spiralling oscillations. Excellent hand-made packaging too.
Colin Andrew Sheffield – Signatures cd (Invisible Birds) 8
4 long compositions made on a turntable, old sampler and a portable 64 track workstation, using commercially available recordings and field recordings of water and birds, although you’d be hard pressed to identify anything. The result is a stunning obfuscation of original source sounds; thunderous static, glistening chordal structures, dreamlike melodies obscured by vast clouds of drone. Listen loud and disappear. Highly recommended/
Sol – Black Cloud of Becoming cassette (Golem) 4
“Th e sound on black cloud of becoming is diverse, though strangely consistent, moving from oscillator/organ-drones to blackened doom-metal and on to heavy earth-inspired dronerock. The sound is striving and desparate. Sol has a lot of more or less straight doom metal-releases behind him on prominent labels like Paradigms and vÃ¡n, but this tape examplifies a new and less genre-specific direction in his production.” (Golem)
Jesse Sparhawk & Eric Carbonara
- Sixty Strings LP (VHF) 10.75
- Sixty Strings cd (VHF) 9
The Sixty Strings referenced in the title are the combined number of strings played by both artists on this release. Jesse Sparhawk plays a 38-stringed Lever Harp and Eric Carbonara plays a 22-stringed Upright Chaturangui guitar. The harp glissandi at the start reminded me of Alice Coltrane and this certainly matches her recordings for a sense of cosmic blissfulness, though the proceedings never drift into New Age territory, due to the precision and clarity of the playing. Thrillingly intense driving modal composition. Excellent.
S. Gone – Kimberley Al Butan cassette (Digitalis) 5
AKA Sovetskaya Gone. “danchisko may have shortened the name but the impact is still long for this world. the previous sovetskaya jaunts were dreamy affairs but “kimberley al butnan” is something else. skeletal, irregular rhythms dot the horizon while methodic key plundering follows the trail up the mountain. each point on the map flirts w/ melodicism while staying on the knife’s edge. there’s a wobbly, uneasy feeling hiding under the surface, but i’m okay with getting seasick as long as we continue down this way” (Digitalis)
Tarhumans / Mette Mareridt split cd (Ark Tarp) 9.50
4 tracks of communal clang and clatter and searing metallic drone from Tarhumans. Mette Mareridt contribute 6 tracks of screwed-up no wave. Excelloent packaging featuring inserts and hand-painted card sleeves.
Alexander Turnquist – Hallway Of Mirrors LP (VHF) 10.75 / Hallway Of Mirrors cd (VHF) 9
Third album from Alexander Turnquist. Guitar playing of densely packed notes create a richly reverbed thrum of harmonics while vibraphone and violin carry the melody lines. Partly inspired by Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians”, the compositions have more in common with minimalism that Takoma-style fingerpicking. Recommended.
Winter Family – Red Sugar 2LP (Alt Vinyl) 11.50
“a rare and unique audio worldview expressed by the singular approach of brooklyn based duo ruth rosenthal (spoken words) and xavier klaine (harmonium, organ etc..). from the first bares of searching donkeys this double album creates a glowering and intense atmospheric…part nightmare, part uplifting dreamscape it permeates and builds into a compelling whole. a reference point might be some of the output of constellation records – indeed GYBEs norsola johnson plays on this record..however it is doubtful whether any of those artists ever produced anything to match the taut tension of the title track red sugar..a spoken hymn to absence. the ambition of winter family is evident on the expansive, orchestral epic dancing in the sun..crank your speakers, sit back and open your mind..it WILL blow you away. as an entirety this album builds on previous releases on marienbad and sub rosa and demonstrates that rarest of things..a unique voice..once heard never forgotten. essential.” (AV)
v/a – We Are All One, In The Sun: A Tribute to Robbie Basho LP (Alt Vinyl) 10.25
“We are All One, In the Sun: a Tribute to Robbie Basho, represents a humble tribute to this truly original and passionate American guitarist, musician and composer curated and realized by musician, producer, and acoustic guitar maker Buck Curran (who along with his wife Shanti performs as the duo Arborea).. This collection of both original compositions and new interpretations of Basho songs befittingly begins with German guitarist and painter Steffen Basho Junghans, who has devoted almost 20 years to composing guitar music in the spirit of Robbie Basho. There is also a gorgeous composition by Glenn Jones, a friend of Basho and another musician who has dedicated his life to proliferated music composed on the Steel String guitar, and the young Irish guitarist Cian Nugent…who represents a new generation of guitarist-composers carrying on the torch. Meg Baird, Arborea and Fern Knight all represent beautiful female led vocal tributes to Robbie Basho compositions that feature his passionate and evocative singing. Curran’s choice of female led vocal performances is a tribute honoring Basho’s own profound spiritual reverence and fantastical love for women. Basho’s own singing was said to have been first inspired by the beautiful and powerful voice of Peruvian soprano Yma Sumac. The choice of involving instrumentalists Rahim Alhaj and Helena Espvall in this project was simple, in that Curran feels Basho would have appreciated their roots, virtuosity, and passion and in their sound he also hears a kindred spirit linking all three musicians. Rahim AlHaj is a Grammy Nominated Iraqi born master of the Persian Oud. AlHaj, a student of the great Munir Bashir, exhibits great technique and a pure emotional style. Cellist Helena Espvall, a native of Sweden, represents a musician with a deep connection to her instrument, a musician who conjures up mysterious and emotionally charged improvisational music from bow and cello, music that is an amalgamation of sounds and textures from her travels all over the world. This record is also dedicated to the memory of Philadelphia based guitarist Jack Rose, who passed away too young (1971 to 2009) and who over the past decade created and recorded some of the most beautiful and powerful guitar music in the tradition pioneered by Robbie Basho. (excerpted from the original press release from Important Records).” (AV)