Sunday, February 16, 2014

Honest Suffering

Peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Dear friends: For the past three years I have experienced some painful familial issues that possess an awesome magnitude. Last week the situation reached its apex. For the next week or so, I will not be posting any reviews. More than anything, I need some time to heal and gain perspective. Unequivocally, more reviews are coming. However, right now I need to heal and listen to my body. Thanks to all the beautiful people who visit this site. Your friendship means so much to me!

peace and love, friends :)  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nagual - Nagual (ERG-005)

from the top shelf with love. peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

 For me, the most pleasing long-form tracks tend to be enthralling - the blooming of awareness; in essence, the music becomes an integral attribute of the environment. The self-titled album from Nagual on Ergot Records engages the listener on various levels. Utilizing an array of instruments - guitars, piano, bass, percussion - Ian McColm and David Shapiro visit the evocative vista of "Honey River Lacquer" before transitioning to the album's masterpiece, "Sweat Raag". These structured improvisations develop subtly, with the artists exhibiting acuity regarding pace and in infusing the tracks with intriguing elements. "Sweat Raag" exemplifies everything that is great about the fifth release from Ergot. The disquiet builds deliberately as electronics crackle and loops slowly coalesce. An attentive listener will realize the slow ascent laced with tension, the winds of uncertainty which leave a chill on one's shoulders as the zenith seems imminent. Soon the pace increases and the energy writhes, exhibiting urgency. McColm's propulsive percussion at the end is the culmination of an excellent side of music. The evanescent, airy vibrations of the opener, "Honey River Lacquer" are fantastic. Looped piano, punctuated by percussion, echoes in the head. Shortly, electronics wriggle and the room is permeated by thick, resonant low ends; the perfect complement arrives in the form of deep, lustrous beams of sonic light - lovely! The flip features the sidelong, "Continuous Becoming". In this track McColm and Shapiro conjure drones to awake the slumbering soul. At the beginning a cluster of warm tones ripple throughout the head. Refracted waves shower the listener with warmth. Definitely the most tranquil of the trio, it's a nice end to a visceral, majestic sonic experience.      

Nagual, like the heavenly bud pictured above, was made for the top shelf - recommended. This stunner follows Ergot's vinyl reissue of Aaron Dilloway's Corpse on Horseback, brimming with decayed, minimal and dank tape loops. Released on black vinyl in an edition of 300, the self-titled album is accompanied by an insert. One may purchase the vinyl directly from Ergot.

peace and love, friends :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Section 35 - Loose (ID21)

sometimes you smoke the kief and sometimes it smokes you. peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Whoa! You better pack that bowl to the teeth because heady times await. One of my favorite noise projects returns in style. Mr. Ghetto Naturalist, Nate Brennan (aka Cruudeuces), smokes us out with this tape on IdiotUnderground. Recording here as Section 35, the vibrations are as varied, strident and foreboding as ever. Over two sides of tape the clarinet drifts through the squalor, abutting abrasive and piercing noise that possesses sufficient energy to crack hardened resin. Guttural, muffled vocals echo in a dank space. Mutant rhythms combine with doleful - and sometimes ominous - clarinet, which is augmented by droning electronics that teeter on edge. Before long, churning noise abuts raucous, mechanical dissonance. I've always thought that Brennan's recordings evoke a ritualistic quality, though pervaded by the type of sonic apprehension that makes the heart beat more quickly - an excellent side! Brennan takes a different route on the flip. Much of this is due to the more swift, heady rhythms and the manner in which the clarinet is employed. Wailing and distended, the instrument in the hands of Brennan is majestic and entrancing. Do not be lulled into thinking that it's all sunshine and hash oil though. Soon things get weird and pernicious. Violent explosions and jarring noise lead to minimal drone and sedative rhythms. Shortly, grating noise mixes with woozy, hiss-covered electronics.  

Loose is highly recommended. IdiotUnderground is an obscure noise label operating out of Massachusetts. The first Section 35 tape appeared last year on GNS. Loose may be purchased from Deep Thoughts.

peace and love, friends :)  

thanks to Aaron Condon for the good vibe

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ignatz / Sophie Cooper - Split (TORCAS005)

girls scout cookies, milk, and the analog warmth of Ignatz and Sophie Cooper -what a nice treat! peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

The music of Belgian blues/folk artist Bram Devens' project, Ignatz, does not take much time to permeate the head. Ignatz creates these intriguing hazy musical environments comprised of stories sung by raw, visceral strings that warble. On this split with Sophie Cooper, Ignatz strikes gold immediately with the lofi folk that characterizes "Introduction". A touching and moving track, the pace and spectrum of sound it emits recall the early records of Jim O'Rourke. The melody and folk strings of "Licorice" is another touchstone of side A. "For Sale" moves in a slightly different direction. Murky, poignant drones and solitary strings produce ominous moments.

I would buy this split based on the strength of side B alone. Residing in Todmorden, singer songwriter Sophie Cooper's side is comprised of psychedelic pop/folk, noise and drones. The music on this side is deeply affecting. One of my favorite aspects of side B relates to the vocals of the artist, which are treated to create songs redolent of intimate and poignant moments. According to the label description, Sophie's art is informed by life. The honesty, which is felt throughout, makes the music shine. "Once My Heart Was Blind" opens the flip with shimmering strings and breathy vocals. Later, a welter of resonant strings combine with hazy vocals to create a dreamy atmosphere. The track becomes more heavy toward the end with the introduction of Jeweled Antler-esque riffs before cascading strings acquiesce to the haze. The second track is the real star of this side. Between this track, "We'll Laugh About This When We're Older (We Won't Know Each Other Then", and the first track on Ignatz' side, I could loop them perpetually. Wistful vocals and poignant folk guitar alternate between states - hauntingly beautiful. The third and fourth tracks move in somewhat of a different direction, especially the fourth. "I Never Associate Dreams With Anything" adroitly utilizes harsh, vacillating noise; drones; vocals; and found sound as a metaphor for the haziness that characterizes dreams - an incredible side of music.        

Tor Press is quickly becoming one of my favorite labels. Not only is Jake Blanchard's artwork amazing, but he is also proving to be a wonderful curator. Produced in a limited edition of 75 pro- dubbed cassettes - featuring artwork by Jake Blanchard - it is sold out at the source and pretty much everywhere. However, Eclipse appears to have the last few copies.  ensure that you procure one of the remaining copies by contacting Eclipse.

peace and love, friends :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Derridium - Close Encounters with Interior Furniture (JRS 002)

heavenly buds. peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Close Encounters with Interior Furniture, from Derridium on JRS Select CDr and Tapes, is replete with evocative and solemn synthesizer passages. Buoyant energy swirls in the spacious, sun filled sky. "Close Encounters with the Same Kind" is comprised of radiant passages of synth. Voluminous drones billow in the slipstream. Tangential waves glisten in the blinding heavenly light. Solemn drones are juxtaposed to fractured energy and crystalline structures. Soft passages of synth contort and disintegrate, yet resonate within - ethereal, affecting music that fans of Fennesz and Tim Hecker will appreciate. For all the plaudits on side A, the flip is where the heavy action resides. "Dislocated Interior Furniture" is quite different from the empyrean climate and peaceful vibrations of side A. Menacing noise leads to an ominous static-laced drone that pulsates and writhes. Shortly, the heavy elements turn a shade of blue as the poignancy builds with each iteration. Harrowing sounds and wailing voices abut a static-laced drone. As with side A, Derridium exhibits a proclivity for creating moving music. However, on the flip the artist accomplishes this using a different section of the palette.

For those who enjoy this tape, the Derridium soundcloud page should satisfy your needs. Close Encounters with Interior Furniture is produced in an edition of 25 cassettes. Copies are still available directly from JRS.

peace and love, friends :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Endless Caverns - Colour Breathing (EID 010)

shiver me timbers! i found some Eiderdown in my super bowl - talk about sweet relief. peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Mellifluous and benevolent vibrations beget concentric circles which engulf the listener throughout Colour Breathing, the new Eiderdown cassette from Endless Caverns - the solo project of Herbcraft main man, Matt Lajoie. Over four tracks, copious layers of the psychedelic/folk/ambient guitar coalesce to place the listener in a perpetual state of reverie. Radiant, entrancing patterns that emerge from dense, billowing tape hiss are augmented by Matt's stellar playing. Colour Breathing is an offering in the purest sense - an extension from one soul to another. One of my favorite tracks - the opener, "Basel (Well Red)" - travels the labyrinthine mind heading for Mahavishnu. It begins with meandering psych folk loops. Beams of splintered sunlight illuminate the dew covered garden. Shortly, the guitar erupts in the manner of John McLaughlin. "Indigo Eye" is an excellent track consisting of luminous, energetic vibrations and bluesy folk guitar. "Amethyst Crown" ascends from the earth's crust to shimmer gently in the third eye. The most ethereal track yet, serene waves fluctuate softly. Before long, the track takes a turn and fuzzed heavy riffs smolder until the last vibration.

Colour Breathing is released in an edition of 100 cassettes. Max Clotfelter's excellent artwork graces yellow stock. Copies are available directly from Eiderdown.    

peace and love, friends :)