Thursday, May 31, 2007
Jasper TX - Pligrims is a new 3" CD-r.
Those of you who know what I´m doing won´t be that surprised, neither will you be let down...
It consists of quiet drones divided into five tracks.
It will be available directly from me or from Boomkat.com or, if you´re living in the states, from Aquariusrecords.org.
p.s. Here´s what Boomkat wrote about it:
*50 Copies only, when they?re gone they?re gone!* It does feel rather nice getting in these special releases, and it feels even nicer when they?re as lovely as this latest from Swedish droney feller Jasper TX (known to his friends as Dag Rosenqvist). ?Pilgrims? is the latest chapter in the producer?s career, and as each release sidles out of almost nowhere the bar seems to be set that little bit higher. This time Rosenqvist has opted to explore his darker side, and as the track titles calmly dictate, we are on a quiet road to doom. Of course this isn?t the sort of misanthropic, blackened offering you?d expect to hear from any of the Southern Lord folks, but there is a sense that Rosenqvist is more than aware of the acoustic griminess of a certain Svarte Greiner as he begins his shadowy journey with ?A Beacon to Lead us There?. Through guitar crackle and ear-pummelling drone we hear what sounds like very distant screaming voices and small animals scratching at the floor around us as the earth?s surface readies itself for an earthquake. There is the sense throughout that something is ready to happen, something dangerous but at the same time exciting, a change, and when the track builds into static and splutters into the second piece ?The Glow of Minerals? we realise that the change has happened and lasted merely seconds. This track is where the doom escapes whole heartedly and is a seismic bass-heavy slice of terror, through this however is a glimmer of hope, a feeling that this producer is merely showing his hope in a different way than we might usually expect. This sentiment is confirmed when mid way through the EP the gloom turns to gorgeous, melancholic ambience without feeling jarring or unwelcome. Rather it feels like we always knew this was going to happen, it was always part of the story but it hadn?t quite happened yet. The twenty-minute disc ends with the lo-fidelity hum of ?A Quiet Gloom?, and never has a track been so aptly titled as this ? this might be Rosenqvist?s vision of acoustic meltdown, but it is a quiet, sensitive vision and one which can be absorbed by anyone. Absolutely beautiful and without a shadow of a doubt the finest Jasper TX offering to date ? we have 50 copies of this and we can?t get any more so buy quickly if you want to make sure you get one, you know they don?t last long!
Scotty and I worked together at a record store in NYC. He was a DJ around town and he still is I think. We both really liked dance music and dance music from the very beginning and I mean stomps and shouts and claps and stuff like that. Of course we like all kinds of other stuff too, but it's the dance that gets us going on Jane. We played once at the Animal Collective practice space, but found it much more pleasant to play at Scotty's home in Greenpoint where he had his mixer and simple microphones and we would drink brews and talk about all kinds of things and then play. I would usually sing about stuff I was thinking about that day and Scotty would move with it, playing jams and it would all kind of pour out. We liked all the mechanical robo dance jams from Detroit and Chicago and Germany but we wanted to do something with less 0's and 1's and more souls. Mostly it was about hanging out together and talking and playing music that was about talking together and hanging out and thinking and feeling and having fun and dancing most of all. — Panda Bear
Unlikely godfathers of hip-hop, the Incredible Bongo Band was a revolving-door group of studio musicians led by bongo player Michael Viner, who by day worked as an executive at the MGM label and ran its short-lived Pride subsidiary. Viner had worked on Bobby Kennedy's ill-fated presidential campaign before entering the music industry as a talent scout and A&R man in Los Angeles. By the early '70s, he was successful enough to start his pet side project the Incredible Bongo Band, taking unused studio time to record percussion-heavy instrumentals and pop covers with African and Latin influences. He placed two songs on the soundtrack of the 1972 B-movie The Thing With Two Heads, released on Pride, and the following year issued the first Incredible Bongo Band full-length, Bongo Rock, which reportedly featured a guest spot by Ringo Starr. Viner's funked-up version of the Shadows' "Apache" went on to become one of hip-hop's earliest breakbeat staples, as first-generation hip-hop DJs Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash came to rely on its percussion breaks to get block parties moving. "Apache" went on to provide the basis for the Sugarhill Gang's hit of the same name, and stands as one of the most sampled tracks in hip-hop history. The single "Bongo Rock" charted in the lower reaches of both the pop and R&B lists, and eventually assumed a status similar to "Apache" in the hip-hop world (though with lesser magnitude). Viner assembled a follow-up album, The Return of the Incredible Bongo Band, in 1974, but the band came to a halt not long after; Viner was getting overly ambitious (a planned session with the London Symphony Orchestra fell through), and mainstay drummer Jim Gordon fell prey to severe mental difficulties, all of which spelled the end of the road. The British Strut label later reissued both of the group's albums on a two-fer titled Bongo Rock: The Story of the Incredible Bongo Band.
As you may or may not know, it can sometimes get pretty hairy being in a record store when some smelly denim clad-dude walks in asking for the blues. If you're lucky he's wearing a belt when you point him over to the records that are now relegated to an open spot on the floor. That's just one scenario because who doesn't love those other blues that are fondly recalled with names like Blues Addicts and Blues Creation. And let's not forget that other queen of the blues-Barbara from "Just Farr a Laugh."
Blues Control might just be the missing link between Van Halen and Henry Flynt. They are a duo. Lea Cho plays swank but grounded atmospheric keyboard parts [think Harold Budd] for guitar player and manipulator of assorted junk-on-table Russ Waterhouse to cut through, whittle and lay waste to. It's a hazy, spaced world that exists between fuzzed distortion, jabbering electronics, a lazy stay-in-bed psychedelic glaze, with rhythmic keyboards pulsating below it all a la a guy named Florian-and you can choose which one you want. Oh yeah, did I mention the humid bikini-vibe that permeates the entire album? So is there a blues angle to it? Yeah, but you've got to bury yourself in it or dig your way in. Come out stinking if you want.
Dark and minimal while noisy and earnest, the point of this duo was to be as sparse and repetitive as possible with the help of little more than vocals, guitars, and a drum machine. Disenchanted vocals thinly resonate while cloaked in a frenzied undertone of fear and uncertainty, all punctuated by bare drum machine beats. Their debut is a record of melancholic tendency and heartfelt desire; a stripped down symphony relegated between city and country, and made for ears of either side.
Sans Arc formed in late 2001 when band founder CMC merged several different musical projects into one new project that combined the styles and elements of each previously separate entity. The name of the band was taken from the name of a sub-tribe of Sioux Native Americans, although no explanation in particular has been given as to this name choice. About a year after the band's founding, a full-length album was completed: Selections for Spacefarers. The album contained 9 tracks of instrumental trip-hop, and was recorded entirely in CMC's home studio. Most of the tracks contained programmed drums, a few layers of synthesizers and some occasional electric guitar. Following that album, Sans Arc changed directions somewhat. Utilizing more guitars, adding vocals, making the beats less trip-hop oriented, and enhancing background atmospherics, Sans Arc released the second discA Remote View in April of 2003. The concept album Irradiate was self-releases in August of 2003, based on a science fiction story that was to be told over the span of five stars. Following the self-release of Irradiate, Sans Arc was signed to Southern California based indie record label The Gaia Project. The first release through that label was a compilation album called Ghostlike, which included the song Ghostlike (a single from Irradiate), four unreleased tracks that were recorded during the Irradiate sessions, and five of the six tracks from the A Remote View EP. A month later, a remastered version of Irradiate was re-issued by The Gaia Project. Immediately following the remastering of Irradiate, Sans Arc started work on the planned second album of the five album series, which was to be called Tomorrow We Burn. After recording several full songs and portions of many others, the album was scrapped due to technical issues. In November of 2005, Sans Arc completed work on an album which was to be called dear new spark, your light is everywhere. It was never released, again due to technical issues. In March 2007, Sans Arc saw the release of when eye meets eye. This full length album is to be the swan song for Sans Arc. Sans Arc has also contributed guitar work to Shelflife's album we all look beautiful as well as providing remix work on the Glider single over the ocean.
Seefeel have been defunct for over a decade now but affection for the band has not dwindled since.
In the early-nineties they resided on too pure - a burgeoning London independent label with a killer roster - and after a handful of EPs, they released their debut album, Quique, to much fanfare. It turned out to be their only album for the label (if you discount Polyfusia, a collection of EP tracks) before decamping to Sheffield's iconic Warp Records and then on to Aphex Twin's own Rephlex label.
Quique is regarded by many as their finest work and has become both a landmark and collectible record. It's long been deleted but good news arrives in too pure and the band joining forces to finally reissue it; it's been digitally remastered, given a 21st century facelift and had an extra disc of mostly unreleased material added.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
The Foreign Exchange first "met" in mid-2002, when Phonte (who resides in North Carolina and is also a member of the underground rap trio Little Brother), heard some of Nicolay’s music online and asked to rhyme over one of his tracks. When Big Pooh of Little Brother, lent his vocals to the track, the song became "Light It Up," and was featured as a B-side single for the group’s acclaimed 2003 effort, The Listening. "Nic was sending me some of the most beautiful stuff I’d ever heard in my life," Phonte says emphatically. "They inspired me so much that I just had to do something over them." The end result is Connected, a gorgeous and reflective blend of hip-hop, R&B, and electronic soul.
While Phonte serves as the duo’s main vocalist, the group is quick to point out that Connected is not a "Phonte solo album," and is instead an ensemble record with Nicolay and Phonte acting as the project’s conductors. With guest shots from up and comers Critically Acclaimed on the churchy, organ-driven "Hustle, Hustle," and neo-soul songstress Yahzarah contemplating lost love over the melancholy vocal harmonies of "Sincere," Connected finds Nicolay and his multi-talented counterpart uniting artists from different genres under a united theme of good music.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
"Night of the Ankou is an immense collaboration between London based psychedelic-ambient three piece Rameses III and Tulsa's finest free folk rebel Brad Rose aka The North Sea. Rose might be better known as the brains behind Digitalis, a multi-media wyrd folk empire acting as a cdr label, magazine, book publisher and full blown label but it is his own musical compositions that remain at the core of whatever he turns his hand to. Both artists had crossed paths before this releasing on similar labels, with Rameses III even issuing a limited edition cdr for Brad's own Foxglove imprint, so it was only a matter of time before the two decided to join forces. As with so many overseas collaborations these days, the two acts have never actually met in person – instead they worked by re-moulding each others tracks, working their own ideas into the skeletons of that of the other, and the result is mesmerising.
Opening track 'Death of the Ankou' is a hypnotic journey into the instrumental ambience explored by such acts as Popol Vuh or Stars of the Lid, yet adds a sense of cinematic adventure which could be compared to Type's very own Deaf Center. We are transported quite promptly into a spiritual, oriental world of water, bamboo, beauty and restraint which is simultaneously calming and beguiling. The second piece, entitled 'Night Blossoms Written in Sanskrit' is different; the ambience is filled out by echoing guitar, and the mood goes from peaceful and spiritual to truly triumphant. It would even be possible to compare this track to the later work of Slowdive – it has that same blissful, life affirming quality which makes you remember why you loved music in the first place!" Type Records
The shakily pensive lyric "There's no emotion" on the opening song "Nothing Left To Say" does not even come close to being a persuasive sentiment; Tram's debut album, Heavy Black Frame, is plenty emotional, and all the better for that heart-on-sleeve, lump-in-throat quality. The band comes on like a somewhat less fey Belle & Sebastian fronted by a less strangulated but equally expressive Thom Yorke. Actually Paul Anderson's vocals sound as if they could be expatriated from an '80s New Romantic band, affected but not to the point of parodic, sullen but not off-puttingly so. He aches, and his band aches gorgeously with him through songs full of questioning, uncertainty, and insecurity, most of it revoloving around relationships. Musically Tram reaches far beyond wispy pop, pulling off bits of drugged, somnolent jazz ("Expectations"), intense balladry, instrumental ambience ("Like Clockwork"), even some twangless country on "When It's All Over." Everything seems to take place at half-pace, and rightly so, because the pace mirrors the nature of the music and sentiments. It is form following function, and the end is music that seems suspended and dangling in mid-air, otherworldly and mesmerizing but also entirely romantic and genuine. Heavy Black Frame is no exercise in understatement or melancholia for the sake of it; the album is intimate and consuming-a catharsis-and the songs are gorgeous in their quiet poignancy. They are not straining to be heard and understood, but they are so heartrending and shimmeringly gentle that they are easy to care about.
Fibreforms is a Michigan-based project that plays instrumental music based on the haunting sound of the African bounkam. Theirs is ambient world-music a` la Penguin Cafè Orchestra, largely improvised according to a cut-up approach, with a penchant for processed percussions, guitars and found sounds. Treedrums (Earth Tone, 1996) contains: Soaring, Ore Corymb, Untitled Bright Format, Amorosa, Cincture, Thermals, Aubade.
The bounkam dominates also the five songs of the EP Stone (Roomtone, 1997): the waltzing Gryphons, the tribal Stone, the minimalistic Kohinoor, Knest, Untitled .
Kiln is the group that was born out of the ashes of Fibreforms.
> Fibreforms has one release on their own earthtone collectiv imprint
> called "treedrums" which is very good and hard to find. They have an
> ep out on room tone records & I think it's called "gryphons", and that
> is very good as well. The kiln ep on roomtone is only one member of
> Fibreforms (cfr clark). They also have recorded one album under the
> name waterwheel called "panchroma" on alleysweeper. They also have a 3
> way split on mind expansion with waterwheel, owl eye & Fibreforms. I
> spoke to clark (kiln) and he told me that there would be some new
> material coming soon on their own label.
The music on the debut album by The Boats was written by The Sea, hence the title “Songs by The Sea”. Clever huh? The faces behind the project have a history of performing in many bands, Hood and The Remote Viewer being but two fine examples. There’s Craig and Andrew delicately weaving together these exceptionally moving pieces, while elaine sings along in a fluttering, beautifully broken manner. Their music takes in numerous instruments, from dusty sweeping drums to ageing accordions, from sterling vintage piano to warm padding bass, from tapped windblown bells to unconsciously puffed melodica. Pan over to the other side of the studio and you discover old bits of malfunctioning electronic machinery, drum-machines that don’t quite work as they should, banks of amnesiac samplers trying to regain their memories, mixers that have started to confuse left with right. Songs by The Sea captures that ageless essence of atmosphere and heartbreak, nostalgia and inspiration, the sound of slowly fading memory seeping into and confusing itself with a multicoloured subconscious. This is music in the finest, unspoken tradition of lonely seafaring, written from the furthest depths of the ocean, with whatever instruments just happen to lie around on deck.
We Made It For You' by The Boats is undoubtedly one of the albums of 2005. Released on, and featuring members of The Remote Viewer (and Hood) curated Moteer label, 'We Made It For You' is an absolute delight from start to finish, possessing a gentle charm that quietly instils itself deep within your core. Made up of skeletal fragments (dusty piano through to scuttling electronica), The Boats then allow the various elements to grow incrementally until you're waist deep without having noticed you'd even got your feet wet. With each track a dedication, songs such as 'Sarah Alice' and 'Darren' could easily have taken on the guise of eves-dropping a private conversation and it is to The Boats formidable credit that instead you feel as though you're amongst friends. Lacking the vocal focus of 'Songs By The Sea' allows the gently ebbing loveliness of 'Sarah Alice' and 'Chris Elaine and Lucy' to become expansive well beyond their limited foundations. Flecked with Jen Jelinek, flirting with Satie, Michael Nyman and Ryuichi Sakamoto, 'We Made It For You' is an album you'll want to fully submerge in again and again.
The KILN EP
Released Winter 1998 on Roomtone
•The first track: geiger counters rusted out with malaria. It has come to an age when the pretense of such a fanciful description is all that will do, when outfits such as the wonderfully named KILN put it all to us, basking in anonymity somewhere in the Midwest. Kiln are out of a nowhere moving toward a more profound nowhere, taking or leaving us. The aforementioned “Kefgraft.2: Radius” and the ticked off “Neuron” bookend “Méné” which (in higher states) people will regard as the most beautiful night they’ve ever spent indoors. The post-bleep samba hasn’t captured the reluctant zeitgeist of the late 90’s until this (check Drum Island’s “Phizz” for a brighter close second or the upcoming Kiln release on Thalassa). “Afer,” “Sonor,” and “Cennan” offer more senseless (that’s good) outerspace approximations before a hidden track snails into view, never revealing it’s bubblegum center. Your machine will eventually reassure you with “Méné” again. KILN, like others of this vocal-less, ambient ilk, simply present for our perusal the sounds that get them off on landlocked nights.At their best KILN recall Main dolled up for an evening of mood swings under the buzz of dying neon. The sound vs. entertainment debate will not take up this space.
Remastered+Re-Imagined from the original release in 1998, Holo [re/lux] offers the original pieces (plus a previously unreleased bonus track) reconfigured, edited, and cleaned for an entirely new and revitalized energetic of this hard-to-find KILN classic.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Brad Rose is easily one of the free-folk movement�s busiest exponents, splitting his time somehow between running the Digitalis and Foxglove labels, the FoxyDigitalis webzine and writing his own music under a variety of different monikers with a host of collaborators (Ajilvsga, Eastern Fox Squirrels, Alligator Crystal Moth, Corsican Paintbrush, Sea Zombies). Through all this pain and suffering at the hands of a busy and now somewhat hip scene he has managed to put together a brand new album which elegantly follows a hugely acclaimed collaboration with UK�s Rameses III �Night of the Ankou�. However, whereas �Night of the Ankou� explored both acts occasional leanings towards ambience and drone, �Exquisite Idols� instead shows Rose digging deep into the dusty vaults of his American heritage and drumming up an album dripping with blues, folk and free experimentation. This is folk music as played from a snow-drift in Tulsa, in a Mid-West wasteland or a forgotten forest drenched in moonlight, it is personal, secluded and almost lonely, but Rose never allows the melancholy to take over. From the jubilant opening crackles of �Eternal Birds� right up until the rockin� stomp of �Feather-Cloaked Silver Priestess� there is the distinct feeling that although this might be labeled as free folk, there�s a barn somewhere full of like-minded drunkards waiting eagerly to get dancing on them there hay-bails. Just flip to the rip-roaring folk stomp of �Take it from me Brother Moses�, take a swig of moonshine and let your feet do the talking. �Exquisite Idols� is an album steeped in tradition yet its greatness comes from Roses ability to absorb other cultures so easily � there are traces of Indian traditional music, Greek music and more, all hidden within the cacophony of banjo, guitar and clanging percussion. This is what sets him apart from his contemporaries and makes his music so absorbing � this might be the least sacred devotional music ever made�
Sunday, May 06, 2007
'Cover The Windows And The Walls' is the first vinyl only release by Portland resident Liz Harris under her Grouper moniker. Slightly shedding back the layers of billowing twilight distortion and murmur, these songs reveal more of the acoustic guitar & vocal core that has always been at the center of Grouper's tape hiss blues. This record is a stunning document of shimmering dream melodies that feel a lot more like ancient rituals rather than songs. Playing to her strengths, Liz has created her most arresting material to date. "Lost in a Dreamworld, West Coast Natural"
This apparat is one with flexible functions, and its sound is as eclectic as its musical horizon is broad. Its emotional chip features an option on happiness and its sound waves are able to tear your heart apart. While sensitively orchestrating his chamber musical qualities on his records or in his studio, his live performances are known for kicking some ass! He can also proudly refer to a John-Peel-Session and is sporadically working with Gianna Nannini on a Rock Opera.
Sascha Ring, aka Apparat, regards his moving out of the east German provincial backwater to Berlin in 1997 as one of his best decisions ever made. Since 1999 he runs, together with T.Raumschmiere, the Berlin based record label "Shitkatapult" - a venturous music catapult that dashes a wild mixture of intentional great music onto the turntables of the world. Apparat is the bridge over the German gap of melancholic glitch between Manchester and Laptop-USA. His smart wiring of emotions produces a virtual musical reality, which is based upon different genres, depending on the surrounding of the "apparat". In his studio, dense, dark and majestic clouds of elegiac pop and heavy Electronica built up to a coherent and emotionally charged atmosphere. Live, on the other hand, the dance floor seems to be repelled to rave from the Bermuda Triangle with its axes Techno, IDM and Elektro. Those styles cannot necessarily be distinguished and heard on every of his releases, but since he started out with a much harder pace of electronic music in the early nineties, his influences are definitely Techno and Elektro as well.
The intensity in Apparats tracks seems to grow with his own pleasure in experimenting. The charming breaking-up of the mechanical walkover of his Elektronica compositions first being subtle clicks and accidental "sound mistakes", this is now being done by veritable musicians and singers, by classical instruments like violin and cello, saxophone and clarinet, which are then masterly orchestrated by Apparat as the Maestro of his computer.
16 Piano themes for left hand accompaniment and right hand melody.
"Although they say the piano can create the most colors of any instrument, it is actually black and white, much like an old silent movie. Staring down at my hands, I imagine each piano piece as a shadow against the wall." - Gonzales.
After a series of spotty 7-inch singles and cassette releases, Sukpatch further developed their distinctive sound on Haulin' Grass and Smokin' Ass. The twee pop underground had been firmly established by Beat Happening and other bands revolving around K Records in the Pacific Northwest long before Sukpatch's arrival. But Sukpatch brought a funky hip-hop sensibility, and fused these appropriated sounds from the street with seemingly incompatible bedroom pop. The formula for each Sukpatch song is simple: drums inspired by hip-hop and assembled on a cheap sampler; thick Casio keyboards that owe something to British new wave; and engaging melodies sung with a relaxed tone. Adding another wrinkle to the sound, all of the above is assembled at home on a four-track cassette recorder, which lends a charming, homemade quality to the proceedings. Taken together, Haulin' Grass and Smokin' Ass is an extremely engaging and fun record, and an original one to boot. "Flock-Sultan" is punchy drone pop, not all that far from where Stereolab was a few years earlier (though much more lo-fi). "Smooth Guys (American Mix")" seems inspired by Depeche Mode circa 1982, with a lazy sampled backbeat taking place of the lock-step drum machine. It's true that there is a certain "sameness" to Sukpatch's sound, but when each individual song on Haulin' Grass and Smokin' Ass is so compelling, indie pop fans won't mind a bit. ~ Mark Richardson, All Music Guide
Instant Coma, an insouciantly morbid play on John Lenon's “Instant Karma,” is the second collection of songs from tongue-in-cheek urban-goth synthaestesiologists Bubonic Plague.
Songwriter Geneva Jacuzzi broadens her horizons, offering the unsuspecting listener a variety of groovy synth options. Her signature pastiches space-travel into sonic thickness while dropping nods to plastic soul, surrealist jazz, and post-any-wave underground.
The mysterious mix of cryptic humor and quasi-occult obscurantics has not so much mellowed as it has become part of every seeping pore, dropping a dizzying quotient of beguilingly indecipherable quips while catching by the tail that all-too elusive musical beast: suspense.
Recorded entirely on 8- and 4-track analog equipment, these tracks push the limits of ad-hoc tape-craft, resembling resuscitated editions of sparklingly jaded, solid-state studio technique in its heyday, handed down from ear to ear on generations-old mix-tapes.
As infectious as Bubonic Plague cult favs “Dracula” and “The Sleep Room,” yet mesmerizingly layered and deceptively lo-fi, these songs stand to survive a casual listen. This music makes the masses groove via pure hypnotic suggestion.
Black & White Rainbow is Super Creep slicked-out and channeled through the ghosts of Sade, The The and Depeche Mode. More overtly optimistic and unfettered pop vocab than the schizo-tones of his 'early' material, a mere three albums and 12 months prior.
Mixed in as 'bonus tracks' is the entire 'Cancer' album, hypnotic and jamba-juicy surrealist funk mixed from vaguely avant-garde layers of weird chord progressions. Drummachines stacked like macaroon ice cream sandwiches.
Assembled following a somewhat overwhelming and mysterious 6-album retrospective debut box set, this single-disc release filters the high points of three years of schizoid-disco, surrealist funk and extreme cabaret split-personality shifts.