Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sparkling Wide Pressure - Manifestation of Magi

Unnerving and reflective guitar and noise manipulations from Sparkling Wide Pressure with Manifestations of Magi on Kimberly Dawn. I almost feel like jury member who needs to recuse himself from a trial with the name of this blog an obvious indication of my longstanding appreciation for the work of Frank Baugh's Sparkling Wide Pressure moniker. Absolutely breathtaking tracks that play somewhere between ambient, noise, folk, and primitive americana. Undulating, sometimes chaotic synth and percussion balanced against delicate guitar and vocal. At points it all threatens to overtake itself, the damaged, rusted elements breaking apart. At others elements exist like ghostly whips in the air. It's the ability to meet those to opposing poles, and even congeal them into a single sound that I find particularly captivating. Seven tracks, so damn varied you'd almost thing this a compilation.

Edition of 50 5" CD-R's. Letters SWP stamped directly on the CD itself, mine came with a b/w photo included. I have no idea how this is still available, but it is, directly from Kimberly Dawn.

Baldruin – Im Delirium

Sombre, ecclectic slasher flick soundtrack type stuff from Baldruin with Im Delirium on Wounded Knife. And to be more precise, this isn't for the part of the slasher movie where people get hacked to bits. It's for that moment right after, when their friends rush into the room, find them in pieces and share a tearful macabre final moment. It feels like the after effect of terror, or maybe the space around it, but not "it" exactly. And I think to achieve something like that, it's about choosing the right elements to include, and to leave. This feels a lot that way. The absence of a single dominant piece where the listener navigates the soundscape their engagement acting as that element. Sparse notes, understated horns, chimes, soft mumbles, all underpinned by solid, heartbreaking melody. Creepy cool.

Edition of 50, incredible b/w eight panel double sided jcard. Prison shells with a single circular adhesive denoting the front side. I've gotten my hands on a few Wounded Knife tapes, and the design execution just keeps getting better. Grab direct from Wounded Knife.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Catherine Lamb - Matter/Moving

Grabbed this one as a blind buy on the recommendation of a very trusted source, and right off the bat I knew I was in for a fantastic challenge. Matter/Moving from Catherine Lamb on Winds Measure Recordings is four interpretations of one piece, recorded in unique spaces. Each performance makes up an entire side of the 2xcs with a total running time of over 90 minutes. Three performers on bass, oscillator, and trombone making (I'm a layperson so forgive this horrible description) an incredibly singular sound that weaves and transforms a wave of tonality. At times it all feels conflicted with itself, at others perfectly compatible. My favorite moments happen when it seems like the oscillator begins to devour the sound, sucking it into a warble and then spitting it back out. I found this document to be a fascinating accompaniment to the recording. Challenging and academic, for the adventurous.

Absolutely some of the best physical presentation I've seen for a cassette release. A pair of pro dubbed and imprinted tapes housed in a pair of cardboard wraps. An inner wrap holding both tapes snug, printed and letter-pressed liner notes, housed in an outer wrap also letter-pressed. Wonderful use throughout the entire package of font, color, and scale.

Couldn't locate a sample to imbed I'm afraid, but please do give a listen here.

Auburn Lull - Hiber

Cycles of hypnotic reoccurrence from Auburn Lull with Hiber on Geographic North. Swirling patterns that travel across your audial field of vision like so much glimmering sunlight, with each pass gathering subtleties. Elements reoccour, building upon subtle vagaries until minimalist passages become tides of soft and overwhelming symphony. Overwhelming not in volume, but in melodic quality, and symphonic in that each movement, each element allowed to participate, feels centered on the interplay of live instrumentation rather than the undulation of a synthetic wave of 1's and 0's. Freedom that allows the whole thing to feel like it exists of it's own choosing and volition. Humble, approachable, a gentle work that doesn't demand your attention, but rewards it.

Full color jcard printed front and back on shimmering stock, pro dubbed on blue shells in an edition of 100. It's an interesting design concept to use the font of the tape as a track listing, almost as you would expect the back to be,.. but it really works. Clean and practical. I personally played around with reversing the insert and using the flowered print on the inside as the out, which really looks nice too. This looks to be sold out from Geographic North, but you can still stream the whole thing here.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Strategy - Pressure Wassure

Vintage Hardcore sidestepped and reinterpreted from Strategy with Pressure Wassure on Peak Oil. Crisp, crystal clear mix. Raw synth lines that blast across the top of thick punctuating percussion. Snares are nice and crunchy, bass lines heave and rumble. With almost zero knowledge of the personalities, projects, and scenes that comprise anything really related to "beats", I pretty much just rely on the ear test to determine the quality and worth of something. It's strangely liberating lacking that type of context. I'm free enjoy without any idea if I should enjoy. And I really like this. Hard but not heavy, space but not spacey, danceable but not dance. It's repetitious, but only in the sense that repeating elements are constructed as a framework to draw you in, while new pieces introduce themselves and form layers. I was certain I had to own this when the track Osmosis hit the 1:53 mark.

Edition of 300 with incredible fuzzy red flock printing of the entire thing, title, art and logo. It's an incredible high definition effect that I've not seen used before. Everything else is extremely clean, black vinyl in a plain white sleeve. Grab direct from Peak Oil.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Olli Aarni - Yötaivas

Frayed, patchwork compositions from Olli Aarni with Yötaigas from Crummy Kids Recordings. Whereas the rest of Aarni's work has always held a feeling of weightlessness, this feels heavier, harsh, even a bit dark. A foundation of tattered layers are established creating a tactile hand constructed feel. Currents of static undulate, circling the ear, bringing a rhythmic cadence to what would otherwise be a churning morass of ambient warble. The soundscape has a rich depth of character, emotional, almost as if elements are considering themselves along the way. Two side long tracks on a c40. Per the label, this has been out since January and is somehow still not sold through. I am almost ashamed of us. Get on it experimental ambient types with expendable income.

Edition of 99, full color eight panel double sided collage art jcard (you know that much ink ain't cheap), orange shells, pink Norelco. Really nice job pulling the color together on this one. It's a lot and it really works. Grab direct as I did from Crummy Kids.

Dynasty At Ghost Town - Bathetic Records

Surely if you're someone who takes a look at this page every so often, then you're aware of this. Massive 11 tape set from Bathetic Records, compiled under the name Dynasty At Ghost Town. I'm about half way through this haul and have yet to find something I don't love, and I assume the rest will follow suit. Plenty of names you'll recognize; William Cody Watson, Planning For Burial, Lee Noble, High Aura'd, Panabrite, Aquarelle, Zac Nelson, Ekin Fil, Padang Food Tigers, M. Geddes Gengras, and my favorite thus far an achingly beautiful drone take on Primitive Americana from Scott Tuma.

Art from Simon Fowler that runs in vertical line connecting all 11 in order (an order I failed to capture in my photo). Beautiful design throughout, from the stock to the font choices to the shell colors. It's a pretty stunning achievement, and at 50 bucks for the set, it's less than 5 dollars a tape. You might be able to find a few individual copies floating around on artist pages and Bandcamp, but I highly recommend you grab the whole thing direct from Bathetic.