Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thoughts On Air / Fallen Axe / Knit Prism / Trailing - Split

Heads up on another absolutely bananas multi-artist split. In addition to last years Air Rings Vol.3 on Digitalis, and the recent Taxidermy of Unicorns on Watery Starve, we've now got a killer four way split of guitar work from Fadeaway Tapes. This one features the talents of Thoughts On Air, Fallen Axe, Knit Prism, and one half of the Fadeaway team, Trailing. I won't go deep into describing each quarter of the split, they've been kind enough to upload a clip of each. What I will say is that all four sides sound damn pretty. Some go with a bit straighter take on experimental guitar/ambience, some maybe a little more wavy, but it all sound right at home together. For me the best guitar work walks a boundary where you can't quite tell what is, and what isn't, attributable to the vibration of a string. Almost all of this release sounds like that. A glistening shimmer of ambience with something like guitar nestled right at the heart of it. I love splits, so here's hoping this trend continues well into the future.

Nicely presented edition of just fifty. Blue shells, no labels, double tall white case. Grab direct from Fadeaway.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Alan Gesso - Obliscence

I had an extremely hard time picking the words to describe Obliscence from Alan Gesso on Field Studies. Not because there isn’t anything to say, but because you could, literally, say anything. Gesso pulls from nearly every stylistic touchstone in electronic music, and does so with confidence and finesse. From bits of field recording, to pulsating sequenced melody, to raw texture, and then spacey ominous tones. Through nine tracks, nearly every conceivable genre is explored, occasionally within the same track. A typically diverse moment, the opener, People In The Stereo plays with spins of the FM dial, and is then counterbalanced by washes of ambient texture in the second, Another Heaven. Sounds like exploring the solar system as much as it does pressing play.

Edition of 100, grabbed mine, along with the rest of the new batch, directly from Field Studies.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Villages - Music For Savage Flowers

A journey through grey, ghostly tones from Villages, with Music For Savage Flowers on Headway Recordings. Lots of wobbly raw piano floating on top of cold, windswept ambience. Distant and indiscernible field recordings. Ross Gentry's Villages project always does a wonderful job of transporting me, giving me the feeling I'm exploring, and that's exactly what he continues to do here. Through the eight tracks, simply enough titled one through eight, you don't just listen, or hear, but travel through each movement. Much cooler, and more icy feeling than the preceding works on Bathetic and Harvest. This one feels as much to me like a storybook as it does a tape. Exactly what I'm looking for from modern ambient minimalist composition.

Limited to a scant fifty copies, how is this not already sold out. Stream in full at Bandcamp, purchase at Headway.

Various Artists - Taxidermy of Unicorns

Not so much a V/A release, or a compilation, as a single thematically consistent collaboration, separated into compartments. Taxidermy of Unicorns from Watery Starve Press is a double split release combining four of the brightest female voices in the experimental art scene today. Birds of passage (Alicia Merz), Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier (Felecia Atkinson), Motion Sickness of Time Travel (Rachel Evans) and Aloonaluna (Watery Starve's Lynn Fister) each bring their respective vision to bear on what becomes an expansive, and nicely cohesive, vision of forward looking experimental folk. While each half of tape works nicely with the others, there's ample space for each artist to weave their signature sounds. I like great art no matter who makes it, but I'll readily admit, it's fun to see these women staking out their turf.

Edition of 200. A whole lot going on here for sure. Double cs in tall case wrapped in yarn with a leaf. Included with purchase an oversized booklet style set of notes and art. Included in the innermost pages, an original collage from Lynn Fister. Grab directly from Watery Starve.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Big Ship - Split

Split release, literally titled Split, from the collaborative force of Doug Kaplan and Aeron Small. Mixed guitar and electronics, falling squarely on the transportive and meditative side of drone. As with the previously reviewed release on Hausu Mountain from Goodwill Smith, these are drones from a placid, astral realm. Heady contemplative melodics that soothe and calm the ear. Side A, The Suboceanic Mantle from Kaplan is the heavier of the two pieces, pairing rich looping bass and electronics. The flip from Small is a dream state counterbalence to the heft of the front side. Delicate looping guitar drenched in lush shimmering reverb. A well balenced split, like two sides of a single coin. Play, flip, repeat until sufficiently comatose.

Pro imprinted edition of 100 on white shells, available directly from Hausu Mountain.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Greyghost - Memoirs of Dementia

Subtle, spiritual journeys from Greyghost, with Memoirs of Dementia on Constellation Tatsu. Hazy, astral, emotionally poignant compositions. The lead track Purple Dye #5, is an exceptional, restrained piece of moving ambience. A cyclical repetition of melody with deftly constructed interlaced variety. What I find most enjoyable here is the confidence of the artist to create beautiful and relatively simplistic atmospheres, and have the conviction to allow them to exist unobstructed. It’s an uncluttered approach that I think, requires dedication and belief in the ear of the listener to understand the artists’ intent. Regardless, sonically, Greyghost is nailing the head of my ambient musical sweet spot, right between spacy, and somber. Sounds like the heartbreak of an abandoned spacecraft.

Pro printed and duplicated edition of 100, digital download included. As with everything from Constellation Tatsu, I’m highly impressed with the attention to detail, and the pricing. I grabbed as a part of the January batch for an absolutely bananas price.

Bones of Seabirds - Hidden Places

I’d like to fool you and pretend I’ve been in on tapes since the beginning of the current revival. But if I'm honest, and I’m sure if we’re all honest, each of us had a moment where we thought, “Wait, people are putting out tapes now?” I’ll readily admit that mine came following an MP3 clip from Hidden Places, by Bones of Seabirds back in 2009. And after lamenting my lack of functioning cassette deck, and slack-jawed disbelief that an edition of 100 tapes could actually sell out (imagine my ignorance at the time), I’ve been on the hunt for a physical edition ever since. I have no idea how little #38 here escaped someone else’s dusty shelf, but I’m glad it’s on mine. Scraped, raw synth melody, following an avian trajectory across oceans of melody, followed by slow descent into deep waters of echoing cavernous rumble. Wonderful and lengthy progression of ideas from front to back. The sounds truly do seem to reference the project moniker. A single listen reminded my why these sounds appealed to me so much initially, and after digesting hundreds of other tape releases, still sound just as original as they did.

Out of print edition of 100, mine came with the Obi strip still sealed and intact. Tomentosa currently has (for now) this release, along with a pretty massive stock of other in and out of print titles from the incredible Peasant Magik. I also highly recommend the self-titled ascendant morass of guitar drone from Plante which is available as well. Move quick people.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Myrrh - S/T

Self titled re-release of roaring, open throated guitar and viola from Myrrh on Soft Abuse. Classifiable firmly in the sludge genre, these eight tracks would feel just as comfortable sitting on a shelf filed with your drone records. Heavy cyclical grooves, thick suffocating production, and then that guitar tone... oh... man.. that tone. The lead guitar has to be the most insanely filthy, disgusting, down in the mud, up on the mountain top guitar tone I've ever heard. The kind of tone that makes you stop what you're doing, turn around and stare at your speakers. No pretension, no nonsense, not a single lyric about thundering hooves, or lizard kings, just heavy, heavy tonic.

Stellar physical product. Fold out poster of what looks like an old lady snake charmer, art print, digital download included. Grabbed my copy from Discriminate.