Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hypnotic Underworld - Ghost (#6, 2004)

I forget what's coming up on the Top 10, but 2004 must have been banner year for me to put Hypnotic Underworld at #6. (All rankings are always approximate and fluid from week to week - in my mind!) This is a phenomenal album, very musical - and I need to get more Ghost. Wish I'd heard they played in Texas last year, because I would've been there!

Hypnotic Underworld overlay
Ghost includes guitar samurai Michio Kurihara, who featured on Boris' Rainbow (#6, 2007), which is how I learned about them. But Masaki Batoh is the main guy. He seems mysterious, maybe a little reclusive, serious, maybe a little mystical. Guess what... they're Japanese!

The first four tracks make up the title suite. And the first part is the most floating and spacious on the album, "God Took a Picture of His Illness on the Ground" [edit]. The record is split between some open jams and some regular song, but if you're new to this psychedelic jazzy instrumental rock exploration, "Hypnotic Underworld, Part 2" might be the place to start out...

"Escaped and Lost Down in Medina" from Hypnotic Underworld (2010)

Parts 3 and 4 are differenter still, with the intensity rising and track lengths shortening quickly. "Aramaic Barbarous Dawn" [live] separates heavy and triumphant, whereas "Leave the World!" blisters for 20 seconds. But maybe an increasingly wound-up and rocking 4-part suite isn't your thing. Hypnotic Underworld offers a huge variety of flavors, while somehow all sounding like the same group.

"Hazy Paradise" from Hypnotic Underworld (2010)

This is a cover of the B-side to this 1970 Dutch-prog single. The sound on this one exceeds the song itself. Everything seems really low, but very clear. The guitar, the reverbed drums, I think there's organ, synth and maybe harpsichord. Or maybe that's the bouzouki. This is the kind of soaring, shredding psych lead guitar that Kurihara is known for.

Hypnotic Underworld gatefold
Or maybe you prefer the Japanese Serge Gainsbourg. "Kiseichukan Nite" features a drifting ambient background, with an Eastern whistle, hand-drums, water drops in the Zen garden. All setting the stage for a Japanese spoken-word vocal, with audible page-turning. "Melodie?" I'd like to see Ghost cover that!

Uh oh, no video for "Piper." Let's see if I make one before posting. The whistle continues for the intro and slower, folky parts of this one. In English: "once I was piper..." The rock breakdown transition really reminds me of something specific, '60s beat band or '70s hard rock or the like. I cannot remember what song it is, though. Another mind-bending solo from Kurihara. He's not always there - but when he steps up, he really unleashes it. (Fine, I made a video - now someone tell me what rock song I'm thinking of!)

"Ganagmanag" from Hypnotic Underworld (2010)

This is probably my favorite tune on the album. Although the structured songs probably take it up to greatness, I really dig even more their loose 'n' jazzy vibe. They are truly the yin and yang of Ghost. Again the quiet balance of the moving parts into something both minimal and almost orchestral is quite a work of art. And followed by a few more of the songs. "Feed" takes its time, but builds up gradually with twining guitar and piano crescendos. "Holy High" mixes a fast Celtic jig with synth cycles, and mostly keeps moving at a breakneck pace.

"Dominoes / Celebration for the Gray Days"

The first part is a Syd Barrett song. Here's an excerpt from a Batoh article where he discusses the covers. I actually prefer the latter's creepy organ drone and ethereal vocals - like most everything else, it's pretty different than everything else. And it ends like a war.

Just a couple more notes. Ghost live in Austin 2009. And self-titled debut album (1990) in five parts: part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4 / part 5.

Hypnotic Underworld

Genre - Jazz-Prog Psychedelia
Official/Myspace - myspace.com/ghostjapanpsych
All Music Guide - Ghost
Location - Toyko, Japan

Review - Dusted Magazine
Download - Drag City, iTunes
Purchase - Drag City Records

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Here Comes Pong to Houston!!

Part two of the first part on Pong's publicity push for new album Escobarb (2010). I've wanted to do a full track-by-track video interpretation of an entire record for awhile, and I see no better opportunity than this. So, full album as YouTube playlist, and below are the last 4 songs.

Pong will bring their travelling roadshow down to Super Happy Fun Land on their way to Louisiana, this Friday night! With New Orleans' One Man Machine & The Powers That Be and Lake Jacksonites Fiskadoro opening up. Get there early, for all three bands.

"Applesauce" from Escobarb (2010)

This mini-track has been up on Myspace for ages, and breaks up the album up into about halves. When this was all I'd heard of new material, it kind of threw me off. Like Pong was going in some wild new direction that did not involve electro-space boogie-psych. Which obviously ended up not being a major concern...

"Umbrella" from Escobarb (2010)

This song didn't really flow naturally for me at first. I think making the video helped me piece it together in my mind. Like the various parts, but still seems a little collaged together. Live gigs are the crucible for making such things succeed...

"Sunshine" from Escobarb (2010)

I was hesitant to just let the gravure modelling film roll, but it turned into an undeniable Wizard of Oz-Dark Side of the Moon phenomenon. So there it is... In the last post, I mentioned getting a tape of the previous Houston show. I had to put names to unreleased songs, and I named this one "Overstimulated." Even much more interesting (nice segue) are the names given by someone else on a 2005 Lawrence, KS tape. "Superwrong" was labeled Is this thing stuck on On?/intense sounds. There's also a song I'm positive I'd never heard, so-called Get A Little Bit/Then One Day... What ever happened to that?

"Escobarb" from Escobarb (2010)

And the title epic of experimental wide-screen funk and wha?! I wasn't fully prepared, but now think it's a fantastic ending. Maybe the finest Pong tune not primarily driven by live performance concerns. The melodica, the choogling, the guitar and sound effects, the sung/spoken/chanted/rapt storysong worthy of a Marty Robbins from Saturn! "The baseball guys..." Super-awesome.


21st c. Krautwerks

Lie in Light
I've put a couple of Cloudland Canyon videos up, usually to illustrate what's happening now in Krautrock. I figured it was time for their own post, because Lie in Light (2008) is a really cool album. Plus of the main duo, half is actually German! And the other from Brooklyn... which is not so unusual in a modern band really.

"Krautwerk" from Lie in Light (2008)

Fantastic song. If that doesn't hook you, then theses aren't the droids you're looking for. But anyway, I always include that song so there needs to be more. How about the whole album?

Regardless, I still made some more videos, because I couldn't believe there were only a couple out there from the record. Just some highlights...

"White Woman" from Lie in Light (2008)

Second song lays out a bed of electronic drone, with a little Velvet John Cale string scrapings, while a hip chant to the lady of the spheres detaches completely. Then "You & I" changes again, with hypnotic pulsations and a leisurely motorik rhythm.

"Heme" from Lie in Light (2008)

After a pure synth space-drone, "Heme" brings another floating, burbling drone intro - which settles into a nice melody. A heavy-lidded beat, wah guitar, and German vocals complete the blissed-out but mellow picture. It's like riding a magic carpet in slow motion on some exotic hookah-delivered substance.

"Lie in Light" from Lie in Light (2008)

Cloudland produce one more massive droning soundscape for the title track, before "Mothlight Part 1" again switches gears. Reverbed guitar, distorted vocals, it's almost like a Woods ballad.

"Krautwerk" [live] - May 9, 2008 - Chicago, IL

With the late, great Jerry Fuchs on drums - whose live drumwork in Maserati was posted earlier in the ongoing Krautstorm.

And here's a single, epic track released all on its own - a collaboration with Lichens: "Exterminating Angel" (2007).

Exterminating Angel

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Snailface II: Fishy Man-Goat

I recently noticed a new-ish comment on the 2009 Next 10 Metalloid list - from Snailface (#18)!

Snailface II
Looks like Snailface II (2010) is upon us. Available at the same site as the debut, and just as free... Just a little run-through and it seems good, a bit more grooviness, with a spoken-word trilogy of interludes and maybe even awesomer song titles.

"Fishy Man-Goat Terrifies Couples Parked at Lake Worth / Mogollon" from Snailface II (2010)

What I'd said about Snailface (2009):
I'd never heard of Kowloon Walled City (the band). But they took up a 6-day album-making challenge, and the results are free! Hilarious, good, dopey (stoner) Doom, recommended for Black Sabbath fans. The riffs are thick and numerous, the playing is right-on, and once again it's a super-bargain.

There's even a promo video, with bison sing-a-long!!

And just for completeness' sake, here's the video that I had made for "Botanomancer (Sap Cave of the Magi)" from I - still available at the same site as before.

Creature With The Atom Brain

Not the song, not the movie, but the band. I was reading the newest Mojo magazine (Peter Gabriel cover) - remember the post on their great compilations? This month's cd is dream POP, with Cluster and Eno, Cocteau Twins, Panda Bear (#10, 2007), Mercury Rev (Top 10 in 1993 and 1995), etc...

Here's their three-star (*** of 5) review of Transylvania (2010):
You can't move for bands claiming a Queens of the Stone Age connection, and for Creature With The Atom Brain it comes in the form of both a B-movie sounding name (a 13th Floor Elevators reference), an appearance by Mark Lanegan, a shared producer in former Kyuss man Chris Goss and former members of Josh Homme-affiliates Millionaire and Evil Superstars. And like many a band in the Queens circle of friends, you possibly have a rough idea of what they'll sound like: hypnotically languid vocals, mantra-like riffs, and songs that seep out your speakers like hot magma at their own slow, clock-melting speed. It's all been done before, of course, but it's hard not to fall for the pulsating head trip of Transylvania or the disorienting slow-psych burn of opener "I Rise The Moon." Just one question: do they have deserts in Belgium?
The reference is actually to a Roky Erickson song, which is a reference to an actual 1955 B-movie. According to the Wiki, "Struyf cit[es] Erickson's former band The 13th Floor Elevators and the man himself as influencing Creature with the Atom Brain's sound." But here are some videos... or just buy it here.

"I Rise the Moon" from Transylvania (2010)

"Is That Lady Sniff?" is a Butthole Surfers reference.

"Transylvania" is the title track of the album.

"Spinnin' the Black Hole" is the 4th video I found.

"My Flag" from The Snake (2005)

O yeah, they're Belgian.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Free Live Tapes with Maserati

I found a great resource for live music bootlegs, authorized by the artists before the hi-grade recording equipment gets dragged in. Most importantly, part of the offerings was Maserati (#2 Live Show of 2009, #2 Album of 2007)!! Awesome...

Maserati live
That sent me on a search for more available live recordings from them, and I found some.

Portland, OR 10/10/09 [back-up link]
The setlists for these 2009 shows are all pretty similar, and I just found them so I can't suggest one over the other. Get 'em all. This is the only one with "Inventions," which is a great song. The longest one, with the most tunes. (Each track is a separate download: make sure they all complete at ~10-20,000kb file sizes.)

Athens, GA 9/19/09
This is the shortest one, but it's the hometown gig. But not the March show famous for the many videos on YouTube.

Charlottesville, VA 5/27/07 [Fuchs pix]
One .mp3 file, about 36 minutes, ~17,000kb. As you'd imagine, the versions are pretty different. Around the time the last new album was out, so the tracks were much newer and the arrangements looser. Set list: Inventions, Synchronicity IV, 12/16, The World Outside, Show Me The Season. Nice! (Main issues: 1 file, 64kbps bitrate.)

So, now to the resource I mentioned. unARTigNYC is for NYC live videos... NYC Taper is for audio, found via this Rocket Recordings blog post.

These seem to be completely authorized by the bands. Obviously lots of NYC acts - Oneida (5) and Yo La Tengo (6) and Antlers (9), plus some other regulars... Animal Collective (5), Fiery Furnaces (11), etc. They don't keep every single recording available, so you might have to e-mail for them to re-up some of the older ones.

All 2009 bootlegs:
[list] Site's 2009 Top 10 Concerts

Maserati - 9/28/2009
This is the one that started the quest, and the only NYCtaper download I've grabbed yet. Very, very nice sound! Includes only 2009 "The World Outside" that I found, and a really good version of unreleased song "We Got the System to Fight the System." Unfortunately omits set opener "No More Sages."

Dungen - 8/14/2009
Feelies play Crazy Rhythms at Maxwell's - 11/21/2009
Double Nickels Anniversary Show - 7/25/2009
Woods w/ songs - 7/15/2009
Woods w/ jams - 2/6/2009

I might add more descriptions later. But you know what you like best...

2008 bootlegs, pt. 1:
[list] 2008 Top 10 Concerts

Black Mountain - 2/23/2008
Squeeze-heavy Chris Difford - 5/13/2008

2008 bootlegs, pt. 2:
Devo - 6/26/2008
Tom Tom Club - 6/26/2008

Not sure about the rest...

2008 bootlegs, pt. 3:
Butthole Surfers - 12/12/2008
Wilco - 8/13/2008.
Epic show, great-looking double encore!

Stereolab - 10/2/2008

All 2007 & 2006bootlegs:
[list] 2007 Top 5 Concerts

Neil Young - 12/19/2007
Roger Waters doing Dark Side plus... - 5/30/2007
Radiohead - 6/24/2006

Bowery setlist

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

With No Human Intervention -
Aborym (#7, 2004)

Maybe I just like calling them the best Italo-Hungarian Hard/Black Alien Industrial Metal band, by far! But really, this has the most unique take on the Black Metalloid sound of anything since the originators. You'd think the main draw would be the BM+avant superstar frontman and "Voice of Death" Attila Csihar (Mayhem, Sunn O))), The Beast of..., on and on). Partially, but witness the mix of cyber-thrash, straight electronics, even techno!

"With No Human Intervention" from With No Human Intervention

After the Shakespeare-quoting, haunted-radio-tuning seance intro of "Antichristian Codec (Intro)," the title track plunges directly into the raging maelstrom of metal, electro, mystic chants and demonic howls that make up most of this record. Once you grok all of that, the lyrics await [all]. Some of the chanting is Latin: Vivit et non vivit. Black Metalisms glorious as "History bears witness of doctrinal screams!" At half the length, "U.V. Impaler" tackles about 19 times as many different approaches. Chanting now Hungarian. Pounding, shredding, arpeggiating, mellowing, grinding, everything!!

"Humechanics-Virus" from With No Human Intervention (2004)

The riff, with Maxwell's Silver Glitch-Tone! Attila's insane vocals altered further into the depths of sound effect. The musical progression moving towards the end. The middle section with machine noise breakdown, which return to form the basis of "Does Not Compute." Sounds like some kind of printer/lathe cycling through, with additional rhythms gradually layered on. Then it's an all-out "unce-unce-unce" techno beat, which I don't normally like. But I'll tell you why this works better than actual techno: other than the beat and breaks, everything else is working against the rhythm. The machine recording doesn't mesh to it, the synthworks are too floaty to reinforce it.

"Faustian Spirit of the Earth" from With No Human Intervention

Plus another monolith of metal follows, cut from the same cloth as the title track. I'm really digging these lyrics, which I'd never really understood. "Gather your modalistic interchange ability," it begins. Parts of this follow the Absu approach to singing the unsingable - just a few syllables at a time, ignore syntax. "Digital Coat Masque" is another good one. I really like the gothic synth and vocal delay with disco hi-hat sections... the harpsichordian classical-gas not as much. "The Triumph" is 10 minutes long and features some quieter keyboard moments and the female orgasm.

"Black Hole Spell" splits between gloomy synth dirge and more Blackened wailing. Rick Wakeman might even recognize parts of the very end. "Me(n)tal Striken Terror Action 2" was only #10 on the Top 10 Most Ridicvlous Black Metal Song Titles - 4th post! Unusual coda ya got there... "Out Of Shell" gets a bit funky at points, maybe to prepare you. "Chernobyl Generation/The Alienation of a Blackened Heart" two-fer-one. The first builds on pretty straight dancefloor slamming, good for a negative comparison to why "Does Not Compute" is better. The second kinda reminds me of early Black Flag, filtered through 21st century European extreme metal sensibilities. You'll have to check Lala for the outro "Automatik Rave'olution Satan," which is beaty noise-ambient, but only one minute long.

This really could have gone higher on the Top 10. Exceedingly solid album, especially given the unusual style combinations and general noise-making.

With No Human Intervention

Genre - Hard/Black Alien Industrial Metal
Official - code666.net/aborym/
Myspace - myspace.com/aborym666
Location - Italy

Review - Metal Storm
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Lala - With No Human Intervention
Purchase - Amazon

Monday, March 22, 2010

Extreme Metal Update 2010

I'll just leave this here...

New Tom G. Warrior! Triptykon's Eparistera Daimones (2010)

Tom G. was in the early extremers Hellhammer, and the seminal Celtic Frost. His new thing is Triptikon, and apparently this was intended to be the last Celtic album. First official Giger album art in quite awhile, but I think they're Swiss buddies. Warrior is curating a night at this year's Roadburn festival - which should be any minute now. Well, another few weeks yet... looks like fun!

New Darkthrone!! Circle the Wagons (2010)

I'd heard that Darkthrone had moved away from the Black Metal they helped establish, but I didn't realize it had gone so punk 'n' crusty. Pretty funny interview with Fenriz at Pitchfork of all places.

[Edit 3/27: Not worth its own post, but here is Fenriz listing his must-have albums. Can't find any previous list that appears to be continued...]

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Krautrock-Sessions 1994-2001 -
Space Debris (#8, 2004)

This is where it all began, once again. The original, self-released collection of home recordings and demos. Space Debris has made it here before/later (#7, 2008 and #2 of 2005 new releases). Pretty sweet start... As the title would indicate, a revival for Krautrock of some sorts.

"Long Distance Voyager" from Krautrock-Sessions 1994-2001 (2004)

More and more bands have recently taken inspiration from the German wave of experimental rockers in the '70s. But mostly from the heavy hitters like Kraftwerk, Neu!, Tangerine Dream, even a little Can. Those weren't really very typical of most other Kraut bands' sound, which is what Space Debris does more of... Extended space jamming with a lot of lead guitar stylings, organ riffs and explorations, time signature and mood shifts. As I've probably said before, they're sure-footed on this terrain and only stumble when things include vocals and/or get too bluesy. It's okay, just comes off less distinctive when compared to the full-on jams.

"Green Skies" from Krautrock-Sessions 1994-2001

These first two start off the debut cd, and are both available at their official Free Downloads page, which seems to get updated pretty regular. I'm just about to grab the new "Live Mitschnitt Zürich 2009" myself! After these two 'singles' comes the epic "We Were at the Moon Before You Were at the Moon." 16+ minutes of pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd pastiche, with some heaviness added. So you've got some "Saucerful," some "Interstellar," and whole load of "Echoes" - that sometimes almost reaches into Led Zeppelin's "San Francisco" interpolation from The Song Remains' "Stairway."

Then three quick ones. The short, possibly even sped-up, version of "Lorna's Vibrator." Quick and quirky. Then a brief rocker, followed by the more funky but less experimental long version of "Lorna's." Less than 3 minutes long version.

"Phobos was Here" [edit] from Krautrock-Sessions (2004)

And we're back in 10-minute terrain. "Phobos" isn't necessarily better than "At the Moon," but it's punchier for the most part. Quality dips slightly with a slower blues number and then an organ raver. I'd assume these were earlier '90s sessions, but honestly, these types of tunes crop up later as well. Anyway, Space Debris knew where their bread is buttered, so the album finishes strong. "Daydream" ebbs and flows at length, alternately favoring the organ, guitar, and rhythm. With an unusual Czukay-style cut-and-paste right in the center, or maybe the organist just decided the jam wasn't over. "Miranda" fades in and fills out the disc maximum, literally filler. But pretty fun, an almost '50s-style rave-up with Chuck Berry shredding, etc... This is not so typical later on. Like I say, fun!

Space Debris is a really cool little band, and they're doing it all themselves. I haven't heard the newest stuff, but they were still self-recording, self-releasing and self-booking in 2008. Probably now too. A bit expensive to support, but I'm still tempted by the $55 3xLP Elephant Moon. I found it cheaper to order the cd's by e-mailing the band - not sure if that still works. But either way, the music's worth it!

Krautrock-Sessions 1994-2001

Genre - Kraut Jam
Official - spacedebrisprojekt.de/
Myspace - myspace.com/spacedebrisprojekt
Location - Baden-Württemberg, Swabia, Germany

Review - a few here at Official
Download/Lala - neither...
Purchase - All That Is Heavy

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Popol Vuh: The Grail

Coeur de Verre
I feel a Krautstorm a-brewin'!! Feel free to (re-)peruse the "Whaddya Mean, Krautrock?" overview. But here we go with Popul Vuh... After reading the hearty recommendation from the Glowing Raw blog, last week I noticed Coeur de Verre (1977) used and picked it up. It's almost kind of the soundtrack for the Werner Herzog film, of which they scored several.

"Huter der Schwelle" and "Der Ruf" from Coeur de Verre (1977)

The whole thing's definitely worth the price, but what stood out was that first tune on the video: "Huter der Scwhelle." It seems almost like the prototype template for a certain brand of tune from Grails (#6, 2008). Which to me recommends it highly. According to this extensive guide to the history and discography of Popol Vuh, the song "capture[s] the feel of" Letze Tage - Letze Nächte (1976), their previous album. Unfortunately, I haven't seen that one in stores...

Vision Sequence from Herz Aus Glas (1976)

There's some of the movie. According to viewer comments, the cool music towards the end is actually a song from Letze Tage, rather than this album. So, not exactly the soundtrack. Florian Fricke, who's the primary guy throughout the whole timeline, was an early friend of Herzog's, an amateur filmmaker, and I guess kind of a musical pioneer. The first couple of Popol Vuh albums appear to have been among the earliest Moog records, then he did more early ambient stuff, and then started bringing influences from world music and sacred themes.

"Wehe Khorazin" from Sei still, wisse ICH BIN (1981)

Looks like that's one of several later films Fricke himself made, all with some kind of religious exploration theme. I don't have the whole story straight. From what I've picked up, he wasn't committed to any specific religion - more of a constant seeker. Maybe with his quest through various musical styles and approaches too.

Improvisation (1971) by Popol Vuh

And one final bonus video of an early-days Moog 'n' bongos jam. Overally, I'm looking forward to checking into more of the music - and the Herzog movies too. I'm hip to the electronic, instrumental, soundtrack, foreign-tinged, ambient, proto-post-rock Kraut type of thing. Can't get enough, in fact!

Popol Vuh

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wood-land Wood works Stone...

Following up the #5 spot on the impromptu Top 10 Drone/Ambient of 2009... and prior to that, the Ltd. Ed. frenzy post. But per the link at the very bottom here, it looks like they might have re-pressed. Lucky you, for it is Stone Circle by Wood-land!!

"This Is Our Richness" from Stone Circle (2009)

I think that's an official video, maybe not. Found this one on the year-end segment from the writer of the ecstatic Foxy Digitalis review (10/10). I'm not 100% positive about "best psych album of the year! Maybe even best psych album ever?!" But definitely the best droning rustical-mystery psychedelic noise-ambient album in recent memory - for sure. Since no samples anywhere to preview, I thought I'd make some myself!

"Rippling through Time" and "Return to Lost Cottage"
from Stone Circle (2009)

I'm going to ripple backwards through the album, starting towards the end of the 20 tracks. Most everything here is a little spooky, a lotta weird, like a midnight seance in the woods - on another planet. Seems like more of an experimental collective than a "band," so most stuff doesn't sound too much like the rest, but it's got a mainly dark and haunting vibe. Sometimes it fades into the woodwork, then something will jump out and catch you offguard.

"Stone Circle" and "Spirit Bridge" from Stone Circle (2009)

Stone Circle was recently OOP, with a ltd.-ed. of 100 cd's. But like I say, they either found some more or made a 2nd pressing (very last link at bottom). You can freely download remixes of their entire 1st cd, as Home (rebuilt) (2009). So that's worth checking out. Still haven't found the original 2008 OOP-ltd.-ed. (50!) un-remixed Installation release.

"Towhee (Deadfolk REMIX)" and "Temple Dust.IN THE LIGHT"
from Stone Circle (2009)

There's a remix, of more of a "song" type track. The second one mentions a temple, and there's something spiritual going on with these guys. "The Vessels of the House of the Forest" codename, there's a track on Home named after a verse in Psalms (from The Bible), and "John 14:27" just plopped there on the cd insert. That verse? "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Stone Circle

Genre - Haunted Forest of Lo-Fi Psychedelia
Official/Myspace - myspace.com/woodlandwoodworks
Location - Penn's Woods, Pennsylvania

Review - Foxy Digitalis
Download/Lala - N/A
Purchase - InstallSound (looks like it's re-issued)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Satanic Panic in the Attic -
Of Montreal (#9, 2004)

This was the third and last Of Montreal record I bought. The first was their last as a baroque-pop studio oddity, the second a transitional indie-guitar "band" style album. And this was the beginnings of their quirky electro-dance act, which to my knowledge continues to this day. I got the impression that style and trend continued and deepened, and really just lost interest. But Satanic Panic in the Attic is still mostly the work of a pop songwriter and a guitar-centric band, despite some new electronic influences.

"Disconnect the Dots" from Satanic Panic in the Attic (2004)

Like that! Not necessarily what I'd pick for the lead-off single/video, but that's what they were getting into. Digital handclaps! Pastel geometry-grids! Sweet basslines.

"Lysergic Bliss" from Satanic Panic in the Attic (2004)

There's something about Of Montreal that inspires the drama geek inside to direct its own video productions. Maybe the overly literate lyrics, dramatic singing, and femme-indie DIY spirit (I think this is 100% only Kevin Barnes). I only included some better ones, but I've never seen a higher level of theatrical self-reflexivity on YouTube for any other band. This is a good one to follow "Disconnect the Dots," reassuring that it won't be techno-rave all night long. Plus a pretty wide variety of vibes through the course. After those two relative epics, they get back to their roots: millions of ideas presented in 2-3 minute bursts. Nice xylophone riff in "Will You Come and Fetch Me?" Another home-made job... with stop-motion, laundry hampers and dancing!

"My British Tour Diary" from Satanic Panic in the Attic (2004)

Just what the title indicates: lyrics about people actually giving a shit about the queen (not the band) and cabbies playing truly repellent techno music. Speaking of techno... "Rapture Rapes the Muses" [live] was another of the big songs back when. I'm not sure "gloomy Erebus is an anathema to me" should really be actual lyrics, but that's what you get here. "Eros Entropic Tundra" is just their way of saying "the unrequited love themesong." And just when you needed a quiet, melancholy acoustic song, you are provided with "City Bird."

"Chrissie Kiss The Corpse" [live] at 40 Watt in Athens

When I saw Of Montreal on this tour, this was a pretty standout live track. I was hoping for a pretty even mix from the last few records, but it was almost all Satanic with like one each from the previous two. O yeah, and the suprisingly awesome "More Than A Feeling" encore! "How Lester Lost His Wife" fairly rocks out, with a mellowed synth solo and inexplicable lyrics.

"Spike the Senses" from Satanic Panic in the Attic (2004)

Just one more, for the action figure battle royale! I'm leaving out quite a few, since there's 14 songs, plus a couple of different bonus EP's. Maybe even a third of the covers they were playing on this tour? That sounds familiar. I actually ended up bailing on my last chance to see Of Montreal live - at last year's inaugural FPH Summerfest. Kinda wish I'd seen the Bowie cover.

Satanic Panic in the Attic

Genre - Indie-Psych Dance-Pop
Official - ofmontreal.net/
Myspace - myspace.com/ofmontreal
Location - Athens, GA

Review - Stylus Magazine
Download - Polyvinyl Records, iTunes
Lala - Satanic Panic in the Attic
Purchase - Polyvinyl Records

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Top 10 Drone/Ambient of 2009

I did this for the 2005 set of lists. And since the last couple of months have focused on this type of thing - why not? Here are the sometimes-ambient, sometimes-droney, sometimes-"other" musics that I find worth mentioning right at this moment. By the end of the list, we're pretty clearly off the true drone/ambient axis. But "close enough," says I! Album title links take you to some kind of Headspace post on that release.

#10 Le mani destre recise degli Ultimi Uomini -
Secret Chiefs 3: Traditionalists

Le mani destre recise degli Ultimi Uomini
"Renunciation" live from 1998

Genre - Fake Italo Soundtrack
Official - webofmimicry.com/
Myspace - myspace.com/secretchiefs3
Location - San Francisco, CA

Review - Weirdo Music
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Lala - Le mani destre recise degli Ultimi Uomini
Purchase - Amazon

Nice little collection of 28 short set-pieces in the vein of Italian and/or horror soundtracks, as so many are doing these days. Sort of. They've got their own traditional take that differs from either Zombi or The Giallos Flame. Not quite in those realms, but maybe a good intro point to Secret Chiefs 3.

#9 Sylvester Anfang II - Sylvester Anfang II

Silvester Anfang II
"Satan likt mijn hielen" from Sylvester Anfang II (2009)
Live jam from Kunstenfestival Can'Art 2008

Genre - Krauty Drone-Jam
Official - funeralfolk.be/
Location - Belgium

Review - Experimusic
Download - Boomkat, Amazon
Purchase - Amazon

I'd totally forgotten I even had this, until I checked out Vinal Edge's 2009 list. Something else must have drawn my attention at the time - it happens... This is much noisier, Krautier, and guitar-oriented than I remember. They've released a couple things more recently, and now I'm thinking about it.

#8 Perdition Hill Radio - William Fowler Collins

Perdition Hill Radio
"Slow Motion Prayer Circle" from Perdition Hill Radio (2009)

Genre - Apocalyptic Black Ambient
Official - williamfowlercollins.com/
Myspace - myspace.com/williamfowlercollins
Location - Albuquerque, NM

Review - Swan Fungus
Download - Boomkat, iTunes
Stream via Soundcloud - Perdition Hill Radio
Lala - Perdition Hill Radio
Purchase - Boomkat ($6, while stocks last!)

I took a flier on this because of Boomkat's big sale - excellent deal! My regional identification enhances the weirdness of New Mexican dronework. My interest in Black Metal means I'm a sucker for mixing ambient music with those concepts. But this album stands on its own, with the haunted vibe of a decayed and destroyed desert landscape.

#7 Sonic Messenger and Infinite Macrocosm - Expo '70

Sonic Messenger
"Your Beard Is Growing Psychic" from Sonic Messenger (2009)

Genre - Guitar Space Drone
Official - exposeventy.com/
Myspace - myspace.com/expo70
Location - Kansas City, MO

Review - Foxy Digitalis
Download - Beta-Lactam Records
Lala - another album
Purchase - Beta-Lactam Records (2xCD)

On the Floydian coordinates of the space-drone universe, with a good balance between direct sonics and deep exploration. I like guitars, and nothing else around here is nearly so guitar-based. Especially good for the inevitable zone-out.

#6 Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age

Investigate Witch Cults of The Radio Age
A few tracks from Investigate Witch Cults (2009)

Genre - Radiophonic Hauntology
Official - broadcast.uk.net/
Myspace - myspace.com/broadcastuk
Location - England, UK

Review - Pitchfork
Download - Bleep, iTunes
Lala - Investigate Witch Cults [samples only]
Purchase - Amazon

Quite unexpected, innit? The songs (few as they are) ring with a particular classic '60s feel. The interludes range from the spooky to the trippy, always shifting like ghostly fluorescent shadows in a carnival sideshow held in a decrepit Victorian mansion. On a lonely high cliff, under the full blood moon.

#5 Stone Circle - Wood-Land

Stone Circle
"This Is Our Richness" from Stone Circle (2009)

Genre - Haunted Forest of Lo-Fi Psychedelia
Official/Myspace - myspace.com/woodlandwoodworks
Location - Penn's Woods, Pennsylvania

Review - Foxy Digitalis
Download/Lala - N/A
Purchase - InstallSound (looks like it's re-issued)

Crazy, possibly Christian, hodge-podge of rustic cabin-fever visions. The band name is apt - conjuring a separate world, green and leafy... with monsters lurking. Full post coming up, this one's different.

#4 Pyramids with Nadja - Pyramids with Nadja

Pyramids with Nadja
"Into the Silent Waves" from Pyramids with Nadja (2009)

Genre - Epic Multi-Genre Mash-Up Drone/Ambient
Official - pyramidswithnadja.com/
Myspace - myspace.com/pyramidsmusic
Location - Denton, TX / Toronto & Berlin

Review - Tiny Mix Tapes
Download - Amazon ($4!!), iTunes
Stream - at Official site
Lala - Pyramids with Nadja
Purchase - Blue Collar Distro

I never really liked what I heard from Denton's Pyramids. Sure, it was weird. But nothing that made me dig deeper. I've liked most of the Nadja I've heard (#16 of the 2009 Metal Next 10), and will probably like more when I hear that. But this mostly doesn't sound much like either band on their own. Four looong tracks that cover almost everything: quiet, heavy, voices, beats, ambience, drone. Takes some focus to really listen, but worth it. Full post coming, most likely.

#3 Sadly, The Future No Longer Is What It Was - Leyland Kirby

Sadly The Future Is No Longer What It Was
"A Longing To Be Absorbed For A While Into A Different And Beautiful World" [YouTube edit] from Sadly, The Future No Longer Is What It Was (2009)

Genre - Electro-Acoustic Modern Composition
Official - brainwashed.com/vvm/newsmain.htm
Myspace - myspace.com/selectedmemories
Location - Berlin, Germany

Review - Pitchfork
Download - Boomkat (mp3 or flac),
Purchase - Forced Exposure
If you are in Houston, I have seen this on CD recently at both Sound Exchange and Vinal Edge record stores.

I've spent half of five posts discussing this monster of a 6xLP/3xCD trilogy. Click on the title link above, if you dare!

#2 New Clouds - White Rainbow

New Clouds
"Major Spillage" from New Clouds (2009)

Genre - Loop-Psych Healing Drone
Official/Myspace - myspace.com/whiterainbowwhiterainbow
"Blog" (???) - whiterainbow.tumblr.com/
Location - Portland, OR

Review - Pop Matters
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Lala - New Clouds
Purchase - Kranky

I like this album more than perhaps makes sense. So much, that I immediately ordered a couple more after getting it. Looped and rhythmic, with vocals and electronics, but a ton of treated guitars. I hear what others apparently get from Animal Collective's last one. Mesmerizing.

#1 Alphabet 1968 - Black To Comm

Alphabet 1968
"Hotel Freund" from Alphabet 1968 (2009)

Genre - Iconological Ambient Drone
Official - blacktocomm.org/
Myspace - myspace.com/legostar
Location - Hamburg, Germany

Review - Junkmedia
Download - Amazon, Boomkat, iTunes
Stream via Soundcloud - Alphabet 1968
Lala - Alphabet 1968
Purchase - Amazon

Similar thing as with New Clouds: after being blown away, I immediately started tracking down more. This one was clearly labeled a change of pace, tending more towards digestible "songs." One of the great finds of the new year so far!! You can read more in this Disquiet MP3 Discussion Group discussion. Also note that Type Records provides unlimited Soundcloud streaming for all their records (if you're not into Lala) - so check the "Stream via..." links for both this and Wm. Fowler Collins (#8).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rifts Bonus Sadly

So here we are, wrapping things up. Leyland Kirby took 3 cd's just to fit in his trilogy of double-albums, so only a few points of interest there (some repeated for emphasis). But Oneohtrix Point Never had some room on a 2nd cd for additional music, and I'll cover that.

<- Previous [#3] = = = Start Over [intro] ->

Sadly The Future Is No Longer What It Was
Just a few notes here. There's a bonus 2xCD supposedly due sometimes March 2010, with different versions, mixes and outtakes. I guess kind of like the 7th disc of Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia (#1, Ambient 2005). You can check on the bonus package here, and here is one of those bonus cuts...

"The Darkness That Separates Remembering From Not" from Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was 2xCD bonus set (2010)

A good way to keep up with Leyland Kirby goings-on is at his History Always Favours the Winners blog. It's for things like news about releases, free music downloads, commentary, or the Sadly artist and artwork. I'd also like to re-plug the original Free Music post, which points you to a lot of cool stuff from the Caretaker just waiting to be downloaded.

What else? You could check out the Disquiet MP3 Discussion Group's 2-page discussion of Sadly, The Future Is No Longer... Two pages!!

I got my ltd-ed 6xLP package, and I'm a little concerned. It looks like the three LP covers are fastened to one another. So only the first cover and third back are actually visible, without ripping them apart. Not exactly what I was expecting from the photo, but I'm checking on it... [Boomkat helpfully clarified that the spot-glue could be carefully detached without damage. And they were correct!]

Also, I think I'm going to do a 2009 Top 10 Drone/Ambient.
Watch for it!

With the extra space on Disc 2 of Rifts, Daniel Lopatin was able to pick out various songs to highlight. So this back stretch doesn't have the unity of a single album, but features a variety of high-level stuff.

Oh, I don't think I'd ever mentioned that the whole set is available at Lala. Might have been worth doing already, but maybe better late anyway. Alright, here it is!

"Lovegirls Precinct"
A short and relatively upbeat song, the title of which reminds me of Blade Runner or some other cyberpunk urban dystopia. Originally from a 2009 split-cassette with Outer Space, an Emeralds-related project.

"Ships Without Meaning"
Much longer and floatier, really pleasant actually. Appears on the Ruined Lives cassette (2008). Tracklist also shows "Actual Air," which appears on Rifts in place of a different (or differently-titled) Betrayed in the Octagon tune.

"Terminator Lake"
I like the heavy, almost distorted, waveforms chugging in the background. And then the laser-blast finale certainly lives up to the title.

"Transmat Memories"
There is a 2008 cassette by this title, which this is likely an except from. It's pretty busy, with patterns overlapping and clashing. Don't think I could take 30 minutes sustained at that level.

"A Pact Between Strangers"
Quite a relief, much less frenetic and more harmonious.

"When I Get Back from New York"
Another edit for YouTube, only 7.5 of the 16.5 minute track. The full tune is suprisingly engaging, for the longest track of the set. I prefer it to either of the "Woe Is the Transgression" pieces on Octagon. Last two of these originally appeared on A Pact Between Strangers CDr (2008).

"I Know Its Taking Pictures from Another Plane (Inside Your Sun)"
What?!?! Acoustic guitar, vocals? I... what? From the Young Beidnahga CDr (2009). So, both collections end on an unexpected note.

I'm also on the lookout for the ltd-ed, OOP Memory Vague dvd (2009) from Root Strata. Here's the tracklist, with non-Rifts videos provided.

1 "Zones Without People" [already linked]

2 "Angel" from Memory Vague dvd (2009)

3 "Ships Without Meaning"
4 "Memory Vague"
5 "Nest 9500"
6 "Chandelier's Dream"
7 "Unmaking The World"
8 "Heart Of A Champion"
9 "Radiation"
10 "Computer Vision" [already linked]

11 "Nobody Here" from Memory Vague dvd (2009)

<- Previous [#3] = = = Start Over [intro] ->

Rifts (gatefold interior)