Thursday, July 22, 2010

Black Tar Renaissance

Grails... so good. Just released a new Black Tar Prophecies EP: Volume 4 (2010). It's pretty good, but at the same time they've re-released the Vol's 1-3 (2006) collection of previous editions. And it's even better. I was just about to seek it out, when I heard it would be re-released on the vinyl - classic Grails!

"Self-Hypnosis" from Black Tar Prophecies, Vol. 4 (2010)

That's definitely the standout on the new EP. The rest is still nice, but lacks a certain mystical adventurousness. It's otherwise more quiet, experimental, keyboardesque... So let's go back in time.

"Back to the Monastery" from BTP, Vol. 2 (2006)

Grails (#6, 2008 and other greats) released two Black Tar Prophecy volumes in 2006, as they were regrouping from the mysterious disappearance of their violinist. I've still never heard their first two albums with violin. Apparently, the guy still has never shown back up. Anyway... monasteries, temples, ancient ruins, places of power - that's the kind of location Grails seek to transport you to.

"Belgian Wake-Up Drill" from BTP, Vol. 2 (2006)

Did I mention that they're psychedelically instrumental? Kinda post-rock, a little heavy?

"Smokey Room" from BTP, Vol. 2 (2006)

Black Tar is a kind of heroin.

"Black Tar Frequencies" from BTP, Vol. 2 (2006)

I made the video for this one, and thought about one other ("More Erosion"). But there were quite a few songs already there. I like the dubby, jazzy vibe to this one. Mellow but still swingin', with bonus ghost whispers.

"Stray Dog" from BTP, Vol. 1 (2006)

Here you get a little Fahey-style acoustics, then some banjo sounds, before the Orientalisms kick in again.

"Black Tar Prophecy" from BTP, Vol. 1 (2006)

And finally the epic series title track, which is a long drone exploration - with some unexpected twists and turns. Only recently got this, but it's already up there with Take Refuge in Clean Living (2008), if not quite at the level of Burning Off Impurities (2007).

Black Tar Prophecies

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