The Telescopes – Harm

Which must be one of the most inappropriately named albums ever.

teleSee, I’m not going to try to convince you that this is easy listening. It isn’t, far from it. What we’re hearing here is essentially feedback and noise, with an added spacerock type of pulse in the second track. Human voices are there, but a distinct message – or even word – is not what they deliver. These are some very abstract musics.

If you read the quotes they have on the page, you’ll notice one of them calls it ‘harshly constructed noise.’ It’s the only quote which, for me, misses the point of it, seemingly equating this type of composition as being harsh because of its very nature.

Because I don’t find this harsh at all. I think it’s almost ecstatic, certainly the most celebratory sort of feedback driven soundscape I’ve ever heard, and having spent time with academic notions of ‘interesting modern compositions,’ I’ve heard quite a lot in this category. There is much to be said for harsher stuff – it can be strangely cleansing when the moment is right, but this is a different thing entirely. I don’t think its even in the same park. So this is not ‘harm’ for me. (Compare it to one of their other albums, which I could only stand for about 5 minutes…)

So here’s where I tell you that this thing syncs up somewhat with one of my upcoming changes. After I put out my next album, I was planning on doing a switcheroo on all my tunings. Now, if you’ve looked down the bottom of the bandcamp page, you’ll see that this album is performed in Solfeggio tuning, which is one of the tunings I’m going to use (the other being the 432Hz variety). This album turning up in my consciousness at the time that I was about to make the transition is a pretty surefire nod from the universe, as far as I’m concerned. (By way of hat tip for this album, I should point out that I finally got round to going through the final ‘Address druidons‘ on Julian Cope’s website, and it was via this that I also discovered the wonderful Inutili).

But anyway, there are all sorts of claims made about the Solfeggio tuning. If it’s the tuning system itself that makes ecstatic, celebratory sounds out of feedback and noise, what else can it do?

Advertisements

Pridjevi

So I listed this in my best of 2015 already, but they really do deserve a post of their own. I don’t think I’d initially planned to include them in said list but played the album the night before I wrote it, and the rest is what happened afterwards.

The album is sung entirely in Croatian, because they are from Croatia. I don’t speak or understand a word of Croatian, but that doesn’t matter. Over the last few years I’ve begun to be more dissatisfied with bands output when it isn’t in their native tongue, because it somehow feels a bit forced. There are exceptions, obviously, but I don’t think it matters if I can’t understand the words. Music has its own meaning, and words sung naturally will always complement that.

TIM091_Pridjevi_LP.1600x1600__58102.1435286780.1280.1280So you can bandcamp this if you like and want, but you can also score a hard copy here, on the same label that put out the marvellous Matchess records.

Stylistically, we’re looking at sunny psych-pop, properly blissed out and sun-kissed and everything that implies. There’s a similarity to Brazilian Tropicalia, particularly Os Mutantes, although I may say that because they’re the artists I’m most familiar with from that ‘genre’. They have it down as lo-fi but that may be a function of the fact they recorded it themselves, which has been a lot easier since the digital revolution, since it doesn’t sound all that lo-fi to me. Maybe a ‘sound professional’ would find it so, but I’ve personally become a lot less bothered by such audiophile concerns over the last ten years, ironically since finishing a course in music technology…

 

 

Gram Rabbit

My favourite thing about time passing is when an artist you liked a while back but haven’t kept track of turns out not to have stopped just because I stopped paying attention. Item: on the mix cd in my car came on ‘Devil’s Playground’ by the wonderfully fun Gram Rabbit,  a piece of very high quality songwriting from a seriously good album, Music to Start a Cult to.  ‘Damn, I love that tune,’ I said to myself, and not for the first time, so off I trotted to the internets to find out what Jesika von Rabbit and Todd Rutherford have been up to since I last paid them attention.

gramrabbitThey have not been idle, and the good news is, they’re still bloody good.

I should first warn you that this is fun, first and foremost. Why do I have to warn people when music is fun? THAT is screwed up. Anywho, it is shit-eating grin levels of fun to my ears. Mixtures of Electro-rock, alt-country, psych-pop, western-music, and a bloody large sense of humour. Their version of ‘Song 2’ is outrageously good. But so is their own songwriting, and this is why they get to smear a sense of humour all over their music and still have you want to listen to more, and to listen to it again. Just because someone has a smile on their face is no reason to believe they don’t take what they do seriously.

So I bought the digital download of Braised & Confused (embedded below) and am going to check out their other post 2007ish output in good order, although it looks like I’ll have to order the CDs of some of it if I like it as much as I like that, as I really don’t like itunes.

Bitchin Bajas – Vibraquatic

Yet another album where words fail me…

bbajIf you like ‘Descending Moonshine Dervishes’ by Terry Riley – in all its 53 minute glory – then this will be right up your alley, especially the opener Prismatic Reflections, which is but a short pop song in comparison, at a mere 17 minutes. Terry Riley is probably the most obvious reference point overall, actually, although it does also make me think of the wonderful Oneida when they’re in one of their more meditative poses. Kind of new-agey, also. I could also quite easily be convinced that there’s a lost Tangerine Dream album that sounds somewhat like this, so if you want to convince me of that then please go ahead, though I want music to back it up.

Bitchin Bajas have quite the discography. I had heard ‘Krausened’ but had no idea they’d been so prolific, so I have some listening and yet more wallet emptying ahead of me if this be any guide. I only discovered this while searching bandcamp for something else, chalk this up to one of those serendipitous discoveries. They apparently started life as a side project of the guitarist from Cave, who were/are far from mellow if memory serves.

For those interested in the aforementioned Terry Riley piece, there’s a 5 minute youtube snippet here. I thoroughly recommend the whole thing though. One of my favourite pieces of music ever.

Although it would be too late to score this album as it came out in 2012, I’m beginning to seriously consider getting a proper record deck again and re-introducing Vinyl into my life. I can only imagine that these deep listening experiences of which I am so fond would be superior. The downside, of course, is that vinyl is so much more expensive, and most artists that release on vinyl do such limited runs, though I understand the economics of so doing. Also, it’s better to sell a few to people who would look after and listen to the piece than to loads who would neglect, scratch, and send to landfill.

Inutili

Something approaching sonic heaven for you, assuming that an admixture of Parson Sound and Les Rallizes Denudes would be your thang…inutili

I’m here to tell you that this is most definitely my thang.

It’s actually quite blissed out, something I need to mention given that you would not always – or maybe ever – categorise Les Rallizes Denudes as blissed out.

‘Music to Watch the Clouds on a Sunny Day’ is in fact the best title they could give it, although I am yet to test the suggestion, what with it being winter, this being the UK, and the few days since I discovered it having very little in the way of sunny. I firmly intend to test it out in the summer, though, if we have one. However, I can say that as I listened to it for the first time on a Thursday morning in the basement office in which I work, the sun did indeed shine through the small horizontal cracks at the top of the wall that we call windows, and the moment was perfect. Hence why I think of this as blissed out.

There’s a bluesy feel to it, too. I’d love to say it’s a bit like Junior Kimbrough in that respect, but it probably isn’t that much, I just wanted an excuse to reference my all time favourite bluesman. Any firmer reference points, answers on a comment please…

I can’t find out much about them beyond they are/were a three piece from Italy.

There’s also a couple of free downloads available, very nearly as good. Their artwork is NSFW in the same way that Acid Mothers Temple artwork is NSFW, although it depends very much on where you work, I suppose.