Matchess – The Rafter

Matchess-Cover-400x400Have I ever mentioned the marvellous music made by Whitney Johnson?

This is the 3rd album under the Matchess moniker. Funny thing about that – the first album, Seraphastra, was a very regular play in the Soundbergs cavern. When the follow-up, Somnaphoria, was released, I stopped playing Seraphastra, even though I wasn’t as initially keen on Somnaphoria. The last few months have seen me caning Somnaphoria, however, as its full majesty has unfurled around me. Wish I’d put it in last years top 10 now.

So, as I alluded in my recent chat post, all seems rather quiet at the moment so I took the opportunity during a recent quiet desk session to have a look around to see if favourite artists of mine had anything new for me*, and here was the latest Matchess album. And despite the regularity of Somnaphoria in my ears beforehand, I’ve stopped playing it now and am busy grokking The Rafter, as well as another Verma album that I shall tell you about in due course.

Her music doesn’t so much have beats but a pulse, even more so on this new work – although the opener Alite and the penultimate Awdo break with traditions by including some of yer actual drums. It doesn’t seem to have so much low end as her previous work, although I think the first albums weren’t as bass heavy as they seemed; it may have been a very clever way of framing the music. She also ventures into more abstract territory this time around. Some of it is flat out ambient.  There is a definite sense of evolution, although that may not be quite the right word (maybe there isn’t one), in regard to the first two albums. Though, as ever, I am loathe to stick a label on it, I quite like the term ‘ambient shamanism’ coined over at Decoder.

And as with all music I really like, words fail me. I’m currently staring into space with saliva dripping from the yawning chasm of my mouth, eyes unfocused, trying desperately to grapple  with the concept of thought, and I’m not even listening to the music. I just hope no-one rings up now with an e-book problem.

*It’s a side effect of not doing social media, so I rarely know before something happens that something is going to happen. This has both positive and negative aspects.

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.

Matchess – Somnaphoria

At this rate, Whitney Johnson is going to get a restraining order on me.

So, I may have mentioned that I’m rather fond of her first album under this moniker. It was with no trepidation at all that I approached the second, just released Somnaphoria. (That link takes you to where the LP can be bought, but it’s easily available via most digital sites, unlike the new album by Thee Oh Sees which I’ve had to send off for a CD – bah!). It’s not wildly different from the first which means it’s just as good as the first. SO, if you like, say, Peaking Lights at their absolute 936ish best, you’ll most probably get this.