Yantra – Drones e Excursões de Guitarras Rumo ao Desconhecido Vol. 2

yantraAnother trip back to Brazil, completely unlike any of the previous visits.

Yantra do what is described as psychedelic meditation music. From such a thing you can expect and will receive two slow-moving pieces of improvised performances which do that hypnotic transcendent thing of which I am so fond. These two pieces were recorded in 2016 at separate locations, and you can tell the difference in atmosphere of each piece. They do complement each other very well, however.

Because I don’t often listen to pure drone works, I don’t really have any reference points for you. That probably isn’t important anyway. If you’re in the mood to chill, this works very well.

The label that releases this seems very interesting, too. I had a listen to one of the Hierofante releases, and I’ll definitely be going back for another listen.

Föllakzoid feat. J. Spaceman – London Sessions

londonsessionsSo a Chilean kosmiche trio walked into a backstage party at a Wooden Shjips gig… and ended up re-working two tunes from their most recent release with the help of a minimalist drone guitar legend.

This is one of those collaborations that makes even more sense on your speakers than it does on paper. Föllakzoid have come a long way since their early days and have now forged a sound recognisably their own. Jason Spaceman slots right into it, as if he’s been playing with them for years. Some of my favourite of his guitar shapes come out on this, particularly a passage that reminds me of my favourite Spiritualized song, Pure Phase.

Did you ever hear Richard Fearless’ remix of Regular Fries Dust It, Don’t Bust It? That would fit on this release perfectly. The atmosphere has a groovy but woozy late-night feel (although it’s 8am as I type this; thanks kiddies!) The two pieces reworked aren’t that drastically changed from their first incarnation in that they are recognisable but they seem to have gained some extra space with the extra person on board. Their music continues to evolve in a manner befitting of true forward thinking mofos.

Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society – Simultonality

simultonalityThe last time I was aware of Josh Abrams making an album, I had a bit of a grumble about how it wasn’t that easy to get hold of, at least for me. Well, that seems to have been fixed now, and I found that out by finding out that he had a new thing out. Not only that, but he’s also collaborated with the Soundbergs-approved Bitchin Bajas in the meantime.

This is the groovy end of jazz, the type I like, where the music does a number on me hypnotically. It seems to be a natural progression from the above-mentioned Magnetoception, nice long grooves with a motorik pulse. There’s nods to the spiritual jazz tradition of the Coltranes and Pharoah Sanders, but also a mellow, laid back feel. This music isn’t in a hurry; after all, there is no need to hurry to make an eternal point.

A few words have been typed making mention of the fact that this has been credited to Josh Abrams AND Natural Information Society, which suggests that this may be more collaborative than previous efforts. Whether that’s the case, or whether this is simply a more explicit acknowledgement of the collaboration, this is an excellent addition to Abrams output.

 

The Bug vs Earth – Concrete Desert

bugearthI have long loved both The Bug and Earth, obviously for very different reasons. The Bug’s London Zoo in particular was righteous in its wrath and groovy in its execution, whilst Earth’s catalogue (particularly since the comeback) is one often inducive to deep relaxation and meditation. You might not think they would make obvious collaborators, in other words.

Of course, if my finger ever came out of its shell-like and went and tried to find the pulse, then I might have been aware that this has been brewing a while since they did a single a little way back.

On this release, Kevin Martin seems to work to Dylan Carlsons’ strengths, letting the guitarist dictate the pace whilst he complements the tones with a sound that I find myself calling glacial paranoia. The grooves are there, but they’re dialled back. It’s about the atmosphere, which is dark and resonant. Ambient industrial grime, if you want a label.

Despite the fact that the times we live in are frankly a riot of chaos, I could imagine this as a surreal soundtrack to them.

 

 

Wovenhand – Blush Music

.blushmusicWe interrupt this trip around the music I’d like to buy with a nod to a great album from 2003. Apparently, this was music that David Eugene Edwards wrote for Ultima Vez, a Belgian dance company, which may have something to do with having a less overtly religious theme than his usual fare.

It is also more laid back than the usual Wovenhand approach to things, which has been increasingly heavy in its southern gothic approach to americana. Check out the 14 minute version of Ain’t no Sunshine. There are occasional moments of upping the volume, though, and the contrast increases their power, a good example being Your Russia (without hands).

His previous outfit were 16 Horsepower, who made the absolutely wonderful Sackcloth & Ashes, a proper hoedown of an album with quite a preaching from the pulpit feel to the lyrics, all apocalyptic imagery and burn-in-hell admonishments. Despite that, I fackin love that album; the songwriting is astonishingly brilliant all the way through, and the arrangements are top notch.

 

Lamagaia

lamagaiaI mentioned of late that new/contemporary music is teasingly unlikely to make its way into my collection in the near future, but fortunately I’ve been sent 3 promos of late and they’re all good, damn good.

Lamagaia do this kind of repetition thing unto epic proportions, and the two tracks on here are feasts of sonic content, destined to unfold further upon each listen. The opening ‘Aurora’ is easily the heaviest thing I’ve heard them do, but they then go and do one of their more mellow moments on what I assume will be side 2 if you buy the vinyl.

Although they don’t sound like them particularly, they remind me of Oneida before their improv inflections began to dominate, what with their incredibly disciplined yet loose repetition, repetition, repetition. This is excellent music; perfect for our interesting times.

Horseback – Dead Ringers

hbdrJenks Miller brings us the first Horseback release since the really rather good ‘Piedmont Apocrypha.’ Dead Ringers sees a natural evlution in the Horseback sound, which is to say, he’s carrying on down the road that he was going down.

What this means in practical terms is that the rifftastic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup that is Horseback continues to be a rifftatstic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup. He’s kept his vocals exclusively clean this time out, which I think works for the better. There’s also quite the sonic crossover with one of his other projects, Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC, lending proceedings an alt-country air.

Listening to it last night again I was reminded mainly of the wonderful Appliance, who probably fitted few of the descriptors I used previously – it may have been partly the crystal clean production (a feature of all Horseback recordings), partly the drum machines which feature on the early parts of the album. The night before I found myself thinking of Julian Cope, particularly on the tune most likely to have slotted onto his earliest releases, In Another Time, In and Out of Form. Before that it was the HP Lovecraft band from the late ’60s. It is entirely possible that this album will remind me of a different artist every time.

There is a minor imperfection in that the last tune is about 6 minutes too long for my money; he could have kept the post-dubstep experimentation down to a mere 10 minutes and it would have been fine! But this is an otherwise minor quibble, as this is otherwise my favourite Horseback album.