Trappist Afterland – Se​(​VII​)​en

trappist

Yet another victim of digital violence in a crime that could have been avoided, outright avoidance of the main issue yet again taking its toll on the mainline casualty system. Oh, how we mocked the green warning light, shivering as the timber fell upon our willing flesh, sending it to the complaints department via the cue in the vacuum, which misdirected upswing got in our way yet again – say, if I insert modernity here, will I get a professorship? It makes sense to remain dense in these transparent times, as I don’t want no puppet accosting me as I try to ignore the inevitable. I will not bend my knee to any legacy, as my knee is unbendable, as is my will, cast iron, not doubt, flame driven, not ridden out. And the channels of communication have become so legion and they cross, they cross, they double cross all the time, and so it is impossible to know if the communication is pure or even if it is meant for this outlet or whether another has interfered or outright banished the thought to a silent vent. Silence was invented as an alternative to communication by the alternate community, agreeing on nothing but argument, which became tiresome to all, hence the solution, a liquid which induced silence in all who drank it. They never drank again.

 

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Rusalnaia – Time Takes Away

rusalnaiaSo seeing as I surfaced from my bedroom studio to take in the new Big Blood album, I had a scan round some other crannies of the real world. This one grabbed me, gently mind, but the last song also grabbed my soon to be 7-year old daughter so much that she demanded I play it again and again.

This is folk rock in the early 70s style with a psych-tinged witchiness to it, a lazy description but I don’t like descriptions because they tax my feeble mind. The nearest reference point I have to this is Espers, but with a more lullabilic (neologism alert!) feel, particularly the aforementioned last tune. Also Horse Cult.

The album was recorded over the span of some years and is made by two witch sisters who live in different countries.

Medicine Moon – Tales Of An Umber Earth

medmoonIn complete contrast to the post from this morning, I bring you the rich and textured neo-folk of Medicine Moon.

(You can just tell I’m planning a series of contrasts, can’t you?)

This music is gorgeous. Shantel Amundson and Sammy Fielding bring tunes to sooth you and lift you, whilst hypnotising you somewhat at the time. I don’t want to assume which member is the male and the female because there’s ambiguity there*, so I’ll just say that the male vocal is a rich, deep voice, harmonised beautifully by his female companion. (I’m guessing that Sammy is the bloke, but I have met girls called Sammy in the past, and I’ve never seen the word Shantel before). They describe this as cavernous drones and nocturnal serenades, which doesn’t do too bad a job. I’ll add that it also works when listening on headphones at work whilst looking at spreadsheets.

It’s not a million miles away from the absolutely marvellously wonderful Horse Cult album of last year – indeed, I think it was their recommendation that led me to try this out.

*my web search only brought the bandcamp page or their ****book page, and the latter won’t show me nought without I login, and I don’t have or want an account.

The Soundbergs of 2016

You know, I don’t think this is the best time of year to be saying what my favourite albums of last year were. I mean, I have literally just tried out a bit of the Heron Oblivion album, and my first instinct is that if I’d have got on that when it came out, it would be vying for a place in the list below. And my list last year didn’t give anywhere near enough prominence to Pridjevi and Anna von Hausswolff, mainly because I’d not long got on them – they were to dominate my early 2016. Maybe I should do it at the end of the academic year instead?

We humans do seem to like lists, though, especially those that seem to quantify things. In fact, I suggest a hypothesis – we love lists all the more if their subject matter is inherently subjective and unquantifiable (which is waaaaay more things than you may currently believe).

A funny thing happened to me in 2016. Well, lots of things happened, but this one in particular was that after I put out my album in April, thus finishing a series, I stopped listening to heavy music. Just wasn’t in the mood. There were exceptions – Hey Colossus released a wonderful EP that I mentioned in my summer chat post that isn’t an album but is good enough to be on some sort of year end so at least I’m mentioning it now, and there were a couple of later releases mentioned below, and now that I think about it, Anna von Hausswolff.

This may seem like an order, but it is malleable. Take it all with however much salt you deem appropriate.

Our Solar System – In Time. This album is perfect. Jazzy-Funky-Mellow-Spacerock. Most played album of the year from this year.

Karina Vismara – Casa Del Viento. Acoustic female singer-songwriter isn’t usually my thing. Only, this is wonderful. The vibe is magnificent, as is the songwriting.

Fire! Orchestra – Ritual. The meat of this album is staggeringly ambitious, but doesn’t lose sight of its tribal nature. The sort of trance-like jazz that just doesn’t happen often enough.

Horse Cult – Daydreams and Nightmares. The top 4 of this year could easily all be the winner in their own right, and this is another acoustic one. Like a more medieval/folksy Espers, but again with brilliant content behind the style.

Menimals. In a way I’m using both albums for this entry, saving me repeating it below, because one was pre-this year but I discovered it looking for the later one. Dark and menacing but not depressingly so.

Jon Mueller – Tongues. Another two track album and another with ritualistic drumming and chanting. Pounding trance music.

Narcosatanicos – Body Cults. As mentioned above, not much heavy did a lot for me. This was an exception, and I loved it because it is so very much like their first album, and at the same time it isn’t. I love it when bands do that.

Black Bombain and Peter Brotzmann – Free-jazz meets improvised psych-rock, with frequently brilliant passages.

Zulus II – Loud and in your face. They’ve got hella groove considering the nature of the music they play, really hard to do as well as they do. And Gemini is a drop-dead classic, as agreed by my boy.

Scroll Downers – Hot Winter. Sort of grungey indie-rock, I suppose. I realise that doesn’t sell it. They call themselves both ’90’s’ and ‘not 90’s’ so I think they might have trouble with a description, too. However, it is yet again the songwriting that does it, and it also sounds like they had a blast making it.

City of Djinn – Ether and Red Sulphur . I was going to just miss this out because I was worried it was still a bit too fresh but I listened to it again and it was blissed out brilliant, trance music.

Just missed out:

Muy Biien – Age of uncertainty;  Heavy Moon 7;  Sula Bassana

From before 2016

Pridjevi – For me, 2016 was utterly dominated by Pridjevi, helped also because my now 10-year old son has got with the groove on 2 of their tracks as well, and car trips went through a phase of him playing Pozuri Polako on repeat, which must have spent roughly 3 months in the summer going around my head non stop. Far more preferable to his other taste at the time, Goblins From Mars.

Anna von Hausswolff – The only album that came close to the dominance of Pridjevi in the first half of 2016. Not a concept album but sounds like one because of its wonderful atmosphere. That organ sound is transcendent. I keep forgetting how heavy this actually is.

Sungod – One of those all-over-the-map kind of artists. Kind of a less proggy Ozric Tentacles, if you want an inacurrate but lazy easy comparison.

Big Blood – This band have such a huge back catalogue, and this year has seen me mining the earlier years of it, which were just as good as the later years, but a bit different, naturally. They don’t seem to have done much this year. I noticed on their blog about an album coming out on Turned Word records, but that’s been up for ages and there seems to be no sign. Also, where are Turned Word records? They seem to have no presence since 2012.

Phil Cohran & Legacy. This thing took me by surprise, but probably shouldn’t have. It is stunningly beautiful music.

Pharoah Overlord – Lunar Jetman. Mainly because of the second track, which appeared via a Dusted magazine listing, but the whole album turned out good too. They seem to have finally got with the idea of easier access to their albums though the discography is incomplete.

Bitchin Bajas – Vibraquatic. Really mellow and meditative, and amongst the most regularly played albums of the year.

Gram Rabbit – Braised and Confused. Reading my original post, I’m struck by how much I seem to want to justify the fact that this album is fun. It is fun. But that doesn’t need justification.

Death Blues – Non Fiction. Part of Jon Mueller’s ongoing project, which I’d completely forgotten about since the first Death Blues album came out, so I’ve been trying to catch up when I get the chance. If anything, I like this even more than Tongues.

Fela Kuti – I returned to Fela Kuti, particularly Zombie, and have been playing his stuff regularly since the summer. It was brought on by the B-side of a single by Goat which had a really snaky groove but was only 3 and a half minutes long. I was instatntly reminded of Fela, and had a hankering for that kind of groove, but not the shortened version so I’ve been a regular visitor ever since. I also bought He Miss Road which is frankly wonderful.

Nudity is God’s Creation – This issue came out this year, but the music is from mid way through last decade. Yet another reason year end lists are crap, and yet here I am writing one which is taking me a lot longer to write than it will take you to read. Another reason I didn’t put it in the main list is because I didn’t like the bonus tracks much. They were obviously unreleased for a reason.

So. In conclusion, that’s it.