Abronia – Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands

abronia

In the first place was the winner of the people chase, a lank haired fox named Orville, who won because of the magic imparted by his evil anvil. Orville, who counted several devils amongst his drinking accountants, promptly took his previous second best certificate and rolled it into a ginormous reefer which hit him harder than his hammer and he had to put it down. The people got away again, thus setting up a new race, this one won by His Majesty Gumley St. Helene-Trouser Slew, whose corpulent incompetence was passed through the ages to a present that neither knew nor cared as now is the time and cares nothing for tradition because tradition is history and history doesn’t exist. So the people got away again, the shackles giving up in a wimp of smoke and this time the moguls went after them – by this and by that they did keep gesticulating, transforming life into matter and then selling it as the status they craved. But the moment ignored them – after an enlightening experience it takes long persistences of abuse to make one forget that light but it only takes one instant flash to undo all that damage and see all the abuse for what it really was.

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Luísa Maita – Fio da Memória

luisaAnother completely contrasting Soundberg, this is from Brazil. We have previous with Brazil, but this is a completely different kettle of sonic fish; although, in common with Rakta the tags on the bandcamp page are: Brazil, world…. gotta love it.

The music is impossible to put a single simple label on. One tune will be a sort of loungey-jazzy feel with mild inflections of dub, beats, etc and the next will have a low key Garbage-like synth-grunge feel to it. The predominant mood is downbeat electro with guitars and hints of r’n’b (the modern iteration of that genre), I suppose, but as this isn’t my usual area I am even less knowledgeable than is usually the case.

Back at the beginning of the millennium, I used to spend a lot of time listening to the Nortec Collective. Through them, I discovered the wonderful Julieta Venegas, who has a voice to die for, or at least, listen to in pleasure. And the reason I tell you this is because I thought of her whilst listening to this. Another artist I think of is Cibelle,who is also Brazilian (which I didn’t know until just now – I thought she was Portuguese!)

 

Fire! Orchestra – Ritual

2182-fire-orchestra-ritual-2lp-cd_19_2016-02-23-15-42-57 Honestly, what is it about Sweden?

You know when music is special when you listen to something whilst in the midst of a fairly drawn out grumpy period, and that music makes you feel alive, positive, and like all the petty crap really just does not matter, which it doesn’t.

People, I give you Fire! Orchestra.

I’ve been more and more of a jazz head, I must admit. This is where the genre really does it for me. It isn’t about technique, it’s about consciousness exploration. That’s why it’s a ritual. That’s why I consider music like this to be psychedelic, and a million revivalists who call themselves that to be not, although everyone has to start somewhere.

The opener, which you will find embedded in this post somewhere, is 10 of the fastest moving minutes in history, it feels like less than half that duration. To me, at least. This is music to get completely lost in. Throw maps in the bin.

There is a strong emphasis on the groove, the many horns don’t get in each others way, and the two vocalists are absolutely incredible.  The album is both propulsive and meditative, noisy and musical.

There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe how I feel about this album. A true ritual, and a triumphant one at that. A perfect illustration of why humans picked up objects and started hitting, plucking and blowing them. Its purity makes it impossible to pigeon-hole.

This also makes for two posts in a row where the album cover seems somewhat random, although I think art purists will probably prefer the term collage.

Those who are inspired enough to want a physical copy will find one here.

Alameda 3 – Późne królestwo

al3Most artists I make public my liking for have a way with a groove. Probably a well-functioning groove is amongst the most reliable ways of catching my attention. And yet – with the greatest respect due to Kuba Ziolek – this album is not going to catch you via groove. The same is true for one of his other projects that I listed in some year end list or other a while back, Stara Rzeka. This is a journey, instead, but not one including picnics.

It took me a little while to work out why he’s used two different names, but I think I sort of get it now in a way I cannot possibly put into words. Coincidentally, the stylistic sweep of this music is such that I cannot possibly put it into words either. That’s a bit of a common theme for me.

So, it’s heavy in a skull crushing heavy rock, post-rock, death metal, spazz rock, jazzy, acoustic lament, fusion, ambient, at times melodic and wistful way – on Tzimtzum I think he tries to capture every single style he’s ever attempted when laden with a guitar, and it most certainly would not be out of place on Ipecac records.  At all times the music is overlaid by guitars so thoroughly drowned in reverb that it’s as if he’s replaced the Baltic Sea with reverb and recorded them there. But it is intense, and if you don’t want intense today, go and listen to this instead. However, if I’ve piqued your interest and you do want intense, well, Kuba’s your man, and not for the first time.

 

Menimals

Well, now, here’s a thing.

menimalsAfter being hat tipped by the mighty Heathen, I went to the Riot Season bandcamp, I did, and checked out the teaser tune. And I quite liked it, but wanted to hear more before deciding whether I wanted to buy it or not. So I rooted around (alright, then, I looked slightly further down the results page) and found the Menimals original bandcamp page which also has a self titled album on it, with the same opening track. And the whole damn thing was listenable, and the whole damn thing was mighty fine indeed.

But here’s the aforementioned thing: apart from the opening track, the tracklistings on these two self titled albums do not match. Are they actually different albums?

I hope so, because self titled number one is just so darn good. Dark and menacing, to be sure, this isn’t an uplifting set of music. Not guaranteed to break the ice at parties. Imagine The Bad Seeds doing the mid-90s Bristol sound – Tricky at his meni2most menacing, perhaps. One of the songs had me thinking of Underworld doing The Bad Seeds with the latter’s instrumentation, and the final song becomes really intense, a bit like Hey Colossus in their sludgier days. I also find myself reminded of the intersection of jazz with electronica and trip hop, for example The Lifeforce Trio and Triosk, although that may be more due to atmospheric reasons.

Anywho, I’ve embedded the original one since you can listen to all of that. And if you look at the artists description on the page…

Oneida – Positions

So I mentioned a while back that Oneida walk amongst the Gods when it comes to music (at least in my universe, which I can categorically state is not flat), and they’ve gone and released another thing to confirm what I’ve said. This makes a nice change on artists who I go nuts over subsequently releasing something which is far less exciting. I shall not mention names cos that’s not what I do.

positionscoverApparently, two of these tunes are covers of tunes by This Heat, who rumour has it are some kind of legends. To my shame and eternal un-coolness, I have never investigated them.

The three tracks on this release are all pretty different. Opener ‘S.P.Q.R.’ reminds me in style of their classic album Rated O; ‘Under whose sword’ is a much more ambient affair, and closer ‘All data lost’ morphs from squall-tastic free jazz mayhem at the start (very similar to the afore-linked recent People of the North album) into out and out krautrock of the most legendary variety.

Whether this classes as an album or an EP is not for me to say; I’m beginning to think such distinctions are unimportant. A release is a release, and as long as the work is appropriate to the artists intention then its existence is justified.

(Their website is normally here, but not displaying today for some reason. I’ll leave this link though in the hope that the problem is temporary)

People of the North – An Era of Manifestations

eraIf I’d have been doing this blog thing back in 2009/10, then pretty much every second or third post I’d have been looking to find an excuse to reference Oneida the way I have this year been finding any excuse to reference Hey Colossus. In the world of my music taste, Oneida are amongst the Gods, primarily for the masterful Rated O but also the incredible consistency they have demonstrated across their catalogue coupled with the fact they don’t take themselves too seriously. In fact, all the Gods in my musical world exhibit almost identical traits to those just described. It also helps when you can drop a tune that is as outrageous and awesome (and I mean that word in its true sense, i.e. wonderful and a bit scary) as Sheets of Easter.

Oneida have, technically, been a bit quiet over the last few years, but what they’ve really been doing is stuff other than Oneida. One of those things is People of the North, whose new album is some seriously top grade psychedelic medicine. Sonically we’re in the areas of their recent explorations, but this is much more free form as you would expect from improvised situations such as these, and very close in spirit to the free jazz musicians. This is much more than just some blokes walking up to their instruments, expressing themselves freely and then walking away again – this is some blokes walking up to their instruments, playing freely whilst also listening to what is happening around them and constructing a glorious sonic world in the process, yo.

I consider this album basically unclassifiable, but that may mean that I am ‘uneducated’ in this realm as much as anything else. I think the best albums always are a bit unclassifiable though. Part of the problem with using words to describe something that isn’t words, I suppose.

Words, eh? Can’t live with ’em…