Verma – Mul.apin

mulapinI’m really not quite sure of the correct formatting for the word that is this album’s title, although if the the Wikipedia entry telling me what its interesting meaning is is correct, then it should be in all caps, only I don’t like shouting.

Neither do Verma, obviously. This album is instrumental, which I think is quite unusual for them; most of their albums that I play often have quite a good vocals-instrumental ratio (which is now an official measurement thing). Maybe Whitney said most of what she’s got for us at the moment on her latest as Matchess.

Or maybe not. It seems to be the result of a session in 2013, which may or may not have been improvised – I remain cautious about that, because if it was improvised, why is there the sentence ‘written and performed by?’ On the other hand, why is there the tag of ‘improvised’ in the tags?  Not saying it has to be either/or – it can be both/and – but I do like clarity in the use of language.

So, the album came out last year but I could only find it on vinyl, so I forgot about it until I stumbled across it via some commercial digital provider or other. It’s worth the wait, because it’s Verma, and I like Verma. If you don’t yet know Verma, then have these verbal reductionisms, copied form the bandcamp page: experimental atmospheric experimental rock improvisedinstrumental krautrock progressive psychedelic rock soundtrackspace rock Chicago . complete with tag links. damn, I dislike when that happens.

I haven’t embedded because the aforementioned page doesn’t give you the full album, and acts primarily as a pathway to the vinyl. So have a video instead:

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Peaking Lights – 936

This, my friends, is spaced out psychedelic dub pop at its very finest. Upon discovery, this sat undisturbed on my playlist for several months. There has been a gap, and now I have re-discovered it again, and it is spending quality time in my brain providing much needed inoculation against some of the more virulent sonic memes that I have unfortunately been repeatedly exposed to by my otherwise wonderful children.

I may have mentioned the marvellous Matchess, who inhabits sonic landscapes not too dissimilar to those found here, albeit with less emphasis on the beats, and is a bit less new-agey.

I believe this borders onto the lands of the not-quite-so-obscure as my usual taste in music, meaning y’ain’t gonna find no easy Bandcamp embed here; regardless, my best method of portraying my love for this music is simply to seek out web links from whence you can hear it, as I have been wont to do of late. So here:

Opener Synthy doesn’t seem to have a video, but All the Sun That Shines does:

Amazing and Wonderful:

Birds of Paradise dub version:

Key Sparrow:

Tiger Eyes (Laid Back):

Marshmellow Yellow:

and finally, Summertime:

You may notice a theme with the visuals…

It will probably not come as too much of a surprise if I tell you that this is positive music, generally upbeat – where there are no beats it is very hypnagogic, all giving it a proper feelgood effect. I’ve engaged most often with it in a late-evening/early nighttime period, in various states of consciousness, and can assure you that I can find no instance in which this album isn’t fantastic. One of my true favourites from this millennium.

Thoughts while mowing the lawn

I’ve not discovered any moment shaking stuff for a while, but to be fair I’ve mostly been listening to 4 or 5 albums repeatedly. However, I had this thought whilst mowing the lawn earlier and felt the urge to share:

Music is the interface between living in the moment and eternity.

So the albums I’ve been utterly swimming in are Pridjevi’s debut (you should hear me trying to sing Pjesma o drveću to myself as I walk given that I don’t know any Croatian), Anna von Hausswolff’s The Miraculous, Our Solar System‘s In Time and MatchessSomnaphoria. I’ve also visited Zulus, Rise of the Echo Drone and Big Blood quite regularly. Also I’ve discovered Oneida’s Brah Tapes series, which is wonderful because Oneida. Yet another also: I’m playing Dreamtime and I love them.

However, today has been a good day to be in Leicester. The atmosphere is incredible.

And I’ve just had a most intense deja vu thing happen as I was editing the links.

Wyrd.

 

 

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…

 

 

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.

Verma

Or: more reasons to love the awesome Whitney Johnson.

Most of you familiar with the psych-rock/space-rock/stoner-rock/jam-rock/whatever-the-fuck-rock scene should be familiar with Verma. But then, I thought that about Electric Moon

There’s probably a whole philosophical system to be wrought out of the realisation that what seems to be obvious and self-evident to one person (i.e. me) is in fact obscure and recondite to the population at large. Having said that, I like the world I live in better than the one inhabited by the population at large, what with all that fear and facebook (what a combination!) and nothing being quite what it seems…

Verma have, amongst many other acts, exploded into my awareness this year due to the astonishingly consistent high levels of quality across their output.

From here you can see their entire discography. Unfortunately, the most recent album is only shown – there is no method of playing it, and the record label link is dead. I hate when that happens! So the video at the top is from this marvellous album. I recommend probably the entire discography – the first album is a bit patchy and not very well recorded, but from Coltan onwards it’s gold all the way, and some of the albums are free downloads to boot. Why are you still here?