Daniel Higgs – viv

vivWhat’s the definition of perfect pitch?

A banjo down a 40-foot hole without touching the sides!

At least, I used to think that was the pinnacle in musician jokes, but then the legendary Daniel Higgs had to go and start doing improvisations with a banjo, didn’t he? And now I like music with banjos in it.

This sort of music could be made anywhere, anywhen. I’m sure I’ve heard Indian ragas with this kind of feel, I’ve definitely heard Hamza el-Din doing stuff with this kind of feel, and probably all the zillion or so other cultures in the world also have their equivalents.

His previous band Lungfish did meditative and repetitive music, so you could argue his approach has been consistent all the way through. He’s done quite a few of this sort of thing solo, my other recent favourite being The Godward Way. The subject matter, when he does sing, is the perennial philosophy. This is the music of a man sitting down and letting the spirit move his fingers. I hesitate to use the word ‘shaman’ because it is a label that has been pinned on so many now and is probably a bit overused, and I’m also not overly confident that we use the term correctly anymore anyway. But, y’know, mystical and cosmic philosophies? Improvised meditative music? I’ll just make myself comfortable.

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Centralstodet / The Myrrors – Ljudkamrater

centralstodetThe second of the three promos I mentioned what were dead good, like. This is a split release, combining an a group with whom I am totally unfamiliar with a group of whom I am more than slightly familiar.

Centralstodet have been described as Prog rock and as space rock in the whole two reviews I’ve sought out on t’net; I myself put them in that ‘jam band’ genre on the basis of the tunes included here. I might think differently when I hear some of the other stuff. There’s a bit of an edge to what they do, though one man’s edge is another man’s middle, as I once saw a self of mine write. For example, Colour Horizon called an earlier release of theirs ‘harsh,’ but I wonder if he’s ever seen Merzbow live? I have.

The Myrrors only contribute one track, but that one track is 20 minutes of possibly their finest recorded music to date. It is wonderfully spacious, meditative and hypnotic, and I reckon it would soundtrack a mellow initiation ritual in the desert, were such things ever to happen, because obviously assigning such judgements is my area of expertise (I’ve never been to a real desert, though I have been to something called an outback, I don’t think it’s the same thing as there were grasses and bushes and everything).

You can get this on vinyl, if you do vinyl, here.

City of Djinn – Ether and Red Sulphur

citydjinn

It’s just possible that when I’ve said that what I really like is psychedelic music, I may have meant what I really like is music that puts you in a trance. Trance music. But not as it is popularly understood. See, this is the problem with labels…

This is proper trance music, as in, music that puts you in a trance. I’ve been here before with people like Alif and Malayeen, and I also like to think of Hamza El Din in these contexts. This is a much more lo-fi take, as it sounds like it was recorded in one take in someone’s living room, fluffed and flat notes included. But I love it. I hope they do more music, and that I may get a chance to hear that too.

City of Djinn (link is to F***book page, sorry) is two geezers, Marwan Kamel and Micah Bezold, who frequently sound like more. They use a variety of instruments, possibly not at all the same time but then I’ve not seen it, merely heard it. It is a very spacious sound they make; very meditative. But these are not short pieces, so do set aside a bit of time in order to grok this fully.

Rob Mazurek – Alternate Moon Cycles

Ha! This’ll sort out the psychonauts from the stylites.

I have discovered this concurrently with Les Sorciers du Theil and the two albums complement each other superbly well, although they do stand alone equally well, too. This is proper meditation music. Total drone. Any of you who are attached to the idea of a second note entering a piece of music may want to move along, nothing to see here.

The man seems to have quite a list of works to his credit although this is my first exposure to him, hence why I specified the album. I feel I’m going to be checking out his catalogue though, and I have a feeling that will be a pleasure.

Thousand Foot Whale Claw

Sudden ambient phase?

As ever when I do posts on those really obscure artists that I listen to every so often, searching for this has informed me they have music available that I have yet to hear, so I will most definitely be having a browse around Holodeck records Bandcamp page tomorrow (payday!)

But first let me tell you why I love the above embed, Dope Moons Vol. 1.

Actually, I can’t. I just love it. I listened to it again last night in quite a grouchy mood, and it did a very good job of de-grouching me. It’s proper chill out, tracks 1 and 4 are more in the soundscape mould, whereas my favourites, ‘Phobos’ and ‘Ganymede’ are more propulsive in the mode of an album I’ve mentioned before, the wonderful Ambient Dub Vol. 2: Earthjuice which people of a certain bent and generation (bent generation?) will be familiar with.

And because, as mentioned before, I don’t like describing music, I’ll end it there.

The next post will be louder.