So since we’re outside of Europe, I may as well mention this thing I bought several months back but keep forgetting to post.
So as I was saying, Wael Alkak put me strongly in mind of this but I think that’s more to do with the hypnotic pulse of both releases as they are actually very distinct musically. I think Saint Abdullah favour field recording and samples all mashed up with their electronics though still mixed with traditional instrumentation and singing.
Or: here are some things that are not albums, or maybe they are.
So, we likes Hey Colossus, we do. And earlier this year they did something right out of the 90s, they released a single backed with 2 ‘remixes’ (strictly speaking, ‘versions.’) And what versions they are – the version of In Black and Gold is like a deconstructed drum’n’bass / free improv mashup, whilst the 11 minute re-take of Wired Brainless is pure repetition bliss, with added electronic noises (I can’t tell whether some of the added noises are vocals that have been very harshly treated).
Rise of the Echo Drone seem to be largely doing Ep’s. Since I last mentioned them, anothercouple have hit the wires and they are definitely worth checking out. They seem to have camped in a field which touches on psych, shoegaze, dreampop, electronica, tribal rhythms, that 90s techno that included people like The Orb, and sensual vocals. Needless to say, I’m a bit hesitant of trying to reduce them to one sonic label. I also want to draw your attention to this track off one of the ep’s for two reasons – Milo used a shorter excerpt of the same Lennon speech on the second Patterns of Faith album (which I can’t currently link to because it’s no longer available anywhere), and secondly because seriously, listen to what he is saying. It is really very simple, a bit scary, and very liberating.
Valerio Cosi seems to have dug out many collaborations and older works for his Bandcamp. You won’t like everything unless you happen to like every single instance of recorded sound, anywhere, ever, or maybe I’m just narrow minded. My favourite is the split single he did with Fabio Orsi (their collaborative album is also worth your time). Sadly he has yet to put up Heavy Electronic Pacific Rock – maybe he is not at liberty to. One of the greatest albums ever made, that is, to this mind, but if you like that kind of mind-bending psychedelic-jazz featuring saxophones with tribal rhythms – and who doesn’t? – then you’ll also want to check out Pulga Loves You.
Also, Rakta. When I first typed this paragraph, I typed ‘They have also not yet done another album but have put out some songs.’ So I go to do the links, and the page for III – which was roughly two songs long when I bought it – now describes what is either an album or a long EP. Ditto, Intencao had one track and now has two, and there’s Rakta em Transe as well. Odd marketing. However, the Rakta energy is still very much present, and they still tag their cavernous sounding tribal post-punk as ‘World Music.’ Love it.
Electric Moon – two and a half hours of live psychedelic jams. Technically it’s an album, yes. You are no doubt different to me, but I am unlikely to listen to it all in one go, because two and a half hours, and that’s why I’m not treating it as an album. Anyway, I didn’t write this post to be argued with. Just go and listen to it. Whilst I’m on the subject of Electric Moon, bass player and graphic designer Komet Lulu put out this song, and this also comes with a hearty Soundbergs recommendation.
Also, when I did the Menimals post, I mentioned that there may be another album with the same title and opening track and yet be a different beast altogether? That there is. It is also very, very good, and I invite those of you who enjoyed the first of their self titled albums to go and listen to the second.
Little tidbit – I did my first ‘general chat‘ type of post on July 28th 2015, the second one not long after. This here third instalment is brought to you by July 29th 2016. This was not consciously intentional. I wonder if it’s a time of year thing?
It’s about time I wrote of something relatively contemporary this year, although the argument can be made that if something is turning you on now, then it is contemporary, regardless of when it was made. Fashion – there’s the door. Don’t slam it. I’m listening to Flowers Must Die.
They’re a Swedish band, and the Parson Sound influence is obvious, particularly on the ‘Greatest Hits (live)’ album (I love that they called it that) which most definitely qualifies as music my brother wouldn’t like as the shortest song is 8 minutes, and the longest is 54. This is music to properly get lost in. As the title suggests, these are live recordings. I think music of this nature really benefits from being captured live.
The tunes on Psykjunta/Parsonligt Sound are much shorter, and also more uptempo. The other release I can tell you about is Hoga Nord which is back in the realm of the longer, more meditative tunage that I personally find so appealing, with Eastern influences more prevalent. There are other releases too. I love when bands do that. I shall check them out whenever I check them out, and tell you about the good ones in one of my updates.
From his Soundcloud page: “Italian unpredictable polyinstrumentalist/composer working in the realm of psychedelic rock, free-jazz and electronic music since 2005.”
The particular album of his that I return to again and again is 2008’s ‘Heavy Electronic Pacific Rock,’ though I have time for all of the music I’ve heard by him. The album in question is just the most entrancing, hypnotic collection of music I’ve had the privilege to hear. ‘Study for saxophone and electronics,’ the 20-minute opener, starts with a repetitive sax riff, which gets transposed, altered, added to and harmonised over with such imagination; it is both spacious and dense, a fully formed sonic entity which is probably more conscious than I (which is why, like all conscious living beings, it can be aware of and embrace its paradoxes without imploding). It is a guaranteed portal into another realm, should such imaginative excursions be to your liking.
The three following tracks are equally brilliant, although each one is unique stylistically, as different from each other as they are from my overly mystical description of the first track. I cannot praise this stuff highly enough.
Unfortunately, I’m not having much luck finding a page where you can listen to the album so you can see whether you agree with me or not, a problem I expect to find with the older releases I suppose. If I had the money and/or time, I would set up a digital library where you could listen to all this stuff (indeed, all stuff). As it is, there are probably other ways that the more imaginative and free-spirited amongst you can try to get a listen.
He seems to have been active again relatively recently, as he now has a bandcamp page, and now I’ve seen this I know what I’ll be listening to later. I make no secret of my love for this platform, primarily because you can listen to an entire album before committing to buy it. It’s the ultimate marketing tool for people whose music is good!
I love this album so much it turns me into an idiot.
Stara Rzeka – Cień chmury nad ukrytym polem
This discovery justifies all the trawling through Tiny Mix Tapes that I occasionally subject myself to. You want to know why I rarely get into excessive descriptions of the music I post? Tiny Mix Tapes. Also, this music is almost impossible to describe. Parts of it are like James Blackshaw jamming with Ben Chasny, other bits are Death Metal, still others ambient, and finishing up with what sounds like an elegy.
Thee Oh Sees – Drop
This band can do no wrong. Their consistency is astonishing. ‘Garage’ rock at its best.
Horseback is one dude (Jenks Miller) for those of you not in the know, though some of his recordings feature a backing band. Piedmont Apocrypha is one of my favourite HB releases, combining elements of his rock, drone and noise tendencies to excellent effect.
Midday Veil – The Current
Definitely at the more accessible end of what I listen to, the best song is ‘Without and Within,’ which is very meditative. They are thought of as a psych outfit, but the band they remind me of most is actually Fleetwood Mac! But without the sexual tension, obviously… I cannot give you a valid ‘objective’ reason for that except to report that it is so.
Goat – Commune
Not that these need my help getting any recognition. I will say as a caveat though that a little nagging voice keeps going on when I listen, and it keeps saying ‘passion or pastiche?’ Maybe that sort of thing isn’t as important as I think it is. It’s her vocals that raise these up for me. She’s nearly as raw and true-angelic as Colleen Kinsella, although not quite as fully developed.
Earth – Primitive and Deadly
If you know Earth already, this needs no intro. If you don’t, they’re the original inspiration for sunn 0))) although they moved to a more meditative style some years back. This album sees them cranking it back up again but staying with the compositional style of the last few years, and it works very well, even being able to cope with guest vocalists! (I rarely like albums which have to rely on guest vocalists, although there are exceptions).
The Pack A.D. – Do Not Engage
I will probably do a separate post about these to document how mad my discovery of them was. Stylistically, they’re a 2-woman stadium rock outfit, though they prefer the term ‘garage rock.’. Where are you going? They’re actually really good, particularly the tune ‘Creepin Jenny.’
Not only amongst the best of the year, but also they get an award for leaving it til the last minute, though that is not their fault, I only just discovered it in the last week of the year! Features the uber talented Whitney Johnson as part of their line-up, kind of heavyish jam band not afraid to stick a bit of structure in where it can do the most good.
Also get an award for late entry onto the list, having discovered these in the holiday between christmas and new year… think Sleater Kinney with some outrageous vocal harmonies. Their energy is awesome.
Prince Rupert’s Drops – Climbing Light
there are a couple of clunkers on this album, but also some songs that make me jealous. This band have a way with the guitar lick, they really do.
And on that note, I should point out that there’s a shedload of stuff I haven’t listened to (such as most of the stuff listed here, some of which may be in a post roughly this time next year detailing stuff I discovered in 2015 from years other than) because you can’t listen to everything. There’s a tremendous freedom in resolutely ignoring all TV/radio and almost all music media and just going by peoples recommendations and your own sense of ‘that’s a cool/interesting/intriguing name/title’ and subsequently building up a completely unclassifiable taste in music. Also, the best music is always underground, and you only find that by going outside, getting your hands dirty and digging with your own spade… you dig?
As you can tell from the categories I’ve had to devise for these posts, I really don’t like categorizing things. I mean, there’s much about this album that mellows me out, but listen to the clanging guitar at the end of ‘The Need of the Greatest Wealth’ and you’ll agree that any future appearances on ‘Now That’s What I Call a cash cow Ambient LXCVII’ are pretty much ruled out.
Matchess is a one-woman band (Whitney Johnson), so I naturally have an affinity, particularly as it presses so many of my favourite buttons. It pulses, there’s drone and repetition and a lot of low end, and the atmosphere is singular. It’s almost as if Seraphastra is another world that Matchess has taken us to for the duration, a world which welcomes visitors but doesn’t pander to them (my favourite kind of world, in fact). Those of you who are/were familiar with a mid-90’s compilation album called Ambient Dub Vol II – Earthjuice (TommyNooka!) may understand why I’ve got the word ambient in the tags, even though this isn’t ‘ambient dub’ (whatever the bally hell that means). It’s psychedelic in the true meaning of the word, not the genre meaning of the word.
And as ever, it’s the songs which elevate this thing into the realm of great. Each piece is a self contained unit which functions beautifully within its own frame of reference but also contributes to the overall world of the album; they are truly Janus-like in that respect. Indeed, I think the album itself may perform a similar function. I think I’ve just had a germ of an idea for a macro-post.
This was all set to be on my best of 2014 list, and then I discover that it was first released only on cassette in 2013. Is it just me, or are year end lists becoming increasingly irrelevant? Maybe marketing people like them. I’m doing one anyway, but I shall do a ‘discovered in 2014’ list as well.
As will no doubt become apparent to the more regular reader that may find their way here, my philosophy of attempting to describe music using words is broadly the same as my philosophy of describing anything that isn’t words using words – it can only ever be a guideline at best. Part of this minimalist approach to music ‘reviews’ is inspired by Tiny Mix Tapes and other such sites – why not just submit your work to the International Journal of Cultural Studies and be done with it? Quoting French philosophers is simply a way of saying you don’t know how to describe something. As is inventing new genres so that you can seem like an authority on something (I’m looking at you, Vaporwave).
So, to the point then: I really, really, really like this album by this band. It is loud, it is aggressive, it is repetitive, and it is not for the faint hearted. It has a saxophone in the mix which really works and makes me think the word ‘skronk’ even though I have no idea what it means. It always makes me feel energised and positive after listening to it, which you may not necessarily think from something that tries to describe itself as being the aural documents of a bad trip.
Nearest reference point that I can think of – Puffy Areolas in discussion with Monoshock. What?
Guess I can feel at least two more future posts coming on…
What do you mean, you’ve never heard of Thee Open Sex?
There are more releases than just the two I’ve linked, but they are far and away my favourite.
‘Thee Open Sex’ sounds musically like a meshing, no bleshing, of Jesus and Mary Chain, Velvet Underground, Spaceman 3, that sort of yadda. Don’t let that put you off. This is pure psychedelic rock’n’roll. Every part is perfect – the shamanic vocals, the guitar interplay (and wonderful wah sound), the tight-but-loose rhythm section, the hypnotic, pulsating, repetitive, droning rhythms… I could go on all day. I won’t. Go and have a listen.
‘Thee Open Sex is not a Put On’ is equally wonderful, but in an entirely different way. Two songs, both over twenty minutes (making it longer than ‘Thee Open Sex’) and both starting off as essentially the same damn piece. I reckon they went into a rehearsal room one day and simply pressed record whilst warming up. They called that piece ‘9/11 is a Joke.’ Afterwards, Daun Door-key (which is how the singer is listed, so it must be her true name) said ‘do that again, I’m going to join in this time,’ so they did. They called that piece ‘Santa Amanita.’
Regardless, they are wonderful compositions. In fact, the level on songcraft on both releases is astonishing. There isn’t an ounce of fat, of waste. Nothing is superfluous.
I had intended to find out a bit about them, but there doesn’t seem to be much to find out. As it happens, I think it’s better to not go looking for the biography, unless you yourself are interested enough, and you have a browser and a new tab, and off you go. The music speaks for itself.