Orsak:Oslo – Tipping Point

orsak

My daughter says this album cover is gross and looks like monster blood. I don’t believe she read the description on their bandcamp page which makes comparisons to Bukowski novels, but I cannot be entirely sure.

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Big Blood – The Daughters Union

bigbloodI have barely listened to music made by other people the last month or so, and that is because I have started recording again. However, a new album by Big Blood is a ‘drop everything’ moment.

This doesn’t disappoint because Big Blood. But also, they’ve put on their glam clothes for some of the tunes on here. And I’d like to point out that ‘Reproduce & Get Dirty,’ besides being an ace title, is one of the great Big Blood songs, which is to say, it’s one of the great songs.

I love Big Blood because they have total creative freedom and they use it. They’re not trying to please anybody but themselves. They have a huge advantage, of course, in the fact that their songwriting abilities are outrageously good, which always helps. I personally think that great material comes from having the right attitude to start with rather than the other way round.

Long may they continue to be themselves.

William Parker – Double Sunrise Over Neptune

parker-dbl-sunrise-book-1William Parker was my gateway into jazz. The first album I heard by him was Long Hidden – The Olmec Series which piqued my interest, particularly the 11-minute Pok-A-Tok at a time when I was beginning to enjoy longer pieces on a regular basis. But Double Sunrise Over Neptune was something else again. Technically, it’s a four track album, but seeing as one of those tracks is less than a minute and is essentially banter, I think we can safely say that this is a three track album, the shortest of which is fifteen minutes long.

The reason I like this so much is because it wasn’t even remotely close to my pre-conceptions of jazz. For a start, Parker keeps repeating the same bassline in each piece. They are amongst the most hypnotic basslines ever, circular, weaving, did someone say Ouroboros (the cosmic serpent, not the various metal-ish acts that have used the name over the years)? They are islands of simplicity amongst the whirling maelstrom of ecstatic expression happening around him.

The secret to enjoying this music, for me, was exactly the same as the secret to enjoying Les Rallizes Denudes, bizarrely enough. Use the bassline to anchor your perceptions and let your attention drift in and out to the various expressions being performed by the other voices and instruments. They are many and rapturous, but there is always the bassline to return to. There are ebbs and flows, crescendos and lulls, but always the bassline. (Has anyone noticed I’ve got a thing about bass?)

From here I was able to understand more and more of the jazz approach to musical expression, although my favourite incarnations have always been the long and hypnotic – I think it’s fair to say that that’s largely true of most genres for me these days.

So, I don’t have a handy way of embedding the album or demonstrating the whole thing apart from the opening – and shortest – track. You’ll have to take my word for it, though, that this is a wonderful example of transcendent music across the entire album.

And, whilst finding the things I’ve linked for this post, I let the embedded tune play to it’s end as I wrote the main body of the text. And you know how Youtube automatically selects a next piece for you if you don’t take an active role? Well, I’d never even heard of Ronnie Boykins, but damn…

Lamagaia

lamagaiaI mentioned of late that new/contemporary music is teasingly unlikely to make its way into my collection in the near future, but fortunately I’ve been sent 3 promos of late and they’re all good, damn good.

Lamagaia do this kind of repetition thing unto epic proportions, and the two tracks on here are feasts of sonic content, destined to unfold further upon each listen. The opening ‘Aurora’ is easily the heaviest thing I’ve heard them do, but they then go and do one of their more mellow moments on what I assume will be side 2 if you buy the vinyl.

Although they don’t sound like them particularly, they remind me of Oneida before their improv inflections began to dominate, what with their incredibly disciplined yet loose repetition, repetition, repetition. This is excellent music; perfect for our interesting times.

Zement – Werk

zement So, my way around using that descriptor of music that I really don’t like* is to use a different one – or two, or three, or many – instead, because I just love when genres get divided and subdivided and so on. But stay with me on this.

“Krautrock” (the last time I will ever type that word) can arguably be said to comprise of (at least) two elements – motorik and kosmiche. So, without further ado, I hereby tag this particular music motorik, because it has that driving rhythmical quality to it so prevalent within the field. I would argue that it isn’t particularly kosmiche – I personally am more likely to ascribe that quality to the output of Ash Ra Tempel, Gunter Schickert, etc. But that doesn’t mean this music can’t transport you, it is heavy on repetition after all, and repetition rocks. When done well, anyway. Though I suppose an argument can be made to call it something like industrial drone. But I’m not going to do that.

Other reference points for this include but are not limited to Minami Deutsch, Follakzoid, a more up-tempo Appliance and there’s also a riff they use quite often that can be found on Hey Colossus‘ magnificent Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo (those of you familiar will know what I mean, it’s on the track English Flesh).

*just to clarify, because the sentence is not all that clear, it’s the descriptor I don’t like, not the music. If I didn’t like the music it wouldn’t be here.

Horseback – Dead Ringers

hbdrJenks Miller brings us the first Horseback release since the really rather good ‘Piedmont Apocrypha.’ Dead Ringers sees a natural evlution in the Horseback sound, which is to say, he’s carrying on down the road that he was going down.

What this means in practical terms is that the rifftastic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup that is Horseback continues to be a rifftatstic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup. He’s kept his vocals exclusively clean this time out, which I think works for the better. There’s also quite the sonic crossover with one of his other projects, Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC, lending proceedings an alt-country air.

Listening to it last night again I was reminded mainly of the wonderful Appliance, who probably fitted few of the descriptors I used previously – it may have been partly the crystal clean production (a feature of all Horseback recordings), partly the drum machines which feature on the early parts of the album. The night before I found myself thinking of Julian Cope, particularly on the tune most likely to have slotted onto his earliest releases, In Another Time, In and Out of Form. Before that it was the HP Lovecraft band from the late ’60s. It is entirely possible that this album will remind me of a different artist every time.

There is a minor imperfection in that the last tune is about 6 minutes too long for my money; he could have kept the post-dubstep experimentation down to a mere 10 minutes and it would have been fine! But this is an otherwise minor quibble, as this is otherwise my favourite Horseback album.