Cosmic Triggers – Homo Fractaliens

cosmictriggersSo whilst we’re in Russia, here are the Cosmic Triggers.

This is not wholly unlike Sonora, but a more cosmic sort of space rock, with a kind of 90s feel to some of it. I hear Spiritualized style guitar work, G.O.L. style female vocals overlaying the repetitive, circular rhytms (‘we are all fractals of ourselves,’ she intones at one point, which is right up my alley, philosophically). I hear Thee Open Sex, a little bit of Goat, Verma, a slower Our Solar System, The Myrrors again… you know, I could go on. And I mean that in the best possible way, trying to illustrate that there is now so much brilliant music everywhere, and the fact that they all reference each other – probably without actually trying to do so – is part of a larger point that I may do as a macro-post at one point. These are truly wondrous times we live in.

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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.

Matchess – The Rafter

Matchess-Cover-400x400Have I ever mentioned the marvellous music made by Whitney Johnson?

This is the 3rd album under the Matchess moniker. Funny thing about that – the first album, Seraphastra, was a very regular play in the Soundbergs cavern. When the follow-up, Somnaphoria, was released, I stopped playing Seraphastra, even though I wasn’t as initially keen on Somnaphoria. The last few months have seen me caning Somnaphoria, however, as its full majesty has unfurled around me. Wish I’d put it in last years top 10 now.

So, as I alluded in my recent chat post, all seems rather quiet at the moment so I took the opportunity during a recent quiet desk session to have a look around to see if favourite artists of mine had anything new for me*, and here was the latest Matchess album. And despite the regularity of Somnaphoria in my ears beforehand, I’ve stopped playing it now and am busy grokking The Rafter, as well as another Verma album that I shall tell you about in due course.

Her music doesn’t so much have beats but a pulse, even more so on this new work – although the opener Alite and the penultimate Awdo break with traditions by including some of yer actual drums. It doesn’t seem to have so much low end as her previous work, although I think the first albums weren’t as bass heavy as they seemed; it may have been a very clever way of framing the music. She also ventures into more abstract territory this time around. Some of it is flat out ambient.  There is a definite sense of evolution, although that may not be quite the right word (maybe there isn’t one), in regard to the first two albums. Though, as ever, I am loathe to stick a label on it, I quite like the term ‘ambient shamanism’ coined over at Decoder.

And as with all music I really like, words fail me. I’m currently staring into space with saliva dripping from the yawning chasm of my mouth, eyes unfocused, trying desperately to grapple  with the concept of thought, and I’m not even listening to the music. I just hope no-one rings up now with an e-book problem.

*It’s a side effect of not doing social media, so I rarely know before something happens that something is going to happen. This has both positive and negative aspects.

Crow Tongue

I promised loud, and actually this is… intense.

crowtinguethumbMuch like the album from Valerio Cosi that I bigged up some posts back, Ghost : Eye : Seeker doesn’t seem to be fully listenable online anywhere so you’re going to have to take my word for it, although you can listen to a couple of the tracks here and here.

For those of us who have some experiences amongst altered states of consciousness (although technically watching TV is an alteration of your consciousness, albeit reducing its scope; I mean in the way our culture currently understands the term) this album is a route into a different way of seeing that requires no extra inputs. Playing this album in the background is a waste of electricity; you have to engage and listen to it. It will put you in a trance-like state every time. Well, it does me.

Other people have used words like raga, drone, avant-garde, free noise, improvisation in trying to describe this. Certainly those words make sense once you’ve heard it, but they are not complete descriptors (can any words be? This attempt by Julian Cope, much as I respect him and his music, represents exactly why I don’t want to try too hard to describe music myself… although I am fully on board with the sentiment). All I can say is thank the lord for random fans putting up songs on Youtube so that you can listen to at least some of it, although the second clip I linked has to have pretty much the least relevant image to accompany a song I’ve ever seen.

As for why I’ve categorised this as experimental psychedelia, I personally ‘define’ music as psychedelic due to the effect it may have on my consciousness rather than whatever stylistic conventions it may follow. I shall get more into this on part 3 of my ‘passion or pastiche‘ series.