Thursday, December 29, 2011

Eddie Callahan - False Ego (Time-Lag 056)


More important than the following words of veneration for this rare psych masterpiece, is the fact that Nemo Bidstrup's - the man at Time-Lag -  indelible mark appears everywhere on this release.  From the wonderful, rare jams pressed on high quality 180gm virgin vinyl and mastered from Eddie's well-preserved masters to the exact reproduction of the heavy, old-style cover, Nemo has made something special for the vinyl freaks.  For me, Nemo's thoughts on music are as good as a guarantee; his Time-Lag update newsletter is full of great reviews and difficult to find releases.

False Ego is my album of the year - the Bachs re-issue, also a Time-Lag release, is 1A.  Eddie and his cohort - wife, Donna Davi and longtime friend and album producer Robert Berry - pack a mean punch and this release has something for everybody - the piano pop of Santa Cruz Mountains; the fried funk of Judge Me; the beautiful twang of Across the Line; the guitar crunch of Dying to Sing; and the wonderful melody of Lonely Feelings.  All of the tracks on this re-issue of a rare 1976 southern California private press are special.  Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the album is the manner in which Eddie channels different vocalists - his range and ability are incredible. 

False Ego is the considerate work of three people and the vision of the man, Eddie Callahan.  One should read Nemo's review for the scoop on instrumentation and the like.  As always, set yourself up with a healthy bong rip as Eddie and the gang tear into Where Will We Be Tomorrow.  Record of the year without a doubt!

Monday, December 26, 2011

High Aura'd - Mooncusser (Ydlmier 025)

High Aura'd is the moniker of John Kolodij, who makes wonderful sounds using guitar, loops and effects among other things.  Mooncusser is the first release since the outstanding Stunned split with AndrĂ© Foisy.  One of the first releases, Third Life, was initially released on Reverb Worship and will be re-issued soon by Sweat Lodge Guru.  The Ydlmier batch was quickly out of print and a second edition will soon be released by Los Discos Enfantasmes.  Terence Hannum, of Locrian, provides stunning artwork and the recording was mastered by John Twells, of Type fame.  This cassette was purchased at the excellent Discriminate and the sound clip is provided by Experimedia.

Mooncusser is an epic thirty minute journey.  As side A begins, feedback and swells of guitar blast the listener toward an intimate environment - a place where one is provided a lucid perspective.  High Aura'd aims for the stars as shards of sound pierce the skin.  It feels analogous to the confluence of Stars of the Lid and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma.  The environment becomes quiet briefly.  Next, High Aura'd guides your ears through solemn, warm sounds floating on a cloud of tape hiss.  Side A ends with waves crashing ashore.  Side B begins quietly, as High Aura'd uses buoyant loops.  Gently plucked acoustic guitar rings into the atmosphere - the beautiful drone on the periphery.  A deep drone takes the listener through the final part, ending with a delicate, fading loop. This is music for the journey of the breath - deeply introspective.  

  Mooncusser is simply masterful.  Ydlmier has released one of the best recordings of 2011.  More stuff is in the works, with a release on Bathetic sometime in winter 2012.


high aura'd - mooncusser (album preview) by experimedia

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Olli Aarni - Ylitse (Avant Archive 017)

Ylitse, is the latest release from Olli Aarni - the person behind the Ous Mal project.  My introduction to Olli was through the Ous Mal double cassette release, on Sweat Lodge Guru.  Avant Archive is the label behind this collection of ethereal music.  Throughout four idyllic tracks, Olli Aarni's music meanders through the bucolic visions of ones mind.    The tape loops and distorted tones swell and subside, with crackle and hiss.  Some of the tracks recall the warmth of a Basinski recording - music to which one makes a meaningful connection.   

Ever since Ylitse arrived in the mail, it has been played on repeat - music to which one can commence and end their day.  The wonderful picture that adorns the insert is characteristic of the music, inviting tracks that desire to fill the expanses of the mind. Olli Aarni also has a split cassette out on Jozik.

  Overall, this is another beautiful release from Avant Archive.  The tape was purchased from Avant Archive and it was delivered promptly, with a nice note that made me think of Phil and Myste from Stunned Records.  There are only a few of these jems left.  Avant Archive is operated by Michael Jantz, the person behind one of my favorite projects, Black Eagle Child.  Earlier this year, he released something in my top ten, Lobelia, on Preservation.  A Kickstarter project was started, with the goal of releasing Lobelia on vinyl.  Please visit the Kickstarter site to assist in the realization of this great project.

olli aarni - ylitse (album preview) by experimedia

Friday, December 16, 2011

Brainworlds/Expo '70 - Abnormal Vergence (Hooker Vision 097)

Hooker Vision releases a psych monster, with this split cassette featuring Brainworlds and Expo '70.  The music was recorded on 9-14-10 at the Eyedrum, in Atlanta.  Brainworlds is Mason Brown and all sounds are improvised guitar.  Brainworlds side is titled, "Labyrinthitis", which according to the NIH, is inflammation of the inner ear.  My ears were on fire after a long journey of high quality drone.  A deep drone rides a wave of pulsing energy to begin the side.  The guitars swell to give the music an uplifting feeling.  Suddenly, solemn sounding notes suffuse the environment with expectation, until the guitar ascends, soaring under a current of spiritual energy.  Later in the track a beautiful transition occurs - it almost sounds like something one would hear on an Emuul release.  The depth of the music is extremely impressive.   What's next?  Where to now?

Expo '70, which is a project of Justin Wright, occupies the vehicle and accelerates to the heart of the sun.  This track had me thinking of, "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," by Pink Floyd, live in Pompeii.  A combination of electric guitar, analog drums and Moog synthesizer sets a dizzying pace.  Justin creates a vivid aural environment, a contemplative journey.  For me, Expo '70 is at the top of the list. When it comes to heavy psyched out drone, I generally reach for the needle-damaged lp "Where Does Your Mind Go?".  The excellent people at Aquarius Records ensured that this tape reached me quickly.  One of the true greats - Aquarius Records.       

brainworlds & expo 70 - abnormal vergence split (album preview) by experimedia

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eternal Dreamer - Splintered Sunlight (Calypso Hum 25)

Lets get down to brass tacks: Splintered Sunlight is an important tape.  Calypso Hum deserves praise, as the total package is stunning.  Everything from the serene artwork - which was the initial attraction - to the colorful patterns that adorn the tape make this c30 tape worthy of your time.  This is completely engrossing stuff and deserves to be played on repeat - music on which one can meditate.  Mysteriously beautiful Eternal Dreamer weaves a web of opaque transmissions.  Your mind will float in the deep tones, strings, violin, flute,  percussion and disembodied voices as you negotiate your way through the murk.

The act of throwing a stone into a pond is an apt metaphor for this experience.  The amalgamation of sounds on this tape feel like the ripple effect, producing waves of energy that transport the listener via the drone to the spiritual center.  Otherworldly stuff and worth the tiny financial investment.  Only a few remaining copies of this tape are available at Calypso Hum and sadly long gone from the usual suspects.  

(clh25) eternal dreamer - side a sample by calypso hum

(clh25) eternal dreamer - side b sample by calypso hum

ETERNAL DREAMER - Splintered Sunlight from Moduli TV on Vimeo.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pierrot Lunaire - Exercise in Futility (Semata 021)

Well, the photos posted above - the last photo was posted on Cabin Floor Esoterica's blog - should give one a firm sense of the music contained in this lovely tape by Semata Productions.  Pierrot Lunaire has tapes out on Fadeaway and Hooker Vision.  My introduction to this talented artist was through Foxy Digitalis.  Bobby Power, one of my favorite Foxy D writers, composed a fabulous review of the Fadeaway tape.  There is a lot of stuff occurring in Exercise in Futility.  The arsenal includes saxophone, voices, percussion, piano, guitar, and likely a myriad of other things.  This is a beast of a release.  Just like Bobby wrote, feedback and distortion are everything and everywhere.  It is a conduit through which one can connect to the otherworldly sounds spewing forth from the speakers.  The listener can take a few healthy bong rips or throw back a bag of shrooms, but pressing play has the same effect.  This is music with the power of healing.

Side one begins with percussion and distorted voices. The shaman has arrived.  Soon thereafter, the sax takes center stage.  The mysterious notes transport the listener to the next strata.  The distorted piano notes are sublime - one of the best parts of the recording.   No warning of a transition, as the sax is reintroduced with heavy distortion.  The unpredictable nature of Exercise in Futility makes this even more attractive.  The side ends with a healthy dose of  feedback and distorted transmissions. The sax creates a beautiful drone, which starts off the flip side.  It gives way to really wet guitar notes, percussion, distorted voices and howls.  Deep into this spiritual excursion, the synth - trying to breath under the wall of distortion and percussion - reassures the listener, with delicate notes.  Thick walls of feedback pierce the ears and eyes prior to the listener being transported back to the community - replete with the wildest effects one can imagine.  

One truly feels aware of their environment after a deep listen to Pierrot Lunaire.  Discriminate has the goods.  Secure this and the Fadeaway tape while supplies last.    


Pierrot Lunaire - Qarin by semata

Quiet Evenings - Circle of Vaporous Totem (SicSic014)

The new batch of SicSic tapes is available!  Lovely sounds emanating from Quiet Evenings.  Posted below is a brief taste: no dessert until after you have finished dinner.

Sicsic014 - Quiet Evenings - Conifer (Excerpt) - OUT NOW! by SicSic Tapes

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ulaan Khol - La Catacomb (Soft Abuse 054)

La Catacomb, though recorded in early 2009, follows the highly impressive Ulaan Khol trilogy.  This release has a myriad things going for it.  First, the choice of cassette over cd - the trilogy was released on cd only - enhances the spiritual drone offered by Steven R. Smith.  Additionally, the title and artwork are a big part of the story.  Even prior to pressing play, the artwork and title suggest that one should prepare for the an enlightening trip.  As the tape progresses, the restraint and rumination characteristic of this project guides the listener through the labyrinth.  The music inspires lucid moments with a deep drone.  

Throughout this tape, I referred to the sacred words of my guide, "there is no work to do, no effort to make, simply feeling whatever is present.  it may be subtle or gross, novel or familiar, simply feeling what you feel."  The master has returned and his offering is of the sweetest type.  Tomentosa will set you up nicely on this one.


Ulaan Khol "Pariah Dogs" by Soft Abuse

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jakob Olausson - Morning and Sunrise (De Stijl, IND097)

A defining characteristic of beautiful music is the extent to which it imbues one's life.  Jakob Olausson's music carries significant meaning, for this writer.  Jakob's first release on De Stijl, Moonlight Farm, came into my life during the final days of my father's life.  The strength of his craft immediately made an impression.  Many tears were shed and the relationship I had with the music during that period is seared into my soul.  The years would pass, and I searched with fervor, but this was the sole document of Jakob Olausson.  Last year he returned with a 7" titled, Cornered in Your Circle/ A Faded Picture.  Now, Jakob returns with a beautiful long player, on De Stijl, Morning and Sunrise.

Overall, this is a wonderful collection of songs... real burners here, dripping with emotion.  The cover art is indicative of the music contained inside - a warm recording of enveloping music that, if listened to with intent, will take you by the hand in friendship.  This record is a real trip and Jakob's beautiful style is omnipresent.  The careless will refer to this as "loner music"; yet, I felt the gentle touch of my father throughout these eight tracks.  Buy this from De Stijl. 

Jakob Olausson : Riding on the Wind by destijlrecs

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I was fortunate enough to secure a copy of this lp from the excellent Tomentosa Records.  No artist information to accompany this release, from Time-Lag Records.  Nemo, head honcho of Time-Lag, has a proclivity for releasing some of the most beautiful music - Bells Ringing is no exception.   The record consists of acoustic guitar, viola and beautiful vocals recorded to a 4-track, which is apt for this deeply moving, introspective music.  As the first track soared through the night air, I immediately fused with the gorgeous finger-picked guitar and lovely viola.  The second track introduced hushed vocals to the mix, which adds to the tender beauty.  There is not one bad track on this lp.  The feeling on Bells Ringing has a Jakob Olausson vibe.  As Nemo said, "you really gotta hear this one to understand".  Kick back and do this release justice, with a few bong rips.  Pressed on 140gm vinyl and limited to 150 copies - seek out one of the few remaining copies.  

The proprietor of Tomentosa runs a great distro and always treats me nicely.  For those interested in Time-Lag releases, it is imperative to constantly check the stock at Tomentosa.  The site is regularly updated with rare gems and timing is everything.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

hello friends

Hello world!  This is the initial post for Honest Bag - a blog devoted to wild jams and beautiful music.  For years, I have vacillated on whether to write about the music, which I purchase from venerable stores and distros such as Tomentosa, Discriminate, Eclipse, Experimedia, AQ, Forced Exposure and many others.  Finally, I am ready to move forward with this idea.  Initially the blog will review music.  Eventually, I hope for Honest Bag to become a small-run cassette label.