Friday, July 20, 2012

Kief with Bart De Paepe (Sloow Tapes)

Holy trichomes!!! It truly is a special day at Honest Bag.  The nugs cannot get any more dank than this. Everybody, i want to introduce you to a person for whom i have immense respect:  Bart De Paepe of Sloow Tapes.  Rewind to Eugene, Oregon circa 2007: The heat was surprisingly oppressive, the herbs sticky, and the water fresh.  One of my Turkish friends sent me files from a Hellvete tape titled, Een Duvelse Zak Is Nooit Gevuld on Sloow Tapes.  Once Hellvete was baked into my head and the bong smoke dissipated, i immediately contacted Tomentosa.  For me, Sloow Tapes is a singular strain in psychedelic music - there's nothing like it.  It's time to throw some lovely cosmic sprinkles on the hairy nugs.  Let's blaze on together, family style :)

Sloow tapes and crystal-covered nugs make the world go 'round!  Peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)


1)  How did Sloow Tapes begin, and who would you cite as an influence?  also, the Sloow discography is brimming with diverse beauty.  For every Bear Bones or Kohn tape there is Hands of Hydra/Janina Angel Bath or Great Society Mind Destroyers.  Recently, you have released tapes of poetry.  Can you give us your thoughts about the evolution of Sloow Tapes?  Has your main objective behind the label changed since its inception? 

Bart: At the time i was hanging out a lot at the freaks end future record shop in antwerp where i received a quick education in esoteric underground music, all these artists i had never heard of before.  i got to meet a lot of locals there who were making music, setting up shows and doing their own label: imvated, veglia, audiobot, after a while i wanted to start my own label, most influential was probably imvated, especially christina carters 'planets' tape lieven did.  other influences in the beginning were time lag and eclipse.  i don't know if there have been a lot of changes in the evolution of sloow tapes, it's just a reflection of what i listen to and am interested in at the times.  The poetry tapes started because after a long search i got in touch with louise landes levi and recorded her reading in my living room, she had all these crazy stories to tell about illustrious poets like ira cohen, angus maclise, daniel moore and simon vinkenoog and couldn't believe i had the habibiya record on my shelves.  she was best friends with some of the musicians playing on that one! cosmic.....

2)  The singular artwork is such a big part of Sloow Tapes.  Particularly, one of my favorites is the artwork for the Bear Bones, Lay Low cs.  When you decide to put out a tape, what is the process for creating the artwork?

Bart: glad to hear you're digging the artwork!  the making really depends on the release, sometimes the artist suggests something, sometimes i draw inspiration from the music, sometimes i'm working on something else that connects well with a recording. Love. hate. nature. books etc etc

3)  Last year, Sloow ventured into vinyl with the Up Tight lp.  Do you envision releasing vinyl sporadically, or will this become a regular feature of the label?  Also, who do you have in mind for future Sloow Wax?

Bart: i'm very picky as far as lp's go, so it'll probably be very some point there should be a new von himmel recording coming out...working on some cover art for that one

4)  What are a few of your favorite Sloow Tapes?

Bart: last couple months i've been listening a lot to den stora vilan, quite amazing swedish west coast psychedelic jams that sound as if it was recorded at the apex of sixties high.  those swedes sure know how to deal with the higher states of mind.  the embryo tape i like a lot also, they played in antwerp last week, we recorded the gig and might release that one at some point.  those guys rule.

5)  What music are you currently digging?

Bart: mik quantius, matt baldwin, terry rojvi, franco falsini, kenneth higney, rabab music from afghanistan, franco battiato....

6)  Could you give us a brief preview of some Sloow Tapes to be released in the last half of 2012?

Bart: a couple months ago i received a package with some recordings of allen ginsberg in holland, it went with a note saying 'if you like the recordings you can release them', so next batch should include ginsberg/peter orlovsky/steven taylor/harry hoogstraten reading in a small bar in holland late seventies, cult!  further: my pal innercity from antwerp and bul-bul tarang band (with ravi padmanabha) those should be out in a couple weeks if all goes well.  Peace and love.

Peace and love to you, friends :)

Buy your Sloow Tapes from Eclipse and Tomentosa

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kief with Grant Evans

Kief is the game and Grant Evans is the name.  It is an absolute honor to chat – kief-style - with this esteemed artist and co-owner of Hooker Vision.   Many of you know Grant from his awesome, yet recently defunct project, Nova Scotian Arms.  Also, he and wife Rachel Evans emit some of the most blissful vibes around in Quiet Evenings. The latest batch of Hooker Vision includes two new releases from Grant: Tactical Gamelan, which is a self-titled release; and Fleeting Talisman, from his side project, Crippling.  Last week, Housecraft released Peyote Cristal, which is a collaboration with Adam of Sacred Phrase/Dry Valleys.  Well, the tasty trichomes have accumulated and the glistening nug is giving me the ‘are you gonna smoke me or what' eyes.  I believe in community and sharing.  Therefore, let’s fire it up together, friends :)

let's blaze on together, folks.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

1) What does it feel like to begin new projects - Crippling and your self-titled projects - after recording under the Nova Scotian Arms moniker for the last few years? Also, could you please give us a little background on these new projects?

Grant:  The stuff under my own name isn’t too far removed from the last few NSA releases but it’s really exhilarating to no longer be associated with something I started so long ago and that went through so many incarnations. I’m still utilizing different types of tape and tape loops but I’ve been able to add some much-needed aggressiveness that was lacking from the old stuff by experimenting with different feedback and delay systems. I’ve pretty much left the synth untouched for the past year. For Crippling, it’s just about having fun and getting loose. It’s not a project that I think a lot about. It’s still very process based but there’s an element of spontaneity that’s lacking from my other work.

2) Two of your last Nova Scotian Arms recordings - Cult Spectrum, Digitalis; Winds over Silmäterä, Hooker Vision - are also two of the best. Where as Cult Spectrum presents a heavier sound, Winds over Silmäterä is one of the most serene sounding releases I have heard in some time. Could you please talk about the experience of recording these two releases?

Grant:  Thank you. Cult Spectrum was recorded at a time when I was a going through a kind of down period emotionally. I was really insecure about the process of recording an LP, among other things. It was also recorded before Winds Over Silmäterä but the release was delayed several times so it ended up coming out a few months after Winds. I’m glad it’s the final NSA work, in a way, because I feel like it does kind of briefly sum up that project. I used pretty much every instrument I had at my disposal for Cult Spectrum but for Winds I stripped it down to mostly Rhodes and chord organ recorded to tape. I enjoy putting limits on what gear I use for particular recordings; it becomes another aspect of the process. Because of that, Winds was a more focused recording and I feel like it (along with Sacred Drift) is the most honest work I accomplished under that moniker.

3) One thing i've noticed in the last few years is the myriad of wonderful labels that have appeared. What are some of your favorite labels?

Grant:  Mostly small tape labels... Florida and Canada seem to produce some of the best. I have a lot of respect for all the little guys; people who fund everything themselves, out of pocket. It’s not always easy to tell who has a genuine interest in music and who’s full of shit. There’s plenty of both operating right now. Eternal love for Housecraft, Rotifer, Fadeaway, Hobo Cult, Old Frontiers, Tranquility, Kim Dawn, Sonic Meditations, etc.

4) What are your top 5 releases of all time?

The Beach Boys- Pet Sounds
Aphex Twin- Selected Ambient Works Volume II
Burzum- Filosofem
Pink Floyd- The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Miles Davis- Bitches Brew

Thank you, Grant!  peace and love to you, friends :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Laube - Ausmerzen (SM039)

stoned sounds elicit blue dreams!  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Slow motion jazz?  Psilocybin induced jams for the hazy comet?  As Miles once said, "call it anything".  One thing is certain:  Ausmerzen, from Laube on Sonic Meditations, is a stellar release and should not be missed.  Laube consists of Eric Bauer on Rhodes piano and electronics; Christian Dräger - the proprietor of nug luvin Who Can You Trust? Records - on drums and percussion; and Nils Lehnhäuser on bass and electronics.  Laube was formed in 2007 by Bauer and Lehnhäuser, intent on releasing heavy noise.  After a few changes that resulted in a more inert sound, Dräger joined the band.  The music has a cinematic quality to it, and should be well-received by fans of Type and Miasmah.  The heavy sound should appeal to fans of psych rock.

Laube have an excellent idea and the finished product is beautiful.  Elongated, morphing bass tones forcefully cut a hole through the bong smoke clouds; Rhodes piano that saturates the pleasure center and provides flashbacks of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Keith Jarrett's drug satchel; and shimmering percussion.  These components fuse in a heavenly groove throughout. And when these guys get heavy, look the fuck out!  The volume is your friend on this release.  Ensure to use it liberally.

 Ausmerzen is a special release from one of the best labels around, Sonic Meditations.  Here's to hoping that this initial release is quickly followed by the second effort.  Get your ticket to bliss from Discriminate.

Peace to you, friends :)


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cube - Bride of Walk Man (self-released)

Crystal covered jams made for the kaleidoscope of life. peace and love to my friends from Humboldt Relief :)

Once these tracks proceed through the filter in your head, there's no turning back.  A few listens of Bride of Walk Man will embed these zoners in your skull for good! Once again, i'm revisiting the archives of Tomentosa.  Recently, Tomentosa has stocked some excellent titles from labels such as Kiks/Girlfriend; Exo Tapes (reissues are in the works!); and Tabernacle Tapes.  One such tape that caught my attention is that by Cube - the project of Adam Keith, formerly known as Cubicle. The caption on Tomentosa's site for Bride of Walk Man describes the tape as the theme to an imaginary television series. The tracks listed below are only a sample of the mind-bending stuff that is contained on this c32.  The arsenal for this tape includes Roland R8; Casio; electric guitar; voice; tapes; and a four-track.  This tape is full of diverse beauty including serene synth hymns, ritualized vignettes infused with voices, and noise jams that sound like a microwave on the cusp of explosion.

 'Arcade Scene' begins the trip in a minimal nature, but then evolves as layers of echoing, placid tones drift through the stereo field. The pastoral beauty of 'Peaches Entrance' gives way to heavy noise and effects indicated by 'Last Night's Venom' - the beast being bludgeoned.  One of the big winners here, however, is the title track, which commences the flip.  'Bride of Walk Man' is the soundtrack for traversing the town on a sweltering day - pulsing and moaning as the sweat descends from your forehead.  'Return to Peach' is a nice contrast in sound, as gentle strings provide one with refuge.  The heavy sounds return with, 'Commercial for Ice Cream'.  Good thing we splurged for ice cream, because 'Marathon Man' disseminates the smooth synth - feels like music from the GTA series.  This is the cassette for a real lover of tapes:  excellent artwork; self-released; eclectic and wild jams.  Most of all, this is a tape that should be repeated - allow those sounds to work on your skull.   It feels novel after each listen. 

Listening to these jams is analogous to getting hash oil on your fingers: good luck in removing the tasty, viscous oil; and, even better luck is required in removing this from your tape deck.  Once Cube does his thing, the tendency is to listen for a few loops/bongs.  Tomentosa has restocked this tape a few times.  One could infer that it is nearing OOP status.  Acquire your copy from Tomentosa.

peace to you , friends :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Djin Aquarian & Plastic Crimewave Sound - Save the World (PMLP9997)

some of the best artwork of the year!

offerings for my brothers:

for Djin

for Plastic Crimewave

for Skog Device

for Lux

for Hands of Hydra

If you are going to save the world, don't arrive to the party without glistening trichomes.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

BEST OF 2012

Save the World, the duo of Djin Aquarian and Plastic Crimewave Sound on Prophase, is representative of the reason i love music.  Prior to picking this up on a whim from the mighty Ed Eclipse, I had no prior experience listening to Djin's projects, and I had heard only a few things from Plastic Crimewave Sound and Hands of Hydra.  Rather, i relied on a nicely composed description in Ed's regular e-mail update - no sound clips either.  When one is willing to take a chance and submit themselves to new experiences, beautiful things enter your life.  Unequivocally, this is one of the best psych rock records of the year. holy kief!

As soon as the needle dropped, i was hooked. Save the World presents mindful, expansive psych that is a celebration of the breath, awareness and sound.  Over two sides of wax, these masters of psych promulgate lucid zoners of the next-level variety.  'Ascend, Ascending, Ascension' drips with spirituality as Djin's vocals - backed by the band - lift one from the malaise of the day.  Track 2, 'Ride My Merkabah' is one of the jams of the year. Mystical, howling guitars, bass and percussion create a cosmic groove, over which Djin briefly sings.  The track slows down, keeping a nice beat, then gradually ascends through the haze, which is signified by the pounding percussion and heavy guitars; and then Djin praises the breath - the mighty breath.  When listening to this lp, I think about breathing and awareness.  The sounds that these guys emit from their equipment is so heavy that having other stimuli present - books, computer, etc.. - while listening is counterproductive.

Restrained desert vibes - in the vein of Barn Owl - commence the flipside.  Things change quickly as chugging guitars, bass and percussion progressively become louder as Djin's voice covers the expanse.  'Dinosaur Revisited' has a kraut feel that gradually locks into a nice groove - one of the best jams of the five extended tracks.  This track, much like the others, is evidence of the kinship between the musicians. 'Ethereal Pastures', is the last track of the lp and it's time to reload the bong.  The track features spacey, sprawling guitars, bass and percussion punctuated by heavy guitar interludes.

Keeping with the aura of the blog, Save the World has the nug luvin jams that will regulate your temperature in the high heat of summer.  Everything was captured live, save for the sitar parts, which were added by Hands of Hydra.   Besides some of the heaviest jams of the year, the lp also has some of the nicest artwork of 2012, created by Plastic Crimewave.  Housed in a beautiful gatefold sleeve and limited to 500 lps on Gold and Blue vinyl, buy these heavy jams from Eclipse.  Also, the lp is available from Prophase.  I recommend reading the Prophase description for more background information.  No soundclips, but sometimes you have to trust the smokehound.  i will not lead you awry.

peace to you, friends :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

April in the Orange - In the Mirror Under the Moon (Cae-Sur-A 015)

bring the medicine man along for the journey .  Peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

After the psych-folk revery of When a River Meets the Sea, April in the Orange (AITO) - Andrew Barrett and Samantha Linn - return with In the Mirror Under the Moon, on Cae-Sur-A.  While this is their latest release, ironically it contains the first AITO tracks from 2007-08. In the Mirror Under the Moon is a collection of wonderfully sequenced folk songs with psych flavor that provide a glimpse of AITO's embryonic period.

Compared to the Sloow tape, Barrett assumes lead vocals for all but one track.  As duo's are concerned, the vocals of both Barrett and Linn are one of many pillars on which this music rests.  When Barrett assumes lead vocals, Linn's gentle voice fuses majestically.  Barrett's voice has such great range.  Throughout the tape, they exhibit a proclivity for layering electric and acoustic instruments.  As a result, the sonics are rich, and the duo are able to create dreamlike soundscapes to accompany their mellifluous voices.  There is not one average track on this tape.  And the standouts are luminous.  'Xerxes Folding Roses'' fragile beauty weaves a path through the twilight as intimate finger picking is joined by electric guitar in the background and Barrett's breathy vocals.  Linn's vocals feature on the penultimate track, 'To a Lost Family', a beautiful psych- folk track that reminds me of the early days of Songs of the Green Pheasant.

Barrett and Linn create august paeans that radiate peace.  Also, they have prepared a new lp that is awaiting release titled, The Song of Green That Echoes Through the Ice.  There is a surfeit of great releases in the new batch of Cae-sur-a.  One can purchase In the Mirror Under the Moon - pro printed, hand-numbered edition of 100 - directly from Cae-Sur-A, or through my brotha, Jackson, at Flipped Out.

peace to you, friends :)