Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fossils from the Sun vs. Parashi/Xanthocephalus (Skell 008)

thanks to budreviews for the kief

Here is a collection of sonic burners that will leave an indelible imprint on your head. Puff the celestial dust and prepare for liftoff.  Skell is doing it right on this cassette, a split featuring the duo of Fossils From the Sun and Parashi on one side; and Brooklyn's Xanthocephalus on the flip.  Fossils From the Sun is Ray Hare, who also plays in Century Plants and Burnt Hills.   Ray's release on Tape Drift, Forever Came Today, is a heavy guitar album that has a Steven R. Smith vibe.  His release on Digitalis, Pop Shoot Pop, is a wonderful amalgamation of melodic guitar, synth and voice.  Parashi is Mike Griffin, the main man at Skell and also a member of Burnt Hills.  Mike's tapes on Stunned are dense, considered pieces of electronic music.  His use of space and texture are very important to the Parashi sound.  Recently, Mike teamed up with Retrograde Tapes to release the Silenus cassette.  Xanthocephalus is Brooklyn's Russ Aldertone, who has releases on Kendra Steiner Editions and Ghetto Naturalist Series.  

Fossils From the Sun vs. Parashi uses guitar, synth, voice and percussive sounds to address the heavens.  One of the first things I noticed about their track, "Dark Matter", is the use of space and the multitude of sounds.  Mike and Ray seem to know just when and where to add an element and nothing is predictable.  The level of detail on this side is impressive; therefore, this tape rewards the active listener.  The initial minutes of this side had me thinking of Black Dice circa Beaches and Canyons. Emerging from below, hiss and detailed sounds appear, echoing and reflecting.  The sound creates an ominous feeling that  hovers over the listener throughout,  Soon, the sound becomes haunting, pulsing with energy.  This track whets the appetite.  It would be great to hear more from this duo in the future.     

The flip features "COYE", from Xanthocephalus.  COYE is a sprawling, shifting mass of heavy sounds.  Crunchy and full of moving parts, Russ Aldertone uses bass, field recordings and harsh noise. It starts off crunchy and heavy, no respite for the listener, until the noise noticeably becomes softer, but no less harsh.  This is music for stereo - two channels of blown out sounds!  Though it is difficult to discern from the heavy mass of noise, the attentive listener can hear other layered elements struggling to breath.  Halfway through, it becomes something entirely different.  The crunch replaced by furious sounds, which i believe are coming from the bass.  Field recordings are interspersed throughout, which are juxtaposed nicely with the heaving mass of sound.  Later in the track, the field recordings become more audible, as the rumble and hiss shares the tableau.  A real nice journey on this side.  

Two odyssey's in sound meant to be listened to loudly, on the stereo, by the active listener.  Buy this tape, which is accompanied by the beautiful artwork that is becoming commonplace on Skell releases, from Skell or Flipped Out.  

Peace, my friends.   

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hands of Hydra and Janina Angel Bath Duo - Stargazer (Sloow 2012)

tasty nug provided by fellow travelers, ourweed

The latest batch from Sloow tapes is among the finest they have released.  This new batch is comprised of 3 tapes: Peter Lamborn Wilson; Hands of Hydra and Janina Angel Bath Duo; and The Lone Garage Massacre.  Whereas the Wilson tape presents bucolic poetry, mellifluous sitar and vocals are prominent aspects of the other two.  Eclipse records is incredible!  Buy these tapes from Ed at Eclipse - one of the nicest guys in the biz.  As always, beautiful artwork adorns each Sloow cassette.  

Hands of Hydra is Adam Krakow, who is also a member of Plastic Crimewave Sound.  Adam's command of the sitar is conspicuously heard throughout Stargazer, a 30 minute meditation that combines his adept, devoted playing with the sweet, gentle, awe-inspiring voice and tambura playing of Janina Angel Bath.  Janina Angel is worthy of high praise.  The Sloow description referred to her voice as, "celestial nectar dripping from astral spheres ready to awake the inner kundalini serpent from its slumber." - the most accurate description I can imagine. Her angelic voice radiates sunlight, nourishing areas which have been blighted by neglect.  An extremely talented woman, this precocious multi-instrumentalist and vocalist has studied North Indian Classical Vocal Music with Sri Karunamayee, Joan Allekotte, Michael Stirling and Terry Riley - all are disciples/students of Pandit Pran Nath of the Kirana Gharana.  Also, she appeared on the psyched, baked out grooves of Eternal Tapestry's 2008 NNF opus, Mystic Induction.   Her latest release is Gypsy Woman, available here

As the sitar strings reverberate, Janina Angel's majestic voice illuminates the room with spiritual smoke - a haze that engulfs all who travel through.  She is a goddess and her voice resonates with fidelity.  Illnesses and pain can dissipate in the face of such illuminating beauty. The shift in tone of her voice and the reverberations of the sitar represents legs of a ladder, climbing higher until we have fused with the august sun.  Her vocals have a unique depth that echo in the mind. 

As Blake once wrote, "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite".  Janina Angel's voice provides a refuge to the horrific realities of life in this world.  Her voice is like a magic carpet, allowing one to perceive life from above, promoting peace and lucidity. I trust in her voice... see you on the other side.

Peace, my friends

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cruudeuces - Various Skin Figurines (Skell 007)

thanks to the great site, fadedfools, for the oily goodness

 Play this tape loudly, take two rips to the head and repeat the behavior as needed.  This is apt advice for the sounds that will soon pervade your head.  Cruudeuces is Nathaniel Brennan, proprietor of Ghetto Naturalist Series.  Various Skin Figurines, from Skell Records, is my introduction to Nathan's music.  His discography contains many releases from Kim Dawn; Tape Drift; Existential Cloth; Nathan's label, Ghetto Naturalist Series; and others.  Skell Records is a nascent label operated by Parashi and Burnt Hills member, Mike Griffin.  Recently, the new webzine, Amour & Discipline, had Eric Hardiman interview Mike.  Brew a small cup and read this informative interview.  And if these sounds are a harbinger, then jump on all three of the new releases - Cruudeuces; Fossils from the Sun vs. Parashi/Xanthocephalus; and Toning - before they go out of print.  

Side A presents a blissful amalgamation of swirling sounds, percussion, thick-low end rumbles, interference and tape noise.  The clarinet, which appears more conspicuously on the flipside, barely registers on this track. "Philadelphia Thieves", the first track, feels like traversing some otherworldly sphere, coming into contact with denizens of the land and then walking uneasily towards the destination – ambivalent of the path ahead and unsure if something is following.  The sonic tapestry rides high on the waves of crunchy low-end tones.  Halfway through, one can sense an immediacy to the music, as the mix becomes heavier..  Real dense, thick emanations fill the frame and until suddenly, it becomes quiet…too quiet.  Then, unannounced, the dense, swirling sounds begin to chug.  Nothing stays fixed for too long, as Cruudeuces is adroit at manipulating sounds. 

The flipside presents the stellar track, "Every Dot That Passed".  It is a completely different track altogether. The clarinet takes center stage and emits a multitude of tones mixed with crunchy tape sounds, percussion, and interference.  Beautiful tones, full of character, sing toward the sky and then trail off into the mysterious night.  The clarinet is a beautiful instrument and I love the tones Nathaniel is able to conjure.   Also, it sounds like percussion with an echo effect is being used.   It adds nicely to the overall ominous feel of the track. Even though I mentioned that the clarinet takes the center stage, it does not dominate the track and Cruudeuces selectively adds the clarinet into the mix.  This track has the feel of an elegy dedicated to a once celebrated, now ignominious figure.  It’s as if the guttural shrieks from the clarinet signal the purging of sin, seeking to redress wrongdoing and promote reconciliation.  This music emits a palpable energy.  Anything can happen, and the listener is reminded of that by the crunch of tape and the spiritual energy emitted from the clarinet.  I adore the heavy, loud buzz and sounds coming at the end of the tape.  If you listen closely, one can hear the subtle shifts of the buzz as the clarinet and tape sounds continue to ascend. One of the better tracks I have listened to this year. 

After zoning out to that heavy B side, it's time to load up again.  The entire Skell package is full of quality.  Julie Watts is the person behind the lovely artwork for all three of the recent cassettes. As with all the art on this site, do not hesitate to purchase.  Skell is burgeoning label and this release, along with the other two, will sell quickly.  Do the right thing and buy this tape from Skell or through Flipped Out Records.  


Monday, March 19, 2012

Villages - The Spilling Past (Bathetic 53)

This tape, which is from the new, already sold out Bathetic batch, blew me away on the first listen. Three tapes - all excellent - for $12 is the real deal. A great video of "Beach Pneumatic Transit" is available at the Bathetic page. Villages also have a tape on one of my faves, Hooker Vision.  There are many things happening on this tape, but it is the work of one man, Ross Gentry.

 The tape has everything from a wild stew of acoustic instruments to drones of wonderful depth. One of the finer aspects of The Spilling Past is the way in which Ross structures a song. Additionally, he seems to have alluring surprises in his bag of aural goodies. No time is wasted, as the entire tape is full of dense, mysterious and beautiful sounds. Alright, i'm in the position and bowing - can't wait to hear more of this.  In closing, The Spilling Past is a psychedelic statement of great magnitude.

  Bathetic usually does it right with tapes, and this one is not an exception. The great music is accompanied by the beautiful artwork of Lisa Nance. Though Bathetic is out, here is a list of distros that carry their titles: Tomentosa (sold out, but one never knows), Discriminate, Experimedia, DNT, Eclipse, Mimaroglu and Fusetron.     

Friday, March 16, 2012

Emuul - The Drawing of the Line (DIGIV033)

I guess with a name like Honest Bag, one could perceive this review as, "the stoner who got too ripped and arrived at the party a week late".  Yes, I am aware that this lp - one of the finest put out by Brad Rose - was released approximately nine months ago.  The truth, however, is that summoning the strength to write this review has proved difficult.  Listening to Emuul, for me, is an extremely emotional experience.  Two years ago I picked up the Ghostwood Estates cs from Blackest Rainbow.  At the time, I was working at a DC public policy organization and the experience left me empty, feeling broken.  One night after work I cried and uttered, "how much longer can this continue?".  A few minutes later, Emuul changed my life.  Much like the blood which flows through your veins, Emuul's music is vital.  One word to describe the transcendental sounds of Emuul would be "visceral".  

Emuul is the moniker of Kyle Iman.  He has released a bunch of cassettes on the likes of Avant Archive, Monorail Trespassing, Stunned, Blackest Rainbow, Sweat Lodge Guru, Anathema Sound, Tranquility and Digitalis Ltd.  The Drawing of the Line - Kyle's vinyl debut, on the always dependable Digitalis Recordings - corroborates my thoughts that he is one of the most important modern musicians.

Side A comes to life with "Expectations", an ethereal track of contemplative synth.  Tracks like this are the reason I return to Emuul.  Next is the swelling, buoyant synth and gorgeous textures of "Love Theme".  This song makes me want to ride the highest wave with my family and friends for eternity, embracing one another as we encounter the uncertainty of life.  Listen to this one loudly.  It permeates your skin and it is as much a physical experience as emotional.  Track 4, "Big Clouds", is features a beautiful arrangement of sounds - hopeful and uplifting.  Kyle adroitly creates soundscapes that fuse to the core, bringing forth memories, feelings and thoughts.  And not just any memories, feelings, or thoughts, but the ones that are difficult to confront.  Music for self-evaluation.  Only powerful music can accomplish such a feat.  The flipside contains a side-long track, "plus one".  It begins with a light drone that is treated with reverb.  The angelic tones  spiraling higher.  Soon one can hear the sweet Ambarchi Suspension-era tones.  The overall sound is so rich and full of life.  

Only Kyle could create these sounds - an outlier in a vast field, the brightest star in the sky.  Criminally, this is still available.  Buy your copy from Digitalis or from the Emuul shop.

Peace, my friends

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Derek Rogers - Institutio Amet (SS03)

BEST OF 2012

I will not beat around the bong: Institutio Amet, one of the initial missives from Space Slave Editions, will be a fixture on my year end list - and i mean thee comprehensive list, which includes all formats.  Space Slave Editions is the name of the game and Carl Koopmans - proprietor of Space Slave and the Radiant Now - is disseminating transmissions intended to light new pathways in the brain.  For a long time, the Radiant Now has been an online refuge of sorts to me.  Though I imagine most people coming to the honest bag already know about the wonderful sounds of the Radiant Now, for those unaware, please visit this wonderful blog: The Radiant Now.

Derek Rogers. Last year, I picked up the 4-way split from Deep Tapes.  It was my first Derek Rogers' tape  and the first of many.  Those tracks symbolized the sounds of summer.  I remember getting ripped under the sun, watering the flowers and being captivated by his tracks. When I look through all the tapes, records and cds that line the shelves, it's difficult to find an artist who, upon sitting for a listen, provides me with a special, unique feeling.  There are only a few artists that can evoke such a response: Derek Rogers; Emuul; Fennesz; the High Llamas and Steely Dan to name a few.  There is a certain comfort which is emitted in his music; it feels extremely personal. Upon receiving this in the mail, I marveled at the beauty of the artwork; it reminds me of the picturesque scenery along I-5, driving north from Eugene.  

  Institutio Amet presents five tracks of distorted guitar and synth beauty - ambient bliss with a large exponent.  I really like it when Derek travels in these soft, permeable zones.  The music has a quality that makes it effortlessly float through the room, endowing the environment with sunlight.  The opener "Sunset" fades in with Derek's dreamy distorted guitar. The synth tracks are gorgeous.  Some have an ethereal quality while others, such as the last track on side A, are a little darker.  The flipside is particularly beautiful - an entire track of wonderful synth.  Derek's work on the flipside is masterful.  Amplified waves of sound swirl through the air, sounding much like an organ.  Halfway through the track, distortion is added - the organ like sounds barely audible under the hiss.  Once the distortion fades, a gentle, warm paean softly negotiates its way through the space.  In closing, Institutio Amet pulls all the right switches in your brain. This tape is a constant in my life - morning, afternoon and evening.   

DNT is the only distro, of which I am aware, that has copies for sale.  Something special is happening on this   c64 and I highly recommend purchasing this cassette.

Peace, my friends

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Navel - Ambient 4: Luneburg Heath (Koppklys 002)

Ambient music on a gorgeous day like this is a real treat.  Koppklys, a nascent tape label from Norway, transmits sounds of beauty to the world.  Some excellent releases, such as Faxmaskin/Ferla split and Long Pond, are no longer available.  Long Pond is particularly stunning and I could see this accompany a listening session that includes Dolphins into the Future - the soothing drone of Long Pond fits nicely with Lieven's stuff.  The new batch includes a new Sundrips tape and Basic House, which was recently reviewed by Guide me little tape.  One of my favorite Koppklys' tapes, however, is from the initial batch.

Navel is a based in Stuttgart and has a myriad of recordings available on Bandcamp.  Ambient 4: Luneburg Heath, by Navel, channels the abundant beauty of  Lüneburg Heath.  These tracks were recorded at morning and nightfall.  The influence is apparent, as the first track, 'Lost on Luneburg Heath', is a warm, gentle drone - a paean for a promising day.   The flipside is a different affair - ambient, yet darker.  It is apparent from the brooding strings that commence the b-side.  Of all parts of the day, twilight is the most intriguing.  There is an unpredictable nature to twilight, which is adroitly presented by Navel.  Dark strings reverberate in the Lüneburg Heath.  The dark ambient nature is contrasted by the warm guitars and drums which close out 'Reflections on Zeit'.  'In the Swamp' is the final track, its ominous tones consuming the listener.

Guenter Schlienz, who recently put out a great tape on Goldtimers, was present for this recording, which occurred in August of 2005.  The acumen of Guenter and his colleagues shines through on this recording.  Act quickly, as there are only two copies left at Koppklys


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Paintings for Animals - Thee Body Ov Worship (House of Alchemy 054)

cheers to greendream for the sweet leaf

 If you like deep drones, then lets get lifted together.  Pær Svn, the person behind Paintings for Animals, has been recording heavy drones and beautiful music with this project since 2001.  Throughout the project numerous live collaborators have been enlisted.  Some of the recent releases are on Kim Dawn, Debacle and Painted Records.  Thee Body Ov Worhsip, released on House of Alchemy, presents two sides of deep, shimmering drone.

 The deep drones of Paintings for Animals are apt medicine for maladies of the day.  Lately, this one has become best buddies with my cassette deck and for good reason:  The drones are deep, consuming and slowly building.  Over two sides of heavy drone,  Thee Body Ov Worhsip floats through the recesses of the mind - buzzing, droning, heaving - and emerges on the other side intact. 'Moon Psalm', side a, is a slowly building, resonating drone.  The subtle changes are engrossing.  Perfect medicine for the head.  The flip side give us 'Sun Psalm'.   While it is more varied than 'Moon Psalm', the framework is similar.  Two excellent pieces of music that cover all the bases. One of my favorite things about static tones and deep drones is that, performed properly, they reverberate in your skin.  It is a magical feeling and similar to bathing one's chest in sunlight.  Paintings for Animals accomplishes that in this c40.  Change the water for this one and then...Bong voyage!

Check out the wonderful sounds and jams at House of Alchemy.  Possessing an awesome discography, they have three other recent releases and a bunch of new jams on the way. This cassette may be purchased directly from the House of Alchemy.

April in the Orange - The Song of Green that Echoes Through the Ice

The follow up to the excellent Sloow tape for April in the Orange is beginning to take shape.  A few tracks from the forthcoming lp, The Song of Green that Echoes Through the Ice,  have been released and already i am daydreaming about listening to these songs under the green leaves of summer.  After listening, sample the other fine releases available on their website.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Buchikamashi - Super Mind (Sicsic021)

thanks to thcfarmer for the trichomes

Admittedly, I come to this review with no background - this is my first experience listening to the meditative sounds of Shin Buchikama, better known as Buchikamashi.  Buchikamashi already has a string of releases on present-day stalwarts such as Digitalis Ltd., Sacred Phrases, Bridgetown and Ginjoha.  Super Mind, the latest release on Sicsic tapes, is the conduit through which the observant listener can realize the present.

On this release, Buchikamashi employs synth, electric bass and field recordings.  The first track begins with  waves of cosmic synth - very relaxing and uplifting.  Deep into the zone, it feels like skipping along a path of trichomes, in the quest for enhanced perception.  The second track is different, a bit more introspective and ominous.  The sounds of Buchikamashi traverse the darkest recesses of the mind - take a candle for this journey.  The flipside contains a side-long track - my favorite on the tape. Once the gong sounds, the reverberations announce the beginning of a spiritual journey.  There is something very natural sounding about this music.  

In addition to the awesome sounds, this tape includes great artwork - a staple of Sicsic tapes.  In the process of writing this, I noticed that Weed Temple had already posted a stellar review of this tape.  Please visit this site - one of the best music blogs out there - to access a highly engaging and complete review of this excellent tape.  Super Mind is still available through Discriminate and Sicsic.  Once Buchikamashi's meditative tones permeate your skin, the process of healing has commenced.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lunar Miasma - Impermanent Nature (Sicsic022)

The artwork for Impermanent Nature, from Sicsic, is captivating.  For me, it refers to the idea of impermanence and the salience of the present.  The artwork is analogous to removing the veil from the moon to see the effects of time. Lunar Miasma, the moniker of Panos Alexiadis, creates electronic compositions for sonic explorers.  The compositions are comprised of waves of sound on which your dreams will ascend and vacillate - such is the nature of life.  This music is the prism through which one can view personal metamorphosis.  Sicsic has produced another quality tape - everything from the artwork to the music is among the best around the cassette community.  The last batch of Sicsic included Quiet Evenings; MGG; Panabrite; and Innercity among others.  Also, Sicsic released one of my 2011 faves, Easy Feelings.  2012 is going to be a great year for Sicsic and the new batch - including Lunar Miasma; Bear Bones, Lay Low/Hellvete; Sashash Ulz, among others - is a portent for this prolific label.  Personally, when it comes to can't miss sounds, I immediately think of: Time-Lag; Sloow Tapes; Stunned Records; Cabin Floor Esoterica and now, Sicsic.  Impermanent Nature is the sound of an electric being traversing the labyrinth of life.   

The opening track - the title track - is a meditation on metamorphosis.  It commences with warm synth tortuously travelling through the synapses, bathing the receptors in sound.  Within a few minutes, a deep drone introduces tension - the changing fortunes of life.  Ultimately, the tension is resolved in a haze of tender synth. Full Absorption, starting off the flip side, is the effect of dreamy synth that begets apparitions of peace, mutual understanding.  The warm, enveloping drones featured here could be titled, "music for indica".  It's conceivable that pain will dissipate in the face of such beautiful music.  The last track has a Tim Hecker feel to it - cinematic and formidable.  Lunar Miasma uses synthesizers, loops and effects to realize his visions.  A few years ago, Lunar Miasma released a tape on stunned and I have followed the path since.  Also, there are fantastic releases on heavyweights such as Digitalis Ltd., Hooker Vision, Basses Frequences, Reverb Worship, Sweat Lodge Guru - really nice art on that release - among others.

Sicsic and Discriminate have this one in stock.  These high quality releases sell quickly and are available in limited quantity.  It only takes one experience to realize the beauty of the Sicsic aesthetic - then you are hooked! 


Thanks to sweetleafcenter