Thursday, August 30, 2012

Justin Meyers - Libra (TF56)

some of the smoothest mod synth and the medicine.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Until the excellent Discriminate had added this to its stock, i was unaware of Tone Filth, an excellent label from Minneapolis with a very nice discography.  High praise for Justin Meyers, the artist behind these exquisite modular synth hymns, which were recorded live with minimal edits from September 23 - October 23 2011 on his TF50.  Throughout this tape, I noticed nascent vibes - the genesis of something promising and friendly- being emitted from his TF50.  Libra opens with slow rising vibes that hover loosely.  The third track is a standout, though everything here is of high quality -gentle, consuming and blissful.  The flip commences with an alluring, yet haunting piece.  Withering tones form a loop, the frequency and texture of which create a hazy effect.  

This is the medicine for your head.  Libra is presented in a numbered edition of 100, two color screen print with pro printed cassettes.   Pick it up, along with some other awesome mod synth trips at Discriminate.

peace and love, friends :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Günter Schlienz - Tape Studies (sicsic031)

the music of awareness.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

BEST OF 2012

A surfeit of great music has been released in the current year.  The summer has presented many intriguing releases such as Matt Krefting on Kendra Steiner Editions, Innercity on Sloow Tapes, Tim Coster on No Kings - i could name a bunch more.  Günter Schlienz' latest release on Sicsic - Tape Studies - is one of the most impressive of the year.  The proprietor of Cosmic Winnetou, Günter has released four outstanding tapes this year on Goldtimers, Cosmic Winnetou, Gift and Sicsic.  One of the pinnacle listening experiences of this year, Tape Studies is an exemplar of elegant ambient music.  Through four long form pieces, Günter bathes your receptors with warm ambient, cosmic and spectral tones.  The love and diligence exerted in creating his modular dream machines is conspicuous throughout.

The first track finds Günter in fine form, as playful melodies comprised of warm tones dripping with effects, gently drift through the cosmos.  The beautiful sounds recall the early stages of múm - ethereal, innocent and unadulterated.  The second track is more mysterious and introspective, as a thick tone oscillates, ascends, and then retreats to garner more energy.  Buffeting that glorious tone are chugging noises, signals and metallic transmissions.  Always breathing and morphing, this track exhibits Günter's proclivity for knowing just where and when to add elements - which is especially apparent on the final track.  The last track on side A, 'Presentation Three', is the epitome of warm ambient music.  On this track, Günter utilizes an electric organ to create peaceful and edifying paeans.  It's characterized by a confluence of warm tones that outline the contours of consciousness - healing music.  The flip is comprised of a spectral, side-long track, as treated solitary tones expand and modulate.  Tones that have the characteristic of a theremin weave a tortuous path through the architecture of the mind, buffeted by resonating and suspenseful tones - think Suspension era Ambarchi. This track demands your attention with its slowly morphing characteristics.  As the track progresses towards the final section - my favorite part of the track - the tones seem to expand softly - losing vitality, yet still hanging on the edge of consciousness.

Tape Studies is accompanied by the beautiful artwork of Johannes Schebler and an insert of actual tape - pure sicsic.  While this is sold out from the source, Discriminate and Meditations, it is still available from S.O.L Sound. I would travel anywhere for these sounds.  While the mp3's will likely be posted to the sicsic bandcamp page, go that extra mile to locate a copy of this tape.  Also, be sure to pick up a copy of Günter's new tape on Gift, available from Discriminate.

peace and love, friends :)   

Monday, August 27, 2012

Trees as Antennas (PM009)

tree of life!  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

With names like Plant Migration Records, Trees as Antennas and Honest Bag, it was only a matter of time until our glistening trichomes were synchronized.  This is my favorite type of cassette: no background information, no web presence for artist (a few searches did not yield any information), and no prior listening experience.  Plant Migration Records has been flying high lately with awesome 7"s of Berlin-based electronic musician Andrew Pekler, and a heavy release from Rust Worship (Obsolete Units' founder, Paul Haney).   Trees as Antennas accumulate energy from the atmosphere, and emit noisy and mysterious transmissions that transform the listener into a sentient being.

Over two sides of tape, Trees as Antennas exhibit their diverse repertoire of sound.  Various states of being are traversed on this c22.  Where side a is ensconced in heavy noise and percussion, side b is restrained, yet no less powerful.  This nug commences with metallic transmissions, signals and noise that swirl in the breeze.  The sounds propagate, and then retreat, only to return with enhanced vigor.  The mix is electrified with screeching, quivering noise, hiss/rumble and fried tones, the power of which slowly abates.  Without notice, a burst of tribal percussion fuses with the noise, morphing into something resembling a jam.  The flipside retains different characteristics - minimal in sound - as field recordings of running water and ominous tones slowly circumscribe the expanse.  An inchoate drone slowly matures, growing in tandem with the morphing sound.  Approximately at the median, sharp metallic tones manifest, which induce menacing vibrations and cryptic rhythms.  A beautiful minimal piece of music that resides in the light and dark realms.

Trees as Antennas will be available soon from Plant Migration Records.  In the interim, pick up the 7"s directly from Plant Migration!

peace to you, friends :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MV & EE with the Golden Road - Godchaux Free Brattleboro (Blackest Rainbow Records)

back on the golden road, Blackest Rainbow style.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

As I peered inside the Godchaux Free Brattleboro case, the green cassette shells were beaming in the light.  In 2009 and 2010, MV & EE released Road Trips and the No Floor Tour respectively, on Blackest Rainbow.  Road Trips -12 tapes in all - is replete with good vibes from Drone Trailer, Gettin' Gone, Green Blues, Mother of Thousands and more - it is an absolute must for those fond of MV & EE and all who sail with them.  The good vibe is conspicuous again on Godchaux Free Brattleboro, as Blackest Rainbow return to the trusty green shells of Road Trips.  As always, only the finest material makes it through the filter.  And, the result is three Golden Road sets and one with the Toasted Clam - Herbcraft, Smokehound and Rongoose exuding the love.  "Jettison Awareness" produces gorgeous versions of Space Homestead faves such as 'Shit's Creek', 'Leaves' and 'Common Ground'.  And, in 'Vegas Booyah' the Ecstatic Peace connection is running strong, as the Golden Road kick out the jams Thurston style.  How does this medley sound: Tea Devil --> Hammer ---> jam ----> Easy Livin'? Or, how about Crow Jane Environs----> the Burden?  Oh yah.. and talk about flashbacks, thee Suub Duub is ubiquitious (Toasted Clam): Environments-------->  Fire on the Mountain-------> Freight Train.  The best nug should be saved for last. And, i'm not going to vacillate from that policy.  'Townie Tumbleweeds' alone, in the Headrooms, is worth the price of the box set.  With Rongoose and Smokehound along for the trip, the band exhibit a different face of each song.  If you read Jon Dale's Space Homestead review, then you probably comprehend.  The versions of 'Flow My Ray'; 'Crow Jane Environs'; and 'Environments' are among the best i have heard. 

Holy hash!  Along with the hash and a fine stash, your head needs these jams.  Blackest Rainbow has some of the remaining copies for sale.

peace and love, friends :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tim Coster - Mediterranean Years (NK37)

an aural awakening and trusty trichomes.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Mediterranean Years, on No Kings, is one of the nicest ambient trips of the year.  Currently residing in Melbourne, and originally from Auckland, Tim Coster creates elegant keyboard hymns.  Mediterranean Years is a different kind of release compared to that which preceded it - Ocean Liner.  Where Ocean Liner inhabited minimal fields and sparse sound, Mediterranean Years bathes one in a myriad of textures from the outset.  Throughout the tape, elongated tones vacillate in pitch and frequency.  When in the presence of this caliber of ambient music, one should fully submit themselves to the sound and environment.

The tape begins with a short track, 'Peach Prism', which is comprised of warm, bouncy tones shrouded in hiss. The highlight of this tape is the second track, 'Compliments'.  On 'Compliments', acute, blue tones and opaque, ubiquitous textures hover in your awareness.  Listening to this is so natural.  It reminds me of sitting in nature and focusing my attention on it - seeing, feeling and letting go.  The sounds approach in meandering waves of sonic warmth, only to recede and manifest slightly altered.   The flip begins with the title track, a beautiful loop of warm, woozy tones.  The tape ends with 'We', another great track.  In its infancy, sporadic tones echo among the choppy hiss and embryonic drone.  As the track progresses, the tones appear more frequently, with the drone running strong.  The arrangement of sounds is masterful.  Towards the end, the drone dissipates in the presence of soporific tones that acquiesce and drift from your consciousness.

During meditation, my guide gently recites, "feel the breath moving through your chest; the way the lungs breath, heart beats, how the ribs and sternum move with each breath. simply feeling what it feels like to be alive in this body."  Much like the breath, Tim Coster's beautiful compositions are an aural awakening.  Mediterranean Years is pro-dubbed, limited to 80 copies and accompanied by letterpress / risograph artwork.  You've been waiting for these sounds - now get 'em directly from No Kings.

peace to you, friends :)  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lunar Miasma - Managing the Dream (TQ29)

iridescent indica - all colors of the spectrum. peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Managing the Dream is the fusion of Lunar Miasma - the moniker of Athens, Greece-based artist Panos Alexiadis - and Tranquility Tapes.  Lunar Miasma on Tranquility is a natural pairing; and the results are sonically rich landscapes, in which stars of the night sky radiate the alluring attributes of this wonderful artist.  Panos' cosmic synth soundscapes stimulate the various architecture of the mind.  His mastery over the keys manifests in heavy solos that temper the interstellar tones.  Each track activates a different area of your mind's spectrum.  These diverse, cosmic beauties are at times peaceful, cosmic/spacey, and poignant. 

'Fields' begins the journey with sparkling, serene tones that flutter and echo - a peaceful beginning.  However, this is literally the appetizer.  Two long form tracks follow.  The first of which, 'Managing the Dream', begins as inchoate tones float over a peaceful drone.  Slowly, additional layers are added.  The sound grows in intensity, which gives way to beams of synth exploding into awareness.  Panos' playing in the middle of this track is sublime.  His notes are full of vitality, ascending to the zenith.  The flip starts off with another zoner, 'Hypnopompic Speech'.  The vibes from this track traverse the hazy labyrinthine structures of the partially conscious mind.  Protruding beams of synth, signals and patterns give way to notes of great definition and arpeggios.  The amalgamation of sound gives this a spacey feel.  Panos' adept musicianship shines through on this track, as passages of energetic solos are set adjacent to the occasional solemn note, aspiring to the light. The last track, 'Unconscious', is one of the shortest, but perhaps the best, as pulsing tones and blue notes vacillate in the currents.  The Emuul-like tones on display are cinematic and poignant - a moving track to which i often return.

Managing the Dream finds Panos at the top of his game. As always, these tapes are limited - edition of 100 - pro-dubbed and accompanied by the artwork of Caroline Teagle. To be engulfed by the beauty of the design and music is a true Tranquility experience.  One may purchase this cassette from Discriminate.

peace to you, friends :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Derek Rogers - Saturations (GRN-003)

Sweet sativa! drones and tones from one of the best.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

BEST OF 2012

The captions for these crystal covered nugs speak of 'ethereal effects' and 'taking a walk in the clouds'.  Those descriptors are apt for this music, which is almost too beautiful for words.  Here is another example of Derek's singular style.  His ideas are adroitly conceived and flawlessly executed.  Finally, we are given the opportunity to experience this bliss on the vinyl format.  Saturations, by Derek Rogers on Greenup Industires, is a joyous listening experience.  Earlier in the year, he released a similarly superb tape on Space Slave; 2012 has been a fruitful year for Derek.

Almost immediately, thick meandering tones and an opaque wall of noise sweep one from their feet.  Sharp tones are enveloped in the fierce, rumbling noise.  Soon the noise becomes omnipotent - not strident, but consuming.  'Apparent Weight' is a pure sonic love.  Eventually, the noise fades out, and then a nascent tone glistens in the distance.  Derek's placid tones are sublime.  And, Regina Chellew's trumpet fits in nicely with the idea of the track.  The flip is titled, 'Linear Truths' and, overall, is the more serene of the two sides.  Glowing, variegated tones ascend into your perception.  These are the sounds of riding above the clouds where the sky is infinite.  An amalgamation of tones expand into awareness, as more acute tones briefly manifest.  Petra Kelly is featured on violin to wonderful effect. The violin juxtaposed/fused to Derek's sound is achingly beautiful, and it provided a sense of emotional urgency to sections of the track.  It would be great to hear the violin on future releases.  Towards the end, the sky is near capacity with his beautiful sound that swells, meanders, and recedes.  

Derek Rogers is one of the top ambient artists today, and this album is another glowing jem in a treasure chest full of outstanding releases.  One may purchase Saturations from Experimedia.

peace to you, friends :)

Nag Dolly - Pushing Through the Hortonova (Permanent Nostalgia no.6)

crystal covered loops for your head.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

The latest batch of Permanent Nostalgia was packed with quality - especially the Do Tell tape.  Another gem from that batch was the debut cassette by Nag Dolly, one-half of Seziki Testrasheaf and proprietor of Rotifer.  Pushing Through the Hortonova is comprised of analog echoplex loops that stimulate your Limbic system before weaving a path through the other quadrants of your head.  This tape is full of good vibes and smooth sounds. If loops are your thing, then i recommend buying one of the last few remaining copies at Rotifer's distro.  While at Rotifer's online storefront, pick up the second tape from Nag Dolly, Pomander.

peace to you, friends :)


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Secret Birds - In Hex (NK35)

Spacey, psyched out zoners to encompass your awareness.  Peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Holy trichomes!  Break out the bongs and ensure that the bourbon is running strong!  This is a milestone post of sorts: number 100.  By now, you are likely aware of my affinity for all kinds of psych.  If we are going to celebrate, then it's apt to pop in the new Secret Birds tape - the project of Damon Black - from trusty No Kings.  With its form constantly morphing, In Hex serenades all corners of your expansive mind with an alluring mix of heavy psych, space rock, kraut and shimmering drone.  The amalgamation of sounds circumvent the filter in your head and blaze a path toward the lucid - all colors of the rainbow.  In aesthetic, it partly recalls the massive riffs and warm drone of the Koi Pond lp on Sonic Meditations.

The warm ambient sounds of 'Century Waves' commence the tape, as fuzzy tones warble and echo in the atmosphere.  These elements form a loop, over which Damon adds rhythmic elements and thick textures of sound.  Any preconceived notions should be checked at the bong, as the second track, 'In Hexagon'. eschews the warmth of 'Century Waves' for tropical and spacey riffs - think Sun Araw, Plastic Crimewave Sound.  Regarding the constantly morphing character of this release, the last few minutes exhibits a change in pace, as opaque drift and random tones take hold.  'Refractions from the Skull Prism' close out side A with looped tones, tropical rhythms and jangly riffs.  The flip instantly scores a golazo with 'A Serpent With Corners' - a true introspective zoner.  The heavy riffs are nowhere to be found, and it looks like the booze and herb are in short supply - music for coming down.  Fuzzed out tones fill the sky, as finger picked guitar echoes in the ether.  Toward the latter part of the track thick, obfuscated tones approach furtively, only to recede.  The tape finishes with the longest track, 'Zen Pyramid'.  This tortuous path to zen exhibits the wonderful facets of this beautiful artist.  For approximately the first five minutes, it takes the form of an ambient track, with warm tones meandering in the distance.  However, soon percussion and fried riffs take hold before reverting to percussion only.  Heavy riffs close out this gem in style.

In Hex is a wonderful tape of shifting styles and alluring landscapes.  Few artists can fuse styles so effectively as Damon Black.  Released in an edition of 80, pro-dubbed and with risograph artwork, In Hex may be purchased directly from No Kings.  

peace to you, friends :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oracle Offering - Beyond Aquaria (CFE#28)

this tape resides on the top shelf next to the lovely nugs.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

These are a few of my favorite things.  Four or five months ago, I found an online home away from home of sorts.  While reading the Cabin Floor Esoterica blog, I noticed a video of Daniel Bachman and a link to a site with rips of out of print/hard to locate cassettes.  Broadcasts From the Poor Farm is a wonderful site where online denizens can find Cabin Floor Esoterica tapes, as well as lps of ragas, Virginia Traditions lps, Existential Cloth tapes, L'animaux Tryst Field Recordings and others.  Along with providing hard to find material, there is an affiliated label that produces irresistible tapes, Poor Farm Editions Press - some of my favorites from 2012.  Anyway, one day the site posted a Cabin Floor tape, Oracle Offering , from Dawn Marna of Cursillistas/Herbcraft.  It was a glorious day indeed!  

Earlier in the summer, I went to the L'animaux storefront, and stumbled upon a physical copy of this Cabin Floor rarity.  The tape is one of many reasons that i love Cabin Floor Esoterica: the hand-crafted beauty, devotion and love that goes into producing these lovely nugs.  Once i viewed the smokin' j on the cover, the good vibes were reverberating like heated molecules! These are songs glowing in the light of day, seeking to communicate through Dawn's mellifluous voice.  Her voice is ensconced in reverb and languid tones reverberate in the head to produce introspective moments.  'Sea Psalm' ends side A and features Dawn's gentle voice - best track on tape; her voice is the best facet of this tape - sweetly flowing and versatile.  Fans of Raajmahal will love this!

I am very fond of Cabin Floor Esoterica. Through their diligence and love, something beautiful is created, just like this tape of sagacious hymns.  Their tapes bring joy to my life, and i want to share those good vibes with you. There may be another few copies available at the L'animaux storefront.

Peace to you, friends :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

SCKE// - Sierra Liora (1981) (KIKS/Girlfriend)

the cosmic dust of yesteryear.. nostalgic nugs. peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Vestiges of formative years meander in the currents of tape hiss and crackle on Sierra Liora (1981), by SCKE// and from incipient label, KIKS/Girlfriend.  Stunningly opaque vignettes act as ellipses that guide one through the mind.  Undulating blue tones attempt to ascend from the hiss and crackle, while disparate pieces of yesteryear are hazily re-animated.  A beautiful tape of ambient and musique concrete tracks.  Pick up a tape directly from this wonderful, young label!

peace to you, friends :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

These Wonderful Evils / Last Eyes (PT001)

zoners for smiling eyes!  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Planted Tapes, an embryonic label out of Denver, blazes on to the scene with a split cassette exhibiting contrasting styles of guitar.  These Wonderful Evils, the moniker of Zak Boerger, is coming off a slew of beautiful releases in recent years on Sloow Tapes and Sweat Lodge Guru.  Boerger's side contains majestic passages, adroit playing, and lucid sound that aptly describe some of the best guitar tracks this year.  'Sandia' evokes memories with its gentle Basho-like touch.  'Thus Pat Garrett on the Battlefield' finds Boerger's guitar weaving through several passages.  His playing is particularly inspired in the last half of the track.  The first side ends with 'Tiger' - sounds that would please fans of William Tyler and the Rag Lore tapes on Poor Farm Editions.

The acoustic tendencies of Boerger are followed by the heavy guitar noise of Last Eyes.  Last Eyes, the moniker of Val Franz, puts forth a side of opaque, warm, and charged rockers.  Her side of ambient/punk/shoegaze succeeds in culling and synthesizing some of the best aspects from luminaries such as My Bloody Valentine, Fennesz and Boards of Canada.  Franz combines these styles adeptly and successfully.  The flip kicks off with the heavy reverb guitar jam, 'You Still Think That Light in You is Hidden'.  Next, 'no w here' swims in warbly, thick, disconnected tones prior to being enveloped by the noise.  My favorite is 'Hidden Nails', which eschews the heavy noise in favor of a bubbly, warm ambient sound.  A gorgeous side of music!

Planted 001 went straight to my head like an indica bong rip!  Let some love into your life.  Float over to Planted Tapes and give these sounds a home in your head.          

peace to you, friends :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Obscurer - Shining Arbors (House of Alchemy 050)

The Faraday Trippers and VxPxC induce these nugs to spawn crystals.  Peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

I just returned from a trip, and now it's time to take another.  From a new bag of glistening nugs, I pulled out the crystal-covered emissions of Obscurer.  Prior to getting down to brass tacks, pretty much anything from a member of VxPxC is worthy of your time.  Obscurer is composed of Grant Capes (VxPxC, Sleepwalkers Local), Patrick Burke and Michael Scholtz (both of Faraday Trippers).   Shining Arbors, from Obscurer on House of Alchemy, exudes the sound of the deep space traveler.  Theremins, electronics, guitar, keyboards and vocals combine to create constellations of sound that dot the periphery of consciousness and then suffuse your being.

   Shining Arbors is represented by one track, Diana's Tree, which is a three-part suite comprised of Living Silver, Aqua Fortis and Metal Branches.  Anything can occur in this unpredictable climate, and i was surprised throughout.  The beginning acts as a harbinger and is lined with theremins, electronics, keys, and echoing vocals that rather than sounding eerie, feel more like a call to prayer.  The echoing vocals complement the spacey mix of sound aptly. 11 minutes in, soft, sustained keys appear surprisingly, acting to temper the mood.  Around halfway through, the sound becomes intense.  Percussive sounds temper the mix as it attempts to veer upwards. Nothing here is fixed, as the track floats through several stages.  When most of the instruments are active, and theremins beaming, the sound is intense.  The more minimal parts throughout make one feel inert.  The serene ending allows the listener to come down lightly.

Shining Arbors is something to be experienced repeatedly.  Often i find myself sitting with this for a few hours.  The excellent vibes are accompanied by beautiful artwork from Katheryn Richards.  No sound for this one, but this smokehound will not lead you awry. Secure your copy directly at House of Alchemy.

Peace to you, friends :)