Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Xanthocephalus - sp. (TQ45)

  Morning Wood and sp. make good friends.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Xanthocephalus, the intensely resonant experimental project of Russ Alderson, hovers with the menacing ferocity of a sonic zeppelin at moments, disquiet creeping from the periphery and threatening to consume the listener.  In other instances, sparse soundscapes reverberate through the head.  Enthralling and hypnotic for one hour, Russ utilizes treated bass guitar to create considered compositions that adeptly combine drone, noise, field recordings and improvisation.  A careful listen will reveal a profound interest in textures and layers of sound, each with specific properties.  There are myriad instances on sp., released on Tranquility Tapes, of Russ's keen ability to integrate sparse sound; dense drones; and discordant noise and feedback that razes the listener's head.  Overall, we're talking about a tape with an incredible amount of sonic depth that is difficult to capture in words - something that must be experienced.

'The Pelican Continues' exhibits wonderful qualities of this artist.  The tape commences with sparse field recordings of bird calls and a variety of sounds that slowly permeate the listener.  This track features an intriguing progression.  After occasional bursts of feedback and scraped strings, around 10 minutes into the track, low end rumble abuts frenetic, vacillating chords.  The latter possesses the quality of sounding somewhat removed.   Energy pulses and captivates the listener as the track transitions into a atmosphere of static-laced noise that whirls in the presence of a barely perceptible drone.  The second track on side A furtively approaches the listener, shards of feedback begetting layers of dense noise that constantly reverberates among field recordings.  The intensity of the track shifts to ear-rattling feedback and enveloping noise.  Sustained, voluminous tones briefly appear, and, as the noise abates, an amalgamation of reverberations and oscillations move to the fore along with swirling currents.  Gorgeous drone, deep and resonant, radiates through the listener's body as the flipside comes into being.  It shifts, moving closer, then departs to the sonic abyss, only to return with mutant energy.  An inchoate, pulsating beam of energy juxtaposes the drone.  Blasts of static covered noise writhe uneasily in the muck.  Scraped strings grate and bird calls echo next to opaque tones that billow and eventually dissipate.  Toward the end of the track,  apprehension grips the listener as a static mass of noise eviscerates all in its path.  'Air Boat', the final track, beautifully juxtaposes a deluge of scraped strings to oscillating drone. The noise shifts and frays when a loop of metallic coated sound heaves into consciousness.  When the torrent abates, there is a lovely release of tension.

Pro-dubbed and featuring the artwork of Caroline Teagle, secure one of the last copies of sp. at Tomentosa.

peace and love, friends :)