Thursday, August 29, 2013

Black Thread - Fragrant Hoof Carvings (Turmeric Magnitudes)

elegant and lifted - jams that move at my speed.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Loops of mystical, celestial vibrations, shrouded in heavenly hash oil smoke - thick and viscous - drift in the manner of a hazy dream.  Fragrant Hoof Carvings is a tape by Black Thread on Turmeric Magnitudes. The crystal covered zoners on offer here are buoyant and blown out ambient paeans.  As far as aural energy is concerned, this tape possesses a copious quantity.

Ambient minimalism initiates the trip as tones quiver in the enveloping hiss.  Already, there is a lovely exhibition of contrasting tones - reverberating, drifting, quivering.  Combined with the opaque aural environment, it endows serene vibrations upon the listener.  Elevated, yet elegiac, the first track is a harbinger.  On the flip, blissful loops radiate brightly, almost blinding.  Solemn tones and oscillations meander in the haze. Tranquil loops waffle in the blurred light, dissolving in the luminous waves. Gusts of vigorous tapes hiss and profoundly resonant tones lift the listener to a welcoming environment.    

This nug is highly recommended.  And, we're fortunate that a bunch of Black Thread tapes are available.  Hand-dubbed and accompanied by a photocopied stock insert, I obtained my copy at Tomentosa, though it is sold out.  Copies appear to be available directly from Turmeric Magnitudes.  

peace and love, friends :)

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 :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Grouper - The Man Who Died In His Boat (Krank177)

 the head healer.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Grouper, the radiant electric-acoustic/drone project of Liz Harris, makes the move to Kranky for this set of unreleased tracks.  Recorded alongside the sublime Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, these tracks have the feel of those sessions.  Thus, it contains moments of opaque, hazy beauty to which fans of Grouper are accustomed. Possessing an outstanding discography, I consider the majority of the releases necessary listening.  Often I refer to Grouper as the 'Head Healer' due to the capacity of her voice to assuage ills and lift one from malaise.  Perpetually, I could write about Grouper's singular style and effective use of reverb and tape delay that permeate the waiting soul of the listener.  Yet, it's Liz's voice that provides the serene vibrations, leading one to the gateway of the heavens.  Mellifluous and opaque, accompanied by lovely reverberating keys and strummed guitar, her art possesses an omnipresence that hovers like the azure sky on a tranquil day.

As with any of Grouper's releases, The Man Who Died In His Boat is highly recommended.  Already, it has been pressed numerous times.  Secure one of the remaining copies through Kranky.

peace and love, friends :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mendocino - Ray's Chapel(Old Man Tapes #1); Dig a Hole (Old Man Tapes #4)

wake and bake, sans the shake.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

While performing some research for this review, I did a Google search for Old Man Tapes, and, just as well, it could have been a search for Al-Qaeda's Inspire magazine, haha.  The search yielded a sordid amalgamation of elderly porn links. Oh well, just another notch on the Honest Bag NSA belt.  There's a dearth of information on Mendocino, and, the micro-label on which these tapes appear, Old Man Tapes - operating out of Asheville, NC.  Yet, put those thoughts on hold and let this notion sink into your head:   this is the sound of friendship blossoming toward exalted realms- because that's where these kief-coated blazers travel. According to the information on Tomentosa's site, these jam sessions document weekly recordings by a group of friends.  If you have experienced the raw, communal feel of basement/house jam sessions - either as a participant or observer - then maybe you can identify with the sacred aura emitted by the times.  Ray's Chapel and Dig a Hole radiate stoned vibrations for the heads crowd.  The path these guys travel is sure to tickle the trichomes on your nug.  They touch on some beautiful sounds over these two tapes that will interest admirers of krautrock, early Sunburned, German Oak, and Sylvester Anfang ii.  Regardless of the references, these cats blaze their own path.  There's so much occurring over these two tapes. The mix of heavy lo-fi psych tempered by ceremonial vibrations on offer here is hard to exceed. The voluminous, drugged feel of these sessions is perfect listening at anytime of the day.

Given that Ray's Chapel is nearly unavailable, the following refers to Dig a Hole.  Immediately, Mendocino gets the listener lifted with serene vibrations the seem to echo interminably - Golden Roadies unite!  Percussion and reverberating strings gently hover.  In the next track, a lo-fi nug billows and then is fleshed out as they hit the groove with chugging guitars.  They touch the zenith with an unabated sonic assault.  Next crunchy chords approach the red, coursing with mutant energy; mayhem follows. On the flip, the aura of mindfulness shines brightly as a wind instrument, vocal incantations and tribal rhythms prepare the listener for the ensuing psych mayhem.  A successive flow of beats leads to heavy psych/space rock as writhing guitars, synth and percussion provide a veil to muffled vocals.  Dig a Hole finishes with a section of dreamy guitars, which leads to a final track.

Coming across this tape is analogous to picking up a bag of frosty nugs - they tend to disappear quickly. Get your dank goodness at Tomentosa.  Also, a copy of Ray's Chapel is available on Discogs.

peace and love, friends :)      

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Brogan Bentley - Moments EP (RC73)

summertime zoners!  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Most likely, you know the feeling or at least an approximation of it.  The boss is droning on about the importance of customer service, shareholder wealth, year-over-year deficiencies, and worst of all, the future.  There's not much of a future in being a human doormat and catering to the whims of the consumer class.  Somewhere in that welter of bullshit, my mind drifts to more pleasant thoughts.  You see, I've been lighting up the sky with these tasty trichome-covered electronic jams from Brogan Bentley.  Each night, I return home beaten from the frenetic pace of modern day society, only to find solace and renewed vitality in the Moments EP, released by one of the best around, Rotifer Cassettes.  Moments, the second release from Brogan Bentley, has many positive facets.  For an EP, there is a nice amount of variety in the sonic structure and rhythms.  It's a wonderful amalgamation of warm, experimental music featuring myriad beats, and, at moments, ambient pop.  Overall, the mood is uplifting, though there are some lovely introspective moments that feature breathy vocals.

Brogan Bentley immediately brings the listener up to speed as breezy, uplifting sound is supported by periodic low ends and beats.  Occasionally, the Zawinul-like synth flourishes, ascending toward the sky in the manner of a helix.  Soon, the tempo increases with a quick succession of beats. Track 2 on side A continues on the path with dreamy electronics that vacillate.  Initially, a drone is tethered to the fluctuating soundscape, yet dissolves into the bliss of airy vocals and rhythms that are slightly removed.  Track 3 has a different feel than the first two.  Opaque synth combines with quickly shifting beats.  Gentle vocals appear in the middle of the track.  Later, reverberating synth is layered with fuzzy electronics.  'Soul Dance' starts of the flip in style as lovely patterns of synth coalesce with minimal rhythms that quickly change.  The slow tempo of the rhythms endows the track with a hypnotic, dazed feel.  As the track moves toward the end, synth pulsates gently on the periphery.  'What More' is an excellent track that displays the artist's impressive repertoire.  Soporific, yet acute, electronics and an array of rhythms combine with introspective vocals.  Cascading and cosmic synth sits comfortably behind treated vocals.  Shimmering electronics are added to nice effect at the end.  'Long' closes out the EP. Gauzy, voluminous sound billows among crisp beats.  Vocals echo into the night sky as a multitude of beats are tethered to ambient clouds.

More top shelf nugs from Rotifer to augment your day!  Featuring artwork from Casual Sniper/Silent Thunder and professionally duplicated on type II chrome cassettes, Moments may be purchased directly from Rotifer.

  peace and love, friends :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Daniel (JD) Emmanuel - Echoes From Ancient Caves (SA018)

an offering from me to you, friend.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

The environment of the room glistens in the tranquil light.  A lovely melody coalesces, as gently reverberating and hazy tones permeate the soul.  The two pieces with acoustic guitar and synthesizer, tracks two and three, are ones to which I constantly return. In its entirety, Echoes From Ancient Caves, from JD Emmanuel is comprised of gorgeous ambient electronic music that makes for a fine meditation guide. Side A immediately creates a soothing atmosphere as chimes resonate serenely among bird calls and organ.  The flipside has a more spacey vibe. I dedicate "Song of the Whale", track 2 on side A to everybody.  Its peaceful and compassionate message blossoms like the shimmering breath of awareness. When suffering manifests, these paeans have a palliative effect, which begets awareness.    

Reissued by Sun Ark Records, it is out of print and generally unavailable in a physical format.  The tracks may be purchased and listened to here.  The sonic energy on this tape is something for which I am thankful.      
peace and love, friends :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Afterlife - Sensory Overdose (Sicsic059)

if the sweet leaf could grow in space, then Afterlife would be the appropriate music to ensure the plant's vitality.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

In more than one way, Sensory Overdose, on Sicsic, is a celebration of experimental music.  Even before talking about the copious merits of this tape, the artwork of Stunned head honcho, Phil French, is somewhat of a portent.  Some of the first Afterlife tapes - the split with Ossining is wonderful - were splits released on Stunned.  In past reviews, I have described the salience of Stunned Records - it made a mark on experimental music like few others.  Therefore, just viewing Phil's beautiful artwork gives one an indication of the heavy vibes on offer.  Additionally, Afterlife is comprised of two skilled artists.  Along with performing in Afterlife, Franklin Teagle operates Tranquility Tapes, and it's sibling, Anathema Sound.  Ryan McGill has several other music projects, most notably the awesome Cliffsides - his contribution to the Space Slave 4-way split is a highlight of the batch.  With the pertinent details disclosed, let the trip commence!  And, it sure is a heady one.  The title is apt.  Over two sides of tape, Ryan and Franklin lay down a wonderful variety of astral sounds.  However, this is more than a collection of spacey sounds.  One of the most attractive facets of the tape is the structure of both side-long tracks.  A careful listen will illuminate the subtle shifts in tone and mood. In some sections, the tranquility of new age music fuses with the cosmos.  At other times, a vortex of spacey electronics inundate the listener.  Side B starts with some of the most interesting sounds heard the entire year.  And, the latter part of side B presents a maelstrom of metallic-coated sound that leaves the listener dazed under a glowing pile of cosmic detritus.    

   Upon pressing play and leaving this physical body, patterns of synth loop ethereally.  Before long, the serenity is augmented, as a nascent sustained tone shifts subtly.  The form changing with time.  As the tone shifts, the loop begins to ripple, and electronic signals - displaying a wonderful breadth of textures - start to morph.  More than halfway through, an appreciable change occurs.  Soon, the listener ascends to the next stratum, delivered by resonant sound that grows in vigor until it disintegrates in a deluge of astral sounds.
The flip is just as enticing.  As I mentioned in the preceding paragraph, Afterlife begins side B in style.  An intoxicating mix of sonic percolations and spacey effects move through the head like my favorite bud.  This part has an aquatic sound, yet it circulates among constellations and cosmic bodies.  Heretofore, the mood has a tranquil quality, which is underlined by airy pulsations of synth.  A transition occurs, in which the synth throbs.  Next, the listener is among sound that bubbles, frays and disintegrates.  At the intersection, the track morphs into an aggressive mix of trembling signals, static emanations, noise and metallic sound that grinds and oscillates.  Once the synth disappears, the listener is enveloped by a whirlpool of vibrations.  After the deluge, cosmic stillness, in the form of a quivering tone, extends beyond perception.

Homedubbed on chrome tape in an edition of 85 cassettes and sold out at the source, Sensory Overdose is fantastic in every aspect.  With dwindling supplies, the platform for lift-off is situated at the headquarters of Tomentosa.

peace and love, friends :)      

Friday, August 16, 2013

Slurp Dogs - Postal Licks (Sloow Tapes – Birch)

lunar nugs for your trip to the cosmos - see you in hash oil heaven.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Upon being kissed on the head, the continuum of time shattered and lunar tones blazed a path among the glittering constellations.  One-sided c-60 action that delivers like a dollop of hash oil.  Slurp Dogs - Grant Acker (Un/Sepviva Bells) and Willie Lane ( MV&EE Golden Roadie) - are the supreme guides on this aural retreat, Postal Licks, released on Sloow Tapes.  As the notion of time dissipates, spacious, patient paeans embrace the sonic traveler.  Hazy tones glisten in the moonlight and pass through E Pluribus Unum, refracting in a myriad directions.  Cascading notes nestle quietly in the valley prior to being catapulted into the ether, while opaque drone traces the breath.        

Accompanied by psychedelic silkscreen artwork, this is one of the finest in the Sloow universe.  Given that Postal Licks was released more than five years ago, there's a dearth of these babies available. Get your kicks from Time-Lag or Eclipse before it's too late.  

peace and love, friends :)

thanks to bpleaphart for the good vibe

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Iasos - Elixir (RC62)

the Master's trail of trichomes leads to the celestial gateway - step in!! peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Elixir hovers interminably over the listener, much like the pulsating sun in an azure sky.  Possessing a vast sonic range, the heavenly vibrations have the ability to permeate the roughest exterior.  Whether the tones twinkle in light, drift languorously, become ensconced in a tranquil valley or glisten in the cosmos, Elixir resonates faithfully, aligned with the breath.  With such gorgeous music, the environment is instantaneously inundated with waves of compassion and serenity.  Simply put, the second Iasos (pronounced ya' sos) reissue on Rotifer Cassettes is the celestial sound of dreams - one of my favorite tapes of the year.

Upon pressing play, an evanescent object shimmers in the distance.  The space between emits benevolence.  Crystalline waves of sound ascend and gently lift the listener.  The first track is edifying and something in which I place my trust.  These healing vibrations travel a patient path.  It's a sonic missive that slowly radiates joy and illuminates the soul.  Meanwhile, the last track on side B exhibits a different tempo, as a deluge of billowing notes and glittering tones envelop the soul.

Elixir is my go-to-tape.  The only constraint to the healing vibrations on offer is the mind.  Turn off the mind and allow Iasos to guide you to the exalted setting in which these celestial vibrations meet the breath.  Rotifer's offerings are incredible!  The Brogan Bentley EP comes highly recommended.  Secure your copy of Elixir directly from Rotifer.      

peace and love, friends :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Rainbow Body - Free Sentient Beings (GJ-044)

eternal light radiates from compassion.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

As I sit on the ground under a tree - the earth warm and pliant; the swollen bark firmly pressed against my back - I recall the sagacious statement, "There is just as much life in a moment of pain as there is in a moment of pleasure."  Meditating upon those words for a brief minute, the benevolent sun then endowed the soft spot of earth with copious light.  Shimmering at my feet, the benevolent light acted as a harbinger to the deluge of tranquility, celestial vibrations and kosmische crystals that radiated from Free Sentient Beings, the most recent Rainbow Body - Matt Kattman-  release on Ginjoha.

  The offerings here are composed from guitar, effects and loops.  And, the first thing that comes to mind is the amount of sonic variation present.  Each track is unique in structure and style, yet they all converge at the same portal of awareness.  For example, in 'Free Sentient Beings 4' a spectral drone permeates the labyrinthine head.  It's gentle resonance is analogous to the rush of cool air upon inhaling.  The preceding track is completely different in sound.  'Free Sentient Beings 3' is a sonic vortex that sputters, protrudes, writhes and buzzes with an aura of loving kindness.  Even though the sonic maelstrom is omnipresent, serenity circumscribes the mass and pulsates lightly.  Unequivocally, two completely different tracks.  Yet, they exhibit the adroitness with which Matt approaches art.  Throughout Free Sentient Beings, layers of sound converge to emit peaceful energy.  However, along with manner in which they coalesce, the timing of integrating the sounds and space afforded is equally salient.  This aspect of the music is conspicuous in the first track, 'Free Sentient Beings 1'.  The opening track epitomizes the loving kindness meditation.  The sonic compassion which pours forth bathes the body in august light.  A tranquil loop emits edifying vibrations.  There is a ubiquitous quality to the sound. Maybe a minute into the track, the majestic manifests as ethereal sound is juxtaposed to the loop - beautiful!  Toward the end, warm grainy undulations transport one to the zenith.  The second track, perhaps, is my favorite.  Full of life and melodious, elongated crystalline tones echo in the cosmos and abut sonic energy that bustles and stutters forth.

Free Sentient Beings is unambiguously situated on the top shelf in trichome heaven.  Highly recommended, it infuses the living area with lovely vibrations.  Ginjoha has been releasing some excellent tapes - the Portopia '81 tapes come to mind.  Presented with gorgeous artwork and approaching OOP status, secure a copy quickly from Ginjoha.  

peace and love, friends :)