Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sleeper - From Beyond (SNT007)

Sending these lovely vibes to my good friends at Humboldt Relief.  Peace and Love to you :)

Weathered drones seep into one slowly, aided by brilliant sonic light.  From one soul to another, these heavily processed field recordings, found sounds and samples are something in which to lose oneself.  Sleeper is the project of Cooper Cult co-founder C.J. Parahi.  From Beyond, on Room40 imprint, A Guide to Saints, engulfs the listener in radiant haze and somnolent drones of various shade.  

The A side is outstanding.  Elegant, melodic loops turn lethargic, caught in a vise deep in the haze - lovely!  Shortly, an ethereal passage of sound - gentle and consuming - imbues the environment with tranquility.  August energy permeates the constellation of clouds, radiating from the speakers to the listener.  With each iteration, this side slowly mutates, exuding resonant uplifting and majestic vibrations into the listener's pathway.  Meanwhile, the flipside is something quite different.  C.J's skill is omnipresent again, though this time as passages of spectral energy inculcate the area with a sense of disquiet.  The juxtaposition of the more ethereal former side to the solemn character of the flip is pleasing to the ears.

From Beyond may be purchased either directly from the artist or label.  

peace and love, friends :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DSR lines - Venndiagram (SK009)

cosmic synth relief radiating from the Death Star.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Venndiagram is a sonic spectacle that will dazzle the head - a tape full of zoners!  This is the type of music that can make toiling through the day worth it; because at night these sonic explorations glisten from elevated regions.  Just like the title, Venndiagram contains shimmering sonic objects that intersect, modulate, and dissociate - constantly forming new relationships.  In terms of tone, texture, and bringing ideas into the light there are few releases which rival the latest tape from DSR lines on Smeltkop.  DSR lines is the long-running project from Hare Akedod head, David Edren.

Right from the start, blissful layers of synth modulate and then billow; multifaceted sounds appear.  At the apex, they coalesce as a unit comprised of components, always shifting in the cosmic air - excellent track! Near the end, it drops a few levels, drifting lazily into the void.  Aural ellipses dance excitedly on the periphery of heaven, echoing with effervescent energy in the second track.  In the distance, formations of rich, vibrant color flare animatedly.  Side A finishes with a section of peaceful drift.  Tranquil azure waves undulate in the vibrant resonant light.  The flip provides the same entrancing trip.  The first track on side B captivates one immediately.  It contains mysterious, yet lucid streams of sonic energy.  Layers of synth vacillate and are coupled with mesmerizing rhythms.  The ritual-like vibes of the next track manifest as a tranquil drone radiates under a constellation of vibrant synth.        

Kudos to Smeltkop for releasing such a wonderful tape!  This is one of my favorite nugs in the bag - top shelf vibes!  Venndiagram is a tape to which I continually return.  The skill with which these tracks were composed make each listen a wonderful experience.  Which leads me to recommend giving this tape your undivided attention.  It works the other way, too; however, there is much beauty to be harvested from listening actively.  Venndiagram is extremely limited - 60 copies.  Red tapes with white print come in a clear case and are accompanied by a two color screen printed 3 panel J-card, designed by Mathieu Serruys.  The few remaining copies are available directly from Smeltkop.    

peace and love, friends :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Michael Saunders - (Dust - Dye) Bluepoles001

tape explorations!  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

On Dust - Dye, Michael Saunders guides the listener through a tape comprised of sonic anachronisms, minimal space drift, harsh noise, mystical vibrations, and tranquil sensations.  The first release on Blue Poles Recordings incorporates cut-up and spliced sounds that include, yet are not limited to, heavy noise, musique concrete and ambient sound.  Both sides are comprised of one track, each of which encapsulates a few sections  Each vignette is like an ellipse, the listener hops along through space in the shifting aural light.  Side A is more harsh compared to flipside.  Yet, I almost prefer side A for its ability to cover so much area in a brief period of time. 

 Grainy noise consumes the listener almost immediately upon pressing play.  Shortly, a shifting loop of cosmic, crystalline tones sits deep in the hiss.  From there, mechanical noise gives way to minimal drone and circulating sonic wind - lovely!  Strange vibrations abound as we drift through zones shrouded in wicked reverberations and ritual loops.  Before long, everything is devoured by annihilating noise, which descends a few levels prior to blasting off into space.  As one approaches the end - my favorite section - there is an awesome Wicker Man vibe running strong. - haunting loops.  The flip immediately launches one into another dimension.  As B commences, one is seized by glitch heavy hiss and solemn loops that are occasionally joined by a captivating, mournful voice.  Next, light drone flickers in the blustery sonic wind.  Shortly tranquil, torpid loops are interspersed with glitches and other noise -  a kind vibe exists in this section.  Subsequently, warm resonant sound slowly shifts, begetting new patterns.  Near the end, swirling resonance combines with subdued tones that billow.

This first release from Blue Poles is followed by a split between Michael Saunders and John Sandìa, one of my sonic gurus otherwise known as Pierrot Lunaire.  Dust - Dye may be purchased directly from Blue Poles.

peace and love, friends :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Headboggle - Hillboggle (sicsic056)

sweet as honey.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Hillboggle commences the first part of a multifaceted trip.  A trip to where?  Once it was unfathomable, until I heard this sound.  These sonic regions are accessible to the unencumbered head, lucid in the kind light.  Maybe it's me, but I'm uprooted and transported to a bright star by a majestic conduit of electronics, piano, and field recordings among other instruments.  One of the many attractive facets of this tape is the quality of the compositions.  Utilizing copious instruments, Headboggle doesn't dally.  Rather, these are dynamic tracks whose varied energy is harnessed by an adept artist. And, wouldn't you know it?  this gem is released on Sicsic.  It has been a prolific year for one of my favorite labels.

It's obvious from liftoff that a heavenly force is leading us to otherworldly, metamorphosing regions. Descending keys quickly animate.  They move surreptitiously from channel to channel.  Doom-laden keys ripple among a vortex of electronics and tangential signals and shapes.  Headboggle uses space deftly.    Keys ring frigidly into the stillness of night, flanked by mutant forms and surging mysterious energy.  Encumbered by powerful noise, which eventually abates, the track enters a new phase.  I love that the piano occasionally moves to the fore.  In these instances, the electronics assume a magical quality, drifting in the time lag.  Cascading notes increase the pulse.  The electronics begin to surge with vigor. Shortly, clairvoyant keys are swallowed by aural energy that squirms, buzzes, and fissures. Later, piano and field recordings endow the A side with a lighthearted quality - quite lovely!  The end of A is a harbinger to the bliss of the flipside.  'Hill Boggle', the b-side track - and a collaboration - represents some of the best music that I have encountered this year.  The banjo and electronics possess awesome synergy.  As the track progresses, I very much enjoy the transition to dark, descending electronics and plucked hushed strings.  Minimal drone creates space for elegant piano and banjo.              

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to the jump for star to star in the Headboggle universe.  Next up is Buchla a la Mode.  Much like the trichome and honey coated medicine pictured above, Headboggle is supremely talented and meticulous - a singular artist.  Produced with love - home-dubbed -  and featuring the artwork of Johannes Schebler, Hillboggle is sold out at the source and pretty much unavailable elsewhere. Most likely, your best chance is to grab one from SOL Sound or purchase the digital version.

peace and love, friends :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Various Artists - Duets II (TQ51)

experimental duo exchanges - two nugs of luv!  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

In these homely environs, we live for duos.  Whether they are of the sun-baked variety - MV & EE - or something in the experimental realm - Quiet Evenings - the releases provide an opportunity to experience facets of an artist not readily apparent from other projects.  Duets II, the subsequent release to the highly acclaimed Duets tape from last year, brings the good vibe from some of the most innovative duos in contemporary experimental music. With their focus on collaboration, Tranquility Tapes has once again bestowed a tape of heavy hitters.  Just a passing glance at the list of artists on the j-card should make one excited:  Dozens, Urkas, Nite Lite, and Coyote Image Revisted to new a few.  Therefore, not only is this tape comprised of duos - it presents a radiating spectrum within experimental music. Tabs Out posted an excellent article on the Duets II, which features the roster of artists and some words from Tranquility proprietor, Franklin Teagle - recommended reading.  Below are a few of my favorite tracks from the tape.   

The exciting ascent commences with Dozens, the guitar and synth combo of Francesco De Gallo and Ryan Connolly.  We blast off into a warm environment full of spacey, serene tones and trance-inducing rhythms.  One of my favorites on Duets II is from Cream Juice, the duo of Keith Rankin and Seth Graham.  Cream Juice emits a deluge of shapes and sounds which move at supersonic velocity.  The frenzied synths - not frenetic - are warm and vibrant.  After descending from such a great height, there's nothing quite like the minimal deep space vibes from Roped Off, the team of Mike Haley and Dave Doyen.  Once you reach their stratum, they blow glass in space from which a sonic hallucinogen tricks forth and penetrates each pore.  Ominous and consuming, this track contains some heavy visceral vibes.  Another family fave closes off side A.  Perspectives, the duo of Kyle Conklin and Josh Tippery - the latter recently released an excellent tape on Worn Habit with Mike Pouw - create music that seizes the listener via a combination of ambient waves and prescient, haunting drones.  Urkas, the duo of Russ Alderson and Mike Griffin, take the tape to another level with a mind-blowing track.  Surges of reverberating waves and resonant walls of sound are key elements in the beginning.  Once the components merge, all one can do is sit in the slipstream with the bird calls - awesome track!  The ultimate in electronic duo exchanges for me is the duo of Grant and Rachel Evans.  Regardless of the project, their experiments with texture and tone are unrivaled.  The track which they contribute manifests with the gentleness and calmness of the morning sun.  Gauzy loops billow lightly - a luminous eternal light shining steadfastly in the sonic breeze.                       
Featuring designs by Caroline Teagle and produced in an edition of 150 cassettes, Duets II may be purchased directly from Tranquility Tapes.

peace and love, friends :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Christopher Merritt - Imaginary Colors (Orange Milk 2013)

electronic intrepid explorations. peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

The marble blue sky is transformed into a resplendent, variegated dome that surges with cosmic energy in Christopher Merritt's recent tape, Imaginary Colors, on Orange Milk.  Imaginary Colors accelerates toward the zenith, ejecting the trichome-bound listener into a maze of morphing multicolored constellations.  Elevated and mesmerized, Christopher's sweet vibrations power a constantly revolving kaleidoscope.  That which emanates is effervescent and vibrant; yet, these soundscapes concurrently exhibit patience and an adept use of space.  That's one of the significant aspects of this tape: its ability to exhibit myriad qualities ostensibly at the same time.  Modular wonders fracture in an animated atmosphere, refracting in myriad directions.  Polychromatic strands are then interwoven into enthralling arrangements.  Throughout, the encapsulated sonic energy buzzes, fissures, drifts, oscillates, twinkles, fizzes and bubbles.

The tape commences with swollen passages of gentle sound that billow and expand progressively.  Playful with a touch of poignancy, the atmosphere is altered by tiny explosions which beget spacious and brilliant energy.  The first track is followed by a lovely paean that is transformed by a deluge of sound that merges into a harmonious sonic being.  More proximate to the end of side A, serene vibrations multiply as tangents of sound descend quickly upon the listener.  For me, perhaps the best section of this side occurs at the end.  Propulsive warmth inculcates the listener with vibrant streams of sound.  As the sound cascades, the deluge arrests perception and the listener acquiesces - lovely!  The flip continues the ascent.  In the second track on side B, gently pulsating transmissions rupture into copious particles and flutter in the hiss.  Sustained tones lead to spacey ruminations.  Aural fireworks bathe the listener in the next track as radiant beams rupture under pressure.

Platinum Bubba never sounded so good!!  Crystal-covered and ascending to Nug Luv 2014 territory, Imaginary Colors is one of the best experimental tapes of 2014.  Copies are available directly from Orange Milk.    

peace and love, friends :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Gerda Taro - The First Hundred Years (NL001)

Gerda Taro's vibrations induce couch lock - top shelf vibes!!  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

The First Hundred Years assesses your pulse before catapulting one into a matrix where copious vibrations merge at the doorstep of a lustrous dance floor.   This tape of crystal-covered zoners can aptly be described, in its entirety, as 32 minutes of pure elation.  When you remove the cover to descend into the tape's inner workings, The First Hundred Yearson Noumenal Loom, reveals ornate collages that are full of moving parts and always becoming - jams that are stitched together by frayed threads of time.  Gerda Taro is the supreme guide for a journey steeped in dreamy vibrations and soul/funk dance floor ruminations.  The jams coalesce in the manner of Venn diagrams; arrangements form ephemerally, glowing for a brief time, before dissipating in a maelstrom of distortion produced by remnants from halcyon days.

  Beautiful music doesn't require tags or genres to make a case for its importance.  Back in 1970, Miles Davis played the Isle of Wight with his fusion band.  Upon opening the set, somebody inquired about the track title, to which Miles responded, "Call it anything".  He termed it such because those electric vibes knew no boundary.  And, that is the case with The First Hundred Years.  The beginning is mesmerizing; a hiss covered raga splits at the seams, releasing hazy anachronisms that appear to be stuck between dimensions.  From that point on, the cassette glistens like my favorite bud.  Gerda Taro touches on many types of music - funk, soul, jazz, hip hop, rock, dance, pop, ambient/drone.

When I'm listening to Gerda Taro, it rains trichomes for days - and that goes for the entire batch. Gerda Taro refers to a prominent female war photographer from the 1930's.  Just like the namesake's ability to tell a story through pictures, The First Hundred Years accomplishes something similar sonically.  Produced in a limited edition of 75 tapes, with artwork by Brenna Murphy, these tapes are smokin' hot!  The Digital Natives cassette is already sold out at the source.  Don't waver - purchase the Gerda Taro and Holly Waxwing tapes directly from Noumenal Loom.

peace and love, friends :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Twilight of the Century - Hibernation (TD62)

Cataract -------> Hibernation.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Hibernation is comprised of some of the most dark, potent and spacious psych tracks that I've listened to this year.  There should be no surprise that Eric Hardiman (Tape Drift, Rambutan, Century Plants, Burnt Hills and more) is one of the artists at the controls. Eric's collaborations and side-projects match the quality of his solo releases - something which should not be assumed with every artist.  Last year we were blessed with Lesser Halogens, the team of Eric and Mike Griffin; and a single-sided Century Plants lp.  Hibernation, on Tape Drift, transports one into some of the zones occupied by Lesser Halogens, yet is something entirely unique. Commencing as a one-off collaboration in 2008 between Century Plants and Rise Set Twilight, this single session documents the first available recordings from the project.  Twilight of the Century is comprised of Eric, Ray Hare (Century Plants), Mike Bullock, and Linda Aubry Bullock.

  I love recordings that possess an ominous aura.  When one listens, shrouded by murkiness of night and the enveloping haze, the frequencies manifest clandestinely.  At times, the bass, guitar, electronics and vocals are volatile and strident; the listener besieged by menacing, interminable waves and particles of sonic energy - all good things with this type of music.  Yet, in other instances the tape mimics certain facets of hibernation - metabolic suppression -  via icy, airy minimalism.  One mustn't forget the scorching psych of Hibernation III.   Altogether, Hibernation is the type of music that floats stealthily, waiting patiently for the right moment to pervade one's head.  And, once it has breached the perimeter, well, hold on tightly!

Furtive synth bubbles and moves sinuously in an infertile climate in the beginning of 'Hibernation I'.  Ray's vocals sound so removed and spine-tingling that they must be from another dimension.  His voice is a prodigious part of Century Plants and it shines here as well.  As electronics swirl, sonic misfires and approaching resonance merge to imbue the atmosphere with apprehension.  Guitar and doom-laden riffs threaten to annihilate.  Shortly, these elements are synthesized with vocals and electronics.  Churning synth and tangential signals abound before moving into a minimal state in 'Hibernation II'.  Opaque sheets of threatening noise hover viscerally.  Prior to the end, which is populated with nice synth, signals twinkle and an unsettling drone ensues.  The flip starts out with a total zoner, 'Hibernation III', that touches on early Expo '70 recordings on Kill Shaman.  In the final track, the treated vocals of Linda and Ray are cloaked in eternal haze and circulating transmissions.  Slowly, a wall of sound is formed and then pervaded by shifting currents.  Before long, Ray's voice bellows in head, producing endless echoing waves.   

Hibernation goes from strength to strength- an outstanding tape!  For fans of dark and atmospheric experimental music, this is not to be missed.  The artwork, by Myste French of Stunned Records,  is incredible.  Lately, there have been many instances of beautiful artwork in the experimental genre - have you seen the artwork for Tipow on Worn Habit?  Stuff like Hibernation is usually produced in a limited quantity.  Extend some love to Tape Drift by purchasing directly.  

peace and love, friends :) 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Portopia '81 - Electronic Communication (GJ-041)

new age nugs for your cosmic trek - trichome power!  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

When it comes to labels that inhabit areas of ambient, new age and experimental sound, Ginjoha radiates purely like the morning sunlight.  The amount of quality releases is impressive:  Logansport, Thaniel Ion Lee, Rainbow Body, Buchikamashi, Strom Noir, Mark Bradley, and Hakobune are just a handful from a discography overflowing with extremely talented artists who are currently creating some of the most beautiful experimental music. Portopia '81 is situated on the top shelf of that list!  Initially, I was unaware of this tape until my friend Daniel recommended it.  Thereafter, it has orbited the atmosphere, endowing it with serene cosmic energy.  I purchased both tapes, Cosmic City Serenade and Electronic Communication, because they exist in the right tail of the distribution - rare beauty.  Electronic Communication is a sonic vehicle to exalted regions, an enticing exploration facilitated by spacey, effervescent synth, ambient passages of sound, and high energy beats.  The trip begins as we extend a limb into the unknown, pulsating with an amalgamation of signals, transmissions, and ephemeral currents. 

A fantastic expedition ensues aided by buoyant, bountiful synth and supporting drone in the opener, 'Hello New World'. This section of the track absolutely mesmerizes, before climbing higher upon the merging of visceral, swift beats. Shortly, an uplifting, sonorous passage of sound manifests. The atmosphere is infused with ethereal drift as passages swell, resonating softly among passing signals and fading objects. In the following track, tranquility hops along ellipses of a lucid continuum.  Reverberating sonic energy, of a light shade, hits the body like a ray of sunshine.

The flip commences in stellar fashion. 'Cosmic Drive' begins with nascent, warm pulsations.  Before long, an evolving synth shifts into recurrent waves of light.  Random signals are emitted from a mass that moves laterally.  Soon, an effervescent loop moves to the fore. Among the many elements - and ones to be introduced - this track is never inert.  Shortly, ebullient beats emerge. It's named 'Cosmic Drive' for a reason - outstanding!.  Portopia '81 exemplifies an acuity for crafting a lucid and dynamic sonic environment.  Omnipresent in the first three tracks, this quality once again appears in the title track. From the mellow comedown of track 1, 'Electronic Communication' swirls ominously, layers of ambient sound gently fill the atmosphere before tapering.

From the faithful top shelf - and like any crystal-covered nug - extremely rare, Electronic Communication is something I would highly recommend. One may purchase Electronic Communication directly from Ginjoha.  Also, don't forget about Cosmic City Serenade

peace and love, friends :)

track from first tape, Cosmic City Serenade

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mycology Is Our Psychology - A Celebration of the Shroom (Triangle Sounds #001)

fungal fried!  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

The tapes were of the variety that made an indelible mark in your head-space.  In 2012, Triangle Tapes exhibited a knack for permeating the head quickly. Along with the mind-expanding, psilocybin-laced sounds, Triangle's artwork and packaging was meticulous.  Digging deep into shroom-related sounds and culture, Triangle's roster of artists come from all corners of psych and electronic music.  The top shelf riffs of Fungal Abyss balanced by the eviscerating noise of Burnt to Perfection.  One year later, Triangle Tapes has evolved into Triangle Sounds.  Mycology is Our Psychology reflects on the past and gets one grounded in the present with a compilation of heavy burners - new sounds from year 1 artists.  One change that will be conspicuous to those familiar with Triangle is the use of cd's with a vinyl design.              

In a most righteous manner, Mycology is Our Psychology features bookend nugs from Fungal Abyss.  Their first track, 'Humongous Fungus', buttresses one's head with buoyant, churning guitars and thick, viscous riffs that come on slowly, before dispersing its crystal covered payload over the expanse. After powering through that kief-covered gem, Empty blasts off into cosmos. Luminous and spacey electronics surge along with shifting/stuttering beats. Ronzilla provides a glitch powered romp that traces the periphery of the abyss -particles accelerate and explode as we drift interminably. 3 Leafs, authors of one of 2012's best, Technical Death Metal Parking Lot, contribute 'Eat the Earth', a dreamy, slowly expanding zoner. Vocals hover ominously as the hypnotic repetitions place one's head in a trichome laden vise. Quivering organ and frayed currents combine with percussive elements near the end of this excellent track - this one will work your head like the mightiest top shelf nug.  Meanwhile, Burnt to Perfection razes everything in its path.  'Incinerate' possesses heavy, malevolent vibes that move sinuously in the dark.   The sounds in this track are potent, unerring, becoming more vicious with each passing second. Just like TT1, Burnt to Perfection is the conduit to an intense unforgiving expedition into heavy noise.  Minimal electronics briefly follow from Mushrooms Season, prior to 'Moon6' liftoff from Fungal Abyss.

Mycology is Our Psychology is a harbinger of wonderful things.  Accompanied by trippy and beautiful artwork provided by Leo Tsang, the compilation may be purchased directly from the Triangle Sounds.  

peace and love, friends :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Robbie Basho - Visions of the Country (GNM026)

the transcendent beauty of Robbie Basho will breath vitality into your day.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Robbie Basho's adroit and beautiful playing style flows freely as a bucolic stream.  His vocals are ascendant, displaying an impressive range.  Visions of the Country, reissued by Gnome Life Records, sees Basho singing hymns to the natural beauty of North America.  Consisting of guitar and piano tracks that combine elements of folk and Hindu music among others, the album is concurrently edifying, intimate, introspective and celebratory.  Basho's singular technique paints a vivid picture for the listener.  Possessing an enveloping aura, the fidelity of the 140g vinyl allows the music to soar - take it from a person that has been listening to the mp3's for a while.  Whether it's the quiet strum and intimate vocals of 'Blue Crystal Fire', or the cascading, echoing keys and affecting vocals of 'Orphan's Lament', Visions of the Country will prove uplifting to the soul.

The way I see it, $17 for a slice of bliss is tantamount to finding a buried treasure.  As far as recommendations, I would buy one before the reissue is OOP.  Also, it's a first-rate reissue:  The artwork is very true to the original.  Compared to the original pressing, the reissue is pressed on 140g vinyl and enclosed in a nice paper stock quality sleeve.  Additionally, the original insert is included.  I purchased my copy at Eclipse.  Visions of the Country may also be purchased directly from Gnome Life.

peace and love, friends :)