Thursday, September 29, 2011

Matthew Cox's embroidered x-rays

Bill Orcutt - How The Thing Sings

(Editions Mego, 2011)

Bill Orcutt, emasculating once again whole segments of pussy-footing noise musicians with simply an acoustic guitar.  Not that I would call this noise, what Orcutt is doing.  Though I can imagine the noise tag being thrown at him, as much in celebration as antagonism.  Orcutt's playing is hyper-masticated to the point of pulping, acoustic shredding (the term that feels invented for Orcutt's style of playing) that purées notes together in a way that defies easy categorization.  So Orcutt, while stylistically a descendent of Derek Bailey, is operating in a highly individual territory that is, in its genius, beyond any broad genre signifiers.  How The Thing Sings builds upon Orcutt's debut, achieving a greater range between textured, meditative, albeit skewampus blues and mind-twistingly schizophrenic chaos.  It seems that with Orcutt exploring every crevice of his guitar (chirping along with it nonsensically as he does) he has discovered a deep well with infinite returns.

Bill Orcutt - How the Thing Sings - "Lost They Book" (editions mego)

Harold N. Fisk (1944)

I am obsessed with maps.  Erin knows this and found these here.  Which, evidently, are available in larger quantities here, tracking the growth and variations of the Mississippi river circa 1944.

Jason Jägel, Part 1

Jason Jägel, Part 2

Pen Ward: The Bravest Warriors

I have been obsessed with Adventure Time lately and almost forgot about Pen's other one-off from back in 2009, The Bravest Warriors:

Eli Horn

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mike Weis - Loop Current / Raft

(Barge Recordings, 2011)

The first hint that you should be listening to this LP right now: Barge Recordings put it out.  The second: it's the solo debut of Mike Weis, percussionist from Zelienople.  The third: It's really really really good (see sample below).  I've been neck-deep in Loop Current / Raft over the past week or two trying to figure out how to convey the deep-rooted, dense, intensely satisfying, gravely revolutions the record contains.  I think there is something to be said of a percussionist who creates something you could conceivably swim in.  Loop Current / Raft (names, respectively, for the two sides of the record) has an indelible sense of texture that is not common of long form, drone-y style albums.  Additionally, Weis has the added sense of a composer, each composition rising and falling with subtle precision, swelling and receding with a careful attention to the building layers of sediment weighting music.  There is a great variety of tones here, all of which contribute to the vague sense of doom that's permeating most all of Weis's work.  It's an enchanting, darkly magical record that promises to please.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dan Slavinsky

Bridget Hayden - An Indifferent Ocean

(Kraak Records, 2011)

Bridget Hayden's solo debut sounds something akin to floating a contact mic through a thunder cloud:  particle fuzz and feedback grating on all sides.  Formerly of the historied Vibracathedral Orchestra, it's no surprise that Hayden's managed such a layered, mordantly affecting record as she has here with An Indifferent Ocean, but I must say, I'm thoroughly impressed. Enthralled actually.  Reminiscent of the best of Yellow Swans, Skullflower and Inca Ore, Hayden's cacophony sound is slathered generously with layers corrosive guitar and grainy backwater ghosting.  It's a dark and mystic landscape pulsing with elasticizing specters and mirror-chamber audio illusions.  As such, the record seems endlessly listenable for the strong-hearted.  Dreary, beautiful and wild, An Indifferent Ocean is a marvelous listen.

Bridget Hayden - An Indifferent Ocean (album preview) by experimedia

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Show Review: Black Pus, RISD Art Museum, 9/15/2011

Have I mentioned that we live in Providence now?

So I went to see Black Pus for free at the RISD Art Museum on Thursday.  I didn’t bring a camera, but it looked kind of like this:
…his setup.

It wasn’t actually in the museum, but tucked away in this pleasant little covered terrace, kind of under and behind the museum.  There was almost no one there when Brian started—promptly at eight—after which, guided assumedly by the megaton-decibel-blast funneling out into the streets, the terrace filled immediately.

When you see Black Pus play there’s no necessity of distinguishing between individual songs—though I’m sure Brian was channeling noise from his recently released, FG-beloved Primordial Pus—because everything is presented in a soupy breath of energetic chaos that erases any effort to contextualize specific portions.  It’s an experience that asserts itself as something uniquely its own.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mammal Airlines - Wounded Lions Crying Iron

RIYL = Times New Viking, Cloud Nothings, the like

(Papaiti Records, 2011)

How many full-length albums Mammal Airlines have recorded: 0
How many EPs Mammal Airlines have recorded: 3
How many Mammal Airlines EPs that are freely downloadable from Papaiti Records: 3
How many people are Mammal Airlines: 3
How many songs Mammal Airlines have written that I know of: 13
How old the Mammal Airlines kids probably are: 20 or something young like that
How long Mammal Airlines are currently scheduled to be on hiatus according to Facebook: indefinitely
How awesome this new EP is: super awesome
How easy it is to download: very

Mammal Airlines - "Swim Team"

Sun Araw - Ancient Romans

(Sun Ark Records, 2011)

I'm not unfamiliar with Sun Araw.  How the project's been gaining momentum over these past couple three years.  The whole lazy psych movement as it's seemed to me.  Similar to bands like Wet Hair and Religious Knives (both of whom having also released albums this year) that had so much promise in their inception having almost completely petered out now, shedding everything that first marked them as bands to watch.  Now churning out limp, indulgent psych nothingness.  I'm being overly harsh, but in a musical environment as crowded as today's, bands like these are the worst kind: offering music that steals away your time hinting at something grand only to deliver a notch above mediocre.  (Even now I want to disbelieve it, to listen again and have them prove me wrong.) 

I've been lumping Sun Araw into that category.  And while I've still sampled previous Sun Araw records with a hopeful ear, I'll admit to being skittish at the first signs of blah-ness surfacing.

Ancient Romans has got me though.  I don't know what it was that kept me listening through the first half of this plenty lengthy record, but something clicked, or something is genuinely different about this record that has me swooning amidst the soupy debris that Cameron Stallones has cooked up.  This record is hot stuff for realsies.  Super thick like late era Black Dice, but slowed way down and happily injected with dub and kraut influences.  I'm still coming around on a couple of the slower tracks on the back half of the album, but that hasn't stopped Ancient Romans from consuming my headphones.  If you've been an early supporter then you already know this, but Sun Araw is straight jammin'.

Sun Araw - Lute and Lyre

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sharks' Teeth - Such People

(self released, 2011)

Sometimes, when you're caught between earth and sky, in the middle stages of being abducted by an alien saucer-ship, ropes of light looped under your arms and the backs of your knees, hoisting you skyward, there's a special sense of hope and wonderfulness; the feeling that, despite the unannounced stealing of you, these saucer-ship people, they might just be alright; a hope that this abduction just might land you a galaxy away, on some distant planet where warmongering and consumerism and bureaucratic paperwork and all the dirt and shame blah-ness of this world are nonexistent.  Time slows down, folds into your pocket and, indeed, it's true, you've been removed from the earth by such people.   

In the course of two tracks and just over thirty minutes of music, Sharks' Teeth navigates a similar path.  Such People is a transportative, polyhued album filled with lush, cosmic electronics that are mesmerizingly beautiful.

And it's free to download.

A surefire pleaser.

Friday, September 2, 2011

HYMNS: múm - "Green Grass of the Tunnel"

From Ryan from Swaziland:

If anyone out there read my last HYMN detailing my relationship with Hood’s “You are Worth the Whole World” you know my affinity for electro-acoustic bands from the early 2000’s and the brittle sputter of a drum machine over a piano’s minor chord progression plunked from within the bowels of some forlorn lighthouse atop some Bronte-esque crag half-hidden by Iceland’s Volcanic clouds. Actually, that is exactly how this song was recorded. The Icelandic collective nested inside a lighthouse during the writing and recording of Finally We Are No One. Sometimes things are just too precious.