ARTIST / TITLE / FORMAT / LABEL / Something or another
Twilight Natives / Post bellum Playground / cd-r / self released /
Twilight Natives map out eclectic psychedelic phantom texts, specifically haunted by the south. The band sonically conveys a textural netherworld between East and West by colliding the characteristics of pre and post industrial revolution.
'Quiet Birth' sounds with ritualistic persistence by jangling gamelan tonalities. Undercurrent drones of voiceless pressing mutterings whirlpool underneath the brightness till the song suddenly dissipates. The song strongly proclaims distance between sounds.
'Cotton Kingdom' immerses a harmonica and recorder flute duel in creaking haunted house. 'Wilting Flower' is an all too brief piano jaunt lament.
'Sweet Tunnels' is traveling music. A wordless hum guides a melee of sounds which involves the tangling of off kilter drum rhythms and crystal like guitar.
The album concludes with 'Inside the Tiger.' Imaginatively the sonic landscape seems to convey an observation point from the consciousness of a tiger in the periphery of a tribal ritual.
Post bellum Playground is ambient and actually a playground by avoiding direct darkness. The fluid ambience gives the album a seamless watery sensory experience. It is often easy to forget the songs were created by musicians in various home made recording environments. It often conveys a fantastic radiating sound welded to the experiences of a time traveling Marco Polo. If such scenario could happen and Christopher Columbus took Marco's place, Columbus would vomit profusely and suffer tremors of fear when apprehended by this music. Then spiritually paralyzed, he would be given exorcism with soothing strangeness.
Keenan Lawler / The Strange Tale of Eddy Westport / / New American Folk Hero 10 /
Keenan Lawler brings the spiritual blood and rough hewn character of the American landscape, history and ghostly violence. His compositions are breathing valleys. Lawler ploughs the field of folk song tradition.
Lawler's EP is one of many from the well like cornucopia of the New American Folk Hero series.
All compositions are played upon a resonator guitar which is bowed, plucked, finger picked and scraped. Musically the tones express the valleys and towns below jittering mountains. Lawler creates bluesy guitar instrumentals that transcend the guitar. The listener often can forget this is a guitar. The instrument groans squeaks, whines, scratches and even sounds like factory machines at some points.
Strangely ancient and timeless the guitar becomes the specter voices in the quagmire at the inception of the cruel industrial revolution and simultaneously keeping to the rich dirt of the earth as most of human society spirals in delusions of illusive artificial hallucinations. He invokes real hallucination which is the folk tale against the toxicity false hood.
"Old Fort" is bowed drone that invokes hard stone and morning light. „A Fork in the Gardner‚s Pathš is driving like the wheel inventing the wheel or the moments before Henry Ford fucks the paradigm of society. "Goodbye Lisa Rose" is a phantom industrial Appalachian mine ballad that is brief and subtle. Within this composition the guitar completely shape shifts into a violin without a violin present.
This short album is a narrative of sorts speaking travel and choice. The fact of only three compositions alludes to a folklore narrative form. Three is the sacred number. Three is heaven, hell and Earth.
Mars Killed Mary / Manna / cd-r / Self Released /
Manna sounds like disturbed Koto music in a cave. Metallic violin drones and plucking build to repeated frenzied crescendos and dropping to eerie canyons. A multi-instrumentalist, Mars Killed Mary creates all the sounds simultaneously live with minimal production that lends to a beautiful wrecking rawness. The compositions are often psychedelic and unnerving. The long composition structures are far from rock and roll. Her compositions are a weird amalgam of raw folk and classical music if together they were sloped and pushed down a hill. The sonics are true psychedelic music which is unfettered imagination where ever path that may lead.
"World War Boots" details a dark war tale involving the wounding bitter passage of time for a war veteran who becomes sealed off in a fantastic fallacy laden miniature world. Violin and mandolin layer and prick off each other like thorns then more aggressively into daggers. The sound builds up to a vast machine beast while the vocals climb upward. The sound of war itself is abstractly invoked while also remaining visceral.
"We Were Never Meant for Capture" displays subtle percussive clangs, omniscient violin, harmonica and a child‚s antique toy piano. The effect is a softness and much more whimsical then the previous song, at least initially. The song takes a distressed tone as emotions shade dark fractioning with the still somewhat whimsical repetition of the violin and mandolin loops. The song is then punctuated with smoldering violin solos.
The title composition, 'Manna', is a rusty brutal percussion dirge. The materials are minimalistic and ring with an opposing junkyard den. The song is infused with a Blakean sense of energy from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
'Wire Where Ivy Grew' spirals queasy tones and a massive high pitched violin drone. At some points the sound of bag pipes seem to emerge like a sudden thunder storm.
Manna as a whole arrives vision like from a wonderful murky mysteriousness similar to the oracles at Delphi. Highly individualistic and boundlessly imaginative, the songs are testament to true possession which is the act of warding off William Blake‚s nemesis of reason‚s shackles. The songs come from a secret place where linear perspective fails grotesquely. The songs are maps which lead the way in and out simultaneously. Mars Killed Mary composes struggle against the struggle.
Pony Bones / Little Richard's Lament / cd-r / Amaranth / 2006
Little Richard's Lament sets off with a jostle of feedback letting you know you have now entered the Haunted House of the Wild West wherein resides the banged up and whiskey-drenched mind of Matthew Procter. 'Cowbell Death Blues Blast' is just what the name says it is: some shit kickin, rooster callin, shotgun firin, rotten porch board stompin hillbilly fuck-out. This song could only be played by a true badass. Pony Bones is comin to your town, he's gonna punch your wife in the face and steal your cattle and damn well might shoot off some pillers if he wants to. 'Little Richard's Lament' and 'Molester of Cards' are two piano pieces performed by Pony Bones‚ inbred, mutated gremlin brother-in-law, Matt G. Both tracks are elegant and haunting at the same time. 'Fog Iron' is some country western doom blues bringing forth the cattle decapitator in all his bloody glory. 'Great Storm Marching' stands out among the wreckage of damaged tunes on Little Richard's Lament. The guitar and voice are both crisp and clean and the notes are executed with beautiful precision. Enjoy this Hell Ride through old America.
Smegma with Steve Mackay / Thirty Years of Service / cd / Radon Records / 2006
This music speaks a calamitous yet weird mud rejoicing of the unknown and known. Smegma shrapnels out a volatile wasp nest of electronic squall drones, pragmatic and messy percussion and other cacophony from alchemic cornucopia like stupid guitar.
Steve Mackay explodes and whines on saxophone with meandering mumblings. Mackay is obviously known for his murderous saxophone on the now cliché Fun House by the Stooges.
The music can be annoying and far too abstract in the post modern bullshit sense. If one is in the mood the album does offer mean aggressive heights like the bursting climatic „Full on Rockn.š Hot Rod Rock is also very gravitating and dirt mean like broken teeth being stomped on in the ground. Weirdly „the Rock and Rollš moments are the high lights here which isn‚t a horrific situation because its real blood boiling and non linear like a dead robotic goat being kicked.
Tony Conrad / Joan of Arc / cd / Table of the Elements / 2006
Joan of Arc sounds like the whole Earth shivering and rolling away. Initially the music was recorded as the soundtrack to a Piero Heliczer film simultaneously named. The sonics are strong enough to stand alone from the film.
The one hour composition is made completely from a sole pump organ occupied by Mr. Conrad. One can even hear the shifting of the pedal which comes across as atmospheric mutant midget percussion. The organ drones and then drones more. Subtle variations are like rippled water on a cold day counting the spare remaining daylight out. The hums and tones stretch out a sense of meditative consciousness blurred with passages of malevolence and eeriness. Metaphorically Christopher Columbus is actually sailing off the end of the world.
This Conrad release is unique because he is not bowing a violin or viola. Its existence owes to the rational/irrational continuation of aesthetics. The piece is similar to John Cale‚s lengthy organ drone „Sun blindness Music.š Cale‚s piece is more uncomfortable with reaches and chasms of violence. Conrad‚s sound by contrast swims in a languid haze with Phantom beauty.
The packaging is confusing because it does not offer stills from the film it graces. Instead the cover and inside showcase stills from The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda which is an eerie film in its own right. The confusing aspect is this film is shaded with ritualistic celebration. The film Joan of Arc like the music is far more imbued with a solitary perspective and the decay of time like this soundtrack. Maybe the powers wanted this offsetting juxtaposition. I speak and say nothing.
Big Nurse / Live / tape / Gift of the War Magi Records / 2006
Skuzzy gust electric elaborations that sound off as more noise then rock. This is much a difference as between a wild ragged dog and a dumb house dog pissing in a corner. The fact makes sense they come from the terrible fascism of today's Nashville where Mickey Newbury is horribly detained as a real radioactive ghost kicking beer cans in a dark alley while tourists gawk eyed get drunk and stupid in the countless dull bars downtown.
A lot of tapes are being released lately. Or maybe this is a subjective awkwardness I have just noticed. Tapes have always been put out but I have seemed to have acquired a plethora recently. Tapes in themselves are an instrument. Big Nurse's music blooms evil poppies in this environment format.
The music consists of a 'normal' rock set up with usual guitar drums, bass keyboards, vocals. They do fuck the rock up with being grotesquely messy. This tape documents piss bucket venues like Murpheesboro, Tennessee and boring outdated industrial smeared vault sky overhang that is anywhere in Ohio.
The song titles have a knack knife for humorous titles referencing Martha Stewart thus they ground themselves in the grinding present. The cover of the tape definitely references Pink Floyd's Ummagumma. It also puns Einsturzende Neubauten's first release Kollaps as they themselves were punning Pink Floyd. What does this mean? Noise in a sense has made full circle going back to traditional instruments. Honestly everyone is bored and wants blood to surface with good racket. The means don't matter.
Gratefully this doesn‚t sound like Sonic Youth which is the trap this kind of set up could have plummeted into. The songs stutter and have some heavy iron riffs but not heavy metal.
Gratefully there are no dance beats which is another folly. The situation is rare when a band floats on their rowboat instead of being part of an aircraft carrier of doom! Bands don‚t really exist anymore I suppose. Everyone is in duos and trios or flaying solo. Big nurse is good gun powder action.
Hollow Bush / Negative Line / tape / Hanson /
Negative Line is a brutal low Ųfidelity maelstrom overlord sparks whirlpool spinning in coagulated phantom center of a typhoon hurricane. This is wind thrown metallic shriek drones drifting out of Birmingham, Alabama. Sonics are elucidated from a former Macronympha member and all around noise monger Mr. Martin who may be the same Mr. Martin discussed in William S. Burroughs mythology.
This will clear your clear your throat by cutting it and purify your soul like dropping your phantom ghost afterlife in molten iron. The frequencies are Gnostic by throwing a silver dagger in the eyes of the demiurge and those who don‚t‚ care such as the apathetic, the corrupt gang leaders of ring game politics, and the sinister guardians of the cellar of rules and laws of conformity and control. The sonics are luminously psychically imprinted on cassette tape. This is a limited edition out of the Hanson label in Detroit Michigan.
Lisa Germano / In the maybe world / cd / Young God Records /
Lisa Germano is an anti-singer songwriter who still manages to be a singer songwriter. In the maybe world is a collection of hushed atmospheric vignettes. The songs evoke snapshot scenic views of sound strewn with vines.
Alone and together , the compositions have a storybook- like quality with a gentle yet modern off-kilter lullaby vibe. In some instances, this quality comes off excessive, leaving the listener with an uncomfortable feeling, even annoyance. At its strongest points, her songs are religious-like incantations evocative to protective prayers.
A subtle, jarring drone fragment begins the album with „the day.š The song is an impressionistic inward diary fragment of the moment of sunrise and what that has the potential to invoke individually. The song „In the maybe worldš accepts the cruel joy of the cycles of existence. Germano sings „After winter/ comes another storm.š
The instrumentation has a deliriously hazy quality. Germano, who produced the album, delivers unique production values. It is comforting that some artists still retain control of their own input and presentation. The vocals lack great dynamics, yet their sound is one of myriad experience.
The lyrics contain mythic archetypes like golden cities, ogres, monster, fairy and the eternal shifting of the seasons. On the downside the lyrics can sometimes dissipate or float away. Also, the essence of some songs generalize life too much. By contrast, the combination of the specific lyric sounds act as a musical instrument. The lyrics are also rich in emotion and speak of an intense, continuing inner voyage
Overall, In the maybe world is a subtle moody album. The album has the substance of songs torn from an endless story.
A Butterfly-Eaten Horse Head / Divorce / cdr / http://www.myspace.com/abutterflyeatenhorsehead /
A Butter-Fly Eaten Horse Head carves flood instrumentals of heavy psychedelic anti-bluesy blues wrought from an ugly misery glow. The music suggests a soul in a splintered state while pondering an old boarded up factory jutting on a muddy, molasses river bank.
The 4 song cycle thematically takes one through the death grievances of love. The songs usually pace ghostly and mysteriously by only two relentless guitars. The strings melt and forge a ritual of cleansing. The electrical instrument sculpting is deceptively intense.
„Dislocation of the Weakš opens with existential dread suggested by a doleful progression of notes. Intermingled sounds bring about light by leaving dark swallowing disruption, akin to leaving a water mark where a flood had reached.
„The Last Argumentš paces out space with imagined contours of waterfalls. In actuality, the argument in question is really the lingering aftereffects of a wrathful turmoil. The song‚s calm reflection betrays irony of anger and despair‚s clash.
„But You‚re my Misery Cloudš envelopes the listener with massive feedback sustain. This melts into a see saw clean guitar rhythm while alternating with dirty river fuzz tones. The song is much more of an anxious mood from the previous offerings.
„Insomniaš ends the song cycle with a bubbling motif similar to the repetitive hellish sensation that insomnia is.
This is not goddamn bullshit rock! The compositions unfurl subtle fury into dark ravines infused with twilight‚s embers.
HILDEGARD / ACTE GRATUIT: Works for Multiple Timbres I-IVII / cdr / www.Feedandseedrecords.com /
Hildegard sounds like a menacing forest out skirted with brambles superimposed over a large abandoned airport with endless terminals. Nightmarish gripping formlessness is invoked out of the bound blind shadow of the belly of the American book of the dead. .
Hildegard creates sound maps out of a cornucopia of instrumentation. The songs are threaded together with harmonium, bells, short wave, drums, tapes, shruti box, and various strings. Sounds are subtlety malicious with floating buzzes, bleeps and hippie flutes over torn out pug dog eyes. Constant Deep dark drones cut through the sounds cape and hold the album‚s sonic theme.
The album is conceptual as all pieces are titled with Multiple Timbre. Multiple Timbre I starts with pulsing drones building up to dying guitars and drum strikes. Multiple Timbre III has a great unexpected driving force arising. On part VIII, the album unfortunately ends before the flute can do some real damage.
The packaging is well done with a dark transparency that conveys what the music would visually suggest. Maybe I‚m all wrong. The music may sound like going to the wrong part of Florida in the 1800ős.