miércoles, 30 de septiembre de 2009

Benoît Pioulard - 7"

Genre: Ambient Pop, Dream Pop, Folk Gaze
Label: Hall Of Owls / Stormy Records

My Space / Web


Lee features two covers, both described as old favorites by Meluch. The first is an excellent rendition of "Sundown, Sundown," originally written and performed by Lee Hazelwood with Nancy Sinatra. Meluch erases all the punchy orchestration of the original and replaces it with a hazy and sullen performance that retains the core melody and romantic tone. Meluch's spectral voice is in total contrast to Hazelwood's grittier delivery, but the subdued tone generated by Meluch's playing compliments his softer performance perfectly. The B-side is a cover of The Ink Spot's "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat," a doo-wop song from the early '40s. Meluch maintains the simplicity of the original and puts all the focus on his vocal performance and a plodding bass line. The song's bookended by some static effects that sound like Meluch's signature more than anything else. It's a nice song, but the original doesn't appeal to me as much as Hazelwood does, so I can't get myself as excited about it.

Flocks is an 11-plus minute EP that features a dark, nearly resigned tone and more of the haunting melodies I have come to expect from Benoît Pioulard. The A-side, "Maginot," begins with the dark tolling of a bell and puts some industrial atmospheric effects to good use. These are cut off as Meluch lends his drifting voice to a choppy acoustic guitar accompanied by percussive effects, bells, and a fluid lead guitar. As the song progresses it becomes more layered and acquires an exotic, yearning character before degenerating into a sweet mess of sound effects and sustained notes. The B-side is a noise epic reminscient of the material played during his live show. "Alaskan Lashes" obliterates Meluch's angelic voice and eschews his melodic inclinations in favor of churning wheels, pressurized intensity, and grinding mayhem. It is a deep, bellowing blast of sound that broods and boils before it suddenly disappears. I hope this is a sign that Meluch has similar music on the way because both of these songs are superb.

martes, 22 de septiembre de 2009

Noveller - Paint On The Shadows

Genre: Ambient, Drone
No Fun productions

My Space / Web


Noveller is the working name for avant-drone guitarist / filmmaker Sarah Lipstate. Having graduated from the legion sized guitar symphonies of both Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham, Lipstate produced a couple of cd-rs, a cassette, and some tracks for some compilations. She's also been moonlighting as the guitarist for Parts & Labor, but it's this album that caught our attention. Recorded for the increasingly confounding label No Fun (less aggro noise these days and more occluded psychedelic dronemusik), Paint On The Shadows begins with a liltingly pretty, side-long construction of intertwining guitar loops and elliptical fingerpicked patterns that conjures all of the best that Grouper and Colleen had managed through their loopstation laboratories. All of these sounds blossom out of a harmonic bed of bowed guitar drones; and steady low end thrums sublimate into richly plucked chiming notes that could even double for Jozef Van Wissem. The flipside offers up two pieces which seem to reflect her live presentations, with ebows, motors, and hand-held tape decks driving the strings and pick-ups from her double necked guitar. With precise placements of the ebows and some choice tremolo effects, Lipstate generates phasing tones often heard in the cosmic explorations of Eno & Fripp's No Pussyfooting or certainly not that far from Emeralds. Another one of those hyper-limited lp pressings from No Fun. Just 300 were made, and don't expect these to last very long!

lunes, 21 de septiembre de 2009

Ian Hawgood - Snow Roads

Link is fixed
Genre: Ambient, Drone, Instrumental
Label: Dragon´s Eye Recordings


My Space

From one extreme to the other in the crazy world of Norman Records with the new album by Ian Hawgood called 'Snow Roads'. This is an edition of 250 copies on Dragon Eye Recordings. Theres so much limited stuff about in handmade sleeves that its easy to get lost amongst it all. Its hard to blame the labels though as any release once its out a week or so will be available to download for free all over the internet. What people must remember when getting stuff for free is the link between them doing this and another nail in the coffin for the labels that are still attempting to release stuff and the shops attempting to sell it. I'm probably preaching to the converted here but if it needs saying once it needs saying a million times. Anyway onto the music which is a selection of delightful drones using organ, found sounds, field recordings and the odd guitar pluck. It includes contributions of source material from other artists including The Remote Viewer on harmonium, El Fog on vibraphone, Celer on tingsha bells, Le Mépris and Katherine Morrice on piano, and field recordings by Ben Jones and Wataru Osako. Its a lovely, shifting landscape of soothing sounds - perfect to nod off to sleep to on a chilly autumn evening.

jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2009

Emeralds - Emeralds LP

Genre: Drone, Ambient
Label: Wagon


Emeralds is John Elliott (synth), Steve Hauschildt(synth) and Mark McGuire (guitar). They are currently based in Cleveland, Ohio. Their music is of an improvisational nature and is synthesizer and guitar-centric, however vocals, electronics and field recordings are often utilized to create dynamic textures amidst melodious backdrops and minimal structures. Though their sound cannot be pinned down to one specific genre, it recalls the organic/electronic explorations of Tangerine Dream, Ashra, Coil, Terry Riley and Popol Vuh to name but a few.
Brand new full length from Cleveland's Emeralds recorded Aug-Sept 2008. Proper follow up to their debut LP 'Solar Bridge', 'Emeralds' takes the thick drone sound of that LP and transforms it into an even more abstract and strange place. Visual music that lifts the listener up and transports them through tubes of sound occasionally to be swept into the opposite direction by an unexpected entrance into another world entirely. An intense journey that drops you off in a place just beyond death.

martes, 15 de septiembre de 2009

Ekca Liena - Orb Night

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental
Label: Phantom Channel

My Space


Ekca Liena, the work of the prodigious Dan Mackenzie, created quite a stir with his monumental debut ‘Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement’. Issued via the excellent Dead Pilot Records, this record was a stunning collision of monolithic drones, volcanic guitar and cascading ambient soundscaping, that led those in the know to draw comparisons with Stars of the Lid, Tim Hecker, Fennesz and even Mogwai. One critic even labeled it as ‘..a piece of music that may alter your perception of the word epic’.

Mackenzie has not rested on his laurels; as well as founding drone outfit Plurals he has been busy recording new material for both Dead Pilot and Under the Spire Records, while remastering ‘Slow Music…’ for a wider release. Phantom Channel has also commissioned a piece from Mackenzie, entitled 'Orb Night', and is delighted to welcome his Ekca Liena project into our blossoming roster.

You can dowload the entire album on the label site (here) and buy it for a little price. It´s a 3" Cd release with 40 copies only, so hurry up!

lunes, 14 de septiembre de 2009


Not the original cover art

Genre: Drone, Psychedelic, Experimental
Label: Teardrop Records

My Space


Kyle Parker has jacked in his excellently named 'Gator Surprise' noise project to make way for Infinite Body which explores a far more subdued avenue. 'CMBCMEINAPTD' goes deep into heady drone territory with some thick fuzzy textures. I'm reminded a little of Growing's 'Colour Wheel' album. Phil is reminded of early Belong stuff. After hearing their 'October Language' LP earier I can second that notion....He uses some quite different and colourfull sounds over the duration of the album. It's consistently hypnotic throughout with some nice use of repetition and subtle shifts in mood.

Ben Woods - Things Weren't Always This Way

Genre: Ambient, Instrumental
Label: Wise Owl records

My Space

Things Weren't Always This Way is yet another stop on the ceaselessly evolving path of Ben Woods' creativity. Ben takes neo-classical minimalism to an entirely new level by blending, reversing, and layering pianos and other instruments to capture a surreal snapshot of his own psyche.

The album is as serene as it is sublime and the title track captures its essence with heavily layered harmonies and swirling ambiance, leaving the listener to be slightly caught off guard by the uneasy tension of Leaving Them Only, which only serves to strengthen its impact.

As he mentions in the liner notes, the album was created with something of a balance in mind. Each track can be reversed by the listener (using Audacity or something similar) to create a completely new listening experience. I personally encourage everyone to give this a shot because the reversed tracks stand quite strongly on their own and allow the listener to experience the album more thoroughly.

viernes, 11 de septiembre de 2009

Wet Hair - Dream

Genre: Experimental, Psychedelic, Noise, Drone
Label: Not Not Fun


When Iowa City freak-out free-rockers Raccoo-oo-oon called it quits last year it left a bummer scar in the Midwest underground scene. But time is a great healer, and so are new bands. So out of the ashes of the Rac pack comes Wet Hair, a synth-punk-trance duo composed of keyboardist/vocalizer Shawn Reed and keyboardist/drummer Ryan Garbes, and Dream is the band's debut vinyl full-length after a series of increasingly shredding limited-edition cassettes on their own Night People label. Piling together an unlikely trash heap of Suicide-style drum machine beat-bops, zone-droned krautrock keys, and fucked up outsider crooning, the LP's four tracks careen across a spectrum of moods and mangled melodies. Wet Hair's cult electric annihilation has never gleamed with such razor-edged weirdness; this is their dream made real.

jueves, 10 de septiembre de 2009

Ekca Liena - Drones Between Homes

Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Under The Spire Recordings

My Space

Ekca Liena is the recording alias of Daniel WJ Mackenzie, who recorded this album "in a lifeboat bedroom in Brighton, April 2009". I have no idea what a "lifeboat bedroom" is, but i'd like to think it involved a novelty, nautical bed with 'RNLI' emblazoned across it, much in the same spirit as one of those Formula One-themed bedrooms where small boys get their snooze on in a bed that looks like a car. Getting back to matters at hand, Drones Between Homes is a record of two halves: 'The More I Cut From One' and 'The More I Add To Another', the sort of titles you might find on a Hafler Trio record. Musically, this has more in common with the kind of sleepy tones you'd find on one of Kranky's more sedated releases, pouring bitcrushed electronic signals into the same melting pot as processed guitars and subdued atmospheric recording fragments. The second piece is especially good, featuring an escalating sense of drama thanks to an all-consuming minor chord that gradually accumulates power across the final third, before dissipating away via a linear downwards slope. A rather mysterious, ever so slightly traumatic example of the drone genre, this album is a peculiar thing but certainly worth spending some time with.
Sold Out

lunes, 7 de septiembre de 2009

Mountainhood - Wings From A Storm Lp

Genre: Acid Folk, Psychedelic, Lo-Fi
Time Lag

My Space


The counterpart to "thunderpaint the stone horse electric" is equally lovely, lo-fi, and lysergic, but here the somewhat euphoric zone has become ultra lovesick moody. dominated by just piano & vocals, with bits of guitar, tapes, chiming tones and dusty wooden night sounds stirring. definitely glassy-eyed voyeurism... pressed on 180gm bright red vinyl, with printed, hand stamped, and hand numbered labels. packaged in a foldout whale grey art paper cover with full sized full color high quality paste-on art front & back, screen printed interior, and hand stamping, plus two big art sticker inserts & 3rd xerox track list insert.

viernes, 4 de septiembre de 2009

Fabio Orsi & Seaworthy - Near and Faraway

Genre: Ambient, Electronic
Label: Low Point

My Space


Italian ambient maestro Fabio Orsi reaches out for yet another collaboration on this, his latest project, teaming up with Antipodean 12k types Seaworthy. There are three individual pieces on the disc: the first is Orsi alone and the last is solely Seaworthy, while the middle track is a collaboration between the two parties. Orsi's 'Evening By Evening' is a luscious quarter-hour of drifting synth strings and effulgent major-key timbres - a typically masterful and immersive exercise from the composer - although Seaworthy are keen to tackle their piece from a different angle, embarking upon a more minimal trajectory with 'Branch And Stone', using the guitar as a drone-sculpting machine, quietly emitting digitally processed tones over a lovely, very patient piece of music. The collaboration is most consistent with Orsi's sound, taking on a nebulous, densely packed sound that seems to hover enigmatically over the course of its seventeen minutes, brought to life through symphonic minor chords and breakdowns that reveal heavily treated, downbeat guitar fragments. You get a rare sense of cogency from this creative partnership, and the album's three long-form compositions make for rewarding, cohesive listening.

miércoles, 2 de septiembre de 2009

Wet Hair - Glass Fountain

Genre: Psychedelic, Noise, Drone, Experimental
Label: Not Not Fun


My Space

The Reed/Garbes duo mainly sticks to their guns, mining the same post-Suicide art-trance vein they perfected on Dream, but with Glass Fountain there’s an added emphasis on the disembodied, oscillator pop mode that Wet Hair often toy with. Fountain’s five tracks include some of the band’s simplest but catchiest songs (“Crucifix In The Waves,” “When The Right Time Comes,” etc), mesmerizing organ melodies over plink-plonky vintage drum machines with weirdo soulful singing and outer space electronics, like an outsider-punk Silver Apples or something. Hard to say exactly what universe Wet Hair are operating in and that’s probably part of why we love it so much. A killer record that gets better each spin.

martes, 1 de septiembre de 2009

Burial Hex / Zola Jesus - Split

Genre: Experimental, Drone, Psychedelic
Label: Aurora Borealis


Zurial Jex and Bola Hesus have done a split LP what's limited to the 500 copies.. I loved the Buriaa Hes album (also on Aurora Borealis) and thought the Zoll Jesux effort on Troubleman was mighty fine so this one seemed an exciting propostition from the off. The side with Burial Hex (to use their non-stupid name) let me down a little bit on first listen, I wasn't sure that it compared well with the material I'd previously heard but now that it's on again and I'm giving it my full attention it's actually a highly satisfying thing. The first tune is a funereal electronic dirge that brings early Coil to mind (but pushed far more over the top than that comparison suggests by the crazy screaming man who clearly doesn't want to clean the oven) while the second is all over the place during the course of its fifteen minutes, taking in ambient noise, little piano sonatas, electroacoustic whirrs and whistles, exotic percussion and heavy riffing along the way. Zola Jesus (to use her non-stupid name) contibutes one big fuck-off track that isn't dissimilar to that long Burial Hex track in its variety - elements are constantly dropping in and out, ideas toyed with then discarded and textures never quite left long enough for you to get too comfortable.. Obviously her witchy voice is the most remarkable thing and there's a moment about halfway though where scratchy static vies for attention with a near operatic croon that got my hairs standing right on end. Just one special moment in a superb overall listen and having digested it a little bit more I can wholeheartedly recommend this experimental little industrial tyke. (Norman Records)