viernes, 30 de octubre de 2009

Evan Miller - Transfigurations On Lap Steel Guitar

Genre: Drone, Experimental
Label: Arbor


Iowa City’s Evan Miller is never one to stay in the same rut for too long. His earlier releases were composed of Fahey-esque spells, heavily emotional acoustic guitar work emanating tones of nostalgia and simplicity. On Transfigurations a new zone is crafted with lap-steel guitar and tape collage, creating equally nostalgic music from the other end of the spectrum: delicate, minimal drones. Tones interweave and textures evolve: it is Evan’s most personally progressive work, combining past themes and reinterpreting them on another medium: electric lap-steel guitar.

lunes, 26 de octubre de 2009

The North Sea - Orbital Forcing

This is not the real cover art
Genre: Electronic, Ambient, Drone
Label: White Circle /Black Dot

My Space


Two new epic songs made by Brad Rose, the man behind the Digitalis and Foxglove labels, in a 100 limited cassette recorded in late 2008.
Very incredible stuff surrounding my ears with each note.

domingo, 25 de octubre de 2009

Nudge - Infinity Padlock

Genre: Ambient, Shoegaze, Experimental
Label: Audraglint

My Space


Infinity Padlock is an EP that finds Nudge exploring voices on the fringes of their album-based output. The group netted their largest audience with their 2005 release Cached, which came out on the well-respected Kranky imprint. Fans will recognize members Paul Dickow and Honey Owens under their solo monikers, Strategy and Valet, respectively. Dickow’s been a canny observer of independent musics for a long time, and the nuance and depth of the work he releases speaks to his keen ear and devoted eclecticism. Owens, for her part, has released some of the more celebrated psych work of the last few years.

Lately, the work of both Strategy and Nudge have been fascinating submersions of funk tactics in ambient atmospheres, yielding a fetching blend of homemade distortion, grotty polyrhythm, and spacious effects. Infinity Padlock, however, reflects a more meditative side of the group, one that’s deeply in touch with the post-acid agenda of Owens’ work. On “War Song” the group offers a watery, echo-laden reflection of the folk idiom, complete with layers of reverbed electric guitar, silvery vocals, and down-tempo percussion. “Angel Decoy” conjures shoegaze by generating a thick haze of blissful noise from which tiny shards of guitar, organ, and fiddle dart out like cut lightning bolts and sleet rain. The track is a shuddering analog storm system that would make Yellow Swans proud. “Sickth” enables the weight of an open nighttime sky and the fastidious activity of insects to converge in a gorgeous dream sequence. The EP closes with “Time Delay Twin,” a sort of bedroom folk clad in Sonic Youth pajamas.

Infinity Padlock is crawling with meticulous artistry that serves to shape complex, pliable moods. Far more than a throwaway collection of odd and ends, this EP deserves a respected place in the Nudge catalogue and your year-end best-of list.

viernes, 23 de octubre de 2009

Ecstatic Sunshine / Lucky Dragons - Friendship Trip 02

Genre: Experimental, Electronic
Label: Wildfire Wildfire


The Friendship-Trip series is an ongoing project to release diverse music from across the world made by friends who share similar ideas about the future and seek similar ways to communicate those ideas.

Lucky Dragons are about the birthing of new and temporary creatures--equal-power situations in which audience members cooperate amongst themselves, building up fragile networks held together by such light things as skin contact, unfamiliar language, temporary logic, the spirit of celebration, and things that work but you don't know why. There have been hundreds of these simple yet shifting and unpredictable instances--with audiences ranging from the intense intimacy of one person to the public spectacle of thousands of people. At the heart of it all is playing together--building up social collectivities, re-engaging the wonder and impossibility of technological presence. It sounds--and looks--like simple and ancient patterns coming together and falling apart in a sincere attempt to let wires and screens and words become clear and crystal.

Ecstatic Sunshine is a continual investigation of the places where transcendence and playfulness intersect. Their music is an illustration of everyday, vague positivity; like making out under the bleachers, or seeing a minor car accident, having a dream that is good, or hearing sounds that are pleasing.

martes, 20 de octubre de 2009

Barn Owl - From Our Mouths A Perpetual Light LP

Genre: Drone
Label: Not Not Fun Records

My Space


In a semi-recent review posted on his Heritage Head web site, rock icon/author/critic Julian Cope envisioned the latest work by San Francisco duo Barn Owl as a kind of time traveller’s palantir, a sort of seer’s stone for gazing into America’s colonial past. He notes, “It’s as though the first layer of American settlers has been reactivated through the music and Barn Owl are transmitters.” As overzealous as his piece gets, Cope nears an important specificity in his description. The songs on From Our Mouths a Perpetual Light do evoke the foreboding ecstasy of discovery, the brooding anxiety of reaching into a new frontier. However, the rich psychic wilderness that they probe isn’t from the past, but from our very own time.

With this first non CD-R, formal LP, John Porras, Evan Caminiti and drummer Mike Bailey have created a purposeful, expansive drone music to soundtrack the forgotten dimensions of our postmodern consciousness. Using heavily effected guitars, ebbing harmonium and sparse percussion, the trio spins out eight compositions that slow time to a veritable halt, stopping our hyper-accelerated reality dead in its tracks. Almost fully instrumental and unbreaking in its mournful demeanor, the album goes a step further than much experimental music that aims to shake people from staid mindsets or inspire with challenging sonic abrasion. Instead, it locates buried outposts of meditative consciousness, delivering the listener into realms of time and space frequently ignored.

A significant part of what makes this record such a marked departure from other currents of contemporary music is its use of stark aural minimalism. The album was recorded analog on an old reel-to-reel and is devoid of ornamentation. Barn Owl uses the basic tools of rock and roll (and a slew of worthy effects pedals) to illuminate a world just beneath our plane of immediate perception, perhaps most poignantly illustrated by the short, enthralling vistas of “The Stones Speak Through the Fire.” In the echoed cries we hear a wilderness churning in isolation. This could be the soundtrack to a ritual being performed somewhere in expansive pristine America, but is more likely the distant sound of smelting ore, of free land being transformed into the cold dominion of man.

domingo, 18 de octubre de 2009

Lissom - Nest Of Iterations

Genre: Ambient, Experimental, Drone
Label: Dragon´s Eye Recordings

My Space

Tana Spargue (Lissom) is a Oakland, California, based sound and visual artist as well as production manager and Assistant director of Recombinant Media labs in San Francisco. Nest of Iterations is her debut album and directly points to her areas of concern, iteration a repetition of process in computing with a mutative state. Compare this idea with any the basic tenets of the minimalist school of music where slight changes in repetitions over time lead to greater development and revealed through time the whole as movement and change within a given form. However Sparges work is more directly interested in computing areas than the minimalist school of Reich, Riley or La Monte Young. Lissom as a reference point directly points to self organizing computational models that are influenced by the agile manifesto for software development. Lissom literally means agile and graceful.

Nest of Iterations is a seven track album that combines intricate micro fluctuations using digital forms and organic forms to create the sound. In the use of organic forms here we can note that the digital programs/programming utalised in the production follows an organic growth, in that it builds on foundational knowledge, overlaid by incremental advances. The sense of organic here also incorporates the nature sense, through field recordings, vocal intonations, sourced sounds. However the concepts of organic growth in language and the devices manifest by the development of mathematical, musical advances in the theoretical nature of sound are the true subject matter of Lissom’s work.

This point adequately made the area of sound that Lissom generally is located is usually referred to as ambient, in that it is not specifically beat driven or concerned with ideas of rhythm or melody in the sense of popular music, even though the internal nature of her progress in music could have a sense of rhythm stretching through time and describing the time or space of music as it occurs at the abstract frontiers of sound. It is more precisely seven tracks of discrete micro environments of sound infused with far reaching conceptual frameworks of musical and computational theory and practice.

Nest of Iterations is an excellent addition to Yann Novak’s collection of works on his Dragon’s Eye Recordings label. Released as a 250 limited edition 5″ CD-R, this work will surely become a sought after collector’s item to those marveling in the works of Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), Taylor Dupree, Richard Chartier, and Evan Bartholomew.

Sold Out!

viernes, 16 de octubre de 2009

Mountains - Mountains, Mountains, Mountains

Not the original cover art

Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Catsup Plate

My Space

Mountains, the duo of Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, have been making some of the most beautifully epic music of the past four years. The two blend acoustic instrumentation with field recordings, subtle electronics and live sampling to create something otherworldly. You've probably heard a lot of people running acoustic instruments through their computers and are probably pretty bored with that whole concept at this point. The last thing Catsup Plate would foist on the world is another twee laptop-folk project. Mountains is an altogether different entity. The Wire magazine described their music as "infinite sheets of grainy sound build and renew themselves to immensely pleasing effect," and that pretty much sums it up for us here at C Plate.

Mountains Mountains Mountains, though it feels of a piece, is actually a compilation of sorts. The whole of side B ("Millions of Time" and "Hive") constitutes the entirety of a 3" CDR the band put together for a month long tour towards the end of 2005. And interestingly, "The Whale Years," the album's first track, was improvised in a hotel room in southern Georgia on that same tour (if only all improvisations sounded so beautiful and composed!). "Nest" was recorded in NYC in late 2007.

Those who are familiar with Mountains will notice a more muscular sound on Mountains Mountains Mountains. Much of "The Whale Years" is built around a phased guitar line that, through manipulation of an unknown sort, takes on an overwhelming celestial grandeur. "Nest" find Mountains returning to a fingerpicked acoustic guitar line, but with a ringing urgency that eventually falls away as the side runs out. "Millions of Time" is based on a motorik-style repeating sample, upon which the band hangs huge washes of guitar that recall something like the dissonant melodies of early 90s Shoegaze or the recent work of Axolotl. And the album ends with "Hive" which may be the most forceful piece they have recorded. The first two and a half minutes begin with a ringing cloud of layered guitar picking that dies away momentarily, at which point a howl of dissonance and guitar wail envelops the song, eventually pushing the piece to a monumental drone that is totally unexpected and amazing.

Sold Out!

miércoles, 14 de octubre de 2009

Caboladies - Crowded Out Memory Cdr

Genre: Ambient, Electronic, Drone
Label: Gneiss Things

My Space

To call Caboladies and the Caboladies related output in the last couple of years 'prolific' is kind of like calling Michael Jordan just an ok basketball player; it’s pretty much the understatement of the decade. The craziest part is that it seems like everything this Kentucky trio (now a duo?) touches turns gold and promptly (and rightfully) disappears amid the frenzied drone-heads lurking teh internets for any sign of an under-the-radar Caboladies release. Well, I lamented not being hip to the Caboladies’ Atomic Weekender LP on Digitalis, but I guess I can’t complain because Crowded Out Memory, the new cdr from Emeralds run label Gneiss Things, is pretty much the album lengthed Caboladies treasure that I have been yearning for all year. Like Axolotl’s Of Bonds in General, Crowded Out Memory just barely makes the thirty minute mark with three long form tracks. I bring up Of Bonds in General because despite the astral hyperboles that I heaped upon that record in my review of its unparalleled goodness, Crowded Out Memory is hitting that same level of noise-ambient bliss. While Caboladies do fit into a similar category as Axolotl, there are definitely distinct differences in their sound. What Caboladies have been pushing is a bit less abrasive and a bit more, um, spacey? Crowded Out Memory is flush with a polysynth barrage of digital rainfall, mechanized laser beams and glittering keyboard sizzles that all combine to create the most unlikely beauty. Crowded Out Memory is basically two relatively shorter tracks sandwiching an eighteen minute plus behemoth of wandering, molecular mischief that strives to rearrange the patterns of space. Caboladies do a pretty fair job too. I wouldn’t be surprised if based on the efforts of this album alone that scientists announce the addition, retraction and rearrangement of several planets in our solar system by early next year. Of course, by that time you can probably expect that the Caboladies will have released a dozen more, equally gorgeous tapes, cds and vinyl to put things back into their rightful place again. As far as I am concerned, Caboladies can pretty much do whatever they want. This album is simply nuts delicious, textured and pastoral, futuristic and timeless. I guess there is one less available spot in my top ten for 2009. (From Forest Gospel)

martes, 13 de octubre de 2009

Lucky Dragons - Open Power

Genre: Experimental, Electronic, Drone
Label: Teenage Teardrops

My Space


Lucky Dragons have existed in one form or another for a fare while now and though their records are not easy to track down, these LA based loop enthusiasts have a lot to offer so you should seek them out. Or, you could invest in 'Open Power', probably their most consistent and widely available release so far. Listening to a Lucky Dragons record is kinda like sifting through a sketch book. Lots of ideas! Almost too many to appreciate in one sitting. Here are some of the basic things you need to know about Lucky Dragons; they commonly process their ideas on computers yet they sound like a free form, organic improvised duo. They love percussive loops and use them whenever possible. They have an innate ability to weave impossibly satisfying melodies. They are playful and amusing in everything they do. They share certain traits with Baltimore's Animal Collective but they are tons better YO! Side A contains two amazingly consistent tunes. 'Traveling song' and 'Open Melody' take in elements of Steve Reich and twist them into fun shapes and patterns. Both tracks are really tranquil and sound good at both 45 and 33RPM, can't say that about many records. The B-side has three slightly more out there experiments. 'Power melody' is awesome with it's unabashed use of pan pipes and flutes to create a north african style party groove. I'll stop now because I'll be at it all day but rest assured, this is an awesome record. If you got their last 7" collection and liked it a lot, then you'll more than likely be fully amazed by this. If you like Black Dice, glockenspiel Pit Er Pat, Animal Collective, Mahjongg and those new tropical drone concept records from James Ferrero then you should check this out for sure.

jueves, 8 de octubre de 2009

Ben Frost - Steel Wound

Genre: Ambient, Electronic, Drone
Label: Room40

My Space


Since his earliest days, Ben Frost has been fascinated by the cinematic qualities of the guitar. His output to this point has hinted at this, but with Steelwound he makes a bold statement of intent.

Finding his way to a deserted stretch of Johanna Beach along the Great Ocean Road (Victoria, Australia) in early 2003 Frost set up a remote studio at a derelict cabin overlooking the icy waters of Bass Strait. With a constant wind flowing off the sea his only companion, Frost started work on a series of improvisations that would eventually become Steelwound. A few months go by and Frost has made his way back to civilization. He begins editing the masses of treated guitar from the Johanna Beach improvisations and before long a theme takes hold - one that very much reflects the isolation of the environment where the tracks were created.

Each of the pieces on Steelwound is a epic journey, coloured with a deep sense of filmic narrative and suggested dialogues. The textural quality of the works, laced with field recordings and lost vocal fragments, sketches out the emotional soundscapes Frost had unwittingly gathered during his time at Johanna Beach. Each piece is a splintered fragment in time - a forgotten memory beautifully rediscovered in a moment of introspection.

sábado, 3 de octubre de 2009

Yellow Tears - Don't Cry

Not the original artwork

Genre: Noise, Experimental, Drone
Label: Hospital Productions

My Space


Yellow Tears is the sound of a drop of urine being pushed through an infected urethra. An uncomfortable attraction to the golden realms of natural expulsion, this is the audio collage equivalent of a child's worst day at a carnival as an actionist nightmare of disturbing imagery and sounds. Don't Cry shows these young masters at work, carving out sculptures of depravity using god-knows-what for source sounds. The listener is introduced to a mostly quiet, subtle psychology of fear, childhood trauma and locked cellars. Power comes from the absence of the familiar. Separating themselves from the narcissistic herd, the band requires decades of therapy to begin to solve their problems. Bad dreams are supposed to be frightening.

Following shocking albums from Kevin Drumm, Cold Cave, Wolf Eyes and Grey Wolves, Yellow Tears join one of the strongest label schedules around with their latest album 'Don't Cry' on Dominic Fernow's Hospital imprint. The group are an intense bunch of characters, devoted to creating a totally unhinged blend of repressed violence and engrossing drone layers that will uplift and terrify you with equal force. 'Don't Cry' is just an uncomfortably reassuring listen from start to finish, coating two sides of the black stuff in dismantled sketches of brutality and internal noise expunged from sources unknown. The album takes the form of an audio collage, cutting out and pasting sections of your worst nightmares with subtle use of hovering synthlines and close attention to atmospheric detail, presumably using field recordings to create a morphing sense of space alternating between claustrophobia and widescreen loneliness. We're not smart enough to coin a new genre for this sound, but it really is a visceral exercise in aural narcosis that is just ruling our world.

viernes, 2 de octubre de 2009

Moon Duo - Killing Time Ep

Genre: Psychedelic, Rock, Noise, Space Rock
Label: Sacred Bones

My Space


Moon Duo is a project of Wooden Shjips guitarist and singer Ripley Johnson. Under the Moon Duo moniker, Johnson and collaborator Sanae Yamada create expansive Krautrock influenced tapestries of warm cascading fuzz and controlled feedback, organ, and accenting keyboard.

After lambasting those Wooden Shjips and their rotting bows and decaying hulls since I was first subjected to their largely boring ouvre, I scoffed at the ridiculous travesty of one of them having some sort of "solo" career. What's that gonna entail then? A solitary 2 note bassline looping for nigh on 10 minutes? Erm I was a bit wrong and now with the new Moon Duo EP 'Killing Time' on Sacred Bones shaking the office, i've gotta eat humble pie a little. It's repetitive alright, opening with the stunning self titled lead track, the relentless primitive 60's Motown-esque beat grounding a blurred echoed vocal whilst guiding this hollow wail of harrowing, fuzzy distortion that simply renders the tune sound quite stunning, eerie, claustrophobic & dystopian, like a Phil Spector production fed through the heart of a holocaust. 'Speed' possesses a juddery, nihilistic seedy bent with heavy nods to the hypno-sleaze overload of Suicide, the beat remaining a metronomic 60s flecked pulse whilst walls of sneering overloaded organ pulse & grind away like the soundtrack to some psychedelic orgy. More mellow edged lo-fi motorik psych beginning the flip slide that sounds quite Neu-ish, concluding with 'Ripples' a hazy mid 70's Komische style slice of desert baked chill-out that'd sound even better after a Peyote & Mescaline shake & a large doobie - but after the blistering shellshock of the opening track you're just nodding along obliviously with a spannered, lopsided smile on yr face.

jueves, 1 de octubre de 2009

Jasper TX - Untitled Nr. 7

Not the original cover art

Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Dead Pilot Records

My Space

Dag Rosenqvist aka Jasper TX (one half of the post rock duo De LaMancha) has been producing his own brand of unique ambience for sometime now, having had releases with Lampse, Miasmah, most recently FangBomb and self releasing various 3inch CDrs inbetween. It is with much honor that I welcome Dag into the “Dead Pilot ranks” (as it were).

With this 3 inch disc, Dag has really honed in on the drone sound he has only vaguely touched upon before. Building from subtle organ tonesto dense low end drones and peaking with fizzing glory and triumph,this perfectly crafted 20 minute piece shows Dags ear for minimalismand subtle shifts in melody and texture. It’s slow burning development makes the peak much more euphoric and intense. Like Stars of the Lid remixed by Machinefabriek.

Limited to 110 copies worldwide packaged in miniature DVD style case with photography artwork by Peter Broderick (yes THAT Peter Broderick)and textured paper insert.

Sorry, but it´s sold out