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Mullen, Geoff – “The Air In Pieces” – [Last Visible Dog]

Drifting Pixel Warfare. Guitar compositions that drag you down a river of Mercury. Geoff Mullen relaxes you with this release on Last Visible Dog Records. His use of the guitars and metal is reminiscent of some of Fred Frith’s work where time is stretched. Residing in the Providence-area, Geoff has spent some time playing with Black Forest/Black Sea as well as other ‘Free-Folk? acts. Don’t let that trick you though, his music transcends the typical labels such of drone and free-folk. With so much out there in this genre right now, the harder edge that Geoff Mullen puts out here is a breath of fresh air. I tended to favor the longer tracks on this release, sub 5-minute tracks with this type of music doesn’t do it justice. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on November 14, 2006 at 4:56 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Barbeau, Anton – “In The Village Of The Apple Sun” – [Four-Way]

    Psychedelic Wonder Pop. Sacramento-based Anton Barbeau put together an album I didn’t even know I was looking for. His lyrical mysticism had me tied up in knots for the first few tracks, but once I let the words just roll over me the meaning became clear. Almost a constant stream of one-liners that leave you astounded and bewildered. From lines such as ‘Cantaloupe is what you called the fruit you had for breakfast? and ‘This is why they call me Guru 7″ you become trapped. It is as if Anton is a blind mad puzzle master working the pieces of a endless white puzzle without forcing mismatched pieces. His 10th album in a hopefully long career is out on San Francisco’s Four-Way records should not be missed. This one is destined to be a classic. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on November 14, 2006 at 9:11 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Koray, Erkin – “Tutkusu” – [Underground Masters]

    Thursday Hookah Dreams. This reissue of Erkin Koray’s 1977 album ‘Tutkusu? is a great example of the Turkish musician’s aptitude. This album was only his fourth album which is strange since being an active musician in the early 60s his music was relegated to singles in small runs. Ranging from straight forward psych-guitar works, heavy eastern influenced works, and even some songs with a country feel, this album shows a great breadth. A fore-runner in Turkey’s psychedelic music of the late 60′s and 70′s, Erkin Koray based himself in Istanbul cementing his sound in where the East meets the West. Stabbed and attacked multiple times for having long hair during the 60s in Istanbul Erkin didn’t deter his musical thirst. For you country swain out there, check out the third track ‘Sandalci?. Tracks 4 and 9 are in English the rest are in Turkish. — Numa

    Numa Picks: 2, 6, 8

  • Reviewed by Numa on August 19, 2006 at 9:57 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Black Heart Procession, The – ?The Spell? – [Touch and Go]

    Dark Buried Love. Somber songs for solemn sunless days. Songs of scorned lovers and secluded emotions are found throughout this prototypical release from The Black Heart Procession. After four years without a full-release, the San Diego-based The Black Heart Procession emerges with this album of despondent love songs. Originally formed as a side project of Pall Jenkins and Tobias Nathaniel from Three Mile Pilot, The Black Heart Procession pulled in the string talent of Matt Resovich from The Album Leaf. Joe Plummer (ex-Modest Mouse) plays the drums on this release. Break-up pop? Introverted lover? A bottle of Gin’ This music makes you recall all those lost moments and regrets. (If you have a guilty conscience like me) — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on July 18, 2006 at 2:08 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment
  • Instruments, The – ?Cast A Half Shadow? – [Orange Twin]

    Orchestral Georgian Folk. ‘Cast A Half Shadow? is the second release from the Athens, Georgia-based collective The Instruments. Headed up by Heather McIntosh, The Instruments are a vehicle for her compositions. A classically trained cellist with a BA in music from the University of Georgia, Heather McIntosh creates a lush orchestral folk sound with The Instruments. As with most Orange Twin releases, there is some help from other Orange Twin artists to round out the sound. With six members as the core, the sound is dense and at times the density leads to over-complexity. The woodwinds give this music the space it needs. I personally found myself leaning towards the three instrumental pieces as my favorites. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on June 21, 2006 at 4:35 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Legendary Pink Dots, The – ?Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves” – [ROIR]

    Saucerful of Prozac. 25 years and more albums than I can count have elapsed since the formation of The Legendary Pink Dots, and Edward Ka-Spel’s emotionally charged lyrical well is still going strong. Songs dealing with psychic surgical procedures and sleazy shysters highlight the emotive depth charges contained within. Phil ‘Silverman? Knight’s electronics and keyboards carry the bellicose feeling into the night. Woodwinds supplied by Niels Van Hoorn provide just the right amount of lounge feel. Strings are once again covered by Martjin de Kleer. I was wondering what would happen if Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, and Leonard Cohen had stayed underground and collaborated together, it might have sounded something like this. Give way to your affliction, lie down on your back in this finely crafted boat, and drift down the stream. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on June 21, 2006 at 2:33 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Foster, Josephine – ?A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” – [Locust Music]

    Operatic Fusion Folk. Josephine Foster goes classical with this 2006 release from Locust Music. Josephine takes on Schubert, Brahms, Schumann and others with her lilting voice and graceful guitar work. There is quite a range of feelings used to cover this: Rocking Chair Squeaking on the Front Porch at Dusk with a Slide Guitar to at times evoking a Choir of Catholic German Boys Singing to a Stoic Sanctuary. Josephine’s vocals are the focus of the album with an acoustic guitar up in the mix and an electric guitar down in the mix for the most part. Usually working solo, Josephine has recorded with Jason Ajemian as Born Heller and put out an album with The Supposed. I couldn’t help thinking back to the Shirley Collins release True False Lovers. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on June 8, 2006 at 10:50 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Sao Paulo Underground – ?Sauna: Um, Dois, Tres? – [Aesthetics]

    Electronic Pink Elephants. Rob Mazurek (? of the Chicago Underground Duo) gets together with Mauricio Takara (Brazilan Multi-instrumentalist) to put out a South American version of the Underground Duo. Heavy electronics used throughout this album as both musicians bring their own experiments with computers into play with their traditional instruments. Rob Mazurek handles the coronet and piano while Mauricio Takara manipulates all things percussion. Rob and Mauricio met up while Rob was touring with the Chicago Underground. Laying down a few tracks together, they realized there to be discovered. After the tour Rob returned to Sao Paulo to put together this project. This album provides great mental scenery for urban decay as the cover suggests. Even better when used with real urban decay. If you enjoy this, be sure to check out another Rob Mazurek project, Mandarin Movie. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on June 8, 2006 at 10:49 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Carter, Tom – “Glyph” – [Digitalis Industries]

    Lawn Chair Joints. A well deserved reissue of some of Tom Carter’s solo instrumental work here. Tom Carter (? of the Charalambides) originally released this album in 2004 as a very limited CD-R, but thanks to Brad Rose and Digitalis, this three track album sees the light of day again. Two acoustic guitar pieces surrounding a slow roasting, 34:37, lap steel barrage is what makes up this album. No effects, overdubs, and tom-foolery on this album, just Tom at Bullbabe studios in Austin, Texas with his instruments. The lap steel track was recorded in one of the hallways at the recording studio. This loose style of the recordings is a large part of what opens you up to Tom Carter’s solo work. Throw the metronome out of the window, and just open your ears to let the music flow into your mind. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on May 31, 2006 at 6:41 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Hella – “Homeboy” – [5RC]

    Avant-garde Noise Rock. Hella is the Sacramento-based duo of Zach Hill and Spencer Siem. The anarchic drumming of Zach Hill continues to be a staple of the Hella sound on this 4 song EP. Spencer Siem adds in the guitars and electronics giving some of the tracks the sound that you only wish your old 8-bit Nintendo could have put out. (not surprising since Spencer plays drums in a Nintendo cover band) This is what computer game music should have been like 20 years ago, not that laptop modified stuff that every teenager is making these days. In the way that Nintendo bridged the international teenage culture gap through localization of video games, Hella does the same for the ‘Noise Rock? genre that embraces them. A woman on tracks 1 and 3 randomly screams non-sequitur rants at the video game unfolding in your mind. — Numa

    FCC Unfriendly Language: Track 1

  • Reviewed by Numa on May 31, 2006 at 6:41 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Alec K. Redfearn and The Eyesores – ?The Smother Party? – [North East Indie]

    Accordion Gypsy Folk. One of the many projects of the versatile accordionist Alec K. Redfearn, and as with most of his projects, the accordion is the feature of this group. Originating as a solo output in 1997, The Eyesores have evolved into a complex and barely describable sound. Operating out of the fertile ground of Providence, RI, The Eyesores features Glockenspiel, French Horn, Violin, Guitar, Bass, and Drums. Running for dirge-like to slow polkas, this album is full of surprises, especially some of the tracks that feature distorted accordion. Breathing along at the accordion’s pace adds the right feel, but be careful not to hyperventilate. — Numa

    Numa Recommends: Track 5

  • Reviewed by Numa on May 25, 2006 at 9:32 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Hill, Zach and Barr, Mick – Shred Earthship – [5RC]

    Absolute Fucking Chaos. Zach Hill gives you a beating while Mick Barr dances on your tympanic membrane. The album title suits the sound well, the shredding guitar work from Mick Barr brawls with the earth-shaking percussion of Zach Hill. The toms of Zach Hill kit are tuned low, almost as if he has 3 different kick drums, causing the snare to strike you like a viper. Mick Barr’s guitar work is relentless. Working up and down the neck like a man possessed. The first album by this pairing, but they have worked with many bands separately. Zach Hill has worked with Cex to The Ladies, but is most known for his drumming with Hella. Whereas Mick Barr has work with many bands, more recently with Octis, Orthrelm, and Quix*o*tic. With over 77 minutes on this recording, I recommend it in small doses, unless you are looking to have a meltdown. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on May 22, 2006 at 2:16 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Major Stars – “Synoptikon” – [Twisted Village] – (33pm)

    Psychedelic Riff Rock This is the 6th release from Massachusetts-based rockers Major Stars on the Twisted Village Label (They also have a record store that is well worth the visit if you find yourself in Cambridge). Expanding to include 3 guitars and a dedicated vocalist now evens the number of members out to 6. Their sound has become more dense and riff-filled as ever. This 12″ is filled with solid psych-grooves and doesn’t disappoint in that arena. In a landscape that is filled with psych-this and psych-that, Major Stars stands out with their unflinching style. Two of the six tracks are think instrumentals in which the guitars weave the overdriven fuzz to the point of breaking. The other four tracks on the album feature the vocals of Sandra Barrett formerly of LA Drugs. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on May 11, 2006 at 9:53 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Fred Frith – “Clearing” – [Tzadik]

    Avant-Garde Solo Guitarist. With over 70 albums bearing his name somewhere in the credits, Fred Frith has shown his guitar work respected all over the world. Recording his own works since 1974 when he set people’s ears on fire with ‘Guitar Solos? he has worked with musicians from Brian Eno to Henry Kaiser. This release is from 2001 on John Zorn‘s Tzadik label as part of the Key Series which focuses on avant-garde musicians all over the globe. His passion can hardly be doubted, listening closely reveals the hard work he is putting into this album through his breathing. Most of his credits are as a colaborator, and this album is one of the few that highlights his solo abilities. Presently Fred Frith is a visiting professor at Terry Riley‘s old stomping grounds, Mills College.
    – Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on May 11, 2006 at 9:53 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • National Eye – “Roomful of Lions” – [Park The Van]

    Feel Good Pop. Soothing, feel-good sounds here from this Philadelphia-based five piece on their second full-length release. Their sound has a wide appeal with floating lyrics and a mostly-clean guitar while maintaining variance between tracks. Sitting down and listening to this album from beginning to end never gets boring. This album, same as their first (The Meter Glows), was mastered by Thom Monahan (Pernice Brothers, Silver Jews, Devendra Banhart). Unlike their first album, this album doesn’t contain as many ‘noise? elements. The themes are setup early and held throughout making this album more cohesive. Is that the Beatles on ‘Lights?’ (Track 5) This one has high potential to be their breakout album, so keep an eye on National Eye. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on May 4, 2006 at 10:10 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Mono – “You Are There” – [Temporary Residence]

    Japanese Orchestral Rock. Japanese four-piece playing dreams that turn violent. In the company of fine bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tarentel, and Explosions in the Sky; Mono plays to the darker side of your psyche. Moments of serenity are jarred by blaring riffs from Yoda and Takaakria ‘Taka? Goto while Tamaki and Yasunori Takada fill in the bottom end with head-swaying bass and drums. This album consists 6 tracks; four longer tracks ranging from 10-15 minutes and two shorter ones to allow you to catch your breath. Temporary Residence really knows talent when they see it, I’ve yet to be disappointed by a release from their label. In the six years that Mono have been together, they have graduated from John Zorn’s Tzdaik label to Temporary Residence’s kindred spirit in Japan; Human Highway Records. The only short-coming of this album, is it wasn’t two CDs. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on May 4, 2006 at 10:10 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Davenport – “Rabbit’s Foot Propeller” – [Three Lobed Recordings]

    Free-Folk Homesteading. This limited release (1000 copies) from Three Lobed Recordings offers up Madison, Wisconsin’s Davenport doing what they do best, freaky far-out free-folk. Don’t come here looking for song structure or meaning, this is amoebic chaos with an off-kilter country stomper thrown in for fun. Organic sounds throughout this release with strange effects added by using a handheld recorder without an erase head. The overdubbing wasn’t monitored and usually breaks in with sounds in progress as the recorder normalizes the speed (providing a strange and slightly unsettling effect). Davenport has performed with the likes of Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice, Black Forest/Black Sea, and many of the great artists coming out of Finish free-folk scene. Davenport is not to be left out of your free-folk album collection. –Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on April 13, 2006 at 9:31 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • MGR – “Nova Lux” – [Neurot Recordings]

    Sparse Droning Adventures. Outstanding instrumental solo release from Mike Gallagher of ISIS here on Neurot Recordings in which he explores ambient and droning sounds. Subtle shifts through-out this 44-minute adventure divided into 5 pieces keep you listening intently. Pulling in help from Oktopus (D’lek) and Greg Burns (Red Sparowes) on this release, Mike Gallagher sets up the perfect balance of droning soundscapes and sparse guitar. Every track has its own background drone setting the stage of the aural adventure of the guitar and bass. This is a soundtrack for breathing. Standing alone in the middle of a park at dusk on a chilly fall evening as the wind blows around you, breathe and look to the trees. Let the highway’s buzz transform into the ocean’s pulse. –Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on April 13, 2006 at 9:31 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Paperclip People – “4 My Peepz” – [Planet E Classics] (33 rpm)

    Detroit Techno Sounds. Paperclip People is yet another alias for Carl Craig and another personality to showcase his many styles. This release is a reissue of a 1998 track on Craig’s label Planet E. Polyrhythmic beats lay the foundation for some funky-ass bass work that travels underwater for parts of the title track. Two versions of ’4 My Peepz? appear on this 12″ release. The original on side A and previously unreleased version on side B running about 8 minutes. The original version is a bit more subdued that the unreleased version in that the droning keys are down in the mix. More ‘Yea Y’all’s in the unreleased version and probably a bit harder to dance to. As for the “Jerry Lewis” track, another Derrick May remix good for the ‘ol headphones. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on April 7, 2006 at 2:14 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Sufi Music From Turkey [coll] – [ARC Music]

    Have you ever seen a whirling dervish? Their dances precipitate a trance-like feeling in both the dancer and the observer. Personally I might get quite sick if I were to spin like that. This is their soundtrack so to speak. Lilting strings pull you up lightly by your shoulders and relieve the burden for a short while. This great collection includes outstanding liner notes educating the reader on the basis for dervish’s dance and the modal influences of the sufi music. Instruments of Sufi music include the Kanun (psaltery), Kud’m (kettle-style drums), Bendir (single-headed hand-held drum), Ud (small lute), Tanbur (long-necked lute), Kemen’e (short-necked fiddle), and Halile (turkish cymbals). Many of the tracks on this collection are used to highlight the different instruments using improvised pieces maintaining strict modal adherence. An excellent introduction to Sufi music from Turkey. — Numa

  • Reviewed by Numa on April 6, 2006 at 9:31 am
  • Filed as CD,International
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