First a masterpiece, then a mess…and now this, a
messterpiece from these Montreal minstrels and their
namesake mastermind, Sam (or Osama) Shalabi. This is
another foray into the field of psychedelic poppies,
aside from a gorgeous ballad on #2 featuring guest
vocalist Elizabeth Anka Vajagic most of this teeters
on the fence between hippy jam and even less focused
sonic noodling. That being said, listened en toto
from end to end this album creates its own landscape
with tabla often as its touchstone. The short tonic
track after the aforementioned ballad serves as an
incredible shadow (with clarinet). The album is
bookended by less organic, more orgonic materials. The
initial cut is a flutey forest shredded by a sampler,
the last cut sort of orbits in space around the turf
that has been traversed earlier. While track #9 does
recall their earlier galactic garden processionals,
really all of this is enjoyable. It just tastes like
it was taken out of the oven a tad too soon. Better
that than too late…
First a masterpiece, then a mess…and now this, a
While some will prefer the B-side to this single sided 7″,
the boys cooped up in Sacremento’s “Sexy Prison” probably
wouldn’t mind. Them boys would be vocalist John Pritchard and
de-bassist Robert Pickle, together they may have given birth
to the recently added “Babyhead” comp. Gotta love reproductive
technology these days. Pritchard’s reverby singing is like a
woman with too much mascara, you kinda wonder what it would
look/sound like without it…but you can’t stop staring at it
nonetheless. The second track has a sample at the root that
might be “Funky Cole Medina” or something, it gets briefly
excavated for a spell along with four bars of a Tiki calypso.
These two numbers are as subtle as a drag racing commercial,
fervent with left-over machines from the disco age rebuilt
with illegal parts and maximum squelch. The lyrics are so
warped, I thought they were singing about Boz Scaggs at one
time. Even if they weren’t this is still tremendous.
Possibly the best of use of a cheap drum machine ever. It
fires a machine gun stacatto attack during “Britain is Shit.”
It then has a series of spasms on “Fuck the Poor” that keep
that track off balance. Vocals are more leery on the latter,
which also has a tiny little pachinko synthesizer buried
somewhere in the grooves. “Britain is Shit’s” pressure-cooked
vocals are stringier, longer notes sung lifting up at the
end of each phrase, as if grabbed on the ears by an unstable
constable. Plus when everything drops out, that damned drum
machine gets a chance to just jackhammer away. Selfish Cunt
contains shouter Martin Tomlinson and beater Patrick Constable
within it. Working out of East London, these lads know there
subject matter, even though one of ’em is evidently and old
New Zealot. Both sides dirty as their titles.
Razor sharp, whiplash rock from the now-defunct Scholastic
Deth rockers…though one of the band members evidently still
runs 625 Thrashcore. Songs hit escape velocity pretty quickly,
often leaving with dual feedback whines. But tracks jump on
quickly…so be prepared for life after a Deth track. It’s
just as well, the energy on one side alone can light up the
Central Valley. Songs come out swinging, and occasionally may
end up cold-cocking a friend or themselves. Speaking of
friends…the frenzy here connects back to Spazz per the 625
web site as well as to Capitalist Casualties. More often the
blows land where they are intended, and as all four of the
band are UC grads, it’s nice that they bite the hand that
fed Enron and other dodgy investment schemes. There may be
cursing in the lyric sheets, but sadly people who would be
offended by that, wouldn’t take the effort to stop and listen
to this rock solid 7″. Advanced degrees of ire via their
Evelyn Wood speed thrash edumacation. Repeat multiple times
for multiple credit. Core requirement.
I know this is not for everyone, I just cannot
imagine why. A traditional rock triad at the
core, a hot molten core. Around that Rope has
built a whole planet. The first song tiptoes
like a Star Trek away team, uncertain whether
they can breathe the air. Detonating delay on
guitar and on guest vox Graczyna Auguseik’s
works well. This severs prog rock’s Achilles
tendon, as instead of having a vibe of “Hey,
I can play it backwards in 5/11 time” the
feeling here is that large stretches of these
songs leapt out in inspiration. Volume pedal
tension, slashing dischords, & a non-bloated
Allan Holdsworth ghost are all summoned by
Przemyslaw Chris Drazebca. Blood and spittle
vocals are squeezed out of bassist Robert
Iwomly. Michael Kendrick’s drums are
cymbal-laden and frantic/dormant as needed.
This album delivers the hurt and the solace
all at once.
Bubble-wrapped in dub textures, a dense sound that seems to
exhale and inhale in a variety of ways. In through the
sitar, out through the accordion…in through the electronic
iron lung, out through the trumpet. Time spent in mixing and
maximimizing the inputs of the 16 listed contributors has
muddied the tracks somewhat to a sonic equivalent of brown,
but brownian music may just be this year’s techno black. I
actually dug the spikes and clashes of “Real Hair” more,
but this is a murky, surprisingly beaty album at times with
a lot of hues to it. At its best it approaches a sort of Art
Ensemble of Electronica. The abundance of synthesizers here
is never smart-bomb precise, never cold and calculated, but
warm and more arbitrary. The vocals are more confident and
torchy when they appear, which is not often enough! “Slits
Arandas” is one hell of a journey with prominent hornplay.
“Autotelic” ends just as its seems ready to launch into an
interesting guitar-led phase. I’m unsure how many of the
sweet 16 still live in the same house in Portland, OR but
it must be a comfy place. The more you listen to this, the
more you will feel at home with it.
Horton hears a Hoosier. Indiana idiot savant rock. This
is a follow-up to an album we don’t have…..yet. Yeah,
the vocals are whiny, but the guitars are even whinier!
Spastic tweaky rock, if the first cut doesn’t win you
over (“I Can’t Survive Without My BeatBox”) as it did
me, then move on I guess. But you’ll miss one of the
more engaging 40 seconds of art rock ever wrought on
“Yeah, Right”. Doppler vocals on that are keen. Overall
Mike Anderson’s vocals made me think of “Hong Kong
Phooey” as much as Beefheart or Pere Ubu. I prefer it
when these horses stampede rather than the couple of
cuts that canter…overall good bent guitar, twisted
lyrics and Anderson’s pretzel mouth (often murmured
along with by the others.) Crowd applause at the end
of some tracks seems stapled on? Language on #5.
Wired – Free Improvisation (MYA – Europe)
Legendary free music release on Deutsche Grammophon, recorded between 1970-73. Gtr-org-bs-perc-elec combine spontaneously, transporting you to a destination of sonic bliss. A rather consonant free music exploration of the acoustic analog variety with smart electronics in supporting role. Not afraid of space, the quartet’s delicate communications interchange and disperse with timeless agility. Rare moments of clash mark climax and redirection that is woven into a fabric of sonic wonder. Subtle yet powerful- Dense yet never cluttered. Final recording opens with war sirens to marvelous dramatic effect. Ranta collaborated with Harry Parch, Bottner played in Stockhausen’s ensemble, Lewis studied under Dvorak and Plank is considered among the premier German producers. This document is the work of masters in an offering to the Gods – and the Gods looked down and smiled.
Sixes – Organ Cuts
Not chainsaw stuff ! Soundscapes from the noise quadrant. Reminds of early Merzbow (singles, Rainbow Electronics) bu with more continuity, less dense and less harsh. 2 tracks about 30m each but with 8-10 m passages in each. (1) Noisetronics / sirens, wind, tracers-vapors of notes / merzbow under tuvan influence, note factory stuff. (2) organ treatments, minor key stuff / minimalist handsaw, tronix bikers / galactic awareness through better electronics.
Robert Montoya – Robert M (Accretions)
A dialectical synthesis of drone and beats with timing that is resolute yet spacey and textures that are synthetic yet lush. Anomalous and amorphous soundscapes (like euro-movie soundtracks at the moment of denouement) give a feeling of train travel through a foggy mountainous landscape. Montoya compiles sounds from television and layers them into soundscapes that transcend the medium and consciousness altogether. Tio Mate (5) is a compelling piece of pulsing soundwaves under Burroughs soundbytes. Sinestre (2) is a sonic colossus that attempts to communicate with other forms of intelligence – let them know you get the message- Play the shit out of this !
Ranaldo Licht Krieger DJ Olive Marclay – Text of Light (Table of the Elements)
Drifting, mesmerizing drone traverses the depths of sonic possibilities. Signals, feedback and transmissions pulsate in a collective continuum. Like a beam from a lighthouse, guitars cast in and fade out leaving you to ponder the complex ultra-ambient soundscape. Waves of combined sounds emanate up from the pulses of each artist’s contribution. Two guitars, percussion, turntables and electronics make for dense textures. Masterful timing gives this free improvised offering a stellar compositional quality.
18m=> play the whole damn thing !
Deerhunter – s/t (Stickfigure Records)
Tight and dirty rock sound with standard song structures delivered with undoubtedly above standard, angry and pissed off vocals. Riffs reminiscent of SoCal early 90’s rock (Drive Like Jehu’s 1st, Distorted Pony) are hypercharged by the vocalist’s undying conviction that everything is still fucked – thus the necessity for a refrain of the straight ahead pissed off rock sound. 2 gtr-bs-dr with some other stuff occasionally dubbed on top, this foursome from Atlanta definitely give an urgent sound to otherwise familiar structures in this debut release.
3w: Repenting is Weakness
Se Piagi Se Ridi- Perfect for the next wake party you may be planning. Maybe like a Caroliner pop excursion if it existed. Funeral organ, banjo (?) and drums accompany this eulogy for the pop song. Childlike vocal wanderings call you to the netherworld where pop icons are smothered with makeup buff pads. Slightly disconnected and ethereal but luring nonetheless. A rather mature sound in an unusual space from a quite unusual band. Strawberry Banana- that lost backtrack to the Abba song that Bjorn farted around with for years but never found the right lyrics for- another stake in the false heart of pop music, the jokes on those who thought Deerhoof could never make it as a pop band.
3w: Caroliner on Prozac
This is one of the most memorable releases I’ve heard in awhile. Corrina Repp (her parents named her after a Bob Dylan song) is from Portland, Oregon and has been playing music in various bands for 10 years. This was released in fall 2004. In style it’s similar to Cat Power, with its spare instrumentation and lovely female vocals. Very subtle piano, guitar, and slight electronic moments. This is mystical! (added 2-8-2005)
From 2000. Treatises on love that blend elements of classical, jazz and poetry. It begins with male vocals and classical piano (track one), moves to dramatic strings and piano (track two) to spoken word and operatic (track three) to crazy drama with male throaty vocals that can rival the best metal performer (track four) to jazz-inspired with scat singing (track seven), along with some instrumental tracks glueing it all together. (added 2-8-05)
Sad World is two people: Dr. Atmo – real name Amir Abadi – a DJ/composer/architect and Ramin – full name Ramin Naghachian – both born in Iran and currently living in Frankfurt, Germany. (Fun fact: Dr. Atmo performed at and designed Frankfurt’s XS club.)
This 1996 release combines the first two Sad World CDs, orginially released in 8/1993 and 5/1994. We also have the third and last, Sad World III, in A. All three are on Pete Namlook‘s FAX label, one of the leading purveyors of ambient music.
Sad World is ambient electronica with a strong Middle Eastern influence. The track names evoke a time of greater glory for Muslims with great halls like Apadana, cities like Samarra, which was briefly the capitol of the Muslim world, and Cordoba, the center of Moorish culture in Spain.
The music on these CDs contains some relatively brief tracks of 5 and 10 minutes and one longer tracks of 20, 30, and 40 minutes. They contain synthesizer drones, interesting samples (voices from American broadcasts, choirs, talking, chanting, singing children), instruments like sitar and, I think, a didgeridoo, sometimes there are downtempo drum loops giving the hint of rhythm.
You can actively listen to these tracks and trace their slow development and changing textures, or you can just float along with it and enjoy the ride.
It may well be that Goofus and Gallant are the same
person. It also may well be that the P. Boys are a
brother/sister combo Oliver & Angela Alden, along with
their childhood friend Dean Douglas. It may be that
this started as a lark, and still continues as one.
A goofball gumball assortment of pop drops, and to
“clear” the palate arcane swipes from out-of-print
kiddie vinyl. In the lyrics, on top of plenty of
square phrases rhmyed into round holes, we get nods to
Tzadik, Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair
(not Sharrocked, nor Waters’d down…but tinted blonde
or yellow if you will). If the Frogs and Danielson
Famile adopted Vincent Gallo, would Brown Bunny have
had “Brown Underpants” as its theme song? It’s like
they have created song-poems direct and eliminated the
middle matchbook man. Or maybe they’re college DJ’s,
big kids in the treehouse like us?
Re-release of this Baltimore bands first two ep’s. Provides
both the scratch and the itch for rabid rock-pop. Dual guitar
interplay does a nice job of creating songs that sort of
climb up on top of each other. Keyboards are used as very
minimal highlights (to good effect, not distracting from the
solid, simple guitar). Roman Kuebler’s vocals have a sweet
angsty rasp to them (#1 and #5-Graham Parker anyone?). That
familiar sort of controlled yell, directed rage. There’s a
prozacky ballad #12, but this band is best when it’s got a
frantic woodpecker energy going and Strato-rattling guitars.
Music to inject vodka into, hope they opt for that rather
Portland, Oregon duo – guitarist Jason Buehler
and percussionist Mark Shirazi. Kitchen sync
and sample stampede over drums that touch on
tangents to dub. Guitar bubbles served over
some piledriver basslines in other parts.
Tweaked and twiddled transmissions.
Croak and dagger noise from Masami Akita. Rolling out the
limited (1/1000) “frog-colored” vinyl smacks of crafty
merchandising, but the album smacks of pain that you would
hope for. The concept could be as simple as Merzbow himself
dialing the resistors just right to get a virtual frog
sample that belches forth on the A-side, but I prefer to
think the “Frog” monniker is to represent an amphibious
nature to this release. There are moments that this almost
leaps out to the dance floor, geiger click, hep repetition
and jackhammer isometrics create a sort of tadpole techno.
There’s some faux locked grooves, but grooves nonetheless.
But then we get a cathode-arcing bipolar blitz, sheer
shrieking audio assault. Side A takes a while for the hail
of electric fire to rain down, it ends with a sputtering
disintegration. Those merciless moments subside on the
B-side, not that it’s unnoise; it still annoys but the
presence of Rana rhythm over the dank clank of dungeons
provides for vivid sections. Seems like he’s tossing in
reversing sounds as well. Merzbow’s white noise is the
sum of a lot of colors.
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