Well, it’s been a long time a' comin’, but summer seems to have finally arrived in dear old Blighty. The garden is awash with colour, sunflowers sagely nod in a warm breeze and the sky is a glorious haze of blue. So, what in hells name am I doing hunched over a hot computer? Bringing you a fine collection of sounds that need your attention, that’s what.
Kicking things of in a rocking style, Elektrohasch Records have released four quality discs that will sound wonderful over a beer in the evening. First up, Josiah have that old Sabbath sound as they blast their way through nine gargantuan tunes on “No Time”, the trio of musicians sounding tighter and meaner than on their previous albums. Favourite cuts include the magnificent title track, the short sharp ear-bleed boogie of “Long Time Burning”, the ever changing riffery of “Harvester Of Lives”, and the sheer heaviness of “My Bird Of Prey”. Constantly inventive, fans of Sabbath “Vol 4” should dive straight in. Next up Causa Cui display shades of Tractor, My Solid Ground, The Stooges and early Uriah Heep, on their second album “Free Ride”, which is a glorious acid rock romp of high quality. After the opening acoustic lull of “Free Ride”, the band goes straight for the jugular on “Lotus”, the brutal riff topped with vocals that sound uncannily like Edgar Broughton, the song even slipping into an Out Demons Out style groove, brilliant stuff. Elsewhere, “Passing Breeze” opens with some swirling lysergic organ before slipping into an early seventies riff, powered by some intense drumming and crazy wah-wah guitar, whilst “Flowers Of Eventide” is a gentle acoustic instrumental that is over to soon. Best of all though, is the final fifteen minute epic “Newborn Road”, distilling everything that has gone before, the musicians push each other ever onward, with some glorious interplay, to create a retro stoner classic. Also on Elektrohasch, “Black Hole”, the second album from Sgt. Sunshine, has a more fragmented psychedelic feel within its sound, the band shifting between moods with ease. With the emphasis on variety rather than pure heaviness, the songs twist and turn in unexpected ways, sounding wholly original and familiar at the same time. Favourites include, the heavy psych of “Dreams Of Wonder”, the brooding riffs of “Overload” and the fuzzed up strangeness of “Tell Me”. Stranger than most stoner rock, this is definitely worth getting into. Originally recorded in 1998, “This Is..” The Beginning is a magnificent acid rock opus that hits all the sweet spots with its heavy groove, filled with backward guitars, loose drumming, funky bass and a laid-back yet no nonsense attitude. With Track titles such as “Soul Revolution”, “The Ju Ju Man” and “The Golden Whisper”, there can be not doubt as to the joys to be found within. Topping it all though is the truly magnificent (and possible song title of the decade) “Baby’s Takin’ Me For A Ride (And The Sun Ain’t Never Gonna Set)”, a song drenched with shimmering guitar, groovy riffs and perfectly formed lyrics, the band milking it for all they’re worth, creating a tune that has become a favourite in my house, guaranteed to make me feel good. Also included are two live bonus tracks, showing that the band were capable of translating it all on stage, great cover art as well. (www.elektrohasch.de)
Set over two discs “The Stones Know Everything” is an intense collection of soundscapes created by Gianluca Becuzzi and Fabio Orsi. Featuring a mixture of drone, minimalism, noise, field recordings and flickering melody, these pieces are the sounds of the wind, the creaking of branches and the ripples on a mountain pool. As always with such music, it is difficult to choose individual pieces, but the drama of “Another Day Is Fade Away” merits special mention, the timeless beauty at odds with the nagging soundscape created, whilst the two part “Lights From The Middle Of Nowhere” is as intense as music gets, re-arranging your very molecules in its quest for release. (www.digitalisindustries.com). Also on Digitalis, “Cooking With Wolves” is a pagan death howl, dark and foreboding music that feeds on the night, growling with pain, licking its wounds at the back of the cavern. Working under the name of Wolfmangler, Smolken has taken Polish folk music and the words of poets to create something dark and unholy, the mournful cello and primal percussion oozing atmosphere and fear.
Having been involved in the Austin Texas experimental music scene for over 20 years you would expect Carlton Crutcher and his band Book Of Shadows to create music of the highest order, and so it proves on the excellent “…..And Then We All Woke Up”. Opening with the drifting psych of “Clouds In My Eyes”, the band weave their magic sounding likea blessed mix of early Tangerine Dream and seventies Gong, mainly due to the Space Whisper of Carltons wife Sharon, a bloody good job she does too. Throughout the album much use is made of echo, meaning the album maintains a dreamlike and lysergic feel that is soothing and gentle, producing a cohesive feel to the album. Things do get strange in places as well, especially on the fantastic “Music For Cocoon Bearing Insects and Animals Part 2”, synths bubbling away in delicious fashion, disorientating the senses perfectly. Time gets stretched to near breaking point on the oddly named “Crunklin”, a slow drone that searches for the heart of stillness, whilst the final track “The Fallen Architecture Of Pompei” immerses the listener in a warm cloak of sound, a delicate drone that slows the heart rate with eloquent ease. (www.etherdrone.com)
Also available from Book Of Shadows is “The Inner World”, a forty minute EP collecting five pieces recorded at various times during the bands career. If anything the collection shows how focused the musical vision is, all the pieces displaying the same heart, intimate yet ever expanding. Featuring “Music For Cocoon Bearing Insects And Animal Part 1"” this release is a fine companion to the above album, or serves as a fine introduction to an essential band. Available as a download only from www.artificialmusicmachine.com
Recorded live at The Musique Action Festival 2005, “Les Protrythmiques” is a stuttering, unsettling and quite invigorating improvisation created by Erik M and Thomas Lehn. Filled with cut up speech, treated sounds, buzzes hums and drones the piece is like a particularly confusing dream, familiar things becoming distant memories, the whole thing is like sitting at a surrealist café, listening to other conversations. Not an album to everyones taste, adventurous listeners should dive in, as invigorating as a swim in the ocean. (www.room40.org)
Talking of jumping in the sea, there is a picture of that very thing on the back of “Pebbles”, the latest album from Pumice. Filled with pop music for the deranged, the album is quintessentially Terrascopic, with personal songs that are outsider art made sound, you get the feeling that these songs would be made even if there was no chance that anyone else would ever hear them. Opening with the jaunty “Eyebath”, there is a hint of disquiet hidden in this album, a compelling blend of Syd Barrett and God knows whom else. The point being made is that the whole album is brilliant, and none of my friends will like it. A small treasure washed up from the ocean. (www.softabuse.com)
Featuring Mason Jones (Subarachnoid Space) and various drummers Numinous Eye, is an improvisational duo with the guitar taking of all over the place, overdriven, distorted, and soaring with joyous noise. On “The Farthest Thing” Jones Is Joined By drummer Mike Shoun (Prismatics), whose obvious skill behind the kit adds glorious punctuation to the six string gymnastics, producing an album that features wide-ranging dynamics, introspective improv and all out sonic fury. By the same band “With A Little Help” is a live album recorded in Japan. Here Jones works with various Japanese drummers (individually), depending on location, the results being far more psychedelic than on the studio album, the guitar shimmering howling and shouting with ecstasy, especially on the breathtaking opening track. (www.charnel.com)
With bubbling synths, echo-drenched guitar and a dubby heart “Dr Silbury’s Liquid Brainstem Band”, The latest album from Mooch, Is a fun packed walk around the free festi of your choice. Having been about since 1992, the band know precisely what is required moving from blissed out ambience to full on craziness over two discs of stoned happiness that grins happily before finding a place to lie in the sun. Mushrooms are optional but nodding your head with glee seems inevitable sooner or later, lovely. (www.ambientlive.com)
Much earthier visions are invoked on the self-titled debut EP from the wonderfully named Gringo Star. Featuring six quality songs that have late sixties heart, reminding me of Buffalo Springfield especially on opening number “No Reason. Elsewhere there are hints of Paisley Pop, and early Tom Petty, although these are merely references, the band having enough presence to make the songs resolutely their own. With enough hooks to re-hang the Tate Modern, and beautifully clear production, this is one band who should go on to greater things, only time will tell. (www.myspace.com/thegringostars)
Featuring the rockin’ slide of Norm Rue (later of Buffalo), Band Of Light were a bunch of hard rocking Australians whose debut album “Total Union” has just been issued on Aztec Music. Featuring the original six tracks plus five bonus cuts, the album has a heavy boogie style and lyrics dealing with world hunger and the four horseman, making them slightly different from other bands of the genre. Very reminiscent of Savoy Brown or Canned Heat, the band does the boogie thing with style and confidence, especially on standout tracks “Free Them From Hunger” and “Earthbound Blues”. For the bonus cuts, you get both sides of their debut single, and a blistering version of “Messing With The Kid”. Originally released in 1973 “Ball Power”, the debut album from Coloured Balls, is yet another hard rockin’ Australian classic, this one featuring the guitar skills of Lobby Lloyde. Now released by Aztec, the album is a full on rock monster, although it still contains moments blues boogie (as did all rock albums from this period). At 1:33 it also contains a proto-punk anthem in the shape of “Won’t Make Up Your Mind”, the vocals snarled rather than sung. Elsewhere, “Human Being” has the Pink Fairies Greasy heart, whilst the long mainly instrumental workout “That’s What Mama Said” features some excellent guitar work counterbalanced by a squealing synth, and tight as fuck rhythm. As with all Aztec releases the album is filled with bonus tracks, the highlight being “The Slowest Guitar On Earth”, a cunningly titled hyperactive guitar boogie, and “G.O.D.”, a sixteen minute guitar overload, recorded live at Sunbury ’73, which is worth the price of admission itself. Finally on Aztec, a change of pace with Rainbow Theatre, whose debut album “The Armada” is a prog rock monster with jazz leanings, giving the feel of mid seventies King Crimson. Filled with clever arrangements, sudden changes of time, and some immaculate playing especially from drummer, Graeme Carter. Featuring the usual prog mix of songs, small symphonies, and classic motives, the album could be the archetypal Prog/jazz Rock album, filled with excellent moments. (www.aztemusic.net)
Mixing the sonic landscapes of Amp with the guitar noise/melodic sensibilities of Husker Do, Ariel make a glorious noise on their debut album “The Battle Of Sealand”. Over eleven songs, the band merge massive drones with ringing guitar and lost in the mix vocals to devastating effect. The highlight being the final track “The Big Mash-up” , the band doing an uncanny impression of Spacemen 3. As the press release says, “it’s loud, it’s beautiful, and you can dance to it”, although I think lying on the floor and letting it wash over you, would be my preferred option.
Coming over like Belgiums answer to AMT, Babils are a full-on psychedelic maelstrom, with a dense line in improvisation. On their latest album “The Joint Between” they head for the nearest black hole for a quick blow, summoning the ghosts of Sun Ra, Syd, and whomever it was who started banging rocks together, to create a kosmiche stew that eats into you head, slowly but surely. By the third track deep space bliss has been achieved, the musicians launching into a divine drone, complete with distant chanting and bells. After this, all rules are lost, all directions ignored, the musicians clearly enjoying themselves as they dive and swoop around the universe, filled with merriment, pausing occasionally to look at an interesting meteor or planet. Finally, after seventy minutes, the band gently lower themselves and us back onto the carpet, exhausted but smiling. (www.stilll.org)
With a twisted lyrical bent and a collection of angular pop ditties Supreme Vagabond Craftsman has carved out an enthralling collections of songs that demand attention, sometimes for the lyrics, sometimes for the swift turn that the songs execute. With nods to XTC and Julian Cope, the album fits thirteen songs into forty minutes, the perfect length, no song outstaying it’s welcome. (www.analoguecat.com)
Opening with the gorgeous, gorgeous, “Toll On You”, a song that aches with beauty, “The Crumbling Empire Of White People”-Mr Smolin is a work of pop genius that has a slightly surreal feel, that prevents it from becoming either maudlin or too sugary. Probably not that Terrascopic, it just touched a chord with me, and deserved a mention. (www.mrsmolin.com)
Equally gorgeous, but in a more fragile and Terrascopic fashion is “No Foly Bow”, the first full-length album from experimental Norwegian artist Fredrik Ness Sevendal. With a glacial quality in it timbre, the album has some exquisite guitar playing, and fragile melodies inspired by the folk music of Norway. Repetitive without becoming stale, the music moves slowly, thoughtfully constructed so that not a note is wasted, the sounds delicately poised on the edge of perfection. One Listen to the title track will demonstrate how good this album is, whilst tracks such as “Gamle gudbrand” have a rougher, hewn property, as if torn from the very forest. (www.apartmentrecords.com)
A regular visitor to the Terrascope forum, Jeff Barsky AKA Insect Factory, makes experimental music of great power and beauty - it's a particular favourite of Phil McMullen's, I happen to know. On “Snowflakes” this beauty is envisaged in a chiming, gently falling shower of notes that does exactly what the title suggests. Extremely relaxing, it is well liked by babies apparently, I can hear why. Discerning adults will also enjoy its charms. Also available is “Air Traffic Control Sleep”, a three track disc, that is as quiet as sleep itself. The drones so soft and delicate, that they hardly exist, instead are merely imagined. Highlight is “Head Cloud Shells”, 29 minutes of gossamer fine sonic bliss that soothes and calms the mind. (www.insectfields.org)
More experimental drone and noise can be found on the excellent “Shortest Way To The Moon”, recorded live in the UK by Berga/Iversen and featuring just two elongated pieces. The first, recorded in Newcastle, is edgy and scattered, random sounds cutting through the drones beneath. Audience noise (I assume) only adds to the dynamics as the pair create a brittle landscape that breathes by itself. The second Track, recorded in Brighton, repeats the trick although this time the piece plays itself out with a lunar drone, that sounds as if it was frighteningly loud for the audience. (harha-askel.blogspot.com)
Sometimes it is hard to tell if the writing on the cover is the name of the artist or the title of the CD. So it is with (I’m hoping) Chainsaw Paws, whose CD “This Light” is a cornucopia of short songs, featuring a host of instruments, all making for a aural treat that chops and changes whilst retaining a uniform feel. Sometimes Psychedelic, sometimes wyrd, sometimes with the feel of the music hall about them, this is music in miniature, and I like it. (No contact details supplied)
Released on Summersteps Records, the strangely named Crap-o-Phonic, have a jangly guitar sound on their 10 track disc which seems to consist of high quality pastiches of other songs. Not a cover, but a song that seem to evoke the spirit of the original. So, on “Paperback Manufacturer” the sound of the Beatles is present, whilst on “live fast, Die Faster” there is a hint of James Bond. None of the influences are in your face and the album is a fine collection of songs in its own right. On the same label, Circles have a tumbling, chaotic feel, the instruments seemingly crawling over each other, something that suits the laconic vocals perfectly. Things to straighten out on the sprightly “Song For The Suburbs”, Whilst the slow-burning fuzz bass of “Morning” has a wonderfully messed up feel to it. Throughout the album the addition of a trombone makes the songs stand out, giving the band a unique ambience. Possibly my favourite release on Summersteps so far. (www.summerstepsrecords.com)
Those of you looking for some thoughtful, intriguing and varied music should look no further than “The Blind Spot”, the latest album from Alec K Redfearn and the Eyesores. Full of emotional songs and a host of instruments, the album is deeply absorbing, the instrumentation meaning the songs get pulled into unexpected places. Throughout, the droning accordion gives the album a Eastern-European folk feel, you can imagine these songs being played around the campfire. Equally interesting are the oblique lyrics that read like Dadaist fairy tales, both the words and music fitting together like hand and glove. (www.cuneiformrecords.com)
It is no secret that your reviews editor is fond of a bit of drone, often filling the house with strange and curious sound. Not sure the lovely Cara shares my passion, but she cheerfully grins and bears it. Anyway, having been musical active since the mid-eighties, Darren Tate is someone who has mastered his art and created a drone album that is almost perfection, drawing favourable comparisons with My Cat Is An alien, which means he has hit the nail right on the head as far as I am concerned. On “Small Worlds” the drones move slowly, only passing space debris disturbing the stillness of the opening track. The Second track continues the stillness, a slow moving ripple on a glass sea, The deep bass drone, only occasionally aware of other sounds around it and these are distant and fleeting. The final 20 minutes are taken up by track three (I have no track titles), here the drone has a pulse and other noises are closer and in focus, although the overall mood remains unblemished. Darren Tate has recently collaborated with Ian Holloway on “The Moon As A Hole” project, and Ian has just released his latest solo album “Walking Through Fireflies”, another slow-moving drone collection that is beautifully realised with the sounds blending into a delightful whole. Featuring seven tracks the music ranges from barely moving low end whispers to more abstract soundscapes such as “A Lighter Being”, the sounds shimmering and evaporating like a heat haze. Whilst there is a wider palette, the album has a conformity of purpose that pulls it together creating a warm and deeply enjoyable collection. Both albums can be found at www.quietworld.co.uk
Experimental noise and drone cut from a completely different cloth can be found on “Turnstone”, collaboration between Tom Carter, Robert Horton and Michael Shannon. Culled from five hours of improvisation, the music bubbles and flows beautifully, string-driven drones accompanied by scrapes rattles and hums. Featuring a whole cornucopia of sound source including, teasels, vibrator, boot, dental floss and some “proper” Instruments as well, the music is warm and welcoming, a walk in the woods during summer, the babbling of a stream, or a lazy day cloudwatching. Full of light and life, this is highly recommended and who could resist an album containing a track called “Large and Notoriously dim”. (www.threelobed.com)
Following on from volumes 1 and 2, (reviewed in Rumbles march 07) Flowergirl have recently sent us “Volume 3” which contains just three long pieces. Featuring the talents of John Malloy (not Bob Malloy of the Strapping Fieldhands), the band no longer have keyboards, instead we get long guitar workouts that flow and ebb and sound great at high volume. After the epic 19 minute opener “High Priest”, thing become mellower for the slow beauty of “Death Collector” a timeless piece of music with a floydian feel. Finally the band straps in and take off for the stars, the fully formed majesty of “Evil Otto” by far the best thing I have heard by the band, 23 glorious minutes of space-rock elevation that hits the sweet spot. (www.myspace.com/flowergirlmusic)
Utilising acoustic guitar and live electronics Erdem Helvacioglu, has created a fragile and haunting album, with a stillness at its heart that is as relaxing as a sun dappled woodland grove. Even the more abstract pieces such as “Sliding On A Glacier” seem to radiate this inner fragility, whilst the wistful drone of “Dreaming On A Blind Saddle” is meditation made sound. Possibly my favourite track is the magnificent “Ebony Remains”, stuttering drones giving way to some delicate playing infused with light, music for dreaming indeed. (www.newalbion.com)
Music more suitable for feverish nightmares can be found on “”Leave Your Wet Brain In The Sun”, a cacophony of twisted drones and industrial noise from Warmth. Originally released on Audiobot, the album has now been released on Digitalis with two bonus tracks. Varying in length from five to nineteen minutes, all the tracks follow a similar path, luring you into the piece with hypnotic sleepy drones that slowly engulf you into a world of noise and confusion. As with so much of this style (to my mind at least) it is the longer pieces that succeed best, with the nineteen minute “Hot Sun” being a particularly potent brew, although “Leave Your Wet” comes very close behind. Also on Digitalis, and far more gentle, is the gorgeous improvised music of (VxPxC), awash with rattling percussion, lazy sunset drones, and traces of melody, the disparate elements fusing into a wholly enjoyable stew. Played on pots and pans, battery powered/acoustic instruments and accordion, the songs on “Porchmass” are unique with a hazy beauty hard to ignore. If Jewelled Antler releases fill you with joy, then this is definitely for you. Featuring the ridiculously prolific Robert Horton, ably supported by Hal Hughes, “Songs & Instrumentals From Death Bottom Slide”, is a collection of dustbowl fuelled songs that sound like they were found mouldering in a Tennessee attic, soaked in whiskey and regret. Working under the name of Microblind Harvestmen, the music is enriched with banjo, harmonica, and fiddle, as well as the usual collection of sound sources in Horton’s arsenal. With these three releases Digitalis prove once again what a dynamic and varied label they are, managing to instil quality in everything they release, long may they continue. (www.digitalisindustries.com)
Defying comparison or description They came From The Stars I saw Them, manage to cram disco-esque pop, kraut freakouts, surreal juxtapositions, and manic wordplay into their album “vs. Reality”. Originaly recorded in 2002, then forgotten, re-discovered, cut up, reassembled and finally finished, the clever use of electronics adds an otherworldly feel to the music, whilst the excellent lyrics hold your attention as the music mutates and disintegrates around you. Favourites moments include the Dub-psych madness of “Speak and Spell”, with the name of the band being turned into a manifesto, and “Boomtime Part 2”, which has a Gorkys feel to its vocal delivery. Best of all is the elongated joy of “Astro National Anthem”, a song which moves through a bewildering array of styles on its way to happiness, ending a glorious and sometimes foolish collection of songs, all of which have their tongues firmly planted in their collective cheek. (Onomatopoeia Records www.myspace.com/theycamefromthestarsisawthem)
As I reach the bottom of the Rumbles pile (almost), there are still hidden gems to be discovered. The first of which is the self-titled album by Valerio Cosi and the Spiritual Committee, a marvellous amalgamation of drones and sprightly electronica, all topped of with some free-jazz noises and a healthy disregard for convention. Although sounding like a band, all the music is played by Valerio, who shows a lovely light touch, giving the music a warmth, especially on the gorgeous opening section of “A Burning Om” although the piece later disintegrates into some jazz noise. Elsewhere “Hoboland” has a wonderful groove that makes you want to dance, whilst “Over The Moonpalace”, is a psychedelic space flight, filled with reverb and majesty. (www.digitalisindustries.com yes, them again). Finally, for Digitalis, I’m pretty certain, Anvil Salute offer a live set recorded in 2005. Filled with drifting psychedelia, and primal percussion as well as creaking, rumbling improvisations, the music is intense and alive, the players showing a great understanding of dynamics with the music flowing and building with charm and flair. Very percussive in nature, the band make great use of their skills on both “Snaps and Claps” and “Jive Talking”, the latter being particularly vibrant. From the same band comes “New Crusader Of The 11th Commandment”, a studio recording the runs joyfully through the blessed pastures first discovered by the Jewelled Antler collective. Filled with hypnotic acoustic playing and underground rustlings, the album is 44 minutes of instrumental wyrd-folk happiness, just let it wash over you. (www.maritimefist.com). to end this trio of albums, Anvil Salute have released another live recording “All The Animals Of The Forest”, which continues the quality with “golden Spiral” and the title track being strong examples of the bands sound, the latter reminding me of United Bible Studies in its structure.(www.lofishit.com)
Like the sudden fury of rising floodwater there is a visceral power to the recordings on “We Are Him”, the latest album from Michael Gira’s Angel of Light. One listen to opener “Black River Song” will wake you from your daydreams, as it thunders from the speakers. Adding to the untamed feel is the vocal presence of Larkin Grimm, The two voices blending into a roar of intent. On other tracks such as “Promise Of Water”, the power and anger comes through the lyrics, with simple musical backing adding to the foreboding. Incredibly this level of intensity is felt throughout the album, with sympathetic instrumentation and arrangements wringing every drop of emotion from the songs, the spectre of Nick Cave occasionally glimpsed from the corner of your eye. A brilliant and exhausting record from a man at the height of his creative powers. (www.younggodrecords.com)
Having a guitarist whose day job is building custom guitar pedals must surely help a band achieve the sound they strive for and so it proves for A Place To Bury Strangers, whose self-titled album bursts from the speakers in a squall of scuzzy noise and distortion. With no let-up the band piledrive through 10 killer slabs of noise, sounding like a fucked-up meeting between Spacemen three, Ride and The Sonics. Forty minutes of flawless sonic fury. (www.killerpimp.com)
Blimey, after all that power and anger I think it’s time to mellow out for a while and The Truly Me Club seem a fine way to do so on their “Popstar On The Lam” album. Overflowing with gently swelling organ, rich harmony vocals and pretty guitar, the music belies the lyrical content of such songs as “When Cops Use Their Guns” or “What The Suicide Did”. Overall though, it is the soft beauty of the music that draws you in, haunting and tinged with sadness. (www.sonicboomrecordings.com)
On lovely 7” vinyl, North Sea Radio Orchestra have a four-track single that is stunning in its simplicity. Side A opens with the delicate cascade of “Guitar Miniature No 2” before “The End Of Chimes” see the band turn in an impressive vocal performance with strings adding to the sheer loveliness of it all, the song sounding like a long-lost seventies acid-folk band at their mellowest. Side B follows a similar pattern, the drone folk of “Hurdy Gurdy Miniature” being followed by the finest moment on the single “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls”, Acid-folk again with a modern feel and an outstanding vocal performance, the icing on a very mouth-watering musical cake. (www.oofrecords.co.uk)
Finally for this edition of Rumbles (not long now before I drink a beer in the sunshine), an overview of some fine recording on New American Folk Hero Records, who are kind enough to send me everything they release and are very prolific. First up the man that never sleeps Robert Horton returns to Rumbles with “Sleep, Wake, Hope And Then”, yet another excellent collection of experimental music for the soul. As with most of his work, this is a mixture of instruments, samplers, turntables, etc, all handled with dexterity and precision, you get the feeling that the tracks sound exactly as they were planned. Worth the price for the deep growl of ”Yesterdays Sun” alone, there is not a dull moment to be found anywhere. Housed in a delightful 3” jewel case, “Sleep Chapter” is a delicate mixture of field recording and acoustic guitar from Alexander Turnquist. Split into 4 chapters, the music is a cloud-filled drone that floats effortlessly across the room before drifting out the window to hover in the sunshine. Also on 3” cd-r, “Menken and Maas”, is one twenty minute piece from Mike Tamburo and Ken Camden. Featuring heavily treated and looped guitar, the music ripples and flows across the rock pools, the pattern left behind delighting the senses, until light fades into evening. With looped guitar and chattering analogue synth Eric Carbonara, has recorded one of my favourite releases on the label (untitled 3” cd-r), the twelve minute “This May Be The End”, sounding like Glass or Adams, with its highly rhythmic approach. The second track “Long Hallway, Three Slightly Open Doors”, is, by contrast, an acoustic guitar piece that is delicate and fragile. Slowly building over 18 dramatic minutes “Headlong Into The Fire” is a harsh and destructive drone, that slowly build the tension destroying everything in its path. Played by Matt McDowell the piece contains some rattling percussion that is almost swallowed by the crescendo of noise surrounding it. On 3”cd-r, as was the previous disc, Andy Futreal shows a dynamic and dextrous touch on the guitar, creating three delightful tracks that are full of sunshine. On “Ghost Of Twilight” Andy uses an E-Bow, to add a haunting ambience to the music, something that is beautifully understated for maximum effect.
Distorted and heavily treated, the drones on “Howling Lands, Whispering Leaves” are almost unbearably harsh in places, especially on album opener “Sun Starved Streams Still Flow”. Having got over the shock, the rest of the album reveals far more variety than previously suspected, the sounds softening as the album continues, so that the final track “Ode To Jinx” is as soothing and Psychedelic, a far cry from the harsh industrial opener. Created by Ryan Emmett, working under the name Droopy Septum, this is an album that needs several plays before you realise just how good it is. Finally on New American Folk Hero, and for this edition of Rumbles, The Cutest Puppy In the World, annihilate your senses with a double disc of improvised noise. Featuring six song over two discs (three of them over thirty minutes long) the music ranges from harsh drone, to electronic spaciness, from rattling percussion to free noise, incorporating humour, weirdness, and moments of sublime brilliance. Far too long to appreciate in one sitting, all I can say is that it deserves to be heard. (firstname.lastname@example.org) .
Well that’s it, the Rumbles shelf is empty, I’m off for a beer, and if you want to send me your releases to help fill the shelf again, I would love to hear from you...
Rumbles for June 2007 was brought to you by Simon Lewis. Artwork, layout & editing: Phil McMullen. © Terrascope Online 2007