25 July 2012

Damaged Tape on Soundcloud

I finally got around to Soundclouding the most recent Damaged Tape releases.  You can listen to them here:

17 July 2012

Sunforest - 1969 - Sound of Sunforest

Quality: 3.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5

Ever see "The Wicker Man?"  Not the newer one with the bees, and the bear suit, and crazy Nick Cage, but the 70's one with Christopher Lee.  Some of this music makes me think of that movie's creepy-groove folk.  I'd like to think that there's a naked woman banging on walls and singing some of the tunes here - but not all of them (like the ones with a dude singing).  Be forewarned, however, that this is a wildly inconsistent album. Although some of the tunes dabble in pristine sunshine pop, psych folk, and a few other points in between, there are an equal number of tracks that dabble in awful.  Let's see if we can parse those out.

Now let's get positive here.  There is an album lurking among these tracks that would give the Free Design more than a run for its money.  Go ahead and program these ones if you want to follow the doctor's prescription:  "Overture to the Sun," "Where Are You," "Be Like Me," "And I Was Blue," "Magician In the Mountain," "Give Me All Your Loving," and "All In Good Time."  Congratulations, you can now add an extra point, and maybe a touch more, to the quality rating.  These demonstrate what Sunforest does really well - ghostly sunshine folk at dusk that Stereolab must've spun a few times in their heyday.  "And I Was Blue" is the absolute "Nugget" here where everything comes together in the grooviest of witches' brew concoctions.  If you want to pad the time, feel free to throw in "Bonny River," "Lovely Day," and "Garden Rug."  They've got a slight touch of cheese but are still very enjoyable in the end.  Great Moondog!  Now we've got a prime 27.5 minute album, which would have been perfectly acceptable for 1969.

Then we've got "Mr. Bumble," "Lighthouse Keeper," "Old Cluck," and "Peppermint Store."  These songs sound much like you'd expect songs with these titles to sound.  It's not a pretty situation.  I've never made it through a few of these, unless I was playing Tetris Battle while listening - that shizzle's timed so you can't just break away.

Man, I tell you there is a classic here.  Just take advantage of the mp3 age and make yourself a groovy playlist.  Sunforest may have been missing a proper editor, but that can now be you.  No, you don't screw around with the track listings of "Sgt. Pepper's" or "Who's Next," but I think it's perfectly legitimate to screw around with the running order of "Sound of Sunflower."

High Wolf - 2011 - A Guide to Healing

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Here's a bit of a trifle - just twelve minutes of electronic tetrahedrons sparking neurons in your mind.  I can't even remember where this came from as I just stumbled upon it on my hard drive.  I imagine that I found it on the Weed Temple blog, which deserves your undivided attention if you're not already a fan.

Anyway, back to this particular guide.  Honestly, I'd probably head to some Indian classical, Alan Watts, or maybe something with throat singing and bells for the healing sound.  High Wolf take the route with a lysergic ice pick to the brain.  "Free You Energy Field" is just short of awesomeness.  Not to come in with too strong of a 'should-a would-a,' but I'll be damned if this wouldn't be a celestial drone on the order of Spacemen 3's "Ecstasy Symphony" if not for that damn bouncing, sequenced pulse.  Maybe a remix is in order?  It eventually fades out in the name of bongos, though, so that's cool.  "Swallow Pills With Ganges River Water" has a tighter hold on my attention.  It's percolations of liquid sound would've fit nicely a 80's Cannon Films spectacular with David Carradine or Steven Segal (if you're unlucky) heading into the deep forest on a spirit quest/ass-kicking tutorial.

High Wolf probably have a bandcamp site or something, but I'm too lazy to look for it.  You've got twelve minutes of time for this, though.  Yes, it's the cover art that drew me in - the music fits 63% of the way towards matching the cover.

10 July 2012

Sferi - 2012 - Sound of the Spheres

Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5

Howdy, everyone!  This is Dr. Schluss.  And when I want to trippily trip on down to Tripsville, nothing trips me out like this tripped out collection of trippy tunes!  The ambient onslaught of Sferi does a pretty fine job of bundling together several of my stranger obsessions.  Looking straight up at the title we've got the music of the sphere (er, 'sound'), so that's a check.  Not only does much of this sound like what they'd play for you in the planetarium to destroy your fragile, eggshell mind on the elementary school field trip, but a fair amount of it also sounds like what you'd hear in that dark, creepy room in the back with the dinosaur stuff.  And yeah, all of the psychedelic, world of sound crap that I usually ramble on about is perfectly present as well on this set of synthesized and found sounds.  At least that's what I think I'm hearing - I always dig music where I'm not quite sure what's going on.  I suppose my musical goal in the end is for extreme disorientation.  To me, that's the music of the spheres and that's what we've got on this set.

The tracks themselves take us on an ever evolving, orbiting journey on a trajectory out of the cosmos.  After some light industrial pummeling on "Merkur," Sferi goes the full Vangelis on "Venera."  Not that this is a problem.  If you're traveling into interstellar synth space, you'd be lost without your Vangelis and Sferi does that riff just as well as the bearded man himself did in his prime.  "Jupiter" is one of those tracks that tosses your brain onto a tray in the liquid nitrogen oven.  Getting back to the creepy dinosaur museum room, "Uran" puts your straight into that faux-primordial ooze before the cosmos finally opens up near the end of the track.  I dig everything here, but I'm not sure the delicate (if discordant) harpsichord tones on "Mars" quite live up to the god of war nomenclature.  But it's still perfectly groovy if you discount the title.

I'm down with Holst, but sometimes I want to glide through the solar system with a little less bombast.  This album is the place to be if space is the place for you and you're not in a Sun Ra mood.  The cover art is a touch geechy, but for the past ten years I've had random planetary stickers showing up in my guitar case, the back of my synthesizers, my suitcase, my backpack and so on.  I'm not sure where they cam from in the first place and I really don't know why they keep appearing.  I think I've thrown away Jupiter at least three times now.  Anyway, it makes me think of the album cover and I now think these events simply occurred to herald this album's appearance.  At least I think that's the simplest explanation.

You can download this collection at Sferi's bandcamp, which is here:
Sferi - 2012 - Sound of the Spheres