12 December 2013

Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - The Gates of Ra EP

I've wanted to make a surf rock album since I was 15 years old.  If you've been listening to previous Glaze of Cathexis, the signs were likely apparent (especially on the album "I Often Dream of the Apocalypse").  I guess I still haven't made an album for that genre, but here's an EP.  It's a venue for wailing away on my Fender Telecaster and trying to channel the Ventures and Dick Dale.  Of course, this is the psychedelic garage, and there are a few warped curve balls, but I think I was going more for atmosphere that innovation on this one.  The title track is a preview of the next full Glaze of Cathexis album, which will appear in the first few months of 2014.

Most of these songs were actually composed more than ten years old, and I think this is my third round at recording them (the first two will remain unreleased because I, uh, lost them).  "Journeys of Pilgrims Under Moonlight" only received it's vocal chant last week, but the rest of the track dates from the aforementioned 15-year-old Dr. Schluss and the song titles are all new.  Only "The Gates of Ra" is a recent composition, and even that melody has been bouncing around in my head for the past few years (although with tragically stupid and offensive lyrics that I didn't use).

I hope some of you are on the same trip as me for this one and will dig the tunes.  Please share them around. Here's a link:

11 December 2013

Tideland - 2013 - Lull

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

Well, you could say that there's nothing new under the sun here, but then you'd be missing out on some shoegazing bliss.  Yeah, Tideland's going staight for the unobtainable heart of the Bloody Valentines, but they do an enviable approximation of the vibe by weaving in the pounding of Ride and the pure abandon of 80's Dinosaur Jr.  I mean, let's face it, the Valentines don't have a whole lot of music to their name and this is some of the purest, straight ahead shoegazing I've heard in quite a while.  There are no nods to electronic or modern rock here - just the jet engine roar that only the best create.

Once you've heard "Starblood," you'll already know if this is for you.  New acolytes will note the amphetamine rush of buzzsaw guitars heading straight for your soul.  The Valentine effect is in full force on "Carved In Mine," which sounds a bit like "You Made Me Realize," but doesn't suffer too much from the comparison.  "Dinosaur" actually doesn't justif my Dinosaur Jr. reference all that much, but rather comes across like what the reverb god Dean Wareham would've sounded like if he drank a lot more coffee.

These are time tested approaches to melting the roof off of the club, but Tideland knows there stuff and presses most of the buttons that need to be pressed with a proper punk rock heart lurking deep inside the proceedings.  The guitars jangle, roar, or melt right when they need to.  Yeah, there are some diamonds to be found in the no-mans-land of Bandcamp, and this is certainly one of them.

Put a hole in your mind here:
Tideland - 2013 - Lull

Tom Waits For No Man - 2013 - Fun With String

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

Just to get this off my chest, change the name!!!  For the love of God, change the name!!!  I mean, I dig Tom Waits, but I wouldn't say he ever went psych rock and the pun brings me pain.  I almost didn't give this a listen because of it, but fortunately I did and there's some notable grooviness to be had here.  Back when I was a young buck right around the turn of the millennium, I stumbled into a number of those hardwood floor-shakin', bad-part-of-town house parties which had the hardcore punks wailing until the police showed up (admittedly for me a few times by way the primordial Glaze of Cathexis, Rocket Number Nine - not that we were hardcore punks).  I was always wishing for a garage rock rave up.  Before my partying time was done, the seas were shifting; I especially remember catching the early Black Lips at a few Atlanta shindigs.  Anyway, the somewhat unfortunately named Tom Waits For No Man would have been very welcome to that early 20-something Dr. Schluss.  Plowing with the essence of the 60's underground teens, you'll dig into some of the sounds here.

This stuff 60-70% instrumental, which is a touch of a downer as a properly unhinged vocalist would add quite a bit of sonic value.  But we're going to deal with what we've got, and plug it into the slot of soundtracking for a more deranged take on the psychedelic bro love-hate of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in "The Trip."  I guess these folks have something like on their mind as the tracks titles delve straight into the darker side of B-movieism with "Evil Dead," "Doom Patrol," and "Death Rides a Horse" making their names known.  The first half of the album throws some reverb-drenched, yet desert fried early morning tunes our way - sort of like if Brightback Morning Light got dosed with the brown acid.  With "Beauty in Garbage," we start to get some vocal warbling with some wasted Velvet Underground by way of Galaxie 500 intonations.  "Ohm" finally hits the garage rock sweet spot and may be the grooviest, Pebbles-ready tune here.  It's too entertainingly low-fi and warped for "Nuggets."  "Police Chase" goes back to the (mostly) instrumental, but comes on full blast with a brain-melting fuzz fest.

I sort of feel like we may be getting a few iterations of a band here (not that I have any evidence for or against that).  The building blocks for extreme awesomeness are nonetheless present on this offering.  I guess my "working-on-middle-age" advice would be to ditch the name and recruit a singer on the cusp of Roky Erickson to shout to the stars.  Not that I actually know what I'm talking about or anything.  Still, this may very well be a ground floor that you'll want to get in on.

Vibe in here:
Tom Waits For No Man - 2013 - Fun With String

30 November 2013

Sea Train - 1969 - Sea Train

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

Word up is that this is the next iteration of the Blues Project, which went through a kaleidoscope of line-ups in its proper history.  We hear a tinge of jazz rhythms and country music bending through the prism of psychedelic styles.  I imagine that this is the music that the bikers in 'Easy Rider' would have heard in the desert compound if those folks at a touch of electricity - it would certainly do better than "Do Your Ears Hang Low."

Really, the band blows most of their wad on the opening, band-naming, title track.  It glides on some fine perlocating bass, mild funky percussion, and a well-controlled variant of the city horn blast that Blood, Sweat, and Tears or Chicago were aiming for.  I dig the harpsichord baroque go-go dance of "Portrait of the Lady as a Young Artist."  Hell, they even manage to fit in a reasonable fiddle, which I typically consider a no-no in rock or jazz.  I used to play cello in the orchestra, so I always felt the violins were a little screechy.  I was down with the violas, though.  Rondo strips down the vibe to acoustic guitar and comes out as a winning, folky track.  Some of the other stuff is probably a touch over arranged.

This slots in with a lot of the other albums that sit on that unstable precipice between psychedelic chamber pop and 70's singer-songwriting.  With the proper professionalism in place, a band vibe, and the vapors of the Blues Project wafting through, this is a pretty respectable effort.  It's not quite firing on all cylinder, but the ones that are functioning are pretty colourful.

The Litter - 1967 - Distortions

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

This slab from these Minneapolis psych rockers is typically viewed as an absolute garage rock classic in the vein of the Chocolate Watchband or the Electric Prunes.  I'm not really one to argue with that.  There's plenty of fuzzed-out guitars and rhythm section pounding to please the engroovied masses.  Like the Watchband, the Litter weren't really too keen on composing tunes - at least not at this point.  Thus, we've got some impassioned wailings on luminaries like the Who, the Yardbirds, and Cream.  No, none of them are really on par with the originals, but this is right on target as the kind of thing you'd want to hear at full blast shaking the floorboards of a psychedelic house party.

The key track, "Action Woman," is an absolute acid rock classic that has graced choice positions on both Nuggets and Pebbles compilations.  They didn't write it, but it's undeniably their tune.  Outside of that magma intensity splatter painting of balls-out psych rock, I dig their take on the Who.  As I mentioned before, they don't manage to displace the originals, but they do give a damn fine gritty American boot-stomping vibe on "Substitute" and "A Legal Matter."  The seams show a touch on their attempt at a 'rave-up' on "I'm A Man," but again, in the right context and frame of mind it's a rollicking time.  The originals on here don't really shine so brightly, but they work well as 60's album cuts and ultimately fit in on the more positive side of 'filler.'

I think a lot of people show up at the psychedelic garage for this kind of thing (although I like to think they ultimately stick around for the ragas and drones), and this is an immensely pleasurable example of a hard rockin', psychedelic time.  If you haven't crossed paths with the Litter and you've already consumed your essential 60's rock, then you're gonna have a good time here.

15 November 2013

Paul Haslinger - 1998 - Planetary Traveler

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

I don't know, I guess this is where the Berlins school road of electronics comes to a dead end.  Paul Haslinger is an alumni of Tangerine Dream, and the results do peek out on this soundtrack album.  There's just enough of the old school and shades of engroovied darkness to catch my attention, but there's a lot of digital new wave and orchestral blunderbust gumming up the works as well.  Still, Haslinger is keeping it more real than the Dream themselves have since something like 1986.  Maybe this all works better if you're hearing it while gazing at 90's CGI on a massive Imax screen over at the local science center.  You pick up the high chrome-based cassette tape in the gift store and it sound noticiably worse in the tape deck (sorry, I'm dating my analogy).  Unfortunately for the travelers, it seems that this was actually one of those gift store VHS 'trip' videos, but it looks like I was spot on about the Playstation 1 quality CGI.

The shorter tracks fair the best and will more likely appeal to the psychonauts out there.  "Lhodwi (frozen Chaos)" and "Dilgan (Burning Life)" are reasonable sound paintings in miniature, while the closing "The Remains of Time" fairs well with a few extra minutes.  I guess "Entropy" is like the new-jack funk that they play in discotheque.  There are a few tracks that make me want to instantly de-rez the digital orchestral. Tracks like "Traces of Infinity,"  "E'iah" pounds you over the head with that damned 'orchestra hit' sound.  It may very well be a real orchestra, but it's still that damned 'orchestra hit' sound.  "Dharmok (Bridging the Gap)" suffers from a touch of that as well, but the other 80% of the track is gliding ambient soundscapes.

I'm not quite sure why I'm reviewing this to be honest.  It's right at the tail end of that period when every musician with some cash in their pocket was going as new and as digital as possible, and just before folks figured out that the analog stuff actually sounded a lot better (I believe Moog Cookbook was just starting to make that point on an indie label in 1998).  I probably just have science center nostalgia.  We have this in Atlanta:

Fernbank Science Center

And I've been trying to take my daughter to the science dome recently, but circumstance keeps getting in my way:

Saku Children's Science Dome for the Future

29 October 2013

Nectar of the Moon - 2013 - Self-Born in the Lotus Flower

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Out here in the Psychedelic Garage I believe that the Damaged Tape tunes have touched on nectar, the moon, and lotus flowers, so it's pretty much a given that this one would catch my attention.  We've stepped through the mirror into tiny worlds of sound curled up in it's own dimension - there are no songs here to speak of.  There are coursing waves of sound - echoing the electronic experiments of the 70's and those glistening synthesizer trails similar to what Tangerine Dream managed right at the dawn of the 80's.

Side one start with an analog bubble bath, with the verdant patches of tropical alien jungle working its tendrils through the mind.  Around the seven minute mark the drones step up the pace, like the sun blasting the ground with equatorial heat.  Finally the intensity of the drones wither away and envelope the listener in moonlight.  Side two is a touch thinner sounding, with the focus often on high cutoff synthesizer spirals.  It's the early morning awakening of the jungle moon.  Eventually, we come full circle to the dripping banana leaves that began the musical journey.  With the loop of a day on this tropical moon charting a mere thirty minutes, you can spin around in sonic circles, especially if you're ignoring the controls on your media player as I often do.

With just the right images coming through and echoes of some of the better tones of early electronica, this is a very groovy platter for the astral journeyman.  Although not quite up there, this music is a least withing spitting distance of oblique sound voyages such as Tangerine Dream's "Alpha Centauri" or Vangelis' "Beaubourg."

At Bandcamp (but lacking this partuicular album)
Nectar of the Moon

11 October 2013

Tony Scott - 1968 - Music for Yoga Meditation and Other Joys

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

Tony Scott was a bop artists throughout the 1950's but he seemed to have lost the plot by the mid-60's. Fortunately, he did so in the best way possible, and stumbled into the sounds of the sitar after a 1964 flirtation with traditional Japanese musicians.  Unlike many of the sitar laden albums of the late 60's, and in spite of the cover art, there is nothing particularly exploitative about this date.  What we get is a great, likely improvised fusion of prime Indian drones and jazz flute skipping a path along more exotic scales.

Featuring only sitar and flute, the general timbre of the tracks are quite similar.  As the cover states, this is meditative music.  Both instrumentalists are masters, however, and the melodic variations speak of a lively duet of gurus on the wild mountainside.  A tabla would have been nice in a spot or two, but these tunes are of a strict duet nature.  I don't know if there's much use going through individual tracks.  I've been listening to this for years straight through and have never really brought my magnifying glass to the proceedings.  All of this flows downstream as a whole.

This album is a fascinating and enjoyable early example of the world's music seeping through Stateside. Tony Scott was a few steps ahead of the game.  This is more Indian than jazz, but Scott's fine flute playing brings just a touch of a midnight, rain-
swept Chicago alley to the proceedings and managed an album that is quite wonderful.

10 October 2013

Ton Vlasman - 1970 - White Room With Desintigrating Walls

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

I've never quite been at peace with the acid folk/freak folk scene.  On the surface, it seems right up my alley - the idea of uber-trippy lyrics and warm acoustic instrumentation warped through recording sounds fantastic.  The execution, however, doesn't always do it for me.  I still need to be spoon fed the Incredible String Band, which is a key influence for this Dutch fellow.  Ton Vlasman's sort of a farm team player for the pastoral hippies, however. His voice echoes Dylan and the aforementioned ISB, but he lacks the control that those musical A-listers brought to their otherwise idiosyncratic vocals.  The instrumentation is pretty minimal, but Vlasman knows his way around a ramshackle acoustic a few of the embellishments ended up getting my attention.  Still, if you're a aficionado of the acid folk scene, you'll find a few things to groove into on this LP.

I'm all for the music journey, and the epic-length "Flight With a Circular Course" takes us on a weird minimal journey through the stratosphere of the ancient gods.  The tracks is based around picked acoustic patterns, which flip backwards for a few segments, and is augmented by the occasional strange delay and some single organ lines beaming in from Pink Floyd's "A Saucerful of Secrets."  "Mithrandir the White Horse Rider" opts to journey through the Welsh countryside of the Britons instead with a bellowing flute to keep the guitar company.  There are some relections of Robbie Basho, whim I covered last month, although Vlasman can't touch his level of folk guitar genius.  "To Sell," "It's Alright With Me," and "Story of Too Many Prisoners" come off like second-rate Dylan, although I guess that's still better than the hordes of third- or fourth-rate or worse pretenders to the throne that even today proliferate the music scene.  Meanwhile, "Walking in a Country Lane" and "The End" have more to do with the ISB and "Pale Blue Eyes" is not a Velvet Underground cover.

There are a few sparks of inspiration, especially in the longer tracks, but for the most part Ton Vlasman was simply up for a pleasant freak folk journey down already trailblazed roads.  If you're already attuned to this kind of music, this deserves your ear.  The rest of you may as well flip a coin over it.

19 September 2013

Ariel Kalma - 1977 - Osmose

Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.75 out of 5

Keeping up with the mystics, we have one Ariel Kalma, who has provided a blend of 70's analog electronics, environmental sounds, and, uh, saxophone on this LP.  It's sort of like Vangelis getting lost deep in the Amazonian rainforest 35 years ago.  Maybe the Greek one did at some point as this album is a touch reminiscent of Vangelis' "Soil Festivities" from the early 80's.  Anyway, the tones range from nice and calming droplets of water, to "Oh, Sweet Vishnu! There is a saxophone shaped spider going for my carotid artery!"  Yeah, on paper the sax sounds like a bad idea, but Kalma provides the sound of this instrument in strange squiggles which works well.

Those woodwind-laden tunes are clearly delineated by the two tracks starting with the word "Saxo."  They're not the best ones here, though.  We hear massive cathedrals of vine growth with "Message 18.10.77" and the closing "Orguitar Soir."  "Planet Air" and "Manege" sound like they're being influenced by Boards of Canada twenty years two early, but with a stronger flow of gliding 70's space prog synth.  Things go monkey industrial on "Gongmo."  I guess the song title pretty much spells that out if you're looking for it. Meanwhile, "Osmose Chant" returns your astral form to the core of the upper Peruvian-Amazon ayahuasca ceremony as the shaman birdman chants you through the rooms of the soul.

Y'know, synthesizers were dang expensive in the 1970's, but that's when they sounded the grooviest!  As a result, it can be a little tricky to unearth electronic treasures outside of folks like Vangelis, Jarre, or the krautrockers.  Still, sometimes stuff like Iasos comse spewing out of the aether, and Ariel Kalma definitely deserves a seat at the round table of the high priests of electronic, ambient sound.

Explore Osmose here:
Ariel Kalma - 1977 - Osmose

Robbie Basho - 1966 - The Grail and the Lotus

Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

A few months ago, we visited some 'contemporary' guitar (circa 1967), and I lamented the difficulty of tracking down recordings by fingerpicking wizard Robbie Basho.  Well, I finally hit the payload and found 1966's "The Grail and the Lotus" to be one of his golden nuggets of sound.  Sporting some fantastic mid 60's mystical pop art on the cover,  the disc features only his guitar for the entire album (except for a short spot of whistling on the final track).  Granted, we're talking the mainline of transportative, transcendental guitar.  Later on, the man would add touches such as piano and some vocals here and there, but let's just say that his guitar playing stands out as his superlative talent.

I hope that you'll buy into Basho's sound, but you either will or you won't.  Basho's not aiming for stylistic diversity, but rather the sound of the mystical minstrel passing through your muddy, Black Plague-ridden town square.  It seems that he has a 12-string guitar in place of a lute, but the man has traveled.  Perhaps he set off on a latter day crusade, forever changed by his experiences signified by the title track.  He'll re-appropriate the sounds of the Indian courts on "The Dharma Prince" while amplifying the echoes of China he caught on the silk road with "Chung Mei."

This is music simple in execution, endlessly complex in the guitar stylings, and exploring the limits of infinity.  Basho's a prime case for the misunderstood genius.  His music never has and will probably never end up on a commercial radio station, and it's too intentionally ragged and weird for the BGM or new age crowd.  I imagine you're here for psychedelic adventures in music, though, and this presents that aesthetic it one of its most raw and pure forms.

19 August 2013

The Striped Bananas - 2013 - Lady Sunshine

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

"Lady Sunshine" is a fun reconstruction of the pop-psych sounds blossoming out of L.A. in the late 60's.  It's not quite all the way there, but the songwriting and arrangements are pretty much spot-on.  The other elements come enviously close as well.  The production is crisp and clear - maybe even a touch too clear.  A little more tube-blasted, echoey warmth would have made this sound completely authentic.  The vocals, as well, are quite good with some girl/boy minor key harmonizing, but lack the full-on West Coast bombast and confidence that we often hear on the real thing.  Actually, in a lot of ways, this disc feels a lot like the Essex Green's early recordings.  It's ninety percent of the way to 60's sunshine bliss, with a few pit stops in the land of contemporary indie rock.

The group's at its best when in slathers in some sleazy garage rock grit into their wide-eyed sound.  This vibes in mostly on "Black Velvet" and the Electric Prunes influenced "Mistress of Existence."  The title track, "Dark Piece" and "Oasis of Time" do the best job of achieving the sound of Peter Fonda tripping through the hallucinated, medieval forest of the mind in, uh, "the Trip."  I should also note that there is a bass note in the title track that makes me think my phone is vibrating every time I hear it.

This is a rather shortish album as well, clocking in under thirty minutes.  I guess that is a perfectly reasonable period touch, along with the absolutely fantastic stained-glass drawing cover art.  The Striped Bananas clearly have no interest in living in the musical present, and for the most part they have constructed a valid time machine of sound.  Again, I would wholeheartedly recommend this platter to those who have grooved to the tunes of the Essex Green.

Listen over heyah:
The Striped Bananas - 2013 - Lady Sunshine

09 August 2013

Bird People - 2013 - Water Buffalo

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5

I think I've said it before, but there is a razor thin edge between transcendental synth drone music and treacly new age vapidness.  There is some great value in successfully approaching the line without actually crossing it.  Subterranean manages it,  Jorge Reyes and Steve Roach have a pretty good run of it, and Iasos batted about .500.  We'll add Bird People to the list with this release.  Yeah, you've got meditative flutes of the highland bouncing around, but it's nicely balanced by some growling drones and wide open plains of meditative sound.

There are only three line pieces here, and they are nice and varied journeys to walk your mind through the universe beyond the veil.  "Lord Yama" would work well as Ming the Merciless' court music on one of his average days, with Indian approximated sound competing with writhing synth tones and some guitar tones that Brian May might spew out while tripping in the observatory.  Are we all getting these references? - the 1980 "Flash Gordon" film? - Queen soundtrack? - Brian May is also an astrophysicist?  I don't want to be condescending, I'm just making sure that I'm not writing completely up me own arse.  Then "Oya's Dance" sort of borrows a bit of Sun Ra's 1963 delayed percussion tones and throws it over the new age crystal pyramid for a fun recast.  Things then melt away with "Lao Tsu On Han Gu Pass" throws out any sense of melody for pure atmosphere as any waves of thought drift away into mists of the Chinese highlands.

I'm a sucker for these long sound odysseys into the aether and this is one of the best I've come across this year.  I can't say I know anything about the Chinese variety of bird people that these folks seem to be going for, but I read a groovy book about the Peruvian variety a few years back, so I'm keeping that in mind while listening.  It was sort of a travelogue where the writer delved deeper and deeper into the Peruvian Amazon on a search for ayahuasca shamen who were disconnected from the civilized world.  Here's a link for that one:  Trail of Feathers

Oh, yes.  And the music.  That's here:
Bird People - 2013 - Water Buffalo

01 August 2013

Howdy Pardners

Be back soon.  I sprained my hand in a bicycle accident after a rainshower, so I haven't felt much like typing recently.  It's almost healed, though, and I have a few choice albums queued up for your listening pleasure.

04 July 2013

Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - Prophecies of the All-Seeing Sage

Riding on the waves of shoegazing guitar, mid-60's jangle, and an electric rock n' roll shock to the brain comes the newest Glaze of Cathexis album.  With this new set of original music from the Garage, we're continuing the metaphysical Journey to the Center that we started mapped out on the two EPs released in the previous few months.  Some folks on the mind while recording include the Bloody Valentines, Sonic Youth, Can, Marc Bolan, raga, and of course a healthy dose of the psychedelic Beatles.  I put a special focus on the guitar tones for this one and I hope they make fuzzy fireworks of warm electricity in your mind.   Psychedelic rocking in the astral garage.  I'd love for you to pass around this music and share.

Scott had this to say:

Beyond the rolling canyons of soaring, rippling water,
on The Beach of Volcanoes foam shines, bejeweled 
as dewy tiaras of rainforest princesses. Meanwhile, in
in the ever-now and forever-more, bright tawny sand 
sighs and squeaks under the cosmos-questing shamen,
breathing in and out whole worlds; with benevolent 
twinkles in their mind`s third eye, on their eternal pilgrimage 
for the illusion-penetrating, ever-engroovied boon to all beings

You can have your listen and download over here at Bandcamp:

Give another listen to the lead up EPs over at these links:

29 June 2013

Damaged Tape - 2007 - Entoptic Visions

I must admit that I've been completely focused on rocking out on my Glaze of Cathexis recordings so far this year - I haven't delved into the electronic world of Damaged Tape for months now (but I feel it's coming on).  I didn't really get around to compiling my recordings into albums until late 2007, so a fair number of tracks ended up getting shoved straight under the rug.  These are eight of the better ones that began showing up after 2005's 'Futara' (2005) on through to outtakes from the 'Stone God' (2007).  It a different, and more digital approach than the one I take these days, but there's a shimmering psychedelic glare that still comes through nicely.  At this point, I was still going completely maverick with my music and everything you see and hear on this release can be traced back to myself.  Fortunately, I can still groove to the sounds I created here, and I hope that you will as well.  I still dig the compressed electro-pop vibe I was aiming for on "Olympus Mons" and "Slaarg" as well as the duality of more epic tracks like "Building the New Machine" and "(Re)Creation." My only real regret is that I didn't have the vacumn tubes to toss the sounds through at the time (you'll see the 2006-2007 recording setup in the in
sert photo).  I've even come to piece with my strange 'Duran Duran' moments in "Entoptic."  Have a gander at these tracks and download them over at Bandcamp:

Damaged Tape - 2007 - Entoptic Visions

27 June 2013

EUS, Postdrome, and Saaad - 2012 - Sustained Layers

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

This is some dark, dark atmospheric ambient music, coming straight from the black, bug room.  Maybe that last bit requires a touch of explanation from a former comic book geek:

Ok, moving on.  While we're dealing with nightmare colours in sound, "Sustain Layers" still makes for strangely compelling listening.  I tend to veer away from dark industrial tones and such, but the synthetic mixture here is more like a musical Bosch or something - once you start looking into the details it becomes both stranger and more fascinating.  Ethereal vocals waft over the drone darkness, bringing in a touch of light, although it may admittedly be the light of the angel of death or something.

This is another one of those releases where songs don't really matter for the most part.  It's best taken in as a continuous work.  That said, the sounds start at their midnight bleakest.  I mean, the second track is entitled "3PM," but maybe there was a solar eclipse or something in this world of sound.  As we move on through, the drones become less claustrophobic and more expansive, although still of a post-twilight hue.  Once we've made it to "3AM," it's the sound of old school General Zod as he watches the judgement dome slowly open followed by the sensation of being blasted across the snowblown planes of dying Krypton in his Phantom Zone prison.  I swear I haven't been reading comic books over the past ten years, but I did try and fail to make it through "Green Lantern" with Ryan Reynolds.  Where were we?  "Dawn" is an unnecessary, but fair enough coda.  After being pelted by 40 minutes of black ice, this international collaboration (Costa Rica, UK, France) brings in a guest vocalist to do a Slowdive-on-downers sort of thing.  Not that there's even anything wrong with trying to sound like Slowdive.

Put your brain in the blackened freezer with "Sustained Layers."  A love of drones is essential, though.  I always love a well-matched album cover, and this fantastic photo is a pretty solid indications of the sounds you'll find inside.  Listen in download here:

EUS, Postdrome, and Saaad - 2012 - Sustained Layers

13 June 2013

Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - Journey to the Center EP

Some more original rock n' roll from the Psychedelic Garage.  'Journey to the Center' is the first track being released from the upcoming LP, "Prophecies of the All-Seeing Sage." We were trying to tie together the sludge of early Black Sabbath, the exploration of Can, and a bit of glam-era Bowie pomp into a compact metaphysical musical journey. The other three tunes will remain unique to this EP. 'Things May Change' and 'New Horizons' are tracks I wrote quite some time ago. The former aims to pass a mid-60's British jangle through a modern lens, while the latter wallows in bone-bashing, juke-joint scummery. I hope you dig the journey and will stick around for the full-length, which should be dropping in July.

Listen and download on Bandcamp:

Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - Journey to the Center EP

07 June 2013

A Few Rumblings From Around the Web

Hey, I do appreciate the music that some of you send to my email account.  I really can't answer everything I get, but I do give most of it the one minute listening test that we'd do at my college radio station.  Here's a few of the ones that have grabbed my attention recently:

Kikagaku Moko - 2013 - Kikagaku Moko

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

A lot of Japanese pop and rock There is a societal pressure to fit into the mold as cleanly as possible and it makes for uninspiring music.  Conversely, those who follow their own zen path can end up further out there then we do it the West.  We hear it in some of the wild noise rock of the Japanese underground, and it has resulted in some prime psychedelic rock, especially in the 70's.  Kikagaku Moko has grabbed the tail of that latter tradition, and had their way with it.  They produce the full on psychedelic rock of something like the Flowers Travellin' Band on tracks like "Zo No Senaka" and "Dawn," while infusing the sounds with the rambling noise trip of more modern acts like Acid Mothers Temple.  They chill out nicely as well, with the lazy, hazy blues jamming of "Tree Smoke," and the ambient cavern of "Lazy Stoned Monk."  Also it seems that they have a full-time sitar player, so that's cool.

Listen Here:

Sounds Around - 2013 - The Visible Spectrum

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

They told me that this is a concept album cataloging a journey through the chakra system.  The journey is probably a touch too long for me, but the highlights are well-worth your while.  Opening epic "The Witness" is absolutely wonderful, charting a shamanistic tapestry of sound that's not dissimilar from mystic sound designers like Steve Roach or Jorge Reyes.  The final four tracks return to this aesthetic.  "Second Sight" nods to the narcotic cushion of shoegazers such as Slowdive as well.  Put them together and you've got a 40+ minute album that I'd easily throw a 4.5 out of 5 rating towards.  The middle of the album has some grooviness abound with some nice guitar licks here and there and some fun lounge-like sounds (as well as the occasional screaming sitar!), but it suffers from some thin drum sounds and may have benefited from some more editing.  Maybe I'm just not attuned to my middle chakras or something.  That said, I'm sure plenty of people would throw similar complaints at my Damaged Tape project and you will find an exceptional album here if you program your player right.

Listen Here:

Oh my!  And with that it's time for the Doctor to head for that job where they actually pay me money.  We'll do this again soon.

Various Artists - 1967 - Contemporary Guitar - Spring '67

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: anywhere from about 3 to 4.5 out of 5

There was that time in the early to mid 60's when legitimate folk guitarists starting dropping acid and trying to play their 12-acoustics like sitars.  I'm pretty sure that that's how we got the Incredible String Band, at least by the time of their second album.  Back on the other side of the pond there were some minimalist guitar master wielding sheets of Appalachia and eastern tradition together.  They beat the beat bands and American rockers to the psychedelic punch, even if the sounds weren't quite as widescreen technicolour as the rock scene would later produce.  I've heard names like Robbie Bassho and John Fahey bouncing around for years, but I'd never felt smart enough to get around to them.  These recording are scratchy as hell, but it just helps to create the weird world beyond the rural veil of the American countryside.

Most of the tunes on this compilation are 6 or 12-string, acoustic explorations.  Everything here is pretty solid, although my attention keeps shifting to the two Max Ochs "Raga" tracks, which fulfills its title nicely while still sounding like it's coming off of a back porch in Arkansas, and  "The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose" by Robbie Basho, which is the sound of a guitar being programmed and processed by an ancient, analog computer in the celestial temple.  The precise and mathematical picking patterns on "The John Fahey Sampler" are notable as well.  Meanwhile, Bukka White shows up with a drummer and an electric guitar to show the youngin's how raw, gut bucket blues is done, and there's occasionally a touch cropping up on the ultra-obscure Henry Taussig tracks to change up the game a bit.

This isn't the easiest music to delve into, in part because of its eclecticism and in part because it's so difficult to track down the recordings (just try going on a Robbie Basho search).  Fortunately, this is a good place to start and is a nice reflection of the mid 60's attempts to capture the transcendental in the folk underground.

15 May 2013

The Gateless Gate - 2013 - Heikan no Setsu

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

A few years back Bjork threw "Medulla" in our direction, which was a completely accapella set of tunes.  For better or for worse, this was my shark jumping moment for Bjork as nothing she's made from that point on quite got my attention as the earlier recordings did.  Now, the Gateless Gate, whose first album I absolutely dig have dared go that route with their second release.  Fortunately, my admiration remains.  Whereas Bjork seemed to use the vocal approach simply as an excuse to go "bip bip PFFEW!!!" over and over again, this album bases much of its vocals in throat singing and other sacred and shamanistic Eastern music. I don't like it quite as much as the debut, but it's a fascinating and welcome progression.  The Gateless Gate are certainly not repeating themselves (or himself if you want).

My favorite tracks are the throatier ones, which suggest wide open desert highlands of psychedelic rust.  "The Mirror of Hui-neng" presents a vocal rhythm of the slow train to Lhasa, and the one-two-three punch of  "Bodhidharma at Shaolin," "The Realization of Dogen Zenji," and "Gaki" present us with an almost fifteen minute run of a meeting with the head monk in his mirrored meditational chamber.  I'm not as hep to the approach on "Sunrise on Mount Shumisen," and "Eihei-ji," which seem to skirt on the realm of Tibetan doo-wop or something.  This is likely the danger of going all vocal with your album.  Still, it's admirable experimentation and "Interdependent Coorigination" throws some prime, melancholic Brian Wilson vocal chords in our direction, which is always welcome.  The closing "Light" throws in some lyrics, which does disrupt the vibe someone, but it's not a bad tune and continues with some fine vocal pads as 'instrumentation.'

I think the Gateless Gate  remains an Eastern-flavored act to keep up with.  This album is certainly an interesting diversion, but I'll definitely have my ears perked up for a less constrained recording.  I think the best music is created under limitations, but it's also important not to less those limitations overpower the core of the music.  Fortunately, this disc remains quite interesting over the course of its running time despite the rather extreme limitations.

Listen and download here:
The Gateless Gate - 2013 - Heikan no Setsu

Madalyn Merkey - 2010 - Please Don't Keep Me Waiting

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

This EP length platter of engroovied, hissing analog electronics are as if Moog pioneers Perrey and Kingsley had been down with Brian Eno oblique strategies instead of betraying their background in showtunes with tracks like "Baroque Hoedown." The music seems to exist just outside of our dimension, with the prominent tape hiss subtly mangling the music and practically serving as another instrument.  The sound is minimalist, yet impressionistic and of a decidedly different percolating flavor than the typical experiental electronic cassette.

The two sides both clock in a ten minutes and thirty seconds, as if Merkey is working under the clock.  The first half is a gently pulsing Berlin sequence, being forced and warped out of shape by the whims of a mad scientist.  It's almost like a snippet of a Boards of Canada track getting disintigration looped.  Side B is like a tiny tone generator from the 60's, wishing to be synth pop, but in fact busily shorting out along side its primordial rhythm machine and ghostly, phasing vocals.

Coming all the way back from 2010 spans several eternities in the piledriving, bandcamp present.  This means a lot of music gets unduly buried, and this is a winner for the sonic travelers looking for a jaunt through the "Logan's Run" filtered retro future.

29 April 2013

Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - A Lotus Pond in Winter EP

Drinking in a Tokyo hotel and randomly deciding that this is the time to release this.  There's an album on the way as well, but I'm going to transmit a bit of EP to your mind first.  I think I've been musically time traveling the past few years.  "Underground Sound" and the couple following albums fulfilled my 60's dreams, while "Neon Buddha" rolled on through the 70's.  Now there's a 80's indie sound rising bubbling to the surface on the title track of this one.  I'm trying to hit that Sonic Youth buzz, and maybe even the nirvana of the Bloody Valentines if possible.  Please share the sounds around and tell me what you think of this fun-sized batch of psychedelia.

Have a listen here, pilgrim:

16 April 2013

The Beat of the Earth - 1967 - The Beat of the Earth

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Man, the surf came crawling in and swept all of the hobos, junkies, and heads into a brick-walled Venice Beach basement infused with the scent of a dying star.  These California weirdos, led by surf-rocker Phil Pearlman, is exactly what Andy Warhol could've used for his west coast happenings.  Like Pearlman's Electronic Hole, the vibes of the Velvet Underground are clearly chiming through, but with the sensibility of wild hair flowin', bongo beatin' nighttime beach bonfire in place of Lou Reed's Chelsea gutter.  With wall-to-wall psychedelic reverb, primordial flute, and the occasional vocals presenting the unholy demon child of Lou Reed and Jim Morrison, this improvised strangeness delivers the psychedelic music promised on the back cover.

Back in my review of the Electronic Hole, I noted that the band oddly didn't function well on the more conventional tunes, while they shine on the jams.  Fortunately, that's all we're getting here, with each side making a blurry, rambling artistic statement.  At least when you consider that the tunes are named "This is an Artistic Statement Parts I and II."  Y'know, I'm not a fan of jam bands in rock.  The hallowed Grateful Dead tend to try my patience, especially after 30 minutes of "Dark Star."  Some rock bands earn their licence to jam (guess we've got to mention Can again).  I don't know if the Beat of the Earth quite earns the certificate, but this record is at least under serious consideration at the City Office of Psychedelia.

Switch the brain off of "focus" and let it all come down.  This is the west coast connection for all of the nutcases who want to connect the Velvet Underground, the 13th Floor Elevators, and the Beat of the Earth into a U.S. national nutcase of the sometimes uncomfortable beyond.  I mean, the Beat of the Earth doesn't have the songwriting or vocal presence of those admittedly better bands, but they do match them in scummy, trippy grooviness.

Sungod - 2012 - Crash Galactic

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

Taking a few choice pages out of the krautrock playbook,  Sungod provides impressionistic, instrumental splatter paintings that aim to take you on a trip.  They aren't quite Can, but they do take aim at a variety of sound motifs, providing the listener with constantly shifting sonic scenery.  You'll get warped sounds from the planetarium peyote ceremony, to the psychedelic grime of the back alleys of Berlin (or Austin, Texas as the band hails from there) with a mixture of vintage Moogs, acoustic instrumentation that recalls Can's ethnological forgeries, and the occasional blast of full drum kit percussion.

The bookends of the album, "Constellation of Ions" and "Ion Ecstacy" work the experimental ambient tape groove with cold, celestial synth washes.  Sungod probably could've gotten away with 30 minutes of this stuff, but variety is the spice of "Crash Galactic."  Those electronic pulses seem to be fused into these guys' brains, and the more synth heavy tracks are the real winners.  "Bounded Hessians" tosses us directly into the thirty-five minute mark of a 8's cop show, right when our admittedly square hero gets forcibly dosed with the wild, newest designer drug.  "Shimmering Light (Pure Religion)" is like 70's Tangerine Dream jamming with the ghost of Manuel Gottsching (whom I should probably mention isn't actually dead).  The band yields at it's most successfully experimental, with the aboriginals of Jupiter bouncing back the sounds of Gyorgy Legeti.  A few other tracks, like "Indra's Net and Bell Theorem" may drift a little too far beyond the pale, with no destination in sight, while "The Infinite Regress" walks a groove that doesn't quite do it for me.  Still, it is a far, far better thing to traverse the knife's edge of experimentation and occasionally fail than to sound like a Belieber.

I think some of the vibrations here are kin with t
he recordings I've posted by my past collaborator, Andrew Bland.  The sea of sound is a little colder in the presence of Sungod, though, and they want to hurtle you into space.  Visit the cathedral at the end of this link:

Sungod - 2012 - Crash Galactic

16 March 2013

In the Court of the Star Chamber

I'm not going to rant too much this time, but just to keep track I've now gotten a copyright infringement notice about Damaged Tape's "Nude Witchcraft."  Just as in the notice in January, this regards recordings that I created myself (no samples, borrowed images, or cover songs are present).  Something strange is afoot.

15 March 2013

Masarati - 2010 - Pyramid of the Sun

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

My college roommate was quite turned on to the sound of these guys.  The interlocking wire-like guitar line caught my attention, but the synth pop infusion prevalent on this release really brought me into the fold.  Masarati melds their guitar expertise with the unfulfilled promises of post-rockers Trans Am on this release.  It's the sound of the disco in hell, and that makes for a fine experience in my book - at least if we assume that it's just a decadent visit.

There's not a ton of variation on this LP, but it doesn't matter so much with the groove that the band sets up on "Pyramid of the Sun."  The legendary Can proved it first and Masarati are acolytes of that Deutsch gospel - if you set the field with precise, metronomic drumming and have the chops to match it, you can ride it home on the second star to the right, straight on till morning.  The band finds their sharpest honing of this particular implement on the widescreen "Oaxaca."  It sounds like if Kraftwerk gave up on the robots and cranked up the amplifiers.  "Ruins" takes the groove into subterranean depths, distorting and plowing the sounds though an industrial refractory prism.

The sounds here are a shining crystal darkened with the sound of a fantastical future dystopia.  It's krautrock metronomik wailing away in a sleazy discotheque.  If Trans Am's "Futureworld" was your gospel of 1999 (as it was mine), then this is a fine piece of vinyl to serve as your "Acts."  Psychedelically biblical, man (sorry, I just finished a history book on Jerusalem).

Quest For Fire - 2010 - Lights From Paradise

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

The band rides on the psychedelic side of the metal highway.  Quest For Fire trades in symphonic psychedelic jam outs, but they're not afraid to crank up the amps when the need arises.  The sound of this album gives us a grungy garage glow with the tube amps shining a warm brown; it's like a hazy recollection of classic rock informed by the indie rock buzz of prime Dinosaur Jr. (we're going to give that band's prime a nod both toward their 80's SST heyday as well as their recent albums with the return of prodigal son Lou Barlow).  This album probably won't rocket towards your top 10, but it's got a nice lived-in feel that may very well keep you hitting the repeat button.

There are plenty of highlights lurking around on this EP, but the opener "The Greatest Hits By God" is the most sublime aural hit.  With a plaintive violin suggesting a hint of prog rock, the band churns on slathering multicoloured paint onto a black canvas.  "Strange Vacation" puts on a pair of Beatle-boots, but planting the soles firmly in the 1967 London club underground, while "In the Place of a Storm" blasts the hinges of of a well-worn garage door.   Meanwhile, "Psychic Seasons" takes a cosmic Americana tilt into strangely wavering purple waves of grain.  "Seasons of Light" takes a loping beat and plunges it into some full tilt rock and roll noisemaking.  It almost reaches the epic, but the true source of that signifier is still best experienced on the first track.

I've had several bouts returning back to these tunes since their release in 2010.  Although they may not be the best at what they do, the great convergence of warm production, well-written tunes, and true blue psychedelic hard rock hit a definitive sweet spot.  This is the sound of the desert slowly being overcome by go-go dancing fluorescent paint and fractal flora.  I'm in for their weird primordial ceremony to bring on the fire should it occur.

28 February 2013

Appalache - 2012 - Fue

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Another platter of reverb'ed ambiance from the primordial nighttime of the soul.  Fortunately, I haven't gotten tired of that sort of thing.  The faux-Deutsch Grammophone logo suggests something 'Sting orchestrating his old songs' pretentiousness, but the dreamcatcher in the background is a better portent of sounds to come.  There's a lot of cavernous, echos from electronic tones filling in the space on this release, but the glue that holds it all forever is some sparkling guitar (mostly electric).  This is the transcendental moment of the late night, delirious pow wow when all the ghosts come out.  In France, at least.

Let's talk about surf guitar for a minute.  As you may have noticed from my own recording I absolutely love a good, twangy surf guitar, but the eponymous genre can easily become a retro-fluff dead end.  This is far from surf music, but I'll be damned if we don't have some mighty fine surf guitar lurking around here.  "Dimensions of Truth" is Dick Dale once that wave has slammed him underwater, and the subsequent concussion leads him to a philosophical conversation with Dennis Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, and Chief Seattle.  And that's how I shall go about describing my favorite track here.  "R55R," "Somewhere to Disappear," and "Mortality" also tie the whole room together with splashes of the lost dreams of surf guitar. "F.A.1999" pulls back the veil of sound for an unplugged ceremony, while "Disillusioned Infinity" features a collaborator who I believe is there to super-saiyan the sounds into a fusioned powered ball of dark energy.

Let me reiterate: this is by no means a surf album.  This is the dark, yet relaxing sounds found deep inside the spirit quest.  Sort of a modern iteration of the better new age sounds.  I hear a lot of this kind of stuff, however.  The guitar is how this set got its hooks into me, and upon reviewing it I'm catching the final rumblings of a early 60's Fender Combo Amp turned up to 11.  Appalache have taken the sunny California yin and slammed it headfirst into the yang of dark ambiance.

Appalache - 2012 - Fue

06 February 2013

My Bloody Valentine - 2013 - mbv

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

Well, it's not exactly obscure, but I'd be remiss not to acknowledge this psychedelic supernova.  I downloaded this in full quality audio, but hit the play button with a bit of trepidation, half expecting a shoegazing bout of "Chinese Democracy."  Fortunately, I discovered an album that I'll have to break taboo on, and outright state that I like better than "Loveless."  I'm not trying to slam that classic at all - it's still a sublime blast of psychedelia echoing from the peak of the musical Mount Olympus.  "mbv," though, is a quantum distillation sent straight through the galactic core.  First off, the production is warm and fuzzy, with the walls of sound enveloping and warming your cerebral cortex.  I could never get through the CD copy of "Loveless" without acquiring a bit of a headache (although I never had this problem with my 180 gram vinyl copy).  I've read a few folks that wanted a bit more treble on this new release, but let's give Kevin Shields the benefit of the doubt - this slacker king has had 22 years to refine his production approach.  The guitars are thicker than ever before and the drums, both real and synthetic, take on a tribal thunk that guards the gates of the ethereal.  My first thoughts were that the songwriting wasn't as solid as "Loveless," but "mbv" moves past conventional rock motifs and is fully impressionistic rock.  Before we get in too deep, let me also express the glorious vibes of Colin O'Ciosoig, who remains at the top of his game with his trademark "falling down the stairs" skittering beats.

Many have already noticed that this album is best considered in thirds.  The first three tracks present themselves as the logical continuation of "Loveless."  "who sees you" dovetails from "only tomorrow," and may be the definitive ball of warbling sound from these aural psychonauts.  The band is lost in the wilderness of time in the middle third, but the results are nothing less than fascinating.  "is this and yes" strips down the sonic cathedral of the band to the core, exposing the divine glide of Belinda Butcher's vocals with the backdrop of only a light percussive pulse and an organ that takes the best from the explorations of Terry Riley.  I think the minimalist influences of Steve Reich and Riley may confound the uninitiated, but push "mbv" directly into the Om.  Meanwhile, "new you" is an enjoyable dead end wherein the band breaks down their essence into a reconstruction of the pop edge of Swing Out Sister or Everyone But the Girl.  On it's own, it would be a disappointment, but it heralds the shift into new territory, wherein the Valentines blow out the core of your mind on the final three tracks.  "in another way" sets up the electronic-fused journey of the future Valentines, while :nothing is" is a punk rock, full throttle take on Steve Reich's phase experiments.  I'm sure experiencing this tribal pounding live would count as a brainwashing.  The best is saved for last, though, on "wonder 2."  This strange drum and bass rupture takes the already monumental "Soon" from "Loveless" 1,000 years in the future.  Fusing drum and bass and rock has never worked particularly well, except maybe for Radiohead's "Idioteque" (and my soft spot for Bowie's "Little Wonder").  "wonder 2," though, pushes into the transcendental, presenting the guitar as a warped, cosmic whale seeking the whole of the universe.  It's instantly one of the band's best tracks ever.

We don't need to compare "mbv" with the band's peak - they are clearly still there.  Honestly, I tried my best to find fault with this album as best I could through the first few listens, trying to convince myself that Shields and crew couldn't possibly match their legend.  The power overwhelmed me, though, and I've kept spinning it in longer and longer loops, cranking the volume to come closer to a true nirvana of sound.  I'll keep Tame Impala in the role of the best straight up psychedelic band in action today, they're still mortal while the music on "mbv" comes to us from another dimension.  I think it's very groovy that age is slipping away as a prerequisite of rock n' roll - Neil Young, well into his 60's, managed some of his best last year on "Psychedelic Pill," and My Bloody Valentine has thrown down a masterpiece without missing a step from their heyday after 22 years.

Get your tunes here:
My Bloody Valentine - 2013 - mbv

Or have a sampling here:
My Bloody Valentine on YouTube

26 January 2013

Golden Brown - 2012 - High Tide at Gold Beach

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

And here's another ambient voyage to soothe your soul.  Golden Brown breaks a bit past the bounds of the experimental 30-minute cassette tape release, but you've got a bit more time to drift downstream and a bit more of a hi-fi production sound than the thin hiss of a tape provides.  Gently picked guitar and echoing sounds are guided by the steady pulse of a well placed delay pedal.  It's not quite genius at work, but the goal of fusing the oceanic and the coast come through quiet and clear.

"High Tide" and "Low Tide" take up the bulk of this release.  In many ways, they are of a single piece, but there is an effect of yin and yang, push and pull as the former provides just touch more power while the late slowly recedes away.  A few ancillary pieces fill out the 36 minute running time.  The opening serves an overture, while the similarly short "Cycles" flirts with the idea of a beat with the twangy, eponymously cyclic sound of plucked banjo strings.

Graced with some fantastically psychedelic cover art work, this music seeks to center your soul.  While not quite entering the pantheon of the new age of Earth, the sounds here are worth serving as your new, ornate aural wallpaper for more than a few plays of the media player.

Time to visit another Bandcamp page:
Golden Brown - 2012 - High Tide at Gold Beach

Sister Waize - 2011 - A Dawning of Wonder

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5

I'm still not sure where this feller ends up calling himself a sister, but y'know, I'm down with a feminist angle and such.  Maybe the music is a nun's fever dream - with the secret psychedelic sacrament or something.  Although the first work I heard from him was the halycon vibe of a 16-bit video game, the more recent work is triumphantly drifting through a drone vortex.  The sister himself describes the music as folding drone.  I don't really know what that means, but it does spur on the hallucinations.  Sister Waize's instructions state that this music is not intended to be listened to as a giant block, but rather one at a time.  If you're hardcore, though, strap a pair of clamshell earphones upon your head in a darkened room and let the geometric patterns piece into your cortex upon the void of darkness.

As I said with the "Realignment" series, we're not dealing with tunes here, but experiences.  The opening track, "Side Time Down," does plunge into the depths, with calming but dark visions taking you there.  For the afternoon explorer, "A Tome for the Boneless" perhaps provides a more pleasing drone, plunging you mind into a pool of liquid nitrogen.  Still, you've got to earn the wonder than the album title suggests.  The two sides are fused in "Dark Mountain Crown," with the industrial grit becoming more and more apparent as the title progresses.

Really, I'm not quite sure what to say in the presence of such etheral music.  I've just tossed a few drinks down and let the impressionistic writing take over.  This is music of the subconscious.  Those devout mind explorers and meditational explorers will take flight here, but there's not even a hint of the mainstream peeking through here.  It's your graduate thesis in the heart of trippiness.

Your voyage starts here:
Sister Waize - 2011 - A Dawning of Wonder

19 January 2013

A Bit of Venting

In interesting news, my Mediafire account has been shut down due to a DCMA copyright claim on, uh, ... Glaze of Cathexis?  For those that don't know, that is the music that I write and record myself.  That means that I've been banned for committing copyright violations on myself.  I definitely didn't sell the rights to Fox.  Anyone else having similar problems?

Dear MediaFire User:
MediaFire has received notification under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") that your usage of a file is allegedly infringing on the file creator's copyright protection.
The file named Glaze of Cathexis - 2012 - Canyons in the Sonic Whirlpools (stereo wav1).rar is identified by the key (8k1aj8viaz5geu4).
As a result of this notice, pursuant to Section 512(c)(1)(C) of the DMCA, we have suspended access to the file.
The reason for suspension was:
Notice of Infringement via EmailTwentieth Century Fox Film CorporationP.O. Box 900Los Angeles, CA 9003501/17/2013mediafire.com http://www.mediafire.comAttention mediafire.com:I am writing to notify you about violations of the intellectual property rights ofTwentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and/or its subsidiaries and affiliated companies("Fox") on your service and to demand that you take immediate corrective action to ceasethis infringement and prevent further violations of Foxs rights.Fox holds copyrights and/or exclusive online reproduction, distribution, and publicperformance rights in the titles listed below, which are a representative list of thecopyrighted works owned by Fox that are being infringed on your service.We have included below examples of locations on your service where infringing copies ofthe Fox titles are available. As you know, you are not authorized to host, distribute, orotherwise make available or facilitate the making available of any copies of Foxs titleson your service.Fox demands that you immediately and permanently remove from your service all copies ofthe Fox titles listed below. This includes the copies available at the links below aswell as any other copies of these same titles that you are hosting.You can take simple steps to avoid the continuing violation of Foxs rights by usingreadily-available, industry-standard content recognition technology to prevent infringingcontent from being made available by your service. This technology both can preventunauthorized uploads of copyrighted content and can ensure that the same content that hasbeen removed from your service at the request of a copyright owner is not re-ingested byyour service. See Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. (2005) 545 U.S. 913,939 fn.12 (failure to use available filtering technologies to diminish infringement isevidence of intentional facilitation of infringement).Furthermore, we expect that you are keeping track of subscribers/account holders thatengage in copyright infringement and are taking appropriate action to terminate theaccounts of repeat infringers.This email is not a complete statement of Fox's rights in connection with this matter, andnothing contained herein constitutes an express or implied waiver of any rights, remedies,or defenses of Fox in connection with this matter, all of which are expressly reserved. Ihave a good faith belief that use of the works in the manner described herein is notauthorized by Fox, its agent, or the law, and confirm under penalty of perjury that I amauthorized to act on Fox's behalf in connection with this notice. The information in thisnotice is accurate.Sincerely,MarkMonitorAsta Jasnait2600 W Olive Ave.Suite 910Burbank, CA 91505(800) 605-4853Email:antipiracy@dtecnet.comReplies to no-reply@dtecnet.com will not be received.Addendum to Notice of InfringementRepresentative List of Titles:HOW I MET YOUR MOTHERExamples of Locations Where Infringing Materials Can Be Found:http://mediafire.com/?8k1aj8viaz5geu4http://mediafire.com/?04uwi269dgi1wkdhttp://mediafire.com/?x1k46anpn36t16phttp://mediafire.com/?amtmowydgnfhttp://mediafire.com/?pytx0q0dvbl8xg9http://mediafire.com/?zz0iu26c33mg7xlhttp://mediafire.com/?72e32ree7cl77w3http://mediafire.com/?24u5849mb47kt94http://mediafire.com/?sv5a6ba8v2k91zyhttp://mediafire.com/?uaklwwhf6lp1t2zhttp://mediafire.com/?t1unemmnmgyhttp://mediafire.com/?uml312in46x04kb
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10 January 2013

Dr. Schluss' Best of 2012

Here's a rundown of the grooviest music I came across last year.  You'll find that my tastes tend to veer towards the poles of the dreamy and fuzzed-out bliss, but what else do you expect from the author of a psychedelic blog?  Here's the rundown:

12.  The Sword - Apocryphon  The Sword takes the stoned out buzz of early Black Sabbath and splatters it on an Iron Maiden-sized canvas.  This is both their most confident and tripped-out record at the same time.

11.  Lee Ranaldo - Between the Times and the Tides  Sonic Youth's future may remain in doubt, but it's clear that the members can dish out pretty fine albums on their own.  Ranaldo only has a track or two on most Sonic Youth albums, and they're usually highlights.  So it's nice to get ten in a row.

10. Torche - Harmonicraft  The key for me on this one was another reviewer's comment that this sounds kind of like a metal Guided By Voices.  That works for me and it turns out that I dig this more that GBV's 2012 resurgence (which is still pretty good on its own terms).

9. Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber  With Tame Impala's Kevin Parker handling production duties and a lot of the instruments, this is like a very solid stealth album from his day job.  But without Melody Prochet's stellar songwriting and vocals, which also touches on Stereolab and oddball psych influences like the Stone Poneys, this album wouldn't be what it is.

8. The Orb and Lee "Scratch" Perry - The Orbserver in the Star House  Easily one of the Orb's better latter day efforts, this set often comes across as a more rustic take on their great early records.  Perry's fine present doesn't come in so much with a Black Ark sound, but with his trippy rambling.  I see Perry pontificating through the park forest as Alex Patterson and Thomas Fehlmann train him with knowing, deranged smiles.

7. The Gateless Gate - Xinjiang  An obscure first release that really captures the fire of the transcendent.  I reviewed this one on the blog, but I must reiterate that this meditative music is a sublime fusion of the best of 70's Mike Oldfield and the tripper vibes of the highland Asian spiritual planes.

6. Grizzly Bear - Shields  I must admit that I didn't catch the critical fire that this band's previous releases ignited.  This one, however, is definitely a keeper - extolling the sound of the Band hopped up on an ipod-ready multidimensional tapestry.

5. Wild Nothing - Nocturne  Striking directly into the vein of late 80's dream pop, Wild Nothing conjures a mind expanding vision of echoic sonic landscapes.  The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen weren't quite the same when utilizing this kind of production, but 'Nocturne' shows us what it should have sounded like.

 4. Beach House - Bloom  And yes, this dude-chick duo truly blooms on this release.  The tunes here will snatch your spirit and spirit you away on plumes of blue-smoke clouds.  Shoegazing never quite died, it just mutated as this album proves.

3. Neil Young - Psychedelic Pill  "Americana" suggested that the man might finally fade away, but Neil Young always bounces back with a masterpiece.  This one yolks Crazy Horse back on board for the ride and blasts away will genius garage skronk for some epic-length tracks.  28 minutes seems too long for "Drifting Back," but not when Young's guitar successfully ensnares the psychedelic snake.

2. Tame Impala - Lonerism  Ten years ago, I considered the Flaming Lips to be at the vanguard of modern psychedelic rock, and Animal Collective threatened to claim that title a few years back, but I think this group from the strange outpost of Perth has run away with the mantle.  This sophomore effort ups both the trippiness and the catchiness, with mastermind Kevin Parker basically going it alone as the album title suggests.

1. Sigur Ros - Valtari  Evoking the stark wildernesses of their native Iceland, Sigur Ros stay pretty quiet on this release, but come out more epic sounding than ever.  This is widescreen, hallucinogenic music to bore into your soul.

I've got a little a sampler for your ear.  In my bid for shameless self promomotion, I've included a couple tracks from my own endeavours, Glaze of Cathexis and Damaged Tape.  Here's the tracklist:

1.  Off the Wall- Lee Ranaldo
2. Sky Trials - Torche
3. Lazuli - Beach House
4. Psychedelic Pill - Neil Young
5. Golden Clouds - The Orb and Lee "Scratch" Perry
6. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards - Tame Impala
7. Out of Your Mind - Glaze of Cathexis
8. Dunhuang - The Gateless Gate
9. Yet Again - Grizzly Bear
10. Cloak of Feathers - The Sword
11. Varuo - Sigur Ros
12. Some Time Alone, Alone - Melody's Echo Chamber
13. Only Heather - Wild Nothing
14. Spectrum of Realities - Damaged Tape