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.