Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cave - Psychic Psummer

Label: Important Records
Released: 2009
Style: Psychedelic Rock

"Mixing equal parts Can and Stereolab (who, of course, took more than a bit from Can themselves) with a grooving and cruise-worthy psychedelicism propagated by the likes of Funkadelic, Cave manage to sound at once immediately familiar and entirely original, a trait uncommon in today's increasingly oversaturated music landscape. Where many bands seem to be loosening their belt of late however, Cave is continually tightening, forging their jams into focused demonstrations of their collective potential.

Where Cave stand out is in the band's ability to do this without ever losing the intricacies and feeling afforded to in-the-moment creation. Rather than sterilizing their sound into a palatable and time-wary take on the extended, horizon-minded style they practice, the group takes full advantage of both studio and approach to craft each piece into a work the form of which only elevates the group's output.

Such is clear from the very opening, when the rich guitar line of "Gamm" is built from the ground up into a thudding instrumental. After a patient intro, the unit explodes into pure energy, each instrument contributing to the throb and shape of the whole. No note is superfluous here, and the focus gives the piece an even clearer trajectory. The following "Made in Malaysia," with its hyper synth lines and clacking drum work, fuses a nearly punk chant with an absolutely undeniable and deranged riff whose effect is garnered from the construction of the lines themselves rather than the overall effect. This is an immensely precise spaciness being conjured.

Elsewhere, the group displays the subtle mastery of form they have. The dancey funk of "Encino Men" emanates outward while the brooding post-punkisms of "Requiem for John Sex" built towards a kind of post-rock vocabulary that eschews any sense of wanky self-indulgence in favor of pure group energy wielding. The result is a special disc that easily represents the strongest statement from this group yet. Great material and great production rarely coalesce in such a clear and fertile vision as this." - Brainwashed


Gamm (6:23)
Made In Malaysia (3:38)
Encino Men (3:12)
High, I Am (4:36)
Requiem For John Sex (6:36)
Machines & Muscles (3:57)


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Greg Haines - Slumber Tides

Label: Miasmah
Released: 2006
Style: Modern Classical

"Hearing the expertly constructed and deeply sensitive post-classical pieces featured on ‘Slumber Tides’ it is difficult to comprehend that the musician is only a mere 18 years of age. Harking from the boredom filled lands of Greater Surrey in England, Haines quickly tired of school life and found himself immersed in music, and in a move indicative of the current trend of our disillusioned youth, became obsessed with the intrigue of experimental sound. Travelling through Europe whenever he could and sleeping on the floors of musicians he would contact by email he quickly built up a network of friends, most importantly in Oslo, Norway where he spent time with Deaf Center’s Erik Skodvin (who also runs the Miasmah imprint) and his collaborator Kristin Evensen Giaver who contributes her haunting vocals on a number of Haines’ tracks. In Sweden Haines met up with Lampse’s Dag Rosenqvist (Jasper TX) who kindly provided his pump organ skills and was another important musical influence in Haines’ journey, helping him to return home with a sense of Europe and a sense of unity far more mature than his years would suggest. This nomadic existence is represented beautifully on the album, which opens majestically with ‘Snow Airport’ a slowly building work of looped cello sounds played by Haines himself. The structure is similar in sound to the phasing experiments of Steve Reich or the electronic/acoustic works of Ryan Teague but Haines has injected enough of his own personality and experience to give the compositions a distinct sense of gravitas and a refreshing narrative. The second piece ‘Submergence’ builds over nine minutes with Kristin Evensen Giaver’s shimmering vocals drifting over waves of cello and subtle electronic structures until it reaches an almost cacophonous peak and dips into breathless squeaks and groans. By the time we reach the album’s centrepiece and highlight ‘Arups Gate’ we have already been on a rich emotional journey, but Haines doesn’t let off yet, instead he takes us even further into epic territory with xylophone and glockenspiel tones serving as the backbone of the track as those signature cello sounds swoop overhead. This track feels as if it could be married with any number of films or stories – yet Haines shows an incredible sense of restraint never letting the music get too melodramatic or overdone. For a debut album ‘Slumber Tides’ is a simply remarkable accomplishment, and a clear indication that we will be hearing a great deal more from Greg Haines." - Label


1 Snow Airport (4:59)
2 Submergence (9:51)
3 Tired Diary (Revised) (12:59)
4 Arups Gate (10:41)
5 Caesura (7:39)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Made Up Sound - Sun Touch

Label: A Made Up Sound
Released: 2009
Style: Techno, Dubstep

"Dave Huismans aka 2562 unloads the second release for his A Made Up Sound imprint. Compared to the outright Detroit ebullience of AMS 001, this plate acts as an outlet for his more esoteric leanings, constructing three tracks that don't feel like immediate 'floor hits, but burn with a more cosmic and atmospheric abstraction while still driven by incredibly efficient and well-tuned rhythmic engines. 'Sun Touch' scopes the scene's minimalistic radar bleeps and Radiophonic synth textures carried by an itchy Shake-styled rhythm, while 'Drain' enters a sombre zone of hazy grey drones and spring loaded steppers rhythms for the more adventurous DJs. Finally 'Shortcut' gives time for some ruff drum machine experimentation harking back to his 'Archive' release for Clone's Basement series. He's still way out on his own, which makes each and every one of his records worth checking." - Boomkat


1 Sun Touch (6:31)
2 Drain (5:13)
3 Untitled (Shortcut) (2:30)

Steve Gunn - Sundowner

Label: Digitalis Recordings
Released: 2008
Style: Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Experimental

"Steve Gunn is probably best known as a key component to the mighty GHQ with Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards) and Pete Nolan (Magik Markers), but his solo efforts have been even more impressive. With a couple limited & hard-to-find CDRs under his belt and a few offerings under the moniker Moongang, Gunn is ready to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight with his first proper CD. This music is finely tuned and expertly crafted by Gunn's capable hands, showing his skill not only as a guitarist, but as a songwriter as well.

"Sundowner" may short & sweet, but it has an epic feeling. Gunn reaches deep into the vaults to line the walls with hypnotic acoustic guitar dirges, organic drones, and banjo ditties. And unlike any of his previous work, he also unleashes his voice on three songs, showing that not only can he play with the best of them, he can sing too. When he's not wowing the listener racing around the fretboard, his simple but effective vocal hooks are sinking themselves deep into the confines of your memory." - Label


1 Concrete Beach (3:42)
2 For The Horse, Etc. (4:07)
3 Imi The King (6:14)
4 Money Train Blues (3:56)
5 No Atlas (6:33)
6 Over The Hill (4:13)

Popular Posts