Tuesday, August 4, 2015

BRAEYDEN JAE “Turnings” (Inner Islands)

Being overwhelmed by this guitar ambience right now, strums, hiss, and crackle of “ons” leading off this remarkable tape, knowing that “loved” kind of has a folk bent to it, even shoegaze, and the recording technique is so lovingly applied because that the layer of grit just lends a wonderful sense of nostalgia to it, and I guess I can’t write about each individual song (although I really want to because really, how do you get such consistently gorgeous tone?), so I’ll skip over a couple and hit “lifting again” because the guitar is so clean and delayed but still hissy (it’s a heartbreaker, kids!), and the tape closes with a song called freaking “distance,” and it actually sounds like distance, like reminiscing and longing and wistfulness and synonyms for that, and I’m absolutely lost in it, and oh, the tape’s over, ha, look at this I did a whole review as a run-on sentence (sorry everybody, see if you can follow it, but if you can’t, tough!), but the moral is: buy this tape – oh wait, it’s sold out; I guess you have to buy the mp3s, and when you do, thank me for turning you on to this heavenly stuff, because ohmygodbraeydenjae’ssogood (I couldn’t even type spaces in between letters, I’ve melted!).

--Ryan Masteller

Monday, August 3, 2015

“Southwest Circular” c44 (Sun Hypnotic)

Can meets Soft Machine? Try Steve meets Rick at Guitar Center after eating a bunch of peyote. Maybe it’ll make sense then. Maybe this psychedelic jam trio will sell me my next pack of Ernie Ball Power Slinky 2200 custom gauge nickel wound guitar strings. Maybe if I fed em a brick of weed instead of all that peyote they’d turn into the Wailers. Or maybe just the godforsaken Grateful Dead. Maybe I just don’t give a shit.

--Ryan Masteller

Sunday, August 2, 2015

JOHN THILL “Gospel of the Carwash” (Kerchow!)

I put this on after reviewing two electronic/ ambient/ dark wave kinda tapes, so hearing a human voice and wooden guitar was a real salve.  Turns out I actually like this dude’s songs, too. Moody, emotive, slow and direct, with a restraint and tasteful edginess that I can only imagine took a long time to dial in. 

And, indeed, Mr. Thill has made many, many releases and plays a ton in California. By the sound of this record and my cursory research on his persona, he is a seasoned scene guy who is part of the very fabric of his musical context and plays a ton of shows and has been in a bunch of bands. The music is pretty personal so you do get a sense of getting to know the person who made it through listening. 

At times difficult to hold my focus, the record scored few originality points, but remarkable in its skillful composure and purposefulness. Put me at ease, really tasteful and carefully crafted, and you know what? My opinion is worth little here. This guy probably has been, and will be, writing and recording and playing forever, no matter what anybody has to say about it. He’s churning it out, chasing the hits, and doing the damn thing. 

-- Liv Carrow

Saturday, August 1, 2015

OVERSCAN “Conscious” C37 (Constellation Tatsu)

I wish I were more finely attuned at deducing the quality and caliber of a musical project’s output via assessing their nom du guerre. Fun fact: there are simply far too many great recording artists out there with unassuming (read: terrible) names! Here, I just couldn’t get behind the name “OverScan” to further investigate the artist. It just took me waaaaay to much time to actually think about those compounded terms and their relationship with my own personal narrative. There was nothing catchy or quirky or witty to me about the name. If this brilliant artist weren’t part of Constellation Tatsu’s spring batch, paired with Sarah Holyfuckingshitsofuckingawesome Davachi, I’m fairly certain all my spring break naps and painting sessions would have been devoid of these sweet swells of dark/cosmic bliss forever,…and that’d be a crime far worse than savvy self-promotion.

This tape opens with “Old Haunts”, sounding like some wayward angels tuning up in a slimy cave somewhere, their trebly beams of smoky light shimmering outward absentmindedly to play about the glistening, groggy walls and ruffled backs of pissy rodents who have ceased to care less about all celestial jam sessions henceforth. After the midpoint evacuation, a slowed down, near doom-metal bassy black shadow plods along, threatening to lure attention from all them higher, shinier Hz of life…until the end, where it decides to shave a few layers off itsownself (the doom-metal bassy black shadow) and join them Hz in their higher ranks of unholy matrimony.

Track two, “the Next Morning”, could be a candid Stars-of-the-Lid-meets-new-age-tribute-band performing; not at a singular wake, but for an entire constellation of cemeteries, for a hundred years. Straight. The feeling is paceless; a deconstruction of repetition, as if saying the same thing over and over and over again would only mean the first sentiment; double plus sad synths wash upon the shores of sorrow or something…but the kicker is the young, devil-may-care field recordings patiently washing in and out, knowing no grievances with death, but simply kicking up sand and shiny surf within those waves; reminding us of new life summoned from such interplay.

“Terrorvision”, to keep this review more concise, sounds like a summary of what Atreyu might have felt like internally as Artex slowly drowned in quicksand, horse eyes stoically blinking in slow motion…Fuck it. I can’t say enough about how brilliantly composed this collection of sounds is, so, maybe, instead, you ought call my bluff and find out for yourself via the links below. Also, sorry, but the aforementioned SHFSSFAD tape sold out before I could even get a copy, so maybe just copy her songs for free onto a cassette tape yourself and then throw money into an envelope and send it to Canadia when you get a chance.


- - Jacob An Kittenplan

Friday, July 31, 2015

OLIWA “Eras” (Illuminated Paths)

Oliwa is an ambient artist from Argentina. “Eras” is a bright summer day on another planet. Synths create textural soundscapes that are beautiful, warm, and commandeer the listener away from wherever they are into the sound itself. Masterfully done.  

-- Roy Blumenfeld

Thursday, July 30, 2015

SAL LAKE / KEIKI split (Live God Records)

Two enter the Thunderdome. One leaves.

Or, uh, they converge into one enormous abominable entity and reflect our own ugliness back at us through the sheer power of sound.

Sal Lake (Andrew Lake, Athens, OH) and Keiki (Evan Lautzenheiser, Cincinnati, OH) have killed their former independent selves and merged within these split cassettes, with Lake occupying side A and Lautzenheiser side B. Lake gets a little krauty and proggy at first with “lungsack,” (I call it “facepunch” behind everybody’s back), then coats our ears in ambient and noisy grease throughout the rest of his side. Standouts include “betterhomeandgardens,” which grinds our faces in our neatly manicured lawns, and “ourprincesscastle,” which manages to somehow make me want to play Super Mario Bros. again, yet terrifies me from doing so at the same time.

Lautzenheiser’s Keiki side dispenses with subtlety immediately on the horrific “Hanged Man,” somehow sounding like the tape manipulations at the beginning of Boredoms’ “Super You” before hiccupping off into the sunset after a minute forty-five. “To Listen, To Love” gleams like a transformed god with inviting peace and magic, but gunks up with demonic glee by its end. And “13” – the less I say about “13” the better. It’s thirteen minutes long (hence its name), and could kill you if you’re allergic to it.

This split is sound sculpture at its finest. Punk ambience. Death drift. Thunderdome results. God’s punishment. A way out.

--Ryan Masteller