Sunday, February 5, 2012

VARIOUS ARTISTS "Hanged Man Vol. 1" c62 (Hanged Man)


Long overdue review on this one, just in time to wish you a happy Super Bowl Sunday!
Hanged Man is a new label outta Seattle, from dudes involved in Thunder Grey Pilgrim and the Hanged Man Vol. 1 compilation marks their first release.
The opener "Lawbreaker" is nice track from local boys Megabats. They keep things really simple to their credit, with lush synth swells and slo-motion sequencer arpeggios running freely across the piece. An elegant little ditty. These guys seem to get better each time I hear something new from them. Kristian Garrard swings his "Ice Axe IV" in mono. A deep bass kick throbs at the forefront against shimmering, modulated swirls. Nice and meditative. Local guitar swami Karnak Temples (Adam Svenson from Dull Knife, Little Claw etc.) cuts a sweet drone swath. Sir Temples wrings vocal-like tones out of his ax on this number, like he's scoring an Egyptian ghost-story. He weaves his web with impeccable patience. Truly masterful and definitely a standout.
It was a wise choice by Hanged Man to follow up that Karnak Temples jam with the ghostly folk-tune "Scotch Broom" by Josh Medina. I can't tell you how nice it is to pop in what you think will be an all drone/noise comp and get a really great, hypnotic folk tune out of the deal.
I wonder if Inh Halenthropy could be one of the many monikers of Jason E. Anderson (Brother Raven, Spare Death Icon) and if it isn't, that's even cooler cause we got someone else doing thrilling, 70s analog synth psych-burners like "Arp Grey Magic 2600." Slammin' track. Dark/doom/drone act Thunder Grey Pilgrim drops "laospel" which features Jeff Kling. There's dissonant synth, plunking guitar arpeggios and creepy vocals. At times I feel like a hear a glimmer of bagpipes or cello but they may just be phantoms. Then they kick on the DOD Death Metal for some muted crunch at the end. I think there is a violin or something in there somewhere, but either way, this is a weird track. Sokai Stilhed's "City of Love" is even stranger; a clusterfuck of fluttery synth, garbled samples and fleeting glimpses of old folk songs Lomax-style. Sweet!
Elsewhere on the tape, Them, There delivers echoing guitar tones on "Ghostwood," Demian Johnston brings the drones and field recordings on "And Then It Drags Across the Bottom" and "Bottom Road" is a heavily reverbed, glistening guitar set from Nightjar.
This is a pretty cool comp cause most of the names I didn't know brought some really interesting things to the table, with a couple old hands holding down the fort; hopefully we can expect to see more from the new guys in the future on Hanged Man.
The dub is too quiet for me, but first-time releases are bound to have a few glitches. The screenprinted artwork however, is super solid. Great job on that front.

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