Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Before commenting on my latest bulk arrivals, manic depression, various addictions, the current state of Hollywood blonde ambition comedies (just saw Legally Blonde 2), and having pulled my ears away from the 24 Hours boxset by Throbbing Gristle long enough to do so, here are a few brief reports of high quality recordings. One day I'll write something about shitty music, I promise. Then again, someone out there probably thinks this is shit. Or the shit, maybe?

Autechre and The Hafler Trio æ³o & h³æ (Phonometrography) A nice melding of two of the finest in new and old electronica--Hafler Trio sprays its industrial drone splatter out over an elongated plane of microtonal fuzz and secretion conjured by the mighty Autechre, or vice versa. Heck if I know for sure. Two tracks, one really long, one shorter, featuring intense, piercing noise constructs that range from minimalism to full on maximal-landslides. Sweet packaging, one of the few affordable items in the Phonometrography catalog.

Black Forest/Black Sea Radiant Symmetry (Last Visible Dog) Second CD this year from this folk/improv duo is actually a live album culled from recent European performances featuring collaborations with members of some of today's coolest outsider noise combos (Volcano the Bear, Kemialliset Ystävät, Lazily Spun/Zukonican, etc) augmenting the Rhode Island mainstays, who apparently spend more time in Europe than at home these days. Excellent sound quality on wandering instrumental improvs that come in the form of electrical wind storms w/ a barrage of mixed trajectories lashing and rumbling on one track and amounting to a carefully constructed floating house of cards on the next. This steps further away from the trad folk approach than anything that's come before, which may be why it's their most interesting recording to date.

Grimble Grumble Leaves Leader (Pehr) It's been so long since I first heard Grimble Grumble's languid (and very good) self titled debut. It simply blew me away, yet somehow six years passed before hearing anything new, which comes in the form of this (4th?) long player of absolutely gorgeous shoegaze/space rock swells that's more upbeat and rawk than what I'd heard previously but still an utterly glazed trip through plaintive, layered melodies and heavier noise workouts. Fans of Windy & Carl, Bardo Pond, Landing and the little gnome may like this quite a bit. Can't get enough myself. Props for keeping it under 40 mins, and not wasting my time or theirs. "Isn't it our time, Mr. Hand?"

irr. app. (ext) Ozeanische Gefuhle (Helen Scarsdale) Reissue of 2001 CD-R by the one man band with odd name offers our fellow a chance to stretch out and trance-induce on the epic title track, which builds from samples of rain and thunder to sinister minimal tone generations and distant percussion with various found sounds and samples interpolated a la Mirror and more subdued Nurse With Wound, though there are some dynamic noise crescendos here and there. Tis a doosy by any stretch, highly recommended for fans of such, "dedicated to the stubborn persistence of Wilhelm Reich."

Six Organs of Admittance The Manifestation (Strange Attractors) This guy's sure a busy/popular shaman/hipster these days...opening for Current 93 live, rakin' skulls with Comets on Fire (Blue Cathedral, BABY!), breakin' CD cases with Midwesterners, and now comes this expanded reissue of a limited clear vinyl 12" (which I purchased directly from Ben Goldberg's grubby hands in 2000 and will happily sell for 7 times what I paid for it today). Thanks to the new bonus track with spoken word from David Tibet, this is probably one of the most rewarding Six Organs long players out there, so it's a good thing that it's back in print. It's better than the original because said bonus is just as worthy as the haunting title track. But that etching on the vinyl is pretty cool too, recreated here in the form of original album notes and sketches. Last release before the Drag City jump. Movin' on up...

Urdog Garden of Bones (Secret Eye) New Secret Eye signing is a monstro space/psych rock trio that I suppose is gonna sound just fine to those who obsess over the early recordings of Amon Duul II and Brainticket. Farfisa often serves as something of a lead here, with guitar and drums chugging and blaring in the background of what ranges from brain-fried sonic blasts to mellower, sinister prog/psych workouts. Fantastic dopefuckedness sans the dope.

Michael Yonkers Microminiature Love (Sub Pop) Kind of amazing that this never got a proper release in 68 or so when it was recorded, making it right on time with a fine amalgam of arty, funny post mod psych that signals the way to the no-wave/noise developments that would characterize New York in the early 80s, thanks to some wonderfully detuned guitar clang. Think Fugs, Beefheart, Seeds, but this is pretty damn rockin' and unique in its own right. Michael's voice is either the icing on the cake or the mold on the cheese depending on personal predilections. I've got sticky fingers.

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