Sunday, September 12, 2004

If you write enough good things about people's limited musical musings, promos will arrive at your door, and rarely they'll even be worth your time. It's hard to find the right ratio of aural gold to drink coasters. Marissa Nadler's Ballads of Living and Dying was definitely a very good'un. Daniel Patrick Quinn's Severed From the Land (Suilven Recordings) is another. This mini album is a sweet, sad minimal pop surprise. I love-love-love the first three albums by Brian Eno, and Robert Wyatt's work from the same time is just as good, so it's somehow reassuring to hear a 23 yr old lad from Edingburgh weave such an accomplished art pop dream on a debut that's without question in debt to those two masters, but at the same time there's traces of the expansive post rock of later Talk Talk and Bark Psychosis in his meandering melodies. Across six songs Quinn combines minimal drones with simple pop and good old fashioned English whimsy in a way that makes an immediate impact in just over a half hour. Epic and intimate at the same time, should make a fine soundtrack for watching leaves fall in the next couple months.

√ėyvind Holm, founder of Norway's psych pop merchants, Dipsomaniacs, has started his own label, Cutwater Records, and The Kulta Beats (apparently named for the Finish Lapine Kulta Brewery) are his first signing. These young fresh fellows keep it loose and rollicking across 11 songs that have an immediate bouncy appeal from the start--fans of any number of Elephant 6 acts could dig this--but like the Dipsos, and a few more ambitious Nuggets bands, there's a couple epic garage psych workouts interspersed among the hooks, organ and cracked vocals that dominate. Early Floyd, Zombies, Sonics fans need to kick out the jams with these brash upstarts.

Disposable Thumb Recordings has been the primary outlet for the solo recordings of Kelly Burnette under the name Orange, Manifold over the last few years, and other folks, including the eminent UK sound sculptor Simon Wickham-Smith. I've heard a few releases from the guy recently, and I'm inclined to agree that this is probably his strongest of the lot. Broken up into 6 pieces, Rapt evolves from a collage of fractured, layered chants and primitive drones during the first half hour to a full on wall of some of the most enveloping fuzz I've ever heard from the man in "Meiji13." "Perihelion" is drawn out in oblique rays of primitive drone and bow work that explores some fairly intense headspace in its 11 minutes. The last three tracks are "a setting of three poems by Mary Oliver" that defy literary conventions, to put it mildly. Support Kelly's hurricane recovery fund!

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