Thursday, February 25, 2010

Four Tapes

Greg Davis Full Spectrum (Digitalis Ltd.) C-40 - '09 is the year I really started to dig deeper into this Vermontster's discography of celestial minimal noise and electronic dreams. His influences are vast yet sort of simple too: The Dead, La Monte Young, Jim O'Rourke and Mirror styled ambient hazes, and raga of any kind. He strikes an especially dulcet glow across the two glacial drifts of tonal haze that comprise Full Spectrum. This is as transcendent/beautiful as anything I've heard by Davis, which means it's better than the recent Mutually Arising (Kranky), though that same sense of meditative tranquility is found here. As suggested, every hue of the color spectrum gets its space-time due via these magnificent portals.

Dire Wolves Dire Wolves (Secret Eye) 2xC-30 - It's been a treat seeing the new wave of lumbering Cozmik pSych groops come wafting up from the basement like so many black smoke monsters. Pittsburgh's Dire Wolves definitely fit the bill with their sprawling psych jams owing to Träd, Gräs och Stenar, German Oak, Amon Düül II and the like (including Earth before the smoke cleared). The quartet -- featuring members/former members of Arco Flute Foundation, Black Forest/Black Sea, Forest Dweller, Sagas, etc -- that is Dire Wolves somehow manages to explore the corroding line between earth/sky, heaven/hell, order/chaos and show how limitless and vast that seemingly small space can be. What I truly dig about these 4 sides is how easily the group shifts gears from a hypnotic on-'n'-on caveman stomp to something more formless with the most insane/feral acid leads cutting through all the dense smoke -- a sound that was made to be heard on tape. Apparently sold out some time ago, but more releases are forthcoming on other labels. Keep your ears out! Righteous sample time!

Thurston Moore Blindfold (Destructive Industries) C-30 - Blindfold is one of the more interesting tapes I grabbed at the harsh noise fest I attended last Summer. It's quite the monster of creeping ominous 6 string electric guitar dread, somewhere between sadistic Silence of the Lambs informed ambient shades and a much deeper spiraling sound sculpture that for me personally ranks as some of the coolest, most arresting guitar work I've heard from Moore yet. I'm not sure if Blindfold is more intended as a kind of tonal death march, or creeping exploration of the mind of sadism, but it does breathe with an ominous groan that gets under the skin and digs its hooks in deep. Before it's through, the torture drone gives way to a more ecstatic breakthrough, possibly emblematic of the spirit leaving the body of our victim. Either way, a viable transcendence occurs.

Sun Araw In Orbit (Stunned) C-30 - This one will be hard to find and costs a little more than maybe it should, but hot damn if the two 15 min live tracks captured herein do not completely honor Sun Araw's school of less is more groove-ology. No, In Orbit isn't as complete a spiritual transformation as the massive Heavy Deeds, but it still honors that tradition and keeps the lunar module in its proper orbit across 30 minutes of pulsing, clanking see-sawing effervescent splooge. And that's really all any cosmonaut can ask for, ain't it?


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