Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Skaters - Crowned Purple Gowns

Lal Lal Lal, 2005

Probably my favorite Skaters release, the sound has a real feeling of presence and ceremony, glossolalia enveloping crowned golden incense smoke.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Paysage D'Hiver - Paysage D'Hiver

Kunsthall Produktionen, 1999

On a black metal kick for the coldgreydead of winter. Extended-track atmospheric black metal from Deutschland with icy strings and krautrockish keyboard flourishes. Rarely is this stuff this good, imo.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sean McCann - Phylum Sigh

DNT, 2009

McCann makes beautiful and tenderly woven multicolor psychedelic journeys in the vein of the best work of Axolotl, Astral Social Club, or even some Sunroof!. Only McCann has more of an emotional layering than those artists. This isn't just music of bliss or alchemical splendor, it's music of love and pain and bittersweetness too. McCann is certainly quite skilled in traditional playing of his instruments as well. I don't know why I held off on McCann for so long, this is one of the best releases of the year and he is one of the best new drone/psych-noise artists I've found.


The Skaters - Pavilionous Miracles Of Circular Facet Dice

Chocolate Monk, 2005

A Fugue: Dromedary Conjuration Chambre

A strange gigantic Furnishing within the antechambres. Glorious Pavilion emblazoned with Key. In room of secrets, Mysteries, exotic acquisitions. Furnishing clattering, invocations performed within. In secret of the secret. There the miracle is committed in hidden of the hidden. Holeless masks are worn, the game of Shrouds is played. Paimon announces arrival with great cocoon of audible words. Legion tethered within colonial, hivelike wormy. All objects become wrapped in words. No shape of figures, only furnishings. Incense. and Dromedary.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rare Daniel Higgs

Magic Alphabet (Northern Liberties, 2003)


Plays The Mirror Of The Apocalypse And Other Songs (Open Mouth, 2005)


Devotional Songs Of Daniel Higgs (Open Mouth, 2009)


(and be sure to check out Hymnprovisations For Banjo With Piano & Raindrops over at Astraal Tempel Rhythymns, because I'm not a link-stealer.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sun City Girls - Djinn Funnel

Nashazphone, 2006

I find really good Sun City Girls albums hard to come by. Torch Of The Mystics was great, but most of their records are filled with aimless pseudo-jams and bad humor. All part of the character for sure, but it loses its charm fast with me (though on occasion I am in the mood for Alan Bishop's snazzy psychedelic wordplay and hypersarcastic caricatures as Uncle Jim or Alvarius B). And of course Sir Richard Bishop is a guitar god. When SCG got down and actually used their talents seriously, they produced some seriously golden music and 2006's Djinn Funnel is a good example of that. I really haven't found much music that's just plain as good as this (other than Torch Of The Mystics) in their whole discography. Any suggestions?


Our Actions Are God's Food


-Daniel Higgs

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

COIL - Winter Solstice: North

Eskaton, 1999

Heaviness, heaviness
Blue sapphire six-pointed star
Blue sapphire six-pointed star
Deep ruby-red inverted pyramid
Deep ruby-red inverted pyramid
And red rose within the skull
Red rose filling the skull
Red rose filling the skull
Yellow cube in the lower pelvis
Yellow cube, yellow cube
Silver moon crescent below the navel
Red ruby inverted pyramid
White-winged globe defines the forehead
White-winged globe defines the forehead
Between the eyes, between the eyes
Black oval egg occupying the throat
Black egg within the throat


Friday, December 18, 2009

Merzbow & Total - Merzbow Mixed Total

Sterilized Decay, 1997

I only really enjoy a Merzbow solo record on occasion, there's just too much to digest and too much patchy filler. Kind of part of the sound, I know, but not really worth my time. But when Merzbow's collaborations are with artists I love (i.e. sunnO)))'s O)))Bow tracks on Flight Of The Behemoth), I appreciate his touch vastly more. Merzbow usually adds a tasteful level of chaos and overdrive in his remix work. This album is largely exactly what you'd expect from the collaboration. This is Total between dirge-rock era and free-improv middle era, cut up into non-euclidean chunks with Merzbow's noise grinder. Ends up leaning more towards the dark drone side. Great obscure work.


Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares

4AD, 1986

Overtone-soaked Bulgarian folk choir which drew in 4AD's Ivo Watts-Russell for a good reason. Vocals on the same level as Lisa Gerrard or Elizabeth Frazer, only greatly more ancient. Songs as old as Thrace, celestial beauty and cultural glory.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

James Ferraro Headspace Download

get into the ZONE

Rerex 1 + 2 (Summer Headrush, 2009)


Body Fusion 1 + 2 (Summer Headrush, 2009)


Hacker Track (Summer Headrush, 2009)


Wildworld (Summer Headrush, 2009)


iAsia (Summer Headrush, 2009)


California Power Dreams, baby.

Blood Fountains - Floods

Utech, 2009

One of the records from Utech's 2008-2009 URSK collaboration series with excellent painter Stephen Kasner which gelled with me the most, Blood Fountains actually counts Kasner as a member, and is quite the hidden gem. Some of the series was a bit patchy for me. Heavensore's doom-improv was occasionally great, but occasionally stilted, and for some reason I just can't get into Aluk Todolo though everything tells me I should. RST & Final's records were unequivocally quality, but didn't open up much new territory for me either. Nevertheless the series concept and its execution have remained high enough quality for me to keep them in my collection. This is probably the best record of the series for me other than Skullflower's Desire For A Holy War (but nevertheless that wasn't as excellent as more recent SF records). What's here is a ghostly and æthereal psych-doom. Synths and guitars are reminiscent of dare I say Lycia, but with a doom feel that puts this sort of in the territory of Elysian Blaze, some Xasthur, and Lurker of Chalice. But I don't want to strain the metal connection, this isn't really doom at all. On top strained semi-tonal Japanese vocals ala Nijiumu or Suishou No Fune. Other than those paltry descriptions, this is really its own beautiful beast.


Myrmyr - The Amber Sea

Digitalis, 2009

Myrmyr is the collaboration of electronic violinist Marielle Jakobsons (also known as darwinsbitch) and multi-instrumentalist Agnes Szelag. What's here is music much more "formal" than one would normally expect from Digitalis. Not a problem in the least, because this is professional level composition and performance on the level of something like Fovea Hex. Academic in upbringing (Jakobsons has a masters in Electronic Music and Recording Media) Myrmyr makes folk music which betrays the usual expectations of cold formality and ivory-tower opaqueness such would bring. Another late-2009 release that kicks the ass of the year's already stellar releases. The sense of dynamics and emotion here is positively sublime. As beautiful and textured as Richard Skelton, as cinematic and enrapturing as Ben Frost or the aforementioned Fovea Hex. Parts of it also distinctly remind me of the instrumentation of Vespertine-era Björk. The forms here are many and well-executed, drones, Max/MSP digital sound breeders, string orchestrales, madrigals, folksongs set deep in the subconscious. "The Sea Returns" feels like the creatures of the sea bemoaning their apocalypse, but re-creating themselves æthereal as the air, luminescent and transluscent sea-slugs, beings of pure unbridled life, calligraphically circling the air in nestled theatres of swamps. An eternity lasting in the alchemical libraries of the Pleroma. Enlightened technologies making the ephemera of evolution's dance last forever. Beauties and mysteries untold!


"Jurata," Live at Soundwaves 2008 series, Music Community Center, SF

myrmyr "Jurata" - Soundwave Series, 2008, SF from Agnes Szelag on Vimeo.

this is freshest of the fresh, so if you can, support the artists if you can (they really especially deserve it) over at digitalis recordings.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Master Musicians Of Bukkake

Ridiculous name aside, what we have here is some of the best ritual/ceremonial psych music I've heard in some time. Name-dropping lazy time: First 2009's Totem One; it's kind of like Amon Düül II backed by a full gamelan orchestra, with percussion by Crash Worship and vocals (literally) by Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls. 2004's Visible Signs of the Invisible Order is like this, only less Amon Düül II, more gamelan, and one more Sun City Girl (Charlie Gocher, RIP). Only infinitely more awesome than the sum of those parts. Super-dooper post-death brain elevation musick. Like the end of Apocalypse Now if everyone wore fractal-colored clothes. And bled swarms of insects. Or something. I dunno, this is really really great music, check it out.

Totem One (Conspiracy, 2009)


The Visible Sign of the Invisible Order (Abduction, 2004)


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Isengrind - Journey Of The 7 Stars

Only great lengths of listening will reveal the depths of the musick created by Natural Snow Buildings, and its facets Isengrind and TwinSisterMoon. What's here are growing into truly the most heartfelt-homespun magickal sounds I have ever heard.

Wintermusick made for great white lion and his clouds of red sigilled robes. Shaded icenight shrouds of the tunnel workshop, movement on stilts through snowspace, forestspace, ornament villages, the song of the ancient bell. Spiral auroræ marking his arrival, great king of Gothic cathedral. Snowbeard and his Janusian mirrored beastface, robes emblazoned with silver stars on royal blue field, pulled by red wolves through tunnels forged of the lightning dust of ancient televisions by the antlers of the amorphous tree elks. The chants of vertical bells harken his visit. All hail the snowbound kingdoms!

DOWNLOAD (artwork included)

(artwork quique alcatena)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Axolotl - Memory Theatre + Telesma

Serotonin orange juice burbling; forming trees. Our thoughts are cities of organisms prokaryotes->eukaryotes->animals. The sound of the present. The Wand. Only when we are old and gray will we look back on these moments as masterpieces. They are in a sense a capture of moments incapturable. The air in the space between the amp and microphone recorded, crystallized. Messages held secret in the intermediate spaces between particles.

Memory Theatre (Important, 2007)


Telesma (Spooky Action, 2006)


"and thus we swam, bodies and minds intertwine, like babies in the brine"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Burial Hex - Initiations

Aurora Borealis, 2008

Burial Hex is certainly one of those individuals who would ostensibly be labeled noise or power electronics, when there really is a different, undefined, and more powerful magick going on than genre. Burial Hex takes a number of left-hand mystical elements and juxtaposes them. This album in particular puts this on display. Orchestral kosmische synths give way to burbling and manic screams from beyond the grave. Hiss and scratch akin to that of Mauthausen Orchestra or Maurizio Bianchi coats the ritual, giving it a din and drone of chaos. Alongside this is are acoustic elements, bowed strings being sawed into horrible shapes. Then it subsides and returns to stellar drifting keyboards. The song "River of Los" goes into more unexpected territory with a sort of stoned-ramblin' and shambolic drum pattern-bustin' music more reminiscent of main man Clay Ruby's numerous free-psych groups (Davenport, Family Band, etc.), yet still contained within the same blackened ritual cloud, making the track more reminiscent of Sylvester Anfang than anything else. The track also reminds me a bit of early Popol Vuh. Glorious gravesongs and acoustic necromancy.


Burial Hex's sound has changed even further since this recording, moving into a particularly cathartic brand of minimal wave on the recent split with Zola Jesus (check it out over at NO NOT FUN NOT NO), that isn't entirely unlike his split-mate.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Vodka Soap - Interpretation "The Initiation"

Pacific City, 2009

As the holographic sigils of levitated consciousnesses submerge into 5-space, hallucinations begin to synchronize through quantum entanglement. While separated in space (or in spacelike ways), the manifest thought forms begin to dissolve and merge into one another backwards through the network of times. Through use of these simultaneous hallucinations the initiation of planet-mind can begin, and the final post-technological singularity achieved (though after a kalpa or so of progressive rites through the Qliphoth and Sephiroth, through the emanations, defeating Choronzon and the Demiurge in return to Sophic-Mind).

Intended as an interpretation of Roberto Matta's painting "The Initiation" (see below).


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Zelienople - Give It Up

Type, 2009

There's been some blog hype about this band in certain quarters that led me to think it was another semi-meandering drone group. There's a time and place for that kind of music in my playlist (very frequently actually), and though seeking that sound, I was pleasantly surprised. In the best name-dropping description I can offer, what you have here sounds like what would happen if Tor Lundvall and Fabio Orsi spent a week in a desert bungalow listening to nothing but Labradford and Slowdive's Pygmalion. It's slow, drifty, a wee bit jazzy (in that good Fabio Orsi drone-jazz way), but not too dark, it's more cold and windy in feel. In that nice sweet spot between straight ahead songs and not-too-out of it improv that reminds me a lot of Steven R. Smith. Great lonely tones.


Nature And Organisation - Beauty Reaps the Blood of Solitude

Durtro, 1994

War-torn apocalyptic folk project under the directorship of Michael Cashmore, features David Tibet, Douglas Pearce, Rose McDowell, and others. Sound is most akin to Thunder Perfect Mind-era Current 93, and What Ends When The Symbols Shatter era Death In June. One of the peak albums of the era. Certainly not to be missed, some of the best work of those involved. Rose's cover of "Willow's Song" from the Wicker Man soundtrack by is tear-inducingly beautiful.


Sorrow (Rose McDowell) Megapost

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

-William Blake, "The Sick Rose"

Beautiful, intimate, and autumnal dark folk from one half of Strawberry Switchblade, probably better known to readers here as the prime Current 93/ Coil/ Death in June/ Psychic TV nexus backing chanteuse. Such an immaculate voice! Few songs are truly as great as "Let There Be Thorns."

Under The Yew Possessed (Piski Disk, 1993)


Sleep Now Forever (Piski Disk, 1999)


Let There Be Thorns EP (Piski Disk, 2001)

(front & back vinyl because they look better than the CD cover, for you geeks out there this is probably actually the CD version I'm uploading)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Total - Here, Time Is Space

Majora, 1994

Continuing on with the Skullflower side projects, this here is Bower solo. After its early power electronics-era configuration (which produced the 1986 Hard + Low cassette on Broken Flag), Bower's Total project moved into a bleak isolationist drone guitar/ space rock sound. Out of this came the beyond-excellent Beyond The Rim LP (check it out over at Astraal Tempel RhytHymns), and this, the harder to find Here, Time Is Space 2xLP. He hasn't really made anything like this since, Total later moved into the twinkling sunshine meadow music that evolved into Sunroof! Only recently has Bower moved back into territory this dark and desolate (but of an entirely different sort) with Hototogisu and the Skullflower reboot.

Melancholy dirges for dead planets.



Freek, 1995

More from Anthony Di Franco's astral guitar noise Skullflower side project. Rare and ungoogleable.