Friday, February 26, 2010

Fursaxa - Mycorrhizae Realm

ATP Recordings, 2010

In a discography of beautiful works, Mycorrhizae Realm is a work of almost unprecedentedly greater beauty. Tara Burke must have secretly synched herself telepathically, through the magick of herbal witchcraft no doubt, with her ensemble (which includes Greg Weeks, Helena Espvall, and Mary Lattimore). For here she is enshrined in a tumultuous mountain of faerie sounds, enchanted swirling realms of forest majesty. The godslight on the tip of tongue intoning of Hildegard Von Bingen, whose spirit seems to at least partially possessed Burke, is in full bloom here. What is truly magickal here is her interplay with the cascades of harp, reminding of the most elevated moments of Alice Coltrane yet with a more ethereal, forest-born approach. When time reverses and space inverts itself at the end of "Charlote," the visions here are palpable. Bioluminescent organisms of the spirit realm breed and bifurcate prismatically through the twilit canopy, whose top is neither above nor below, we are swimming in it. The mycorrhizae of our minds.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Burial Hex/ Zola Jesus - Split

Aurora Borealis, 2009

I know this has probably been posted any number of other places, but I thought it had been long enough to post it here and remind of just how damn good a split it is. Mostly for the first part of the Burial Hex half, with its weeping broken minimal synth pianostab cathartic exegesies of pain, but everything else rules too. Second Burial Hex track is some more peak dark kosmische seen in hints on things like Initiations. Zola Jesus's half is an unedited doorway into her mind, the kind of thing seen in tracks like "Lullaby In Tongues" and "In Hiding From The Crow" on The Spoils, only longer.


In case you need another reminder as to how much these two guys rule, here's some vids:

Burial Hex

Zola Jesus

Corrupted - Dios Injusto + An Island Insane + Vasana

Dios Injusto (Frigidity Discos, 1999)


An Island Insane (HG Fact, 2007)


Vasana (HG Fact, 2007)


Three 7" releases from the powerful Japanese "sludge" masters. The band puts genre terms like "doom" and "sludge" to shame. I don't think you've heard or even really felt the sensation of doom until you've listened to Corrupted. By doom I mean all-out apocalyptic everything-is-ending-and-it-is-beautiful-but-oh-so-painful. And sludge? Eyehategod & Grief are sludge only to the extent that they're boozed up & downer'd down (???) hardcore. Here be whirlwinds of wrecked cities blasting across the plains. Paperwork floating down the rivers to a rotten oblivion. This band is serious as fuck, not getting racial or anything but I wouldn't expect any worse from the Japanese. Better known for their longform works, their seven inches outside of their wobbly-legged nascent crust-punk days are wonderful snatches of great exploration. Corrupted took the old seeds of extreme doom metal and took them entirely to their own place, completely separate from sunnO))) and their ilk (in fact with influence going the other way), creating a form of long-form drone-doom that is almost orchestral in nature, in a minimalist sense. This is only heard in the proper sense here on the second half of An Island Insane, where an acoustic guitar improvises over desert-plain feedback drones of bliss'n'pain, but longform works have featured long passages in this style on harp and piano. Here mostly they get down to their serious business with guitars, bass, & drums alone, which is just as impressive.

p.s. One point to make for some: trust me, the vocals are not difficult to get over. They are not "cookie monster" they are in fact vastly better than the whole lot of death metal vocalists out there. So there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls With Sand

Profound Lore, 2007

Super-epic drone metal which explores the shoegaze-metal blissed out & heavy realm better than most, a guy-girl duo with clean empassioned vocals nicely buried in the mix. Similar ideas going on as earlier Jesu, but these guys are going more for ethereal majesty of Lycia's chasm-reverb, the keyboard-led and guitar-filled chord progressions hint more of old Projekt shoegaze-darkwave acts, but not too much. This stuff is as heavy as old Skullflower or peak Grey Daturas work. Has its small flaws throughout, but it's kind of a masterpiece, really.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Geomatic - Blue Beam

M-Tronic, 2008

Seemingly out of nowhere, an album (introduced by a good friend) breathes new life into techno-industrial hybrid musicks. Like Muslimgauze with Stellamara's belly-dance drum works and ethereal vocals, produced by Robert Henke (Monolake, etc.) with some bleak dubstep master like Scorn or Vex'd offering their sound boards, with even a (tasteful, mind you) touch of old-school Metropolis EBM straight-ahead aggression. Total psych-up material if you grew up with that stuff like me, or just need some wonderful cybernetic tribal music of future post-goth gypsy dancefloors.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Robert A.A. Lowe - Eclipses

Thrill Jockey, 2010

Forgoing his previous fingerpicking + vocal loop psych-out style, Robert A.A. Lowe (aka Lichens) has recently approached work with analogue synthesizers. Similarly warm to his previous work, yet of an entirely different, post-organic sort. As the title of the track "Crayon Gym" would seem to state, this is music akin to the warm and fuzzy analogue backdrop of Boards Of Canada. Bruce Haack records like The Electric Lucifer, retro-created electronic educational records from the 70s. Visions of a new world, those gigantic centripetal-gravity space stations, idealistic unification of language in Esperanto. A futurist is born in the midst of recent re-modernist flailings - a new analogue minimalism separate from the kraut-aping of Emeralds/Oneohtrix Point Never as well as the irony of the hypnagogic folks. As deceptively simple as his previous work, and the work of Daniel Higgs, whom in a tangential way I consider his spiritual brother (what helps matters more is that this album is being released w/ an art book the same as Higgs' glorious Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot). Though Lowe's work to me has always strangely had the essence of yoga and meditation at its core than the (equally powerful, nonetheless) book-mad cerebral scryings of Higgs.


Robe. - Time Dilation

Blackest Rainbow, 2009

Horrorscape drone/noise in the vein of older Burial Hex, but there's some more subdued guitar-based action going on here. Like a much, much more interesting version of (unfortunately coincidentally named) Robedoor. The sound of ceremonies drifting across great fogged expanses of time and space. Some moments, especially the last track "Final Glimpse" remind of dark ambient classics like Lustmord's Heresy and Lull's Cold Summer.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Horrid Cross - Demo II

Satan's Din, 2009

Ragesoaked and nihilistic hardcore-black metal hybrid/ raw black metal. Seriously furious beyond-the-red buzz&howl from the fields of war and genocide. riffs more complex and actually atmospheric than the usual Bone Awl-oriented fare.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Alamaailman Vasarat - Huuro Kolkko

Laskeuma Records/ Nordic Note, 2009

Finnish band which plays klezmer and other marginalized European folk musics with a tasteful dose of punk intensity (tasteful in my book means this isn't anything like bloody Gogol Bordello). Heavy drumming, wonderful frenzied instrumentation, and heavy dudes with heavy beards.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Arrowwood/ Novemthree - Split

Little Somebody, 2007

Sweetly rendered woodland folk from two artists on two tiny cdrs of the Terrascopic oldschool psych-folk flutes + guitar + strings sort of Stone Breath/ In Gowan Ring. Arrowwood has a positively lovely voice that reminds me somewhat of Rose McDowell, and Novemthree is like Timothy Revelator's little brother when it comes to this style. A beautiful little release.


Svarrogh - Yer Su

Ahnstern, 2008

Bulgarian neofolk project on the quite consistent Ahnstern label. Derived from a black/folk metal project, it retains its edge of metal aggression, but moves into gorgeous, psychedelic, evocative Southern European folk music in the vein of Sangre Cavallum or Àrnica, of a distinctly Slavic kind that of course indirectly reminds of Drudkh. Up there with my favorite neofolk groups, those which don't just ape Death In June, combining boring, rudimentary acoustic guitar riffs with pointlessly selfish and lonely lyrics. Those with the important emphasis on the FOLK, who have resolved their modern existential paralysis and loneliness instead with the invocation of their ancestral spirits, the resurrection of their ancient culture.



People were saying these were corrupted, so I've recompressed, reuploaded, and tested them:

Isengrind - Journey Of The 7 Stars

Barn Owl - Transfiguration

Skullflower - Circulus Vitiosus Deus Disc 1: Circulus Vitiosus Deus

Monday, February 1, 2010

Machinefabriek - The Breathing Bridge

Self-Released, 2010

One of the most interesting of Machinefabriek's recent mini-cdr self-released set, this one relies on the natural evolved response of the human mind to the sound of close roaring waters, a pure core shock to the limbic system, the inner reptile brain. Heavy dynamics and an inner inspection of the tonalities of water itself - the sound of water, even rapids, truly is not just "white noise," it is a particular set of chaotic shimmering crystal tones. As usual, Machinefabriek is great at creating actual music with truly experimental investigations in field recording.


Svarte Greiner - Penpals Forever

Digitalis Limited, 2008

Spot-on cassette of "acoustic doom" from Sweden's Erik K. Skodovin, head of the genius Miasmah label and half of synth-string ambient masters Deaf Center. Don't be expecting "official" acoustic doom in the vein of Fearthainne/Alethes, this pure instrumental dark drone musick. Subtle and unsettling moans and drones rise in an out of tape hiss. The awful goings on of catacombs where things stranger than the undead lurk chattering amongst the bones. Fogged late-night post-apocalyptic isolationism in mankind's abandoned factories. A powerful, deep sound with many hidden elements.