CERTAIN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT Live Berlin '98 (Manifold) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A live collision of the combined forces of Mick Harris (Scorn) and Tony Child (Surgeon) making freaky nightmare sonic landscapes.
CEU s/t (Six Degrees) cd 16.98
Now domestic! This former import-only CeU album (originally released in 2005 on the Sao Paulo based Urban Jungle label) is now available here in the States courtesy of the Six Degrees label. The lovely Brazilian singer whose full name is Maria Do Ceu Whitaker Pocas draws easy comparisons to Bebel Gilberto, and will surely appeal to her labelmate's fanbase. At once sultry and fresh-faced, CeU's breezy, smooth groove of samba, dub and electronica laced with delicious horn and percussion accompaniments evokes gorgeous, warm summer evenings. Ah yes, the calendar might proclaim that it is April, but while this soulful, chill-out album is spinning it's a steamy August night in Sao Paulo.
"Lenda" MPEG Stream:
CEX Maryland Mansions (Jade Tree) cd 14.98
CEX Oops, I Did It Again! (Tigerbeat6) cd 14.98
Oops! It's the second full length from hyperactive emo / hip-hop / IDM whizkid Rjyan Kidwell. That's right, I said emo. In addition to the fluffy pop-laced hip-hop beats and whimsical sonic landscapes, Rjyan busts out his acoustic guitar and cries out all Tim Kinsella style. Of course, as on "(You're) Off The Food Chain", this is downright silly. But on tracks like "First For Wounds" and "I Said It Knowing Full Well I Had No Intention Of Doing It", the inclusion of guitar works wonderfully, somewhat reminiscent of the latest Fourtet record or (vaguely) Arab Strap. And like most hip-hop records, we could certainly do without the silly skits. Without them, I'd put "Oops" up against the likes of Boards Of Canada or early Autechre.
CEX Role Model (Tigerbeat6) cd 12.98
From Kid 606's label comes the newest album from nineteen year old kid Cex, who you may happily file next to those other bedroom electronica madmen such as Kid 606, Lesser, and Aphex Twin. He might even be a bit too young, as the material on this disc is more like perfectly executed homework rather than a wellspring of new ideas. For fans of Aphex Twin, Autechre, Kid 606, etc. Includes a Dismemberment Plan remix!
CEX Sketchi (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 14.98
Cex sinks knee-deep in dub and industrial sounds on his latest full length. As usual his lower brow presence on the Temporary Residence label sorta sticks out like a sore thumb amid the often lovely, atmospheric post-rock recordings that make up the majority of the label's catalog. Admittedly we've had something of a love/hate relationship with Cex over the years, but this time around y'know what? We're leaning more towards the former... well maybe at least 'like'. Heh heh. Somewhat surprisingly Sketchi's a morass of gloom and grit with not a giggle or grin in sight... except for maybe some of the song titles (such as "Waiting 4 Yankovic"!). Quite a marked departure from his past mischievous, silly releases. An oddly limited pressing of 1000.
"Damon Kvols" MPEG Stream:
CEX Starship Galactica (555) cd 12.98
Cex certainly has some artistic talent, but "Starship Galactica" shows him to still be just a dorky kid from Baltimore. The majority of this album features what Cex does best -- Autechre / Funkstorung breakbeats with sad, romantic chords derived from both warm acoustic instruments and cold digital algorhythms. However, he inexplicably drops in skits / introductions to these tracks... one is a shout-out to his crew in Baltimore, another is a really stupid skit of a woman masturbating while Cex is getting all gung-ho about his high score on his Playstation (somehow, it's supposed to be funny), and he ends the album with a lo-fi Atom & His Package type song. It may be possible to look beyond all of this juvenile, sexually frustrated behaviour and really listen to his pretty great skittery melancholy electronica... but boy those skits make it tough.
CEX Tall, Dark, And Handcuffed (Tigerbeat6) cd 13.98
New record from the underground rock scene's Brian Austin Green (c'mon, you remember, from Beverly Hills 90210....made a rap record....it was BAD) Let's ruin the only 'funny' bit (a skit of all things, a take off of an Eminem skit) on this otherwise dreadful album of white bread, stupid pointless hip-hop by transcribing it here: Jeremy deVine (of Sonna and Temporary Residence) with a tone of businesslike urgency: "Hey Cex, what's up?" Cex goofily unaware: "Hey Jeremy deVine! Good to see you! What's up?" Jeremy: "Cex could you come in here and have a seat, please. Vanessa, shut the door." Cex: "What's up, how's Otis (?) looking for the first week?" Jeremy: "It would be better if you gave me nothing at all. This album is less than nothing. I can't sell this fucking record. Do you know what's happening to me out there?" Cex: "What's the problem?" Jeremy: "Bjork told me to go fuck myself." Cex: "Who's Bjork?" Jeremy: "Aquarius Records told me to shove this record up my ass. Do know what it feels like to be told to have a record shoved up your ass? I'm going to lose my fucking job over this. Do you know why Radiohead's album was so successful? They're singing about homosexuals and Vicodin. You're rhyming about dodgeball and bicycles. Have you been in my office again? Look at this desk! There's a spring busted and it's all messed up. Either change the record or it's not coming out." Cex: "Wait. What am I supposed to do?" Jeremy: "Get the fuck out of my office. Now." For the record, it was Cex who was to be the recipient of record-ass-shoving, not Jeremy deVine. But Jeremy'll do.
"Gigolo Knights" RealAudio clip:
"K-12 Days Of Hell" RealAudio clip:
CEX / ELECTRIC COMPANY "$" vol. 2 (Tigerbeat6) 7" 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Number two in the $ series of Tigerbeat6 singles, this one's got Baltimore's Cex and Los Angeles' Electric Company. Don't know how limited, but I wouldn't wait on these hotcakes...
CEX / VENETIAN SNARES Connected Series Volume 2 (Klangkrieg) 12" 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Second in Klangkrieg's Connected series (volume one featured DJ Scud and Pthalocyanine). Baltimore's Cex reworks the unstoppable Venetian Snares (aka Aaron Funk) and vice versa. Bubbly drill'n'bass from two prolific playas in underground electronica.
CHA CHA CABARET Chez Vous (K) cd 13.98
Greetings! Your hostess Miss Lady Hand Grenade is here with her Olympia, WA friends Nikki McClure, Miranda July, Old Tyme Relijun, and a crowd of others for a grand indie pop show time. If there's one thing you can always count on with the Oly folk, it's a barrel of fun: theme shows, puppetry and music with something to say.
CHA.CY. Minicd 3-99 (Spider Records) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. 3-song, 20 minute ep from a freaky avant-pop band featuring Jean-Herve Peron of Faust and Chris Karrer of Amon Duul II, two krautrock legends up to strange new tricks.
CHADBOURNE, EUGENE Ayler Undead (Grob) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Eugene Chadbourne (you know him, you love him?) teams up with two Berlin-based free jazzers for this tribute to the late great saxophonist Albert Ayler on the always interesting Grob label. Joe Williamson (Kletka Red) plays double bass, Uli Jennessen is on drums, and Herr Doktor Chadbourne handles Ayler's central role in the trio, playing acoustic and electric guitars, and his beloved banjo as well. Chadbourne (a fan of Ayler's since he first heard one of his ESP titles in the listening room of the Calgary Alberta public library, 1972) has been known to cover Ayler compositions before, but this is his first recording devoted solely to 'em. According to the liner notes, this was originally envisioned as a big band project, with lots o' horns and all, but thankfully circumstances dictated a smaller group, so that Chadbourne's string-twiddling could take center stage -- he's at his best here, playing with passion and virtuosity. Regardless of what you think of Chadbourne's other releases (he's got a lot, and some, particularily the ones with singing, are often too goofy for some of us), this one is definitely worth checking out, if you're at all into improv skronk stuff (and/or, of course, Albert Ayler). Chadbourne IS a great player, and the rest of the band isn't too shabby either. Ayler is also a fine subject for tribute, as somehow his signature combination of folky melody and outside blowing is so appropriate for a country-western-rock-jazz weirdo like Chadbourne. He puts it best in the liners: "There is no one who made music as truly psychedelic as Ayler...Ayler's music was always these strange little themes, most importantly followed by complete freaking out...[he] had a vision that I can best summarize as pretty fucking weird, and pretty fucking magnificent." Recorded live in Cologne with some overdubs recorded later at home in North Carolina. There's also two solo pieces, including the only non-Ayler composition: a wild take on "La Marseillaise" that Ayler would have been proud of. Hendrix too. Packaged with lots of text, art, and an intriguing graphic illustrating the links between Ayler and Chadbourne.
"Omega Is The Alpha" RealAudio clip:
"La Marseillaise" RealAudio clip:
"Witches & Devils"
CHADBOURNE, EUGENE Boogie With The Hook (Leo) cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. European import hand delivered by the charming Mr. Chadbourne hisself. Duets with Derek Bailey, Han Bennink, Charles Tyler, Volcmar Verkerk, and John Zorn.
CHADBOURNE, EUGENE Pain Pen (Avant) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Eugene Chadbourne (no introduction needed, we hope) is joined for a free improv freakout by downtown NYC avant jazzers Mark Dresser (bass) and Susie Ibarra (drums) as well as normally-more restrained improv guitarist Joe Morris.
CHADBOURNE, EUGENE & JIMMY CARL BLACK Pachuco Cadaver (Fireant) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Eugene brought these in himself last week. Here he teams up with the original Mothers of Invention drummer in a tribute to Captain Beefheart.
CHADBOURNE, EUGENE & JOHN ZORN In Memory of Rikki Arane (Incus) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Circa-1980 recordings from this fun pair. On Derek Bailey's improv label.
CHAIN AND THE GANG Down With Liberty...Up With Chains (K Records) cd 14.98
By this point the charismatic Ian Svenonius is most loved as a indie cultural icon, his ramblings, writings, and TV show (Soft Focus on VBTV.com) are all so undeniably entertaining and compelling. Though, we have to say we haven't been too thrilled with most of his musical output since he pulled the plug on The Make Up. But before that most of us were all pretty obsessed with his first band Nation Of Ulysses as well as the ultra short lived Cupid Car Club. His newest project Chain And The Gang is closest in aesthetic to the gospel funk of The Make Up. Lots of call and response vocals, tons of sharp witted sass, and darker take on that classic girl group sound. We'd still probably rather hear Ian shoot the shit or read his latest manifesto but this is sounding pretty darn OK to us. Not amazing by any stretch, but Ian Svenonius diehards (and we know you are out there!) will definitely want to snag this.
"Trash Talk" MPEG Stream:
"Interview With The Chain Gang"
CHAINSMOKER Guarana Planet (Bad Vugum) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another installment of Finnish madness from the brilliant and unpredictable Bad Vugum label. Chainsmoker were born from the ashes of Bad Vugum stalwarts Sweetheart, but the sound is far from Sweetheart's freaked out guitar rock. Chainsmoker are a strange mix of eighties new wave/techno (New Order, Human League), gothy cabaret (Nick Cave, Bauhaus), a little modern electro (Adult., Fischerspooner) and of course that special, undefinable Finnish touch that seems to make everything a little bit better! Check it out.
"Drop Test" RealAudio clip:
"Out Of Tranquilizers"
CHAINSMOKER Stations ( BV2 Productions) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another back in stock warehouse discovery. We don't really have a warehouse, but we do have plenty of nooks and crannies and boxes and spaces that things get stashed in and sometimes forgotten, but warehouse find slips off the tongue so much easier. Anyway, for you Finnish rock folks who may have missed out on this chunk of sonic strangeness, we found a little clutch of these, and figured there were probably at least a few people who missed out on these first time around: ATTENTION FINNISH ROCK OBSESSIVES!!! It's time for another strange missive from the Finnish combo known as Chainsmoker, a band created from the bits and pieces of Finnish legends Sweetheart. But where Sweetheart were a corrosive guitar based rock band, Chainsmoker are more of a dramatic, sort of gothic new wave band. If these guys were living in NY and going to all the right parties, getting remixed by DFA, partying with Fischerspooner, they'd be huge. Touring with the Scissor Sisters and screwing Lindsay Lohan and Ashley Simpson. But alas, they are marooned far away from the glitzy nightclubs and drugged out dancefloor kids who would be dancing and fucking and fighting the nights away to their spacey new wave techno groove rock. But there's more to it than that, these guys are Finnish after all, so it goes without saying that they have a bit of a twisted take. They incorporate morose vocals, saxophone, swirling outer space FX, Nick Cave like dramatic crooning, strummy acoustic guitars, cinematic synths, fuzz guitar, full on casiocore freakouts and pretty much anything else they can think of into their jet set, cocaine party, private jet, Studio 54, faux fur, dead of winter, NYC via Paris via Finland, Fischerspooner and Pet shop Boys in a back alley knife fight dance party!
"Red Eyeliner" MPEG Stream:
"Aluminum" MPEG Stream:
CHAIRLIFT Does You Inspire You? (Kanine / Columbia) cd 13.98
"Garbage" MPEG Stream:
"Planet Health" MPEG Stream:
CHAKACHAS Jungle Fever (Dusty Groove) cd 14.98
"Jungle Fever" MPEG Stream:
"Eso Es El Amor"
CHALARD, JACKY Je Suis Vivant, Mais J'aipeur De Gilbert Deflez (B-Music / Finders Keepers) cd 15.98
Boy, were we looking forward to this: A strange 1974 French sci-fi based concept album that claims comparisons to both Alain Goraguer (La Planete Sauvage) and Jean-Claude Vannier (L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches, Melody Nelson), by some composer we had never heard of, Jacky Chalard, perhaps originally made under the assumed identity Gilbert Deflez (the booklet has the puzzling backstory). We were blown away by the opening number, "L'Agonie", almost fulfilling the promise of the B-Music folks' claims. But then almost all the following tracks are either spoken word, or strange radio plays in French (sort of in the same wacky spirit as Les Maledictus Sound), which we wouldn't mind normally, except the spoken stuff is on almost every track on the record, and after awhile, we want to just hear the backing music alone, because it IS so good! Occasionally, there is a French woman singing which is nice and there's a couple of Massiera-ish disco pop numbers, but overall, the narrative aspects becomes just a bit tedious. At least it's in French, though, that helps. We're sure this is a must have for some folks who dig the stranger realms of french prog-pop, but we can't recommend it as highly as La Planete Sauvage, Jean-Paul Massiera, or Jean-Claude Vannier.
"L'Agonie" MPEG Stream:
"La Collecte Des Couers" MPEG Stream:
"Si Je T'Offrais Une Branche D'Amour" MPEG Stream:
"Pollution" MPEG Stream:
"Super Man - Super Cool"
CHALARD, JACKY Je Suis Vivant, Mais J'aipeur De Gilbert Deflez (B-Music / Finders Keepers) lp 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Now available on vinyl. Boy, were we looking forward to this: A strange 1974 French sci-fi based concept album that claims comparisons to both Alain Goraguer (La Planete Sauvage) and Jean-Claude Vannier (L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches, Melody Nelson), by some composer we had never heard of, Jacky Chalard, perhaps originally made under the assumed identity Gilbert Deflez (the booklet has the puzzling backstory). We were blown away by the opening number, "L'Agonie", almost fulfilling the promise of the B-Music folks' claims. But then almost all the following tracks are either spoken word, or strange radio plays in French (sort of in the same wacky spirit as Les Maledictus Sound), which we wouldn't mind normally, except the spoken stuff is on almost every track on the record, and after awhile, we want to just hear the backing music alone, because it IS so good! Occasionally, there is a French woman singing which is nice and there's a couple of Massiera-ish disco pop numbers, but overall, the narrative aspects becomes just a bit tedious. At least it's in French, though, that helps. We're sure this is a must have for some folks who dig the stranger realms of french prog-pop, but we can't recommend it as highly as La Planete Sauvage, Jean-Paul Massiera, or Jean-Claude Vannier.
"L'Agonie" MPEG Stream:
"La Collecte Des Couers" MPEG Stream:
"Si Je T'Offrais Une Branche D'Amour" MPEG Stream:
"Pollution" MPEG Stream:
"Super Man - Super Cool"
CHALARD, JACKY Superman, Supercool (Cache Cache ) 12" 14.98
CHALK CIRCLE Reflection (Mississippi) lp 14.98
**MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT** Another lost seminal punk rock classic, this one from DC's Chalk Circle, an all female punk rock band (supposedly the first to record and perform in DC), who existed for a couple years in the early eighties, and played alongside the usual DC suspects, but were definitely doing their own thing, challenging the prevailing sound and gender scene politics of the day. With a sound that would fit sonically alongside groups like the Slits, Delta 5, Lilliput, Raincoats, X-Ray Spex, Essential Logic and the like, Chalk Circle combined punk rock crunch with teenage energy, raw and urgent, frantic and frenetic, loose and ramshackle, but with some killer hooks, not so much 'punk rock' as indie pop / garage pop, this stuff would have been right at home on K Records or Kill Rock Stars in the early days. The sound varies quite a bit (as does the recording quality), from bouncy almost danceable jangle punk, to reverby new wave, fuzzy pop-punk pound to primitive off kilter pop, bass heavy almost dubby post punk to spidery skeletal pop minimalism, laced with occasional bits of extra percussion, shouted back up vox, all held together by a super distinctive style and sound, which has us thinking there are a whole bunch of folks out there that would have loved these ladies back in the day, and anyone into the current crop of female punks: Brilliant Colors, Grass Widow, Pens, Yellow Fever, Sandwitches, etc. will probably dig this like crazy! This lp collection gathers up various tracks from compilations, live shows, demos and unreleased tapes, and includes a big booklet with photos, press clippings and liner notes by Don Fleming (Velvet Monkeys, B.A.L.L.) whose Velvet Monkeys headlined Chalk Circle's first shows.
"Reflection" MPEG Stream:
"Uneasy Friend" MPEG Stream:
"Scrambled" MPEG Stream:
CHALK, ANDREW Blue Eyes Of The March (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
We often talk about the heaviest, the fastest, the loudest, and the most fucked-up musics, as we cram more and more letters into the word doom to express how much we love this record or that. Yet when it comes to the minimalist beatitudes crafted by the British drone engineer Andrew Chalk, our hyperbole fails us. With humility and a reclusive demeanor, Chalk's work stands as an elegant document of what you can do when striving for anything excessive. For years, Chalk has impressed upon us that few artists have been able to craft something as simple as a drone with such a pristine balance between impressionistic abstraction and phenomenological precision. Starting out the mid-80s recording toxic noises under the moniker Feral Confine, Chalk joined David Jackman in the seminal project Organum for a couple of melancholic recordings of acoustic minimalism. Shortly thereafter, he founded Ora with Darren Tate and Colin Potter; and more recently, Chalk and Christoph Heemann established Mirror. Nowadays, Chalk is venturing out on his own to remarkable success after a couple of beautiful recordings that he's self-released on Faraway Press. Blue Eyes Of The March is the third cd from Chalk's own label, and has been entirely crafted from piano. Given the dreamy soft-focus that Chalk has applied to the instrument, there's very little of the piano's instantly recognizable hammered attack that remains. It's as if he stretched all of the piano's strings across the bow of a Victorian cruise ship, deliberately sank it, and then recorded the sounds deep in the blackened sea off the northern coast of England. Haunted, subaquatic, and timeless, Chalk's swirling sounds spiral effortlessly into a ghostly antiquity whose references may be found in the equally elegant re-constructions of Bartok and Satie by Akira Rabelais on Eisoptrophobia, but done through analogue and not digital processes.
"Blue Eyes of the March 1" MPEG Stream:
"Blue Eyes of the March 2"
CHALK, ANDREW Crescent (Robot) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Andrew Chalk's haunting drones (from his work with Organum and Jonathan Coleclough) have become favorites here at Aquarius. And this collection of his earliest recordings from the late '80s is no exception. The influence that Brian Eno's ambient work had upon Chalk becomes apparent with the emergence of a few fragile arrangements for piano and decidedly synthetic spacey keyboard sounds. But even at this stage in Chalk's development, his talent at constructing textural collages of bowed metal and hazy tonal reverberations is as solid here as on his recent recordings. This disc includes contributions from David Jackman (Organum) on one track and a remix from Christoph Heemann. Highly recommended.
CHALK, ANDREW East Of The Sun (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
BACK IN PRINT!!! Easily, one of the most important reissues of 2006 (available again now in 2009!), East Of The Sun available again though Andrew Chalk's own Faraway Press, complete with breathtakingly resplendent packaging. These recordings originally came out in 1994 as a cassette, released through Ora's in-house label, Ora being an early collective that revolved around Chalk, Colin Potter, and Darren Tate with occasional assistance from Jonathan Coleclough, mnortham, Lol Coxhill, and a handful of like-minded British drone enthusiasts. A few years later, the Italian label Hic Sunt Leones convinced Chalk to reissue the cassette in digital form. That CD version of East Of The Sun compressed the two sides of the cassette into a single 50 minute piece and was flushed out with some complementary dronescaping. Chalk was never happy with the Hic Sunt Leones version; and thus his reissue of the album returns to the original version found on the cassette, now gloriously remastered in its entirety. For those persnickety types, the 17 minutes or so which concluded the Hic Sunt Leones version is not here; but that is a minor loss compared to the pinnacle of drone-based minimalism found here. Sure, Eno's ambient records On Land and Thursday Afternoon were milestones in the realm of ambient music, setting an impressionist context through which any number of the images, thoughts, and ideals could be imagined; but that strategy was perfected by Andrew Chalk on a couple of records. There was his ephemeral album Sumac in collaboration with Jonathan Coleclough, there was the first Mirror album Eye Of The Storm, and there's East Of The Sun. Very dark without becoming unbearably cold, East Of The Sun is a constant bloom of nocturnal frequencies, whose origins may be thoroughly blurred bass guitar or possibly some resonant artifact from Chalk's acoustic work in Organum. Regardless, the resultant drones drift with no beginning and no end, merely rippling, reflecting, and turning upon themselves in a perpetual, very slow motion turbulence. Leaves tumbling in autumnal twilight. Fog spilling over coastal hills. Moonlight tickling the agitated surface of a pond. Any of these organic references for meditation on simplicity to reach the sublime and the profound could easily apply to Chalk's East Of The Sun. Not just recommended, this is required listening.
"Winter Arc" MPEG Stream:
CHALK, ANDREW Forty-Nine Views In Rhapsodies' Wave Serene (Faraway Press) cd 24.00
Another stunning album from British composer Andrew Chalk. While our man started out smashing acoustic noise through bowed cymbal skree and wild tape machinations in the mid '80s through his Broken Flag alias Ferial Confine, Chalk quickly settled down into the heavy gravity of the drone supreme. The albums that followed in the Ora / Mirror axis and his solo work conjured some of the finest drone mesmerism that we've ever heard. Oh, and we've heard a lot of dronemuzik! Chalk conjures sounds that are shimmering yet lucid, controlled yet open to all possible movements, occasionally dark yet always beautifully sublime. And now, after some 20 years of working with long-form composition, his love affair with the drone seems to be waning. In its place is a restrained impressionism for subtle melodies from a bleary piano, soft filigree of shadowy organs, and the occasional smeary echo of burbling cosmic-synth drift, as can be heard on the elegant fragmentation of albums like Violins By Night, Ghost Of Nakhodka, and The Cable House. Chalk continues that trend on Forty-Nine Views In Rhapsodies' Wave Serene in which he stitches 49 separate miniatures of delicate ambient passages into what could be seen as Andrew Chalk's take on Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Chalk's flickered melodies and soft focus ambience have the rich gold hues and nitrous oxide weightlessness found on Aphex Twin's classic, but Chalk's sounds express none of the midi-fired digitality or sequenced precision. Instead, Chalk's subtle gestures are clearly wrought by human hands, molded through arcane means, and slipping through his cottage industry in a moss-encrusted part of England. Satie and Eno also cozy up nicely to these Forty-Nine views. As with all of the albums that Chalk releases on his Faraway Press imprint, the packaging is equally as lovely as the music. Of course, it's recommended; it's Andrew Chalk!
"Vista Of Ages" MPEG Stream:
"Sleeping Stillness" MPEG Stream:
"Waves In Plumes" MPEG Stream:
"Patience And Heartsease"
CHALK, ANDREW Ghost Of Nakhodka (Siren) cd 24.00
BACK IN PRINT, WITH DIFFERENT ARTWORK!!! Here's the cd reissue of a 2009 cassette from the emissary of British dronemusik, Andrew Chalk. That cassette, like this cd version, had been released by the Japanese imprint Siren Records, although it seems that Chalk himself did all of the printing as with all of his Faraway Press productions. So, it certainly looks as lovely as it sounds. The album opens with a 22 minute abstraction of piano tones, smeared, stretched, and warbled by a process that seems more attuned to tape decay techniques than the placid smooth surfaces that have come from Chalk's recordings as of late. This has the sound more of the misty psychedelic ambient tapestries from Natural Snow Buildings or the hauntological loops of Indignant Senility. There's something very prescient about this track, as if Chalk were responding to many of the divergent streams of drone-based constructions that are happening throughout the world right now. The rest of the album is definitely a detour for Chalk, as he presents a series of sad, sodden snippets composed on guitar, koto, synth, piano, and field recordings. Unlike so many who attempts an album of gossamer, minimalist sounds, Chalk seeks the same chromatic hues through his sources. It's the same melancholy which runs through his impressionist drones that can be found in an ellipsis for untreated acoustic guitar or a melody upon cosmic-minded synth or an atypical strum upon his koto. That makes for quite a remarkable album for Mr. Chalk, once again.
"Ghost of Nakhodka" MPEG Stream:
"Three Rivers" MPEG Stream:
"Lena" MPEG Stream:
CHALK, ANDREW Goldfall (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
Goldfall originally came out in late 2006 as a heavy duty slab of vinyl, swaddled in a delicate piece of tissue paper that also featured an elegant print reminiscent of Shoji screen prints. Chalk released a mere 300 copies through his Faraway Press imprint; and as with most of the tiny vinyl pressings that Chalk had done with his now defunct Mirror project with Christoph Heemann, it went out of print very quickly, with its scarcity only matched by the critical praise heaped upon it. Thankfully, Chalk has been far more willing to repress his hard to find material through Faraway Press; and Goldfall is the latest part of this reissue campaign. In contrast to the floral artwork which Chalk has replicated on the hand-screened / die-cut cardboard sleeves, Chalk's sound production within is a far darker and heavier experience. Sourced from the meandering piano interludes of Vikki Jackman, Goldfall is a dark, shadowy record of protracted reverberation and timbral rumblings. In comparison to Chalk's previous piano album Blue Eyes Of The March or to other exceptional piano abstractions (i.e. Jonathan Coleclough's Period or Brian Eno's Thursday Afternoon), Goldfall is downright ominous. Upon closer investigation into the sounds on Goldfall, the second track is a backwards remix of the first, turning the entire experience of listening to the album as a palindrome of shadows, with each darkly flecked piano tone on the second track harder to locate against the structure of the first given the droning miasma of Chalk's impeccable sound. Far from being like one of David Jackman's tiresome attempts at elongating his increasingly pointless ideas, Chalk's experiment was one to be discovered by the audience. We may have spoiled something magical about the record, or maybe not. It's still a magnificent, ominous piece of dronescaping; and you all should know that Andrew Chalk + ominous = highly recommended.
"Goldfall 1" MPEG Stream:
CHALK, ANDREW Goldfall (Faraway Press) lp 40.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Goldfall is Andrew Chalk's highly anticipated new vinyl-only album, released on his own Faraway Press imprint. After pretty much of all the Mirror records had been released as super limited vinyl-only editions (with a couple of those getting reissued later on cd), Chalk's recent solo endeavors have been extended droneworks that weren't suited to the LP format. He's clearly outdone himself with the packaging on this return to vinyl, as he's situated the thick slab of vinyl within a dense cardstock sleeve with a die cut opening exposing silkscreened print beneath; and he's sealed the sleeve in a delicate piece of tissue paper that also features an elegant print reminiscent of Shoji screen prints. In contrast to the floral artwork, Chalk's sound production within is a far darker and heavier experience. Sourced from the meandering piano interludes of Vikki Jackman, Goldfall is a dark, shadowy record of protracted reverberation and timbral rumblings. In comparison to Chalk's previous piano album Blue Eyes Of The March or to other exceptional piano abstractions (i.e. Jonathan Coleclough's Period or Brian Eno's Thursday Afternoon), Goldfall is downright ominous. And you all should know that Andrew Chalk + ominous = highly recommended. But you should also know that Goldfall is limited to 300 copies.
CHALK, ANDREW Over The Edges (Streamline) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This is the CD reissue of Andrew Chalk's "Over The Edges" which originally came out in 1999 as a vinyl-only release in a somewhat reasonable edition of 545 copies. Having composed "Over The Edges" in a single day at Colin Potter's ICR studio using only two strings of an acoustic guitar played with an E-Bow, Chalk brings a raspy, magentic buzz to his typically sublime, drone hypnosis. Here, subharmonics undulate beneath a chorus of static guitar-string vibrations, and shimmering waves of feedback elegantly flutter throughout. Not immediately as expressive as "Sumac" or some of the Mirror recordings done with Christoph Heemann, "Over The Edges" recalls the purist minimalism of long string composers like Alvin Lucier and Ellen Fullman.
"Over The Edges 1"
CHALK, ANDREW Shadows From The Album Skies (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. It remains to be seen if the duo of Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heeman will ever collaborate again, after rumors surfaced describing an acrimonious falling out in the wake of an ill-conceived Mimir / Mirror performance. Sure, Mirror has certainly produced some amazing recordings; Eye Of The Storm, in particular, is an impeccable document of droned-out environmental eerieness. But in all honesty and fairness to Christoph Heemann, Andrew's solo albums are where he really shines. Yet after all of his collaborations with Organum, Ora, Jonathan Coleclough, Giancarlo Toniutti, The New Blockaders, et cetera, his solo output is woefully thin, and almost entirely out of print. Fortunately, Chalk salvaged two recent cd-rs (Shadows From The Album Skies part one and two) from terminal obscurity as they had originally been released on the Mirror imprint Three Poplars in editions of less than 100. Both of the chapters of Shadows find Chalk channelling extended guitar mantras into a beautifully rich minimalism that could easily be confused with the work of Phill Niblock or Eliane Radigue. Both tracks here are constructed from slowly revolving patterns of delicate harmonics floating around an omnipresent timbral drone, with one being considerably darker thanks to an emphasis on low-end frequencies. For all of the times that we've referenced Mr. Chalk's work in describing somebody else's dronings, it's very nice to actually hear something from the master himself. Oh yeah, all of the copies have handmade sleeves and have been signed by Chalk himself. Very highly recommended.
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CHALK, ANDREW The Cable House (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
The arrival of a new Andrew Chalk album is always a cause for celebration, and now this record re-appears after a very small vinyl pressing last year. Mr. Chalk has long stood as one of our favorite drone composers over the years, beginning with his early contributions to the more placid Organum recordings, through his exemplary collaborative work in Mirror and Ora, and onto his near perfect catalogue of solo recording self-released through his Faraway Press. Through the more recent recordings Goldfall and Time Of Hayfield, the timbre of Chalk's work has brightened a bit, even as that brightening occurs between the spectrum of shadowy grey to sodden blue. Like Goldfall, The Cable House is an album sourced from piano; but where the notes on that earlier album loosely trailed amidst a gossamer web of bleary dronings, The Cable House has a considerably more purposeful set of melodic structures, pushing Chalk's work much closer into the realm of Satie's Furniture Music than ever before. Nonetheless, Chalk is masterful at extracting soft ringings of echo, restrained attack, and muted reverberations from his piano. It would be hard to imagine even someone like Eno or Basinski being able to craft something more elegant, more shimmering, more beautiful. Like the lp, the artwork features hand printed woodblock prints.
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CHALK, ANDREW The Cable House (Faraway Press) lp 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The arrival of a new Andrew Chalk album is always a cause for celebration, doubly so when it's one of his scarce productions on vinyl. Mr. Chalk has long stood as one of our favorite drone composers over the years, beginning with his early contributions to the more placid Organum recordings, through his exemplary collaborative work in Mirror and Ora, and onto his near perfect catalogue of solo recording self-released through his Faraway Press. Through the more recent recordings Goldfall and Time Of Hayfield, the timbre of Chalk's work has brightened a bit, even as that brightening occurs between the spectrum of shadowy grey to sodden blue. Like Goldfall, The Cable House is an album sourced from piano; but where the notes on that earlier album loosely trailed amidst a gossamer web of bleary dronings, The Cable House has a considerably more purposeful set of melodic structures, pushing Chalk's work much closer into the realm of Satie's Furniture Music than ever before. Nonetheless, Chalk is masterful at extracting soft ringings of echo, restrained attack, and muted reverberations from his piano. It would be hard to imagine even someone like Eno or Basinski being able to craft something more elegant, more shimmering, more beautiful. The artwork features hand printed woodblock prints, rendering each piece just slightly different from one another. As a result of the laborious printing process, Chalk has only made 300 copies.
CHALK, ANDREW The River That Flows Into The Sand (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
Here's a nice find as we had thought this album to be totally out of print, but a small batch was uncovered in Andrew Chalk's studio and passed on to us! Recorded and released in 2005, The River That Flows Into The Sand was the second album that Chalk self-released for his Faraway Press imprint. Immediately before the release of this album, Chalk was working with Christoph Heemann in the very prolific project Mirror, which released 20 records during a 5 or 6 year period. Since then, Chalk retained the impressive workload found in Mirror. The River That Flows Into The Sand is the second album in as many months to emerge from Andrew Chalk's own Faraway Press. Like it's predecessor Shadows From The Album Skies, this album is a reissue of a cd-r originally released in a very small edition. However, Chalk has decided to truly develop Faraway Press into a viable cottage industry, encasing all of his work in elaborately hand-packaged constructions, that rival the original Zoviet France assemblages in terms of innovative design. How he managed to print these is a bit of a mystery, perhaps some form of decalcomania, in which an image is delicately transferred from one surface to another. Regardless, it doesn't hurt that Chalk again has produced an immaculate drone album housed within the beautiful packaging. For many years now, the guitar has been the instrument of choice for Chalk's minimalist explorations; and here on The River, he's tightroping between the ghostly impressionism of Keiji Haino's Nijiumu project from many moons ago, the narcoleptic atmospheres of Maeror Tri / Troum, the oceanic ambience of Boris' Flood, and the time-reversal qualities of Eliane Radigue. Undulations of extended sounds cascade from his guitar, occasionally rippling with beautiful half melodies. This is a a drop dead gorgeous album, and may even be better than the aforementioned Shadows From The Album Skies. We can't recommend this album enough!
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CHALK, ANDREW The River That Flows Into The Sands II (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The sequel to the River That Flows Into The Sand was originally released through Andrew Chalk's Faraway Press imprint as a super-limited edition cassette in early 2006. We never managed to get a hold of those cassettes; and it goes without saying that they disappeared before we could even blink. Thankfully, Chalk has re-released all of that material on cd, remastered by the inimitable Colin Potter. As on the first part of The River, Chalk picks up the guitar for his minimalist explorations tightroping between the ghostly impressionism of Keiji Haino's Nijiumu project from many moons ago, the narcoleptic atmospheres of Maeror Tri / Troum, the oceanic ambience of Boris' Flood, and the time-reversal qualities of Eliane Radigue, all the while putting to shame every upstart drone artist with a cd burner and an Echoplex. Just as the first River cd meanders through five variations of the cascade sound, Chalk produces another five tracks of rippling drones on this disc. Similarly, he has packaged the disc in the dotted decalcomania which graced the first cd. The major differences can be found in the gritty, growling distortion which exists just beneath the surface of these glassine drones. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
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"The River II, track 5"
CHALK, ANDREW Time Of Hayfield (Faraway Press) cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Andrew Chalk has long been one of our favorite drone composers here at Aquarius Records (if not THE favorite!!!). Even though Mr.Chalk has been busy releasing cds in recent years, Goldfall (from early 2006) was actually the last new piece of work that this master of the drone had produced until this one, Time Of Hayfield. His work is slowly shifting toward a brightly cast sensibility, even as he continues to emply soft focus impressionism of his ringing overtones and dynamic vibrations. Again, as on Goldfall, Chalk employs the talents of Vikki Jackman on the piano as some of the source material here. The airy, ethereal ambience of Chalk's drones shimmer as if they were the reflections of the sun striking the windswept body of water of your choice. For us, it would obviously be the cold waters off the Northern California coast; but for Mr. Chalk living in the northeast of England, it's the North Sea. There's something bitingly cold about this album; but the slippery icy drones that evolve and tumble in their organic cycles enjoy a beauty so profound as to ameliorate anything threatening and hostile. A beautiful, airy, and meditative drone record. As with all of his self-released records on Faraway Press, the packaging is as immaculate as the sounds within; but there's a twist to the packaging. Chalk printed at least six different covers, each with a replication of a pastoral painting depicting some vintage slice of British country life. All are very nice, so there's no reason to fret!
"Temperance" MPEG Stream:
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"A World Displaced"
CHALK, ANDREW Vega (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
BACK IN PRINT WITH NEW ARTWORK!! Sometime back in 2005, Andrew Chalk manufactured a tiny edition of what had been rumored to be the soundtrack to a self-produced film entitled Vega. When several journalists published their findings about the magnificent drones housed within that instantly out-of-print cd-r on Brainwashed.com and in The Wire, many of Chalk's die-hard fans were left disappointed at the existence of what might have been one of their favorite Andrew Chalk recordings had they ever had the opportunity to actually hear it. While Mr. Chalk maintains a very quiet demeanor and hardly ventures into the public eye these days, he's been hard at work ensuring that his recently formed Faraway Press actually keeps up with the orders for the records that he's been recording. Vega is one such record that he so dearly wanted to re-release sooner, had it not been for the inevitability of delays. It's clear to see why delays would have been incurred on the packaging for Vega, as the original cd-r was housed in a filigree of black lace surrounding a paper sleeve, which amounted to a delicate and frustratingly time-consuming process in terms of putting together each cd-r. As for the music within, Vega is simply stunning. Far more vaporous and free-floating than the previous solo outing The River That Flows Into The Sand and certainly more so than any of the Mirror recordings, Vega acts as an aural narcotic, sedating the listener through a constantly shifting, slow motion churn of chiming guitar drones, almost resembling the kosmische-tinged melancholia heard in the Aeolian String Ensemble's dronescaping. As bleary and amorphous as Chalk's drone-clusters are, he's always had the knack for keeping them just dissonant enough so that they do not fall into the ambient trap of background music. Sublime as ever. Recommended just like all of his other work.
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CHALK, ANDREW Violin By Night (Faraway Press) lp 45.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Yeah. It's $45.00. But when you see the stunning packaging, you'll understand why. There's the outersleeve hand-wrapped in bookbinders cloth with a hand-printed reproduction of a Bosch-like etching of wolverines or badgers engaged in cocktail party conversation, and printed text all in Japanese. At the opening of the outer sleeve, you will notice a thick wooden dowel mounted to a thick piece of paper. This assembly houses the innersleeve which in turn houses the very thick vinyl. It's quite a feat of engineering that Mr. Chalk manufactured all of this in his cottage in the north of England. It should also not be a surprise that this album is ridiculously limited, and the production of which has been hampered by the amount of time each object takes to fabricate. So know now that we will probably not be able to get any more copies of this stunning objet d'art, which was released in an edition of just 350 copies. Then, there's the music, which is equally sublime. The work of Andrew Chalk has become synonymous with the drone supreme, but one that shifts from the tonal aggression that Tony Conrad and LaMonte Young would conjure, and toward something impressionistic and melancholy. As Chalk developed his craft on long-form masterpieces like East Of The Sun and Sumac (in collaboration with Jonathan Coleclough), he began to explore the nuances of melody through a rainy-day kaleidoscope of repetition. At the same time, Chalk has been mastering techniques of source abstraction which are entirely his own, creating haunted smears that are curiously inviting, reminiscent of the tape-loop effects that Basinski would generate, but with less reverb and delay. On such recent work as Ghost Of Nakhodka and The Cable House, Chalk's immaculate drones have been compacted into Eno-like miniatures of mirage, shadow, and filigree, all leading to the quiet, impressionist beauty of Violin By Night. The album might be sourced from piano, guitar, field recordings, and / or synths, but with Chalk's ability to twist any sound into his particular shades of grey, a discussion of origin is irrelevant. Each of the tracks on Violin By Night fade in and out of darkness like communications from a lonely satellite, whose existence is spent transmitting mundane blips down to earth with nothing being sent back in return. As the passing orbits cross the night sky, the transmissions come into focus revealing their muffled melodies only to dissolve as the satellite ventures into more desolate territories, such as the vast tundra of Siberia or some nameless island near Antarctica. There is a wonderful poetry hidden within these flickering tones and dissolving melodies that yearns for human contact and cast with maudlin hues when that contact is lost. Worth every penny and then some.
CHALK, ANDREW & CHRISTOPH HEEMANN The Mirror Of The Sea (Robot) lp 33.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heemann have been collaborating extensively as Mirror over the past year, so it seems odd that the two of them have suddenly decided to release an album under their given names. It would make sense if they deviated from their work as Mirror. The source material for this album, bowed bells, gongs, and distant guitar drones, differs, and while the overall beauty and concept reveal a definite Mirror-like desire to capture an elusive spirutual voice through the resonance of drones. Extended organ chords, gentle creaking of an old wooden floors, and long reverberations of breathy flutes make for a more baroque tonal quality than the typicalChalk / Heemann sound. "The Mirror Of The Sea" is a beautiful picture disc with drawings by Andrew Chalk on each side. Of course, it's recommended.
CHALK, ANDREW & DAISUKE SUZUKI In Faxfleet Clouds Uplifted Autumn Gave Passage To Kind Nature (Faraway Press) cd 17.98
Andrew Chalk released In Faxfleet Clouds in 2009 as a tiny edition of vinyl, something like 300 copies. We were not fortunate enough to get a hold of any of those lps; but we do have the cd to offer. It's another collaboration with Daisuke Suzuki, who has long contributed field recordings and sympathetic tones to many of Chalk's productions, dating way back to those legendary Ora recordings some twenty years ago. The album opens with a 13 minute piece that interlocks a series of brightened tones which emit the pastoral, summery glow of Cluster's cosmic synthesis, lifting above a sodden floor of recordings that sound like a bubbling stream or maybe a delicate clattering of wooden objects. Chalk has always had an exceptional way of abstracting his sources while retaining a 'natural' aura to those sounds, and those skills may certainly be in use on the undercurrent of softened noises. But those rounded, elegant, church-organ like tones that Chalk manages from whatever synth he's got a hold of are just simply gorgeous. All of these tones hang with the signature melancholy that resonates through so many of his recordings. The second piece is a bit more nocturnal in hue, due in part to the field recordings of crickets and the minor key ambience from synth and very distantly situated piano. A brief three minute track stands as the finale, with distinctly cosmic tones, gently strummed guitar, and impressionist piano. At a hair under 25 minutes, this is a rather short excursion for Chalk, but very very lovely.
"Queen Of Heaven" MPEG Stream:
"Of Beauty Reminiscing"
CHALK, ANDREW & DAISUKE SUZUKI The Days After (Faraway Press) cd 24.00
Chalk and Daisuke Suzuki have known each other for many years now, as Suzuki runs the Siren label out of Japan and had released Sumac, Chalk's masterful collaboration with Jonathan Coleclough. Suzuki is also responsible for one of the very few published interviews with the somewhat reclusive Chalk. Their friendship certainly runs deep, and out of this friendship came the impetus to collaborate once again (both Suzuki and Chalk had contributed to the now defunct Ora project well over a decade ago). Slippery drones open the album, declaring that Andrew Chalk is definitely the principal author of this album, and mimicking many of the fog-enveloped sounds that Chalk brought to Mirror's Eye Of The Storm. While these sounds quiver like a distant mirage out on the open desert for a passage of time that could be 5 minutes or could be 25, the long-string drones begin to separate into a series of alien plucks which bear more than a passing resemblance to the expressionist poetics of Keiji Haino at his most introspective. Echoes and vibrations of these plucks ripple underneath in the shadowy reflection pool of echo and shimmer. As the album progresses, the enveloping opiated drone wrapping around cold, cold, cold field recordings of arctic winds racing across a seashore becomes the centerpiece, reflecting just how good Andrew Chalk's sounds are. Lo and behold, it's another excellent Andrew Chalk record.
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CHALK, ANDREW & TOM JAMES SCOTT Wild Flowers (Skire) lp 25.00
Andrew Chalk's well revered around these parts for sheer impressionist beauty of gauzy drones and spellbinding minimalism, but Tom James Scott is a new name for us, even though this British composer has a number of releases on the avant-everything label Bo'Weavil. A classical guitarist by training, Scott tickles the keys of the piano on Wild Flowers, handing over a set of recordings he made for Chalk to augment with his own strings and treatments. We're told that the two have performed together a few times in the past, in what must have been a live performance as part of a quartet alongside Jean Noel Rebilly and Timo Van Luijk. The former produced an album with Chalk and his partner Vikki Jackman not too long ago, and the latter records with Chalk under the moniker Elodie. It's all starting to sound very Jewelled Antler, especially with the results consistently being some of the best rainy day albums for tea-drinking melancholy and vivid introspection we've heard. Even in Chalk's repertoire, the piano is a recurring sound object, and he's long proven deft in blurring the notes elegantly into languid reverberant pools of liquid gold and silver. Where his work with Vikki Jackman would highlight the creakiness and antiquity of their living room piano with all of its flaws and warbles, the recordings from Scott seem impeccable in origin. The richness of the piano at Scott's disposal shines in these recordings, even as Chalk softens the edges and creates a beautifully oozing sadness from these pastoral, Satie-like clusters of notes. Limited to 300 copies.
CHAMBERS BROTHERS The Time Has Come (Columbia) cd 5.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE** Classic 1967 album from the Chamber Brothers. Here their classic soul shows slight influences from the rock and psychedelic scenes that were blooming all around them. Great stuff!
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CHAMELLOWS Rat Hearts (Fonal) cd 17.98
Our favorite Finnish label and perhaps one of our favorite labels anywhere on the globe go into the vaults for this one and we're so happy they did. Chamellows (aka Sleeping Bags) is the scrappy, playful, naive pop side of Lau Nau (Laura Naukkarinen, whose Locust release from a few years back was a big AQ favorite!) and visual artist Mikko Kuorinki. Pulled from various limited edition 7"s and cassette only releases these are recordings that date back as far as a decade ago. This is sweet and demented lo-fi pop with lively experimentation and an answering machine quality recording that suits these songs so perfectly. Had us thinking of what Ariel Pink might sound like if he were from Finland. Or The Shaggs and Daniel Johnston brought into a vacant house in the middle of Finland with some ragtag equipment and some yummy psychedelics on the tip of their tongues. So warped and wonderful!
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CHAMPALE Simple Days (Pitch-a-tent) cd 14.98
From NYC, mellow indie-pop that references the likes of Big Star and the Pernice Brothers. Sweet (but not sugary) stuff with twinkling vibes and wistful male vocals. Lilting and gentle. It made me think "a modern-day Bread" which is a-ok. Oh yes, and if you liked the "Yellow" song by Coldplay... this might be right up your alley, 'cause Champale show moments of grandiose pop tunesmith possibilities. Check out the opening track "Hard To Be Easy". Nice.
"Hard to Be Easy" RealAudio clip:
"See You Around" RealAudio clip:
"Special Guest Star"
CHAMPS, THE III (Frenetic) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. San Francisco's Champs (or C4AM95 as they prefer to be called for silly legal reasons) are an amazing two guitars and drums no bass, sometimes three guitars no drums, very rarely any vocals, trio that on this their debut album crank out over seventy minutes of catchy, complex, mostly instrumental metal in indie/math-rock clothing. Kind of like the indie-prog of Don Caballero or Breadwinner, with touches of Trans Am (the bombast and occasional "techno electronica" interlude) ...and healthy helpings of Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Metallica, Carcass, Motley Crue, Priest, etc. I could go on. Mesmerizing live, they're on tour now but will be back soon so I hope y'all went to their shows. For what it's worth, there's a former member of Nation of Ulysses in their ranks. Rec-o-f'n-mended.