ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB #15 (self-released) cd-r 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. It's that time again, another volume in Astral Social Club's ever expanding self released cd-r series. It's been only a few months since the last one, but who's complaining? If we didn't have to work and do stuff and eat, and all that, we might just spend all our time high as a kite, sprawled out on a big ol' fuzzy sofa, with Astral Social Club blasting through 1000 watt quadraphonic speakers mounted in the ceiling. But, as it is, we'll just have to make do rocking these cd-r's in our iPods. Which is fine, as this stuff is perfect to drown out daily life, or to fill your head with whirs and buzzes, drone and spaced out psych, to chillout, drift off, or to groove to on some alien dancefloor, or to blast from your strange sleek pod like vehicle as you speed down some alien highway. Neil Campbell, ex-Vibracathedral Orchestra, the man behind ASC, continues to dabble in dance music, as well as spacekraut, taking his usual Sunroof!-ed ragas, into all sorts of new directions. Sure the core of the sound is still the circular looped hypnotic longform drone, but many of the tracks here get twisted into strange mesmerizing rhythms, some bordering on dance grooves, but even at its 'funkiest' it's still blissy and droney and spaced out and druggy. A few of these tracks still show that Campbell can hold his own within the dreamdrone set, offering up transcendental slabs of glistening high end that Sunroof! Or Birchville would love to call their own, but then right after, will come some super minimal percussive flutter, some swirling abstract FX-scape, or some pounding almost house sounding banger. But all filtered through Campbell's uniquely cracked effects-soaked, drug-infused, blissed out, space drone soundworld.
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ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB #18 (self-released) cd-r 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The series continues... Neil Campbell and his Astral Social Club return with two more installments, each a limited cd-r of trippy, druggy, spaced out dronemusic, but more and more the sound of ASC has been drifting toward some sort of otherworldly dancemusic, and that's just how number 18 starts off, with a dense chunk of drone-raga house music, a thumping 4 on the floor beat, that pounds its way through swirling clouds of blurred buzz and industrial crunch, the beat flips backwards, and the surrounding sounds just get more thick and dense. The rest of the disc is all over the map, from super tangled speaker abusing blasts of strangled high end and stuttery glitch, to washed out noise drenched loops, all warm and fuzzy and textural, to super minimal muted buzzscapes, to cool jagged downtempo anti-grooves, to barely there hushed rhythmic skitter, to gorgeous fluttery ur-drones that slowly transform into billowy almost pop ambience, to crunchy heard-through-the-floor dancefloor throb and so it goes. Definitely the sound of the more beat oriented ASC, but even at its beatiest, Campbell still has a way with drones and ambience, wrapping every beat here in swirling squalls of soft noise, crumbling distorted rumbles and twisted glistening effects. Awesome stuff as always. Each in a handmade sleeve with all sorts of random clippings affixed to the front.
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ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB #19 (self-released) cd-r 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The latest in the ongoing Astral Social Club cd-r series is in fact a collection of live recordings, gathered over the past 9 months, recorded in multiple locations with a bunch of guests including a veritable choir on the last track. 6 tracks, 34 minutes, the first track sounds like Yello's "Oh Yeah" chopped up and reassembled into a dizzyingly skittery psych jam, the beat relentless, wrapped in all sorts of chirping high end squeaks and bleeps, looped and super hypnotic. The second track, from the same set, takes that first number and strips away the frantic rhythms, leaving just a buried pulse, and a thick swirl of high end hiss and smoothed out glitches, a droned out high end drift, that manages to entrance with that barely there beat. The final track from that same show is a chaotic cacophony of sci-fi stutter, and fractured effects, a symphony of what sounds like lazer pistols, looped and layered into a head spinning sonic free for all, underpinned by some haunting almost Goblin-y super distorted mood music. The second set of tracks is a much murkier affair, the first track an endless Sunroof!-y drone, long tones overlapping and intertwining, the second pulls back the skree, leaving a cool, industrial sounding drum loop, that is soon joined by a house-y 4 on the floor kick drum high hat pulse, which transforms the song into some sort of damaged, house-drone-industrial mash up, but again, ASC are able to turn it into something hypnotic and if not danceable, at least in some strange way groovy. The final track is another murky industrial flecked crawl, spread out over what sounds like some strange undulating drone, but on closer listening is in fact a sort of choir, but they all seem to be moaning or humming, not a harmonious exactly, but it does make for some truly strange and haunting textures, a very abstract, organic human dronemusic. Cool. And definitely the first time we've heard anything like it. Each cd-r is housed in a printed cover with a pasted on live photo.
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ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB #8-16 (self-released) MP3 cd-r 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The second in the Astral Social Club mp3 reissue program. One disc, 9 cd-r's and close to 8 hours worth of blissed out shimmer, soft dreamy noisescapes and mutant alien discodrone, all jammed onto one little disc. So for those of you who missed out on any of the numbers 8 through 16 (heck we did too, we only reviewed 3 of those!), then this is a good way to get it ALL! First, an Astral Social club primer would probably be useful: For those who don't already know, Astral Social Club just so happens to be Mr. Neil Campbell, the mastermind behind the genius Vibracathedral Orchestra, who for years, has been spending his days off from VCO, recording disc after amazing disc of deliriously spaced out drone, blown out extended ragas, and seemingly endless slabs of hypnotic pulse and drift, and more recently a sort of fractured otherworldy dancemusic. Okay then, odds are, most of you are probably gonna want this, but in case you need a quick description of some of the sonic joys to be found within, here goes: Strange and murky, looped percussion, with bits of electronic glitch, sounding almost a little like some sort of twentieth century classical filtered through some primitive krautrock, glorious sparkling epic shimmering drones, Technicolor cascades of rich reverberant sounds and all manner of glimmering glittering ear candy, super minimal dark ambience, with drifting whale call melodies and deep rumbling swells, Sunroof!-y bit of high end raga sparkle, complete with the sounds of crickets and running water, sun dappled, dreamy looped guitar sheen, all wrapped up into one big glorious space drone whole, dense synthscapes, lots of hiss and whir, with buried rhythmic pulses, weird underwater bloops and burbles... all sounding very much like some white label Pop Ambient 12", thick corrosive washes of overblown distortion and buzzing droning ragas, thick slabs of feedback, grinding chunks of guitarbuzz, processed vocals, all wound up into a snarled dronepsych blowouts, tranquil smears of soft sound, high end streaks and tangled slivers of feedback all wound up into gorgeously shimmering upper register skreescapes, circular looped hypnotic longform dronemusic, blissy and droney and spaced out and druggy, transcendental slabs of glistening high, super minimal percussive flutter, swirling abstract FX-scapes, pounding almost house sounding bangers all uniquely cracked, effects-soaked, drug-infused and blissed out and more more more more. Essential listening for fans of all things drone-y and blissed out, fans of Vibracathedral, Skullflower, Yellow Swans, the Skaters and folks looking for some truly twisted outsider dance trax to go with their ambient dronemusic. packaged in a thick PVC plastic sleeve, in a plain white jacket with a paste on front cover image.
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ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Electric Yep (Trensmat) lp 21.00
Another new release on the Trensmat label. Last time we highlighted the latest from Italian cosmic psych folk siblings My Cat Is An Alien, and now there's this, the latest from Neil Campbell, formerly of Vibracathedral Orchestra, who now creates distorto electronica as Astral Social Club, having seemingly ditched the ur-drone ragas of his former outfit for something more fractured and beat driven - although you'd be forgiven for thinking this was in fact VCO, based on the first track. Sure there are beats, but they're spare and abstract, and mostly seem to be adding rhythmic texture, to a shimmery field of folky almost Appalachian sounding guitar strum, and swirling, smoldering buzz and thrum. Hazy, and dreamy, and druggy, a glorious washed out drift that's super mesmerizing and ultra hypnotic, and goddamn if we wouldn't have been perfectly happy if this track had filled up both side of this here lp. But this is Astral Social Club, so the second track explodes into an FX heavy frenzy of pounding almost happy hardcore sounding beats, buried beneath an avalanche of swirling psychedelic dream-noise, wild tangles of blown out shred, a swirling, dizzying sonic squall, that sans those beats might sound more like the more abstract moments of Birchville Cat Motel or Our Love Will Destroy The World, albeit with some heavy psych overtones. And like past ASC jams, it's pretty irresistible, in some ways, it's almost like some warped hybrid of caveman techno and Japanese psych, which for most aQ-ers we would imagine would be pretty goddamn enticing. The rest of the record seems to split the difference between the more dense, driving, beat heavy noisescapey, and more washed out, ethereal kosmische sprawl, "Rainbow Weather" sounding almost like Astral Social Club new age, again, still slathered in buzz and thrum and wreathed in a halo of squiggly effects. But then again, "Twenty-Four Times Yes" swings back into some alien electronica, the beats buried beneath another wild concoction of druggy swirl, fractured noise and playful primitive electronics. "Valley Of The Left-Handed Depilator" seems to emerge full formed from the pervious track, but quickly blissed out into a soaring shimmering dream-drift epic, the churning rhythm, not so much adding propulsion, as just more texture, totally heady and super psychedelic, before things finally finish off with "Boiling Up The Bones", which sounds like Astral Social Club via Kompakt, minimal and spare, but with some weirdo sounds, tweaked percussion, and plenty of twisted shit going on below the surface. As always, crazy limited, already sold out at the label, we may be able to get more, but probably best to snag one now just in case. And includes a link to a full download of the record as well.
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ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB MCR Blast (alt.vinyl) 8" square lathe cut 15.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. **SALE **SALE* *SALE** Holy shit! Record collector nerds and weird music obsessives might as well prepare to give up their first born or take out another mortgage on the ol' homestead, cuz this series of ultra limited 8" SQUARE lathe cuts is gonna break the bank, but it's so so so worth it. This is the first in a series that looks like it will include a who's who of noise rock / free rock / avant noise / free folk luminaries, including SO many all time AQ faves it makes our heads spin. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The first batch of these babies just showed up, three titles, each a custom hand cut, Peter King lathe cut, 8", and SQUARE!!! Packaged in gorgeous square and triangular die cut sleeves, super fancy textured paper, with a paste on front cover and a printed insert, each insert hand numbered, each release limited to 150 copies. Phew. For those new to the lathe cut, it's a hand cut record, on polycarbonate not vinyl, they are more fragile than normal vinyl, and after repeated plays the sound quality can degrade a bit, but in our experience, in most cases it just makes them sound cooler. Peter King is THE MAN when it comes to super limited small run lathe cut releases, and pretty much every cool band you can think of has gone to him for some super rare or limited release or another. So anyway, these are clear, they are 8"s across, shaped like a square and are insanely limited, and thus, pretty dang expensive! This is the second in the series and features Astral Social Club, an offshoot of the mighty Vibracathedral Orchestra. And as you might expect, this is two sides of gloriously buzzing raga like ur-drone. Glistening, glimmering, shimmering, sparkling, guitars and sitars and strings and reeds all tangled up in a blissed out harmonious buzz, albeit very melodic, with weird subtle sonic colorations and constantly shifting overtones. So lovely!
ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Monster Mittens (Dirty Knobby) 7" 5.98
It seems the transformation is finally complete. Astral Social Club began life as a logical sonic extension of the mothership that birthed in, Vibracathedral Orchestra. But lately, Mr. ASC aka Neil Campbell, has been dabbling in sounds more suited to the dancefloor. Just a track here and there, but with this new single, hot on the heels of a recent sonically similar 7"/cd-r, it seems that the new Astral Social Club is indeed making music for THE CLUB. Not that it's not still noisy and tripped out and bizarre and space-y, it most certainly is, but now you can dance to it. Or at least nod subtly, or just sort of sway back and forth. The point is there's a beat, and the beat makes it sort of funky in some alien psychedelic way, and we LOVE it. The A side features the above mentioned beat, it's propulsive and sort of house-y, pulsing away beneath a cloud of swirling FX, strange percussion, stuttery loops, it's all very chaotic and free, druggy and far our, but that rhythm keeps in grounded. Music for some video game danceparty on an alien planet, or some seriously drug addled fucked up underground rave held in a cave a mile below the surface of the earth. Either way, it's excellent. The flipside is like the chill out version of the A side, still looped and hypnotic, but that thud that defines the beat is replaced with a synthy squelch, all around it sounds streak and blur and shimmer, everything sort of bleary eyed and indistinct, like the wind down 3 am chill out after party at the end of the universe. Now that Campbell has found his groove, we're dying for a full length, which will undoubtedly be the freaked out fucked up drug fueled underground alien danceparty record of the year!
ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Neon Pibroch (Important) cd 14.98
You thought UK space drone freeks Vibracathedral Orchestra were prolific!? Well get a load of Neil Campbell, one of VCO's founding fathers, who split that scene a while back, only to whip up a new ensemble, well, ensemble is maybe not the right word, since Astral Social Club is just him, let's just call it an Astral Social Club then, even more spacey, abstract, and experimental than the 'Orchestra. Oh and outrageously prolific. An avalanche of cd-r's, every one of them a mind blower, difficult to keep up with, but well worth the effort... This is one of two new releases, the other being vinyl only, both sort of two sides of the same sonic coin, although they definitely both have their own distinct vibe. Read about the lp elsewhere on this list, but the funny thing about the cd is, we could probably describe it in 4 words, and if you are anything like us, those 4 words would have you diving madly for the Add To Cart button.... So what does Neon Pibroch sound like? Well, at least the first track sounds just like *Spacemen 3 on Kompakt*!!! That's right. Imagine those endless loops of druggy effects, the subtle melodies stretched into gauzy soundscapes, super head nodding and hypnotic, but then imagine it with a strangely propulsive, almost techno beat, a relentless pulse, it's easy to imagine that endless spaced out groove pouring out of the sound system on some alien dancefloor. It's nearly twenty minutes long too, so that alone would be worth the price of admission. But hold up... there are two more tracks, and 40 more minutes of drifting beatless bliss to come... The title track begins as a glistening ur-drone, all buzzing strings and keening high end, but part way through erupts into a white hot wall of coruscating grinding guitar buzz, super distorted and blown out, before drifting off again, leaving that burbling cosmic drift to fade gracefully out. The final track offers up more of the same, but if anything it's even more rich and thick and dense, it's the sort of sound that is almost visible, physical, it's like staring into the sun with your ears, makes you want to shade your eyes from the glorious sonic glare... Can this man do no wrong? Guess not when it comes to transcendental sonic space drone... Absolutely essential listening for fans of such things, as is Super Grease, this record's vinyl analog...
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ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Octuplex (VHF) cd 13.98
It's a weird thing, but we've always noticed that musicians, especially avant outsider musicians (and even then ESPECIALLY metal musicians) seemed inordinately fond of electronic music. Every time a band would come in the store, they would head straight for the electronic section and end up buying a bunch of weird techno or jungle or whatever. Which then might make it less surprising that recently some of our favorite noise makers seem to be heading in that direction with their own music. Campbell Kneale's Birchville Cat Motel is gone, and in its place, Our Love Will Destroy The World, whose first record was indeed some bastardized dance music, a strange hybrid of blurred buzzy drone music, and thumping club jamz. Similarly, Neil Campbell, aka Astral Social Club has been peppering his recent record with similarly club worthy jamz, but again, those sounds still soaked in the same sort of blissed out psychedelic ambience that most people associate with his Astral Social Club. For this latest full length, Campbell once again starts things off with a track that would almost sound more at home on Planet Mu than VHF. A skittery bloopfest, with a thick grinding synth bass line, and bloopy bleepy beats, but all wreathed in processed guitars and blurred soft focus buzz, which leads right into the second track, still electronic, but not actually danceable, it sounded more like a club jam on 45, the beats stumbling over one another, like a jumbled, almost hyper speed Pierre Bastien, a million little mechanical men, spewing a symphony of clicks and bleeps and loops, all wound around buried melodies and long thick streaks of hiss and fuzz. We kept expecting things to switch gears, and for the sound to gradually bliss out into the more 'traditional' ASC sound, long form ur-drones more along the lines of Sunroof! or Skullflower, but most of us were hoping just the opposite, that maybe he'd push further, take ASC somewhere no band like that had really felt at home, the dancefloor, albeit, some strange seriously fucked up and drug addled ALIEN dancefloor. And so he has, for the most part. The first half of the record is indeed, all fractured beats, and warped loops, woozy tripped out grooves, effects swirling and whirling everywhere, the beats playful and not quite funky, stuttery skittery, and seriously fun. This is the kind of stuff that just might lure the perpetual wallflowers out onto that dancefloor. BUT!!! Hidden between the opening salvo of beats and loops, and the closing outer space house jam, lurks some of the prettiest droned out ambience we've heard from ASC. Processed glitchery, smeared into grainy expanses of glistening blur and shimmery starburst, draped with delicate melodies, gradually growing into a glorious wall of warm fuzz, super thick grinding buzz, smoothed into hypnotic loops and pulsing soundscapes, a more caffeinated Tim Hecker, gauzy and washed out but propulsive and kinetic, glorious sun baked upper register blow outs, wrapped around crystalline acoustic guitars, all woven into a wheezing heaving whole, some sort of super abstract avant garde raga, and finally, a brief but fantastical tangle of crunch and buzz, off hiss and glitch, warped melodies and damaged arrangements, lo-fi tape hiss slithers beneath stuttering chopped up samples, again all blurred into something dreamlike and bleary eyed. WOW. It all might seem a little schizophrenic, and it is, but it's also the best of both worlds, and the key being that the more beat oriented tracks, are still able to function like the more ambient drone based sounds, if you're laying in the dark, headphones strapped on, those beats might not induce you to shake your tail feathers, but they'll still be able to suck you under, to transport you to some crazed soundworld, to totally mesmerize and hypnotize, which makes the whole record either the weirdest most fucked up electronic dance record EVER, or quite possibly just the best Astral Social Club release so far. Maybe both...
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ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Plug Music Ramoon (Dancing Wayang) lp 15.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. **SALE **SALE* *SALE** Ultra limited new vinyl only release from UK noisemakers Astral Social Club, a perfect follow up to their recent aQ Record Of The Week, Octuplex. But unlike Octuplex, which mixed ASC's new found obsession with beats and dance music (albeit of the very twisted and alien variety) and their more classic ur-drone sound, Plug Music Ramoon, tends toward the latter, 2 sides, 4 loooong tracks, revisiting the sort of old Astral Social Club / Sunroof! / Skullflower sound we're so fond of. Drawn out notes, layered and interwoven, lots of shifting textures and mesmerizing drones, lots of upper register tones, some seriously blown out space drone meditative bliss out for sure. ASC this time around, as evidenced by the insert, are a three piece here, synths, woodwinds, guitar, and LOTS of effects. The first track is brief and glorious, a smoldering shimmer of looped melodies and layered drones, sun dappled and dreamily fuzzy, very very lovely and warm and hypnotic. The second track, taking up most of side 1, begins as a murky fuzzed out krautjam, like later Skullflower, a simple, motorik beat, buried beneath a swirl of processed sounds and fractured effects, before the swirl explodes into full on cacophony, a wild space rock free jazz freakout, dizzying and dense, fucked up and free, the rhythm all but swallowed up by the massive blown out ball of skree and buzz and glitch, but noisy as it is, still retaining some semblance of melody. The second side begins with another krautjam, this one much more spare and stripped down, a tribal sort of drum circle workout, very little in the way of wall of sound, more a steady propulsive beat, augmented by subtle bits of clank and clatter, extra percussive filigree, subtle effects, sounding way more like something you'd hear from Avarus or Kemialliset, muted and minimal, slightly mechanical and totally mesmerizing, and most definitely a bit tripped out. The closer is another softly smoldering dronescape, woozy loops, lots of crunch and grind smoothed into further layers of warm buzz and mysterious melody, a little carnivalesque, dizzyingly off kilter, like a symphony of warped 78s, the end result is a short stretch of washed out, soft focus, subtly rhythmic ambient drift that would do Tim Hecker of Philip Jeck proud. LIMITED TO ONLY 500 COPIES! We had trouble getting enough in to list, so this might be it. Please don't cry if/when we run out. Super nice thick jackets, each one hand numbered, with a thick textured paper insert.
ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Psychic Smog 1-7 (Qbico) lp 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another spaced out and droned out musical missive from Neil Campbell and his Astral Social Club. This vinyl only release is yet another leap into the unknown, as we follow along with Campbell's continuous exploration of ur-drone and fractured alien techno. Psychic Smog finds Campbell revisiting a more classic ASC sound, with only two tracks exhibiting his newfound love for fractured rhythms and alien dancefloor beatmaking. Distant soaring painterly melodies swirl over crunchy grinding high end electronics, while below seas of muted cyclical whir roil and churn, overlapped loops become jagged and splinter apart before more layers take their place. The sound goes from tranquil to dense and overdriven and chaotic. The beats, when they do surface, are mechanical and robotic, and are doused in burbly squelching buzz, groovy for sure, but those beats quickly give way to some of the most divine and otherworldy drift Campbell has ever cooked up. Swirly, shimmery and oh so dreamlike, the A side finishing off with a wall of fractured beats, caustic buzz, pulsing crunch, but all infused with plenty of muted bleep and bloop. The B side is two long tracks, the first, is all delicately druggy ambience, almost post rocky in its slow build to a thick swirly soft cacophony. While the second track is another loping programmed beatscape, the groove galloping through a glimmering field of chopped synth stutter, warped electronic glitchery and sparkling streaks of soft focus shimmer. Not groovy or dance-y so much as rhythmic and almost krautrocky. Awesome! Pressed on gorgeous swirled pink and red and black and white vinyl, and housed in a full color sleeve.
ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB s/t (VHF) cd 13.98
As if Vibracathdral Orchestra wasn't prolific enough, VCO mainman Neil Campbell spends his spare time recording even -more- records under the monicker Astral Social Club. This actual cd (not a cd-r). VHF's 100th release, compiles Campbell's favorite tracks from all the various long out of print cd-r's and gives them the remix and remaster super megamix treatment. All tweaked and twisted into one continuous 67 minute spaced out psych collage (although it's tracked for easy listening). But anyone wouldn't want to just sit back and listen to this all the way through is beyond us. A gloriously tripped out psychedelic ambient space rock stretched into pulsing, throbbing buzzy droney bliss. Like the extended outro to every Monster Magnet song all tangled up and mixed together, a blurry, dizzying free rock trip. From hiccupping rhythmic flutter, to super minimal drift, to thick grinding fuzz, to hypnotic krautrock jam and every psychrock stop in between. For fans of Monster Magnet, Bardo Pond, Spacemen 3, the Telescopes, VCO, Loop, Kinski, EAR and all those sonic spacemen ...
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ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Skelp / Ginnel (Trensmat) 7"+cd-r 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. He may be a master of droned out noise, but he's been flirting with club music on and off for the last few years, each full length hiding at least one dancefloor gem, and so Mr. Neil Campbell, ex of Vibracathedral Orchestra, now of Astral Social CLUB, at least on this here new 7", is all about the tripped out psychedelic electronic groove. But seeing as this is Neil Campbell, his idea of what constitutes dance music, or even electronica is WAAAAY different than most folks. Just check out the A side here. Maddeningly repetitive, a flurry of bleeps and glitches, swoops and burbles, locked into a relentless loop, the main 'beat' staying steady, while all around it a cloud of FX swirls and shimmers, some seriously druggy electro psych drone for sure. The second track is all minimal house music, sort of. The main beat a stripped down pulse and squelch, with synthy basslines, and some haunting disembodied piano drifting over the top, making for a truly creepy mash up. Maybe one of our favorite Astral tracks ever! As with all Trensmat 7" releases, the vinyl comes bundled with a cd-r, featuring both the tracks from the 7", as well as three remixes from Richard Youngs, John Clyde-Evans and Magnetize, ranging from super spastic chopped up electronic madness, to spacey static drenched minimal house groove, to wild Bruce Haack like electronic experimentalism, playful and goofy and over the top. Don't let all the talk of club music scare you away though, fans of recent Astral Social Club know all about Campbell's wild and off kilter take on dance music, which really ends up having more in common with tripped out psych drone and free noise weirdness than it does with -actual- club music. Pressed on yellow vinyl, and SUPER limited.
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ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Snaefell (Trensmat) 7" 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. After three years, Astral Social Club returns, the project of Neil Campbell, he formerly of Vibracathedral Orchestra. Originally ASC was a logical sonic offshoot of VCO, but along the way something happened, and ASC was transformed into some strange bit of alien electronica, and this brand new single continues in Campbell's warped dancefloor trajectory. The A side is some serious cosmic psychedelic space techno or whatever you want to call it. The sound is hazy and shimmery and psychedelic, but it's all about the beats, and the glitches and squelches, arranged into a twisted bit of daft funk, fractured beats, super distorted Casios, buzzing synths, propulsive and frenetic, and growing gradually thicker and darker as the track progresses. The B side is like some twisted ASC house music, a pounding 4 on the floor beat, surrounded by buzzing drones, more glitched out electronics, percussive synths adding sympathetic rhythms, all wound up with tangled distorted melodies, peppered with high end hiss and more tangled tones, some seriously psychedelic space house. The perfect music for your next alien dance party... SUPER LIMITED, the label doesn't say how many exactly, but there's a good chance that these are the only copies we'll be able to get since we had to pre-order these, and Trensmat only made as many as were ordered...
ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Star Guzzlers (Qbico) lp 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB Super Grease (Important) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Two new ones from Mr. Neil Campbell in the last few weeks, formerly a founding member of the mighty Vibracathedral Orchestra, now the main (and only?) man behind Astral Social Club, who continue on in a similar direction as VCO, taking sounds and weaving them into epic ur-drones and outerspace ragas, stretching and looping them into long form sonic chunks launched into the cosmos. This lp only, two song killer, comes on gorgeous swirled milky blue vinyl, and fills up each side with a single blast of blissed out druggy drift. Side one begins with looped machine like rhythms, which frame a vast pool of liquid sound, cricket like chirps, chunks of fuzz distortion and swirling reverb, glistening bits of synthy sparkle, all building gradually into a manic chattering wall of cyclical fuzz and blur, culminating in a grinding jagged angular coda. Side two begins with a brief swooshy, flanger flecked krautrocky jam, simple and propulsive, that slowly changes timbre and texture as the effects cycle through, the rhythms and song structure sinking beneath the ever increasing wash of FX, splintering into near tranquil ambience, another ASC slow building celestial wash, undulating swells of synths and electronics, gorgeous and massive and dreamy, sounds a bit like what we imagine it might sound like standing on some alien planet watching a new universe being born from the endless blackness of space. Intense and epic.
ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB / TOMUTONTTU Wet Wheel (Tipped Bowler) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
ASTRAL TRAVELLING UNITY Studio And Live (aRCHIVE) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another mysterious release from the mighty aRCHIVE label who in the past have brought us releases by Bardo Pond, Goslings, Keiji Haino, LSD-March, Growing, Khanate, James Plotkin, Earth, Boris as well as Jack Rose and Tetuzi Akiyama (elsewhere on this week's list), all super limited and amazingly packaged. Astral Travelling Unity is a Japanese space drone outfit fronted by Hiroshi Hasagawa of legendary Japanoise combo CCCC. But turn back now if 'tis noise ye seek.. ahem... nothing noisy about this disc, this sounds exactly like the name would lead you to believe, deeeeeeep astral drone music for travelling through inner space. Guitars are pulled apart into wispy tendrils, sitars buzz, and that buzz shimmers out into slow lazy ripples, analog synths supply even more buzz and drone, not a thick tangle mind you, this is gloriously spare and spacious, abstract spiritual ur-ambience, the sound of universes forming, with your eyes closed you can see forever and ever and ever. Distant streaks of melody color an infinitive landscape of deep droning swells, glistening song fragments sparkle as they float lazily through a night sky dense with twinkling stars. The second track is live, so it's a bit more raw, a little bit more lo-fi, with Acid Mothers Temple guitar guru Kawabata Makoto adding some extra guitar and showing an amazing amount of restraint. The raw live sound adds a whole other layer of fuzz and atmospheric ambience as does the addition of some simple percussion. Utterly spaced out and divine! Amazing packaging. The disc is affixed to a full color two panel sleeve with paintings by Hasagawa, with a color acetate insert printed with another of Hasagawa's oil paintings that lays over the cd, which is printed with an image of a cd-r found washed up on the beach. LIMITED TO 600 COPIES!!
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ASTRAL WOMB s/t (Frequency Thirteen) cd-r 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. One of two new releases from the Frequency Thirteen label, home of TRUE SHEFFIELD BLACK PSYCHEDELIA, as in aQ faves like Black Vomit, Ice Bound Majesty, Skulltrol, Dukkha, Rape Rack and others. Elsewhere on this week's list you'll find the new record from Torture Gnosis, a tripped out disc of celestial lo-fi psychedelic synthscapery and blackened cosmic dronemusic, but this here, the debut from Astral Womb, is exactly the opposite, although from the band name we were maybe expecting something 'astral', but instead these guys kick out some serious noiserock grindprog jams, churning downtuned heaviness, wild octopoidal drumming, buzzing guitar crunch, the songs wildly intricate, the band slipping from churning chug to furious grind to mathy metallic pound to lumbering dirgey doom to dense stop/start dynamics. Like some twisted lo-fi hybrid of the Fucking Champs, the Ruins and Loincloth, with some Lightning Bolt thrown in for good measure. It's like math rock, noise rock, grindcore and maybe a little death metal all tangled up into a lurching chunk of wildly rocking avant heaviness. The recording super lo-fi, giving the sound a seriously raw vibe, and be sure and stick around for the last track, an sprawling 8+ minute math heavy progged out epic, that pretty much pushes all of our heavy rock buttons, furious and frenzied, mathy and heavy, loads of stop/starts, even some weird clean guitar jangle, but for the most part, lurching and lumbering, pounding and blasting, the sort of jam that's a total set ender and leaves the crowd a sweaty bloodied exhausted mess. So killer. LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!
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"Black Iron Prison"
ASTRO & FEAR KONSTRUKTOR Hollow Earth (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
Three new tapes from local label Black Horizons this week, all of the artists new to us, EXCEPT Astro, whose Japanoise power electronics crush has always been a favorite around these parts. However here, he offers up his own take on 'New Age', laying down some soft noise komsiche bliss out, a gloriously celestial sprawl of deep rumbles, pulsing synths, and swirling space aged FX, all blurred into a heaving expanse of deep space drift and dizzying starfield synth shimmer, on the verge of total noise collapse, but remaining firmly entrenched on the dreamy side of the divide. Fear Konstruktor, from Russia, counters with his own brand of cosmic soundscapery, a similarly warped take on new age, it sounds a bit like the Astro side dipped in some sort of viscous fluid, all murky and underwater, burbling and muted, but peppered with wild electronic squiggles, and skittery sonic shards, building eventually to some full on crumbling, corrosive NOISE, which somehow manages to infuse its caustic crunch with the spacey drift that came before. Cool. Swank packaging, a marbled art mini booklet J-card, printed on glossy plastic stock, housed in a purple case, the tape purple too with metallic stickers on both sides. LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!
ASTRO / FAMILY BATTLE SNAKE split (Pan) lp 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
ASTRO / PULSE EMITTER / ACRE / MONSTURO Cold Fire 12" (Anarchy Moon) 12" 14.98
A killer four way split of extreme electronic music, ranging from deep drones to Merzbow style white noise to gorgeous synthy krautdrift, this match-up pits Astro against Pulse Emitter against Acre against Monsturo, three long times aQ faves and one unknown-until-now, each taking half a side and offering up their own bit of electronic punishment. Japanese one man wrecking crew Astro is up first and lays waste with a blown out assault of roiling super heavy cosmic power electronics, distorted murk barraged by bleeps, in-the-red, distorted and crumbling, bordering on Merzbowish white noise but more clipped and looped and rhythmic and weirdly hypnotic. Up next is Pulse Emitter, who finds extremity not in volume or distortion but in space, delivering a swirling spaced out sci-fi bit of synth wave kosmische drift, hypnotic and ethereal, no rhythms, just electronic pulses and swirling synths, soft flurries of melodies, floating in a buzzing expanse of near blackness, exactly what we love about PE, a single shot exploration of inner/outer space. Acre deliver the drone, an impossibly dense and heavy sound, that on the surface seems minimal and pretty, but is somehow sooooo powerful, the layered tones seem to vibrate your skull, minimal maximal dronemusic that manages to be gorgeous but subtly punishing at the same time. Finally, Monsturo delves even deeper, unfurling some seriously super deep lower register thrum, like an all low-end Raster-Noton, rumbling and rhythmic and barely there, but at the right volume will crumble all the buildings within earshot, as well as causing the Earth's crust to collapse sending you plummeting into its molten core. Awesome. LIMITED TO 200 COPIES. Each one hand numbered, with a printed insert, and housed in a full color paste on sleeve.
ASTRO CAN CARAVAN 21st Century Drifting Episode (New Music Community / Siamese Sounds / Zerga) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. ATTENTION FINNISH MUSIC FREEKS. Record number two from this far out Finnish big band gypsy jazz ensemble. Our apologies to folks who were after the last record, Questral Places, which went out of print before we had a chance to get more in stock, but we've been bugging AQ pal Pentti, founder of the legendary Deep Turtle and head honcho of the Zerga label, to get us some copies of this newer release, 21st Century Drifting Episode. So we waited and waited, heard nothing for ages, and then one day, a big ol' box of these landed on our doorstep, and we're happy to report it's just as amazing as the other disc. As we mentioned before, fans of Aavikko would do well to check these guys out, as they have a similar exotic flair, but instead of spy movies and Casios, they take their influence from gypsy folk music, big band jazz, and African music. In fact, if we had to describe this in a sentence, we might say Astro Can Caravan sound like a Finnish version of Ethiopiques 4, which is high praise indeed! Sultry grooves, funky rhythms, lots and lots of horns, but also drums and synths, drums and percussion and spacey effects. The sound is a mysterious exotica, definitely reminiscent of the Ethiopian Grooves we love so much, but there's enough weird noodly synth and buzzing angular new wave elements to make this appeal to fans of Aavikko and other weird jazz groove whatthefuck. The band pepper their African style grooves with bursts of chaotic free jazz, slabs of buzzing synth abuse, but those moments are few and far between, instead, the band deftly cobble together their own unique sound, funky, and soulful, groovy and spiritual, wild and far out. Some tracks are rollicking and fiery, irresistible and the sort of thing that would send a dancefloor into an absolute frenzy. While others are dark and moody, slithery and slow burning. If you dig any of the following: Coltrane, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Fela Kuti, Taraf De Haidouks, Keukhot, Ethiopiques, Okros Ensemble, Aavikko, this band will completely kick your ass, or at least get it out of your seat and shaking. Features a who's who of the Finnish Underground, including Pentti from Deep Turtle on guitar and mandolin. Produced, strangely enough, by Jussi Saivo of mysterious drone alchemists Tiermes. Packaged in a super striking digipak, and be forewarned, we did get a whole bunch of these, but once we run out it might take a little while to get more.
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"De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium" MPEG Stream:
ASTRO CAN CARAVAN Questral Places ( 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. Okay, heads up Finnish music obsessives, especially you Aavikko freaks! Let us introduce you to this massive freaked out weirdo jazz ensemble Astro Can Caravan, which just so happens to feature members of Cosmo Jones Beat Machine and aQ faves Aavikko. And it sounds like it to! Featuring more than a dozen players (sometimes as many as 18) this ensemble whips up a dizzying and eclectic world of funky jazzy, psychedelic weirdness. Wild guitars, fuzzed out organs, plenty of horns. Spacey future funk wrapped in outer space FX, Ethiopiques style jazz funk, big band jazz gone haywire, long stretches of free jazz freak out, groovy African jazz. You can definitely hear bits of Coltrane, Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and Sun Ra and of course some Aavikko style space jazz funk freakiness. Wild and fun, weird and far out. But plenty groovy and jazzy and funky. Perfect dance party music for sure. If you love the Ethiopiques but always wished it was just a little bit more psychedelic and freaked out, well then friends, Astro Can Caravan may be just what you've been hankering for...
"Helios Universal" MPEG Stream:
ASTRO JAZKAMER HAIR STYLISTICS Motorcycle Fuck With The Ghost Rider (aRCHIVE) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. That would be one of the most ridiculous names for a band ever, if we didn't know that it's a conglomeration of names reflecting the international collaborative lineup here: members of Astro (Hiroshi Hasegawa, Japan), Jazkamer (Lasse Marhaug and John Hegre, Norway), and Hair Stylistics (Masaya Nakahara, Japan), natch. Well it's still pretty ridiculous but at least it makes some sense. Not so sure about the album title, but at least it's an attention-getter. Another attention-getter: this is one of them limited releases on the aRCHIVE label. Just 600 copies. And with usual aRCHIVE special packaging, the cd on a plastic nipple attached to a glossy tri-fold diecut cardboard sleeve, with graphics by Marhaug: the Ghost Rider on the front, and incongruous images of Johnny Cash and, uh, Mr. T on the back and inside, non-sequitur style. It's all about *attitude* we guess. Mr. T? He pity the motorcycle fuck fool!!! That's the spirit. Yeah, you want attention? Just try cranking this up loud. One track, 46 minutes, recorded live in Japan 3/3/2007. The three-word-description: Distorted. Noisy. Insanity. This is Merzbow territory, folks. Grinding overloaded amp-blasting electronic skree, a dense howling storm of unfettered feedback n' noise, static-y but far from static, in fact totally in motion, an active, extreme, almost-psychedelic freakout. Seemingly every noisemaking device and/or effect these guys possess juiced up and sent into the fray. That there's enthusiastic applause at the end of this disc, rather than simply the stunned silence of what remained of a numbed audience (read: victims) is amazing. But of course, this was in Japan! Need we repeat, LIMITED TO 600 COPIES...
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ASTRO/HIROSHI HASEGAWA Live At Muryoku Muzen Temple (Important) lp 17.98
ASTRO/HIROSHI HASEGAWA The Echo from the Purple Dawn (Important) cd 14.98
ASTROBRITE Crush (BLVD) lp 15.98
Astrobrite is the candy-colored, shoegaze-pop project fronted by Scott Cortez, who's better known for his snowblinded guitar driftscapes in Lovesliescrushing. At one time, Astrobrite was a trio, but Cortez soon adopted the name for his own use; this album appears to be one of the Cortez-only incarnations of Astrobrite, originally released on cd by Clair Records in 2001. For both Lovesliescrushing and Astrobrite, Cortez' guitarwork follows all the great shoegaze guitar impressionists - My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Swervedriver, Ride, etc. - although both projects are the opposite sides of the same coin. Those Lovesliescrushing albums shed pretty much all of the song-structure from the classic shoegazing sound to amass endless waves of softly crushed smears of distortion and oceanic, narcotizing drones. Like Belong and Christian Fennesz, Lovesliescrushing seemed to be pondering what Kevin Shields might have done as an encore for Loveless, but within Astrobrite, Cortez indulges in pure mimesis of shoegaze bliss-pop at its finest. These blown out four-track recordings could easily be some lost set of MBV recordings circa 1989, complete with androgynous whispered vocal harmonies and whammy-bar tone bending. Given the recent retread of washed out noise-pop by way of Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Beach Fossils, a revisitation into the sugarsmacked sound of Astrobrite makes a hell of a lot of sense. Bright translucent red vinyl and a download coupon complete the package. Nice!
ASTRONAUT BODY FOUR Murder City (Vetoxa) lp 12.98
Most folks know that we are pretty picky and particular when it comes to contemporary jazz. Of course we're not that into it when it's too straight ahead, but we're also not the biggest fan of wanky, aimless skronk sessions. So it takes a lot for a new jazz album to win us over, but these two long jams by San Francisco's Astronaut Body Four, are really hitting the spot, some seriously forward thinking, left-field jazz for sure. The A side is the 18 minute track "Citizen's Day Parade" which starts off like some lost vintage early '70s psych-jazz complete with awesome mystical sounding flute, and as it progresses a really odd but wonderful keyboard that sounds as if its being channeled from another planet, enters the fold and along with the sax, bass and drums the track takes all kinds of twists and turns, including some serious skronk, which instead of being annoying actually serve as great moments of tension building and release. The B side is another long one, the 20 minute track "Murder City Planetarium" which starts with a very moody and voyeuristic vibe, reminding us of moments from one of our very favorite films of all time, "The Conversation." As the track continues on it maintains that subtle sense of suspense, leading up to a charged, chaotic freak out, and then ending on a note of deranged elegance. Awesome.
ASVA Futurist's Against the Ocean (Web Of Mimicry) cd 14.98
It's funny how suddenly every one has a doom drone dirge project happening. The popularity of SUNNO))) and Earth and Corrupted and Boris not only has record collectors scrambling for their wallets, but seems to have other musicians scrambling as well, buying bigger amps, more distortion boxes, trying to tune lower and play slower, all of this evidenced by the sudden glut of bands whose influences don't extend much beyond Earth and SUNNO))). We're not complaining mind you 'cuz you know we can't get enough of that sludgy downtuned dirge! And, you can't give Asva too much grief as bass player Stuart Dahlquist (brother of Silkworm's Michael Dahlquist) was there in the early days, having played in doom dirge metal outfit Burning Witch, and Asva actually feels like a logical extension of his old band. Dahlquist is joined in Asva by guitarist John Schuller and ex-Mr. Bungle guitarist / current Web Of Mimicry head honcho Trey Spruance, as well as an organist (!) and a female vocalist (!). It's these last two elements, as well as a flair for incorporating melody into a sound usuallylight on the melodic end of things, that makes Asva a much more interesting prospect. Of the four extended tracks here, it's the first and the last that hue closest to the Sunn 0))) / Earth template. Huge slabs of ultra distorted guitars, working their way through slow motion riffs, a ponderous plodding metallic crush. On the final track, vocalist Jessika Kenney belts out a one woman chorale, adding a strangely angelic vibe to the proceedings, minor key, but soaring over the slow motion Sabbath beneath, beautiful and haunting in a way few bands like this have managed. The two tracks in between are much more abstract and spare, not in the least but heavy, but still creepy and droney. Track two is all minimal whir and shimmer, slowly shifting and subtly moving through a minimal almost melody. Track three again features Kenney's voalisations, this time though, it's ALL about the vocals, the musical bed is a hushed doomy organ driven drone, endlessly sustaining with occasional super reverbed bass and sizzling barely-there percussion, while Kenney wails and trills, swooping through strange alien melodies, her multi tracked vocals harmonizing with themselves, creating a very bizarre, but thrillingly creepy soundworld. Fans of the genre (sludgedoomdirgedeathdrone) probably already know about this record and know they need it, but folks who have yet to get into this stuff, might find Asva just melodic enough and weird enough to merit further investigation.
"Kill The Dog, Tie Them Up, Take The Money" MPEG Stream:
"By The Well Of Living And Seeing"
ASVA Futurists Against The Ocean (Southern) lp 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. As a follow-up to getting the NEW Asva we recently listed (on both formats), they've just now made their debut available on vinyl too... Here's what we said when this first came out on cd back in 2005: It's funny how suddenly every one has a doom drone dirge project happening. The popularity of SUNNO)) and Earth and Corrupted and Boris not only has record collectors scrambling for their wallets, but seems to have other musicians scrambling as well, buying bigger amps, more distortion boxes, trying to tune lower and play slower, all of this evidenced by the sudden glut of bands whose influences don't extend much beyond Earth and SUNNO))). We're not complaining mind you 'cuz you know we can't get enough of that sludgy downtuned dirge! And, you can't give Asva too much grief as bass player Stuart Dahlquist (brother of Silkworm's Michael Dahlquist) was there in the early days, having played in doom dirge metal outfit Burning Witch, and Asva actually feels like a logical extension of his old band. Dahlquist is joined in Asva by guitarist John Schuller and ex-Mr. Bungle guitarist / current Web Of Mimicry head honcho Trey Spruance, as well as an organist (!) and a female vocalist (!). It's these last two elements, as well as a flair for incorporating melody into a sound usually light on the melodic end of things, that makes Asva a much more interesting prospect. Of the four extended tracks here, it's the first and the last that hue closest to the SUNNO))) / Earth template. Huge slabs of ultra distorted guitars, working their way through slow motion riffs, a ponderous plodding metallic crush. On the final track, vocalist Jessika Kenney belts out a one woman chorale, adding a strangely angelic vibe to the proceedings, minor key, but soaring over the slow motion Sabbath beneath, beautiful and haunting in a way few bands like this have managed. The two tracks in between are much more abstract and spare, not in the least but heavy, but still creepy and droney. Track two is all minimal whir and shimmer, slowly shifting and subtly moving through a minimal almost melody. Track three again features Kenney's vocalizations, this time though, it's ALL about the vocals, the musical bed is a hushed doomy organ driven drone, endlessly sustaining with occasional super reverbed bass and sizzling barely-there percussion, while Kenney wails and trills, swooping through strange alien melodies, her multi tracked vocals harmonizing with themselves, creating a very bizarre, but thrillingly creepy soundworld. Fans of the genre (sludgedoomdirgedeathdrone) probably already know about this record and know they need it, but folks who have yet to get into this stuff, might find Asva just melodic enough and weird enough to merit further investigation.
"Kill The Dog, Tie Them Up, Take The Money" MPEG Stream:
"By The Well Of Living And Seeing"
ASVA The Third Plague / A Trap For Judges (Enterruption) 12" 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This whole slow motion doom dirge explosion continues to bring us band after band who think they can make a record by just leaning their guitars up against their amps and recording the mighty flow of glorious Earth-like sludge that will undoubtedly flow forth, like some sort of divine doom from the gods. Thankfully there are a few outfits who realize that maybe we need a little bit more than just another doom-drone planet to join the already slow motion orbits of Earth and SUNNO))). And as we have mentioned before (in our review of their excellent Futurist's Against the Ocean debut earlier this year), Asva is making a successful attempt to extend beyond the Earth/SUNN template, having added huge swaths of warm and warbly organs to the mix as well as soaring operatic female vocals, giving their sound a strangely melodic and gorgeously alien feel. This two song 12" proves that even that's not enough for these guys, as they push and twist their sound once again into new and strange shapes. The first track is a super slow building drone, a hushed assemblage of subterranean rumble and machine like whirr, that doesn't build so much as just sort of shift and take up more and more of the sound field. Eventually the drone begins to fragment and the constituent parts become more and more distinct, the most noticable being what sounds like a strangely haunting psych guitar riff, looped and smeared into a subtle Sunroof! like skree. Soon more and more bits float to the surface, some reverbed chanting, abstract streaks of distant guitar, and a far away riff, played super slowly and drenched in effects, creepy and clean and barely discernible through the murk and haze, sounding a bit like a snippet of Chris Issak guitar, as if played at 8 rpm and broadcast through a the tiny speaker of an old transistor radio. Special guest Eyvind Kang supplies the viola, while band member John Schuller contributes the locusts! Side two is much more straight ahead dooooom, a crushing slow motion metallic dirge a la Khanate or Skepticism, but even here Asva manage to make that sound their own. A slow sludgy plod, with plenty of space in between for swirls of dark drone and reverby rumble, and that same haunting abstract clean guitar melody from side one resurfaces here and there, but the focus is most definitely on the vocals, an unholy screech, that swoops and soars from demonic howl to bile spewing guttural growl, courtesy of Asva's vocalist Jessika Kennney, falling somewhere between Lydia Lunch, Diamanda Galas and Edgy from Burning Witch. Super limited (only 500 copies) each copy is hand stamped and numbered!
ASVA What You Don't Know Is Frontier (Southern) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. What You Don't Know Is Frontier is the second release from this heavy droning super group and it's insanely awesome. Densely layered glacial pools of buzzing heaviness, it's no surprise that Asva consists of members of Burning Witch, Goatsnake and SUNNO))) among others. An expansive pallet of guitars, percussion, organs, electronic wind instruments, and vocals, all plunge the listener into a battle between crumbling civilization and the redeeming light at the heart of the storm. Unlike many heavy drone bands who are easily weighed down by a lack of dimension within their music, Asva manages to swiftly guide the listener in and out of finely choreographed movements that unfold with precision musicianship. This is definitely not simply "another drone record" that should be overlooked or dismissed. The range of textures and attention to detail is key here. What You Don't Know is Frontier unfolds more like a soundtrack then a drone record, a refreshing attempt at broadening the genre into a more honest, accessible art form. Highly recommended for fans of anything HEAVY.
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AT JENNIE RICHIE Rectums Merging (What We Do Is Secret) 12" 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We had never heard of At Jennie Richie, which is a little surprising considering the folks who have done time in this constantly shifting collective: Matt Waldron (irr. (app.) ext. / Nurse With Wound), Alan Bishop, Mason Jones, folks from Noggin, The Cherry Point, Vertonen and even Hans Grusel and his Krankenkabinet. And with guests like that, you sort of get a rough idea of what to expect from this surrealist DADA 'rock' combo. A sidelong soundscape of strange ambience, a pulsing throbbing framework of looped percussion, atop deep resonant swells, buzzing insect-like synths, whispery FX and all manner of microscopic sound fluctuations. The main element, a strange synthesized loop that lulls the listener into a trance, as various bits of sound begin to emerge from all sides, slowly wrapping the listener's ears in strange layers of warble and buzz, of skitter and hushed chaos. Very reminiscent of Coil at times, as well as Nurse With Wound. Fans of both should flip over this. Limited to 300 copies, one sided vinyl, with a beautiful silkscreened image on the flipside, full color artwork affixed to thick plain black covers, printed inserts, really nice... and most likely gone in no time....
AT THE HEAD OF THE WOODS Secrets Beyond Time & Space (Glass Throat) cd 14.98
Lately, we just can't get seem to get enough of all the great mystical ambient music happening. Portland's At the Head of the Woods, a solo project of James Woodhead (Blood of the Black Owl, Elemental Chrysalis) is the perfect example of this super beautiful, dim and desolate sound that we love so much. Considering the band name and all, we thought it'd be a good idea to take this album along for a Sunday evening drive through the redwoods. And man, it turned out to be the perfect experience. Nothing like lush, woodsy dronescapes to accompany an evening drive. Striking acoustic and electric guitar melodies played over round, turning tones that move and crawl across the forest ground like dense fog. Awesome stuff. We know how easy it is for a drone album to become a bit one dimensional, but this one really takes the listener along for an epic journey through still meadows and onto seaside crags. The album builds momentum from hovering vocal and guitar drones to slow rural dirges lead by full on pummeling, sloooooow-paced drums. Reminds us a lot of the newer Earth albums, but slightly darker and more mystical, with less of the country twang. There's a great balance between colorful textures and engaging composition, really makes for an immersive listen that's sure to make you feel like you're watching sunlight fade behind the silhouettes of towering trees.
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ATAVIST / NADJA 12012291920 / 1414101 (Invada) cd 14.98
Not one, not two, but THREE Nadja releases this week! Two of them are collaborations, but still, how's a Nadja fan supposed to keep up? But as we've learned, it's well worth the effort, as each disc has been a bonafide killer, and this one is no different. Teamed up with UK sludge doom quartet Atavist, this seems like the ultimate doom drone matchup, and thus you might expect that these two bands would bring out the heaviest and sludgiest in each other, when in fact, the exact opposite is the case. Two nearly half hour tracks, each one meandering and blissful, darkly tranquil and really really pretty. The first is a slowcore / postrock drift, delicate guitar figures, looped over a slow shimmery dronescape, the backdrop constantly shifting, the guitar line spidery and minor key, repeating hypnotically above a constantly intensifying backdrop of drones and rumblings. Eventually the background noise overtakes the lonely guitar, but not in a sludgy bombastic way, more like a muted churning swirl, lots of billowy low end guitar, and drifting smoky ambience. Near the end, the guitars do thicken, and suddenly the dreaminess is mired in some serious sludge, shot though with distant keening psychguitar, but it doesn't last, and the sludge softens quickly into more whispery whir. The second track is a wide open expanse of billowy dark ambience, lots of strange muted FX and pulsing krautrocky swirl. More in line with Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh than SUNNO))) or Earth. Eventually building into a moaning majestic wall of sound, like Sunroof! or Vibracathedral, but less skree and more rumble, huge slabs of crumbling guitar, beneath glistening melodic fragments and soft whirls of sound. Droney and dreamy, divine and doomy and obviously essential.
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ATAVIST / NADJA 12012291920 / 1414101 (Kreation) lp 16.98
NOW ON VINYL!!! Teamed up with UK sludge doom quartet Atavist, this seems like the ultimate doom drone matchup, and thus you might expect that these two bands would bring out the heaviest and sludgiest in each other, when in fact, the exact opposite is the case. Two nearly half hour tracks, each one meandering and blissful, darkly tranquil and really really pretty. The first is a slowcore / postrock drift, delicate guitar figures, looped over a slow shimmery dronescape, the backdrop constantly shifting, the guitar line spidery and minor key, repeating hypnotically above a constantly intensifying backdrop of drones and rumblings. Eventually the background noise overtakes the lonely guitar, but not in a sludgy bombastic way, more like a muted churning swirl, lots of billowy low end guitar, and drifting smoky ambience. Near the end, the guitars do thicken, and suddenly the dreaminess is mired in some serious sludge, shot though with distant keening psychguitar, but it doesn't last, and the sludge softens quickly into more whispery whir. The second track is a wide open expanse of billowy dark ambience, lots of strange muted FX and pulsing krautrocky swirl. More in line with Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh than SUNNO))) or Earth. Eventually building into a moaning majestic wall of sound, like Sunroof! or Vibracathedral, but less skree and more rumble, huge slabs of crumbling guitar, beneath glistening melodic fragments and soft whirls of sound. Droney and dreamy, divine and doomy and obviously essential.
"Twentyfour:sixteen" MPEG Stream:
ATAVIST / NADJA II - Points At Infinity (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
Phew. For a minute there we were worried we were gonna go to list without a Nadja or Aidan Baker disc. But fear not, we're safe! At least for two more weeks. Team up number two from UK sludgecombo Atavist and doomdrone duo Nadja, and much like the last disc, which sort of threw us for a loop as we were expecting some serious sludgey bombast, the first of the two tracks here is all blissed out and dreamy, a churning 20+ minutes of downtuned minor key guitar shimmer, deep whirring bass rumble, locked into a looped cyclical meander, the various spidery melodies intertwined and loose, layered and abstract, stretched out over a deep blackened canvas of undulating sonic swells, darkly ominous but quite hypnotic and mesmerizing. But then comes the CRUSH. And it's massive, we only had to wait a record and a half for the metal payoff but it's a big one. Three guitars locked into a churning riff, the drums a massive pound, howled vocals buried in the mix, all the while a haunting high end drone seems to hover over the proceedings, woven into the chugging melee below. But this sudden explosion of poundage and riffery is short lived, after 6 or 7 minutes, the blissy downtuned metallic onslaught abates, leaving a swirling emptiness of distant percussion and soft fluttery feedback. The high end gradually transforms into lowend, and the track gets a bit SUNNO)))-y, deep slowed down riffs moving glacially under a blackened canopy shot through with glimmers and shimmers and muted sparkles, finally slipping back into a softly moaning drone, that drifts like smoke through a sky grey with ash. Another droney, doomy, blissy and briefly metallic essential from these two masters of their mysterious dark art.
ATCHLEY, KENNETH Fountains (Auscultare) cd 12.98
Kenneth Atchley is a little known composer with connections to the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music (a couple of performances and a composition that has appeared on Chris Brown's web 'hub'), yet his "Fountains" piece is miles above the digital splutter that Mills has been promoting in the name of indeterminant composition and computerized improvisation. Atchley based the 3 compositions of this album on the digital synthesized contact microphone recordings of simple fountains pouring water into 40 gallon steel trash cans. The first piece ("fountain_1999.20") is a fractured collage in which passages of those water fountains in various states of augmentation jump cut between each other after several minutes, sounding much more like a late '80s collage from the Hafler Trio than anything recently coming from Mills. "fountain_1998.3" takes an oversaturation approach by amplifying the sounds into dense distorting layers much in the same way as Francisco Lopez' intensely loud moments. His most recent composition "fountain_2001.5" is the weakest of the three, sounding most like the Mills penchant for recognizable granular synthesis filters and flanges, though this one is the most adventurous composition with cutting from the dramatic sustained noise passage immediately to quiet water drips. Released on Randy Yau's immaculately designed Auscultare Records.
"Fountain_1999.20" RealAudio clip:
ATELECINE ...And Six Dark Hours Pass (Dais) lp 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. At the beginning of December we made the latest aTelecine lp our Record Of The Week. A fantastic slab of twisted collaged industrial weirdness, blackened and warped and freaky and far out and weirdly beautiful. We sold tons, and were super psyched to discover that there was in fact a previous record, so we tried to order a bunch, but were only able to get a handful, so here it is, the debut lp from aTelecine, the avant industrial drone collage project of porn star Sasha Grey, and her band aTelecine, and like A Cassette Tape Culture, which we made our Record Of The Week, ...And Six Dark Hours Pass is just as dark and creepy and gorgeous and essential. Unfortunately, only a handful of folks will manage to get their hands on one of these. Anyone who loved the first one, is definitely gonna want this one too, layered samples, warped effects, disembodied voices, detuned guitars, dense rumbling drones, crumbling riffage, alien vocals, minimal murky percussion, hazy almost shoegazey drifts, hushed low end thrum, crackle and hiss and whir and hum and shimmer, stuttering looped rhythms, creepy gauzy driftscapes, all blurred and smeared and stretched and tangled into a psychedelic songsuite that melts before your very ears, the songs all oozing into one another, the melodies wrapping themselves around layered textures, the textures decaying and revealing hidden sonic treasures, those treasures blossoming into sounds way more sinister than expected and so it goes. Totally recommended. Even if you missed out on the first one, this stuff is so good. Regardless of the Sasha Grey hype/stigma, both of the aTelecine records are fantastic, grab one of these while you can. Sorry we couldn't get more...
"Very Small Friends" MPEG Stream:
"Sky Then Trees Then Birds Then Nothing" MPEG Stream:
ATELECINE A Cassette Tape Culture (Pendu Sound) lp 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. LAST COPIES! Now OUT OF PRINT, except for this small handful. All the remaining copies have slightly damaged covers (mostly bent corners), hence the reduced price, vinyl is pristine, last chance to pick up one of these twisted beauties... Most people probably know Sasha Grey for what she is most (in)famous for, and that would be for being a porn star. Even folks who don't know porn stars might still know Grey as an actress, who recently starred in Steven Soderbergh's film Girlfriend, and has been on HBO's Entourage, but few probably know her as a musician (although aQ customers might remember she sang on a Current 93 record!). And we're not talking cheesy club diva, a la Tracy Lords, crooning terribly over bad house music, no we're talking as a proper musician, one who apparently has been making music since she was a teenager (influenced by KMFDM and Throbbing Gristle), and whose current group aTelecine is some sort of blackened industrial avant drone sound collage thing, that would put most of the current crop of experimental musicians to shame. The label hypes Grey's music as being heavily indebted to groups like Nurse With Wound and Coil, and while we're tempted to think this is just the label trying to make the band seem 'cooler' and more authentic, it only takes a few minutes listening to aTelecine's new full length to realize, it's not all that unlikely. This stuff is dark, and corrosive, haunting and fierce, otherworldly and intense, a little bit industrial, a little ambient, a little witch house-y, a little black metal, doomy and new wavey and seriously dark, a dizzying churning cauldron of field recordings, samples, loops, electronics, distorted guitars, programmed beats, FX drenched vocals, throbbing basslines, plenty of glitch and clang and rumble and buzz. If you're anything like us it'll just take a single song, the first one we heard (even though this is aTelecine's 3rd or 4th record), the super creepy, super intense "I Came, I Sat, I Departed", a lumbering blackened industrial creep, all downtuned chug, low slung slither, laced with some seriously fucked up and freaky hissed whispery vokills, the sound crunchy and glitchy, but super hypnotic. The song gets more and more chaotic, with anguished howls, more distortion, the song seeming to crumble before our ears into a hellish reverb drenched miasma. Terrifying and incredible. The rest of the record stacks up pretty well too. "A Cassette Played" is all woozy low end and rumbling bass over snippets of crowd sound, a sort of collaged dark wavey drift, with some super minimal skittery Autechre style fractured beats, a sprawling expansive dronescape, laced with skitter, and ominous synth swells, strangely cinematic keyboards, the sound becoming almost John Carpenter-esque near the end, before slipping directly into "Chroeg Xen", which sounds like Steve Reich or Terry Riley as interpreted by the current crop of retro futurist sci fi new wavers. "Elijah's New Sun" is a fluttering field of hiss and static, of shortwave interference, buried synth pulses, strange processed vocals, and minimal synth melodies way off in the distance. "It's All Write" is an avalanche of song fragments, woven into a woozy, series of melodic swells, streaks of buzz, bits of sampled voices, a minimal barely there beat, slowly unwinding like some out of focus sonic charnel house. "Kitchen Light" is a surprisingly lovely bloopy bleepy bit of spacey synthiness, while "Never Was A Dreamer (vox)" is a swirling synthy crawl, all whispered tangled voices, and layered shimmery drones. "She Is Beautiful" is another bit of sci fi synthery, which leads into the short closer "Some What Daft", a gorgeous creepy glitchscape, of muted melodies, fractured drones and alien squelches, all over a sort of krauty pulse, the sort of track that we would have loved to see go on way longer. Which is pretty much how we feel about almost every track here. Sure, the fact that aTelecine is Sasha Grey's band is the hook, but it hardly matters really, besides bucking the convention of actresses turned terrible musician, or certainly porn star gone pointlessly mainstream, this stuff is incredible, dark and dense and extremely well crafted, occasionally playful and mysterious, but more often fucking chilling and intense, and definitely makes it plain for all to see, that if Grey ever did decide to give up her day job, as sad as that would be, at least we'd have more of this amazing music to look forward to. LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!!
"I Came I Sat I Departed" MPEG Stream:
"A Cassette Played" MPEG Stream:
"It's All Write" MPEG Stream:
"Some What Daft"
ATELECINE Entkopplung (OST) (Dais) lp 25.00
The latest from this avant/industrial/experimental/noise trio finds the group operating without their most famous member, porn star Sasha Grey, who seems to have sat this one out, this one being a strange, but sonically compelling score to a recent English/German sci-fi film, for which the group used just the script, and the existing footage at the time, to craft their soundtrack. Having not seen the film, it's difficult to say how these tracks work in that context, we can say from a purely sonic perspective, those limitations did little to hinder the process, as these tracks are all pretty fantastic, dense, and sinister, heavily textured and darkly atmospheric, thick grinding, gurgling synth drones give way to minimal murky rhythms, very ambient and atmospheric, it is a score after all, but the group fill up much of that spaced with thick swirls of looped synth, clouds of abstract effects, woozy streaks of chordal shimmer, dubbed out production, low slung basslines buried in the murk, much of the sound washed out in an almost shoegazey haze, while some tracks are stripped down and minimal, spaced out electro dub rhythms driving weird sonic ripples and hushed gristly buzz. Some tracks are more overtly musical than others, drifting from a sort of new wave murk, to pulsing minimal synthscapes, and from gauzy kosmische drift to almost orchestral sounds moodiness. While much of the soundtrack is more concerned with mood, thus it ends up being about texture and tension, the group particularly adept at creating gorgeous swaths of sound, be it garbled voices, buzzing synths, or looped bell like rhythms, we can only imagine the strange sort of images that must accompany these sounds. Limited to 500 copies! Pressed on transparent green vinyl. Includes a printed insert, and a download coupon as well!
"Green Dirge" MPEG Stream:
"Stadtmitte" MPEG Stream:
"Entkopplung" MPEG Stream:
"My Name Is Erik... I Think"
ATELEIA Formal Sleep (Xeric / Table Of The Elements) cd 15.98
"Of Isthmus" MPEG Stream:
ATELEIA & BENJAMIN CURTIS Baghdad Batterie (Table Of The Elements) 12" 17.98
There's a new vinyl-only series from beloved experimental label Table Of The Elements. Each 12" is one sided with an etching on the other side. Artists involved and contributing exclusive material include Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Belong and a handful of others. The first one we've got is from Ateleia and Benjamin Curtis, who, utilizing guitar, bass, electronics and computers, have whipped up a truly strange installment for the series, beginning of course with the guitar, which is the focus of the series, this duo have created a strange hybrid of modern minimal techno, and reverby eighties pop. Sounds like a bit of a mess, but the two sounds sound great together. Beginning with a skittery shuffly beat, some fuzzy synths, distorted guitars, chiming reverb heavy chords, all wound into something that sounds a bit like Big Country or The Smiths deconstructed by some Chain Reaction artist. Weird looped rhythms, tribal drums, processed melodies, those hypnotic repetitive guitars soaring and ringing out, that's the best way we can describe it, like some sort of Pop Ambient eighties pop thing, equal parts Gas, U2 (just the guitar), Big Country, reminds us quite a bit of the recent very retro M83 record, but with a distinctly techno, muted 4 on the floor vibe. Pretty cool. Pressed on clear vinyl, one side intricately etched, housed in a thick vinyl sleeve, and needless to say, WAY LIMITED!
ATKINSON, FELICIA Visions / Voices (Umor Rex) 2lp 23.00
The gloomier the day the more perfect to listen to this album from Belgian abstractionist Felicia Atkinson, who also records under the moniker Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier. Her work often draws parallels to the likes of Natural Snow Buildings or Motion Sickness Of Time Travel in terms of the narcoleptic atmosphere that drifts through song and drone alike - one that's perfect for late winter fog or cold damp mornings of early spring; but Atkinson's work is probably even darker, more somber, and drearier than from either of those other artists. She deftly moves from song-based arrangements for guitar, voice, to lots of effects and broad ambient gestures of elongated fragments, loops, and pastoral passages. Visions / Voices showcases these multi-faceted aesthetics from Atkinson, collecting tracks from the various micro-edition cassettes and cd-rs she's produced over the years, none of which have made their way through aQuarius we should add. The first cut on the album "This Impermanent Gold" is a sodden avant-folk number sporting a Jandekian open-chord, atonal strum on an acoustic guitar with bleakly windswept clouds hovering behind the gasping, non-verbal vocalizations. She counters this track with a rapturously billowing drone piece that has all of the compositional trappings of one of Tim Hecker's ambient excursions, through the rich tapestries of interwoven drones and darkly radiant hypnosis. "All Roads Are Circular" is an aptly named track of once brightly strummed guitars burnished down to a dull iron finish and set into loosely organized loops and off-set shoegazing patterns. Twinkling synths form constellations of downer melodies on "The Owls" bringing her closest to the Motion Sickness Of Time Travel sound of murkily cosmic introspection. But when she gets to "Franny," things get downright spooky with a rasping antique piano slowly creaking a low-register dirge whose ominous, suffocating vibe comes to the surface through a violent smolder of deep rumbling tectonic drones and corroded amplifier distortion, definitely giving Chelsea Wolfe a run for her money when it comes to ghastliness. Easily some of the best material we've heard to date from Atkinson under either her name or Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier! And is there a download card? Yes!
"The Hooves Drummed" MPEG Stream:
"The Owls" MPEG Stream:
ATOM FEATURING TEA TIME XXX (Rather Interesting) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We've all been keeping a watchful eye on Mr. Atom Heart lately. Watching bemusedly as his relocation to Chile prompted him to reinvent himself as Senor Coconut, and listening, as his techno turned to mambo, and his obsession with the indigenous music of his new home seeped into every facet of his music making. The first Senor Coconut record (out of print, it seems) was a glorious mix of Perez Prado style mambos and Squarepusherish drum programming. The Senor Coconut we listed on the last AQ list took a bizarre turn no one could have predicted, consisting of all Kraftwerk covers done Chilean style, all mambo and rhumba, barely a hint of his former Atom Heart remained. On "XXX", Atom hooks up with Chilean rapper Tea Time, for a wickedly clever record of X rated rapping (in Spanish of course) and convuluted hip hop, complete with plenty of turntablist trickery and hard disc scratching. And it's practically perfect; funny and catchy and smooth and super wicked. Tea Time's got a super smooth flow (sounding a bit like MC Solaar) and the music is just completely bizarre, lots of hiccuping loops, low end rumble, crazy scratching, and bizarre hard disc editing, making for probably one of our favorite (albeit quite odd) hip hop (Latin American glitch-rap?) records of the year, and it's easily the best Atom Heart...er...Senor Coconut record yet.
ATOMIC BOMB AUDITION Roots Into The See (self-released) lp 12.98
ATOMIC BOMB AUDITION, THE Eleven Theaters (Hector Stentor) cd 12.98
This is one awesomely confusing record. We weren't sure what to expect, but it definitely wasn't this. Bursts of grinding downtuned death metal give way to shuffling jazzy lounge music, mathy riffing morphs into prog rock workouts which give way to simple dreampop strumming. There's Super spacious slowcore, reverbed guitars and shuffling jazz drums, weird underwater melodies and funereal horns... and Pell Mell style instrumental almost surf rock with total "Wipeout" drums. It's all a little overwhelming, and confusing, but in a good way. And unlike a lot of genre jumping outfits, none of these disparate sounds, and impossible mash ups sound at all forced. In fact, the band has such a deft hand with arrangements, that when you're listening to Eleven Theaters, it's hard to imagine that any band would NOT combine all of these styles and genres. Lilting Appalachian folk, drifts and shimmers into some angular Amrep style dirge rock, tripped out dronelike shimmer, all glistening guitars and whirling ambience, gives way to ultra lush jazzy mope rock, complete with horn section and cymbal sizzle, huge pummeling sludge rock splinters into a completely noise drenched splattery free jazz drum freakout before breaking down into soft focus ambient drift only to explode into a monstrous dirge all over again. Maybe these guys are mostly a metal band... but it's really hard to tell. Especially after taking this all in. Definitely mind expanding, and certainly mostly for those with a very wide range of tastes, but like we said, it's hard not to love this record, every part of it, from the dreamy to the heavy, from the dark and dangerous to the goofy and absurd. Really cool.
"The Creationist" MPEG Stream:
"Wave Of Babies" MPEG Stream:
"Apocalypse Dove Song"
ATOMINE ELEKTRINE Nebulous (Essence Music) cd 15.98
Peter Andersson's name is not one that pops up here at Aquarius Records all that often; but his impact upon the Swedish electronic underground has been huge since the early '90s. He's been responsible for some of the more influential dark-ambient / esoteric electronic projects that made up the bulk of the early Cold Meat Industry catalogue with his pseudonyms being Raison D'Etre, Stratvm Terror, Necrophorous, and Atomine Elektrine. Strangely enough, there's another Peter Andersson who also graces Cold Meat Industry's catalogue; but wisely he adopted the moniker Lina Baby Doll to prevent any confusion when venturing into the bizarre, militant territories of Deutsch Nepal. Anyway. Atomine Elektrine is the formerly mentioned Peter Andersson, and this project nestles between kosmische electronica (e.g. Pop Ambient, Boards Of Canada, Omit, etc.) and deep-space isolationism (e.g. Lustmord, Thomas Koner, etc.). Nebulous is a remarkably well done album that doesn't seem to embrace any of the commonplace signifiers of electronica; maybe just a Chain Reaction synth pad here or there alongside the downtempo mechanoid breakbeats, constantly tumbling filter sweeps, and algorithimic arpeggiations cast in shadowy, metallic ambience.
"Transforming Space" MPEG Stream:
ATOMS FOR PEACE AMOK (XL) cd 14.98
Predictably, there's been beaucoup hype about this new super group / Radiohead offshoot, featuring Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, longtime Radiohead producer/engineer Nigel Godrich, and oddest of the bunch none other than Flea, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We were definitely curious what it would sound like, and while we were maybe expecting something pretty far out and experimental, Amok actually hews surprisingly close to recent Radiohead records and Yorke's solo record The Eraser. Which really shouldn't be all that surprising considering the lineup, and really is not a bad thing. In some ways, we wouldn't have been at all surprised if this had simply been released as a Yorke solo record (which essentially it kind of is?). Every time we play this in the store, someone inevitably asks us if this is Radiohead, which should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. The tracks here are not so much songs, like much of Yorke's (and Radiohead's) material, eschewing for the most part the standard 'pop' song structure, and instead letting atmospheres drift, and rhythms percolate, Yorke's voice often spectral and wordless, syllables stretched way out, transformed into woozy spidery melodies, the beats looped and layered and skittery, the bass thick and sinewy, pulsing and trancey and hypnotic, the whole thing peppered with strange little electronic filigree, the occasional buried horns, the vibe haunting and melancholic, and darkly, mysteriously groovy. There's a definite late night vibe to most of the tracks, moody and chilled out, but then there's tracks like "Default", which is still moody, but super catchy, "Default" being the most Radiohead of the bunch, the first single, which makes sense, featuring a killer main melody that sounds like it was straight up lifted from some other Radiohead record, we just can't put our finger on which one, but you'll know it when you hear it. So yeah, if you already love Radiohead, you'll love this, and if you dug Yorke's Eraser, you'll REALLY dig Atoms For Peace, and while we maybe weren't blown away at first, we find ourselves listening to this more and more all the time.
"Before Your Very Eyes..." MPEG Stream:
"Default" MPEG Stream: