Spring has not entirely sprung in Russia. So while the 2muchachos wait for the warmer air, in which to release their debut album, Formant on Parallax Records (due to drop in July), they released this Prespring EP, slight and unassuming, a mere 4 songs. The diminutive stature, its non-commercial nature (they're giving it away free on their blog), had me slightly biased, pre-emptively dismissing this, an emissary from the anonymous internet. Thus, color me snow-blind when i pawed the play button and this shit floored me like gravity! Well, it was subtler than that, more like an alluring breath on the back of my neck, a kind word from a friend. I've noticed, in discussion, that the 'folktronica' tag has surfaced, and it is justified, in general blissed-out emoting mood, but not entirely accurate. The 2muchachos are not creating mere velour, E dropping, cuddlecore; NO! There is range, here, folks! There is surprising depth. There is darkness, like the ominous nocturnal Snowdrops, but it is still the darkness before the dawn. There is sweetness, (the alluring vocals of "fair maiden Alexandra" on Warmtime, sung in Russian). There is mystery. There is confusion. The overall effect is like a Fairy Tale in the woods, threatening, confusing, coming upon friends and enemies in even parts, as our hero struggles through to find out Who The Fuck They Really Are. And then there's the last song... an acoustic version of Dreaming Girl, which i'm assuming will be on the forth-coming LP (which i can't wait to here,) is a bare-boned reverb-drenched guitar with bare murmuring of some organ and some very far away vocals, and it takes my breath away! Caught me like a sideways slap, on a bike ride home from a friend's, its absolute eviscerating loveliness like a fish hook in my brain, causing memories to pour out, in one silent cataclysm of mood and music. It sounds like it could be a Sigur Ros out-take, and combine that with the ear-catching minutiae of sound design evident through-out Prespring, the fields recordings, the clinks and clatters, the tiny little spinning platters of panning audio, that make or break electronic music these days. These guys, i repeat, The 2muchachos seem to know what the hell they are doing!!! Watch out! Seemingly not confined to style or genre, speaking more from pure expression, from the heart so to speak, these are the elements that i look for in music, that keeps me endlessly searching. This time it found me, and for that, i thank you 2muchachos!
Another day listening to pseudo-New Age jams, working in the garden; popping dandelion heads while silver clouds turn black over the foothills, heralding thunder, bringing rain. Most of you are probably no stranger to Emeralds' guitarist Mark McGuire, or his manymany solo releases. For a long time, i resisted the Emeralds' vast back-catalog, as i had several friends who were mad crazy hyped about the band, and i felt any action would be construed as mere bandwagoneering, even though secretly accruing many Emeralds releases, waiting for the right time. Waiting for my moment. This week saw the addition to my home studio of two new Moogerfooger guitar pedals, that i have been creaming over since their creation in the early 2000s. It has raised the question, 'I finally have a vast armada of guitars and pedals, can kick up a storm that could silence the angels. What do i do with them?' As usual, i turn to the experts for advice. McGuire is like the Mr. Miyagi of zen-trance guitar. Not as noisy as Thurston, not as homicidal as Aidan Baker, not as dense as Yellow Swans. There is nary a wall of sound to be found here. Instead, his tones dance and weave and drift, silhouetting against each other in a funhouse mirror of delay and echo, drifting, building. Often times reminiscent of excellent Germany Kosmische music, but without the acid fried politics of the 60s. Hes got heart. Hes got soul. Hes got wide-eyed wonder. Hes got a guitar tone many would kill (or die) for, and most importantly, hes got song-writing ability. The two discs of Guitar Mediations II sprawl out to two hours, total, and its butt never drags in the sand once. Tracks don't stand out much, at least in the first couple times hearing this, but rather creates a snow globe mood world to get lost in. This is sold out at all the distros, as far as i can tell, so with great joy, i share with you... Mark McGuire - Guitar Meditations II
Today has the been first really rainy day of Spring. Quiet evening with the window open, i have been working on an arrangement of Erik Satie's first Gymnopedie for guitar. Satie coined the term Furniture Music, in 1917; music intended as background listening for particular situations or events, like intermission at a play, or in the foyer as guests arrived, a forerunner to Eno's Discreet Music, and ambient music in general. His music is slight, gentle; like a presence in the room, piano notes suspended in the air like dust motes on a sunny afternoon. Its like a room itself; spacious, standing still, inviting you to explore. It is graceful and delicate, it colors the air like lilac perfume. It is the anti-Wagner, forsaking bombast and heroics for heart and soul, subtle mystery. As i write this, Trois Gnossienes is playing, mingling with the sound of raindrops on fresh leaves. Could be a commercial for some hokey 'Gentle Sounds of Nature' cd, except when turned up, brought into the foreground, there is a heart beating in these pieces. Passion, tenderness, wonder, curiosity, playfulness; its not muzak. Its just made to exist, to come and go as you please. Not tyrannical. A partner. A friend. A world. A worldview. Highly recommended for quiet evenings at home, with the windows open. Piano Works 1 Piano Works 2 listen wiki
Wanted to put this up the other day, as part of my Sunshine post, but was unable to find a link. Thankfully, the good folks over at Fangs and Arrows were able to hook it up, so now i can share with all you good people. This gem resurfaced the other day, part of a massive load of Skaters related esoterica i put on my ipod about a year ago, and the fuzzed out warbling synths and National Geographic beats fit the mood, melding with the breeze and the dirt to create an idyllic trance state. Particularly interesting, coming from Les Baxter, and into Lunar Testing Lab: an alternate history of Armchair Astral Travelling. This stuff is in line, in the spirit, of recent noteworthies such as Ducktails, Predator Vision, Sun Araw, El Guincho, Panda Bear; anyone with a gravity bong, a 4 track, and the Discovery Channel. Anyone who thinks Miami would be a neat place to visit. But doesn't really like to travel. ButButBut, Mr. Spencer Clark's auditory vision is just a little less precious, a little less sweet. More stoned. Paranoid. Tripped out and beautiful. More of a night of lysergic revelations than some pills and a pacifier. Ragged and rewarding, 6 tracks of imagination. Dusting this off has re-fired my ardor for the raw wonder emanating from the cassette underground, (which was all brand new to me, when i started this blog). It also fills me with the desire to bang on pots and pans, to make stoned out manifestoes, on the reels, in the moment. I spent half of last night singing through metal tubes and banging on water coolers. THAT is the profound effect this music can have, as well as making a sublimely weird soundtrack to working in the garden.
Springtime is in full bloom here in Colorado, with open blue skies for days at a time, warm sun and smooth breezes. I have begun to emerge from my bedroom incubator into the wide open world; begun to blast the cobwebs from my gloomy mind. At times, the thoughts in my head are like a belt sander, grinding down unceasingly, until i cease to give a shit, and go for a walk. I spent the other day working in my roommate's garden, taking a day off from theories, conjecture, worry, projection; just digging, clipping, pruning, burning sage. The contrast of not planning every second of my life was startling, relaxing and unfolding into the potential energy of the day. I encountered many tasty musical morsels during the day, drifting on the mellow breeze with the white sage perfume. Listened to Ritual of the Savage, that i wrote about the other day, and discovered it to be much more enjoyable in the open air than cooped up in the house. I also unearthed two antiquated favorites: Casino Versus Japan, 'Go Hawaii!' and Monopoly Child Star Searchers, 'Start Levitating Now!'. Both fit the day perfectly; relaxing nuevo-exotica, drifting day-dreaming, day-tripping wandering imagination, swinging lazily in a hammock; pooling and coalescing around my fingers and feet, dripping into the soil like the runoff from the drip hose, massaging my fevered brainstem with woolen lo-fi cassette hiss lullabies. Casino Versus Japan were introduced to me during the Golden Era of Musical Initiation, 2000-2001, as i bust out of my coccoon and discovered the whole world was out there waiting to be heard. I had bust out of my classic-rock radio funk of hamster wheel repetition, and every day was a revelation, an adventure to be had. I was exploring new friends, i was crazy in love, flushed with romance, burning like a roman candle. Several years elapsed, without hearing this Golden Record, and i delightedly re-encountered it a couple of years ago. I was immediately warped through time, suffused with youth, but was also pleasantly surprised to see it fit the current times as well, not merely a retro nostalgia act. The fuzzy warbles sound surprisingly en vogue with the current trend of psychedelic lo-fi electronica, startling prescient considering its 1998 release. It came out the same year as Music has the Right to Children by Boards of Canada, another personal favorite, but i feel BoC stole all the acolades, and this lost masterpiece seeped underground, except among isolated heads. Hopefully a few uninitiated will discover the warm pleasure contained in these 12 track, and yr own winter kinks and worries will be slightly eased by the coming thaw. Casino Versus Japan - Go Hawaii!
I post this, almost arbitrarily, so as to not leave y'all hanging, while 'm still figuring out what the HEELL is going on with my uploading capability. Today I give you Marklar by Heyoka, whom my buddy described as "A wookie-looking Russian dude named Andrei," by way of San Francisco. I offer this for a number of good reasons: 1. i heard it this morning, and it made me feel good. 2. is a good example of the style of music which is popular around my work place, and thus i listen to EVERY SINGLE DAY. 3. a style of which i have recently been introduced, mainly when i started working this job, which could probably be considered Glitch-Hop, which sounds a lot like live Dubstep to me, and most of the time will TOTALLY ROCK YR FUCKIN' FACE! Heyoka's a little sweeter, a little subtler, than some of his hooligan, bass-head cousins; he's got some of the sw--e---e--tes-t St--uu--t--ers and rockingest Speak 'n Spells, that sound like ET crying for home. Smooth, sometimes trancey, but always bangin', this has been a real gem of the past couple o' months, and being reminded of its existence while folding lettuce and chopping Cilantro made for a pleasant Sunday Morning. Marklar Last.fm MySpace
There's been much talk of Dead Moon lately, with the resurrection of Pierced Arrows recently, who are basically Dead Moon with a different drummer. Reminded me that i had heard this band, once upon a time, and had appreciated their murky, bluesy jams. Made a point to check out one of Pierced Arrows' SXSW performances, at the Encore Patio, and was glad that i did. They were raw, rough, and ready (Toody Cole, the bass player, actually had to stop the action to make Fred Cole, guitar player and husband, tune his axe!) Age and experience were dripping from Fred and Toody's exchanged vocals, joy and pain the likes of which a 20 year old just can't fathom. Dead Moon have always been about the basics, the essentials, delivering their stripped down garage-punk message with as little fluff as possible. Not trying to be hip, slick, or cool. Seems real, seems honest, to me, and besides that, it FUCKING ROCKS. Rather curiously, listening to these guys and the like has re-ignited my blazing love for Rock 'n Roll, garage, heavy metal, and otherwise. It takes my mind off my problems. It takes my mind off my mind. Dead Moon strike me as essentially a Garage Rock band, with punk rock attitude, and a lo fidelity aesthetic, (most likely by necessity). There are also elements of surf, rockabilly, and country buried beneath the fuzz, as well. Even when they are ripping out good times party music, (like the track Milk Cow Blues i am listening to right now, which sounds like an early Stones outtake, when they were still a blues band), there still seemed to be a beating heart there. Some humanity, some honest to god emotional communication, which makes them more intriguing to me, and worth repeated investigation. I'm not much interested in 2 dimensional music, superficial even. So i am bringing Dead Moon - 13 off My Hook, for your appreciation.
This was brought to my attention via Marilyn Roxie, featured previously over at J's Heaven. It is available as a free download, from her new Netlabel, Vulpiano Records. I must say, this is pretty high quality stuff for a free download. A Double LP, full of sprawling extraterrestrial sonorities, sci-fi yet earthy simultaneously. It makes me think of that The Centauri Agent, from beyond space and time, is stranded on this third rock from the sun, and is staring up at the night sky, missing his friends and family. It is haunting and mournful, yet peaceful and poignant as well. NSB seem to really excel at creating mood and soundscapes. All of the ingredients are well placed; an acoustic guitar strumming out of the ether, a shaker, an oscillattor, marching in off the wings to make the static drones interesting, textured, emotional. Their albums are wonderful for daydreaming, long walks, reading, napping. Truly 'incidental listening,' when yr ears do wander back over, there is always something interesting to pick out. Not exactly something to hum along to, not necessarily a great make-out record, their records are, however, superb introspection vehicles, meditative, trance-inducing. I've had a few transcendent experiences, as i've explored their back catalog over the last year. 'The Centauri Agent' is a great place to dive into their (admittedly rather vast) canon, and check out one of the best bands work in the ritualistic drone field. Thanks to Marilyn, for turning me on to this band in the first place, and for putting this record together. It is inspiring to me, that people are putting such time and care into good art, without capitalist concerns. Marilyn has given a more thorough track by track breakdown, over at her A Future in Noise blog, as well as a link to FLAC files, for you Audiophiles.
The records available here are for evaluation purposes only. Please support any and all artists you discover here. Just tryin to spread a little love and broaden people's horizons. If any artist or label has a problem with something being posted, just get in touch and it will be removed. If you are a band and want yr material to be featured here at jsheaven, drop me a line and a .rared file. My review queue is slightly backed-up, but i will get to it. Thanks for stopping by! firstname.lastname@example.org