Friday, May 28, 2004

I’ve mentioned it on this blog before but it’s well worth repeating that English improvisational psych-free jazz-folksters Volcano the Bear will be doing their first live appearance in Sweden in Norrköping on June 23rd. I fully endorse everyone even remotely interested in music that transcends time and culture while at the same time treading over new sonic territory to make the trip to this rather unlikely gig. I know that I will…

Read more (in Swedish) about the gig here.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

I’ve come to two conclusions today:

1. The Bardo Pond & Tom Carter collaboration disc on Three Lobed might very well be the album of the year. Well, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration but it has some sections of pure sonic bliss. Strongly recommended to just about everyone reading this blog.
2. Foxy Digitalis is one of the most consistently great web ‘zines at the moment.


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Simon Wickham-Smith "Rapt" (Disposable Thumb Recordings)
A friend of mine recently released the latest work from the equally brilliant and disturbing Simon Wickham-Smith. Here’s some information about the disc:

On his latest release, with beautiful hand-printed foldover jackets of his own design, Simon continues to explore his obsessions and fascinations with reverence, wry wit and a skillful ear. Aesthetically similar to 2002's Dyrø (PseudoArcana), the CD is an exercise in "wonderment and rapture" via the friendly conduits of electronic drone, cut and paste minimalism and mischievous white noise. Oftentimes a confluence of contrasting disciplines and perspectives, the document is a rich work of intricate spells merging tension and release. Says Simon of Meiji13: "It's a very uncharacteristic foray into program music: the fuzz over the top is like a patina of age, like hearing Caruso singing I Pagliacci." Oh yeah…ecstasy and corrosion. Edition of 1000.

For further investigation check out the label’s website:


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I’ve been hearing loads of great music recently, but I haven’t really been able to pin down my thoughts about it in mere words. So while waiting for that to happen here are three reviews of sadly neglected or limited records from 2003.

Keijo S/t (Lal Lal Lal)
Now this is possibly one of the most unique things I’ve been fortunate enough to treat my ears to during 2003. It’s simply impossible to place this recording in any given genre but at the same time it’s firmly rooted in the past. The past is represented through harmonic acoustic strings, medleys of bell tones and deep resonating chimes while the future shines through it all with synthetic landscapes constructed from samples, organs, theremins and computers. To stand by and see the subtle collisions between ancient Tibetan soundscapes and modern technology is not only striking it’s downright mesmerizing. Despite the modern touch there is something old and mystical about all this, as if this record had been hidden for us for some 30 years and only recently appeared in the daylight. If forced to mention someone who I could imagine doing a record in a similar ball park as Keijo Virtanen I’d say Matthew Bower of Sunroof! fame, or maybe Neil Campbell could be a man for the task. But what Keijo does is still folkier and certainly sends a discrete nod in the direction of the so called "New Weird America" scene. Virtanen is from the Jyväskylä area in Finland, which in some circles is said to be the center of the universe. I’ve always commented to this with something like, "yeah, right" before but after hearing this album I'm starting to think that there might be something to such a statement after all. Either way, this is an album that you can’t ignore, that with its exploratory and glacial, but ever-changing qualities move like dark cosmic clouds across a dense galactic plane, or should that be around a Tibetan temple in a mountainous setting? It’s your pick.

AM “Strata” (Pseudoarcana)

A.M.’s Strata is not only treasured for its gurgling drones and quietly brutal feedback attacks. No this one also offers visual beauty of the highest order with one illustration accompanying each of the nine tracks. The one illustrating the minimal drone affair which is “If You Walk Gentle” is a particularly abstract piece of art, somehow managing to visualize the glacial aspects of the track without loosing the sense of constant movement. “Take My Tide” sounds like its title and has a bit of Galbraithian sadness attached to it while “Last Song of the Machine” (the album is dedicated to the memory of the ancient and often repaired tape recorder that was finally and forevermore decommissioned during the recordings of this track) sounds like a hymn from someone who all to well knows that things just are about to end. It’s a beautiful piece that maintains a fairly constant tone but still let loose so many aural details. It sounds a bit like passing through a tunnel of mellow, Sunroofian beauty and dementia. To me it’s the kind of clattering bliss that fits just perfectly before heading into the deep forest of the superb, violin-laced “No Exotica (not really)”. It’s destined to bring a sad, serious look to your face that won’t disappear until the last overtones unite with the New Zealand tide water.

JMJ Trio “ In the Absence of the Third” (Ontological Records)
Getting the opportunity to listen to (and review) music from someone you consider a friend is always a bit troublesome, because there's always a point when you'll have to face the person in question and let him or her know what you actually think. I'm relieved to report that Broken Face writer Tim Elder and musical compadre Michael Machemer who work as JMJ Trio have what it takes, and they deliver it in spades on their debut LP. Before discussing the music I should let you know that when I got this LP I could do nothing for a few minutes but stare at it and touch the hand-painted silkscreen covers. The packaging is just gorgeous and clearly a labor of love and passion, and it's not hard to see that it took at least one or two perfectionists in action to realize this record. But let's now dive deep into the oceanic guitar improvisations which are In the Absence of the Third. What we're served with are six pieces of lush ambient soundscapes and droning haziness, which comes from alternately tuned and prepared electric guitars, effects, and various field recordings. One could trace this recording back to some of the floating sonic icebergs that have appeared on the Corpus Hermeticum label as well as to the music of Oren Ambarchi and Rafael Toral, but there's also a distant predilection for musique concrete experiments nodding towards something more extreme. The general feel is like sitting right in front of some tone generator that sends out sound particles from beyond, creating almost weightless gossamers of sound waves from a strong compositional ability. I'd be happy to see more along these lines when exploring other contemporary minimalists' works. If you share our interest in some of the greatest minimalists and aren't afraid of finding as much emotion as compositional sense packed within each tone, then you'll love this as much as I do. Contact the label at ontologicalrecs@hotmail.com.


Friday, May 14, 2004

Pan American “Quiet City” (Kranky)
I am not really sure this one is out yet but if not I assume it’s only a matter of weeks. And since it was pretty much on constant repeat last week I just have to say a few words about it already now. I’ve promised myself to never fall into the trap of relating everything to my kids (if I ever would get any), but I just got to tell you about my six weeks old daughter Katja’s reaction when she first heard the flugelhorn-infused “Hot Volk”. She was in the worst mood you can imagine, screaming at the highest possible volume no matter what you did. But when the organic instrumentation of “Hot Volk” started seeping out of the speakers it was almost like her world stopped. She just looked towards the speakers and didn’t close her wide-open mouth until the track was over. To tell you the truth I’ve never seen anything like it and someone capable of creating such impressive sounds got to be someone special. Mark Nelson, founding member of Labradford and general magic wizard when it comes to spacious and airily ambient electronica, is the man behind the wheels who with exacting precision binds together electronic leanings with organic washes. It’s all relaxing without ever getting boring, which might have something to do with Nelson’s ear for details and the way he makes every sound gracefully float around the next one before uniting into one ornamental whole. It’s the finest Pan American material I have yet heard and well up there with any of his previous work with Labradford. If you consider that a compliment this one is definitely for you.


Monday, May 10, 2004

Scott Tuma “Hard Again” (Truckstop)
I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy listening to Scott Tuma’s Hard Again when I put it on this weekend. It manages to provide a warbling sonic journey from the heart to the brain that you never really get tired of taking. What we get are hazy improvisations that come packed with blurry images of mist-clad harbors at night, orange leaves slowly making their way to the ground and two differently colored rivers uniting in one. But beyond the soft, cloud-like characteristics there is also something otherworldly and slightly alien to these droning guitarscapes. In a similar way as Roy Montgomery, John Fahey and even Jim O’Rourke, Tuma knows exactly how to be gentle, frightening, desolate and emotional at the same time in the same space. Discovering Tuma’s solo material was one of my personal musical highlights of 2003, and I have a feeling you’ll feel the same way if you decide to examine his mesmerizing and soothing sound world closely. Highly recommended.

Steffen Basho-Junghans “Rivers and Bridges” (Strange Attractors)
One of 2002’s finest records was the staggering Red Horse, White Mule from Jack Rose. German Steffen Basho-Junghans’ Rivers and Bridges almost reached the same position in 2003 which hardly comes as a surprise given that they have a lot in common in the sense that they both explore a similarly beautiful and desolate acoustic guitar landscape. The spirit of the late Robbie Basho and John Fahey guards over these six tracks just as if to make sure that we never forget these incredible Takoma icons. That risk is obviously minimal around these parts and when someone like Basho-Junghans shows up and makes his own personal interpretation of the raga meets country and blues finger-picking style I just hope that it’ll add some newcomers to the genre. Maybe they’ll even go the other way around, through Basho-Junghans music finding the way to classics like Voice of the Turtle (Fahey) and Grail and the Lotus (Basho). But let’s get back to Rivers and Bridges, which offers two epic acoustic steelstring guitar suites and four shorter tracks. But it’s no point to examine this recording track by track as they all are part of something a lot bigger, flowing and ebbing in terms of mood and intensity. Basho-Junghans’ sequenced the album to evoke “a walk through seasons with streams of pictures, stories, moods, rhythms and colors”. I find it hard to describe this meeting between Middle Eastern guitar, Indian ragas, experimentalism and folk beauty in a better way. Take a walk through whatever inspiring landscape you can think of with Rivers and Bridges playing in headphones and I am sure you’ll see what I mean. It doesn’t get much better.

If this sounds interesting make sure to also get hold of Basho-Junghans brand new double disc 7 Books on Strange Attractors.

Inspired by a recent e-mail correspondence with a friend of mine I have found myself listening to pretty much nothing but guitar music the entire weekend. To celebrate all this I am happy to re-publish a few reviews that originally saw the light of the day in various issues of The Broken Face. First out is Susan Alcorn. More to come…

Susan Alcorn “Uma” CD (Loveletter Recordings)
I have been following the Houston underground/improv/folk and what-not scene via Dunlavy, Charalambides (first re-located to Austin and now spread over the entire continent), Linus Pauling Quartet, Dave Dove, Hawthorne Improvisation Collective, Rotten Piece, Ouoroboros, Kable and many others for quite a few years now. Worthy of note whilst shopping in Houston is also Uma, a year 2000 release from Susan Alcorn, a name that continuously has kept popping up here and there in the outskirts of the Houston underground in recent years. Uma includes seven floating instrumentals for the pedal steel guitar, and as much as it is unusual to see this instrument used in this kind of beautiful and challenging context, it's also refreshing and vibrant. The stunning ten minute opener "Uma's River Song of Love" finds Alcorn's guitar exploring every possible side of emptiness while Susie Wasserstrom's tinkling bells and Dave Dove's trombone hide in the distant shadows. On a spiritual plane, you can definitely see reference points to the more mellow work from the aforementioned Charalambides, so I guess it's quite fitting that Tom Carter engineered the whole thing. "Dancing" is, as the title suggests, lighter but nonetheless eerily beautiful, while "Kalimankou Denkou" is a Bulgarian song of morning for a dead husband. And this sad moment couldn't possibly be better captured than on this fragile piece, saturated with an inconsolable sense of loss. Another highlight is the more abstract "The Bells of Amden (fur Suzanne)" where Alcorn shows her incredible talent for fully absorbing the moment while each shivering note from the steel guitar curls around the sound of distant church bells. Alcorn's playing and technique here and elsewhere is amongst the best I've ever heard, but more importantly this is instrumental music that you can actually feel moving in a never-ending loop between your mind and your heart.


Friday, May 07, 2004

Playlist #3
Vapaa ”S/t” CD-R (267 lattajjaa)
Tom Carter ”Monument” CD (Kranky)
Pan American ”Quiet City” CD (Kranky)
Songs of Norway ”Despite The Cloak” LP+7" (Beta Lactam Ring)
Rollerball “Behind the Barber” CD (Silber Records)
1/3 Octave Band ”The System Likes You and Wants...” CD-R (Pseudoarcana)
Various Artists ” Rural Psychogeography” CD (Nexsound)
AMT & Escapade ”A Thousand Shades of Grey” CD (Funfundvierzig)
Stuart Busby ”Breathe” 3" CD-R (Kindling)
The Iron Kite “The Light In The Fog” CD-R (Twilight Flight Sound)


Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Iron Kite “The Light In The Fog” (Twilight Flight Sound)
Austin, TX has ever since the beginning of modern times offered some of the finest and weirdest psychedelia on the planet. All time favorites Charalambides are now spread across the continent but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some pretty great stuff going on in this hip and surprisingly green university town. Two of my most recent faves are Douglas Ferguson and Iron kite. I’ve spread praise about Ferguson’s psychedelic minimalism (think Stars of the Lid and the most recent Charalambides work and you’re in the right ballpark) elsewhere so I won’t dive deep into that again but what about Iron Kite? Well, they have bonds to well-esteemed but too-neglected ensembles such as the amazing Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast, Ethereal Planes Indian and Primordial Undermind and if you like any of these combos chances are pretty big this will be up your alley as well. Because what we get is a sort of spiraling improv which creates a fascinating feeling of being slightly lost. Lost as in the middle of fogbanks in some remote area, lost as in the middle of a cluster of streets looking exactly the same or simply lost in some slightly Eastern-inspired kaleidoscopic pattern of aural illusions where tones bend around one another with dizzying ease.

Rollerball “Behind the Barber” (Silber Records)
I once said that Portland’s Rollerball is all about organics, texture and surprisingly sonic gestures. Add to all this the occasional drone, samples, funky beats and deep audio experimentation and you know we’re in for an adventurous jazz listen. This is jazz for the ones who enjoy starting at the sky, exploring the space from a comfortable distance. That’s still very much the case on Behind the Barber (their tenth album and second for Silber), which somehow manages to bind together the chilly jazz and fragile folk/chamber explorations of Trail of the Butter Yeti (Road Cone) with the more poppy and cabaret theatric side of their Silber debut. The combination of the band’s most recent characteristics is simply superb and one can’t help but to be stunned by how something so genuinely experimental and genre-bending also can be so spacious and packed with grooves. The thing I enjoy the most is possibly when the band takes a right down free jazz street. But don’t let this fool you to believe that you’re in for some extreme manifestations along the lines of Ayler or Brötzmann, no this is fluid free-jazz spaciousness that is much more about textures and fragmentized world views than walls of noise. Not that we don’t get the occasional wailing horn but they’re just there to color the ornamental whole with yet another beautiful nuance. This criminally overlooked combo deserves a seat right next to Jackie-O Motherfucker on the bus to the psych/free jazz heavens.


Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Kinski "Don't Climb on and Take the Holy Water" (Strange Attractors)
Some time ago I had a discussion with a friend of mine and he mentioned how tiring he thinks it is to always observe the constant flood of details around us. Although I do understand what he means I have to say that I feel the opposite way. To stare at the landscape, urban or natural, and witness the sort of tiny shifts that you’ll never notice unless you’re patient, and are willing to give things time is one of the most mind-cleansing things I can think of. The landscape doesn’t have any barriers or limitations, and by that I don’t really refer to what you actually see but what sort of unrestrained stories those images create inside your own mind. I am aware that this is individual and maybe doesn’t the view of an overgrown oak alley leading to a seemingly forgotten homestead mean anything for you but I’ll probably start thinking about who used to live and what it was that made them leave. Maybe they migrated to the United States or maybe the kids just wouldn’t accept the hard farm life and preferred urbanity. A quick observation leads to a chain of thoughts that doesn’t end just because the bus has turned around the bend.

I like music which works in this way as well, sounds that somehow generate a foundation for something else and never reveals too much. Kinski’s subtle and all-improvised Don't Climb on and Take the Holy Water album on Strange Attractors works a whole lot like that which hardly comes as a surprise given that the goal of the project was “to experiment with mood, sound construction and interplay by channelling their chemistry into an exploration of their cosmic side.” The dreamlike and epic "The Misprint in the Gutenberg Print Shop" is possibly the finest track on the album with its mystical yet organic feel. Imagine being in the middle of a fog bank and totally loosing your sense of direction and you’re getting close to what this trip into things cosmic, ambient and minimalistic is all about. Kinski in this improvised incarnation can be found a bit away from their regular releases but if you dug the split release with Acid Mothers Temple and drooled over the cinematic Krautrock moves on Chris Martin’s solo project Ampbuzz then this one is definitely for you.


Monday, May 03, 2004

The article below was originally intended for a now defunct Swedish website and as I can’t see any other options in terms of publication right now you’ll find it here instead…so please excuse the temporary side step into the Swedish language.

Klockan hade precis slagit 3.00 och en turbulensfylld flygfärd över den Indiska Oceanen var äntligen till ända. Omtumlade stapplade vi förbi den överdrivet nitiska tullpersonalen på flygplatsen i Darwin och väl ute var det dags för den oundvikliga chocken. Den som alla Australienresenärer varnat oss för. Att ge sig ut i den extremt fuktiga, 30-gradiga februarinatten var som att låsa in sig i en såpbubbla som varit exponerad för extremt solljus i två månaders tid. Vart du än vände dig fanns det en vägg att kliva in i som alla högst påtagligt satte gränsen för de eventuella aktiviteter man kunde tänkas känna sig inspirerad att ta sig för. Just nu sträckte sig visserligen entusiasmen inte mycket längre än till att hitta en flygbuss till närmaste vandrarhemssäng men vetskapen om att det skulle vara än värre när vi vaknade upp dagen därpå gjorde väl inte precis nattsömnen lugnare. Detta var upptakten till en lång, dock alltför kort, resa i Australien och även om den på många sätt var fascinerande och värd att beskriva i detalj vill jag även redogöra för en nästan lika intressant resa genom samma kontinent från hemmaplan. Betrakta det följande som en imaginär förening av de båda.

Jag har med all önskvärd tydlighet redan klargjort mitt intresse för nya zeeländsk musik och hur den färgat stora delar av den jag är och vad jag lyssnar på, men kärleken har också haft negativa konsekvenser. Den allvarligaste jag kan komma på så här på rak arm är att den på något egendomligt vis placerat Nya Zeelands stora granne i väster lite grann i skymundan. Detta har i och för sig inte varit helt obefogat men samtidigt som mitt intresse till stora delar riktats mot skivbolag som Metonymic, Celebrate Psi Phenomenon och Corpus Hermeticum har en australiensisk scen av högklassiga mått börjat växa sig stark. Att ingen av de inblandade tycks vilja erkänna eller tro att det är frågan om en scen är liksom en bisak i sammanhanget. Skälet till deras ställningstagande blir man dock snabbt varse om man i sitt resande i Australien har några som helst intentioner att täcka en större del av landets areal. Upptäckten att man rört sig fyra millimeter på kartan efter att ha åkt bil i åtta timmar från Darwin är inte bara en fråga om skala utan den huvudsakliga insikten är att det här är ett land som är enormt. Många gånger större än vad vi någonsin kunnat drömma om.

För de som tar mod till sig och överger den skyddade verkligheten, den luftkonditionerade bilen, väntar utöver den gränslösa hettan redan ett annat landskap än det som Darwin har att erbjuda. Borta är tendenserna till grönska och smått absurd urbanitet och framför oss breder en ocean av tomhet och små gester ut sig. Tankarna leder till tonsmeden Oren Ambarchi vars musik karaktäriseras av en liknande öppenhet och karghet. Det som på ytan ter sig som icke-föränderligt och rent av statiskt är egentligen en bris av små detaljer som alla en efter en flyttas ett litet steg bortifrån där vi just nu befinner oss. Den tillsynes oändliga vyn kan först förefalla enformig men ju mer man tittar inser man hur mycket skönhet, kraft och energi som finns dolt i detsamma och skylten som informerar om att närmaste bensinstation ligger 240 kilometer bort bara bekräftar vad man nog innerst redan visste. Att nu är det långt till den glättighet och käckhet som karaktäriserar så många av de personer en vanlig Australienturist oftast träffar på. De inhemska man träffar på i ”the outback” är så långt ifrån yta man bara kan komma och har alla utan undantag en historia att berätta. Som den om det mytomspunna The Lost Domain, en sedan länge övergiven stuga där den uppmärksamme tros kunna höra folk/jazz improvisationer krypa längs med husväggarna. En snabb blick genom det väderbitna fönstret på kortsidan ger inte sken av någon aktivitet men den mystiska musiken växer sig bara starkare. Den tycks breda ut sig ikapp med vinden, med själva grunden till alltings existens och är i sin bas så spirituell att den nästan har något religiöst över sig. Shamanismisk resonans i en parallellklass till Jackie-O Motherfucker och No Neck Blues Band, musik som nästan gör sig bättre ju mindre man vet om de involverade. Det enda som egentligen är viktigt att veta utöver de ljudmässiga kvaliteterna är att musik från denna plats numera återfinns på det lilla men mycket välrespekterade Adelaide-bolaget Rhizome.

Rhizome drivs av Jon Dale, en man med osedvanligt många musikaliska järn i elden. Utöver verksamheten med den egna etiketten gör han drömsk drone under namnet Moth, är ansvarig utgivare av det sensationellt välskrivna och intressanta fanzinet Astronauts (vilket utöver texter av Jon bland annat inkluderar en hel del artiklar av Wireskribenten David Keenan), skriver för en handfull andra musiktidningar och arrangerar musikfestivaler åt det mer extrema och improviserade hållet. Och när Dale inte fyller sin fritid med musik filar han på sin doktorsavhandling kring DIY-kulturen och punkmusik. Om det är någon som andas, dricker och äter musik dygnet runt så är det den här mannen. Bortser man från avhandlingen vilken jag ännu inte haft förmånen att ta del av är dessutom allt hans arbete av så hög klass att det är svårt att tänka sig en bättre kunskapsskälla och inkörsport när det gäller Australiensisk musik som tänjer på befintliga gränser och värderingar. Ska möjligen vara hans worldsofpossibility blog i så fall…

Vi väljer att ta tåget från Adelaide och via de vackra vingårdarna i sydost nås så småningom Australiens självutnämnda kulturella huvudstad, Melbourne. Men låt oss inte överge släkten Dale riktigt än för här hittar vi Jons bror Tony Dale som driver det något mer kommersiellt gångbara skivbolaget Camera Obscura. Tony säger själv att ”jag startade bolaget 1996 som en naturlig utveckling av mitt skrivande om psykedelisk musik på diverse diskussionsforum och för det brittiska fanzinet Ptolemaic Terrascope. Vad som i grund och botten får mina grundmurar att skaka är modern, syradoftande folk, psykedelisk pop och space rock.” Bolaget har snart uppemot sjuttio släpp på sin meritlista och några av de allra mest övertygande härstammar från folk som The Green Pajamas, Dipsomaniacs, Salamander, Abunai!, Rake, Jeff Kelly, Lazily Spun, Stone Breath, Bardo Pond, Alastair Galbraith, Alphane Moon, Marianne Nowottny, Black Sun Ensemble och många fler. Det finns nog endast ett fåtal personer som gillar allt det material som Camera Obscura släpper men det finns ingenting som är ointressant eller blasé. Kanske är det just denna kvalitetsstämpel kombinerat med nyckelordet psykedelia som länkar ihop bolagets aningen spretande katalog snarare än musikaliskt fokus. En person som jag ofta trott skulle kunna dyka upp på Camera Obscuras utgivningslista är den kriminellt förbigångne Melbournebaserade gitarristen Chris Smith, en man med obändig vilja att experimentera men likväl aldrig med konsekvensen att fullt ut överge det klassiska sångformatet. Hans strålande debut ”Cabin Fever” (Avalanche Express) från sent 90-tal går i samma rapsodiska och själrannsakande anda som Alastair Galbraith och skulle det finnas någon som helst rättvisa i denna värld skulle han ha ett minst lika gott rykte. Kanske har vi sett begynnelsen på en sådan utveckling då han nyligen skrivit på för samma bolag som Galbraith, det förnämliga Emperor Jones från Austin, Texas.

Efter att ha korsat så mycket land och andats så mycket sandfylld lantluft är det något av en befrielse att nå havet i Sydney. Det är något med dofterna, den i sammanhanget kyliga vinden som får nordbon i en att leva upp. Efter en tidig kväll väljer jag följdenligt en tidigt start dagen därefter. Utan någon egentlig plan drar jag mig mot hamnen och den terminal av kollektivtrafik på vatten som återfinns ett längre stenkast från en av världens allra mest kända silhuetter. Båt 14 tar mig till ett naturreservat i Sydneys utkanter. Luften är ljum och platsen är i princip öde, liksom mitt i ett djupt andetag inför den anstormning som snart är att vänta från ett den än så länge sovande storstaden. Från den branta klipphyllan som utgör kärnan av reservatet kan jag i horisonten se fartyg på väg in mot Sydneys hamn och det dova ljudet från avlägsna signalhorn ekar fortfarande i mitt medvetande när jag försvinner in i den värld av effektdränkta trumpetljud som Stuart Busby inviterar oss till. Kopplingen känns med ens uppenbar för det är något osannolikt vackert, luftigt och inte minst melankoliskt över Busbys korta kompositioner. Det är processionsmusik som får mig på gott humör, musik som hyllar minnet av någon som gått bort snarare än vältrar sig i självömkan. Kort sagt, det är ännu ett strålande bevis på den livskraft som just nu tycks finnas i australiensisk musik. Plattan ifråga heter Breathe (Kindling) och är visserligen inte särskilt lång men det behövs liksom inte mer. Vad mer kan egentligen sägas? Jo, att om tiden varit på min sida så skulle egentligen resan fortsatt upp längs ostkusten till Brisbane där allting skulle ha kunnat knytas samman. Men istället låter jag sträckan förbli oupptäckt, en sorts symbol för den ständiga utvecklingen av en ”scen” som nog egentligen inte är en scen överhuvudtaget. När jag tar båten tillbaka in till stan gör jag det i sällskap av Brisbanebon Leighton Craigs väsande orgelminimalism och plötsligt finns det inte längre några tvivel. Det blir en ny Australienresa inom kort.

Loscil "First Narrows" (Kranky)
Ever since Kranky decided to sign the amazing Charalambides I’ve started to regain my faith in what this pivotal Chicago label is capable of. If you want any further proof of all this all you need to do is basically to check out their 2004 catalogue which includes aural documents from the aforementioned Charalambides, Brent Gutzeit, Strategy, Keith Fullerton Whitman and the things coming around the bend is by no means any less interesting. Or how does Tom Carter and Pan American sound? Pretty great if you ask me and on top of all this Canadian Scott Morgan is back with his third album under the Loscil moniker.

It’s called First Narrows (named after the first gap to the entrance of the Burrard Inlet, over which the Lions Gate Bridge spans; the main entrance into Vancouver from the Pacific Ocean.) and might very well be the one of his albums I enjoy the most. From the very beginning it’s pretty clear that it takes a side step away from the all-electronic predecessors to a mix of burbling beats, electronic landscapes and something a whole lot more organic. The latter probably has something to do with the ample use of sampled instruments such as piano, cello and guitar but don’t get me wrong, this is still very much an album tipping its toes in everything people like myself like about electronica. There are well-concealed melodies, ethereal dreamscapes, subtle grooves, cyclical beats, slowly swelling drones and above all there’s an emotional depth many electronic artists are lacking.