Thursday, September 30, 2004


Broken Face Recordings has a new website where the latest information about the upcoming split release with Oklahoma's Digitalis imprint can be found.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Fursaxa at Sugar Bar, Stockholm

Seeing Fursaxa play live at the Sugar Bar in Stockholm last night was one of the most overwhelmingly psychedelic and hypnotic experiences I’ve had in quite a while. Fursaxa’s (AKA Tara Burke) music sounded like colors in the sky, shades of pink and blue reflecting in soft time lapse clouds, fluffy clouds making wonderful shapes that slowly change over time. Just like the clouds, this is music that takes the time needed to get where it’s going. The ones who are willing to wait will be rewarded with transcendent and captivating qualities of drone and raga type music that dives deep into the pool of folk, psychedelia and experimentalism.

Her music could typically be described as song-based, though the songs tend to stretch out in minimalist style (fans of Nico will find some associations here), and often have a wonderful, simplistic character that relates her music back to the folk of the hill country. You're tucked away, removed. You have a sense of the real action being elsewhere, although it’s actually right there all along.

It is really difficult to transfer Fursaxa’s recorded material to a live setting so don’t expect that, but if you like Tara herself (as she stated in a Broken Face interview last year) enjoy Joni Mitchell, Nico, and Yoko Ono as much as the Dead C, Sun City Girls, Incredible String Band, and Brian Eno then this is definitely for you.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Upcoming Broken Face/Digitalis release...

The rumor says that the sailor has set sail for our sunny shores with a master and original artwork of the upcoming Broken Face/Digitalis release…stay tuned for more information.


Monday, September 27, 2004

Playlist #9
Christina Carter & Black Forest/Black Sea s/t (Time-Lag)
Oddfellows Casino Winter Creatures (Pickled Egg)
Christina Carter Living Contact (Kranky)
Eluvium Lambent Material (Temporary Residence)
The Lost Domain Sailor, Home from the Sea (upcoming album)
Peter Wright Desolation Beauty Violence (Digitalis)
Greg Davies Somnia (Kranky)
Aquarium Poppers Beautifully Smart (Happy Birthday/35 g)
Green Pajamas Essence of Carol (Luna Music)
Fursaxa s/t (Ecstatic Peace)


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Oddfellows Casino Winter Creatures (Pickled Egg)

When I think about Oddfellows Casino’s debut album Yellow Bellied Wonderland I foremost think of delicate pop beauty, hidden under a patchwork blanket of unusual sonic twists and turns, informed by elements of jazz, folk, haunting electronica, psychedelia and avante-garde accents. But I also think of something incredibly homey and comfortable, so it makes perfect sense that the opening lines from Brighton-based singer-songwriter David Bramwell’s second album goes something like this:

“Welcome to Oddfellows Casino, welcome back old friends, you know where the tea’s kept, and welcome if you’re new, if you wanna smoke then please do, take your shoes off, make a brew, there’s biscuits in the cupboard, just for you”

This introduction suggests the meeting with an old friend and that’s exactly what this record does for me. Written and recorded in collaboration with Stereolab's Simon Johns, the album blends elements from psychedelia, folk, jazz, experimentalism, electronica and Canterbury pop/prog into a sonic brew that I suspect will be ingrained into my living room walls by the time the winter is here. This one is for absent friends and for making it through another long, dark winter.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Phosphene The Story of the King Who Would See Paradise (nidnod)
Kuupuu Sateen Suutelemat (

I guess if any one idea or theme permeates 2004 (although I am pretty sure I said just the same thing last year) for me it is that of micro-labels. The most recent discovery for myself is the nidnod label out of Ipswich, England. I am not yet a happy owner of all of their releases but if the latest two additions to their catalogue are any indicators of the quality of the rest I know I’ll have a lot of catching up to do. First out is a CD-R from Phosphene, the solo project of John Cavanaugh (previously a member of the much-heralded Scotland duo Electroscope). What we get is brilliantly textured soundscapes and drones that are all placed in the middle of an old tale (The Orange Fairy Book) of sorts. I guess you could say that this is as much a lyrical story as it’s music, but that doesn’t in any way decrease the value of the disc, rather the opposite. The clarinet sound that appears about halfway through the twenty minutes long disc is actually alone worth the price of admission. Whilst shopping from Ipswich you should definitely get hold of the limited and gorgeously packaged Kuupuu cassette as well. Kuupuu is basically music and drawings (in a similar terrain as Jan Anderzen) made by Jonna Karanka, who also makes music with Finnish ensembles such as Kukkiva Poliisi, the Anaksimandros, Maniac's Dream and Avarus. Given that I guess it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that we get narcoleptic folk sketches and vaguely haunting psych meanderings that surely will appeal to people that are fans of music that go out of their way to be strange and eerily beautiful at the same time.


Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Dead Texan s/t (Kranky)

There is a certain kind of artists that in some peculiar way has the ability to generate that blank stare on my face. The undisputed masters of this genre are Stars of the Lid so it’s not very surprising that Adam Wiltzie’s (of the aforementioned combo) solo project The Dead Texan has a similarly hypnotic effect. There is a very thin line between what I am talking about here and sounds that make you shut your eyes, with the main difference being that the “blank stare” genre not only provides beauty but also has a depth that makes you question the very foundation your life lies upon. This might sound a bit pretentious and it probably is, but when listening to Wiltzie’s nocturnal drone affairs that’s pretty much what happens, and if you don’t consider that a great compliment you’re the one with problems.

Clusters of guitar shadows tear holes through subtle piano and string landscapes on an empty road stretch that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere, until you start looking for something else. Open your eyes and let the flowing melodies and gentle yet complex textures get deeply ingrained into your mind and you’ll be rewarded with an album that employs small gestures to achieve a great deal.


Friday, September 17, 2004

Nagisa Ni Te The Same As A Flower CD (Jagjaguwar)

The deeply spiritual Osaka duo Nagisa Ni Te has been household favourites around here for a few years now. Shinji Shibayama and Masako Takeda’s new The Same As A Flower album for Jagjaguwar might not be quite up there with the immortal On the Love Beach but it’s still overflowing with innocent and quite irresistible folk-psych lullabies, seemingly constructed in some sort of brighter world than the one I reside in. It’s kind of relieving to escape into their blossoming dreamland for a while and forget every-day problems and worldwide disasters that all too often tends to occupy our minds. Lie down in their overgrown garden and let Takeda’s breathless vocals drape you in a warm, comfortable blanket while Shibayama’s rather simple but gently intriguing guitar melodies meander around your head like a river though pastoral landscapes. If you're willing to let these aural structures seep into your skull, you'll find the company of Nagisa Ni Te not only pleasant, but also meditative, with enough striking organic features to make you smile for the rest of the day. How many albums can you say have that sort of potential these days?


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Playlist #8
Sandoz Lab Technicians Everything’s Fifteen (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon)
Hush Arbors S/t (Self-released)
Nagisa Ni Te The Same as a Flower (Jagjaguwar)
Ghost Hypnotic Underworld (Drag City)
Hush Arbors/The North Sea Singing Through Moss & Mist (Digitalis)
Phosphene The Story of the King Who Would See Paradise (nidnod)
The Lost Domain Sailor, Home from the Sea (upcoming album)
Kuupuu Sateen Suutelemat (nidnod)
The Volebeats Up North (Safe House)
The Winter Parataxes (Fiff Dimension)


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Sandoz Lab Technicians Everything’s Fifteen (CPP)
There's no way on earth that I could pin down what New Zealand's Sandoz Lab Technicians are doing in mere words. Their sound is way too complex and genre-bending to be placed in any existing field. I guess ominous phrases like free noise, primitive layers of feedback and molten improv work to a certain degree, but I can't help but to feel rather limited with these descriptions. And beyond the general feel that such terms invoke, they don't really do this combo justice. None are really accurate, as it gives the impression that Sandoz Lab Technicians is solely a noise ensemble. They might not exactly be easy listening, but in the middle of the intoxicating and sometimes disturbing amalgam of noise, free jazz and drone there's a sense of beauty and isolation that is much more seducing than it is alienating. Just like New Zealand itself, their music can be so calm and placid but with rawness and magma explosions just gurgling beneath the surface, waiting to erupt from a fissure somewhere. And when something does erupt, we get a sonic ambush of freeform cosmic patterns where the instruments are no longer easily identified. Maybe it takes a certain kind of listener to appreciate the multi-dimensional sounds of albums such as the masterful The Tale of the Pixielamb, the cavernous Let Me Lose My Mind Gracefully, the cinematic Synaptic Acres and the brand new live document Everything’s Fifteen. Or maybe it’s simply as Tim Cornelius once put it in a Broken Face interview: "with SLT music, and others like it, you have to move your head outwards and apprehend it, rather than have it come boogieing up to you in a familiar, short-hand fashion."


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Playlist #7

The most mouth-watering line-up I’ve seen at any festival during 2004 is for sure the one for Pasture Music, which was held on a farm somewhere outside Madison, Wisconsin in July. Or how does seeing folks like Pelt, Of, Barlow/Petersen/Wivinus, Black Twig Pickers, Spires that in the Sunset Rise, Jack Rose, Black Forest/Black Sea, Christina Carter, Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice, Matt Valentine & Erika Elder, Davenport and The Blithe Sons in two days sound? Pretty fucking amazing if you ask me and if it hadn’t been an ocean behind me and the event…well, you know what I mean. Organizing the whole thing was people from the 23 Productions label and given the scope of the festival it’s hardly surprising that this is a label that appears a cpl of times in my brand new playlist. Her we go…

Davenport Sun Your Open Mouth (23 Productions)
Growing The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light (Kranky)
Number None Ways of Sleepers, Ways of Wakers (Self-released)
The Bevis Frond Hit Squad (Woronzow)
V/A Klang Spectrum 2 (23 Productions)
Candiru The Enchanted Island of Candiru (23 Productions)
Black Forest/Black Sea Radiant Symmetry (Last Visible Dog)
Pelt For Michael Hannahs (VHF)
Anna Sjalv Tredje Tussilago Fanfara (Silence Records)
Marissa Nadler Ballads of Living and Dying (Eclipse)