Sunday, October 30, 2005


Terrastock 6 will be taking place in Providence, Rhode Island USA on April 21st, 22nd and 23rd, 2006. Location map: http://tinyurl.com/azer9

Nine years after the very first Terrastock, the festival returns to Providence, Rhode Island for 2006. And this time it promises to be bigger and better than ever, with an unrivalled international line-up of hand picked experimental rock and folk bands from around the world, over half of which have never previously appeared at a Terrastock festival.

Brought to you this year by Secret Eye in conjunction with Terrascope Online, Terrastock 6 is be staged in two centrally located, neighbouring buildings in Providence. The main stage will be at Pell Chafee Performance Center, a beautiful old bank building constructed in 1929. It is an amazing open space with a three story tall high-vaulted ceiling. The second stage is being hosted at AS220. AS220 is a community arts centre that has been promoting art, music and culture from Rhode Island, plus national and international artists, for over 20 years.

Tickets are $110 for the whole weekend (inclusive of postage, booking fees and admin charges) and are available NOW http://terrascope.co.uk/ - it's advisable to order early since experience tells us Terrastock tickets sell out very quickly indeed.

A list of confirmed bands who will be appearing at T6 appears below. Note that we're still awaiting final confirmation from several others - we also have an extensive "reserves list" in the unlikely event that any bands or artists are forced to cancel.

Avarus (Finland)
Bardo Pond
Black Forest / Black Sea
College Girls Gone Wild
Damon and Naomi
Ghost (Japan)
Glenn Jones & Cul de Sac
Kemialliset Ystävät (Finland)
Sharron Kraus
Larkin Grimm
The Magic Carpathians Project (Poland)
Major Stars
Marissa Nadler
Jack Rose
St Joan (UK)
Thought Forms (UK)
Spacious Mind (Sweden)
Spires that in the Sunset Rise
Tanakh (Italy)
Windy & Carl



Saturday, October 29, 2005

Spacious Mind interview

Some of you might be interested to know that I just did an interview with the Spacious Mind. You can find it at Terrascope online. While checking that site out, make sure to stop by at the Terrastock pages….who is going?


Friday, October 28, 2005

After the goldrush #7 part 3

Nevada City, CA artist Alela Menig occupies a parallel, but completely obscured, space to the somewhat hyped neo-folk movement, but I suspect that Menig won’t reach the same attention as Banhart and the rest of the gang as what she does has much more to do with honesty, insights and longing for a place that feels like home than pretence and posing. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked his first cpl of Devendra albums but the more recent step away from the weirdo folky to some sort of iconic neopsych is to tell you the truth not that exciting. A friend of mine recently said that he’s worried about the new US folkies becoming a new establishment, a new tradition when a lot of it is just posing. I am tempted to agree and I guess what I am trying to say is that Alela has the kind of authenticity that a lot of these people seem to be lacking. The Pirate's Gospel (self-released) is by no means a perfect listen and it’s possibly a bit too structured to completely get me going, but it’s a very pleasant place to get lost in every now and then, and the occasional repressed magic shines through it all like the autumn sun finding its way through dense layers of clouds.

The long-awaited follow-up to the Goblin Market’s sadly neglected masterpiece Ghostland (Camera Obscura) from 2001 is finally here. Haunted (Camera Obscura) is just like its predecessor inspired by literature and in this case it’s the gothic stories of American author Joyce Carol Oates that sets the tone. The Goblin Market is a spin-off project from the Green Pajamas, centered around Jeff Kelly and Laura Weller, and Haunted finds them examining all sorts of morbid tendencies and dark visions. Sonically speaking I guess you could describe this duo as chamber folk, but there are also some of the most beautiful harmonies, folk rock tendencies, soaring electric guitar leads and an overall gothic tone present here, which really places them in a category of their own. Initially I find myself missing the stripped down and solemn tone of Ghostland but the more I listen the more I tend to appreciate the chosen track and the greater variation both within and between tracks. After listening to this somewhat demanding disc all morning I am getting curious about the novels and poetry of Oates. If anyone has any recommendations of where to start, don’t hesitate to let me know.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

After the goldrush #7…part 2

Norwegian Kobi is primarily the work of Kai Mikalsen, but Dronesyndrome (Silber) shows how closely knit the Norwegian underground scene is as it includes contributions from a number of the most capable Norwegian droneheads and improvisers. Dronesyndrome is just like the title suggests an ocean-deep, slightly claustrophobic drone affair that is almost collage-like in its overall structure. I realize that I use that term loosely here as we’re talking about microscopic fragments and densely knit drone webs. Found sounds wrestle gently with conventional instruments like cello, double bass, accordion and guitar, but it’s rather the feel of a consistent and cohesive whole that best describes this darkly seducing drone machine.

Whilst shopping from Silber you might also want to check out If Thousands’ I Have Nothing, which also resides in the drone stratosphere but which offers something a whole lot less aggressive and more varied. Finely textured cloths of warm drones a la Stars of the Lid meet up with Indian ragas and dense clusters of sound dust that has me thinking about Flying Saucer Attack at their most abrasive. Nice.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

After the goldrush #7…part 1

Getting a new position at work, being on vacation and trying to be a family man of highest caliber means that I have found myself a bit behind in terms of writing those reviews that I try to present here on a regular basis. In order to catch up it’s time for another one of those After the goldrush columns. First out is the microscopic sound world of the German sound artist Hanna Hartman’s Longitude/Cratere on the Komplott label. Hartman provides us with two epic tracks that walk the tightrope between modern composition, field recordings and detailed sound clusters. The subtle but alienating “Cratere,” which partly consists of recordings of the Italian volcano Etna, is particularly impressive with a sense of bubbling energy hidden just under the surface. Hartman is a careful and thorough sound collector well worthy your respect and money.

Former Jessamine bass player and singer Dawn Smithson is another woman who uses small gestures to get her point across. Safer Here (Kranky) is an album that is all about all about bare bones, coming off sort of like Nick Drake crossed with Cat Power at her fragile best, but Smithson has her own very capable voice and abilities, and they shine through on this stark, sometimes saddening disk. With personal additions of guitars, accordion and keyboards some songs become fleshed out in a Talk Talk kind of way, and if you know me you know what sort of compliment that is. All in all this is mostly the kind of solemn, conversational record that may be hard to take all in one listen, but if you’re feeling a bit melancholy you can’t really go wrong.

There’s no secret that I love the music of Tape, a Stockholm-based trio capable of conjuring some of the finest organically evolving improvisations, acoustic drones and pastoral soundscapes out there today. Their new album Rideau (Häpna) is not going to change that, but I am just not sure I dig it quite as much as their previous outings. Tape’s music still speaks with unspecified sadness and environmental beauty but it’s all packaged in urbanity this time out, rather than vast ruralness. I suspect that this to a high degree has to do with the fact that Marcus Schmickler of Pluramon fame produced the whole thing in his Cologne studio, as opposed to previous albums where the band did it all on their own. I am not necessarily stating that Rideau is less interesting and rewarding, but it certainly shows a slightly new direction for the band. Although I probably wouldn’t place this disk on par with the stunning Milieu, it’s still a very capable outing from one of finest bands on the planet.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Zelienople Ink (267 Lattajjaa)

I’ve praised this Chicago-based combo’s music quite extensively before, but I still find it somewhat difficult to describe exactly what it is that makes them so special. Some of their drone/post rock/slow core/experimentalism moves have surely been examined before but there’s a density and sense of hidden energy under the surface that places these guys ahead of the rest of the squad.

This fairly new CD-R from the 267 Lattajjaa label is no exception from that rule as it elegantly glides through cinematic dreamscapes, urban fog, free-flowing improvisations, corrosive string ceremonies and detailed mantras of fragmentized noise. Given its sonic focus, Ink is a surprisingly moody and melancholic listen, never letting things to slip away too far from the organic base Zelienople refers to as home.

Zelienople is starting to gain attention in certain circles but if you ask me things are going way too slow. What we need now is a relatively big US label (what about Kranky?) to reissue this stunningly delicate and convincingly toned down sound sculpture. This is harmonically and texturally challenging drone music packed with so much emotion and darkly seducing beauty that it sucks me in time after time. Recommended.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Frispel, P3 / Swedish National Radio

If you point your clickers to the Frispel website and choose "Senaste programmet: Lyssna" on the upper right you’ll be able to hear ”Mattias Nilsson of Kning Disk talk to music journalist Mats Gustafsson (Broken Face), and together they guides us on an exciting journey to New Zeeland and its underground music, culture and demography.” Our part of the radio show starts after 27-28 minutes and continues to the end...enjoy!

P:ano Brigadoon (Acuarela)

Everyone reading this blog on a regular basis is probably very aware of my love for all sorts of peripheral sounds. I guess it’s not quite as evident that I from time to time can be totally swept away by what I’d like to refer to as “pop records”. Canadian P:ano’s Brigadoon occasionally succeeds at this in the same way as the Green Pajamas, Dipsomaniacs and the E6 collective have done before, without sounding like either one of them. Brigadoon’s strength and weakness lays in the far-reaching ambitions, the complex arrangements and the wide spectra of sub-genres covered within these 24 tracks. It almost gets too much to handle and I can totally understand if certain people just don’t get it, that they somehow loose that thread that binds things together about halfway through the disc. As far as myself goes I just love the bouncy melodies, the almost perfect harmonies, the sincere romanticism, the chamber pop tendencies and not the least the arrangements that blend various genres and influences that originate from decades of pop songcraft. Since I love the highlights so much I don’t really care that there is some filler material present as well.

The Beach Boys-inspired “Covered Wagons” and the up beat, but still somewhat simplistic pop nugget “Leave Me With The Boy” kicks things off on a highly charming and catchy note before things get decidedly more electronic in “Rescuer.” Other tracks veer off into cabaret territories, and then onto majestic sixties pop, and around the corner you’re as likely to find dream pop, and fragile folk as pop experimentalism. One can argue that this is nothing more than a collection of song fragments that should have been further distilled and placed in a more cohesive setting before being displayed for public inspection. That might or might not be the case but I have so much fun along the way that I don’t really care.