Tuesday, September 04, 2007

RST Axes (Last Visible Dog)

You may have heard claustrophobic drones, frost-clad sound clusters and windswept tone fluctuations before but if you haven’t heard New Zealand one-man combo RST you simply haven’t heard it all. There are probably a handful of drone practitioners that are capable of shaping similarly powerful guitar sculptures, but I can’t think of anyone doing it this precise. There’s a gravitational pull in RST’s music that simply has to be heard to be believed. RST dips his toes in a stream of electric sparks and slowly waves his arms in a gust of static electro-magnetism. The results are so electric that you can see those wavelengths right for your eyes, but instead of solely turning inward RST flavors his dense drone layers with enough organic qualities to make it not only digestible but also existential.

Grails Burning Off Impurities (Temporary Residence)

My first thought when listening to the opening “Soft Temple” was that this sounds a bit like a combination of Hochenkeit, Davis Redford Triad and Cul de Sac. When reading that Steven Wray Lobdell helped producing this sprawling album it’s not difficult to see why. Grails seems to share Lobdell’s love for Eastern psychedelia, organic Krautrock ambience, space and high-octane riffing. The results presented here are a whole lot more structured than the aforementioned ‘Triad but you can definitely sense that they’ve been to the same places.

What Grails does which is so great is to create an instrumental rock album with shiploads of dynamics that never gets predictable. On the contrary this is a disc, or dbl LP, that continues to surprise all the way through its eights tracks. This might very well be one of those rare occasions when something truly great actually gets hyped. Just like with any Agitation Free album this is music that is ideal for long train rides or for laying down at the deserted beach staring at the ever-changing sky.

Autumn Galaxy Emperor’s Garden (House of Alchemy)

Autumn Galaxy is Brad Rose and Ville Mosquiitto and Emperor’s Garden is another all too limited CD-R on the impeccable House of Alchemy imprint. Carefully created drone webs of the dense variety seeps in and out of your conscience with thunderously powerful physicality. The buzz of the opener is replaced by guitar strum and spectral folk in “In Your Silver Secret” while the nightmarish “Lighthouse on the Open Sea” makes me long back to that remote hostel/lighthouse we recently visited in the northeastern part of Scotland. “Book of Spells” has more of a fractured folkscapes vibe to it while the closer sounds like a postcard that never got sent. These simple foundations of primitive repeating motifs are pure magic and a brilliant way to end a very complex and intriguing album.