Friday, July 11, 2008

Cloudland Canyon Lie in Light (Kranky)

This half-American, half-German duo delivers seven high and lonely krautrock epics draped in beguiling cosmic otherliness. The sound range from atmospheric droning buzz and wavering electronic gravity to relentless kraut grooves and homebrewed psych and although pretty much all of it borders familiar terrain, dating back to Germany in the ‘70s it’s still pretty stellar. Mainly so because of the band’s talent for combining and blending influences to something that in most cases sound like their own thing. There has been a wave of cosmic music recently and if the quality of this disc is any indicator that trend will probably last for a while yet.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Doozer Sheet Music (Pickled Egg)

A cpl of weeks back I met this fellow who claimed that he doesn’t like pop music. Given his impeccable taste when it comes to peripheral sounds, that’s kind of hard to believe. I simply assume that it’s more a matter of having different definitions of what can be referred to as pop music. In my world, UK solo act the Doozer is just that, although I am sure some would probably question using such a term. Anyway, what we have here is an introspective pop album bathed in seductive psychedelia, blurry images of the British countryside, unexpected loops and hazy soundscapes. File somewhere along an imaginary axis leading from Syd Barrett to Chris Knox and then on to Pumice.


Monday, July 07, 2008

United Bible Studies Airs of Sun and Stone (Deep Water)

When Ireland’s finest ensemble played at Terrastock 7 a few weeks back I was stupid enough to not make sure to get to the venue in time for their set. Fortunately I was lucky enough to catch them playing an impromptu set the day after the show so I guess I am not the one to complain. And on top of that we have this disc, from the fine folks at Deep Water, that documents the ‘Studies in the live setting. Musically speaking it’s an intriguing sound journey that flows over the forest folk heavens like a circling bird looking for food. Beguiling musical tapestries constructed from a myriad of instruments unfurls with an almost indescribable sense of grace. For being music with such a strong transportive and visual quality it’s surprisingly complex and subtly chaotic. It’s a bit like a group of musicians having a quiet conversation where everyone is talking at once but where each contributor still gets plenty of room to breathe. As with anything wearing the United Bible Studies name, the beautifully titled Air of Sun and Stone comes highly recommended.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Preston Swirnoff Maariv (Last Visible Dog)

Preston Swirnoff is a San Diego-based electro-acoustic composer that expands the borders of said genre by adding substantial emotive elements to the mix. Where some talented folks tend to get stuck in technicalities and over ambitions we find Swirnoff doing it all right. He conjures hazy hypnotic soundscapes and minimalist pulsings of alien frequencies in a way that at first struck me as quite accessible, but which upon repeated listening revealed fragments of a pretty fucked-up dream. These fragments have been glued together by Swirnoff to something that goes beyond words as well as tedious genre names. Maariv is one of those masterworks that are destined to be forgotten by most and cherished by way too few.

Pumice Quo (Soft Abuse)

Stefan Neville AKA Pumice has produced splintered outsider folk/blues for a long time now and he’s finally starting to get at least some of the attention he deserves. Murky melancholia runs along every shaky guitar strum, displaying a somewhat confused take on every day life. Parts of Quo is surprisingly poppy in a Chris Knox kind of way, but there’s also plenty of space left for fractured noise and organic drones. This is cryptically descending, haunted folk/noise stuck in a lonely zone that’s intimate, beautiful and highly recommended.