Saturday, November 22, 2008

After the goldrush #49

When describing Steven R. Smith’s first disc under the Ulaan Khol moniker I wrote that it sounded “like an unholy mix of Fushitsusha, Smith’s solo work and Roy Montgomery at his most abrasive. Candles flicker in the night to help us remember the ones on the other side. Memories slowly fade away but just like the sun they'll keep coming back”. That’s still very much the case on 2 (Soft Abuse) and in this case more of the same is actually a great thing. If you’re a fan of any of the above or Ash Ra Tempel and Agitation Free you can’t really go wrong.

Christina Carter is another familiar name for avid Broken Face readers and although Original Darkness (Kranky) might not be my favorite of her recordings, it’s still rather impressive as it unfolds with an effective balance of loneliness, self doubt and improvisation. Like its predecessors it’s an honest and emotional sonic document that displays a wide-open soul with the aid of plucked guitar notes, clear mournful vocals, tinkling bells and the occasional keyboard. I hope there’s more to come.

Northern Valentine’s The Distance Brings Us Closer uses a familiar ultimate atmospheric minimalist drone aesthetic along the lines of Stars of the Lid to achieve its goal but I can’t say that I mind as long as the results go this far into the eerie depths of the Atlantic Sea. The always-reliable Silber label that put this disc out claims that drone, love, honesty and sound are the key words to describe what they do and I tempted to use the very same words to describe this disc. This husband and wife duo is apparently from Philadelphia but judging by the sound this was probably recorded with the imaginary view of a never-ending horizon or the sea at dawn in mind.

Kemialliset Ystävät certainly loves the drone but they’ve always had a predilection for coloring their soundscapes with just about everything from tribal folk to industrial collages. On Harmaa Laguuni (Sectret Eye) we get a little bit of both and the results are definitely worth a better destiny than ending up on a limited tour only release like this one. Well, I am not really complaining as I was lucky enough to find a copy and I think the label still has a few left so act accordingly. Like you would expect we get mysterious collage-like recordings which tends to lend more towards the electronic side of things and odd vocal samples than free folk (or whatever it’s called these days).

I’ve been meaning to write about Concord Ballet Orchestra Players Flying Together (Froyen Foods/Insect Fields) ever since I first heard it at Terrastock 7 in Louisville earlier this year. But sometimes you just try too hard and end up with nothing. This three-track CD-R is well worth your time though as it dips its toes in heavily psychedelicised folk waters with an impressive ease and also adds a very welcome krautrock flavor to the mix which makes the end results sound as much as Faust as No Neck Blues Band. I am not necessarily saying that this is as great yet but they’re definitely showing a lot of promise. Primitive oscillations, repetitive guitar figures and tribal grooves hover over your head like some airplane out of control. The rumor says that there might be a full-length album in the pipeline on a well-established Swedish underground label and I just hope that they have the ability to spread the gospel about what these guys do, because they truly deserve some more attention.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Just a quick note to let you know that two interviews I recently did with Zelienople and the Goner have been published at the Deep Water site.