Browsing All posts tagged under »psychedelia«

These Curious Thoughts – Building Mountains From The Ground (roots rock)

June 20, 2013

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The internet is full of interesting long distance collaborations; since everyone got broadband, audio files have been flying back and forth like nobody’s business. Obviously digital music production is most amenable to this approach, but it’s equally feasible for an ensemble recording to be assembled from separate performances in the participants’ own studios/bedrooms/wherevers. Mixing, and particularly mastering, have often taken place at a remove from the recording process, but now that nobody has to shuttle physical media around it’s commonplace for low budget projects to go through those processes in far flung locations. Things have changed, a lot. These Curious Thoughts are a collaboration of a relatively unusual sort, however, at least as far as I’m aware; although …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

June 17, 2012

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This is a record that gets straight down to business, a short, kinetic acoustic guitar intro prefacing a series of remarks, delivered with such visceral charisma that it almost doesn’t matter what they mean; the fact that they mean a lot imbues this music with a density that belies its simplicity and lack of frills. You Save You are a duo, performing material of a texture that might be delivered by a single musician (apart from some simple percussion, presumably operated by the singer), but it’s very clearly two people’s energy on Secondhand Suits And Cheap Sunglasses (or maybe ten people’s!). The guitar playing is raw acoustic rock ‘n’ roll, and the vocals hover between declamation and raspy punkish singing.

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

June 4, 2012

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In recent years the avant-garde fringes of metal have become one of the most fertile sites of musical creativity and invention; while my central musical inclinations might be towards other areas, such as jazz or folk, and while those areas certainly harbour some radically creative minds globally, the majority of music produced and performed locally to me is pretty conservative. Earthmass is one of several bands I have the opportunity to engage with directly (attending gigs, meeting the members, building an ongoing relationship as a music writer, etc.) that pursue a radical formal agenda, and really keep their eye on the ball creatively. There is no uncritical regurgitation of the tropes of heavy music here, no taking the language as given …

Astralfish – Far Corners (space rock)

May 3, 2012

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Labeling this record as ‘space rock’, as I have above, is a bit like an American telling you that they’re Italian, or Polish or Armenian. I don’t have to write anything after the title, and I’m never trying to ascribe any particular set of characteristics when I do so, but it serves as a useful guide to those among my readers that are utterly convinced they have no interest in anything that could be labelled ‘metal’ for example, or ‘hip-hop’. That is, it serves a mainly negative purpose, because if you are likely to enjoy it, a genre label tells you virtually nothing about a piece of music. Far Corners is a space rock record in the way a fifth-generation suburban American realtor from Hackensack, New Jersey might be Irish.

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

April 26, 2012

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This track, this EP, is a remix in one continuous utterance of the Hanetration EP Tenth Oar which I reviewed in my last roundup of short releases. Tenth Oar was divided into four tracks, while the Barren Waste EP I reviewed in the same roundup was called A unified idea split into meaningless pieces, which may explain why they stitched this into a continuum. The piece evinces the same sort of tonal continuity as the source from which it is constructed, and its sounds are recognisably the sounds of Hanetration’s release, but it is very much its own thing, with very much the sound of Barren Waste …

Karda Estra – Weird Tales (chamber prog-psych)

March 14, 2012

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Karda Estra occupies a fairly unique territory, not a million miles from what Gunther Schuller coined the term ‘Third Stream’ to describe, although, notwithstanding some audible nods toward its harmonic verticality, jazz is not the main constituent of its language. It’s rare that I find myself writing about music where the musicianship is as purposely transparent as it is here, but improvisation is not a feature of these sounds either, and the players are at pains to realise the compositions accurately and expressively without drawing attention to themselves. This is of course standard practice in the classical world, or rather, it is the ideology of classical performance …

Big Block 454 – Bells & Proclamations (folk-funk/ psychedelic rock)

May 18, 2011

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Big Block 454, named for a 1970 Chevrolet engine, are one of the oddest bands I’ve encountered in a while. They are creatively out there, full of weird sounds and transgressive stylistic collisions, and yet they are, to me at least, accessible, pleasing, and decidedly danceable. Apparently they’ve been around a long while: well, it’s not surprising if you haven’t heard of them, because as good as they are, I can’t imagine any record label monkey having the first clue how to sell this stuff!