Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mining deep indeed

Sometimes you come across records you like because of your specific musical tastes. Other times it's because you know the people in the band or have seen them play many worthwhile shows. Still other times it's to see what all the hype for a certain band or album is about. And then there are the records that come from the shadows and knock you off your feet. Such is the case with Inca Ore's Birthday of Bless You. While going over the Not Not Fun website I came across a boldened announcement stating that there was one final repress of 85 copies of this limited release LP. The description caught my attention with turns of phrase such as,"psychedelic secrecy, rippling whispers, and private ghost ballads." I knew that I was destined to own this album.

Inca Ore is better known as Eva Saelens, and is a member of celebrated, spacey psych group Jackie-O Motherfucker. Listening to her solo work you can certainly understand why. Birthday of Bless You, as soon as the needle drops, comes quietly out of the darkness whispering a language of haunted beauty. The entire first side flows like a blissful river carrying the listener on the hypnotizing tone of Eva's voice. Layered with deep reverb, and lo-fi aesthetic, the music transcends typical expectations in favor of a much farther off spiritual dimension.

The accompaniment itself is minimal. Often times not being created by recognizable instruments at all, but instead soothing and swirling tones that ebb and flow to give more depth to the key ingredient, the voice itself. Nothing, per se, is ever loud, but sometimes the thickness of the sound builds, and then other times drops away to reveal a folky, almost Americana lying underneath. There is even a cover of Merle Haggard's Silver Wings to tie it all together.

The second side of this precious slab pounces with a brief cacophony before sinking back down into the tides below. Though there are more silent moments between the songs here, there certainly is more diversity, and epic composition. From a piece that wobbles back and forth with some type of fractured instrument, to a piece where Eva cries out, almost totally acapella, and not really singing at all, that we are all pearls and we should realize this. Finally belting out that she does, revealing a bit of a southern accent.

It continues on with striking songs punctuated by cannon-esque toms, and ancient church like hymns carried on the psychic wings of murky organs among other things. The echo of her voice stretches farther and farther as the songs go on, carrying the listener farther and farther from the material world, until finally it slips away just as beautifully as it came in. I have been listening to the album over and over again for two weeks and am still mesmerized by it each and every listen.

So beyond the Jackie-O connection, beyond the limited release put out by Not Not Fun, and even beyond the fantastic yet simple hand screened cover containing some very nice artwork on the insert, if you have even the slightest inclination towards amazingly well crafted, lo-fi, reverbed and blissed out music, then you must at all cost find a copy of Birthday of Bless You, by Inca Ore.

It's also worth taking a few minutes to check out her interesting blog, and her myspace profile to hear samples of some of her work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Soundz in my earz

Yeah, so, here's what I've been listening to...

Aidan Baker & Tim Hecker - Fantasma Parastasie LP
(I'm really digging this. Great mixture of their respective styles with neither dominating. I haven't really listened to enough of Aidan's work to have an educated grasp of his approach - he's the Agathocles of drone guitarists - but the shifting distorted textures on this record remind me more of Hecker. Great jacket art to boot.)

Pig Heart Transplant - Blackmail cassette (Iron Lung's Jon Kortland and friends doing the noise thing...kinda. Hard to pin down. New PHT live recording on its way to my mailbox from Soccer Mom Ebonics.)

Oren Ambarchi - Grapes From the Estate 2xLP and A Final Kiss On Poisoned Cheeks one-sided LP (Can't get enough. New live CDr out now on the Israeli label Uganda - 50 copies, be quick. This is the first recording I've ever ordered from that country. Incidentally, I had an issue with my credit card today, and when I called customer service the woman went over my last few purchases, including one from "Jerusalem, Illinois.")

Filth of Mankind - The Final Chapter LP
(Classic. Killer.)

Total - Here, Time Is Space 2xLP
(Some obscure distributor unearthed copies of this, at least some of which went to the Crucial Blast store. Which is Exhibit A in why I recommend keeping an eye on the CB distro.)

Skullflower - Taste the Blood of the Deceiver LP
(Brand new, fantastic.)

Panicsville - Imperfection of the Organism LP
(Spinning right now.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sit and Spin

So, here's a no brainer that I thought might be worthwhile. Each week I'll give a brief list of some or all of the records that have crossed my turntable that week. Sort of like an analog Now, it's true, I also listen to plenty of digitized music (I normally rip all cd's now), but I figure this list would be long enough. And also, for the most part, I talk about vinyl on this blog. So, for the first ever Sit and Spin:

10/25-11/02 (I'm cheating abit this time....)

Blk W/Bear-Fahrenheit_Drafts 12"
Wolf Eyes-Human Animal 12"
Dead Machines-Live at Tzompantli 12"
Bloody Panda-Pheromone 12"
Wolf Mangler-Cooking With Wolves 12"
Inquisition-Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer 12"
Woods of Infinity-Hedja 12"
Menstruation Sisters-Ma 12" (Thanks John!)
Nachtmystium-Reign of the Malicious 12" pic
Woods of Infinity-Frozen Nostalgia 7"
Su19b/Jenny Piccolo-7" Split
Su19b/Xbrainiax-7" Split
oVo/Smut-7" Split
oVo/Mr. Natural-7" Split
oVo/Cock E.S.P.-7" Split (OMG I LOVE THIS RECORD!)

And I think that's about it. Obviously I reserve the right to make this as short or long as I feel, and yes, there will be repeats. But whatever, inquiring minds want to know..........


Schizophrenic bliss........

I recently discovered, and purchased an amazing and much needed 7" that I did not even know existed. While going on that same To Live a Lie binge, I once again stopped dead in my tracks due to another surely crucial split. It's best of the best between Michigan's fastcore hero's, Xbrainiax, and Japan's sludgecore beasts Su19b.

Xbrainiax blaze through 12 songs of face removing same said fastcore. If you for some reason don't know, this is some of the best newschool, oldschool violence, with nods to both the legends such as Hellnation, and newer broods a la Threatener. They aren't trying to fix what isn't broken, they're just trying to attach uzi mounts and sweet exhaust flame throwers too it. They've got all hooks, samples, and rapid fire tempos that show off the very best of what can be done with this genre, and yet still in a very raw and uncontrolled sounding way.

Su19b comes back with some of their most crushingly brutal work to date. I cannot say enough good things about this band. I know we all love classic punk based sludge such as Noothgrush, and the ever evolving doomy sounds of the cult followed Corrupted. But Su19b, in my opinion, just drops it down to a whole new level. Maintaining their molasses like integrity, infused with blistering speckles of blastbeasts, they lay down one moody and grim track on this 7" to counter the dozen that Xbrainiax rips through. Coming quietly out of the murk, Meadow Meal churns along, with not so much Sunn 0))) or even Moss like bass, but more Dystopia sounding down tuned guitars. The ambient dirge flows undisturbed until suddenly the hellishly deep and gurgled signature vocals (or god, probably one of those apropos moments to use the term "vokills") come tearing up straight from hell and into the mix. Accented with drum strikes and guitar pounds, the song picks up an agonized momentum that steamrolls over the listener, as the apocalypse is proclaimed in a terrifying unknown tongue. Finally, of course, in true Su19B form, Meadow Meal is punctuated by a hail of blast beats and machinegunned vokills that leave the listener feeling like they've been punched in the face. If you have never heard Su19b before, then run, don't walk, to the nearest place that has any of their releases, and drink deep.

The record itself was released on Crucificados records, a label that I have never actually heard of before. It's got fantastic cover art depicting some sort of horrible science experiment, with an unwilling subject being mainlined by hypos of both Su19b and Xbrainiax (of course!) right into the eye. The 7" is a pretty great looking candy cane colored marble slab of quality vinyl.

I know I don't need to preach to the initiated to pick up this split asap. Anyone familiar with either band will. But those of you who fall into the "Un" category, do yourself a favor, and grab this anyway. I know at the very least To Live a Lie is carrying it.