Monday, March 16, 2009

Hung up & hanging out to dry

oystered 21 (jan./feb. ’07 – pt.2)

Total running time: 2:00:46.
a1. mokira i was her may 15th 1995 (the bum that will bring us together 7”/type)
a2. aril brikha winter (winter 12”/kompakt)
a3. times new viking love your daughters (present the paisley reich CD/siltbreeze)
a4. christa pfangen tiding up, getting out (watch me getting back the end CD/die schachtel zeit)
b1. oren ambarchi guitar motor (stacte motors LP/western vinyl)
b2. rafael anton irisarri wither (daydreaming CD/miasmah)
c1. half hawaii into you (into you/out of you 12” / perlon)
c2. anders ilar a (abc 12”/
d1. ateleia bridget riley (formal sleep CD/xeric)
d2. metope breep (braga breep 12”/areal)
d3. the alps autumn rhythm (jewelt galaxies/spirit shambles CD / spekk)
e1. fennesz endless summer (endless summer CD reissue/emego)
e2. deerhunter strange lights (cryptograms/kranky)
e3. rameses iii honey rose theme iii (honey rose CD/important)
f. hush arbors if there be spirits, let them come (under bent limb trees 2xCD reissue/digitalis)
I decided to combine the two months (Jan./Feb.) since historically January is notoriously slow for new music. So here’s the sister mix to the previous post and I think I enjoy this one more.
Mokira is one of Andreas Tilliander’s aliases, probably his most beatless, ambient, blissed-out guise, and this track is culled from one of the Type label’s 7” series of releases’ B-sides. The A-side was in an earlier post as it was previously released on the Mitek label 2CD compilation, Do You Copy? Aril Brikha’s “Winter” is ripe with Detroit flavor—as well it should be—and is the first release on Kompakt from a Detroit producer. 180° in the opposite direction, Times New Viking, a three-piece at the forefront of the nO-hio scene, combine the best bits of early Pavement and Superchunk, and I’m sure it’s tracks like “Love Your Daughters” from the Siltbreeze released Present the Paisley Reich that got them signed to indie-behemoth, Matador. Christa Pfangen was Nico’s birth-name, but here it’s represented by Mattia Coletti and Andrea Belfi, the latter of which was part of Italian super-improv-post-punk-rock group, ¾ Had Been Eliminated and is mastered by none other than Giuseppe Ielasi. Christa Pfangen’s entire album, Watch Me Getting Back the End is a real treasure of fractured, ecstatic pop—a futuristic version of Gastr Del Sol? Brilliant.
Oren Ambarchi continues his Stacte series of releases, this one being the follow up to his $100+ record for the German En/Of boutique, Stacte.4, and “Guitar Motor” sounds like the dark-twin to that record’s A-side white-knuckle ride, “Stacte.4a.” This one burns just as hard, just in a different way. Kupei Musika’s label owner, Rafael Anton Irisarri’s “Wither” is one of seven tracks from his Miasmah label debut, Daydreaming; a beautiful set of piano based songs rife with nostalgia and that foggy half-awake feeling—everything I always wanted Harold Budd to be but rarely was.
Half Hawaii is a collaboration between German based Perlon label co-owner Sammy Dee and Northwest based electronic musician, Bruno Pronsato. “Into You” fits the minimal mold of Perlon perfectly with its quirky sounds and implied melodies. Anders Ilar’s run of releases continues with a 12” for one of his first label homes, Netherlands’ based, and “A” from the A-side of ABC finds Ilar in more acidic territory—not too squelchy, but not lacking any electro-momentum either.
Ateleia’s sound palette is slightly more aggressive and sinister in tone than most of the musicians I’m interested in from the experimental-ambient-electronic field, and although “Bridget Riley” almost embodies a hint of 80s gothic pop (I can’t quite put my finger on it), there’s a melancholic intensity to the track’s second half that gets me every time. Metopekiller techno full-length in 2005, Kobol, and “Breep” is the B-side to that album’s follow up release, Braga/Breep. Japanese label, Spekk, jointly released Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s solo record and collected his other group’s (other than Tarentel) first two efforts on one CD at around the same time. The Alps’ “Autumn Rhythm” is a brief, acoustic-based song fitting for that season’s abundance of grey days.
Emego (the revamped Austrian Mego imprint) “reissue(d), repackage(d) re-evaluate(d) the songs” for Fennesz’s landmark release, Endless Summer—and dare I say the true follow-upMy Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, or was that Jan Jelinek’s Loop-Finding-Jazz-Recordsboth from 2001? o, how can that be?! – (comment if you’re interested in discussing this further)—replacing, what I thought at least, was pretty fitting artwork from Tina Frank, with new (and of course, always welcome) artwork from possibly my favorite photographer, Touch’s Jon Wozencroft. And who am I to pass up an opportunity to add a Fennesz song to a mix? Deerhunter stormed onto the scene in ’07, and “Strange Lights” reminds me of Better Can’t Make Your Life Better-era Lilys for some reason—one of the most underrated, unknown post-shoegaze bands of all time. They (Lilys) always seemed to release a record on a label that was going under at the time or something. Anyway, Rameses III collaborated with The North Sea for a Type label release in 2006 (see one of my earlier posts for that as well), here they are soundtracking music to Suityman, a film directed by Jon Spira. “Honey Rose Theme III” unfolds like an endlessly drifting summer breeze, and a perfect segue into Keith Wood’s Hush Arbors free-folk track, “If There Be Spirits, Let Them Come,” 20 minutes of shifting bird-song, droning harmonium and acoustic guitar figures taken from his double disc reissue (“repackage, repackage”) of 2004’s Under Bent Limb Trees.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hanging out & hung up on the line

oystered 20: (jan./feb. ’07 – pt.1)

Total running time: 2:03:20.
a1. luciano somewhere near his heart (no model no tool 2x12”/cadenza)
solovyev al-brah (stadtmusik 2xCD/onitor)
hug tiny stars (heroes CD/kompakt)
explosions in the sky catastrophe and the cure (four tet mix) (all of a sudden i miss everyone 2xCD/temporary residence)
starving weirdos harry smith (harry smith one-sided LP/root strata)
mira calix protean (eyes set against the sun CD/warp)
zelienople the ghost of someone nice (enemy chorus CD/time-lag)
jefre cantu-ledesma aberration of starlight (the garden of forking paths CD/spekk)
portable bubble world (speak out 12”/süd electronic)
reuber steppengraskrieger: i. geist ii. steppe iii. zuhaus’ (südpol CD/staubgold)
onur özer orion (red cabaret 12”/vakant)
mark templeton pattern for a pillow (standing on a hummingbird CD/anticipate)
gustavo lamas ilusos (stadtmusik 2xCD/onitor)
I can’t decide whether to write more or less for each of these blog entries. I remember as a kid, buying a record, taking it home, putting it on, sitting on my bed looking at the front and back cover, and the insert, always hoping for lyrics but most of the time just getting the usual rock star photos. So I guess I’ll do whatever I have time for. And since this music’s hard to find—or for that matter even grasp sometimes upon first listen—I might as well say as much as I can about particular artists or track or why it’s here or what I especially like about them.
Starting out on a real weird note—Luciano, known mostly for his elegant, minimal techno, (mostly) vinyl only imprint, Cadenza, confounds with this extended dream-mare, Floydian/Orb-like “Somewhere Near His Heart.” Solovyev, the boss of underrated Kompakt-like techno label, Onitor, picks up the pace considerably with this first of two tracks culled from his double-disc collection of thematic 12”s, Statdmusik, where each release focused on artists from a particular international city. The other cut from this rather outstanding compilation, the last track in this post, "Ilusos," from Gustavo Lamas is absolutely gorgeous—a perfect balance of melancholy and bliss.
Swedish producer John Dahlbäck, going under the name Hug for Kompakt apparently has over 100 releases to his name. Truthfully I think he’d be better with a little self-editing. I really liked a few tracks, “Tiny Stars” being my favorite, but Heroes was just okay to me. Although I don’t own any Explosions in the Sky material, the limited bonus disc from All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is truly special—comprised of remixes in the same running order as the original album with contributions from Jesu, Adem (Fridge), Eluvium, Four Tet and Mountains. All of them are pretty great and it was really hard to choose from the set, but I kept coming back to the Four Tet mix for the strong, recurring guitar line.
Starving Weirdos are new to me, and “Harry Smith” probably isn’t the best representation—look for more of the Weirdos on upcoming posts. For now though, at best this track’s second half reminds me of something from Main’s Motion Pool-era, so that’s never a bad thing. Breaking things up nicely, South African native Chantal Passamonte a.k.a. Mira Calix’s “Protean” is the perfect palette cleanser from what came before.
Smack dab in the middle of this mix and hailing from the Windy City, Zelienople—again, I’m having a hard time describing what these guys sound like—Shayne Carter from New Zealand’s kiwi-pop group Straitjacket Fits fronting Virginia’s hillbilly-theatre-of-eternal-music outfit, Pelt, anyone? Anyway, “The Ghost of Someone Nice” seems like it’s going to dissolve into the ether at any minute but slowly and surely catches an elliptical groove, however opiated, and is another fine example of a truly great group deserving a lot more attention. Root Strata label owner and ex-space-post-rock group Tarentel / current Alps member Jefre Cantu-Ledesma has been perfecting his droning skills for a while. “Aberration of Starlight” is a nice, early example from his Spekk (Japan) CD The Garden of Forking Paths.
Süd Electronic owner, and another South African native, Alan Abrahams a.k.a. Portable a.k.a. Bodycode has releases on Perlon, Background, Spectral Sound and ~Scape to name but a few, but returns to his own label for “Bubble Up” from the Speak Out 12” that preceded his Powers of Ten full-length. A strange direction for him—incorporating more machine-like/future-human vocals—resulting in less effective rhythms and melodies in my opinion. Not enough good things can be said about the next artist, Reuber. His style is a perfectly honed take on Kosmische musik of the ‘70s, combining electronic and acoustic/organic elements very naturally for a real vintage sound every time. Always far out and highly recommended!
Onur Özer is Turkey’s answer to Villalobos and “Orion” is just that—a tight minimal groove with occasional disco stabs. I could have chosen any one of the ten tracks on Mark Templeton’s Standing on a Hummingbird full-length but ended up with “Pattern for a Pillow” for it’s subtlety and implied melodies along with that digital crackle imbuing a nostalgic warmth not unlike old vinyl.