Archive for September, 2009
The MP3 on the Pulido Fennesz Siewert Stangl post was incorrectly tagged as “Canto de Zafra”, when it should have been tagged “Canto de Velorio”. This here blog had the two sides of the single all mixed up! The post has been corrected and the MP3 has been re-uploaded, tagged with the correct title. Sorry for any confusion or inconvenience.
“Sunday, September 27
From California, Holy Mountain/Sub Pop recording artists
Presented by Twee Death in conjunction with Psych Night at the ANZA.
The ANZA Club
3 West 8th Avenue
“Like fellow locals Comets on Fire, or English space rockers Hawkwind and
Spacemen 3, Wooden Shjips’ magic is a mix of pummeling hypnotic grooves
and otherworldly guitar.” “Primitive rock riffs subjected to subversive psych-
tinged FX-laden ju-ju; manic, warped pulses of pop-rock that make your ears
bleed + get you moving at the same time”
LP release party! Featuring members of Magneticring, Jackie-O Motherfucker,
Astral Blessing, Kemialliset Ystavat, etc.., Von Bingen’s debut full-length vinyl
LP on Amen Absen has just arrived + it’s 100% killer. Available at the show.
One of the finest minimal psych outfits making sounds anywhere right now,
Solars conjure up transportative drones, throbbing pulses & hypnotic swells.
Plus tunes from DJ Magneticring before/after/in-between.
Advance tickets available online at:
or in-store at Zulu & Audiopile NOW.”
Bubblegum Cage III will be taking a couple of weeks off in order to prepare for the Post-Rocktoberfest festivities. If you only just recently discovered this here blog, right now would be a good time to catch up on some of the previous posts. For those of you who aren’t a bunch of fucking slow-pokes, you might want to find out What We Did on Our Holidays (further evidence below) or – alternatively – read a book.
Normal service will be resumed in October.
What the hell is up with that cover, eh? We’ll deal with this issue in a minute. But first…
In the last couple of years, Christian Fennesz does seem to have become a little less choosy when it comes to collaborations. You have to hand it to him, though – for every collab with an experimental jet-set superstar like Ryuichi Sakamoto or Mike Patton, there’s one that teams Fennesz with some hardcore, grass-roots improvisers based in his native Vienna.
This 7″, released by Austrian label Interstellar, features the great man alongside Martin Siewert and Burkhard Stangl – names that should be familiar to long-term Fennesz fans. The unknown quantity here is Lucia Pulido. Apparently, she’s a fairly well-known Columbian singer and each side of this 7″ is based on a traditional Columbian song.
The recordings were made for an art film titled Film ist. A Girl & a Gun, which – judging by the vaguely grotesque sketches adorning the record’s cover – must be pretty, erm…. racy stuff. The songs, on the other hand, are quite straightforwardly pretty and civilized.
“Canto de Velorio” is full of chiming guitars, subtle electronics and cooing vocals. On “Canto de Zafra”, Pulido becomes rather more strident, with intense – but never less than decorative – results. Both sides are very accessible but richly inventive and original.
This seems like the kind of record that’s going to disappear from print pretty quickly. Hopefully, it’s not already too late for you to buy A Girl & a Gun from Touch.
Throughout the ’90s, Jim O’Rourke was a ubiquitous presence in experimental music and underground rock. He began by prowling the hinterlands of free improv, dark ambient and noise. Gradually, via his membership in David Grubbs’ deconstructionist rock band Gastr Del Sol, he came to the attention of the indie rock cognoscenti. Eventually, he was given the highest honour imaginable, becoming a fully-fledged member of Sonic Youth.
What really built O’Rourke’s personal fan-base, though, was the series of solo albums he made for Chicago’s Drag City label. These records came cloaked in cover art which ranged from the cloyingly cute to the grotesquely pornographic (occasionally encompassing both aesthetics simultaneously) and were – more often than not – named after Nicolas Roeg films.
The music itself was an odd – but timely and highly effective – mish-mash of folky-Americana, West Coast pop, progressive rock, digital electronica and easy listening. Some of the albums were instrumental but others – notably O’Rourke’s masterpiece Eureka – came topped off with astoundingly bitter and misanthropic lyrics, sung in his faltering, unassuming little voice.
In 2001, he released Insignificance, which was simultaneously his most conventional rock album and his most lyrically unpleasant assault on the human race. It was great and sold like hot cakes. After the release of Insignificance, O’Rourke moved to Japan and slimmed down his musical activities to virtually nil.
Which brings us to The Visitor, his long-awaited new solo full-length. It’s a folky, instrumental effort, along the lines of Bad Timing (the connection is made explicit by the fact that both albums feature images of disco balls on their covers). Though split across two sides of vinyl, it’s essentially one long composition, which O’Rourke has quite possibly been labouring over for these last eight years.
Side one initially seems none too engaging. It’s full of rather ponderous, rhythmically complex, finger-picked acoustic guitar. The tone is relentlessly melodic and there are no electronics or dissonances to add edge. At times, you fear that O’Rourke is in danger of slipping into the technically clever but aesthetically vapid worlds of third-tier prog rock and lite jazz fusion.
Things start to make sense as side two picks up the pace, adding some loose improv drumming and dissonant piano parts. By the end of the composition, everything has resolved in a most satisfying fashion. Listen again, with some knowledge of the musical road-map and you’ll find the whole journey extremely pleasurable.
So, while not outwardly challenging, The Visitor is clearly a record that demands full engagement. On the cover, O’Rourke asks that we listen to it “on speakers, loud”. He’s also refused to have the album released in MP3 format, presumably feeling that the loss of audio fidelity will dull the sharp edges of his precision sound mix. Good for him. Sorry for posting digital extracts.
Still, The Visitor remains a somewhat enigmatic release that may leave you wondering exactly what Jim O’Rourke is getting at. Perhaps those Roeg-inspired album titles provide a clue. O’Rourke has claimed that, while music is what he does, cinema is what he loves. The concept of “imaginary soundtracks” may be somewhat played out but it’s hard not to think of The Visitor as the soundtrack to a cinematic masterpiece O’Rourke might have dreamed, if he’d been chosen for that particular vocation.
See – or rather hear – for yourself. Buy The Visitor from Drag City.
During glitch’s post-Oval heyday, Tilliander released albums on Mille Plateaux and Raster-Noton. He’s been a little bit under-the-radar for the last few years, so it’s nice to see him releasing some new vinyl on the ever-reliable Type label.
Persona is hardly a glitch album, though. Apparently, it’s the result of Tilliander’s move towards a purely analogue approach. While this might seem like a cowardly capitulation with the current fashion for vintage synth drones, the simple beauty of these tracks is hard to deny.
The soft pads and diffuse reverbs of Persona suggest that Tilliander has been spending some time luxuriating in Vladislav Delay’s world of echo. Witness “Lord, am I Going Down?” for evidence.
But there’s a far more obvious influence at work here: ’80s drone-rock legends the Spacemen 3. “Ode to the Ode to the Street Hassle” rather obviously samples that band’s “Ode to Street Hassle” (itself a rather obvious erm… ode to Lou Reed’s “Street Hassle”).
Tilliander also pays tribute to the band in this biographical sleeve note: “Hats off to Jason Pierce and Peter Kember. Thank you for signing my T-shirt, Jason. Sorry for interrupting your performance.”
More obliquely, Tilliander’s love of the Spacemen 3 extends to embracing their infatuation with flangers, phasers and all things that go “eeeeeeooowwwwwwaaaaaahhh”. Indeed, the one real weakness of Persona is its over-reliance on these kinds of simplistic effects.
On the whole, though, this is a delightful return to the fray for Tilliander. You are encouraged to buy it from Forced Exposure.