Thursday, July 28, 2011

One week hiatus!

i'm moving all these records into a new house. It takes a lot of time. I'll be back in a week. For now, just stick with The Hearse.

Be good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Deutsche Wertarbeit - S / T (Sky Records, 1981)

After leaving Dusseldorf progressive rock band "Streetmark", Dorothea Raukes had one shining moment with this beautiful synth classic. A true diamond in the rough, Deutsche Wertarbeit has been re-issued and is sure to stoke the mental fires of synth nerds everywhere. Driving motorik, komische, avant garde and meditative pulses and rhythms populate this incredibly gorgeous one off release. Its quite a shame that this is the only release of hers in this style. If you dig Tangerine Dream or the Editions Mego / Spectrum Spools material, you'll will flip over Dorothea Raukes.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Brainticket - Celestial Ocean (Hallelujah, 1974)

“Celestial Ocean” is both an adventure and voyage for explorers of the human experience. In other words, the walls are breathing. Or maybe it is the projection of your own vibration as the air comes in and then out again. Either way this album is pure cosmic indulgence on a “space is deep” kind of level. Whoever has taken strong psychedelics will try and convince someone that this or that is the best music to fall into the depths of time and space. But the truth is, any kind of music or sound can seem completely psychedelic when under the influence. And with that said, there is a difference between just any kind of music and musicnauts who actually prepare to take you into the abyss and then do it with grace. Brainticket are one of those musical groups.

Brainticket is a collection of middle European musicians, primarily consisting of German and Swiss descent. The band started releasing albums in the early seventies. The two albums that precede “Celestial Ocean” were “Cottonwood Hill”(1971) and “Psychonaut”(1972). These albums gave guidance to what would be expected. Which means it is not safe to expect something in particular of the sound of Brainticket. Just know that the 1974 release of “Celestial Ocean” expanded the already vastness of life and all perceptions of it. The album tells a story of an ancient Egyptian king traveling on a ship that courses though the afterlife, inspired by the Egyptian book of the dead. One thing should be understood, Brainticket takes themselves seriously when presenting the subject matter of other and ancient worlds with space ships and dreams. Some people get turned off when musicians and artists wholeheartedly believe in what they feel no matter how unreal it may seem. Most roll the psychedelic mumbo jumbo off as being playful and goofy, like a “arn't I just the strangest thing” sorta way, not Brainticket.

Kaleidoscopic sounds twist around synthesized rhythms that continually grow and decay while creating a unknown landscape as a cacophony of voices clutter and vanish in the same breath. Yeah, it's really like that. The album is presented in a book end form, opening with “Egyptian Kings” and closing with a reprise of the beginning track, titled “Visions”. Everything in between is an absolute pleasure. At times it creates a yoga or meditation environment. Nobody thinks flutes are cool anymore. Well, they have their place along side with such complementary instruments as organs, zithers and odd sound generators. O.K. This review was my own indulgence in describing the pure psychedelic force that is Brainticket. All I really had to say was that the band is called Brainticket and don't take more than you can handle. But seriously, this should get the party started if the kind of party you like is the one where everyone lies naked on the floor and forget they have bodies and lose all concepts of reality. Just moans of ecstasy and fear as the collective consciousness merrily drifts up and down the celestial ocean. Yo! I said it. Yo! Buy the ticket, take the ride.

--Sean Dail

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chrisma - Chinese Restaurant (Polydor, 1977)

In 1976, Maurizio Arcieri and his wife Christina Moser formed the duo under the name 'Chrisma." That year, the couple moved from Milan to London to record "U" and "Amore" with the producer Nico Papathanassiou and his brother Vangelis (yes, THE Vangelis). Their collaboration with Papathanassiou and Vangelis continued through 1978. During this time, the duo recorded the album "Chinese Restaurant."

This is synth-punk meets Goblin meets Carpenter with some funk and jazzy guitar thrown in. Christine's vocals have that unusual sensuality of a Jennifer Charles or an Anne Clark but without the discomfort of the spoken word. This is one of those records you discover and want to kick yourself for not having listened to it for the past ten years.

They didn't have much more as weird or interesting as this; however, there are a handful of tracks that make the catalog worth sifting through. The renowned film composer Hans Zimmer even joined them later for some really uninspiring material. wow. Either way, this is definitely worthy of our time.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Aqua Velvets - Guitar Noir ( Milan,1997)

The album is called “Guitar Noir”, and that is exactly what it sounds like. The band, Aqua Velvets, and now you can almost smell it. Smooth, refined and hypnotically dark with a tinge of expected monolog that tells the first person story of a lonesome night as the days past are reflected in rain shimmering off the streetlights of some abandoned alley. Yeah, that's right.

Aqua Velvets are a southern California surf group that first appeared in the late 80's. "(The band) doesn’t slavishly imitate others or attempt to duplicate the past. All songs on the aptly titled Guitar Noir are originals and many are quite good"(Los Angeles Daily News). These fellas are part of the rebirth sound of surf to be known as neosurf. A lot of Aqua Velvets tracks have been featured in prime time detective shows and nineties noir films. It is pure guitar noir, and that is basically all there is to say about this album. Now, all one needs to do is, get a pack of smokes, scrounge up enough money for your favorite fifth, put the record on and get to work. It'll be along night, yet you know all that is left is a reason, a reason why you're here. Good luck kid, you'll need it.

--Sean Dail

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

White Orange - S/T (Made In China, 2011)

I’d like to file this Portland quartet comfortably between progressive and sludge metal. Unfortunately, their sound is not that simple and it would be an injustice for me to label them as such. They are mesmerizing. With a slick, complex production and a swirling, psychedelic personality all their own, this overdriven, fuzzed out metal behemoth combines a multitude of influences while remaining completely unique.

With regret, I must do a lot of name-dropping here. They borrow from hard rock and metal bands like Deep Purple, Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Nebula, The Sword and Mastodon; also included are hints of grunge such as Mudhoney and Nirvana; and there’s a nice touch with vocal sounds not far removed from Al Jourgensen’s Wax Trax days.

I want to call this stoner rock but in good conscience, I cannot. White Orange are more akin to drinking a vat of liquid acid. Space rock? Sure, but these guys travel by way of a wormhole to another dimension. Upon arrival, they are vacuumed into a black hole and spit out the other side, only slightly singed by the neighboring red dwarf.

All metaphors aside, the recurring musical theme of this album is always endearing and tasteful repetition is always welcomed. With fascinating time signature changes, the material never stales.

Rarely does anything so progressive compel this intelligently. White Orange ar masters of their craft and deliver their unusual message with grace and tact. Several times during my first listen I found myself drifting off into a bit of a trance. There is an innovative brand of psychedelia presented here that is currently unmatched. What we have here is a forty-four minute album that feels like a lifetime. This band is musical DMT.

The opening track hooked me with a Hawkwind “Psychedelic Warlords” feel. Not much later, there are lyrics that command us to “set the controls for the heart of the sun”. With that theme engaged, White Orange offer us an uncanny narrative that is sure to stake their claim as a new breed of metal.

buy it

This article originally appeared in DOA

Friday, July 15, 2011

Black Math - Phantom Power (Permanent Records, 2010)

This is the most exciting and possibly the best rock band in Chicago. There, I said it. I will not get tired of them...ever.

These compositions are predominantly darkwave a la early Cure but also contain groovy slabs of nasty shoegaze. They toy with garage rock, occasional girl group vocals and crunchy yet danceable post-punk. Mind you, all of this occurs in each cut. Always creative and never boring, Black Math know how to play me like a harp. i never would have thought anyone could fuse many of my favorite genres so effortlessly.

They use an interesting setup of guitar, keyboards, electric cello and drum machine, a configuration that enhances their already definitive recording technique. If they manage to stick together, look for them to have quite a loyal cult following.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

GNOD Drop Out with WHITE HILLS II (Rocket Recordings, 2010)

A joint effort with some of the best psychedelic, komische, tripped out crazy krautrock you'll ever hear. These two outfits sound like Neu, Tangerine Dream and Cluster playing together in a very small room. Dizzying soundscapes behind dense motorik drumming. Too too too tasty.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Erik Skodvin - The Sickening (Mixtape for Type, 2011)

When label boss Rik Skodvin isn't slaying my brain with his own Miasmah imprint, he's slaying my brain with his friend Otto Totland as "Deaf Center", and sometimes he slays my brain with his solo project "Svarte Greiner. Here is a mixtape he did for Type. Sit back, relax and enjoy this voyage to the bottom of the drone-colored abyss. Cheers.

Don't forget there's a free download option.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Cult of Youth - A Stick to Bind, A Seed to Grow (Dais, 2008)

Is it possible? Could it be that a Gothic Neo-folk record can exist without utterly emulating Death in June? Could this also be an American artist? Why, yes, its actually happened. Sean Ragon has recorded an acoustic guitar driven album ripe with that martial sounding european pop intensity that we all know and love. He nods to many artists here, DIJ, Current 93 and I even hear a little Bad Seeds thrown in for good measure. I'm impressed and very excited about this debut full length. There is also a new one out on the ever impressive Sacred Bones label. Eat this one up.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Charles Manson - LIE : The Love and Terror Cult (Awareness,1967)

This album is really bad and really good at the same time. What we have here is a seriously narcissistic delusional psychotic moron who managed to pull off one hell of a psych folk record. No, the lyrics are not good but if you can get past that, just listen to the cool guitar and the smooth sound of his voice. I dig it. Sorry.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves (Siren, 1979)

More weirdo sounds from San Francisco, this time from the late 70's. Helios Creed and Damon Edge used guitar, bass, trashed drumkits, various moogs and tape loop noise to create some of the coolest noise rock ever made. Way way way before its time. Everything and the kitchen sink is thrown in a tree mulcher alongside an intense punk vibe driven by a kraut / motorik / industrial groove. Oh, and lots of sheet metal clanging around. Chrome are the definition of cyberpunk. Sci-fi as fuck. One of the best Rock albums ever made. Cheers.

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Fifty Foot Hose - Cauldron (Limelight, 1967)

San Francisco, 1967. Psychedelia is rampant, bands like Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and The Holding Company and Quicksilver Messenger Service are making their presence known. During the mega-dosing that these bands were doing, Fifty Foot Hose were making psych rock but with an incredibly unusual edge. Influenced by Dadaism and experimental composers like Edgard Varèse, John Cage, Terry Riley, and George Antheil, this outfit secured their inacessibility and obscurity by being too intelligent and electronic for the masses. Singer Nancy Blossom lustfully meandered through the paisley fields of free love in such a casual way that most didn't take notice.

The synth work is as gripping as the guitar. Everything about this band is groundbreaking and mindblowing for the timeframe. For the love of God, download this now. Its like a remix of all things 60's pop but its authentic and really happened in the 60's. There's a cover of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" that sounds like Silver Apples attempting to embarrass The Fugs.

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