Sunday, October 27, 2013
I remember the day she played "Velvet Underground" for me on her cassette deck. She liked to play "Pale Blue Eyes" rewind it, and play it again. I remember she had the loveliest blue eyes. We were sixteen, playing pool in her parents basement. It was a cold day. I had an upset stomach. She was pretty and made me nervous. We should have been doing homework. I just wanted to kiss her. Hours later I finally put my arm around her. We were looking at a book about art history. She liked Modigliani. I kissed her. I asked her to flip the tape. I liked "Murder Mystery". She thought it was weird. I remember everything about that day. Thanks, Lou.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Recently, Crash Symbols has become one of the best cassette labels in the business, and with this release, they've secured their place in my upper echelon of fine repertoires. Aria Rostami's "Decades / Peter" quickly struck a chord with me. The lush and dense walls of sound are punctuated with subtle IDM rhythms, calling to mind late 90's UK artists (particularly Arovane and Casino Versus Japan) experimenting with beautiful ambience and clusters of beats. There is a strong narrative here. One could easily assume it to be a soundtrack for an epic film. This recording is very lovely, provocative and mature, with sounds so crisp and clean I had to read the liner notes immediately. It was a pleasant surprise to see that Taylor Dupree mastered it. What a package! I'm playing this one on repeat.
Check it out and buy the cassette:
From Crash Symbols Bandcamp:
"Hailing from San Francisco, producer Aria Rostami's music draws from the rhythms of the Bay and the creative landscape formed by the area's interlocking communities and climates, though his influences are varied; IDM to classical to noise, as well as ideas from world music, both contemporary and traditional. Decades/Peter collects two related sets of recordings, two dynamic concepts that play off of one another, though Rostami's work is normally highly narrative based thanks to his cinematic and literary influences. Peter is an aural distallation of his relationship with a former collaborator, written in his memory, and meant to encompass both his and the composer's identity, as well as their intersection. Peter represents a more open ended collection of songs, particularly tinted by Rostami's childhood love of video games. Decades was made as its deliberate antithesis. According to him, whereas Peter 'croons with vocals and strings,' Decades 'grinds and falls apart in lush ambiance and static,' though the thread of Rostami's identity runs throughout. Together, they serve as a compelling introduction to the producer's burgeoning body of work and conceptual repertoire."
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The chill in the mountain air signifies an annual return to the dark side. Tis the season for a cold, numb, masochistic aesthetic. I'll still be reviewing many genres, just don't be surprised to see mostly melancholy and blackness up in here til around late March.
Veil of Light is a solo project from Switzerland. This cassette reveals no surprises, and it doesn't reinvent the wheel. He worships Faith / Pornography era Cure, nods to 13th Chime, and throws in some Death in June albeit without the questionable lyrical content. VOL is definitely in the same revival camp as Blessure Grave, with its self-pity and self-hatred right up there with the best black metal subject matter. Similarly to The Soft Moon, what distinguishes this act for me is the guitar. This guy really knows how to play. Sometimes the musical skill in this genre is forgiven when the vibe is delivered so well. Not so here. Nothing is sacrificed.
Incidentally, the Belaten label is really cooking at the moment. Its run by ritual ambient / industrial artist Thomas Martin Ekelund. Check out his latest mix for Secret Thirteen:
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I don't know about you but for the past few years I've felt lost in a sea of psych an kraut revival bands. Trying to dig through all of it has become rather tedious. There are hundreds of acts in this vein, emulating the past, trying to be trippy, trying to be different, trying to sound exactly like something from the 60's... My point is that they're merely trying, and entirely too hard. It exhausts me.
Well, here's a new one that's not trying. It just IS. Asheville's Nest Egg rises from the ashes of Soft Opening, a long running heavy psych / experimental group. The new venture sees them burning through mostly uptempo motorik jams, with a flawlessly executed repetitive groove. The aesthetic is minimal yet explosive. No one else is doing it like these fellows. I haven't been this excited about a rock outfit in a long time. This demo is captured on half inch tape because... they wouldn't have it any other way. Check out samples of the band below. If you're interested in gripping this sweet reel, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Check them out on tour NOW:
10/21 pilot light Knoxville
10/22 open. Book us
10/23 green lantern Lexington
10/24 Burlington Chicago
10/25 magnetic south Bloomington
10/26 cincy psych fest
10/27 the moth light asheville with cave
Come hang out.
Also check out their first LP:
Sunday, October 20, 2013
The Death Waltz label is quite possibly the coolest thing happening in the vinyl world. This UK label is reissuing horror and sci fi soundtracks on high quality wax with beautiful and elaborate custom artwork. John Carpenter's score for his B-movie masterpiece is still stunning thirty years later. Now we can hear it the way true analog geeks are supposed to. Last ye we received Vangelis' Bladerunner score on wax and now this? Be still my beating heart. DO grab this fast! Death Waltz only presses extremely limited quantities. Don't miss out.
Well, well, well... Look everyone, I'm back. Its been four months since my last post and I'm eternally sorry. I've been very busy for a while. Between promoting shows and working on my record label (plug plug Headway Recordings), I've not been able to sit around and wax nerdy a la musique.
So here's the way its going to work from now on: I won't be writing at length about albums. The point will be simply turning you on to albums. I feel that its important to share what I like, even if I don't have time to ramble on about why you should pay your rent late and buy that record now before its out of print.
A couple side notes... I'm very excited about my label's latest LP release:
Also, if you're in Asheville on Halloween, check out my vinyl event...
Posted by Christopher Ballard at 11:45 AM