Friday, August 21, 2009
I've recently begun poking around, looking for good black metal. Though there have been a few things that I was into, I quickly realized that the darkness I've been seeking could be found more easily in noise and without the terribly slick production or the operatic stylings of some make-up clad clown from suburbia. I've often used noise as a dulling agent, a curtain to block the light and to keep the ghosts of all pasts at bay. Noise music, at its best, simply won't allow for the attachment of nostalgia or anecdotal recall. Noise exists solely in the province of the moment. Brad Rose and Nathaniel Young's Ajilvsga project has, over the course of numerous tapes and cdrs, created some of the most compelling black hole music ever. Ajilvsga's emissions adhere to the basic tenets of the low-end drone with plenty of mid and upper register synth/guitar action that resonate like some unholy clarion call through the cosmos. Unlike so much dreck being produced in the noise/drone axis these days, Ajilvsga produce dramatic music that never feels contrived or unnatural. This is space music, complete with the sounds of exploding suns, planetary decay and universes colliding.
Ajilvsga - Behind the Masked Spirit CS40 (jktapes, 2008)
These dudes rolled through town a few months back and I had the good fortune of seeing them play Cake Shop the evening of Plastic Crimewave's Guitarkestra project(which ruled). Psyched about their majestic moniker and thirsting for some new sound I checked out their myspace page a few days before the show and was treated to some blown out brown-acid type freakouts which provided ample excuse for making it to the gig on time. My memory fails as to whether they were a four or five piece that night, but they definitely had one guitar, a bass, drums, and a singer. For some reason when I see a band with a "lead" singer(not playing any instrument) my palms get sweaty and my mind flashes on terrible Aerosmith-ish flights of cockrock. Of course there are exceptions to the lead singer cringe rule with Rob Tyner and Iggy being the most fitting examples. Well, basically the line-up looked a little thin to create the kind of warped psych dirges that were represented on their myspace page. And true enough, the ensuing set consisted of short blasts of psych-punk fury that can only be brewed in the basement cauldrons of the mid-west. A solid rhythm section kept a feverish pulse while the guitarist alternated between scorched earth riffing and paint peeling leads. The vocals are of the loud unintelligible variety that add a nice layer of texture to the proceedings. I gripped a few tapes at the show(this, and a double on Pizza Night) and the jams are righteous. Final High;5 songs clocking in at 20 minutes, is a rave up of classic garage with just enough fraying at the edges to keep it interesting. The important thing is; beneath the scuzz,there are simple and well written songs. And I love saying their fucking name.
I can't find the tape art online, and I'm too lazy to try and scan it somewhere so this picture of a tree-hugger who tried to sell me mushrooms will have to suffice. Also, there is no info on the tape about who put it out or song titles so if you know something leave a comment.
Puffy Areolas - Final High CS20
Safe as Milk
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It recently occurred to me that I have been neglecting jazz here. It should come as no surprise that my interest lies in the more experimental strains of the genre which generally falls under the categorization of "free jazz". Like many genre signposts it is problematic, limiting and often derided by the branded musicians themselves. We shall leave the discussion of proper nomenclature for another day and instead focus on trombonist Grachan Moncur The Third's "New Africa" record released on the venerated BYG Actuel label in 1969. "New Africa" features other new music stalwarts Dave Burrell on piano, Roscoe Mitchell on alto sax and piccolo, Alan Silva on bass, Andrew Cyrille on drums and the inimitable Archie Shepp(with whom Moncur played extensively) on tenor sax for one cut. Less chaotic than many of the records being produced by the aforementioned players, "New Africa" is a shamelessly pretty exercise in post-Coltrane modal excursion. The title cut,presented in four distinct movements, is as beautiful and spacious a composition you will ever hear with each player turning in fine, if restrained, performances. Side two's appropriately titled "Exploration" shows the group in a more dynamic untethered space using texture atonality and repitition to exhilarating effect."New Africa" is a testament to the breadth of Moncur's compositional skill and the individual player's ability to flourish in any setting. One of the more accessible outings by any of it's individual contributors; this is a great record for trying to get yr girlfriend into some cool shit.
Grachan Moncur III - "New Africa" (BYG,1969)
1. New Africa
2. Space Spy
Friday, August 07, 2009
A colleague recently forwarded GA'ANs myspace page to me, and my initial thoughts flashed on Magma being fronted by Dagmar Krause without the political bullshit. Sufficiently impressed by the sample jams, I went and saw these Chicagoans slay the crowd of metal-heads, prog nerds and rock sluts(no shit, it was like a Warrant video) assembled at Death by Audio on Thursday night. GA'AN combines a muscular yet nimble rhythm section, a genuinne synth-wizard and a strong female vocalist to unleash a dark tide of grooves, space and texture. On this particular untitled cassette they wander into some great murk drone territory with gorgeous synth twinkle before blasting into a full rock stomp. The wordless vocals mesh perfectly within the synth zone while the bass and drums dance across time. This is a great fucking tape.
These dudes are on tour, check them out if you can and buy their shit and show some love.
GA'AN - S/T CS (Self-Released)
Side A - Untitled
Side B- Untitled