(Cassette, Constellation Tatsu, 2013)
The Chicago based band Zelienople have always appeared to me as an overlooked, always a little under the radar musical mystery (and a gem) of the 2000’s. Their combination of drone music, slowcore and dusted, slow jazz gave psychedelia a new meaning; full of dark corners and foggy mazes - perfect listening for the more introspective, melancholic moments. The band enhanced this image of mystery and melancholy through their black-and-white, often blurry, album artworks.
Ill Professor is not very different - this side-projects sees two thirds of Zelienople combining forces. Brian Harding works with Matt Christensen here, evoking the ghostly spirit of Zelienople, expect in a less song-like, “fully grown” way, but rather as a set of anti-studio, bedroom-friendly sketches and lo-fi loner ballads bordering on ambient and drone music rather than the jazzy, slowish psychedelia of the full band. If the cover photograph is any indication, no explosions of joy or moments of sudden energy are expected to happen here: it’s a slow, lethargic ride through that strange mid-state between waking life and dream world, where everything seems strangely real, yet blurry and heard as if it were a mile away; the highway here would be the smeared guitar ballad “Slate Line”, the piece most similar to Zelienople in its full line-up, with the string plucking leaving distant echoes, pregnant with melancholy. There are moments of slo-mo narcotic bliss, like in the ambient-ladden super slow “Saturday End of September”.
Everything here is in sepia. Everything is a remnant of an emotion or an event that happened a long time ago, maybe even in the previous life. Zelienople (and Ill Professor, naturally) have built their trademark sound as an attempt to capture those small, fleeing emotions or to give a new life to the scraps of memory hidden deep in the unconscious until now. It’s a bit clashing that an album like “Wire & Air” gets released in the Spring - because it seems like a perfect late autumn listening album. When everything around comes to life, these guys want to cover everything in snow, with only small bits of life remaining, but remaining on the verge of falling into hibernation. It’s almost painfully introvertic and inner-self gazing music, but it works. It bears a load of emotions. When the cold, rainy autumn days come in a few months, I’ll remember what to listen to.
This Mexican psychedelic “supergroup” is hellbent to transport the listener into the heart of the dense, intense psychedelic experience. Headed by the mysterious shaman Rancho Shampoo, the group travels the musican world, throwing dancey tribal workouts, dubby bassy bliss, fuzzed out desert rock and a pit of a religious ritual mysteriousness into a trippy, mind-expanding mix. Highly recommended!
Abrasive, feedback-laden, unrelenting, screaming, thrashing, aggressive, but with moments of simple rock music beauty - this is the newest release by the Swedish noise rock unit ÅBE2. As they put it, their music harkens back to the best of 80’s and 90’s noise rock. And it’s true - sometimes it’s lacking almost any structure, just abusing the hell out of their guitars for the sake of abuse, however, at other times it screams “SONIC YOUTH!!!” from a mile off. 27 short pieces filled with fuzz, anxiety and emotion. Buy the cassette from Nomethod Records and let yourself drown in noise.
Multicolor, kaleidoscopic trippertronics from Perth, Australia on a more melody-oriented and less intense side of the man behind the Salamander project. Like a more psychedelicized version of Peaking Lights without the vocals. But the dubbiness and the summerlike atmosphere is still there, together with some head-bobbing beats. Highly recommended for the upcoming summer (well, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, sorry Australia, you already had your turn)! You can also buy the cassette if you enjoy the digital stuff.
This might be (a few days) old news for some, but might be a great message for the others. Stephen O’Malley, the 1/2 of the legendary drone doom outfit Sunn O))) has made the band’s entire discography available via Bandcamp. Every demo, studio album, live album, collaboration and remix they have ever released is now available in digital format for just 8 dollars. Take the chance and buy their music!
Sunn O))) Bandcamp
This exhaustive (65 minutes!) compilation of music from 5 cassettes shows the ideas and the creative processes of the West Coast’s ambient explorer Kevin Greenspon, who effortlessly slaloms between somewhat sandpaper-like synthesizer based textures and gentle, subtle guitar-driven vistas in the likeness of the great ambient masters of the decades past. “Paradise A.D.” is a gallery of moods crafted for every occasion. Recommended! If you like this, buy the CD from the artist himself.
A 30 minute long jam broken into two 15-minute pieces from the Cumbrian wilderness (that’s in the north of the United Kingdom, for the less geo-savvy readers) based label Treehouse Orchestra Recordings. The first track is a sitar-tinged, Easterny psychedelic folk jam which picks up the pace with some cleverly sampled and looped live drums for a full-on psychedelic freak out (well, maybe not that amplified, but still very trippy!). The second track is steeped in angelic, krautrock-influenced guitar ambience that spreads into infinity - think Manuel Gottsching and his modern-day equivalent Mark McGuire and you’re pretty much spot-on. You can also buy the cassette if you like - it’s got some beautiful packaging!
Download via Mediafire
This is what happens when you plagiarize the music of one of my best friends and send it to me (and several other peers) as a demo.
I have never released a demo submission ever, and when it is just copying-and-pasting the work of someone I have released, it is definitely not happening.
Reblogging this, because I had a part in this (posting the Sun D album here) and now I feel really, really bad. Because I didn’t think someone would have the balls to actually send me some plagiarized music. I guess this moment comes sooner or later in the work of any music blogger/label head: some dishonest copycat or even a fraud.
I’ve taken the Sun D post down and I promise to be more insightful and careful in the future.
Another fine piece of impressionistic, sleepytime ambient music with a soft, smoothened edge, like the setting summer sun. Little waves on the lake. The gradient of the evening sky. Reeds swaying slowly in the breeze. Everything cools down. One deep breath after another. Nothing stands in the way. The air is clear. Take a dive.
Even if it wears the dark cloak of the occult and the undiscovered, the 66-minute release from a Toulouse based duo ZENИTH allows for a ray of light to seep in through the dark clouds and into the guitar-based ambient oblivion. Heavily reverbed, often ritual-like (as the title implies), deeply atmospheric, rolling slowly over your head like the slowly coming storm that never hits with its full force, but passes through, while still making a statement with its distant thunders and barely noticeable lightnings. “Ritual” plays like an almost acoustic, more ambiental side of a black metal band. Good stuff for pagan meditation deep in the woods.