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Ancient Ocean - Wien

Oh, how wonderful was it one day to come back from work a little earlier than usual and find a fresh batch of tapes from the lyserigic-traum Austrian label Feathered Coyote Records. When I got myself to drown in the sound of the Wien cassette by Brooklyn based dronengineer John Bohannon, alias Ancient Ocean. He’s already done a split with Expo ‘70, so you can expect Bohannon’s sound to be pretty similar. The first side of the tape is a recording of a live performance given in the city of Wien, a wailing, echoing and ping-ponging nuclear desert shredding that gradually gets faster, more intricate and rawer, becoming something between monumental stoner rock held in formaldehyde and ringing, hypnotic black metal riff frozen in time. Side B was recorded in Brooklyn with some studio overdubs added. This is an exploration of a new territory, filled with rawer, almost tectonic swelling and falling drone-notes reminiscent of ELEH or (nearly) Lustmord. It’s much more spooky, kinda like Sunn O))) circa Black One stripped of hyper-amplified electric guitars and given analog synths instead. Well, they could get it much heavier than Ancient Ocean probably, but the formula and idea stays. This is some heavy droneage, even for the seasoned cloud-surfers;. But you should try it, anyway. Maybe you should check this out, if hardly anything blows your mind anymore. I dunno. Go for it.

Moan - Bookshelf Sanctuary

Before Ben Warfield’s Songs of Light and Dust, the Philadelphian plantable music label Data Garden released another hyperdelic nugget of synthesizer & guitar ecstasy by Shinji Masuko, the founding member of Japanese psych/prog band DMBQ and a member of Boredoms since 2004. Bookshelf Sanctuary is a ride through crystalline jungles and shimmering guitar chords that echo and bounce across the length of the album. Worth checking out for the opening track alone - the amount of sparkling, arpeggioing space madness packed in “Banded Agates” will make the straightest or the straight edgers high as a stratosphere in a matter of minutes. Somebody has a portrait of Manuel Göttsching hanging over their bed. Highly recommended!

Seaworthy - Sleep Paths

Brussels, Belgium CD label Slaapwel Records is a small enterprise which focuses primarily on, simply (and in their own words), “music to fall asleep to”. To expand on these simple words, the musical output of Slaapwel consists mainly of quiet ambient music, delicate guitar explorations or similarly dream-like sounds floating somewhere between waking life and sleep. The boat and the name might suggest an aquatic atmosphere, and it’s rather correct. Cameron Webb, alias Seaworthy, the Australian master of atmosphere crafts the ultra-delicate, fragile soundscapes of shimmering, echoing guitar notes floating in the sea of the unconscious. Quite in the mood of Fabio Orsi or Aidan Baker, this CD is the way to go when it comes for a great background to drifting off. In fact, I can hardly wait to finish writing this piece as I’m listening to this 40-minute soundscape right now. It’s so peaceful, my eyes are getting heavy… Good night!

German Army - Barrineans

The German Army continue their unstoppable march through the scorched earth of deep cassette underground dropping disorienting, sense-mixing sound bombs with every stop they make along the way in labels around the world. The newest Wunderwaffe comes from the Floridian label Lava Church with the Barrineans tape. They further enhance their rhythmical, industrially ambiental sound with tighter, more well-placed samples and more focus on building mood and strangely wandering melodies than just noisy, trippertronic clatter. There are plunderphonic and sample-based leanings mixed with krautrock’s electronic legacy with their Cluster-like soloes and the analog, bare-bones sound. Walk this strange soundscape by yourself, discover the Barrin Sonic Wasteland.

Warm Climate - Pigeon Brides Weigh In

The digital version of the 2011 Stunned Records cassette release by Warm Climate, the freewheeling Los Angeles psych rock trio of Seth Kasselman on guitar, Caitlin C. Mitchell on drums and Jake White on bass. Taking cues from sunkissed, organ-driven flowery tunes of original 60’s lysergic assault and upsetting them by injecting a dose of anarchic, semi-improvisational strain of headrock, Red Krayola style. Although the style of Warm Climate can range from almost progressive structures to airy, poppy tunes and deep, convoluted guitar mandalas, their style is engaging and hypnotic, making one stick to this music playing around, breathing an air of proto-punk weirdness. Highly recommended!

Rakta - Rakta

Found on Marek Sawicki’s uber-solid blog Tableau!, Rakta is an all-girl psychedelic post-punk hellish concoction straight outta Sao Paulo, Brazil which the girls describe as “hippie punk”. Nature meets distortion. Organs meet post-apoc meaty bass and a cloudy guitar. Psychedelic experience meets alienation. And the vocalist sounds like a garage/basement (whatever sounds more lo-fi, just choose your preference) version of Siouxsie, which might just be the strongest recommendation. Unless you don’t like shoegazey take on urban decay and the end of civilization with reverbed female vocals. But then it’s just your loss.

Montibus Communitas - Montibus Communitas

Reissue on an original vinyl release on Cosmic Eye Records, this self-titled cassette by the Peruvian psych-folk/improv collective Montibus Communitas changes direction a bit from the usual Inner Islands stuff. While we’re still exploring the inner self here, this exploration sounds a bit more chaotic, anarchic and directionless (in a good way) than most Inner Islands releases. The cassette containts four lengthy, slowly unfolding tracks filled with dissonant drones, echoing guitar licks, tribal drumming and overall organ bliss. Kinda like the more ambiental Ash Ra Tempel stuff meeting No Neck Blues Band or Datashock at their most freewheeling. Recommended!

Petrels - Onkalo

If you were ever thinking “Is there anyone else quite like Sean McCann in this world?”, then the work of the London resident Oliver Barrett, operating under the moniker Petrels might be the answer. Operating in the very similar area of morphing and modifying modern classical instrumentarium for the needs of glitchy drone and ambient music, he molds the walls of strings into shimmering, solid crystalline towers that seem fragile and delicate at first but turn out to be nearly indestructible, immune to weather or wars. It’s a raw, slowly emerging sound, like a cleaner version of Tim Hecker or a harsher Christian Fennesz, with a bit of choir beauty thrown here or there among the nearly post-apoc war drums or searing white noise textures. Deep, dark and unrelenting. Highly recommended.

Black Unicorn - Traced Landscapes

The music of the Akron, OH synth shapeshifter Curt Brown, a.k.a. Black Unicorn follows the footsteps of the ultimate stars of the fertile Ohio experimental ground, Emeralds with the spacey, synth-based compositions that expand on the original kosmische ideas. While I already heard him in 2011 through his tape Squid and Whale, at the time it slipped just a little past under my radar as the sound was raw and monumental, but it already fell within the larger Ohio based stream of raw and monumental passages spearheaded by the various solo projects of Emeralds members. Now it’s 2014 and Emeralds are gone, and Black Unicorn is back with a new album, this time from Field Hymns, named Traced Landscapes. Here, Brown is ready with a much more honed and personified sound that sounds like the rawer, earlier moments of Tangerine Dream or the mind-bending analog electronics of the Radiophonic Workshop. These landscapes might be traced, but they surely are traced straight from the minds of the best. Solid and trippy!

Opaline - No Worlds

The albums by the Portland based New Age re-innovator Opaline have an air of Stellar OM Source awesomeness hanging around him almost from note one. This is a synth project that can bring one some serious audio-hipnosis while not getting too much into one’s face - in fact, it never gets into any face, it practically always stays a mere “wallpaper music”, but this time it’s the kind of wallpaper that shifts colors and shades with each angle and is all adorned with pretty psychedelic swirls and you just can’t take your eyes away, especially since you came here on drugs already. What else would you be doing on this blog right now, all sober!?

Ryan Emmett - Portrait of a Dog

Orange Milk label already got me used to their weird brand of weird music and their new batches make me always jumpy and eager to bite into their meticulously illustrated soundworlds container inside. With the four stages of transition featured on the cover, the cassette by Ryan Emmett indeed proves to deny itself of any other all-encompasing description than the laconic “experimental” at the bottom of the Bandcamp page. With the perception shifting toward the more primal, animistic nature (hence the tape’s name), the synth patchwork becomes more sinister and wailing, chaotic and droning, but still detached from reality with tape warps and garbled hiss. There are no maps for this territory. Be careful, have your knife always ready. This is no man’s land - maybe you’ll salvage something.

Vehicle Blues - Letter Writer

Sometimes you just look at the cover of some loser rock EP before even listening to it on Bandcamp and you think: “I think this may have some promise, but I bet it will suck in the long run”? Well, I had it the same way, but then as I was sinking into the first track’s dreamy, smokey facade, I realized that it was something pretty cool, that the somewhat grand statement “This is one of the most solid 12 minutes recorded to tape" added to somebody other than me (turns out there are other people visiting Bandcamp as well, what a surprise!). The dirty, echoed riffage reminds me the similarly short and raw cassette by Storm Shelter released by Texan label Monofonus Press, although this one is even shorter - only 12 minutes long. Size matters, they say. This carries quite a lot in this small package. Good garagey rock.

Inner Sound - Winter Batch

Cleverly disguised in old-school packaging that might lead one to believe that it’s quite an old gem laid with a slight slime of time, in this case: being haunted by a vinyl ghost that ocasionally will warp the recording, leading it into some quite unexpected ways. This is a collection of whooping, funky beats that get warmer and sweatier with each track, to blend into a clubby atmosphere that will eventually warm melt everything in the nearest distance, including the snow amassed at the cover. Just place the record sleeve near the turntable. Can it be possible that the hottest beats this winter are from Brooklyn, not from Los Angeles? I dunno. Inner Sound’s sounding pretty hot so far. Recommended!

Choongum - Pure Spirit

The super-eclectic and confident stuff by the Bay Area based screen-gazer Choongum can be easily considered post-vaporwave in the sence of still using rather sterile, corporate muzak, but in a way more club-friendly way, now, investing instead of new age and ambient music structures into the more beat-based genres of popular music, like IDM, hip-hop or club music. In this aspect Choongum sounds a bit like Fatima Al Qaidri, although more laid back and less radical, except with some more bouncing moments. Last.fm describes him as “glo hop”, which sounds like a more ghettoized version of “glo-fi”, popular around 4-5 years ago (that’s some serious Internet archeology, yo). That description is very apt, by the way. Check him out, get spaced out a little in your Internet-powered perfect office environment. Smoke da blunt while the boss isn’t lookig. Go on. I dare you.

MMOSS - I

Man, now this is some true representation of the raw American psychedelic pastoral in all its beatific beauty. Hailing from New Weird Hampshire, this group of harmony seekers drench themselves in fog of styles to craft a Bardo Pondian (non)reality incorporating jangly hooks and folky flutes with a bit of 60’s throwback acid-soaked nostalgia. MMOSS, as simply and shortly they are named, throw the aptly concise and concentrated pieces of psychedelic, energizing magical musicianship that can lift everybody’s spirit. And to lift the spirits even more - the whole album is available for free! Grab it at once and get your mind blown by the power of neo-psych once again! Highly recommended for fans of the more “classic” psych!