Monday, July 25, 2011

Super Minerals - Contacteer

A star-studded project composed of Phil French, (the mastermind behind KZSU faves Stunned Records, and also a member of psyche freakout band Magic Lantern) and William Giacchi (who is also of Magic Lantern fame but also has a solo project Eureka and is a producer/technician for Silver Bullets). Their latest cassette “Contacteer,” a marvelous slab of tape spanning 48 minutes, is chock-full of rough organic sounds, loose freefalling percussion, and occasional acoustic guitar simmering in the brush. Amazing sonic textures from two of the leading minds in the experimental cassette underground. Highly recommended. Also great for scaring away trick-or-treaters.

This release consists of two mammoth tracks, fittingly titled: “Earth Acropolis Welcomes Panacea Home: Man the Rod, Woman the Measure and Metabolising All Their Poisons With Ease” and “Be Brave Children of the Monsoon and Rise Above the Deep Shield Like Buddah Burning Brightly On Mars.”

SIDE A: Deep and pulsating, a bit dubby. Later expands into an uphill march through swampy guitar, murky blended samples and muddy basslines. Getting butt-dialed by someone lost in a tropical rainforest. Spins off into the darkness with ominous twangy guitar samples. Brother, this is far out.

SIDE B: A growling haze of drone with ringing samples swimming in and out of the fog. Later morphs into a slow-burning crawl of guitars, alarm clocks, and metallic percussion. An aural delight lending insight into a beautiful state confusion. Surely a delight for the late night insomniacs.

Brainworlds - •••••

Drifting-near-the-edge-of-a-blackhole-core. Deep Space Stellar Cartography for Dummies. This is the fifth release from Mason Brown’s project Brainworlds, and is probably his best to date. This album is another monster of a c60 (you know the drill) with the first side leaning more towards the experimental droney side of the spectrum, and the second being more of a bliss-out. Both sides have a heavy cosmic/outer-space aesthetic (as does the liner artwork), but it is a theme that is earnest and refined, and manages to break free of a simple-minded “dude, space is so big…” mold. Great stuff—one of the definite standouts from the recent batch released by Sonic Meditations Records.

SIDE A: Numbing. Swirly and ever-expanding with thick layers of drone like sirens slowly fading out of earshot. Cool tones rise and fall, and staticy breakers lap at the shores. This is probably what Galileo bumped when he wrote De Mundi Systemate.

SIDE B: 10,000 foot freefall. Tranquil and relaxing, and even dazzlingly at times. The piece opens up with soft gushing tones. Around 7 minutes in, a fluttering bassbeat stirs up the dust and adds life and intensity. Minute 13 ushers in a variety of icy chilling, jagged sonic tones—but nothing too dark or sinister. The last few minutes are excellent—scattershot distorted keyboard that echoes into the distant cosmos.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

No Mind Meditation - Face Skull Spirit

Acoustic guitar-driven synth soundscapes sprinkled with a myriad of gentle tinkling textures—tape loops, xylophones, oil drums—you name it. Dense and smooth but almost poppy at times a la Monster Rally, Super Minerals or Silver Bullets. After releasing a free EP in May, No Mind Meditation has once again emerged from their cocoon--this time with a full-length album. I’m looking forward to hearing more from these self-proclaimed “duality release initiators” and their “dream state conduits.” Um...what?

Side A: A banger right from the very start, the first half leads off with muffled drone and 2001 Space Odyssey monolith groans and later extends into a hypnotic new-age self-guided tour of a dense sea of undulating waves and tones. A richly woven tapestry, that’s for sure.

Side B: Sweeping acoustic guitar with a deep midtempo bassbeat to keep the daydream moving at a steady pace. Crackling clouds of noise, flapping wings, insect chirps. Lots of tropical oil drums, and lightly cascading xylophone. The last 3 minutes politely dissolve into a whirlwind of drone.

A shout-out to the Chi and our friends at the excellent Goldtimers Tapes for hooking us up with this tape and a whole bunch more. Stay tuned for their upcoming drool-worth releases including a 2 x C55 No Mind Meditation box set, a Hobo Cubes tape, and a Sound Out Light/Christopher Merritt split.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bridgetown Records - Summer 2011 Mixtape

The Los Angeles-based Bridgetown Records has recently released a free 21 song mixtape highlighting its 15(!) new summer cassette releases. Bridgetown was one of the first (if not the first) label to be on board with KZSU cassettes, so they hold a special place in our hearts. If you're not familiar with their catalogue, they release a variety of different sounds, ranging from the lo-fi pop of indie darlings Cloud Nothings, to the swirly heady drone of Hedia, to the swooning ambient project of label-head Kevin Greenspon. I haven’t heard a compilation this good in a long time…

Grab it here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sounding the Deep - A Union According to Energy

Lush guitar-based drone band from Kansas City, Missouri. Originally a solo project of Dave Williams, Sounding the Deep has since added percussionist Mike Vera to flesh out the rhythm segments. Most production is very loose and spacey, but with lots of warm undertones, euphoric rushes of delay-driven guitar, and a certain ineffable “spiritual” quality. All very good stuff, highly recommended to those who are fans of Sonic Meditations labelmates Expo 70, Brainworlds, and Plante.

You can check out their older albums, as well as their latest cassette "Anthems of Light" here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Voder Deth Squad - 1

Amorphous psych compositions recorded in a single take by a legendary combination of M. Geddes Gengras and Jeremy Kelly. A large, expansive work that evokes images of bleak futures with lots of rainfall, Ridley Scott movies, and cutting your eyelashes off so that you won't fall

Side A: Slowly undulating washes of drone with gentle drumbeats. Four minutes in the mood intensifies—dark and industrial, with a rusted metallic sheen. The liftoff is nine minutes in—staticy roaring jets, blood pounding in your ears, bass rumbles that you can feel in your chest. Molten tendrils of synthesizer close out the piece.

Side B: A lush odyssey into the unknown punctuated by sharp stabs of light, milky drone, and Phillip Glass debauchery. A tribute to forgotten satellites and lost probes.

111 pro-dubbed copies in existence. Another gem from Stunned Records.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

White Rainbow - From Now On Let's

Portland-based ambient wizkid White Rainbow releases a mixtape of complex cosmic beats. This album is a bit of a departure from his earlier work--less dreamy and a lot more chipper, and focuses on beat-based production with excellent samples and refined structure. However, a bit of his ambient background seeps through and adds another layer of complexity. All tracks are top-notch instrumentals. Jam them loud!

This album is available on a pay-what-you-want basis here.