Our buddies at Fabrica Records have been holding it down over on the other coast with an awesome crop of tapes. I listened to these a few weeks ago on a spooky night while waking around Lake Laguinta (on my way the CCRMA concert) but I haven't had a chance to write anything up until now.
The first one I popped in was the "Dwellings" c20 by EarthMasters. It came with some explosive supernova j-card artwork and was housed in a lovely diaphanous purple shell. (Now that I write this, I don't think I've yet to review a purple tape that I didn't like...) I was instantly greeted with warm wooly pulses, chopped and screwed layers of synth and drawn-out guitar grinds that reverberated somewhere in my lower vertebrae. Gelatinous vocals whispered forth distorted fragments in throbbing pulses that I couldn’t understand. I flipped over to side B and listened to bubbly synth brooks gurgling colorful melodies and string instruments gently recoiling and winding down. Ambient washes gently shifted in tides that barely disturbed the surface, like the flutter of papers restless rearranging themselves in the garbage bin. Bliss.
You can find EarthMasters on facebook at the above link, or the ever-popular myspace and their goofy bandcamp, where you can indulge in their two posted songs, available for a combined sum of $80. (I'm not kidding)
Next up to bat was the self titled c30 by A Full Cosmic Sound. Having had the same redwoods forest desktop background for nearly two years, I was instantly hooked by the artwork, and the stellar song titles printed on the j-card, which had names like "Comandante Chupacabra Acelere Y Entregue El Mensaje" and " Hippis En Alerta, Estrategia En Rediseno" (which later made me laugh out loud when I read them on air).
A Full Cosmic Sound (AFCS) was formed in Santiago, Chile by members of a La Banda and Du O des Etoiles, and the inspiration was apparently a sharing a mutual "casual UFO sighting." (Unsurprisingly, my family has a similar history of UFO sightings in South America...) Channeling the energy from this experience, AFCS unleashes a onslaught of psychadelic noise that sounds fantastical, open-ended and wholly unhuman. If I had to guess instruments, I would say keyboards, guitars, and drum machines, but by the sounds of it, there are a good dozen or so that I'm missing. Even from their very name, it's apparent that A Full Cosmic Sound is trying to deliver just that--a palette of sounds representing a radical departure from the human experience. And in just five songs, they'll do it.
It's incredible how accessible this music is given the fact that it has very little human elements. Little is recognizable, and what is is soaked with distortion and is only a fleeting apparition in the crowd. To heighten the experience, I highly recommend speakers rather than isolating headphones. This is music which commands the kind of transformative properties that are best felt in an environment.