Thursday, April 9, 2015

Meridian Arc—Phase I–V cs

Meridian Arc
Phase I–V
Broken Press

ignore my paint covered table

This is Andrew Crawshaw’s first foray into solo synth music and it’s pretty god damn good. It took me awhile to find the time to sit with this and listen and I have to say that I am pretty impressed. Andrew definitely has, over the last handful of years, really become quite fluent in synth music. He has an impressive collection of music that pretty much all of us should be envious of. This has been more than just diversion or entertainment for Andrew though, this has been an education. His work on this cassette is very sophisticated for a first release and I’m very excited to hear where he takes this project. Definitely think Klaus Shulze or John Carpenter. I should say that the second phase is when this release really starts to completely rule. You should check out this article in Seattle’s The Stranger for more insight. 

Visually it’s simple but very strong. The cassettes that Andrew is putting out now all have a uniform look and it’s awesome. The kind that makes you want to own all of them so you can see them all lined up when you have bought 100 of them. Anyhow, find this.

Faint Glow—Beneath the Ice Sky

Faint Glow
Beneath the Ice Sky

Now we are talking. I think I remember Faint Glow having excellent music but pretty lackluster packaging. This time around the packaging is not flashy or really expensive looking but it's truly beautiful. I really see and feel the care that was put into this. It has a painted cdr, and this heavy piece of watercolor paper that holds the cdr and wrapped in this painted vellum sleeve that has a lovely texture. It's very personal and I really appreciate this. The music is a form of feedback nurturing and it pairs really well with the packaging.

Troy Schafer—Rigid Oppression biz card cdr

Troy Schafer
Rigid Oppression 
Aetheric Records

Wow, I really dig Troy Schafer. This is the second thing I have heard from him lately and it’s also excellent. More explorations of objects and the noise they make. This sounds like it might be more of his violin work an dI need to hear more. Piercing is one of my favorite descriptors and it pertains to this quite well but there is something else. A sort of breaking-down sound that sounds like micro-erosion on an audio level. Does that make sense? Maybe you should just hear it.

The packaging is very simple but works well. The type is nice—although center justified text is really only for wedding invites—and the art on front is pretty cool. The only issue is that the insert is about 1/4” too small for the sleeve and that looks a little sloppy. 

Tanner Garza—Frank Goodish 3" cdr

Tanner Garza
Frank Goodish ep
Petite Soles

Musically this is pretty lovely. Even with the limited space on a 3” cdr Tanner Garza was able to slowly build drones and noise into something that sounds like it takes place over large expanses of time. It’s pretty sophisticated. There is this big sample type thing in the middle but it’s such a cinematic addition that I think it really adds to the experience.

The design on the other hand is a mess there is two separate covers basically that have nothing to do with each other. The both look cool but they absolutely do no belong together. The type treatment is really nothing but the logo is pretty interesting. It’s crazy enough that I had to look up “Frank Goodish ep” online to figure out what the project name was though. Not a big deal for someone who deals with black metal all the time but it’s worth noting. I’m posting both covers on this so you can see. I think a little visual cohesion would have gone a long way with this. 

This is the cover for the small sleeve that holds the cdr

Nundata+Visdomstann—Mitochondrial DNA 3" cdr

Mitochondrial DNA
Petite Soles

I’m a huge fan of 3” cdrs as a format. There are a lot of cool packaging ideas with such a small disc.  I’m a little disappointed that with this release they didn’t seem to take advantage of that. There is something to be said for down and dirty packaging. I don’t even mind that they didn’t even stamp the cdr itself but it has this “good enough” feeling to it. The art is fine and there is so little type that I can’t really critique the typography so there’s that. 

Musically it’s pretty straightforward brittle noise but it does have this relentless piercing sound that I find pretty pleasurable. There was definitely some good thought put into the audio. This was perfect for listening to first thing in the morning. 

Of Unknown Orgin—Seven Ovens of the Soul cd

Of Unknown Orgin
Seven Ovens of the Soul
Suffering Clown

I kinda perked up when I saw this was distributed by World Serpent but I think I was ultimately left a little wanting on this one. Half of the record has this awesome bubbling, swirling, dripping space noise vibe that I love and the other half I could not get into. None of this is bad but I find it a little forgettable. Maybe I need to give this another shot but not tonight. The layout is bit forgettable as well. There is is sigil on the back and the cd face which I guess is a logo for the project but it looks pretty tired…  Maybe I am just not in the right headspace for this… 

Troy Schafer—Survey of a Broken Tape Recorder cdr

Troy Schafer
Survey of a Broken Tape Recorder
Signal Dreams

So I am pretty sure this is exactly what it sounds like. A bit of experimentation with a broken tape recorder. There are some pretty jarring sounds on this that seem like the type of thing that you discover mare than create and I am glad Mr. Schafer decided to share this with us. There is a real beauty in something being so broken that it should be thrown out becoming something that we can explore and rediscover. Even if it was thrown out after this recording it got to have a second life and contribute a little bit more. I’m not try to anthropomorphize this tape recorder but Mr. Schafer found and recorded one hell of a death rattle. 

Pornography—Hex/Golden Sunshine lathe cut 7”

Hex/Golden Sunshine lathe cut 7”
Rot Iron

I really enjoy Pornography. Yup. I had to type that and I am pretty ashamed. Fucking Anderson. Anyhow, This is great but if you are a fan of Toadliquor and Eyehategod you probably know all about this band and also love them. These are two excellent tracks with some pretty wonderfully nihilistic lyrics:

“I’ve spent the last decade wanting to die
I don’t have a future
I have to be stopped…”

This type of thing takes me back to the heyday of Pessimiser/Theologian 7”s arriving in my mailbox. The lathe is well cut by and I fully recommend them. The square 7” also come with a cdr so you can put it in your phone and be lame. Good layout. Good music. 

Sult—Svimmelhed cd

Conrad Sound

This is the type of free jazz that is rarely any good. There have been great moments in this type of thing, I’m thinking of John Zorn and some stuff by Trevor Dunn but usually this type of thing just sounds like some noise guys decided that no knowing how to play their instruments was a positive and needed to jam out for awhile. Usually a very long while. Sult is not like that at all. Sult is fantastic. This album sounds so amazing that you really hear the instruments moving through the air as they play. The sound is captured perfectly. The music itself is really challenging and intense. I really can’t stop listening to this. There si a track at the end of the cd where the giant contrabasses will destroy your speakers with acoustic horror. I love this. 

It looks pretty good too. It was designed by Lasse Marhaug so it has that sort of simple and clean look that he loves. It’s well done if not a little overly simple. 

Puritan Sword—Discography cd

Puritan Sword
Obfuscated Records

Puritan Sword wins raddest name for a HNW project. It’s great and this cd is kinda perfect. Twenty nine tracks that are all about two to three minutes in length. It’s great. There are some samples and we all know at this point how I feel about samples in noise but it’s a damn fine project.