Jolana Havelková & Lucie Vítková – Návrh na změnu partitury

This modern classical/minimalistic work by Czech visual artist Jolana Havelková and composer Lucie Vítková might not be the target kind of material for Weed Temple musically, but it’s a mighty interesting experiment in a conceptual sense, and I’m a sucker for all things conceptual. In this case, it’s the work of 19th century classical Czech composer František Kmoch, whose original works are reworked into abstract, fragmented pieces. First, Havelková would take the notation of Kmoch’s pieces and rework them into abstract pieces of art. Then Lucie Vítková would come in to work on those notations, filled with topsy-turvy sounds that sound almost completely improvised and unstructured at first, but gradually become highly emotional pieces, as fragmented and detached as they might be. Silence and breaks between the sounds play a big part here, as if to magnify and signify the importance of the sounds themselves, torn out of their original time and source and reworked into either pieces of cold minimalism or strange, idiot savant-style semi-melodies for accordion, piano, harmonica, organ or voice. Released on CD and as digital download by the Slovakian experimental label LOM.

Mark McGuire – Organ Meditation (Winter 2014)

A spontaneous, one-off organ meditation recorded by former Emeralds’ guitarist Mark McGuire just a day before Valentine’s Day 2014 in his hometown of Westlake, Ohio. I haven’t been following McGuire’s work very closely for the last 2 or so years so I didn’t know that he used some phat syntszzz too. On this EP he drops the guitar and gets into some truly Emeraldic drones in the vein of the endless sound portals of Solar Bridge or Emeralds. It’s a shimmering, sprawling vista of seemingly frozen notes that change slooowly in time, throwing you into good ol’ ambient-infused stupor and distorting the time, stretching it into eternity. McGuire strives to give the mood of winter and succeeds, considering it feels more snowy and colder, at lest since the winter in the US was generally harsher than the extended autumn we had here in Poland. Organ Meditation is an astounding piece, considering it was most likely an improvisation, played merely as a method of killing time, maybe. And what a way to kill time it is! Available for free from Bandcamp.

The art of Bartosz Zaskórski

Here’s a kind of a promotional post, and a kind of an advertisement for a very promising Polish artist, Bartosz Zaskórski, offering some really whacked out, psychedelic (on the darker side of psych, let me prepare you) artwork. I’m talking advertisement because posting the works of Bartosz might be a good chance for labels to spot his work and commission some work. The man has already worked for Polish experimental label Nasiono Records, the Polish harsh noise scene, spastic Australian glitchcore act Deafault and Thaw.

Zaskórski takes his inspiration from the works of various writers and artists operating on the fringe of normalcy and insanity, especially William S. Burroughs (whose portrait you can see in the beginning of this post). In his drawings, the macabre is mixed with almost cartoonish distortons of limbs, heads or other organs or appendages, he likes to experiment with anatomy, creating artificial orifices, organs and orther working semi-organisms that seem to inhabit some dark, unexplored realm of the creator’s mind. This biological madness, balancing on the edge of sexual fetishism of the weirdest kind and the creeping horror of the imagined bodies creates a sense of dread and intensity in the watcher. Explore more works by Bartosz on his blog:

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.