“Watch the Throne” is the name of a collaborative piece by Dean Blunt and James Ferraro, recorded live at the Soho House in Beverly Hills, on November 3rd, 2012. Ferraro plays the grand piano and Blunt handles the Rhodes and the vocals. The two outsiders play very well together here and expand on the idea of “furniture music”. With a lot of chatter, laughters and occasional sounds of plates and forks it blends together perfectly with the venue’s ambience, which melts into a mess of sounds. Blunt and Ferraro create a meandering, minimalistic ambience with occasional singing/remarks from Blunt that a bit of Fushitsusha-like ghostliness, without the screeching, overdriven guitars. This is the inverse of Fushitsusha, a sprawling piano/organ vista that should be played during a sunset at a terrace of the restaurant overlooking downtown LA. If this kind of stuff was always played in fancy venues, I’d become a restaurant reviewer or something. So much bliss.
Combining stoner rock distortionado with psychedelic rock’s penchant for effect-laden sound, the Californian bunch Dahga Bloom‘s debut vinyl LP, originally released on beautiful blue vinyl (sold out already) have managed to create a high-energy cannabis-infused psychedelic like (kinda like smoking weed + snorting coke a moment later), where the infectious riffs get with spaced out synths and mandalalike song structures mix well together with cheap amplifier fuzz and blooze filth. Add an emotional vocalist in the vein of Hookworms of Thee Oh Sees and what you get is a slab of white rock psychedelic rock on the verge of a nervous breakdown with a serious turn towards some krautrocky/indie winning connection they’ve got going in their veins and brains and lungs and what else. Really solid trip-rock piece, recommended!
Don’t be put off by the harsh, glassy drone of “Viral Grief”, the opening piece from Keeping to the Void, the newest cassette from the Brooklyn/Philadelphia duo Glass House (Ian Collier and Eric Brannon), because soon the atmosphere, filled with proto-rock and electric energy overload turns into a floating tank beneath the firmament filled with shimmering stars and milky ways Neil deGrasse Tyson himself would be proud of. On Keeping to the Void, the duo go for a more ghostly and mysterious sound, with tracks mingling monumental, cinematic Eno/Stars of the Lid drones with snippets of conversations or distant voices dying in the waves of delay and reverb. Released on cassette via quality NY label Tranquility Tapes, the label name rarely fitted the music better than now. Highly recommended!
The giant eye reflecting the sky gives a bit of a R Plus Seven-like totality, the simplicity and the impact. Plus, it is a nice step away from the tired, ultra-kitschy covers of most vaporwave albums, which employ an aggressive, chopped up collage psychedelia to overload the listener already on the visual level, not to mention the mangled sounds within. With ECO VIRTUAL, however, things are far less more on the pastiche/parody side and way more on the affirmation and simplicity side, posting skeletal synthesizer drum pads a’la Purity Rings against waves of Japanese 80’s New Age ambient atmospheres and bits of looping samples scattered across the virtual skies. It’s like arriving at some gigantic mall during the weekend during cloudy weather and then noticing, after a few hours of shopping, the clear crystal blue sky in one of the skylights, and wondering: “Why am I here?”. But you still stay there, sipping a coffee in the mall cafe, drowning in super-crystal natural sounds soaking from the unseen speakers and looking at a dense woodland by the highway from a window.
Among the high output of releases by Floridian native Jeffrey Astin’s Digital Natives project, the demand for suspended and looping funky, sweaty beats never stops, as if this was the height of the disco era and Astin was the top selling, ultimate DJ selling out entire convention halls and stadiums with his concerts, crafting out one infectious, looped antem after another like it’s always 1977. Somewhere between vaporwave and Amon Tobin, it relies heavily on electronic repetitious revelation as well as slow, narcotic mystery unfolding endlessly before the listener in some sort of a haze emerging late at nigth and fitting late night listening. It’s all about mixing bossa nova with funk this time, trying something slightly new, because there’s a plethora of genres to be explored. Sometimes I think Digital Natives is there in order to check the looping and sampling qualities of all the genres that are there. So we might expect some Digital Natives built on emo punk or black metal in the future. That might be great. Loop all music. Recommended!
The newest album by the Toruń, Poland based psychedelic supergroup Innercity Ensemble was released in two versions (characterized by colors), and are available on CD and in digital form. On both colors of the albums the band takes a different approach and form, going for more amorphous and improvisational, ambient rock approach on White and a more drum-driven and restrained Tortoise-sryled post-rock on Black. Innercity Ensemble is the powerhouse of 7 members, with the additional help by one more creative soul on a few tracks, making it truly a multi-level experience, with each member being an experienced multi-instrumentalist making ripples with their work in numerous Polish experimental bands. This is a tightly woven, richly ornamented and perfectly executed and edited psychedelic rock journey, starting with droney deserts and finishing with glossy math rock halls and progressive electronic phatamorganas. The white disc is good for the introspective journeys, relying on minimal means for achieving soul-enhancing properties, while the black album is meant for more focused adventures, providing a soundtrack for nearly prog-like Ozric Tentacles worship with a bit of jazzy edge to boot. Some of the best psychedelic music coming from Poland right now, check it out!
Sydney, Australia based DJ and producer Dro Carey has been exploring the darker underbelly of the techno aesthetic under the moniker Tuff Sherm. On Shrapnel Maestro, a digital album from 2012, he collects the shards of urban paranoia and dark night pulsations into a blackened club mass with a mutated, ragged edge and a penchant for some bassy filth hidden among the skeletal, Octo Octa-like beats. It’s dark and sinister, but it must be admitted that it’s also catchy and boucny as hell at the same time. Definitely not some shrapnels I’d mind getting hit with.