The new full length by the Gainesville, Florida based music confectioner Stany Bebe a.k.a. Euglossine stands closer to Tortoise’s TNT than, say, Giant Claw’s Dark Web. In fact, it sounds like some sort of cross-polination between TNT and last year’s Hyper Pollen Temple by Kane Pour (interesting fact: Kane Pour’s cassette was released on Elestial Sound, a label run by Euglossine, so it’s safe to say that similiarities are not accidental). What makes it sound to similar to the seminal Chicago post-rock outfit? It’s the elegance, the sophistication, the ability to crank out beautiful, thoughtful melodies, sometimes bordering on synthesized jazz (even if it’s smooth jazz, the strain of jazz most hated by music snobs), while retaining the tooth-rotting sweetness of his previous releases and a knack for joyously frolicking synths. The title nails it perfectly. It’s like you think you’re playing in the children’s playground, but as you play and have fun, everything becomes more complex and more baroque with each second. Refreshing. Recommended!
The completely enveloping, disembodied psychedelic musique concrete of the Astral Planes Drifter is somewhat reminiscent of 2012’s Spirit Quest cassette by Crystal Palace, except with a much softer, meditative twist, eschewing the random bursts of noise and radical cut-ups in favor of a rich, trippy tapestry of samples and dialogue paired with echoing psych folk workouts and New Weird America hauntology. Sci-fi film dialogues, noodly melodies floating in the aether which blend into one amorphous blob of sound over the course of its exhaustive 90 minutes. Recommended!
God damn, when it comes to some really brain-frying ultra psychedelic fuzz rock, UK appears to be leading the way with highly volatile and explosive punches from behemoths such as Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura, Skullflower, The Heads, and many more. Another fine offering from the total freakout camp is Lobster Priest from Newcastle Upon Tyne. Over 80 minutes of slow burners built around huge, fried riffs with layers upon layers of reverb and delay building around them until everything sounds more like the sea of pure guitar sludge than psychedelic rock. I think it might get so psychedelic that it’s like those moments when the drugs kick in too hard and you’re focusing like hell on just not dying. Highly recommended!
Vol. 1 by the Sacramento based trio Swimming in Bengal feel like lessons in both geography and musicology. Spanning the map between the Middle East and South Asia, it blends the Eastern music traditions of numerous countries for the overall hasheeshian daze of the oriental drones, traditional instruments and non-Western scales over the course of three nearly 20 minute long tracks, becoming a documentary of an imaginary trip to the East, a fascinating semi-improvisation, which the musicians themselves call “out jazz”. For the fans of Tetragrammaton, Gypsy Treasures, Sun City Girls and Sir Richard Bishop – especially since Swimming in Bengal shared the stage with the Sir Bishop, which means they really know their stuff. Also, make sure to check out their Insomnia Village on J&C Tapes. Highly recommended!
Hey, where’s the psych rock at!? Are all amplifiers expired, all guitars dead, replaced by glitchy algorithms and bubbly techno? Thankfully not yet, as exemplified by this live cassette by the shroom rock monsters Fungal Abyss released late last year by the Seattle based jam loving label Eiderdown Records. A follow up of sorts to their monumetal 2012 psilocybin trip soundtrack Bardo Abgrund Temple, this tape fills its both sides with perfect quality, properly reverbed and multilayered journey through altered states and long minutes in which you can get lost – and that’s the point. Highly recommended!
As difficult to categorize as he might be, if I was to indicate the most similarly sounding artist to the Melbourne based Tlaotlon (boring, mainstream name: Jeremy Coubrough) it would be Astral Social Club, the brain-child of UK’s notorious acid dropper Neil Campbell. Tlaotlon occupies the same messy, disctincly psychedelic mutant techno zones, with a penchant for meticulous sound production and tons of glitches seeping from every crack in the ethereal texture in the background. But whereas ASC turned more toward the noise end of the spectrum, Tlaotlon’s approach is much more subtle, going instead for a glossy, crystal-clear MIDI madness of modern day hipsternet and taking, as described in liner notes, a “multiple tabs open” approach. Which is pretty acurate – Natural Devices sounds like me opening random links from my e-mails and playing them at once. Very confusing, yet very relaxing.