Named after the 1972 book by Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities by the French musician, head of the Carpi Records label and graphic designer Baptiste Les Halles brings back the best of the woozy, lo-fi New Age ambience somewhere between Werner Herzog film soundtracks and the narcoleptic soundscapes of Dolphins Into the Future. Gentle flute (or synth? but who cares actually?) melodies shimmer among the tape hiss, emerging and disintegrating in the washes of early Popol Vuh-like bliss. It’s one of those timeless albums, which could be released at almost anytime and still sound just as mysterious and dislocated as ever. Recommended!
The ever-mutating musical Charybdis also known as Shit and Shine (or, as they call themselves in their newest incarnation: $hit and $hine) has gone a few stylistic changes over the years, de-amplifying their sound (chances are, you’ll never heard another “Ladybird” again) since their monstrous beginnings, but never getting away from the Weird factor. Because their newest album, the mindbogglingly named 54 Synth-Brass, 38 Metal Guitar, 65 Cathedral, released on Rocket Recordings is just as a solid slab of mutant loopadelica as you might expect. Summoning some dead German hippies back from the dead, “Re-Animator” style and combining it with some throbbing electronics infused with tape music legacy for a heavier freak-out factor, it’s a noisy, intensely psychedelic journey through the twisted, insane realm of Shit and Shine. Highly recommended!
Released just yesterday, this fresh offering from Constellation Tatsu is a compilation of recordings made by the Canadian synth explorer Sarah Davachi. Qualities of Bodies Permanent groups together material made between 2012 and 2014 which is a divine intervention of shimmering drones and crystal ambience, all getting slowly to the point of ascension, of achieving the psychedelic experience. Informed by 20th century classical traditions, electronic minimalism as well as the wave of synth revivalists in recent years it’s a must-have for all seekers of nirvana through the warm analog circuits. The set-up is every synth nerd’s wet dream and you’ll feel as lost in time and space as with early Popol Vuh. Highly recommended!!!
Ak’chamel are one of those bands which are not willing to disclose any closer information about themselves, but love to cloak themselves in some mysterious term, like the genre of the music they play: in the case of Ak’chamel it’s “shadow music“, which occupies the sunburned territory somewhere between Sublime Frequencies and Sun City Girls and their offshoots, especially Sir Richard Bishop (which is not that surprising, since Ak’chamel tend to play as a support for Bishop). Combining the love for North African ensembles with their ecstatic, lo-fi sound and guitar arabesques, Lowland of Htekhlum is a healthy slab of hasheeshian psychedelia and six-string mastery contained on two sides of a 30 minutes cassette. To paraphrase the Joker, why so short? Recommended!
Whoa, an album with a cover featuring shibari bondage that isn’t harsh noise!? Well I never! What we get here instead is a Kosmische asteroid made on Moog and ARP 2800 in New York’s Queens, but could easily pass as one of those monumental analog electronic revivals from mid 00’s/early 10’s Ohio released on half-forgotten homespun labels like Wagon, Rubber City Noise or Hanson Records. The relation between the artwork and the music on the cassette is not accidental: there is constant, slowly growing tension in the cold, alienated raw synthesis which never fires off anywhere – like a skilled, experienced dom tormenting and edging their slave to get close to release, but never quite allowing a full orgasm. Drain does the same, making you think there’s some sort of breakthrough waiting, but it never comes. Leaves you frustrated, but still listening somehow. But that’s how orgasm denial works, kids.
It took them seven years to create a follow-up to their debut Burning Circles in the Sky, but the new album by the Arizona based band The Myrrors is basically everything you might want to expect from a decent psychedelic rock record. Combining that unique, droney desert atmosphere only the bands from the arid US areas can conjure with the love for trancelike, VU inspired riffs (“Dome House Music”!) with some love of good ol’ jamming for the sake of jamming, this is a smokescreen that will maybe allow you to tap into something deeper. Recommended!
God, I love bands that are named like some sort of government organizations. Big names. Departments. Sectors. Bureaucracy. Discipline. An air of importance and a strong belief in what you are doing is right. Min Roach and Wayne Longer from The Department of Harmonic Integrity have a mission. Taking the raw synthesis into the 21st century, they present their retrofuturistic, retroactive incentive In Deck and Depth, a Whim, a Weft, released on the Nebraskian homespun label Tymbal Tapes. Utilizing the most basic analog equipment and skeletal compositional methods they switch between the arpeggioed, deep drone mantras to crystalline ambience, introducing, in their own words, “husky cold war electroacoustics to the contemporary joys of perestroika”. 20 minutes into the future, this is New Music. Highly recommended!