My pal Adam Svenson (Dull Knife, Du Hexen Hase, Little Claw) has finally realized his life-long dream to put out vinyl records with the release (A) Story of Rats's debut LP Thought Forms on the newly christened Eiderdown Records. Svenson is no stranger to the weirdo label biz (he ran a cassette label in the 90s called Squirrel Energy Now! putting out tapes by Charlie McAllister among others) and you can tell. This record looks awesome! Killer gold and black screenprinting of artwork by Mr. of Rats himself, Garek Druss, and beautiful blue-grey marbled vinyl. Real classy, grade A. The sounds themselves are signature Rats--the first side drops you into heavy, heavy atmosphere. It's the flip side though that really takes the cake. Druss brings in the forms; trippy organ calls along with mists of vocals and guitar and subtle creeping electronics. The record drops officially on May 11th, Story of Rats is playing a record release show on that date, weirdly its at El Corazon.
I also heard an upcoming CD-r of Svenson's solo project Karnak Temples to be released by Seattle-based Debacle Records. It's 40 minutes of minimal, classically psych'd guitar drones where each track is better than the last. Very nice. I will be happy to see some of Svenson's solo work (which rarely makes live appearances unfortunately) finally see the light of day.
I also did my good deed and nabbed a copy of Seattle's DRAFT Records compilation Pacific Support (pictured,) a benefit for post-Tsunami Japan, curated by Jason E. Anderson of the Gift Tapes/DRAFT labels and known musically as Harpoon Pole Vault, Spare Death Icon and half of Brother Raven. You can get the full story here but the skinny of it is all labor and product was donated to the effort so whatever you pay goes straight to the Red Cross. The artists involved had a week to submit their material, National Audio Company not only fast-tracked the process but generously donated the 300 cassette run as well, Anderson organized the whole shebang and then the various distros stocking it paid face value for the cassettes so it's a pretty awesome collaborative effort. And you don't have to be an altruist to get behind this; the tape rules. Everyone knows comps can be hit or miss but this thing is solid as a rock. Some standouts are Rene Hell's fantastic opener, tracks by Seattle synth-heads Brother Raven and Panabrite and tracks by Portland-based Matt Carlson and his synth/clarinet duo Golden Retriever with Jonathan Sielaff but really it's a totally cohesive effort despite all the minds contributing. I'd never heard GR or Carlson's solo work previously but each delivers on this tape. The c75 is rounded out by Flower Man and Carl Calm (both of Caboladies) who each contribute tracks, The North Sea, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Temporal Marauder, Pulse Emitter, Make a New Memory (new duo of Geoff Mullen and Sakiko Mori) and Greg Davis. Can I expect a Southern Support comp looming in the future to help out the tornado and flood-ravaged parts of the US? Hope so. So many reasons to pick this up.
I've also been jamming Paintings for Animals's 3" CD-r on Kimberly Dawn recently. It's a great long form piece, really beautiful, recorded somewhere in Seattle called Minor Tower. Through some google-mapping I found a spot across the water from Gasworks park which I am guessing is the "Minor Tower" in question. Considering the release is called Whale Hunter, being in close vicinity to water makes a hell of a lot of sense. Frank Baugh's term of "deep environment" in his label description totally applies to this sucker. Why have I not heard of this project before?