Friday, December 21, 2007

Ajilvsga – Thorazine to Infinity [Peasant Magik]/Ajilvsga – Sacred Arrow [Arbor]

Ajilvsga is a project of Mr. Foxy Digitalis himself, Brad Rose, and Nathan Young. Just so we’re clear, Nathan Young is not Nate Young, at least as far as I can tell. In conference with a few close friends we’ve decided this new Ajilvsga stuff (these two and the double cassette on Not Not Fun) is the best Mr. Rose has put his name on. Is it a coincidence they are all on tapes? I think not. Furthermore, I’ve heard rumors that his upcoming label is gonna be doing a few tapes. Is it that the proclaimed hater of cassettes, Mr. Rose, has finally seen the light? Let’s hope so, both for his sake and our own, cause these little suckers—released on Peasant Magik and Arbor—are total domination 2 tha maxx.
Thorazine to Infinity begins with the hum of electricity, certainly a fitting beginning. There’s some thick dirty guitar (bass?) going down and maybe a bit of synth or effects too. It kinda has a drone-doom thing but you know, not mind-numbingly boring. I tend to be a fan of low frequencies so I wish they were mixed a bit louder for full on quaking effect but they still do a damn good job as is. It is tapes like these that make me wish I was one of those dudes whose hobby is his stereo; you know so I could play this way too loud on huge fucking speakers and go deaf and get kicked out of my apartment. It’s a good thing I’m not one of those dudes though cause I wouldn’t want to be deaf and homeless. I don’t have the balls for that. “I am Your Charred Remains” is easily my favorite piece on the tape. It’s more actively droney/noisy than the mildly lethargic opener. Again, the Ajilvsga dudes are playing with raging thickness/sickness. It sounds like there are lots of loops/tracks stacked on top of each other, shuddering under the wait of it all. Short repetitive loops are contrasted with the protracted fuzz giving the mass a good dose of rhythm/momentum and ending with some dude cackling. Total daze of thunder.
The twelve minute tremor, “Asphixiation”, starts slow with an insistent revving and loopy synthtones. Almost halfway through a weird percussion type thing starts going down. I think it’s a handdrum of some sort and it comes out of nowhere. Somehow the bizarreness of the hand-drum-on-tremulous-electronics action works, don’t ask me how though. The piece takes on a strange, sauntering psych vibe. Man, what a peculiar ordeal that was. The short closer, “Lex Talions”, goes even further into psych territory with more drums and other percussion, a bowed/blown instrument, guitar feedback and a thumbpiano/musicbox device of some sort. These guys sure turn the tables with style.
Sacred Arrow isn’t as colossally crushing. “Salt Plains” sounds like might just be two guitars a-droning. Well it’s not necessarily droning cause there’s definitely some strumming going on, yet it still has that effect. It’s a nice simple track that doesn’t get old despite a relatively small amount of change. There’s some theremin-esque sounds at the end too. Strong but subtle (it’s oxymoron day!) sense of melodic structure too, so it sounds real nice on the ears without being obvious. My only complaint is one guitar has too much of a transparent flanger thing going on. “Wolves Standing in Water” brings back the rumble; well I guess for the first time on this particular tape. There’s an elusive melodic loop buried underneath the murk that’s pretty fun to chase. It’s a pretty solid wall of low-end too, which I like, consuming everything like a black hole or the blob. The final minute sees the blob get briefly upturned by a couple pulsing rhythmic loops before blasting them away and everything ending in Armageddon. “Fire Builder” takes the entirety of the B-side and, soundwise, it fits somewhere between the two on the previous side. It’s also the most straight “drone” to my ears. Woven in between the long heavy layers are different bits of manipulation, originally, I thought a field recording of some sort but now I’m not so sure. More eerie theremin sounds pop up too. Yeah, eerie is a pretty good way to describe to the track. It reminds of the more sluggish (not in a bad way) work of Family Underground and other acts. Though perhaps a bit too protracted for its own good, “Fire Builder” is excellent way to, as that one Oscar-winning m&m guy put it, lose yourself in the music.
Each label has done a fine, classy job packaging their respective cassettes. Thorazine to Infinity comes with a textured slip cover, printed j card and the whole deal. Sacred Arrow comes with a double-sided full color printed/screenprinted j card and sprayed case. Both are still available but limited. 100 copies of Sacred Arrow and only 75 of Thorazine to Infinity.

2 comments:

brad rose said...

haha, i have, indeed, seen the light.

digitalis ltd (the new label) will, indeed, be doing tapes (and probably eventually focusing on tapes).

and thanks for the kind words! we (nathan & i) seriously appreciate it. oh, and you are right nathan isn't nate young, though if people want to think we're a wolf eyes sideproject and it helps those labels sell more tapes, then that's fine with me. ha!

Auxiliary Out said...

Good to hear Brad, the world could use some more magnetic audio love.

Gee, I didn't think of doing the Wolf Eyes promotional strategy. You could really move some tapes that way. I remember a long time ago reading a Wolf Eyes review on Foxy D by Nathan Young, and I thought "man, isn't that a conflict of interest", so I did my research and wised up. Never would of thought that bit of research would be helping me all this time later ;)