Been forever since I've gotten a post finished and there's been so much bangin' shit showing up in my mailbox that I'm just gonna take care of things 12-gauge double-barrel buckshot style.
Planets Around the Sun - Cosmic Job [Eiderdown]
Datashock - LiveLoveData$ [Eiderdown]
Jon Collin - The Great Stink [Eiderdown]
Seattle label, Eiderdown Records, must be commended for a very thorough, and surprisingly quick, development and definition of its aesthetic. After only an LP and six tapes, it's become very easy to spot an Eiderdown release. The sounds possessed within their earthly formats all fit pretty nicely together too. Eiderdown always likes to get psychedelic but does so in a variety of ways. Among the pleasant surprises in the most recent set of tapes is Ecstatic Cosmic Union--or XCU--a Seattle crew that has recently crawled out of the woodwork. Pumping out slightly dubby psych-funk grooves, this might be my favorite spooler of the batch. Live congas, spaced synths zipping about and filtered guitar smoke make this some seriously stellar shit, all captured with the warmth of a 4-track. The duo really gets things rippin' on "Skarab's Bones" the perfect soundtrack for a midnight spacecraft ride. This thing has some serious hit potential, can't stop this groove! Get blissed, get tranced, get groovin'.
Datashock get freaky with their pan-audio septet thing on "Into the Abyss." Gorgeous synth movements, slightly creepy wordless female humming, distant clangs and chimes, trippy rubber duck exhortations (no joke)... What am I supposed to call this stuff? Doesn't matter I suppose as long as we all just LiveLoveData$. Out of the abyss comes percussion giving the piece an instant structure--albeit a very leisurely one. A wandering fiddle joins up and the crew really starts feeling the vibes.
These guys know what they are doing. Seamless transition from weirdo forest zones to full-on psych blues stomp? Not so easy but the great Data$ totally NAIL it. The flip is called "Noch Ein Bisschen Erbs'" and, though I'm partial to the first side, it's probably just as good. Synth bubbles mingle with violin and backwards guitar before the drum kits get rockin'.
All tape covers are beautifully screen-printed by A Crenshaw at Broken Press--continuing to keep Eiderdown's packaging aesthetic uniformly excellent across all releases. The other element that I must praise: none of these tapes run too long, a common symptom of psychedelic music. Thank you for the editorial third eye!
Adderall Canyonly - Excelsius Minor [Rubber City Noise]
I've heard a pair of recent Adderall Canyonly cassettes, From Below We Reach Above and Excelsius Minor and damn, gotta say I'm impressed. (Not that I haven't said that before) These two tapes definitely show a different direction for the project, one that may just transcend its goofball moniker. Previously, AC sort of worked as the house band for the Field Hymns label, ready to start a party at a moment's notice. However, gone are the fizzy synths and bubbly beats, someone left a window open and these releases are suitably drafty. Every once in a while I was reminded of the chillier bits of Vangelis's Chariots of Fire score, maybe a slight intimation of Carpenter here and there. Really though, what I like about this stuff is that you never catch more than a brief whiff of the influences at work. I don't mean to say that these are entirely "original" (whatever that means) but that all reference points have been seamlessly integrated into a new fabric. "Song for a Broken Rhodes" off of Excelsius Minor is a piece that caught my attention instantly and easily nudged itself into the group of elite Adderall Canyonly compositions, a modest little epic that vaguely reminded me of early GY!BE and even Alexandre Desplat's recent work on Zero Dark Thirty.
All the work across both these tapes exhibits oodles of restraint, making each sound and every layer pull its weight. From Below We Reach Above is certainly befitting of the Tranquility Tapes namesake, though you're never allowed to get too comfortable. In contrast, Excelsius Minor has a bit of a Gothic, procession-like feel to it. Both are pretty excellent and amount to some of the finest work I've heard from this guy.
You're attention please, Mr. Canyonly has something to say.
Thousand Foot Whale Claw - Dope Moons Volume One [Holodeck]
JU4N - Vaporware [Holodeck]
Sungod - Contackt [Holodeck]
Dylan C - Samsara [Holodeck]
Smokey Emery - Soundtracks for Invisibility Vol. II [Holodeck]
Man, if Austin, TX's Holodeck Records kills it with any more releases, it'll technically be a spree. So, yeah, these guys were responsible for dropping this little thing called Troller that I couldn't get enough of (or say enough about.) And then now we have HDXV and Dope Moons Volume One, my newest Holodeck obsessions. This doesn't even include that other Survive tape. Or the Amasa Gana one. Or that M. Geddes Gengras tape. Or the... well you get the idea.
The techno successor to that Troller masterpiece (in spirit anyway,) Survive issues a heady slab of programmatic composition. Complexly (and expertly) designed and brimming with melodies, where do I start? I guess I could say "Hourglass" is the fucking jam, but that may draw focus away from the whole album which is chock full of gems. I guess I could start listing influences: John Carpenter, Adult.'s neo-Suicide grime-grooves, Tangerine Dream a la Thief... nah. You know what, I'm not even gonna try to get into it because you should listen to the goddam thing. Don't take my word for it, just go here and listen to it and then buy the tape cause it sounds so much sweeter in fully analog fashion. This Survive dude is totally entitled to one of those tiger blood-fueled Charlie Sheen "winning" moments, but he won't partake cause he ain't one to brag. He's satisfied with merely blowing (out) minds.
Those first two tapes are pretty much essential for people who like music. That JU4N ain't a bad chaser either, making them a hell of a hydra altogether. They all make you feel so good, and each in a little different way.
It kinda seems unfair that Holodeck has cornered the market on "awesome synthesizer shit" this fast.
Silent Land Time Machine - I am no longer alone with myself and can only artificially recall the scary and beautiful feeling of solitude [Indian Queen]
Indian Queen is a sister label of sorts to Holodeck which explains Smokey Emery's presence. Quartz is a 1/4 hour 7inch in contrast to the more expansive tape I just covered and also sounds even more wasted and blurry if you can believe it. The trio of pieces amount to one big greasy smear, with the vinyl crackle adding an extra textural layer. One of the deepest and darkest 7inches I've ever heard.
AG Davis, Florida's resident (non-politician) crazy person, has a new band. It's called Adoption. Davis and new collaborator A. Kalaczynski lay waste to the rare C5 format, cramming 10 tracks onto the 5 minute cassette. Firing blast beats like they're Sonny Corleone's assassins, this is ostensibly dance floor fodder--a strange, forbidden alchemy of Sissy Spacek and those as-seen-on-TV Ultimate Dance Party compilations. Brutal drum programming and synth goop courtesy of Kalaczynski clash with Davis's distorted vox and signature "editing" for max disorientation. This is that fucked up, factory-chewed crayon in the brand new box of 50. Love the stark piano interlude dudes!