May 17, 2011
James Ferraro – On Air
There’s not much that can be written about James Ferraro that hasn’t already been written on a million blogs. Those even vaguely familiar with today’s crop of avant artists know that Ferraro is responsible for creating a totally singular and warped aesthetic that has influenced a huge span of artists, both the blockbuster breakthroughs and the adamantly under the radars. And now, one of Ferraro’s most monolithic CD-R releases from last year, the proverbial UFO AM radio greatest hits set On Air -actually released under the name Jim Ferraro - is getting a vinyl treatment from the folks at Underwater Peoples. This is a good thing because it’s a totally classic album and also my CD-R edition smells very strange. Err, either way – essential!
James Ferraro – “On Air (preview)”
May 12, 2011
Femminielli / Araignée – Chauffer/Silvia
Bernardino Femminielli is a star on the rise, combining stargazing ambient synth music with super-romantic French spoken word mantras. It’s an awesome combination and his tracks released thusly have all been total killers. This 7″ features a spectacular new piece in his trademark style as well as a moody, atmospheric track from his side project Araignée. The 7″ is for pre-order now on Fixture Records’ website but you will probably be able to grab a copy if you see Femminielli play during the mammoth Hobo Cult May Tour. Either way, make sure this thing is in your collection as soon as possible.
May 10, 2011
Jon Mueller – Alphabet of Movements
Late last year, Volcano Choir member and avante-garde enthusiast Jon Mueller released a sublime and haunting piece of music called The Whole. It was a beautifully affected work- a gorgeously stretching howl of percussion and echos and atmosphere. On his follow up, Alphabet of Movements, Mueller has crafted a more organic piece of music. The pieces presented here are titled “I Almost Expected to Be Remembered as a Chair,” and everything is performed live. The results are breathtaking. Involving mainly snare drums and gongs, Alphabet of Movements is an album that stretches the boundaries of music and composition and requires listeners to sit down, focus, and enter Mueller’s innovative world of sound. Highly recommended.
Jon Mueller – “Alphabet of Movements (excerpts)”
May 5, 2011
Kyle Bobby Dunn – Ways of Meaning
Even in the world of ambient vinyl-only releases, Kyle Bobby Dunn’s latest LP, Ways of Meaning, is a sparse, subtle affair. Composed almost entirely of guitar and organ drones, the six beautiful tracks on Ways of Meaning don’t try to fill up the listener’s mind but rather clear the listener’s thoughts, making the negative space behind the music just as important as the melodies themselves. It’s really just beautiful work – at times recalling the slow, cinematic crawl of of the Stars of the Lid, but always sticking to a totally distinct and totally enjoyable style. Also – grab, while you can, the special art edition of the LP which includes some beautiful photographic prints to complement the music.
Kyle Bobby Dunn – “Canyon Meadows”
May 2, 2011
Leyland Kirby – Intrigue & Stuff Vol. 1
After giving us Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was, 2009′s mammoth set of three double-LP releases, one could forgive Leyland Kirby for taking some time off. It would appear, however, that Kirby has actually had another insanely fruitful period of music production. Therefore, 2011 is going to be a year filled with new music, under his own name and his prestigious Caretaker pseudonym. First off is this limited 12″ pressing, the first volume in a series of four. And this one is just a total departure. Gone are the bittersweet piano drones and the crackling reminiscence of his older music. Instead, we’ve got two sides of warped bubbling electronics, truly sounding like nothing we’ve ever heard before. Stay tuned! This is going to be a good year.
Leyland Kirby – “Intrigue & Stuff Vol. 1 (excerpts)”
April 27, 2011
Weyes Blood – The Outside Room
Like Prince changing his name to a symbol, Natalie Weyes Blood made a statement by changing the word “Bluhd” in her name to a more conventional spelling. In terms of pronunciation, nothing is different. But in appearance, her name now look more familiar, more approachable, and more timeless. Analogous is her new LP on Not Not Fun, one of the most instantly lovable albums I’ve heard all year. The ringing drones and warped ambience of her previous CD-Rs is thankfully very much present, but now Natalie’s awe-inspiring vocals, at times eerily channeling Nico (a huge complement from me), are pushed to the front, carrying the songs to new levels of immediacy. Honestly, I love everything about this record. Hugely recommended!
Weyes Blood – “Candy Boy”
April 22, 2011
Wet Hair – Radiant Lines
Releases from Iowa duo Wet Hair are always essential, not just because of their magical blend of psychedelic pop music but also because of their distinct and iconic artwork that comes with every release. Now, Not Not Fun has pressed this 7″ with two new songs – both of which are total hits – and a 22-panel art book, containing some of their most gorgeous pieces. Believe me when I say that this release is a total blessing – with full coloring, a glossy cover, and delicious candy for the eyes and the ears. It truly deserves a spot in everyone’s collection.
April 18, 2011
Dylan Ettinger – Lion of Judah
Dylan Ettinger and vinyl go together like cookies and milk, so it’s truly a blessing that the folks at Not Not Fun are giving us a new wax transmission from the Indiana synth legend after last year’s list-topping epic New Age Outlaws. The viral a-side “Lion of Judah”, a.k.a. “#lionofjudah” (#swag), is without a doubt one of Ettinger’s most powerful recordings yet. It’s a gooey and futuristic slow jam, showing remarkable progress from Ettinger and serving as a promising omen for what’s to come. For only 4 dollars, there’s no reason not to grab this thing immediately. Crucial!
April 15, 2011
Lawrence English – Kiri No Oto
Lawrence English took the world by storm with his 2008 epic Kiri No Oto, but the music begged to be heard outside the CD format – its ocean-sized scope demanded a vinyl edition to match its warmness. And, finally, Digitalis is giving the music just that. This edition of Kiri No Oto is simply breathtaking – each side is filled to the brim with transcendent tidal waves of sound. Endless drones permeate the thick fog of reverb, orchestrated beautifully by English – whose music consistently breaks new ground and never fails to invest the listener emotionally. In English’s illustrious discography, Kiri No Oto has always stood out as a masterpiece, but this edition is without a doubt a truly essential release.
SOLD OUT AT SOURCE. Grab from Experimedia.
April 13, 2011
The Alps – Easy Action
You can always count on The Alps to make their albums truly original psychedelic experiences, but on Easy Action, The Alps’ new LP on Mexican Summer, they have finally created a packaging design to match the music. The gorgeous pop-out pyramid LP sleeve is reason enough to grab this thing immediately, but it would be useless if the music wasn’t any good. Luckily, this isn’t the case and this album just kills it – it’s earthly and folky but also totally spacey and out-there. You can concentrate heavily on the music presented here – it’s totally ornate and beautiful – or you can just use it as a lift-off pad to zone out into another world. The choice is yours – just make sure you’ve got this one in your collection.