November 30, 2011
Millions – Millions
Having released some spectacular music on a vast number of acclaimed labels (Stunned, Blackest Rainbow, 2 AM, etc…), Millions should be a household name for most ambient cassette hoarders by now. This brand-new self-titled CD on the Install label, however, brings David Suss’s glacially paced worlds of synth drone to a sublime level of excellence. It’s without a doubt his finest offering yet and fully represents the levels of patience and atmosphere that make Millions such a singular and engrossing act. All the way through, Millions is just a gorgeous, compelling listen. Throughout the album’s many lengthy peaks and valleys of glorious sound, there is not one dull moment. Hugely recommended.
Millions – “Glacial Time”
July 20, 2011
[n.] – Ein Klagelied für 3f
If conjuring dark spirits in the dark is your kind of thing, then here is some urgent advice from your friendly neighborhood Zen Effects: grab yourself a copy of Ein Klagelied für 3f, find a poorly lit room, and crank up the volume. Featuring two sides of some of the darkest sounding music I’ve ever heard, Jen Marquart’s brand new tape under the [n.] monicker is also a work of intense beauty and built for endless re-playability. Look out for spine-tingling moments where Marquart’s ghostly vocals rise into the mix, creeping among the noisy passages of dusty drone. But most importantly, be safe out there.
[n.] – “Costae Verae”
April 6, 2011
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Shining Skill Breath
After releasing a total blockbuster last year with the critically lauded Love Is A Stream, the sunburnt drone god Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is back with a darker, more introspective release. And in the world of monolithic, claustrophobic distorted-guitar drone, darker almost always means better. Culled from a limited edition CD-R release dating back to 2007, Shining Skull Breath finds a young Cantu less interested in the buzzing shoegaze melodies he cranked out last year and focused intently on creating otherworldly, bubbling passages of total blown-out fuzz. The results are almost always awe-inspiring – nobody can make this kind of music like Cantu. Powerful, mind-bending stuff.
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – “Distant Star (for Pete Swanson)”
March 21, 2011
White Dog – Resistance
Although White Dog is easing up on recording for a while, the project is showing no signs of softening up. On Resistance, supposedly the dog’s penultimate release, Chris Jaques offers some of the most desolate and monolithic drones we’ve heard from him yet – complete with some truly horrifying harsh noise and feedback echoing throughout. Gone are the dreary, moody atmospherics from last year’s essential self-titled tape (also released on Prairie Fire)- replaced here with pure, immersive darkness. There are some spoken word samples drowning among the murk, but the human presence is hardly comforting. This is end-of-the-world drone at its most captivating and consuming. Totally awesome.
March 9, 2011
A Story of Rats – Relinquishment
Here’s a gorgeous-looking set on the fantastic Flingco Sound System label. It’s their first tape release, and they seem to have gone all out for this one. In an addition of 100 crystal-clear cassettes, Relinquishment finds visual/audio artist Garek Druss, aka A Story of Rats, exploring the power of sustained sound through the use of heavy synth lurches and layers of feedback. There’s some pretty deep stuff here – mystery beneath every drone. Dark vibes!
A Story of Rats – “Composition ii (excerpt)
March 8, 2011
Innercity – Backworld
Still jamming Innercity’s excellent Arupa Travels reissue from Rotifer? Well, here’s a brand new vinyl transmission from the man who’s warped a thousand minds. Only his second full-length LP release, Backworld promises to invite listeners onto an “intriguing maze-like journey” of hypnotizing, repetitive sounds and meditations. Judging by his previous releases, I’d say that no man is more capable of this than Innercity’s Draak Jagers. This LP is not available stateside quite yet, but if you’re already foaming at the mouth for it- (I am already foaming at the mouth for it) – you can grab it directly from the label now.
Innercity – “The Bells of Backworld”
March 2, 2011
Niggas With Guitars – Ethnic Frenzy
After selling out almost instantly from the label, this mindblowing (and truly weird) LP from these Oakland drone masters is finally making its rounds at the usual distros. Let me be one of many to tell you that this thing is worth seeking out immediately – truly one of the year’s standout releases so far. Brought to you by the unstoppable Digitalis label, Ethnic Frenzy is buzzing, grinding, demonic fun for the whole family. Scope a sample MP3 to see what you’re in for.
February 24, 2011
Higuma – Pacific Fog Dreams
This side project from the increasingly prolific and increasingly masterful Barn Owl creates shiny, celestial drones that sound like psychedelic telescopes gazing into endless space. Barn Owl’s Evan Caminiti works with Lisa McGee, offering exactly what listeners look for in these types of records – ghostly voids, infinite hums, and a totally awesome and enveloping world of sound you can’t help but surrender to. All on glorious Root Strata quality vinyl.
February 23, 2011
Geoffrey Sexton – Suburban Sun Births
Here’s one I am really jazzed about – a dark, industrial ambient tape that also serves as the soundtrack to Sexton’s recently released film, described as “an abstract document of human progress.” From the looks of it, this tape can be described as the same thing – just full of constantly developing guitar drones, made intelligible by cold dark atmospherics and endless fuzz. From No Kings, the label who just brought us one of my favorite new tapes, this one also screams “ESSENTIAL”.
February 21, 2011
Cleared – Cleared
After the weekend’s warm weather tease, it now appears we are right back in the dregs of winter. Accordingly, this debut LP from Cleared (duo of veterans Steven Hess and Michael Vallera) is just full of dark, glacial ambient well-reflected by the pitch-black sky and piles of snow on the record cover. Synthesizers, guitars, field recordings, percussion, and infinitely more sounds are layered and warped making these drones truly ominous and astounding. You might need a flashlight for this one.
Cleared – “Cleared (super long album preview)”