Clint Heidorn – Atwater

November 10, 2011

Clint Heidorn – Atwater

From the inverted cross on its cover right down to the woodsy, gothic font used in the liner notes, Clint Heidorn’s Atwater has its creepy, occult-style imagery down to a tee. But rest assured, this is no gimmicky, shock-appeal fodder – Atwater is a gorgeous and honest exploration of haunting atmospherics and emotionally charged melodic passages that uses its darkness, not to obscure the music, but rather to draw listeners in. Heidorn employs guitars, violins, and sparse percussion to invoke the feeling that this music is rising from the Earth – covered in dirt and leaves, slowly swelling up to monstrous heights. Intense, cathartic, and hopeful, Atwater is truly one of the year’s standout releases. Immerse yourself with a copy of the “hand-stained, hand-numbered, hand-silkscreened” vinyl over on Bandcamp.

Clint Heidorn – “2”

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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”

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C S Yeh – In the Blink of an Eye B/W Condo Stress

My general mission statement for my humble little blog is to only write about and endorse interesting music that I truly enjoy and want other listeners to experience. This release, however, has thrown me for a major loop. I can’t say that I really enjoy the music on this 7″ from C. Spencer Yeh, the Burning Stare Core drone veteran, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it is a majorly interesting release that others should experience. Instead of offering more of his trademark brand of warped noise madness, Yeh has tried his hand at writing a sloppy, AutoTune-harmony’d indie disco track. The results are spotty and confusing at best, but I’d be surprised if this isn’t the oddest and most unexpected release of the year.

C S Yeh – “In the Blink of an Eye”

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Sean McCann – The Capital

Among the brightest and most promising bulbs on the proverbial Christmas tree of prolific and starry-eyed drone masters, Sean McCann has truly outdone himself on The Capital. It’s his second full-length vinyl release and first for Belgian imprint Aguirre, and it also happens to be the high water mark for his specific brand of beautifully warped and shimmering ambience. The compositions on this record often carry a classic, orchestral new age vibe, bringing to mind Iasos’s recently reissued Inter-Dimensional Music, with pianos, horns, string and wind instruments floating atop waves of synth – a true journey and a real pleasure to listen to. With the absolute highest recommendation I can offer, I urge you to spend some time with this gorgeous, transcendent, and totally essential album.

Sean McCann – “Star Change” (MP3)

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Rene Hell – The Terminal Symphony

Rene Hell’s latest LP on the esteemed Type Records arrives with an incredible amount of anticipation- in part because of this year’s fantastic collaboration with Driphouse’s Daren Ho as Mandlebrott & Skyy (released on Digtalis in January) and in part because of last year’s magnificent Porcelain Opera LP (also on Type). The Terminal Symphony, however, is a completely different beast. Here, Witscher – while offering similar layers of drones and ambience to what we are used to from the Rene Hell camps – refines his style to a beautiful, tightly composed combination of modern classical and prog influences. References to Philip Glass are all over the place with this one and such comparisons are deserved, but make no mistake – The Terminal Symphony is a unique, singular, and peerless record. Pure artistic vision, executed flawlessly. Hugely recommended.

Rene Hell – “Chamber Forte”

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Fabric – A Sort of Radiance

Beautiful and mesmerizing, Fabric’s debut LP on the young but already impenetrable Spectrum Spools label is this year’s second excellent offering from Matthew Mullane. A Sort of Radiance is comprised of two sides of often concise and always powerful computer-based compositions, each filled to the brim with unpredictable waves of sonic exploration. The record is paced perfectly too – the longer tracks melting seamlessly into brief meditations – ascending scales and floating arpeggios drifting brilliantly away from one another. It’s truly an electronic recordin the old-fashioned sense of the term – and it’s a refreshingly grand statement in a genre dominated by countless small, minor releases. Just excellent music.

Fabric – “A Sort of Radiance (super long album preview)”

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Arbol Trancemissions / Floating – Relic Grove Bliss

Just when you thought that Rotifer Cassettes couldn’t possibly become a better record label, they offer this magnificent vinyl transmission – a first for the label. Here we’ve got two sides of bubbling, ambient perfection – a magical track from Gabriel Ortiz on one side and a deliciously tripped-out remix on the b-side. As much as I love Rotifer’s cassette releases, it’s really awesome to see the label expand into vinyl, and this 7″ seems like their perfect gateway – powerful enough to leave an impression, but short enough to leave us salivating for more.

Arbol Trancemissions – “Relic Grove Bliss (sample)”

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Derek Monypeny – Don’t Bring Me Down, Bruce

Some of the most beautiful music being made today is played on the oud- a versatile, haunted-sounding string instrument with ties to Arabic and African music. And Don’t Bring Me Down, Bruce, the latest set from the brilliant Derek Monypeny, is perhaps the most complex and forward-thinking set of music for oud in recent memory. These are just breathtaking compositions – stunning in their simplicity and fascinating in their meditative and even mind-altering power. There’s some awesome use of percussion (especially on the sublimely effected second side), but this LP is truly a spotlight for Derek Monypeny and his oud to shine in. Powerful stuff.

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Dirty Beaches – Badlands

As far as I’m concerned, saying that something sounds like Suicide is almost always a compliment, and Dirty Beaches’ music sounds a lot like Suicide. It’s hardly just hero worship though – the songs of Alex Zhang Hungtai have got a warped, pitch black, and beautiful atmosphere all their own. Lost Highway style guitar solos bend in and out of highly repetitive rhythms, while Hungtai’s reverb-drenched vocals alternate between Orbison-mining croons of devotion and maxed-out wails of terror. All this makes Badlands one of the year’s most singular and replayable breakouts to be issued on magnificent, crackling vinyl. Miss at your peril.

Dirty Beaches – “Sweet 17”

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Innercity – Backworld

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”

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