Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pearl River Sound – Smallchamber Music

Taking sounds and styles from the past is common in the production of music today. Being able to somehow shape them into something more, is a skilled endeavor few artists are able to accomplish.
Robert Semeraro has done this with the cassette titled Smallchamber Music created under the moniker Pearl River Sound.

There is a definite feel of nostalgia accompanied by true enjoyment when listening to this cassette. The composition is pleasant, has energy and sparkle. The beats and synthesizer fall comfortably into the back of your pocket, not cumbersome and not overproduced. Robert has taken an entire decade of 90's sounds and compressed it into a 30 minute hot red tape. Probably the best word to describe Pearl River Sound is playful. This could throw the sound to the point of being just amusing, but Smallchamber Music is the contrary. With so much talent, this music is adeptly crafted, the playfulness is a result of being comfortable with  the approach.

For this production the expertise is well rooted with Jimmy Billingham behind the label. This is the first release of a new project  titled Indole Records. There is a good interview with Jimmy on the Juno record site discussing this undertaking. I purchased my copy from Tomentosa (tapes sold out). You can listen to this on the bandcamp page (physical copies sold out as well). But wait..... The good ole internet revealed some copies still for sale at Norman Records.

I would keep watching Indole Records. Release four, five and six just came out January 18th. This label is sure to flourish.








Links
Pear River Sound - Smallchamber Music on bandcamp
Interview with Jimmy Billingham on Juno
Indole Records on facebook
Cassette for sale on Norman Records

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Subtropics - Music For The Midwest

So many best of 2014 list out this month.... Not seeing The Subtropics double cassette released September-ish of last year. To be completely correct with internet search returns, i did find Music For The Midwest noted on the Nebraska native site HearNebraska.org. The feature is titled Favorite Nebraska Albums of 2014.

So here is my list for 2014
  1. The Subtropics - Music For The Midwest
That is it. There are other great albums i listened to, but this list is to some how partially make amends for Music For The Midwest slipping through the sound cracks on so many prestigious list out there on the internet. Ironically, i would bet The Subtropics do not care and Unread Records will keep churning out vibrant unheard of artists and not even twitch. For me, i do care for what it is worth and wanted to send some love to the band and the label.

Music For The Midwest is a low-fi listen into fascination and wonder. The sound circles all of the way back  revolving around the spectrum. This includes retro sing a longs, ageless rock, playfulness, heartfelt solos, quiet get togethers, darkness, feedback and noise. Describing the diversity of the double cassette would involve examining each track. Even if i tried, i still would be inept at properly doing this. So my description consist of only what i can compare this to. Reminding me of Dukes of Stratosphere bumping into the Monkeys and being run down by Velvet Underground. The whole lot of them are thrown into a specially designed concrete mixer created by Sebedoh and Tonstartssbandht and poured out over an hour to harden in the space between your ears. The multifariousness of all twenty four tracks does not stray as far to cause mayhem. Songs like "Under the Mango Tree" parts one, two and three is a good example of cohesion throughout the double tape. Another is "Hollywood Lights" on side A and "If It Makes You Feel Alright" on side D. Both garage pop surprises. My favorites have changed with each listen, so naming them is kind of pointless.

Unread Records & Tapes catalogs this one at #159. This label is truly pioneering how to showcase artists existing in a dimension without radar. All of the while, moving forward with creativity, playfully jumping back and forth over the track out ahead of the ensuing masses.

If you like good music..... you should definitely give this a listen.





Links
Unread Records & Tapes site & bandcamp
The Subtropics bandcamp




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Oliwa - Rituals

Fractals of synthesized sound. Dense tracks for night traveling. Oliwa is magically vigorous. Rituals is composed with inspiring rich drones and tantalizing keyboard riffs. The feelings generated while listening are timeless, boundaries of past, present and future have been leveled. Rituals is music without limitations.

Truly ritual music of earthly space ports for alien civilizations. This could be the soundtrack for Baalbek, Pumapunku, or Chaco Canyon. Listeners will immerse themselves into the cosmos of sound, experiencing unheard wonders and beauty. Oliwa has crafted this cassette with precision, grooves seamlessly rolling together, maintaining interest, diverse but never disjointed.

I know Rituals is an older release from 2012. This was released on the striking label Zeon Light out of Sweden. This release dates back in Zeon Light catalog, but since this is still available digitally from their bandcamp page, i thought it worth while to write about. You can also still purchase the cassette from the Oliwa bandcamp page. The music really is ageless and sounds like it could have been created in the 1970s or 2020s.

Oliwa has had a number of releases since Rituals and most are still available on cassette:
I purchased my copy from Tomentosa Currently sold out there.


Links
Zeon Light website
Oliwa bandcamp
Oliwa facebook

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Royallen - Sample Tape

Pilgrimaging Moroccan reed flute player flying to uncharted islands of serenity. Escaping years of performing the Sama, the traveler plays with drone like meditation and brief interludes of anticipation. Thoughts of tranquility can be heard in the back of the mind. Communications end with a brief listen into jumbled airwaves, evangelical wisdom and volleyball.

The oasis of peacefulness starts with the second side of this cassette. Aged recordings of ancient piano and flute played countless times for new visitors, welcome this journeyer. Tropical fauna can be heard accompanied by ethereal voice. The last succinct moments of worldly static surface then flutter away.

Royallen delivers all of this on the twenty minute cassette titled Sample Tape. Released at the end of September 2014 in a run of seventeen. Sold out from the Permanent Nostalgia site. There is for sure a copy available for purchase at Tomentosa, as i write this. Happy to write about a Gainesville, Florida artist. I wish we would have crossed paths during my lengthy stay in Hogtown. Sample Tape is a really good release in an abounding discography from Royallen.

Currently there is no sound sample that i can find of Sample Tape.

Links
Permanent Nostalgia site
Permanent Nostalgia on bandcamp
Tomentosa

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Micromelancolié - Order of Disappearance

With so much imagination and experience emanating from Robert Skrzynski, writing about his alias Micromelancolié is a daunting venture. Robert is prolific, innovative and exceptional at creating sound from consciousness. Mere words can only begin to help describe this sound, and will inevitably be only text for the experience Robert delivers. 

Order of Disappearance ask nothing of the listener. The journey taken with this thirty minute composition is completely yours. Micromelancolié provides space for thought and reflection. In my opinion this is not a dark ambient experience. The sound within travels along the cemetery fence, menacing tones creep through the cracks. Malevolent noises beacon you through the gate, but the underlying drone of Order of Disappearance reassures you. Holding your being on the outside, not letting your attention to be fully pulled in.

Becoming more and more majestic in the space of this composition, Robert delivers the listener to a higher realm of awareness. Although the path does skirt foreboding worlds, you are always just listening in and not being dropped off. As the work progresses, the drone like fog lifts to thick clouds, beauty becomes even more present. The tape flips for another listen, this time the cassette sounds even more sovereign. 

 This cassette was one of three in batch eight from the impressive label Cosmic Winnetou.
Quickly sold from the label, should be available from Tomentosa in there very near future. Keep and eye out for the next batch update from Josh. No news yet on the ninth batch from Cosmic Winnetou, so keep checking the site. The batches always sell out within a few weeks.



Links
Micromelancolié on facebook
Cough Serenades by Micromelancolié
Cosmic Winnetou site
Tomentosa





Saturday, January 3, 2015

Shahman - Demise of a Body

The very first post on this site was a cassette from Dismal Niche. Starting 2015, I am happy to have another tape to write about from this incredibly cool label. Sadly this is not a tape happiness works well with. This is an emotionally driven homage for the mother of the duo that makes up Shahman.

The first thing to say is I am truly sorry for your (Shahman's) loss. I have not gone through this and can't begin to relate to your feelings.

Demise of a Body is uniquely juxtaposed between a drone like eulogy and a heavily impassioned slab of power. Starting with a description of events and feelings and accompanied by a droned background, this offering reels the listener in to the raw outpouring of Rob & Peter Johnson. This description is really sound and i think many people could relate to these words. Then the music turns massive in comparison to the start. Violent guitar and drums that back away to softer moments of vocals and reflection.

The most amazing aspect of this album is being recorded in a single live take. There are various changes in tempo and direction making the complexity of doing this in one outing pretty fascinating.
Lurking behind every note is affection, anger, despair, love, sadness, sympathy and warmth. The cassette finishes with a description of the moment of death. The music quiets for this statement momentarily, then finishes with a drift to nothingness.

I have not listened to any of Shahman's stuff before this cassette. But i am certain, because of the deep sentiment used in creation of this, Demise of a Body will be a pinnacle album in their discography.

This is the twelfth Dismal Niche release. Packaged beautifully, with a fold out card of art and description as well as beautiful art work for everything else. Not sure how many of these cassettes were made, but I am sure the best way to pick this tape up is to email Mathew, the label curator directly. His email is dismalniche (at) gmail (dot) com. Completely slipping under notice, this cassette is an example of some of the best music of 2014.




Links
Dismal Niche on facebook
Dismal Niche website
Shahman on Tumblr
Shahman on facebook