Friday, December 28, 2007

Locrian/Daleth split CS
Ricardo Villalobos "Fabric 36"
Civilization 4 soundtrack on CDR
Earth "Pentastar: In The Style Of Demons"
The Valerie Project CD
Basalt Fingers s/t CD
Grateful Dead "Dick's Picks Vol. 12"
Wolf Eyes "Time of Clearing"

Once again, this Locrian track is a really nice 12-minute elegaic organ/guitar drone, a nice way to start the day.... co-worker has the Civilization 4 game on his computer and he did the ole drag/drop with the sound files and burned a CDR of the background music. I've never played or seen the game, but this disc is a good listen at work! Totally new-age computer-game background music that tells the story of man from primeval to medieval and I guess beyond, though it never gets 'modern'...all I know is that the mellow pipe-and-tabor pastiche in the middle sounds great coming out of the mellow ambient primordial/tribal swamp music at the beginning...Believe it or not, I had not heard anything by Earth besides Earth 2 until today. Earth 2 is of course one of the most massive albums of the 1990s. I remember when I first heard it, in like 1993 when the Portland, OR band Atomic 61 (some of you might have crossed paths with 'em) played Duffy's Tavern in Lincoln, NE. They had the soundman play the album over the PA before their set, and compared to what I was used to hearing in between bands at Duffy's it just sounded like the sky splitting open slowly forever. I had to ask a guy from the band what it was, and he told me it was a band called Earth, and that this was their album Earth 2 on Sub Pop, and that he had just seen 'em live a couple weeks before and that King Buzzo from the Melvins was playing in the band. Researching a little now, I think he must've meant Joe Preston, but the connection was made because I had of course heard the Melvins and of course Earth 2 was the next and perhaps final step beyond what Dale, Buzz & Joe had concocted. I later learned the legend that to create this album Earth just went into the studio and played Slayer riffs as loudly and slowly as possible, one of the greatest ideas in rock & roll history. Anyway, Pentastar on first listen seems like a pretty fine album. Still heavy and doomy but it wisely makes no attempt to drone out in a 2 style, instead casually moving into subtle southern-rock territory. Now I might just have to check out their recent "post-rock" stuff, and is the new Bees/Honey/Skull one good? Basalt Fingers are a "Supergroup" featuring Ben Chasny from Six Organs, Elisa Ambrogio from The Magik Markers, and Brian Sullivan from Mouthus. Judging from the 2007 albums by each of these three bands, this trio could write some amazing songs together right about now, but it turns out this is a jam band all the way, an all-screaming all-electric guitar psych-noise trio giving us two side-long improv rave-ups. On first couple listens I was kinda thumbs down because it was so merely a jam session, but the first track kept coming up in the CD changer, and it would always take me a minute or two (or five) to figure out it was guitars, and only then would I remember, oh yeah, this is Basalt Fingers. There is something weirdly submerged and claustrophobic about this first track that has become pretty appealing...the second track doesn't quite have the same magic, but the guitarists are pretty much on fire throughout. All three seem to adopt the Mouthus/Sullivan noise/improv aggresso-blur style. JEEZUS, Dick's Picks #12 might be my single favorite Grateful Dead release, and no, I'm not high. I was expecting it to be good, three discs of selections from two different shows in June 1974, but I wasn't expecting this. It's actually very nice to hear a Dick's Pick that is freed from the tyranny of the traditional setlist, as both show excerpts lean heavily on perfect midrange second-set Dead jamming, and by midrange I mean that as much of a guitar hero as Garcia was, their post-Pigpen 70's music was most often at its best when his playing was indiscernable within the Kreutzmann-hung Weir/Lesh/Godchaux fabric (with Weir the most underrated weaver). Disc 1 starts with some sweet shit that eventually becomes a China Rider, and disc 3 with a 28-minute whopper that incorporates a Space and a Mind Left Body before becoming...are you ready...."U.S. Blues"! A nice mellow version in fact.... Time of Clearing, a limited CDR on Gods of Tundra, is the first time I've really listened to Wolf Eyes in about two years, and they're still doing it, releasing countless spaced-out no-vocals practice-space reinterpretations of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack every year.... and I would still say no one can do it better except for Tobe Hooper and Wayne Bell themselves.

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