Friday, March 14, 2008

Harmonize Most High Babylon CD
One Might Add Sailing Team CD
Various Artists American Roots Songbook: The Blues CD
Smog A River Ain't Too Much To Love CD
Naked on the Vague The Blood Pressure Sessions LP
Oper'azione Nafta Cavuru LP
Blank Dogs 7"

Things are looking good for this Harmonize Most High CD... it's on the Ruby Red Editora label... Daniel Carter is in the band... the word "high" is in the band name... cool cover art and an honest-to-goodness 'free jazz poem' on the inside cover that starts "The Sound unafraid/With wings may it soar/The light that radiates/infinite days boundless sky..." push play and the music immediately starts living up to the promise: Carter's psychedelic flute melodies and what sounds like a cello snaking sweet-and-sour underneath (as far as I can tell from the credits it might be "bowed dulcimer" but it sounds too low-end), drums, and holy shit, now a man and a woman are singing that inside-cover poem together in a reverbed-out duet... this is good... but unfortunately this opener isn't a side-longer, it fades out after like 6 minutes and the band tries out some other things, 7 long tracks in all, and sure there are plenty of pockets of brilliance (creative mix of electric guitar and traditional free jazz instrumentation, and one rather awesome bit where somebody raps hardcore over the free jazz and it surprisingly really works) but I can't help thinking that this release was hampered by the editing and sequencing potential of the CD format, i.e. they put too much on here, too many fade-outs and excerpts. I would like to hear this material edited to a single LP, and that first track has gotta be a side-longer! (Note: these opinions worth approximately 1.8 cents.) The One Might Add CD is also on Ruby Red, a duo from Portugal... pretty cool... both play noise/psych electronics but one also plays live drums and his big block-rocking beats that commence from time to time give it a nice twist. The blues CD is intense... "Candy Man Blues" by Mississippi John Hurt... "Devil Got My Woman" by Skip James... the awesome tranced-out "Kassie Jones (pt. 1)" by Furry Lewis... Charlie Patton... Blind Willie McTell... Big Bill Broonzy... I keep listening to the Naked on the Vague LP and it's not because I'm into it - on the contrary, I don't even feel like I've heard it yet. It's too weird to play when the kids are up so I always end up putting it on late at night, the headphones jack on my stereo amp is broken so I have to play it through the speakers, it's too weird and shadowy to play at low volume so I have to crank it but I can't because it'll wake up the wife and/or kids (it already has once), so the volume I end up playing this thing at always ends up being quieter than the radiator, I mean literally. How about that, David Lynch's prophecies have not only come true, they've evolved to the point where we not only have a lady singing in the radiator, we have a guy & lady synth/drums punk duo from Australia playing in the radiator. Point being, I decided to just say fuckit and turn it up tonight for at least a few songs and yeah, now I can hear it. They're a noisy punk duo that uses synths, guitars, lots of delay, and a few other things to play songs that are often 40 to even 60 percent noise pieces. But yet they come off like a punk/song band, not a noise band, much closer to a more minor-keyed Times New Viking than, say, Nautical Almanac. I like their long noise sections but my favorite track is "Lonely Boys" because it's the most immediate song-as-song, with a pounding tribal rhythm all the way through. I'm still not bowled over and there's a few of the new Siltbreeze releases I have felt very alone in not being too excited by (see also Factums - whereas I totally dig the xNoBBQx LP which seems to be another somewhat rare opinion) ... Oper'azione Nafta's Cavuru, also on Siltbreeze, is pretty exciting though, a clattery weird Italian group, lots of improv in their sound but at the same time they are playing songs and it's a pretty good balancing act. These two Siltbreeze albums do seem to be more in an 'actual' (as opposed to 'retro' or 'neo') no wave style than most anything else I've heard in the last 10 years or so, which is commendable, but I think I'm more into the psych/lo-fi/folk/soul/drool side of Siltbreeze, the masterpieces by Pink Reason and Sapat, that great dirged-out LP by Alasehir, and that rambling dazed Ex-Cocaine number... My first time hearing anything at all by Blank Dogs (their new 7" on Daggerman Records) and.... hmm. Yeah, I want to listen to it again but really only to confirm that there isn't a whole lot there. Weird bedroom synth pop/rock, okay, and I like the ghostly flicker it has to it, but I have no idea how these songs go and the needle just picked up 10 seconds ago... it's not bad at all but I'm standing this up to the first Pink Reason 7" (not to mention the second) and it's really not even close. Cool cover though.

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