Saturday, March 14, 2009

The moral of the story is: never give up on the to-listen stacks, no matter how old and dusty and in-the-way they're getting. I pulled this disc from pretty near the bottom... it was released a whopping four years ago, after all. No idea when it showed up here at HQ, but I never did listen to it, not even once, until today. I had kept it around simply because the art was promising... an enigmatic-enough B&W drawing pasted on a cool cardboard fold-over holder with an envelope for the disc mounted within... but the real reason I finally put it on the stereo today was a case of mistaken identity. You see, I thought that maybe the Grand Hotel was this older (early 2000s) Bay Area band featuring the late Cayce Lindner, who went on to record one great 2006 album as the leader of a band called Flying Canyon. Turns it out I was wrong... Lindner's older band turned out to be The Golden Hotel, and this was The Grand Hotel, a band (duo as it turns out) from Brooklyn that I really knew nothing about. That quickly changed as the readout gave me one 35-minute track, I pushed play, and got immediately sucked in by a desolate misterioso atmosphere that morphed into vaguely bluesy zoner psych and then serious pounding no-mind post-industrial wave-out... by now I'm more than hooked, and then the drums drop out and that's when they bring back the song, now as a free-floating garage/cloud bliss-out. An early mastery of now-prevalent 'new age noise' styles, and a whole lot more than that too. Glad I dug it out, here's their myspace and other stuff. Anyone with an extra copy of that edition-of-15o LP from 2007, get in touch.

And listened to next, another 'oldie'....

IAN NAGOSKI: Effortless Battle CD (RECORDED)
From waaaaay back in 2003, heavy electronics, really holds up well. Interesting stuff as it is rooted in classic loft-style LaMonte Young drone and minimalism, but still fits right in with its early-2000s noise/electronics solo-artist peers, resulting in some pretty crazy low-end and grinding atmospheres that still have a sort of open-eyed wonder. I could be wrong about this, but it seems that Nagoski more or less retired this music when he became a father and opened up a record store in 2004. He has remained active, currently blogging for Arthur Magazine and in 2007 gathering some of his favorite 78RPM records for the stunning Black Mirror CD compilation on Dust-to-Digital. Actually, is the True Vine Record Shop still open? Weeeeeelll, I just found this July 2008 article from the Baltimore City Paper that explains everything... Nagoski is leaving the record store to his partners Jason Willett and Stewart Mostofsky, and says, "I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing only more so--dealing with records (research, listening, writing, creating, teaching)--and--hey!--making my own music again for the first time in four years." Right on... here's an interview with him from around the time of Effortless Battle (and the opening of the True Vine).

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