LeBrecque, Paul & Valerie Webb - Trees, Chants and Hollers LP (Eclipse, 2006)
"Duo weaves a cautious, dreamy folk spell, reminiscent of the vocal impressionism and effected acoustic sonics of Charalambides, beautiful stuff charged with a sense of desperation and love lingering on the edge of loss. Ties to Sunburned Hand of the Man and other Boston area ensembles, like Bright." - Lee Jackson. "Cold nights roll in during the early parts of spring, reminding us that we're not quite out of the woods yet; there is still work to be done. The contrast of warm, sun-filled days and nights where you can still see your breath is a microcosm for what we all consistently feel in our lives. It's the temporary gratification and beauty that keeps us hopeful, but the desolate darkness that keeps us honest. Valerie Webb and Paul Lebrecque offer up ten meditations on this consciousness divided. 'Trees, Chants, & Hollers' is a magical ride through thick and thin. It's the culmination of knowing that in order to reach the place you long for, you have to do the dirty work first. Webb's angelic voice lifts the spirits of the record, offering a delicate balance to some of the more workmanlike music. These two forces work as a brilliant partnership as a banjo that finds itself high in the leaves of majestic oaks, searching for the haunted flute squeals that float overhead. This is embodied perfectly in 'High Country Jig,' where Webb's voice seems just out of reach, but always present. It reminds me of the days when I was a kid and I would spend the entire day, dawn until dusk, outside in the warmth of Mother Nature's arms. But these moments don't last forever. This much we should have learned by now. On 'The Valley,' the warmhearted kindness is replaced with fear and despair. Lebrecque joins Webb on vocal duties, and in conjunction with his great banjo playing, I am reminded of the mighty Timothy, Revelator. There is a distinct connection between Timothy, Revelator's music and Paul and Valerie's. 'The Valley' is like the journey down; down to where exactly, remains to be seen. But with recorder notes changing from pleasant to disdainful, and the pace of the song seemingly getting more rapid, it is like an aural snowball effect. By the time you realize the downward velocity, it's too late to stop. As you continue picking up speed, the skies darken and you fall directly into the 7 1/2 minute rumination, 'An Acre of Stone (for Rachel Corrie).' 'An Acre of Stone' is the highlight of 'Trees, Chants, & Hollers.' Dense, low-end drones for the basic foundation of the track, while a solemn drum keeps a slow, steady beat. Spiritual graces flicker in the distance, but this night will be spent fending off your own personal demons. This track is the full embrace of the above prescribed scenario: hope trying to abstain from being done in by darkness. Lebrecque and Webb are in full-flight on 'An Acre of Stone,' and it segues into 'Amish Nights' wonderfully. That is a reoccurring theme on 'Trees, Chants, & Hollers': all of these songs melt perfectly into each other. 'Trees, Chants, & Hollers' has cohesion that most albums only dream of. By the time you reach the lost edges of 'Swift River Blues,' you are spent. You've been on a long journey, searching for yourself within the confines of light and dark. 'Trees, Chants, & Hollers' offers up a spiritual journey intended to explore differences within a strict set of confines. Like Timothy, Revelator, this album uses banjo as its main instrument of choice. That gives it an organic feeling that pervades each rift and crevice. This is a beautiful, dense album in so many ways; it offers up something new with every listen.- Brad Rose, Foxy Digitalis. Originally self-released in a deluxe edition of 100 copies.
Pelt - Heraldic Beast DBL LP (Eclipse, 2006)
"Intense 2 LP survey of Pelt geography around the turn of the century, compiling live recordings the band issued on cdrs in tiny editions or on comps plus some unreleased material. Combines the most all-out electric attacks Pelt's ever deigned to release, plus some of the growling drone float that preceded/coincided with the band's jump into acoustic material. Off the hook gatefold packaging that maybe offers hints of sources, etc. Full list of recording dates/locations/prior releases is supposed to be posted on soon." This dbl lp set is sure to blow some minds - especially those who have come to know Pelt in the past 2-3 years. These early recordings (1998-2003) are heavy and sure to please those who have been waiting patiently for this. The packaging is incredible, too - with beautiful artwork and a very sturdy gatefold sleeve. Dig it.
Dead Machines - Live at Tzompantli LP (Eclipse, 2006)
The a side was recorded at the first No Fun Festival in March 2004 (Brooklyn) and features a little comedy to start with and then things get heavy...and the second side is the very first VG Kids/Wolf Den Ypsi Street Level throwdown....our set was live on a 6 color shirt screen press and Nate brought a fog machine that blasted out the room and into the parking lot night of the VG complex...near the end you can hear people chucklin cause its absurd..that night was also the first "offical" Sick Llama, and MI debut of Failing Lights...great night....DM had a weird 7 small speaker set up on the heads of the press and spun it slighty for that dead-universe dying electronic creeping blast sound....." Printed covers with the back cover featuring a demented John Olson collage - killer!
Foster, Josephine & The Supposed - All the Leaves are Gone LP (Eclipse/Galactic Zoo, 2006)
"Last Spring, you may have gotten a dose of opera school dropout Josephine Foster's startling mixture of avant arrangements & acoustic mountain folk as ? of the spare twisted up Appalachian duo, Born Heller. To many, the effect of her voice - on record and in concert - has been nothing short of chilling since the duo's locust debut. After a 180 degree shift in style only, Josephine Foster & the Supposed offer up a 12 cut blow out that's exuberant and hard hitting. On All the Leaves Are Gone, Josephine embraces her rock and roll heart and intuitively summons up the mojo of legendary songstress Patti Smith as she rides the crest of a fluid and angular rhythm section that's as triumphant as the sound of classic Television and trebly west coast psychedelia from decades gone by. Lyrically, stylistically and musically, this is a fearless, soon to be classic post-punk rock and roll record that delivers the goods from start to finish. All the Leaves are Gone was originally dreamed up as a rock opera. Before visions of Jesus Christ Superstar start dancing in your head, play this record - just for a minute - and you'll know there is something happening here that's unlike anything else you've ever heard." - label. "This album utilises a traditional group format but the results are no less disquieting. This is disturbing, inward-looking stuff, reminiscent of west coast psych if Fly Agaric had been the drug of choice. Patti Smith is a very loose starting point but Foster also appears to be channeling the aforementioned Galas, K.U.K.L period Bjork and hippy folk visionary Tom Rapp. Opener Well Heeled Man could well be Shirley Collins picnicking with the Manson family." - Peter Redmond, Mojo. Reissue of CD version on Locust featuring the excellent (same as cd) artwork by Plastic Crimewave.
Nick Castro and the Poison Tree - Further From Grace LP (Eclipse, 2006)
After many long delays the 2nd lp from Nick Castro is finally available! This is the follow-up to 2004's excellent debut lp 'A Spy in the House of God' and it is currently available on cd from the superb Strange Attractors Audio House label. This vinyl version is a limited edition pressing. Check out the impressive review below that is on the Pitchfork Media website: "On Further From Grace, the second album from Nick Castro, the hirsute L.A.-based troubadour has wisely taken full advantage of the extensive network of inspired folk eccentrics currently mushrooming across the countryside. Featuring appearances from Josephine Foster and Espers' Meg Baird, in addition to the uniformly stellar work of his crack(ed) band the Poison Tree, Further From Grace positively shimmers with willowy, sun-dappled ensemble playing, and firmly establishes Castro as yet another noteworthy voice of the present acid folk resurgence. As is the case with Philadelphia's Espers, Castro's music hearkens less to old-timey American forms of Appalachian folk or country blues than it does to the golden age of 60s-70s UK folk-rock, as practiced by groups like the Incredible String Band or Mellow Candle. Inching softly away from some of the more blatant Donovan/ Syd Barrett solo emanations of his 2004 self-released debut A Spy in the House of God, here Castro and company employ an ambitious menu of exotic acoustic instruments to forge a verdant, medieval-tinged sound, one which draws on any number of pan-global folk traditions. And though there are times when the album threatens to capsize beneath its own preciousness (such as on the delightful, flute-centric "To This Earth", which incautiously risks floating away like a puff of new-agey Celtic Myst) the strength of Castro's melodic compositions and the group's deft musicianship should manage to enchant any but the most Hobbit-phobic listeners. With his clear, refreshingly unmannered vocals on straightforward tunes like "Won't You Sing to Me," Castro strikes a figure recalling Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine or a young, more starry-eyed David Gilmour. In Castro's lyrics, cheeks tend to be white as snow and eyes are apt to shine like diamonds, which is perhaps another reason why most of the memorable passages on Further From Grace are instrumental in nature. The opening "Sun Song" combines Baird's lap dulcimer with Otto Hauser's nimble hand percussion and Foster's mesmeric, wordless vocalizing to create a full-scale gypsy swoon, one that could easily continue on weightlessly for miles before you realize your gas tank is empty and your watch has lost its hands. Even further transporting is the brief "Music for Mijwiz", a whirling Middle Eastern dervish on which Castro plays the titular Arabic, double-reeded woodwind over a sandstorm rhythm, or the epic "Deep, Deep Sea", a captivating piece whose lengthy intro is adorned with Adam Hershberger's lyrical, surprisingly jazzy flugelhorn, before Castro eventually leads the whole company back into more familiar Soft Machine-like canyons and valleys. As the album closes with the aptly-named acoustic soar of "Walk Like a Whisper", the seasoned folk-rock traveler will undoubtedly recognize many a feature of this tranquil landscape, but will also likely be helpless to resist the urge to continually retrace Castro's every step, reluctant to miss out on a single contour of this varied and beguiling album." -Matthew Murphy, July 19, 2005.
Plastic Crimewave Sound - No Wonderland LP (Eclipse, 2006)
Recorded under harsh conditions with a dark-cloud backdrop of freezing tempatures, car wrecks, personal strife, illness and even bulletcrossfire, at last this 2LP paranoid song cycle from Plastic Crimewave Sound is upon us. A space-punk epic of formation and devastation, it travels from the devotional light of 'the beginning' to the virus of technology and even darker future urban hells. This is PCWS's second long-awaited LP, a limited edition dbl lp housed in a beautiful, sturdy gatefold sleeve, and it features the last recordings by the line-up with Andrew Ortmann (Panicsville) and Cat Chow, (just wait til you hear the new line-up..) with the core of Plastic Crimewave (Galactic Zoo dossier, Million Tongues, many japanese collaborations, etc), Mark Lux (Temple of Bon Matin) and Lawrence "Skog Device" Peters (of countless No wave and country ensembles). All but the cosmic kitchen sink were thrown into this one; harp, bells, sitar, washboard, shrieking harpies, oodles of fuzz, an entire string section, doomed spoken passages, and cameo appearances by Michael Yonkers, Devendra Banhart, Josephine Foster, Fur Saxa, Spires that in the Sunset Rise, Chris Connelly, and more. Sure, PCWS can't hide influences like Pink Fairies, Can, German Oak, the Monks, Silver Apples, Simply Saucer, Hawkwind, Loop, Factory records, Trad Gras Och Stenar and even a splash of blissed folk strains, but who'd want to? Features art (and handy colorful gatefold) by PCW.
Samara Lubelski - In The Valley LP (Eclipse, 2005)
Reissue of cdr released on the Child of Microtones label in 2004. Samara Lubelski is a member of the groups Hall of Fame and Tower Recordings (to name a few) and ëIn The Valleyí was her first solo release available in a numbered edition of 99 copies. This vinyl reissue features Samara playing only violin and it is really stunning. Recorded at the Rare Book Room "to record these works that include pre-drone, ballads, and avant spirituals. The two most hyperbolic tracks are her duet with the ëmoon moanerí and her darked Suzuki version of the Blind Boy Grunt classic ëAll the Tired Horsesí, both blues songs and examples of 20th century music played for Delta enthusiasts, major label deletions, and country blues connoisseurs. However, it is her originals and stark unaccompanied playing juxtaposed with gorgeously overdubbed synchronistic timbres that are truly over the moon on this recording. The amorous tonal gush that radiates from ëI Love Thlowthí is a vibrating omnichord of spectral abundance as spooked as Freenyís Barn Dance AND as intricate as the dual fiddles of Andrew & George Carter but done on a single viloin. In short these revolutionary compositions recall an iconoclastic frolic where she is wielding a magic bow and waving auroral pizzicato spirit spells over the triangulated eye mind of Kosugi, Henry Sims / Flynt and Clark Kessinger." ‚ MV. Comes housed in a eye-catching full color sleeve and includes an insert.
Double Leopards - Out Of One, Through One, And To One LP (Eclipse, 2005) ºOut of Print
2004 recordings from Brooklyn's skull-crushing Double Leopards. 3 cuts recorded at the Rare Book Room housed in a beautiful silkscreened jacket. Limited edition of 1000 copies.
Sunburned Hand Of The Man - Wedlock DBL LP (Eclipse, 2005)
"Wedlock captures Sunburned in its 2003 suit when they took it to the west coast to tour their way up to Wasilla, Alaska to attend and perform at Paul & Val's wedding on the longest day of the year, June 21, 2003. Under the bright midnight sun, Sunburned recorded this document, a testament to irony, omnipotence, moisture, pain, and the weight. Come and dine at this one, clear table. Double LP." August 2005 release taken from recordings in Alaska on the Summer Solstice. Features a beautifully designed heavy duty gatefold sleeve with two inserts featuring many photos from the trip to Alaska as well as some pictures from Northern California from the same tour. A truly stunning album!
Marissa Nadler - The Saga Of Mayflower May CD / LP (Eclipse, 2005)
"Marissa Nadler's 2004 album Ballads of Living and Dying was a burnished gem of entrancing, spectral folk, and with her follow-up she not only returns to the luminous musical landscape of her debut but also to her enigmatic character Mayflower May. Though not the cohesive narrative its title implies, The Saga of Mayflower May again finds Nadler skillfully echoing the forms of traditional English balladry as she crafts another captivating collection of songs steeped in the melancholy of distant, half-forgotten passion, doomed love affairs, and various crimes of the heart. As a vocalist Nadler is considerably less idiosyncratic than such peers as Joanna Newsom or Josephine Foster, and here her dusky, lived-in soprano settles diffusely between contemporaries like Hope Sandoval and Chan Marshall, and 60s-era folkies like Vashti Bunyan or Mimi Farina. On these 11 tracks her arrangements are kept simple and powder dry, typically featuring only her 12-string guitar and the occasional flourish of organ, ukelele, or flute as accompaniment. With this spare instrumentation providing an understated backdrop, Nadler sounds increasingly relaxed and confident throughout the album, and each performance sparkles with haunting, rain-swept emotion. Tracks like "The Little Famous Song" and "Horses and Their Kin", are further distinguished by mesmerizing wordless passages where it almost sounds as though she's attempting to use her voice to approximate the lonesome shimmer of a singing saw. The significance of the character Mayflower May to these songs is unclear. Nadler has previously described May-- who also made a couple appearances in the lyrics of Ballads of Living and Dying-- as a lonely old woman of faded beauty. And though May is never mentioned by name on any of these songs, perhaps one is to assume that nostalgia-laden, first-person accounts like the opening "Under an Old Umbrella" or the rapturous "Calico" are intended to feature May as narrator. Also a talented visual artist, Nadler naturally fills her lyrics with color, and these songs abound with azure skies, turquoise eyes, and (especially) ruby red blood. On tracks like "Yellow Lights" and "Mr. John Lee (Velveteen Rose)" Nadler fearlessly enters traditional murder ballad territory, exquisitely depicting a world where love is forever shadowed by loss. Curiously, for the dramatic "Lily, Henry, and the Willow Trees" the album's lyric sheet includes a final, particularly gory verse that leaves little doubt as to the fate of poor Lily. Perhaps finding these lines out of keeping with her music's otherwise deft, subtle touch, Nadler leaves them unsung, one of the few instances on this enthralling album where she pulls any punches whatsoever." - Matthew Murphy, Pitchfork. The cd is housed in a tip-on style gatefold sleeve - sort of a mini-version of the LP gatefold. The lp is housed in a heavy duty gatefold sleeve and is limited to 1000 copies.
Sun City Girls - Folk Songs of the Rich & Evil / Exotica on $5 a Day DBL LP (Eclipse, 2005) ºOut of Print
The fourth volume in the Cloaven cassette reissue program. This one begins with Folk Songs of the Rich and Evil - recordings from 1985 - "Tragedy is comedy as this diabolical collection of essay-lecture monologue songs will prove. How far this journey takes you from the supposed values of our world depends entirely on when you stop the tape. All tracks recorded whenever, here and there, written, improvised or hijacked by Sun City Girls at will." As usual, some tracks have been edited out from the original tape release but there is also an unreleased track included on this album taken from the recording sessions back in 1985. The second album is Exotica on $5 a Day - "The Terrorism Music is made of. This tape is ethnic eccentricity at its most fragrant, but don't forget that many foreigners despise Americans. Recorded in a kitchen, side rooms, etc. in 1985 – except '9 Sides of Air' and 'Ride Nomad Burn!' recorded 1983 in a hallway. Some instruments on 'It's Ours' courtesy UNICEF." Limited edition of 1000 copies.
Six Organs Of Admittance / Jack Rose / MV&EE Medicine Show / Dredd Foole / Fursaxa / Joshua Burkett & Kemiallset Ystävät - By The Fruits You Shall Know The Roots 3LP (Eclipse, 2005) ºOut of Print
At long last this spilt label, triple lp monster is unleashed... a hexagonal wonderama of otherworldly sides from some of the most brilliant musicians/groups working in the underground psychedelic folk/blues realm, elegantly dressed in a 2 sided 6 panel foldout poster of bacchanalian design. A fabulous document of tone and album art containing some of the best exploratory compositions captured in beautiful fidelity... featuring a full lp side each from: SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE, JACK ROSE, MATT VALENTINE & ERIKA ELDER with CHRIS CORSANO, DREDD FOOLE, FURSAXA, and JOSHUA with KEMIALLSET YSTÃVÃT... packaged in a full color, fabric textured, triple gatefold cover, that unfolds to reveal a huge 25" by 37" poster. mind seed planted by ben chasny, cover art and design by Erika Elder, label artwork by Joshua Burkett, poster art by Nemo, fable by Matt Valentine, and printed by Clint Simonson of Destijl. Limited edition of 1000 copies.
Ilya Monosov / Preston Swirnoff - Seven Recorded Works (Volume 1) LP (Eclipse, 2005)
"The sound of two souls, all alone in claustrophobically infinite space. These two volumes see disenchanted Californians Ilya Monosov and Preston Swirnoff whittling out their own autonomous spaces far from the surf and sun, then climbing in and nailing the door firmly shut behind them. Seven Recorded Works comes over like someone has leached the spirits of Ennio Morricone, Eric Satie and Pauline Oliveros, stuffed them in a leaky wooden barrel, and set them rolling out to sea on a spring riptide. Uncertain, hesitant piano and melodica miniatures undercut with the evil drone of harmonica and hurdy-gurdy. It's a creaking and queasy trip, guaranteed to heave underwater, piratical nightmares out of some long suppressed substream of your subconscious." - Alan Cummings. "Our collaborative effort is our search for new models for what people call 'song', 'improvisation', 'dub', and 'composition'. The first volume documents a difficult pairing, I play Hurdy Gurdy and Harmonica, Preston Swirnoff plays piano and organ. I used a harmonica on the last day of our Blues sessions, and with that we ended the recording of Volume 1. We would like to thank Ed Hardy for offering us creative freedom over a span of four vinyl records, the last of which we plan to record in 2005." - Ilya Monosov (2005). Edition of 500 copies.
Ilya Monosov / Preston Swirnoff - Two Recorded Works (Volume 2) LP (Eclipse, 2005)
"Two Recorded Works opens in equally brooding, cinematic fashion with Swirnoff's 'air organ' slow gasping its weighted way through magenta dust-clouds of bowed guitar. Later, sea-shanty bellows underscore the spectral traces of whistles and ghosted vocals and whistles to particularly melancholic effect. But the final side, credited to Monosov and Swirnoff's rock unit The Shining Path, is a whole other kettle of herring. It rockets upwards into the fuzzed out expansive zones of the Rallizes sound, but is tethered to an on-edge, speedfreak shake of a Suicide rhythm, just too fast for comfort. Bliss handily circumvented, higher mind tied to delerium tremens. I think they're trying to tell us somethingÖ" - Alan Cummings. "Time passed, and we began recording Volume 2 which contains our experiments with song form and our rock band, The Shining Path. We would like to thank Ed Hardy for offering us creative freedom over a span of four vinyl records, the last of which we plan to record in 2005." Ilya Monosov (2005). Edition of 500 copies.
Tar Pet - The Artist Is Tarlie Dawn LP (Eclipse/Galactic Zoo, 2005)
In dark times, brave figures raise their weary heads to speak the utterances no one else can--scrambled, multi-dimensional, and even 'fried' might describe these prophets--Skip Spence, Jandek, Skip James, Syd Barrett, Patty Waters.....Who knew this voice would arise from a rather thin, wild-eyed young lady, one Tar Pet (or is Taralie Dawn- even I'm not sure). Stretching out into the dusty wasteland and untapped parts of the psyche, these are the bedroom meditations of magnificent fractured beauty. Broken hearts, souls, and landscapes fill these uniquely-voiced tales. This is truly where strong, expressive songwriting should be at. Taralie is also a member of Spires That in the Sunset Rise, who have an Lp on GZDisk/Eclipse, and a new Cd due on Secret Eye, and have played with Faun Fables, Pelt, Charalmabides, etc. Edition of 500 copies.
My Cat Is An Alien - When The Windmills Whirl Dies LP (Eclipse, 2005)
"ÖHere we are/ Dancing with the dark shadows/ Here we are/ Dancing with the dark shadowsÖ" This is the incipit of the first side of "When the windmill's whirl dies", the new work by the space-brothers Maurizio and Roberto Opalio, alias My Cat Is An Alien; and here we are indeed, ready to dance with the shadows which surround the Light, as the intimate and vividly estranged mood originated by the floating guitar tunes will enter the furthest meanders of your mind. Both the words, recited and shaped by Roberto from his own homonymous poem that suggested the title of the album, and the oblique minimalism of the complex musical texture made of flowing space sounds, represent the abstract neo-expressionistic substratum of the whole corpus of the work. Moving throughout a nebula of space dust and debris, the starting spoken-word vocals alongside the percussive section sound as powerfully impressive as the violent imagery of trees beaten down by the storm, while the whispered silence of "Perspective of time" and "Fallin'", on side two, discloses the emotional and existential universe of an isolated broken soul, lost in a world of inanity. This is the center of the No-thing Universe, where each single word or sound assumes the aspect of a sort of pagan prayer that speaks the language of astral folk-blues. In this context, MCIAA's outer space becomes a re-found uterus, meant to be the form of a new self-biogenesis. At the same time, space is conceived as symbol of the eternal theatre surrounding the mysterious cycle of life & death; such infinite space, despite such limited time. This cosmic-chant of the new millennium may heat our nights like a flame left to enlighten the shadows of the coldest darkness. At the end of it all, some words will still be ringing in our minds: "ÖSo, we'll never forget the light". After 2004's key-work "The rest is silence", MCIAA's "When the windmill's whirl dies" comes as the second act of a trilogy dedicated to the Great Void. A beautiful recording housed in a thick, heavy duty gatefold sleeve. Edition of 600 copies.
Double Leopards - Halve Maen DBL CD (Eclipse, 2005) ºOut of Print
At long last (and I really mean it - this has been 9 months since the dbl CD project started) and after numerous delays and manufacturing errors this DBL CD has seen the light of day! And it was worth the wait after I was finally able to hold one of these. This digital version contains the exact same tracks as the DBL LP (now out of print) and is a mini-replica of the gatefold LP version. This gatefold CD package came out real nice and even has an insert with it (like the vinyl version, too). If you're not familiar with this release, read this great review Pitchfork gave it (an 8.2 rating): "Nigh on a decade, I have been trying to figure out what the fuck I took that fateful night. Cloyingly labeled as a 'pharmaceutical hallucinogen,' a handful of pills opened portals to the most intense, frighteningly realistic phantasms I've ever experienced. One symptom of overdose, as the Pharmaceutical Handbook explained so succinctly the morning after, was that every electrical appliance malfunctioned in my presence: the LCD displays on my watch and alarm clock were helpless brambles of blinking bars of broken time. The carpet breathed and rippled its fibers. The walls sweated. I continually had the physical sensation of having something clenched in my grip, yet looking down, my hands were always empty. I bring this trip up because I think the Double Leopards (Mike, Maya, Marcia, and Chris) might have ingested the same shit. At the very least, they show similar symptoms on their second album for Eclipse. Housed in a dark and heavy sleeve, replete with an Indian skull and foreboding forest branches, it opens into a gatefold that evokes a satellite dish-addicted Bridget Riley illusion. Halve Maen is sprawled across two heavy discs, the only format through which the finest, most oblique musical messages can properly be conveyed. I am tempted to shove this in alongside such shadowy double albums as Wickham & Young's Lake, The Dead C's Harsh 70s Reality, Charalambides' Market Square, and Twenty-Six's This Skin Is Rust, but even those gave you a little breathing room now and then; Halve Maen smothers all light from the get-go as it burrows into the bowels of the earth below. Very tactile from the first needle-drop, the everyday objects at the old loft space move of their own volition, at the edges of the feverish eyes. Household items like chord organs, plastic toys, and wind chimes suddenly lurch to the fore during 'The Fatal Affront', before all the room's paraphernalia disintegrates into the more solemn and murky affair, 'Druid Spectre'. Here appears a drum more akin to the undead pounding at a cardboard door, somehow thudding along from beyond the grave with an elongated guitar. Side B gets swallowed by 'A Hemisphere in Your Hair', which is time enough for a perm or other long scalp treatment. On this track, time is stretched and lulled until finally being rendered meaningless, and the listening brain is melted in slow undulations of sinewaves, primitive swirls of effects, bowed strings, prayer bowls, Melodica, and otherworldly drones. Small shivers of cricket-like feedback rise and fall with the slow, labored breathing of the beast, as if the inhaled pink goo from The Abyss were replaced with Graffix bong scrapings. The rattles that arise nearer the center of the spindle give the proceedings the woozy feel of an ancient ceremony coming to an end. Turns out we're only halfway there, though, and from this point forth, the travail gets veritably muddy, the group dynamic verging on unconsciousness. Discombobulation and a heavy, pervasive dread of being very lost permeates this record. 'The Forest Outlaws' spins the tape, mid-sÈance, into a paralyzing bout of self-inflicted ether damage. A blustery white-noise wind blows through the bundled layers of guitar and organ, freezing up the gears on the Leopards' zamboni right at the inner-circle of the inferno, where it's always most frigid and frightening. The last side is given over to 'The Secret Correspondence 1 & 2', plopping us into the vertiginous tides of the Dead Sea, where the silty, unseen bottom is stirred up something fierce. Cymbals are struck but quickly sink below the briny waters. Tremors of ghostly orchestras are constantly conjured by the guitars, a mass grave of vindicative strings that howl and die only to be resurrected for the finale. The instruments and processed moans of the group commune with a far more surly and slurred spiritual world than previously glimpsed, heavily sedated and hovering with a menacing glint just at the threshold of sanity. As it all slips away at record's end, I'm left questioning the mental stability and half-life of this trip. What I believed to be firmly in my grasp slithered away, a disquieting residue left behind on my hands and in my eyes and ears. Overwhelming in its morose synesthesia and downright bleary at times, Halve Maen is like those little yellow pills I popped so long ago: Ingestion will definitely fuck you up." - Andy Beta, September 16th, 2003. Edition of 1000 copies.
Marissa Nadler - Ballads Of Living And Dying CD / LP (Eclipse, 2004)
Hailed as a smoky chanteuse both sultry and captivating, Marissa's songs are mostly mournful dirges and melancholic ballads. Delving into influences of old-timey americana folk, portuguese fado, psychedelia, and country, the songwriting is gripping and unique. Pursuing the persona poem, most of the songs are stories of tragic deaths, forbidden fates, and jilted love affairs, and stormy suicides, as well as some introspective first person songs. In concert, the melodrama is obvious, and each performance is dripping in vaudevillian nostalgia. Marissa's intricate finger-style guitar comes through on six string, twelve string, banjo, ukelele, and autopharp. Her voice is velvety and resonant and soaring with ethereal reverberations. Over the past couple of centuries, the definition of "ballad" has been stretched to include virtually any slow-tempo sentimental song, even on those occasions when it merely means Tommy Lee is coming out from behind his kit to play the piano. But once upon a time the word indicated a more specific, codified form of verse. In the days before widespread literacy, a ballad was a dramatic (frequently tragic) story-poem that functioned as something of an oral newspaper, constructed simply with recurring rhymes so that it could be easily remembered and repeated. And on her captivating debut album, Ballads of Living and Dying, Marissa Nadler does her small part to return balladry to its vivid and illustrious past. On the surface this might not sound like a compelling proposition, but fortunately Nadler has the sort of voice that you'd follow straight to Hades. Her luxurious, resonant soprano is immediately transfixing, and throughout these songs it envelops the listener like a dense fog rolling in off the moors. Nadler's vocals are highly reminiscent of Hope Sandoval's-- with perhaps the faintest glimmer of the languid phrasing of cabaret chanteuse Marlene Dietrich-- and her unadorned arrangements recall the rain-weary solitude of early Leonard Cohen met with Mazzy Star or Opal at their most hazily narcotic. Nadler is clearly savvy enough in her material to know that a true collection of ballads must include a body count, and the most obviously successful auld school example here is her arrangement of Edgar Allen Poe's poem "Annabelle Lee". As you might recall from junior high English, this is a classic tale of ill-starred love with a stretched-by-your-grave finale that fits the ballad form to perfection, and Nadler's melodic rendition here is flawless. And poor Annabelle Lee is not this album's only casualty; there's also "Virginia", which respectfully chronicles the death of Virginia Woolf, as well as dreamier, more ambiguous songs like "Undertaker" and "Box of Cedar" which certainly contain whispers of foreboding for their subjects. Each song on the album comes lightly-dressed, usually borne along by little more than Nadler's voice, her finger-picked guitars, and ornamental flourishes from the occasional accordion, autoharp, or blurry wisp of feedback. On "Hay Tantos Muertos", one the album's loveliest tracks, Nadler branches out from the strict balladic format, quoting lines from Pablo Neruda's haunting "No Hay Olvido" ("There Is No Forgetting") in a manner resembling a traditional Portuguese fado, and on "Days of Rum" she busts out a banjo and takes an enchanting turn at a Dock Boggs-style country blues. It's worth noting that, aside from the Poe and Neruda quotes, all of these songs are original compositions rather than the traditional works they appear. Throughout the album Nadler writes and performs with a weathered maturity that belies her young age. In fact, several tracks ("Mayflower May", "Days of Rum", "Fifty-Five Falls") seem to be narrated from the perspective of older women looking back upon the adventures and mistakes of their youth. Also an accomplished visual artist, Nadler's lyrics showcase a perceptive eye and a genuine empathy for her creations; and when coupled with that intoxicating voice the resulting landscape is one you may want to get lost in for a century or two. - Matthew Murphy, December 16th, 2004 - Pitchfork
500mg - Vertical Approach LP (Eclipse/Galactic Zoo, 2004)
Michael Gibbons, of monolithic sounds-great-on-any-substance rockers, Bardo Pond, delivers all the fuzzed out good you'd expect on his 1st solo LP. However, Gibbons really is hitting the true loner path here, forged by weirdos like Deuter, Sandy Bull, early Robert Wyatt and even Neil Young's dusty Dead Man soundtrack. Yes, these are cyclical, even largely stripped-down meditations - call it komische raga folk, maybe? Whatever the case, that staring-into-the-sun / Skip Spence vibe prevails-this is a headswirler with feeling, from an underrated and understated guitar god. Sitar, plaintive acoustic guitar, electronics, sampled snatches of manipulated vocals, and that glorious trademark FUZZ. Is it for late nights or early mornings? That is for you to ruminate on, Artwork also by the talented Mr.Gibbons!
Michael Yonkers - It's Only Yonkers LP (Eclipse/Galactic Zoo, 2004)
So what does a NEW Michael Yonkers record sound like? I was as skeptical as anyone might be, having heard a lot of bad 30 year gap Comeback and Reunion LPs....but my jaw dropped on the first 2 bars of this baby! The good news is that not much has changed, Yonkers is still defiantly kicking out monster-distorto-blooz-addled ROCK. Gutsy howls with melodies underneath that stick to your ribs, and of course the trademark guitar buzz n scrape! This is savage yet stripped down pure Yonkers-recorded straight to 4-track with no overdubbing or trickery! The past 30 years are a mere blur, as this is fresh vital music that blows away the current trendy 'garage band' in an instant!!! If you enjoyed the Microminiature Love record or are even the most casual fan of R n R, punk, post-punk, rockabilly, power blues, etc. you will go as nuts for this as I did. Eye-poppin cover art by Plastic Crimewave.
My Cat Is An Alien - The Rest Is Silence DBL LP (Eclipse, 2004)
"The rest is silence" is 'till now the most complete and varied work of My Cat Is An Alien. After some totally improvised works, such as "Landscapes of an electric city" on Ecstatic Peace and "Il Segno" on Starlight Furniture Co., with this debut release on Eclipse Records MCIAA start a more complex and oblique studio-modus operandi, in which the instantaneous composition is now a basement open to stratified extraterrestrial fluxus of sounds, often permeated by melancholic vocal inserts. The title of this new double album is taken from the last words spoken by Hamlet before his dying in the homonymous Shakespearian's tragedy. The whole corpus of the work is an ectoplasm of sounds flowing from the earth surface towards the sky; with their electric and acoustic guitars, some pedal effects and a series of weird space-toys, MCIAA light a candle as a bright beacon in the darkness of the Great Void. From the "Infinite Spaces" incipit, a sad whispered voice delayed through a toy-megaphone, moving on isolated guitar strokes going downhill, defines "The rest is silence" vocabulary: a new intimate alien folky-blues mood expanded on the avant-space sounds that have marked MCIAA since their beginning. Self-recorded and produced in Torino at their own "Space Room" headquarters during the cold winter time, "The rest is silence" speaks the same intimate and desolated language of Tim Buckley's "Lorca" and reflects the same suffering of some primitive folk-blues masters such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, projected in the deepest outer space. Each track is dedicated to the mystery of the 4 elements (air, earth, fire, water), as surrealist metaphors involving the mystery of life and death. When all is over, things vanish in the quiet brilliance of the Cosmos; MCIAA will stay 'till "Silence will come to stay forever"Ö "Italy's MY CAT IS AN ALIEN is the finest two-brother band from Italy since the end of the Great War. Their sounds move through the air the way that a tub of fine Roman butter moves through a circus ape..." - Byron Coley and Thurston Moore. This double LP is presented in beautiful fashion with a lovely, heavy duty gatefold sleeve with full color artwork by the band.
Fursaxa - Mandrake LP (Eclipse, 2004) ºOut of Print
Originally released on the Acid Mothers Temple label as a CDR in 2000, limited to 100 copies. This material was recorded between 1997 and 1999 by Tara Burke playing guitars, organs, dulcimer, accordion and vocals and was remixed and produced by Kawabata Makoto. Now 'Mandrake' has seen a proper limited reissue in a beautiful full color sleeve with 2 sided color insert a reproduction of the original artwork that came with the CDR release.
Womb - Womb LP (Eclipse, 2004) ºOut of Print
Improvised free jazz from San Diego featuring Josh Quon (satellite member of Upsilon Acrux and member of Children of Gauhd), Christopher Williams (just released duo CD with Derek Bailey on Incus / Compatible), Ray Raposa (the creative impetus of the Castanets, with an album out on Asthmatic Kitty in the fall), Dan Bryant (member of the Skaters), Ilya Monosov (various solo and collaborative releases - plays guitar and vibes on this LP), as well as Connor Kirkwood and Gabe Sundy. Limited edition of 200 copies with full color front and back 12" x 12" inserts not attached to a plain white jacket inside a resealable plastic sleeve.
The Anaksimandros - River Of Finland LP (Eclipse, 2004) ºOut of Print
Finland's Anaksimandros play avant-folk music that is improvised and psychedelic. Some of the members are involved with other groups you may be familiar with such as Kemialliset Yst”v”t and Avarus. These recordings from 2002 feature strummed and plucked strings, clattery percussion, chanting vocals, reeds, hand percussion, bowed instruments and more that I cannot properly describe. With printed jackets featuring some great black and white artwork from the group. Highly recommended for fans of Finnish folk, Jewelled Antler label, Sunburned Hand of the Man, No Neck Blues Band, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Sunroof!, Vibracathedral OrchestraÖYou need to hear this!
Vibracathedral Orchestra - WFMU LP (Eclipse, 2004) ºOut of Print
This is the WFMU recording session from September 11, 2003 featuring Adam Davenport, Bridget Hayden, Julian Bradley and Michael Flower featuring special guests John Godbert (Total), Matthew Bower (Hototogisu, Skullflower), and Tom Greenwood (Jackie-O Motherfucker). Two side long tracks of shimmering drone. Edition of 400 copies with silkscreened jackets by Alan Sherry (SIWA).
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - The Day Before the Sky Fell In America 9/10/01 LP (Eclipse/Galactic Zoo, 2004) ºOut of Print
By now Japan's notorious freak-rockers need no introduction - they've conquered the world with relentless touring, an endless number of releases, and countless side-projects. There's even quite a few live recordings at this point, but I will insist that this is unique. The in-store at Reckless (yes, the day before the cataclysm) was simply magical with perhaps the greatest dynamics I've yet witnessed (and I've seen over a dozen AMT shows) with pin-drop quiet acoustic passages to wall-shaking bombast."" - Steve Krakow. This is a one time pressing of 1000 copies.
Hiroshi Higashi - Solo LP (Eclipse/Galactic Zoo, 2004) ºOut of Print
ìGorgeous soundscapes by Acid Mothers Temple wildman Hiroshi Higashi. As 2nd guitarist in AMT (donít dare say ërhythm guitaristí heís so much more!) and synth abuser holy man extreme, heís dazzled audiences the world over with his mixture of controlled acidic sounds and utter reckless abandon damaging nearly as many instruments as master Makoto. We are granted this gift from the same gods that oversaw the experiments of Florian Fricke, Rudolph Grey, and some Pink Floyd worshipping stoners throughout the ages. Yes folks, these are some shimmering meditations that test the boundaries of electronic equipment, while maintaining a creamy center. Call them ëaudio hallucinationsí or ënew ageí if you must, just donít blame me when youíre looking down at your body. To support his numerous travels and devil-may-care lifestyle, most of the sound-generating devices are in hock now so donít expect another anytime soon or ever. Blessed are ye, and limited is this here disk (300 copies) presented in a real purty colorful-type cover designed by one Plastic Crimewave and the fair maiden Min Song.î -Steve Krakow. The jackets were silkscreened by the peerless Alan Sherry (of SIWA Records fame) who did an amazing job! This was originally available as a CDR on the Acid Mothers Temple label.
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Wild Gals A Go-Go DBL LP (Eclipse, 2004)
Reissue of 1999 CD released on the bands own Acid Mothers Temple label, which has been out of print for several years. This double vinyl issue has been pressed on HQ 180 gram vinyl and is housed in a thick, sturdy gatefold sleeve, which makes this a beautiful piece to hear and hold. There has been an additional piece added to this reissue that was not included on the original CD release. This is a one-time pressing of 1000 copies. Following is a review of the CD version by Forestter Cobalt that was taken from "Makoto Kawabata is the notorious guitarist leader of Acid Mothers Temple, a dexterously fingered member of Musica Transonic, Mainliner, and Toho Sara. Together with Mainliner member Koizumi Hjime, Mardi Gras Blue Heaven member Cotton Casino, and ten other musicians, Kawabata has created the third release of the psyche rock freak out system by Acid Mothers Temple that will burn holes in your ears. Ow! Ow is this good, and it just keeps getting better. Acid Mothers Temple fuse krautrock, psychedelia, now sound, folk, pop, noise, soft vocals, soaring melting wails, dissolving tablas, crunchy sitars, twinkling synthesizers, obsessive channel to channel panning, thundering guitars, and drone outs to end all drone outs. The effect is as difficult to imagine as it is to describe. Sometimes the overall effect of the album sounds like a repetitious, brain wrinkling drone out of a Terry Riley record. Sometimes there are moments that pass like a soft, sexy romp with Gainsbourg and Bardot. Sometimes there are moments that sound like Blue Cheer colliding with Ike and Tina Turner, wiping out a small village in Vietnam. Sometimes there are moments that sound like Gong meets Nurse With Wound meets Tangerine Dream takes an interstellar voyage. This is an amazing soundtrack that is never-ending, and incredibly successful at driving all the best elements of psychedelia and noise forward to heretofore unseen dimensions. No drugs necessary to lose your mind."
Sun City Girls - Fresh Kill Of A Cape Hunting Dog / Def In Italy DBL LP (Eclipse, 2004) ºOut of Print
This is the third release in the ongoing ten volume Cloaven cassette reissue series. All volumes are double vinyl issues pressed in editions of 1000 copies (no represses) featuring photos and artwork from the time of the recordings housed in a thick, sturdy gatefold sleeve. Some notes about Fresh Kill...: "A great sampler of the SCG spectrum from cut-ups to ambient genocide to Wagnerian trash to tropical hallucinations. This 'music' was captured from a moving truck in a Sierra Vista on a cloudy day. Horns by Charlie Parker. Guitar by Moses. Drums by N Rockefeller. Sex by ??." Recordings are from 1983-1985. Def in Italy comprises live recordings from a 1984 US tour and features many cover versions! Liner notes by BonBan.
P”iv”ns”de - Puhalluspelto LP (Eclipse, 2004)
Following their impressive CDR release on the Dutch label Whistle Along, comes the debut vinyl release from Finland's avant folk group P”iv”ns”de. Members of this group also perform with Rauhan Orkesteri, Lauhkeat Lampat, and Kiila which some of you may be familiar with. The sound? Well, you hear strings plucked and scraped, hand percussion and drums, woodwinds, vocals (sometime wailing), and other instruments I cannot identify. If you dig the Anaksimandros, Kemialliset Yst”v”t, Avarus, Pylon, etc., you'll want to hear this. I was not familiar with P”iv”ns”de when they, without any previous contact with me, sent me a cdr of this album back in January. I listened to it and was immediately stunned from start to finish so I listened to it again to be sure I heard what I did. After that I sent an e-mail to the address provided with the cdr and asked if I could issue this on vinyl. Finally, this is now available and it is one of the best Eclipse releases to date - one I am very proud to release. Beautiful full color printed sleeves.
Taurpis Tula - Taurpis Tula LP (Eclipse, 2004)
"Taurpis Tula from Glasgow, Scotland is the duo of Heather Leigh x (Charalambides and Scorces) on pedal steel / vocals and David Leigh x on guitar, navigating rivers of steel string with their fists and throats. Their all-improvised music works loops of spectral sound into beautifully fucked tonal hymns." "Examining drones and loops from the epic cragginess of The Dream Academy and Terry Riley to its currency amongst laptop popsters and free-guitar types has long been a passion. To create improvised, trance-driven music with subtlety, emotionalism, hymn-like melody and physicality is rare. Glasgow, Scotland's Taurpis Tula is that precious find. Guitarist/shortwave radio operator David Keenan (also the editor of the British mag The Wire) and vocalist/pedal steel guitarist Heather Leigh Murray make a highly charged, soul-soothing music, borrowed and blue. Atop wave-generated ambience an opera of muffled tones influenced by Holger Czukay's experiments in church music and oblique sampling and haunted vocal reveries, they scratch, scrape and caress their guitars. This technique, adapted from the pounded-meat playing of Fred Frith, has become sensuous in their capable hands, resulting in the crying sounds of steel strings that any country cowpoke would envy." - A.D. Amorosi, Philadelphia City "Taurpis Tula's new disc, Sparrows Eclipse), sometimes sounds like futuristic gamelan-folk music for 250 years down the road." This is such a beautiful and haunting record from a lovely duo. Pressed in an edition of 700 copies and housed in a stunning silkscreened black on black jacket with insert (also screened black on black) by the unparalleled Alan Sherry of Siwa Records.
Jack Rose - Raag Manifestos LP (Eclipse, 2004) ºOut of Print
This is Jack's third LP release on Eclipse. Raag Manifestos was issued on CD this summer by the excellent vhf label. Now that the CD is out of print, you can still get this incredible album on vinyl which is housed inside a classy, beautiful gatefold sleeve (heavy cardboard stock). Limited one-time pressing of 1000 copies. "Hard to know what to write about this record. It's just so personal and lovely, dark and mysterious, and darn near perfect. Appalachian guitar stretched into droning, dense ragas, steel strings that go from delicate melody to prickly nests of intertangled notes and buzzing overtones. Always completely hypnotic even at its most fierce, and always intense and compelling, even at its most ethereal. Rose (also a member of drone rockers Pelt) has definitely become one of our favorite guitarists and record after record he never fails to blow us away." - Aquarius website. "Compiled from a variety of sources, Raag Manifestos cuts across various acoustic styles much like Rose's Opium Musick LP, but with a more aggressive attack. 'Black Pearls from the River' and 'Hart Crane's Old Boyfriends' are dense, serious assaults on the 12-string, with the intensity of the latter enhanced by Ian Nagoski's roaring electronic backdrop. With subtle tabla accompaniment by Eric Carbonara, 'Crossing The Great Waters,' is another epic modal journey in the style of Pelt's 'Road To Catawba' and Rose's own 'Red Horse.' The traditional 'Blessed Be the Name of the Lord' finishes off the album on a calming note." - vhf website.
Migrantes - Monsoon Moods LP (Eclipse, 2003)
This is the 2nd LP by Migrantes (Jason Bill {guitar, air organ, Hammond organ, cymbal} & Caroline Vickers {Hammond organ & vocals}) of Tucson, AZ. Pressed in an edition of 536 copies and housed in a lovely printed full color jacket, this is a sublime record! "For those that have never been there, the desert signifies space, sand, and nothing. When I (who live nowhere near any deserts) first visited Jason & Caroline (who live smack in the middle of one), that was what I had thought too. I was a bit surprised that the desert in fact looks nothing like its platonic counterpart - it is in fact interlaced with ropy thorned plants, crawls with life of every species, and is inevitably circumscribed by distant mountains. For some, Monsoon Moods may capture the real desert, the one where home fires burn under looming stone, where love and life flourish in austerity. For me though this LP somehow encompasses sweaty nights in 100 degree summer warehouses, ghostly drives through Norfolk shipyards, the slow crack of datura pods drying in the sun, and all the other things that have grown inside j&c to buoy them up into this warmly inviting space illuminated by their big hearts. A stunning record that camouflages the simplicity of its ingredients with songs of glowing precision and vox-laced Hammond drones of vertical majesty." - Tom Carter
Plastic Crimewave - Flashing Open LP (Eclipse, 2003)
ìIt wasn't easy to contain this monster on vinyl folks, but here it is, at last, the debut LP from Plastic Crimewave Sound, a monster excessive concept piece that wraps your head around devotional drones, snarling biker punk, scuzzed out sewer dirges, blasts of power electonix, even some lilting shoegazer-new wave moves, and then topped off with some astal folk....this one has it all! Plastic Crimewave has collaborated with many Japanese psych-undergrounders as well as 'locals' like Charalambides, Six Organs of Admittance, Comets on Fire, Pelt, etc. and does the Galactic Zoo mag. Bass player Mark Lux bashed it out in the early Temple of Bon Matin days. Is the world ready for this yet? Comes in a fancy silver sleeve designed by PC.î Yes! This is the debut vinyl full-length release by Chicagoís premier acid-punk band. Repressed in an edition of 250 copies.
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Troubadours From Another Heavenly World DBL LP (Eclipse, 2003) ºOut of Print
Second in a series of four reissues from Nagoya, Japanís Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. on Eclipse Records. This has been licensed from PSF Records in Japan as will the forthcoming self-titled release slated for a late 2003 or early 2004 release. Eclipse will also be reissuing Wild Gals A Go Go licensed from the Acid Mothers Temple label. This reissue should be released by Summer 2003. Troubadours From Another Heavenly World was the third release on PSF from AMT and was originally released in October 2000. This double vinyl reissue includes all the tracks from the original CD release and also includes another track (which shares the same title as the album), which has not been available previously. This is a beautiful album to behold! Featuring new artwork, a heavy duty gatefold sleeve, two records pressed on HQ 180 gram vinylÖthis is the way AMT should be heard and seen! "Third PSF album from the Nagoya-based (but always heavenly-bound) Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., led by Japan's current king of the long-hairs and mystic rock-guitar guru Makoto Kawabata (also of Musica Transonic, Mainliner, Toho Sara). Their previous releases were delirious communal Gong/Hawkwind patchouli collisions, colorful as a Life with the Hippie Jetsons cartoon, but with an acid punch that proved their music was beyond any idea of pastiche or irony. For this flight though, the Acid Mothers have stepped back off the delirium pedal, and bumped up the luminous folk-mysticism faders. To be sure, the space synths, guitar supernovas, and stoned cosmic mumble are still present. It's just that now they're deployed to entirely different effect - this is no longer the soundtrack to your first highschool acid 'n' beer party, it's more like a solitary roadtrip seeking enlightenment, a hermit's cell halfway up Magic Mountain, the cosmic butterfly gently enfolding its pan-dimensional wings over your bruised psyche. It's a slowly hypnotic, deeply meditational platter of god-honest real-time wonder." - Alan Cummings on the PSF CD release of Troubadours.
Pelt / Keenan Lawler / Eric Clark - Keyhole II DBL LP (Eclipse, 2003)
On May 13, 2001, at the Louisville (KY) Visual Arts Associationís gallery at the Water Tower was host to the Keyhole ensemble. Ensemble members include Eric Clark, a metal worker who made some of the singing bowls and the bronze didgeridus played here, Patrick Best, Mike Gangloff, and Jack Rose, who also play as the trio Pelt, and Keenan Lawler, who is known for electronically modifying the sounds of a cello and National steel guitar. This performance was completely acoustic, however, with the only sonic treatment being the reverb lent by the galleryís high ceiling. ìMy memories of this show are of the incredible resonance of the Water Tower gallery, just an amazing alive quality to the air that let each note linger on and on and that filled the quieter moments with breath and inevitability. At one point I remember being lifted, compelled to climb to a balcony over the room and lean out to play a singing bowl. If this drops, I recall thinking as I stirred the heavy brass, we may lose an audience member...but this sound is necessary. Awhile later, a man fell out of his seat and a woman who had been lying on the floor sat up suddenly and cracked her head on a glass table.î Mike Gangloff. This is a beautiful recording pressed in an edition of 514 copies with printed color sleeve.
Christina Carter - Bastard Wing LP (Eclipse, 2003)
"Christina's first solo piano recordings, begun in a rotting boathouse in the shadow of the Southwest freeway, Houston, 1995; and finished with guitar and vocal overdubs over the course of a half dozen or so years' of long Texas living room nights and a half dozen disintegrating master tapes (lovingly restored & remastered by Rob Vaughn). Inviting, quietly (and not so quietly) turbulent, and thick with inner mystery and self invention." - Tom Carter. This is a lovely LP now repressed in an edition of 250 copies with printed jackets.
Scorces - Vivre Avec La Bete LP (Eclipse, 2003) ºOut of Print
"Scorces is the improvising duo of Heather and Christina (both of Charalambides) utilizing (among other things) whirling guitar and vocal threads in their construction of charged electrical masses for total immersion. Their newest LP departs from the layered pulse of their self-titled debut into realms of repeated cyclical gestures, finely drawn with Heather's voice & cuatro (a Peruvian string instrument) and Christina's densely spiked guitar. All is then spun slightly off axis with gentle fluency for maximum perceptual elevation."" - Tom Carter. Numbered edition of 525 copies with beautifully screened jackets by Heather Murray, this is a beautiful LP.
Tom Carter - Root King LP (Eclipse, 2003)
"Second solo release (first if CDRs don't count) by Charalambides member Tom Carter. White Les Paul copy, lap steel, and a purloined bell collection layered into three long tracks of string moan and slithering hum. A manifesto of grounding during an uprooted time, an attempt to bend in the wind. A slice of a long winter and a momentary flash of cranially pooled guitar sound suddenly scattered by unexpected freedom. A guitar album (mostly)." Tom Carter. Really great LP pressed in an edition of 533 copies with printed sleeves and very nice artwork by Tom Carter. This is highly recommended!
Sun City GIrls - God Is My Solar System / Superpower DBL LP (Eclipse, 2003) ºOut of Print
Reissue of the first two cassettes self-released by the band in the late 1980ís. These are the earliest Sun City Girls recordings from 1982 & 1983. Featuring a heavy duty gatefold sleeve with archived photos from the time period of the recordings, and some liner notes, this is the first in a series of ten double lpís reissues. Limited, one time pressing of 974 copies.
Sunburned Hand Of The Man - The Trickle Down Theory Of God Knows What LP (Eclipse, 2003) ºOut of Print
Released nearly a year to the day of the recording itself, this full length LP from Massachusettsí own Sunburned Hand of the Man is truly brilliant! It features 5 cuts recorded at the top of a rickety red staircase on June 20, 2002. One time pressing of 1000 copies featuring full color jackets with artwork done by the band. Also includes insert. ìWelcome to the latest chapter in the Book of Hand - an lp documenting a private performance from June of 2002, in which we further explore the art of investing emotional surplus into a trust that yields the fruit of mad, naked passion. Hear the voice of Reason backwards, the drum that dreams are made of, and the tunnel at the end of the light. All pressed into two sides that are guaranteed to keep you happening. Yours truly, Out of Handî
Double Leopards - Halve Maen DBL LP (Eclipse, 2003) ºOut of Print
After two full length LPs and a handful of CDRs comes Double Leopards magnum opus, a tome to the alveoli, paranormal science, and murderous intrigue on the high seas. A rueful journey that they are all still recovering from, the Leopards had to boldly ingest substances that while harmful to their original earthly containers, turned the ghosts of Panthalassa from transparent to opaque, allowing them to see with their mortal eyes the horrible shape of the enemy. With guitars, tapes, piano, drums, and a craggy heap of rusted electronics, they went to battle, and like the early grainy photographs of America's Civil War, the document is poignant and will only gain significance as time passes and the medium improves. One time pressing of 1000 copies, this is the best yet from Brooklyn's Double Leopards! Housed in a heavy duty full color gatefold sleeve with incredible artwork (and insert) designed by the Leopards themselves.
Jack Rose - Opium Musick LP (Eclipse, 2003) ºOut of Print
In the year and half between "Red horse, White Mule" and "Opium Musick" Mr. Rose spent the majority of his time honing his Ragtime and Jass skills. He met Dr. Chattanooga Red soon after recording his 1st LP and he revealed the secrets of Ragtime and Jass to Jack in ancient ceremony. Roy Palmer, Blind Blake, Blind Thomas, Sidney Bechet, Sylvester Weaver, Johnny Dodds and Louis Armstrong (all doctors) are a few of the noted musicians who had undergone the secret rites of the Ragtime. It's rumored that these rites take place in the old Irish Alley section in New Orleans. Rose, Kisan Nagai and Dr Red travelled to New Orleans in March of 2002 (while on an extensive tour of Shakey's Pizza houses) to meet with his Red's mentor, Dr Jumpy, about indoctrinating Jack and Kisan (now Dr Cutiepie) into the order. It was there Jack recorded the Dr Ragtime cdr which included unknown Rag pieces "Gage Blues" and "Flirtin' with the Undertaker". You can hear Mr Red shouting in the background on "Undertaker" and it's the only known recording of Dr Red that we have. He released a 78' in the early 50's for the Jumpy label out of Nashville, but a copy has yet to turn up. On that recording Red recorded his signature rags: "Lord I've got the Jumpy" and "You know it's Jumpy Time". Red came down with the jake in Philadelphia and died shortly after their tour. On his deathbed he told Jack not to let the ragtime die and to bring it into the 21st century. Jack returned to Virginia to bury Red in his family plot at Hollywood cemetery in Richmond, VA. And now we have "Opium Musick" as a result of Jack's studies and travels, a lovely tribute to Jack's beloved teacher. But I ask, where's the goddamn ragtime on this recording. Known Ragtime hounds like Dr Lick Mountain Rambler and Dr Jonesy the Owl appear on the record, yet the only "hot" syncopation occurs on "Linden Ave Stomp" which isn't even a rag. It's rumored that strands of the "Lord I've got the Jumpy" and "You know it's Jumpy Time" melodies are woven into the tune. This was mentioned to me by Jack who has claimed to have heard these lost rags and if anyone turns up a copy of the Jumpy rags, please in get in touch with me. As for the rest of the Album, it seems that Jack spent a little to much time smoking his Marijuanas, I guess that's the reason for the drug reference. With the exception of "Linden Ave Stomp" I think "Nut Sweat Musick" is a better title for this recording which accurately describes how I feel about the other 3 cuts. - Joe R Sack, Blues Scholar This is Jack's second LP following the now out of print and critically acclaimed debut Red horse, White Mule LP. Opium Musick comes with full color artwork by Jack Rose himself and is in a strict edition of 1000 copies. Also featured on this LP is Glenn Jones on guitar on one track as well as Pelt's Mike Gangloff on tampura on one track.
Sun City Girls - Bleach Has Feelings, Too / To Cover Up Your Right To Live DBL LP (Eclipse, 2003) ºOut of Print
"Propagandizing 13 tonal music? We all need religion? Where were YOU when the blue was BLUE? You'll never check-out OR leave Fog Hotel...'it's like being in the middle and blowing both sides off the map'. You could still smoke on an airplane when these cuts were recorded. Listen to the quiet moments of track D-4 and hear one of the first PZM microphones rattle against the wall as it hung around a nail. What about the limiter on that old boom box as it won't allow the signal to continue recording on track C-6? Good thing they didn't have any money because everything would have sounded like shit! Some people say I should be shot for writing about this music. I met them in Malaysia when I was selling Asmat wood carvings from Irian Jaya. They nicknamed me 'Mikey' which referred to Michael Rockefeller who had his interest in Asmat art cut short by angry tribal leaders. One of them told me years ago that 'we're ALL Sun City Girls'. Was he modest or was he lying? I don't know how many homosexuals ARE in the book of Revelations but I DO KNOW that the bible is always lying. And its fairly well documented that Satanists launder money to cover up your right to live. Just remember: Bleach has feelings, too!" - Harold Wayne. Limited, one-time pressing of 1000 copies housed in a heavy duty gatefold sleeve with amazing photos from the time of these recordings - which was during the time period between October 1982 and November 1985. Volume 2 of 10.
Splendor Mystic Solis - Heavy Acid Blowout Tensions Live! LP (Eclipse/Galactic Zoo, 2003)
Together for only one US tour, this transcontinental supergroup featured Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple, Mainliner, Nishinihon, Musica Transonic, countless other projects), Sasaki Hisashi (Ruins), Shimura Koji (White Heaven, High Rise, Mainliner, Miminokoto), mastermind Nanjo Asahito (High Rise, Mainliner, Red Alert, etc.) and Plastic Crimewave (Utopia Carcrash, The Unshown, Plastic Crimewave Sound) who organized the at times tension-filled tour. These two concerts from Chicago and Detroit feature barnstorming acid rock blowouts that eerily stop on a dime and escalate to dizzying heights just as easily. Some frames of reference might include Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Duul II or Japanese psychsters White Heaven and Fushitsusha. The album features equally excessive lysergic artwork by Plastic Crimewave. Alan Cummings from The Wire proclaimed upon hearing, 'It's much better than most of Nanjo's releases.'
Spires That In The Sunset Rise - Spires That In The Sunset Rise LP (Eclipse/Galactic Zoo, 2003) ºOut of Print
For two years now, the Spires That In The Sunset Rise have been wowing Chicago audiences playing with everyone from Pelt, Charalambides, Faun Fables to The Strangulated Beatoffs. Their music is truly their own, perhaps spiritually recalling bands like the Raincoats, Angelblood, Current 93, The Ex, Comus, Plastic Ono Band or Erica Pomerance. The group is made up of three Manson-esque young harpies who hail from southern Illinois. They utilize a creaky blend of cello, guitar, pedal steel, bells, banjo, and other generally more organic sounds to create a totally unique environment - a cracked brand of evil / punk / psych / raga / folk that is as un-categorizable as that sounds! Are you ready for the truly new music?
MCMS - The Great Golden Hive of the Invisible DBL Lathe LP (Eclipse, 2002) ºOut of Print
The Great Golden Hive of the Invisible is culled from the final MCMS session, summer of 2000. For whatever reason, this one came out different than all the others; less of a collection and more one great cosmic rawwk-out! Banks of over-sized keyboards, wasted guitar and bongo-mania! Preserved on extremely limited edition lathe-cut ensuring continued anonymity for this already defunct Nebraska based ensemble. Edition of 50 copies lathe cut by Peter King with awesome screened jackets.
Jack Rose - Red Horse, White Mule LP (Eclipse, 2002) ºOut of Print
Red Horse, White Mule documents the too rarely attempted, too rarely captured sound of sustained unemployment -- for more than a year, Jack Rose deprived himself of that soulache usually called 'the job'; instead scouring flea markets for rare records to sell on eBay to pay for his booze and cigarettes and spending the rest of his time in incessant guitar practice: 8, 9, 10 hours a day guitar practice. The results, of course, are staggering. Jack's always far-past-competent finger-picking turned monstrous, and his subject matter migrated from straight country blues to a highly personal exploration of outer, inner and other-dimensional space -- there are nods here to his heroes (I'll let others pick names), moments of ecstasy and dread, and an enviable sense of overriding peace: This is what the man was meant to do. And Kisan Nagai's liner notes are a headtwist in and of themselves. If listening to this record doesn't make you junk those thoughts of career and promotion and paycheck, you're fucking lost, man, lost." - Mike Gangloff
Ian Middleton - With And Without Late LP (Eclipse, 2002) ºOut of Print
"This is some more music I made, some with LATE, to make myself feel good. I played an obsolete late 1970's analogue synth and LATE played various instruments on one track. Side one takes a quasi-psych drone form while side two veers off into stranger waters, playing off some unexpected juxtapositions and combinations of sounds."" This is a one time pressing of 110 copies from the Czech Republic featuring paste on artwork on both the front and back covers. The artwork is very cool and detailed made by Ian who is a wonderfully talented artist."
Charalambides - IN CR EA SE DBL LP (Eclipse, 2002)
"A long glimpse at a special and hazily documented node of vibrational warmth taken from Charalambidesí shifting history, recorded with the original duo of Tom & Christina Carter in the Heather-less interlude between their 2000-2001 tours. IN CR EA SE is four side-long escavations of the auditory plane defined by interweaving threads of lap steel and chord organ and swept by intermittent currents of breath-born voice and serene modalities cycled upward into towering microtonal dissonances, then flung down into corners of dark intimacy. And summoned back up again (once you flip the record)." This is one time pressing of 1000 copies in a printed black and white sleeve. Looks and sounds beautiful!
Kawabata Makoto - I'm In Your Inner Most Lathe Cut LP (Eclipse, 2001) ºOut of Print
This was recorded in October of 2000 by Kawabata (electric organ, electric harpsichord, violin, percussion, tambura and electronics) and is complimented by Audrey Ginestet (voice, cosmos). Edition of 100 copies lathe cut LP manufactured by Peter King in New Zealand.
Acid Mothers Temple & The Meltin Paraiso U.F.O. - Pataphisical Freak Out MU!! DBL LP (Eclipse, 2002)
First in a series of four reissues from Nagoya, Japanís Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. on Eclipse Records. This has been licensed from PSF Records in Japan as will the forthcoming Troubadours From Another Heavenly World and the self-titled release. Eclipse will also be reissuing Wild Gals A Go Go licensed from the Acid Mothers Temple label. These four reissues should all be released before the end of 2002. Pataphisical Freak Out MU!! was the second release on PSF from AMT and was originally released in 1999. This double vinyl reissue includes all the tracks from the original cd release except that ëBlue Velvet Bluesí has been restored to its original 40 minute version for this reissue that spans sides C & D. This is a beautiful album to behold! With new artwork, a heavy duty gatefold sleeve, two records pressed on HQ 180 gram vinylÖthis is the way AMT should be heard and seen! "Announcing the long-awaited 2nd album from Makoto Kawabata's millennial hippy-group Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO! The band slip even further into cosmic overdrive with the addition of Atsushi Tsuyama (Omoide Hatoba) on bass and Haco (ex-After Dinner) on vocals!! Core-meltdown is guaranteed with their raging psychedelic acid-trip, spacey hard rock!"
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - In C / In E LP (Eclipse, 2001)
This LP features two side long tracks. In C is a cosmic krautrock version of the Terry Riley composition and In E is a heavyweight freakout jam! In E was performed every night on the Acid Mothers Temple US tour in September 2001. Features Kawabata Makoto (electric guitars, violin, zuruna, synthesizer), Tsuyama Atsushi (monster bass), Higashi Hiroshi (electric guitar, synthesizer), Cotton Casino (voice), Ichiraku Yoshimitsu (drums), and Terukina Noriko (vibraphone, glockenspiel).
United Supreme Council - Oastem! Vibe Orchestra LP (Eclipse, 2001)
Document of a big band made up of the entire lineups of Pelt and Rake (+ additional miscellaneous players) that gigged several times in 1996 and 1997. Whether clearing the room at the Fredericksburg Centre for the Arts or emptying the hall at the Black Cat, the band always kicked it with uncompromising true love and substantial Oastem! vibe. The long improvisations performed varied wildly from show to show, often starting with a bang and slowly expanding into open space where the interesting little details emerged. This LP is an extract from the center of a two hour performance recorded in April 1997 at Tommy's in Richmond. The players are: Mike Gangloff (guitar, shenai, electronics), Jack Rose (lap steel), Patrick Best (guitar, bass resonator, conga), ~SKB (bass and percussion), V2G2 (nylon string guitar, percussion, shenai and voice), Planet C (moog, sax, percussion), Mick (dumbek and dijembe), Beth Jones (dijembe), and ??? Edition of 330 copies.
Double Leopards - A Pebble In Thousands Of Unmapped Revolutions LP (Eclipse, 2001) ºOut of Print
Follow-up to their debut album The Axe Helve, this album is a cosmic space adventure through a melange of sounds, bringing to mind the organic sounds of Taj Mahal Travellers or contemporaries Pelt. Plenty of Kraut references and drones speckled with pockets of unknown languages whisper throughout. The Double Leopards are well equipped in creating extremely subtle huzz interspersed with sudden attacks of heightened blasts and dense electronic surges. No overdubs on this one. Comes with fine packaging designed by the band members of an offset printed foldout cover. Numbered edition of 500 copies. If asked, I would say this was the best record of 2001.
Migrantes - Moon Journals LP (Eclipse, 2001) ºOut of Print
Migrantes is Caroline Vickers and Jason Bill (ex-Charalambides). Based now in Tucson Arizona, Migrantes recorded Moon Journals in Houston, El Paso, Newport News, Hampton and Tucson. On Moon Journals, Migrantes create psychedelic folk music using voice, acoustic and electric guitars, air organ, kalimba, clarinet, and found sounds. Results are both traditional and experimental. Released in an edition of 336 copies with printed jackets featuring photographs by Jason Bill.
Pelt / Keenan Lawler / Eric Clark - Keyhole 12 July 2000 LP (Eclipse, 2001) ºOut of Print
This album is drawn from a pre-dawn session in a stone silo at Mount Saint Francis, a Franciscan friary just north of the Kentucky-Indiana state line. Four of the musicians, Keenan Lawler and Pelt members Patrick Best, Mike Gangloff, and Jack Rose, had played earlier that night at Rudyard Kipling's CafÇ in Louisville. They were joined by Eric Clark, a multi-instrumentalist and metal worker who makes musical instruments, such as singing bowls and bronze didgeridus. Mikal Dimmick used a stereo microphone to capture events as they unfolded in the early morning hours of 12 July 2000. Only acoustic instruments were played and no electronic effects or processing were used.
Charalambides - Branches Lathe Cut LP (Eclipse, 2001) ºOut of Print
Edition of 100 copies. These recordings are from May 2000 and consist of four electric guitar/voice duets, one solo guitar track, and one solo vocal piece. Beautiful black and white artwork on front and back cover of jacket with insert, too, to go with this beautiful record.
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - La NÚvia LP (Eclipse, 2000) ºOut of Print
Studio recording from May 2000 features Tsuyama Atsushi (bass, vocals, acoustic guitar, recorder), Koizumi Hajime (drums, percussion), Higashi Hiroshi (electric guitar), and Kawabata Makoto (electric guitars, violin, bouzouki, bowed peacock harp, synthesizer) playing Occitanian trad music. This LP features two beautiful side-long 20 minute tracks and is possibly the finest yet released by this collective.
Floating Flower - Floating Flower Lathe Cut LP (Eclipse, 2000) ºOut of Print
Beautiful acid folk featuring Kawabata Makoto (acoustic guitar, electric guitar on side A - track 2), Yuki (vocal, violin, electric sitar), and Kaneko Tetsuya (tabla, electric guitar). 8î x 8î color artwork on black jacket. 'Shamanic trip folk stars on a quest for the ultimate looseness and acidness!" Lathe cut by Peter King.
Ian Middleton - 5 Pieces 1998-1999 LP (Eclipse, 2000) ºOut of Print
Psychedelic drone. "5 pieces is quite a varied assortment of tracks all recorded with the same instrument. I'd describe them as 2 expressions of hope and wonder, an eerie layered drone, an 11 minute improvised solo and a study in late night aural hypnosis. I use a Korg MS10 - a pretty basic monophonic one oscillator synth augmented by a small array of effects which are 'played' real time as well as the many versatile dials of the MS10 itself. I'm based in semi-rural Scotland and also draw pictures, some of which are shown on the jacket." The LP is in an edition of 293 copies with black and white artwork (12î x 12î) spray mounted on the front and back sleeves.
Father Moo & The Black Sheep - Father Moo & The Black Sheep Lathe Cut LP (Eclipse, 2000) ºOut of Print
"Demonic scriptures of dubious eroticism and cultism, performed by the heretical guru Father Moo and his female disciples. Minimal acoustic works using just female chanting and drones." This is a remixed version of the original AMT label cd release (and subsequent LP release on Swordfish). Lathe cut by Peter King.