Loren Connors / Chris Forsyth
Contrasts [CS; Preservation]

Is there even a reason to write this review? It seems if you’re not on board with legend Loren Connors and emerging legend Chris Forsyth, I don’t have the time for you. You’re likely a flamingo with your head in the pop culture sands and though there’s always time to glare at a Kardashian or hug a Bieber, there’s equal time to expand your horizons. Connor’s side to this marvelous split is as supple as Kim’s ass and as crazed as the aging pop star. It’s bending strings of light reflect gammas of spatial echo across the quiet desert night. Considering this is a Preservation list, the case could be made for Connors channeling the vast Outback; the unencumber, pulsating wind slowly eroding the majestic wonders of the inland. Forsyth engages in Connors timbre, playing with space and timing, creating a stronger rhythm but one more in tune to the nightlife of the coastal cities. Where Connors is the nighttime (and when he is never?), Forsyth is the day. Beyond the obvious pairing of guys with guitars at opposite ends of the enlightened spectrum (this is a series titled Contrasts after all), it’s a matter of kismet souls cosmically linking their own brands into a complete story. Tabloids divide and conquer; Connors and Forsyth unite and defend. We will not be victims to vanity, but victors on the battlefield of imagination and fulfillment. Get your head of the out the sand and see what lives above it.

Links: Preservation

Les Cousins Dangereux


[CS; They Live We Sleep]

This project is named after a fake movie from TV’s “Arrested Development,” and the song titles, and also the title of this tape, Jacks, are all “Twin Peaks” references. I guess I just thought I should make sure everyone realized that, although I’m not exactly sure how the information relates to the music of Les Cousins Dangereux, which is… well, it’s a bit hard to define. In fact, there’s no real definite genre for what’s going on here. They Live We Sleep calls it “ambient-electronic,” and for as broad a descriptor as that is, I guess Jacks fits in there somewhere. The label also attributes the “Twin Peaks” references to “the duality of LCD’s procedure and final product. The dread of a nightmare you will never awaken from, and the serenity of Love Theme.” Yeah, that’ll work for now.

A couple of elements we can examine at the very least: beats ‘n’ synths. Lots of both of those things are to be found on the tape, although more of the former on side A, and the latter on side B. And each occupies a space on the crunchier end of the sonic spectrum with the synths often sounding like they’re ripping their way through a paper barrier to get through to your ears, while the bass seems like it’s vibrating the paper cones of a hundred torn woofers. Underneath it all is something hot and volcanic that gives the entire tape an air of nervous tension… like the whole damn thing could boil over at any minute. But it never does — Jacks remains wound tight to its center, totally indebted to either the groove or the atmosphere. And the groove stomps and the atmosphere floats, and altogether it’s really quite the lovely excursion. Les Cousins Dangereux, despite having created something that’s pretty hard to pin down, manages to tickle those basic listening pleasure centers anyway, all the while being insatiably mysterious.

Links: Les Cousins Dangereux - They Live We Sleep

Luca Sigurtà / Panicsville


[One-sided 12-inch; Kinky Gabber]

As big a fan as I am of Andy Ortmann’s Panicsville projects, Luca Sigurta comports himself equally well on this luscious one-sided 12-inch. He snarls at us through his keyboards and raves with us through his rhythms, pulled from a minimalist beatbox. The intersection between noise and darkwave could easily be plopped down right here. It takes guts to tangle with the devil, and Sigurta is up to the task. So what does Ortmann do? He smacks that motherfuckin’ bitch up. Within “Paura Nella Città Dei Morti Viventi” I hear a woman screaming and a killer calmly plotting his getaway then droning his car down a black highway. Soon, it’s all twisted metal and corroded cries. Fuck, Panicsville can do no wrong. At times this is the most minimal synth-noise stuff you can imagine, sometimes barely warbling along before being picked up by a gust of wind or a faux-cheesy synth burp or maybe even a crow throwing out a coldwave CAW-CAW. Then the bottom drops out and we lurch to the finish line under the bated breath of a raging Rancor. YESSS. There are 100 copies of this and it’s somehow not sold out yet, but time is not your friend.

Links: Luca Sigurtà / Panicsville - Kinky Gabber



[7-inch; Black Lake]

Ooooooooh YEAUHHHH: If Unsane were heavy, Dirtdrinker are heavy+2, like Get Fucked used to be or Drunkdriver are, bass-drum and tom bombardments a constant source of adrenaline. They’ve got a sound and they stick to it over three hardcore joints, never offering a break or even a passage wherein the guitars aren’t drubbing the ears (save a quick build-up break on Side B; this one hits hard too). As with a lot of metal-related acts, it’s not about the skills, which are obviously there and exist in thousands of like-minded bands, but the manner of delivery. Do Dirtdrinker really chug soil or are they just out there fakin’ it? To me they seem pretty intense and intent, a lot more interesting than a lot of bands that have attracted more attention in the past (Knut, etc.). This self-titled 7-inch was limited to 100 and is long sold out; yeeeeaaaah.

Links: Dirtdrinker - Black Lake


Beauty in Belief

[CS; Ginjoha]

I have little idea if Logan Jackson is truly from Logansport (consider it your idea of Pawnee if you must, though geographically that’s more akin to Bedford if you want a lesson in Indiana) but its certainly draped within Beauty in Belief. Not because of any supposed wholesomeness within a Butternut state but because of the simple, idyllic ruminations of Jackson’s sweet ambient swing. This is why I turn to Ginjoha batch after batch–a manner of drone both contemplative and salubrious. This is a palette cleanser for big city living and current transgressions (however defined). Logansport is angelic, uplifting without the booming prophetic doomsday voyeurism of preachers invading small campuses (I can’t count how many times I encountered this during my days at generic state Indiana college). We are all absolved in Jackson’s confessional booth, without prejudice or judgment. Hell, there is no sin to be found no matter your home. We’re all just trying to do the best we can for ourselves, our loved ones, and the community. At least Logansport would have you believe, and it’s worth believing in.

Links: Ginjoha


Glare Luring Yo

[LP; Feeding Tube]

Holy lord, a goddess and two of the greats, together on a limited-edish LP that sounds so fucking ripe when you turn it up way past the breaking point. Body/Gate/Head is, of course, Kim Gordon and Bill Nace’s Body/Head augmented by Dead C dude Michael Morley, nee Gate (so the name makes sense now)… But you already knew that right? Haha, right, sure fucko; I KNOW you were sleeping on this one because I used to get the feeling of overload on a lot of the Sonic Youth pig-vomit side projects too, but no more; over the last decade there’s been a maturity in the post-SY work that has kept the brand alive. Glare Luring Yo is dark and dreary, but a searchlight pokes through the clouds and you just know you’re going to make it home safe. In fact I’ll promise you won’t be noise-fucked by this record unless you want to be. There are only 300 of these, so gird yourself for battle if you find some poor sap on the other end of the last copy…

Links: Feeding Tube



[CS; Holodeck]

Too many influences! I’m riddled with the prog-metal-synth-outer-jams of Sungod but who cares to extrapolate every touchstone? Sungod exist to bring your favorites together in one hell of a stage show, without so much as needing a performance for your cortex to picture the fog machine, the stunning laser light show, and the band’s enigmatic entrance. “Smell of Physiqal” is angry Floyd, Waters and Gilmour taking their spats public. “Gas is Better than Gas” is synth-psych, the sort of psycho future Dennis Hopper fueled in visions never meant for public consumption. “Comrade Voyager” reminds me a tighter Bad Dudes, the 80s indulgence glam of “Eat Drugs” replaced with deeper diplomatic relations as arbitrated by kraut. This is air guitar licks, cushion drumming, and Goodwill dress-up at its most epic. This one doesn’t miss a beat and is surely but the first of many knockouts from the next big (big being relative in the world of cassettes) thing.

Links: Holodeck

Witch Gardens


[7-inch; Water Wing]

I sifted through a huge pile to get to Witch Gardens, and I’m sticking with them for now. Totally different from the blasting punk I get bombarded with, more melody-based and playful. Jangly, pop-ridden, somewhat glorious is how I’d describe R-I-P in general, pointing in the general direction of K Records by dint of their minimal rhythms and guitar half-riffs. Man, even a hint of a let-down and it would be easy to write these ladies off, but they bring it front-to-back without breaking any picks. They hit you with a few sublime harmonies and from there on out it doesn’t even matter anymore; they’ve got your attention. I wasn’t at all surprised to find out WG hale from Seattle. They’ve got that aura to them for sure. I mentioned K but we’re also talking Offtempo and Funkytonk (as far as the Northwest) and a bevy of Seattle labels I don’t have time to knock out for you. Do the research and report back to me.

Links: Witch Gardens - Water Wing

The Baijkonour Ghost

The Baijkonour Ghost

[CS; Cosmic Winnetou]

The great German synthesist Günter Schlienz has a fairly new label called Cosmic Winnetou that’s doled out 10 little gems over the past year or so. In his third batch of tapes comes this semi-mysterious album that — if I am to believe the label’s description — is a recreation of a 1960’s ambient masterpiece, a copy of which was found “in a warehouse in a backyard of the South of Stuttgart” by a fellow named Ralv Milberg. The story goes on to relate that the descendants of The Baijkonour Ghost’s originators, who are alive and well, were invited by Milberg to recreate the recording conditions of the original reels in order to essentially re-record the album in full. Now, like a lot of drone tales told ‘round the campfire, this particular yarn carries with it a certain degree of speculation, especially since there are track titles like “my bloody meerjungfräulein” (which internet-translates to “my bloody sea boy young woman,” by the way). But no matter who or what exactly is behind this, when it was written or recorded, the music that made it to the tape playing in my deck is some of the better drone I’ve found in my 2013 tape travels thus far. Side A is all about texture, tones sweeping into the ongoing explosion, a drone done in vibrant widescreen that leads itself up to a thrilling climax, brilliantly paced with excellent dynamics. Side B is even more harrowing, “the piper at the gates of doom” being a constant crescendo of tremolo tones haunted by screeching ghosts in the background. Added to that are streaks of pure gnar, electric guitars slicing through the harmonic roar with intimidating distortion and feedback. Then last, “The Prince of Whales,” which sounds like… well, a bunch of whales, wailing. As a whole, The Baijkonour Ghost, whether new or old, or both I guess, is a timeless stunner.

Links: Cosmic Winnetou


The Homeshake Tape

[CS; Fixture]

The joke goes that Canada is behind America, but Homeshake prove the tables turned–at least in venerable Montreal. As America goes fascists with its rules against smoking, drinking, and public fornication, so goes pop culture in a time warp of fake 50s couture amid a backdrop of sloppy hand holding with 80s and 90s subculture. Enough H&M propagation! Homeshake moves forward, toward a Canada where Quebec is free and Stephen Harper is a bum on the street corner unable to cobble a few loons together (people are turned off by madman ravings). The Homeshake Tape goes all McKenzie-Malkmus-Desser-Sparkles with its mash-up of Canadian humor and American slackerism. But because of it, we’re in love (and strangely confused). The debut of Peter Sagar is crisp and unyielding. The pop soul of “Moon Woman,” the cool cat strut of “Gettin’ Down,” and low end lounge of “Hater” showcasing an understanding of forward thought in a time when nostalgia is a fly trap. Montreal has been coveting a healthy scene of lo-fi, noise, and drone and Homeshake skirts all of it. I’m wrapping up tight in this pop rock blanket and forgetting how America sinks further into hegemony as the world whirls by.

Links: Fixture

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