“To Feel The Night As It Really Is”
Let us all rejoice at the release of a new record by Starving Weirdos member Brian Pyle as Ensemble Economique, who enthralled us all ‘round this time last year with the stunning bag of tricks that was Psychical on Not Not Fun. His new record, Crossing The Pass, By Torchlight, is a step away from the more overt 80s VHS soundtrack explorations of some previous work, but somehow by stitching guitar and keyboard lines to a jumble of synth drum kits, EE manages to scare up a host of evocative moments and cinematic flavors. This would work as the theme to the next James Bond movie. 007 in To Feel The Night As It Really Is! It would be the coldest, most existential, and mysterious Bond movie since, uh, Goldeneye?
It has always been hard to describe the music of Daniel Bachman (formerly known as Sacred Harp) without mentioning a few old Takoma Records folks like John Fahey or Robbie Basho. This time, it is impossible. According to Debacle Records, the title Grey-Black-Green is a reference to Basho’s “Esoteric Doctrine Of Color & Mood.” Sounds pretty rad, right? Right. Basho apparently created a sort of color wheel that coincided with the circle of fifths, and subsequently certain moods and emotions are associated with each key. As Bachman himself puts it, “Grey-Black Green is the most fucked up sounding one.” Basho’s model states that D minor (or frog minor?) is equivalent to grey-black green, that the associated mood is “anguish death, and full sweetness,” and that it is the “most solid model, with tight boundaries.”
When listening to the music that Daniel Bachman makes or that Robbie Basho made (or any of the original American guitar raga guys, for that matter), it is easy to hear it as aimlessly wandering improvisation that is effortlessly streaming out of the musician, when in fact there are some very strict rules being followed. Bachman restrains himself to D minor through the entire album, traveling through grey and black and finally ending in green. As Basho already explained, the journey is dark and full of anguish, yet emits a genuine sweetness throughout.
Listen to “Grey, Take 3” below, a particularly lovely part of Grey-Black-Green, which you can stream entirely on Debacle’s Bandcamp.
• Daniel Bachman: http://debaclerecords.bandcamp.com/album/grey-black-green
• Debacle: http://debaclerecords.com
Glad tracks like “Canatuna” remain a click or reel away, and far from “popularly.” It just seems bloodier that way @raw/rare[period] And speaking of popular, Tigerbitch’s first release is on our man Pete Berends’ mysterious new label Brunch Groupe. IMO, Tigerbitch is a lick away from the juice. Peter’s thoughts, “It’s the first release from my friend Grant who sorta set the bar for [peeps recording] music on their own.” Also, heard Grant made Self Titled in a condemned church basement pirate studio. The drumming is all peg-leg because he fell while restoring the church roof. Tigerbitch and two other cassettes are being birthed Friday. Whoa, and a slew of new Brunch Groupe cassettes early 2012 too? —R.I.P. C Monster
• Brunch Groupe: http://www.brunchgroupe.com
“Your Changes Have Been Submitted”
Christina Vantzou, Brussels resident and former Dead Texan, is keeping symphonic post-rock alive (in a good way) with an album of beautifully layered string meditations for 7-piece orchestra. By ridding the genre of all that melodramatic drumming and excessive guitar riffage — oh wait, this is basically a classical album! This is some Penderecki shit right here. This is some Koyaanisqatsi shit. Turn this on and your plants will grow faster. It’s quite a lovely batch of recordings, and it has all those moments you find in ambient drone where the melody sort of gets lost in its own wake. It’s perhaps another gateway (to abstract music) release from Kranky Records, which has been dominating this year.
Interesting that with all the nods Dirty Beaches makes to Lynch, this video for “Lone Runner” is more in the realm of Tarantino. Oriental robe. Domestic banality. And (SPOILER ALERT) lady victim turned femme fatale with baptism of blood. The reveal of the black eye, hidden for the video’s first half, is effective. Who is that poor man? Who? Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.
The music, of course, is fantastic too, and if you haven’t yet gotten your hands on Badlands, get at it!
“Cold Pin I”
Eli Keszler has a new record called Cold Pin out on German label PAN. Essentially, this is a recording of the New York sound artist’s generative music installation of extended strings of various lengths and motorized beaters built directly onto the wall of the historic Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, with the addition of some choice musicians like guitarist/composer Geoff Mullen and free jazz dude Greg Kelley (trumpet), among others. Here’s a video of the piece in as it was. Looks like a real classy item — 180 gram vinyl and more geometric artwork by Bill Kouligas and Kathryn Politis. Also, be sure to visit Eli’s own label Rel Records.