After C asked if “YOU even have a YouTube channel??”, I remembered that I do indeed have one of thems, so I moseyed on over and descovered a sweet little treat: the above plastered and framed collage for Sefff’s understated track “Congo (flip)”. Now, the track and video may not seem like much to you at first glance/listen, but give it time. Listen closer. Dig deeper. See… better, I guess.
v e s a
Beats as sharp as blades. Boom bap going down like them Russian producers from Sheep’s Head Bay. A Chinatown that’s legality is consistently being threatened by the next big thing. Eh, it’s a·typ·i·cal in reality, but for v e s a? Clouds like they lingering a bit too long. Heavy plumes and fumes worth $15 a whiff. Chiseled sentiments. Hardcore volumes. Loops from the shop that’s been least visited in all of Manhattan. Vinyl pressed just for the beat. There’s sound effects being used here that are totally synthetic; no way did v e s a sample all these, because –well, it’s possible the dude came to NYC by-way of sky than another state or country. Maybe X-Files been on his case since a n g e l s last October. Always the fucking information. Nobody cares where this audio from, all they need is that a·typ·i·cal v e s a, and it’s drunken-up mix here-on-out. SNOW’S COMING:
• v e s a: http://vesa.bandcamp.com
The work of guitarist Shane Parish is expansive enough to be studied. Yes, there are key themes to his general playing – the intricate rhythmic latticework of Ahleuchatistas, or the tension-building severity of Blind Thorns, for example. Yet, it’s his solo work which helps to develop the “raw materials” that contextualize his many collaborative projects. With his Odei EP, we see the guitarist hard at work in advancing his playing into a zen-like, Cagean interpretation of stormy, introverted vistas. The album abstracts the Basqueian mythical concept of “Odei” (storm cloud) by evoking a sense of wandering though the contrasting compositional roles of hyper-intentionality and elements of chance. As a whole, the EP is a beautiful, solitary narrative – a reflexive exercise in describing the process of solo music-making that’s just as romantic as it is abstract.
EP opener “Barricades” is a brief “cleanser” that introduces the album’s vocabulary; it’s a primarily percussive, atonal track that exhibits a developed sense of polyrhythm and prepared technique. Chicago artist Rae Whitlock provides a visual experience that shows a process of ornamental erasure – an accompanying concept that perfectly represents Parish’s effort to essential-ize his playing and reduce his harsher musical tendencies into something starkly noble.
Watch the mesmerizing video below and snag the cassette from Marmara Records:
Mind Over Mirrors (with Circuit Des Yeux)
“Calling Your Name”
A wooden box dusted with mold. The crumbling façade of a duplex. A lone oak still rising out of a green patch in the vacant lot. I listen to the solo works of Chicago-based experimentalists Mind Over Mirrors (Jaime Fennelly) and Circuit Des Yeux (Haley Fohr) and I picture inevitable urban decay claiming new territories as human hands and voices struggle with whatever available tools to keep hope alive. Fennelly’s baroque arrangements drape wheezing harmonium drones over steadily expanding webs of modular synthesis charged equally with liturgical grandeur and analog warmth. Fohr’s voice is unmistakable in the context of any session she joins: stentorian proclamations, flecked with moments of tremolo and moments of abject terror, sketching out a one-woman opera whose handwritten libretto we can only begin to unpack from this vantage point.
The Voice Calling, the new Mind Over Mirrors tape available on January 27 from Immune Recordings, finds Fennelly and Fohr conflating their melancholic visions into a single cloud of pulsing tones and words. “Calling Your Name” stretches over nine minutes through passages of bell percussion, percolating synth bass patches, and slammed piano keys. The session unfolds with a natural sense of drama as it bursts out of a field of clanging acoustic voices into long swathes of guitar feedback that manage to convey, if not a sense of triumph, then at least an effort made to stave off the encroaching despair. “Which way does the wind blow?” Fohr asks. Nestled in beds or armchairs, ignoring the forces of nature from behind a few feet of plaster and brick, we can’t tell.
Can you see it? The toucan hiding in the leaves? The one doing the Roc formation? Gee Weaver tamed and trained that bird. He took that brightly colored life form under HIS wing and showed it a thing or two. The toucan isn’t harnessed, though. Gee Weaver aided in its wild beauty; he didn’t stunt its growth. Its rain-washed plumage remains, but its guts and brains are elevated. The toucan flies easier now. Smoother. Don’t believe me? Take a gander for yourself below.
Westfield is out now, in an edition of 25 cassettes on Colossal Tapes. Copies of Gee Weaver’s excellent split tape with Creme, Puree, are still available, too. Oh, and if you haven’t found the toucan in the leaves yet, dont worry. I needed something to write about, so I made it up. Take that, you gullible sap!