The Wave Pictures
“The Woods (Live at Toe Rag)”
I feel like some kind of indie rock soothsayer. Having just orchestrated a fictional guitar dual between Steph from Shield Your Eyes and David from the Wave Pictures, I happen to stumble upon a new video by the latter. And it really throws down the gauntlet.
“The Woods” is over six minutes long, featuring two bass solos, and one killer guitar solo; the video a tense one-room boiling pot of tape reels, plaid shirts, and wires. The venue? Hackney’s famous Toe Rag Studios, womb of The White Stripes’ Elephant album and many more.
The Wave Pictures have been tenser, tauter, and angrier for a while now. Gone are the days of “The sun came in like a pack of orange spaniels;” instead, we’re taken to a place where our protagonist snarls about how “the fear is bland like English food and warm like English Beer.” It would take me more hours and words than either of us have time for to delve properly into David’s lyrics here, but I cant remember the last time I heard someone sound so simultaneously eloquent and pissed-off.
The band’s new double album, City Forgiveness, comes out on the 21st of October.
Taking matters deeper than dirty, one reaches the matter of crystal culture, where new ground is constantly being broken by brilliant extensions in all three spatial dimension. Colors vast, not blemished by sunlight, but shining bright from the lava and magma river running below the farm of crystallization. Unseen by any human, these families and cities of euhedral and anhedral structures, mingling between atoms, molecules, or ions, harnessing the healing power of nature to Earth to the flows of life that’s personally unimaginable.
What if these crystals were here and living privately and hidden for a reason? What if they were the balance keeping the Earth at its most calm/now? Preventing nature from turning inside-out? Furthering humans from developing “Échelles Humaines”? Documentaires tells of these dangers and more! Find the Constellation Tatsu. The answers are with Bataille Solaire. Listen closely. This can’t get any easier, right? Keep clicking.
“Black Sea of Trees”
I’ve long believed that adjectives in music criticism are a waste of my time and yours. This is why, in my two years at Tiny Mix Tapes, I’ve deferred (with very questionable success) to lists, theses, and annotations to get the job done. So what might seem like a clever ruse to you is, for me, simply an attempt to avoid telling you what something sounds like and, instead, how it made me think or feel.
And yet, it was after reading Cory’s superlative ridden, Northumbria praise-fest at The Inarguable that my ears perked up. Specifically, it was after reading description after description after description that I thought to myself, “Nathan, you have to hear this band.” So maybe (maybe) I’ve been wrong this entire time. Half-wrong. I don’t know.
Never mind that, though. Because right now I need neither clever ruse nor description to sell you on Northumbria. I need only for you to scroll down to the video below and press play. I need you to venture into the black sea of trees and dwell in your own descriptions. I need you to emerge and tell the world what you experienced. Because this is one band that doesn’t deserve to be lost to obscurity (or my ruses and descriptions), and soon enough, you’ll know it, too.
• Northumbria: http://northumbria.bandcamp.com
This is how far we’ve come: language. However, what of the language in song? No words. Only sounds. Looping, blocking, patterning. It’s all at once understandable, but could totally be taken the wrong way. This sound gets you Foodman. This is the makings of 「IROIRO」. This is you listening incorrectly, and now you’re in the back seat making out with your gym pack. OOPS, read that wrong.
Regurgitate like a bird or Ferengi. Don’t chew your music. Recycle it. Melt 「IROIRO」 and let Foodman feed you the rest. Consume in vast quantities. Satiate your deepest gut desires and feast But, digitally, because Digitalis Recordings is fresh out of the tape. His Orange Milk tape is still available, though. So munch on as much as you can!
I’m usually wary of any composer who claims to be appropriating/utilizing another culture’s music in their own work. One of my main issues with this practice is that it’s often done more as a forced gimmick rather than the natural culmination of interests and practices. However, when this convergence is the result of stylistic impulses coming together, the results can be stunning. Luckily, Duane Pitre’s latest record, Bridges is in the latter category and manages to merge key elements of Pitre’s distinct style with early “church” music and Eastern tonalities.
Over his last few releases, it’s become clear that one of Pitre’s chief interests is in the manipulation/utilization of the harmonic series. Using microtonal intervals created through the natural acoustics of this series, Pitre creates wonderfully sprawling continuous works like last year’s excellent Feel Free. Where that piece created a constantly changing pointillistic, minimalist texture with Pitre’s material, Bridges is notably less active at first glance. However, this is not a Phil Niblock-esque drone piece like his Quiet Design release ED 09 for String/Wind Ensemble. Instead, Bridges’ slow harmonic movement and counterpoint are reminiscent of modal church music, except that the makeup of these modes is composed of Pitre’s microtonal intervals, which are harmonically used in a manner much closer to Indian classical music’s language than what Pitre has used in the past.
It’s also notable that this seems like the least process-based composition of Pitre’s. While ED 09 and Feel Free had the sense of a musical action being set into motion by the composer, Bridges sounds distinctively formal. This shift in Pitre’s structure becomes apparent during the album’s first half, when the gorgeous folk-like material that occurs about two and a half minutes in returns during the piece’s final minutes. There’s a nice structural ebb and flow throughout, and it’s entirely possible to hear themes and development within each movement of the record.
Even though Pitre clearly incorporates a number of new, unexplored influences into this work, the album still sounds distinctly his own, which is particularly impressive when you realize that the singular Bhob Rainey played saxophone on the record. Bridges is a testament to Pitre’s ability to synthesize both his influences and the aesthetics of his chosen performers into a world decidedly his own.
Bridges is out now via Important Records. We are streaming the album in its entirety, but only for one week.