Brooding Forest (album preview)
It’s Monday. I am all puffy-eyed and groggy, and I want to listen to something that will make me feel as far away as possible from this office desk. How about some grating outsider noise from Canada, released on Mr. T. Moore’s unpredictable Ecstatic Peace label? I have never heard a more appropriately titled piece of music than Brooding Forest. This literally sounds like field recordings from deep inside some dark labyrinth of poisonous trees on the edge of the gateway to the world of the Old Gods, swarming with foot-long mosquitoes and deadly rabid beasts howling out for flesh. But not in a goth way, more like the kind of place Wernor Herzog was talking about. Now I am frightened and will turn on the extra fluorescent lights next to my desk. Actually, this piece was recorded by Scott Johnson (Thoughts On Air) and Jeremiah Buchan (Bottom Feeder, Fossils) in the basement under Sonic Unyon Records. You can pick up your copy from Experimedia.
“Roads” (Damscray Juke Mix)
Portishead fans, especially veterans who battled through the decade-plus wait between the self-titled album and the release of Third, know that Portishead-land is plagued by droughts, slow gestations, and tortuous interludes between spurts of new music. Fortunately, now is a relatively lush time for the work of Geoff Barrow and Beth Gibbons: having curated and played a few festivals this summer, Portishead is now getting set to kick off a North American tour and are talking about new music next year.
But we haven’t seen anything new just yet. So consider yourself beholden to Damscray — Russian dystopia and cosmic wardrobe enthusiast, and one half of his own dark music duo, Demokracy — who now offers his metamorphosis of Portishead’s “Roads.” Originally on Dummy waaaaaaaay back in 1994, “Roads” was a synth-draped, trembling ode to wrong-feeling; Damscray’s juked-out version is a veritable and very-good stutter, complete with rump-slapping back beat. Didn’t see that coming? Damscray knows you didn’t, and so does robot Beth Gibbons, who throughout the track repeats a taunting and glitchy “can’t see” until her eventual disintegration.
Wonder Beard Tapes is responsible for unleashing a smörgåsbord of notable chillwave releases (Waskerley Way, Blackbird Blackbird) and a cornucopia of other music that effortlessly evades categorization (Ghibli, Walsh). Now the label is scheduled to release the debut full-length of Knoxville’s ecstatic eight piece Coolrunnings, a uniquely produced effort that bristles with unrelenting percussion stabs and frantic fretwork. Dracula Is Only The Beginning will hit the metaphorical shelves September 25 in cassette format, with a thoroughly disturbing but engrossing cover (see above). Choice picks from the record include “Brunettes,” which never ceases to cause you to lurch in unexpected directions when the beat slams in. It also comes with a dose of brutally misanthropic lyrics: “I could have been with another girl/ Is she the dream or another world/ Drunk every night/ I’ve spent so many wasted.”
Stream the rest of the album for your delectation here.
This week sees the release of Ayshay’s Warn-U EP on Tri-Angle Records. If you were so inclined, you could bracket this under the witch house genre and thus relegate it to piles of music that have become frighteningly overwhelming and woefully hit or miss. But as with numerous other Tri-Angle releases, that would severely undermine the fact that this is no mere attempt to tick the boxes. There are no sloppily applied 808s here, just a selection of haunting drones and flitting, half-sung melodies. The track is produced from Ayshay’s own vocal chords, which presumably undergo some hefty mangling to produce such a vast sonic palette. If you have an insatiable thirst for those 808s, you can always stream a relentlessly pounding remix of the track courtesy of L.A. duo Nguzunguzu here.
• Tri-Angle: http://www.tri-anglerecords.com
Today, we take a look at a split release between Ga’an frontwoman Lindsay Powell (a.k.a. Fielded) and synth-horror practitioner Alex Barnett. You can sample Alex’s side in all its seedy John Carpenter goodness here, but I want to focus on “Horses,” Fielded’s eight-minute epic. The track’s first five minutes float along with sustained ambient harmonies underpinning a creepy spoken word monologue. It contains some serious horse metaphors, I think. The ol’ pitch-shifted vocal track is used to great effect here; you’re lulled into sci-fi dream state before the song’s final third storms in. There’s a definite retro-power to Powell’s voice; she’s unafraid to really belt it out, totally in for the drama, which is wonderful to hear amid the drowned-out “chilled” trend in female vocals these days.
• Fielded: http://fielded.bandcamp.com/album/fielded-alex-barnett-split
• Nihilist Records: http://www.nihilistrecords.net/records.php?id=nihil73