Sunday, March 27, 2011

Zomes - Earth Grid

Asa Osborne has something going on here, but I fear many will not care. These are lovely meditations on timbre and melody. They seem to be educational studies, even. My review is full of praise, but something doesn't quite happen unless you're in the proper mindset or on drugs.

Earth Grid impresses by not trying hard to be something it is not. It behaves like a miracle or the advice of an elder, natural and at ease. The album's nature can feel oppressive and dull, but citizens of the technosphere aren't going to be ready for mystical mantras sung from peasant amplifiers. How often have we lost our concentration on something vital to a frivolous distraction? Food is industrialized, SUVs are named after eradicated Native American tribes, and the next thing you know Stonehenge is causing global warming. This album is a calming agent, striking chords (literally and spiritually) with the aim of focusing one's energy inward so that one's subsequent actions will be full of beautiful intention. Even the cover art, born of white tape on black paper, is more than the sum of its parts. It's not a perfect album, but considering how little is going on, it has an undeniable inertia that defies conventional reason.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Powerdove - Be Mine

I thought my buddy Malcolm might dig this stuff, as the folk component is actually tempered by experimental work in the background. I can't really get into much folk music because of its devotion to that very hippie-christian methodology that only allows for guitars and mandolins to really have any part of the narrative.

As social primates, we need each other. When we are yearning to break our fossilized fears, it often takes a loving companion to help see the light. Annie Lewandowski’s wispy voice and spartan acoustic guitar carefully crawl up the walls of a dark spiderwebbed lair, bringing light to places that have only known darkness. Her earnest, husky explorations into intimate settings are greatly enhanced by her textural backing. Jason Hoopes is the bass player and Alex Vittum the drummer, but that's just the beginning of the story. Bells, bowed cymbals, trombone, clarinet and feedback support Lewandowski’s haunting and sun dappled lyrics. Be Mine strikes a pleasant balance between the gloomy corners of the mind (“Resting Place”) and the playful impressions of life’s oddity (“No Carpet”). While this record is not easily digestible, it is cut from an honest cloth, and makes for a profoundly physical listening experience.


Annie Lewandowski (voice/guitar), Jason Hoopes (bass), and Alex Vittum (percussion)

Valentine's Day 2009
alt :

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Area C - Map of Circular Thought

This record is perhaps better than I suggested in my review. A real brain massager and provoker. This dude knows his shit.

Good ambient music often isn’t really all that ambient. Decent musicians set up a scaffolding of sorts that repeats and then play within it, delighting in the details. Area C has a lot to offer on the periphery of carnality. It serves a wholly different purpose than, say, Destiny’s Child, attempting to turn fragments of mind into entirely physical manifestations. The physical aspect of these sounds gives them power, much like the work of William Basinski. It’s no surprise that Carlson is an architect and has been making installation art for years. He's a student of sound in space; he’s even scored pieces for National Geographic, the NASA RI Space Grant Consortium and the LEF Foundation. This person isn’t just sticking to the studio or his bedroom; he’s involved in spheres where his music truly overlaps and makes sense. It’s inspiring to see what many could call an “obscure” kind of music be afforded so much importance in telling the stories of the world.

An After Image by Area C by Preservation