Dec 23, 2007

FRIENDS ARE VISITING FROM HELL - A 20-pack of black metal magnetics

My birthday present to myself was to buy 24 releases, one for each year of my measly life, from Aquarius records, preferably things I ain't never laid ears on. Thankfully, they offer a twenty-piece black metal grab-bag of all the cassettes they've been sent that they're too busy to review. Priority confusion, thankfully, has lead me to a takeaway sack of mystery for several evenings' diversion. Lord knows I need more diversion. They got here about 6 days late, but whatever. I remember little of my birthday anyhow, other than a trip to the local distillery/brewery and a stumbly trip home, so it may as well be the 14th again! After six dozen cups of light roast coffee (less roast=more caff!), I was ready to tackle the tower. (By the way, the others were 2 releases by Norwegian reel-melters Drommer and a Tomb Of... cassette that they were out of. So apparently it's for my 22nd berfday.) Rather than refine this whole mess, I thought I'd toss up the notes I kept to maintain the delirium. I mean, for a good while I tried to consider how much it would cost to buy 19 other boomboxes and spread them through the house so I could put them all on at once. I need to have a lie-down just thinkin' about it.
At any rate, let me present the first installment of a two-part series. I had to split it up to keep my ears fresh and to ensure the urges to don corpsepaint (Donald Corpsepaint!), invade countries, and invoke flaming-chariot-riding ghosts remained as such. Exceptin the last one. Who can resist, really?

Istorn - Demo 1, 2004, Fossbrenna Productions (distributed domestically by Tour de Garde)
norwegian, natch cooing in background??? on tracks 2+3
what i call "big toe fixation"

neaderthal hypnotism, accidental krautrock/d-beat
what else is there to do in Norway except drink beer and wait patiently for Hammafest?
oh and mountains of course

Natural Change - Helvetica (Espace Mitterlland) 1, 2006, Northern Sky Productions

northern sky folded, too bad

distro says something like "made by someone who is probably not right in the head"
can't find any further info
guessing this is american
wow! 94 stars!
i love all the black metal stuff that, if it were released in 1982 on a German synth tape imprint would be worth mad $$$$$$ deez dayz

ethnomusicological context dispute:
pierre henry/glenn branca approach


mad scientist/meth lab approach::
who thought more and why should i care?

(wow, there is a lot about my attitude toward music that's just been reconsidered)

bad titles oops


Lado Obscuro - O Inferno por ..., Intolerant Records, 2006

flames of hell play the best of Mayhem

"adolfo hitleramirez on vibes..."

charred muppet voxxx

what's more "black metal": # of trips to the boneyard or musicianship?

Burning Blood - Unholy, self-released, don't know the year

Cherman...and national socialist--whoops!

super-treated, WREST-ian vocals

messy and stumbly, but kind of appealing
i mean, who really agrees with any musician's politics?

burzum cover
I read this is supposed to be "hand-#'d in blood" for the first 50 (of 60 made; odd choice of privilege) but mine--#13--is definitely written in ball-point pen
waiter! oh, waiter! there's a lie in my soup! C'mon, I want some National Socialist blood on my cassette insert! Is that so much to ask?
this one deserves another spin

Aymrev Erkroz Prevre (A.E.P.) - Noir voyage obstrue de rencontres difformes, Infernal Kommando, distributed domestically by Tour de Garde

with giger-y cover ta boot, so i probably wouldn't pass this up if i saw it in a shop
dark ambient in possibly the most obvious way...possible

left the earth and won't ask which way to cthulu--he's gonna find it himself!
kinda the least memorable so far
on a split with Abstrakkt Torment later...fuck

Loits - Ei Kahetse Midagi, Night Birds Records, ltd 500

self-described as "flak'n'roll" as in the anti-aircraft gun--but isn't that a stinger? or are those just the shoulder-mounted ones?
not gettin the rock'n'roll bit they were talkin on

much much graveland

nocturnal projections guitar sound!

rites of spring parts--no, as in dischord recs

instrumental sounds like "battle of epping forest" if it were on "ride the lightning"

& i'm picturing slo-mo deposed military statues
not sure where that leaves us

Korium - Mraziva noc prinasa pokoj, Ravenheart Productions,
ltd 500
one-man Slovakian side-scroller nightmares
barks-and-bugs-eating cave dwellers storm a Slovak game show and pummel Rod Roddy to death with mossy boulders, then try to roll themselves up in his rhine-stone-dotted glittery skin like a sleeping bag Toby Hooper-style

then some tyrant trooper parts for added debauchery
inside it reads "Magnificent Winter Is the Gallery Of Real Dream"

here here!
i could live on inspiration like this for months--when can he move in?

worth all 80 ducets

I'm taking a 24hr break, otherwise the rest of this will end up in the trash, thanks to my newly discovered Korium bias


Lubrik Hate - Negative Destiny, re-release on Infernal Kommando, distributed domestically by Tour de Garde
ltd 250
one-man, Fronch
Smell & Quim-y porno noises + "corpses rolling down a hill" black metal


new kind of necrophilia

plus the track's called "spectranal"--was this the payoff of a dare?

got that monastic echo by way of Urfaust vocals, although the chant bits could be any instrument including a vacuum or a bowed fjord

skronky solo--a superbly bad idea superbly done

fade from "Human's Fate" to "Negative" life is fucking great: old sad Euro strings on a distant radio, or maybe just deserted in a snowstorm

if Abruptum had they're shit together ... well, they wouldn't be Abruptum

strangely melodious, also strangely triumphant for something that professes such allegiance to frumpy funerals

i mean shit there's a toothless skull with a point-blank bullet wound on the cover

drum machine good idea, especially for the unwarranted dub-step intro-fills

of course, no bm cass is complete w/o a slippery acoustic number


Portal - Lurker At the Threshold, Beer In Your Ear Records 2006

this is the only band in the batch I've heard before

OOP already

guess this is 3 rehearsals/demos from the new rec --so it's like an ultra-rare promo?
rattly, stumbly, droney, muddy--yup, sounds like Portal

wow, IQ-droppingly heavy

got those inexplicable Dusk (the one from Green Bay) slurpy basslines

parts don't "match" per se, but they feel right

how do you really judge rehearsals?

I guess I'm curious to see what they're like all finalized and purdy


Szarlem - Cryptic Winter demo, 2006, Northern Sky Production


ltd 300

insert is all folded with hand-writ bm scrawl

"Black Metal" looks like "Blair Metal"

"Bathory" looks like "Berfday"--how fitting!

never before has Baphomet and his crescent moon-juggling looked so lonely. Maybe it's all that white paper; he's like a forgotten chess piece.
surprisingly short, kinda average straight-up Norwegian stompers

Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult - Hora Nocturna, Propaganda Records
ltd 666, cd version is ltd 2500 from a different label
I'm pretty sure everything on Propaganda is ltd to 666
es der steaz
figure it's worth mentioning that they're fronted by a lay-dee
Dissection and Watain big time with some minor Emperor presence, though I like this more than both Dissection and Emperor of late
almost as fast as Thunderbolt, which is saying something; probably tighter, too
appropriately trollish at times
layout's all professional, which makes sense seeing as this is the most pro-sounding tape yet
why isn't this huge? it could be, for all i know. super-fast and oh-so cult
this also has the longest running time so far
I'm a little sad this didn't come with the sticker the label promised. Maybe I'll return my unused portion.

Isolation - Striding on the Path of Nihil, Tour de Garde
another German
originally self-released as a CD-r
Is it just me or was the CD-r the new tape until the tape was the new CD-r? or is it the new tape? again?
Does every German bm band have a song called "Einsamkeit" or have I dipped over the edge?
BETHLEHEM! especially the one that comes in the DVD case with the remix disc, whose name I can't remember
some Winter, too; real sludgy, peering into some dark and whispery old well
vocals just shy of Lennon's widow in the disenfranchised bird department
it must've been recorded/dubbed from some weak deck because this gets dunked into a cottony phase ocean every 15 or so seconds for quite a while; kinda adds to it though, for me anyhoo
drums are so un-seaworthy, like when you start your Evinrude and it spits out green porridge
this is kinda mint. The melodies are all sideways and chimey.
I want moor

Just 8 to go...stay tune-d.

Dec 20, 2007

DING DONG DING DONG CHRISTMAS BELLS ADDENDUMB - SPAM emails bring tidings of great poetry

I suppose because I'd rather find spam hysterical than irritating, I've decided that the best pomo assemblage poetry going on in the world is contained therein. This shit, as you will discover, reads like Wallace Stevens with a crippling intestinal virus. So, in the spirit of giving, I present the best poetry the spam I receive on the regular has to offer. You know, like ya do.

"turnpike" by Dougher Seleg
Indeed worthy to figure in the stables of the to it often,
years ago, he might have cultivated follow upon emancipation.
schemes for colonial shining river, her rebellion and pain
mounted thick green glass. They were the usual demijohnsgaraffons,
the shore. To prevent instant pursuit, he, for treatment
in a sanatorium some years ago had, unsold till the others
are of age in turn. This for winchester tomorrow. With a
few grateful words that he leant against a tree lest he
should what.

"locomotory" by Scialpi Lukianov
Ism don't suppose we ever shall know. I don't the daily dispatch,
a manchester newspaper. A to profess to be, but to be willing
to do anything benjamin wade, whom we have met already such
military are things going? You know what poirot shrugged
to the flames. We do not know how early cremation in a little
clearing of the forest. It is related i am? How old, my
dear? Why, let me see! He exclaimed. ? very fond of you,
she was. Oh yes, she used our military force, and place
in the hands of.

"assimilation" by Ahmad Romanik
Or two horses and wagons. When they came to yellow he. And
he knew that it was gwalchmai, but gwalchmai position that
the guard suspected the passengers, he thought of the possibilities
of having the i know where to dine well in town, and where
to her right hand in the fire until it was burned he, and
one told me that he was well skilled in and the gentle ripple
took up its old story again as a gigantic game carry him
through successfully? Know,3' she admitted. It does seem
a bit screwy.

"overcrowds" by Panciera Rumpel
'having heard these words of vrihaspati, purandara, really
has in it a very slight preponderance of worlds, viz. Kurukshetra,
o kesava. O thou of.

"dayroom" by Vangorder Madise
With brush and plastered with mud, and designed of wearing
these costly ornaments was much followed the worthy woman
to my indeed i am, mrs. Bloomfield. Imp, a grandame's child
but half a plague, and pipkin of five quarts, with raisins
of the sun, has been secretary to sir bartholomew strange
so i tried to understand them all, and their ways was trying
to make up her mind whether he was husband's head. It is
i who asked his hand. But him as he hath done to others.
so, my child, my.

"nosology" by Seward Russnak
The maidatarms, i read aloud. Then there came and suspicion.
i have now told ye everything about it to their lips, they
began to play and the music of righteous deeds, all of whom
are best of men, of five emerged from merishall's room with
two down on the earth's surface. Animals of diverse days
after, will be the day of the new moon. Let that i have
to live with him until i am married. Through the organs
of sense, becomes duly cognisant away. She's asked me to
persuade you to go out..

Dec 13, 2007

Oh Goodness, It's Turtles All the Way Down! A "Year" In Respew

What's a year? Does it hafta start on January 1st? Is it January 1st and 1 second? Is it the instant, the remote and incomprehensible moment when it is exactly the end of one year and the beginning of another? If that moment can't be reach or achieved because we'd just run out of decimal-zeroes long before, isn't that saying the year never really starts in any knowable way and, consequently, never ends? Where does its lil temporal seed find purchase?
Before embarking on any serious paper, article, list, essay, meal, shower, or shoe purchase, I get caught in deontological chappaquas like this. Sometimes it's a cleansing thang. The infinite regress can be kinda relaxing! Just imagine yourself falling & shrinking simultaneous, finally smashing into the Strangeness quark and being blown to eetsy-beetsies. Yeah. Sometimes it's my happy place, but devoid of the sandy beaches and omniprent margaritas that most folk imagine. But mostly, it's the lock and key on the old New Englander trap of "Why do anything?"
So now that I've let that slide down my gullet where it will eventually ferment like that inedible Viking shark dish I read about in Fierce Food (durian actually ain't so bad, provided you can't smell it), I suppose it's time I got around to listing the things I enjoyed pointing my senses to this "year." (Although, I will probably have to update it after I get the shipment of 20 unidentified black metal cassettes coming my way from a certain record shop in Frisco. Look, tomorrie's my birthday and I felt I needed to indulge myself.) Some of them are from approximately now, some of them from long before, and some of them are just signs that I really have no fucking clue what is going on at any given time. Apparently my mom knows me weller than I thought; she bought me a Bhutanese flag and a copy of Pere Ubu's Shape of Things for my berfday! Whutta ladee. Hoooo

Labels that smoked me or just really impressed me:
Northern Heritage
SS Records
E.E.E Recordings
Holy Mountain
Swill Radio
and my personal favorite, SELF-RELEASED

Bands that knocked me down and stood on my face with delicious-smelling shoes--some new odors, some familiar, some rediscovered:
Los Llamarada
The Prats
Picky Picnic
Meadow Meal
Forgotten Woods
Blues Control
Nuclear Socketts
Gerry + The Holograms
Psychedelic Horseshit
Rema Rema
Nocturnal Projections
Where's Lisse
Avia (Russian)
Cherry Blossoms
Sic Alps
Baby Grandmothers
Those Lovely Hula Hands
The Sperm
Lionel Belasco
Snowy Red

I'm a pointer. Der it is. Der it is. Gudknight + may Gobbless

Dec 9, 2007

I WISH I WAS A MOLE IN THE CLOUDS - Daniel Higgs - Metempsychotic Melodies (Holy Mountain, LP or CD 2007)

I almost went back and took the title of "six string sampo" from that Barn Owl record to apply it to Herr Higgs. What a strange moment of haphazard prophecy--that I'd review a record by a guy who fits the bill I handed to some other yokels!
The schpiel as I sees it: There's a ton of aforementioned-yokels stroking and petting and nudging the ghosts of inspired pickers back into the light with varied results. Hell, even some of the still-kickin' ones have been handed the cushy tombstone of "living legend" and the peculiar luxury of a crop of young folks to play with who'd be happy just to polish their bar stool. In our freshly-minted service economy, you get more mileage out of catering to a thing rather than being a thing, it would seem. Sucks on toast, if you ask me. Given the chance to be the only one applauding in a crowd of 4 or add my two hands to the din of 400 others, I'll take the former blindfolded and stripped bare by my bachelorettes.
The problem with all the folk-raga revival is that it's just that--something old dressed up like a debutante. The generic thing, the genre run-down isn't going to earn you a place in someone's regular rotation and a burn-mark on their consciousness and really what else is music released in mass quantities meant to do? Who says, "I really want to make records that people listen to once and then sell"? If you're really going to stand out, you've got to make it part of you--or vice versa.
Well, here you go.
I don't think there's a doubter in the room as to whether Daniel AIU Higgs walks the talk. His records are conspicuously bloodstained--or tattoo-inked, but that don't seem so dramatical--like everything he does. The threads, therefore, are bright, so it's easy to imagine this man making that song, making that image, writing that poem and so on. Higgs is Higgs and seems to have come into his own on his lonesome, even if he's plumbing the depths with chant-riffers Lungfish on the side. You can tell where the love really lives.
Metempsychotic Melodies walks a lot of the same roads Ancestral Songs mapped, so if you're lookin for discographic context, there ya go. (But who needs it? Either you're with this stuff or running away from it, right?) Higgs continues to draw long lines, then abruptly tie them in knots like he's marking time. His compositions work like astrological levers and pulleys, eventually dropping you in a timeless place with all the previous accumulation dragging from your heels. I say, feel the dirt. Smell the dirt. Know the place. The production is much cleaner, though the parts feel more disjointed. Hands and feet and voice are separate somehow. Can't decide how that affects the whole figure, but I suppose it's a part of it anyways. Certainly adds to the isolation, like he can't even feel connected to his damn limbs.
"Love Abides" seems to be getting the most play, but "Universal Salutation" and "All Cherished Things" are my jams of choice. The first is like a stringed mission statement. The second is like a reworking of "Love Abides" to include even more mystical leave-taking. But all around, I dig this like almost nothing of the sort he's dropped before.
If the music seems like only a part of the story you feel he's telling--which I reckon is a fair argument--try actually buying the record. No, seriously. You could probably sum up all the underground music blogs in 3 words: champion the nerd. I think I'd rather see him get paid. Except for a few. I mean, you can't empower everybody.


Dec 3, 2007

SIX STRING SAMPO (MAYBE) Barn Owl - Bridge of Clouds, Not Not Fun CDR 2007

It's a touch reassuring that living alone on an island hasn't softened me one bit. Initially, I figured all this solitude would make me embrace any sorta aural (or oral, for that matter) company as somebody to sip rye and chew green beans with. Not so. My ears are the sharp and cavernous slivers of pork I've forever relied on them being.
I'd been thinking about this Barn Owl thing for a piece; wondering how it had the look [read: packaging] of something they'd schlep but sounded far more polished than normal. Then I discovered it was a tour release BO'd been schlepping on their own! Ah, now it makes a bit more sense.
I've come to expect NNF to wallow in pseudo-hipster post-Fort Thunder dust with a few sizeable gems a-mixed up inside. Hey, they dig Robedoor. Oh, but then there's that Raccoo-oo-oon thing, staring at me and tapping its big stupid foot. And hey, we can't forget Pink Luminous Invocation! Oh wow. Magic Markers. Oops. Frustrating, innit? Like they don't know what they do right and what they...doo.
I kind of like this Barn Owl cd. And it's part of the endless amusement of watching 2 or 3 people try to do what one John Fahey did (drunk, I might add, and on a borrowed guitar while living in a hotel room and eating old beef when he could find it). They do it well, I must say. Kinda plows the same parched and endless field that Flying Canyon found. This isn't going to change anyone's life considering all its debts, but it is interesting to see NNF carrying something so clean, clear, and produced--with pride, no less! They butter this thing up like they were gettin paid!
Maybe it's the shock of something so professional coming out of the Not Not Fun camp, but this is okay by me. Be a landscape or see a landscape; as long as there's a landscape involved, I'll give it a whirl. And for the moment, that feels right.

UPDATE! No sooner did I post this than NNF declared this out of print. For serious. I went back to their new releases page this morning and it had been bumped down to past efforts. I meant what I said about pracariousness! However, if this review sprinkled mystery dust all over ya, you mightcould still get it from folks like Fusetron, Midheaven, and Revolver.

MYSTICAAL OBJECT AT NOON - Larkfall Gives It Up Like an Old Cougar

I sung and sung and sung the praises of dear Phil Legard and his idiosymptomatic Larkfall label many a moon past, even though it was in a review for a Xenis Emputae Travelling Band tape that wasn't even on his label. As I see it, you take whatever occasion frisbeed at you to stop talking shit and start talking salad. Right? And so I did.
The problem with that XETB tape was that it was basically long gone by the time I finished typing the first word. So y'all probably ended up thinking, "Oh. Okay. Fine," and went about your day. It's a precarious world this little-sluice-off-an-aqueduct-of-actual-culture-that-we-call-FUC lives in. If the ship goes down, you can never say I gargled my last through some corny tears. I'm fighting the good fight for good music, or at least what's left of it.
Phil Legard's Larkfall aims to do likewise, only in a probably way more effective manner. Phil went and uploaded all the out-of-print XETB releases on his label as empeethrees--free for the taking! Why, he even hooks you up with a full-scale printable copy of the sleeve so's you can slap it in a jewel case, put it on your shelf and pretend you was with it from the jump.
I dig the music itself plenty. The Goat Willow has some moments of Jackie-Oish wandering, but on the whole, Xenis Emputae is travelling through much darker underbrush. There's something about JOMF that's unconvincing and you never get that with any of Legard's English countryside mark-outs. Can't remember if any of these were recorded in supposedly-haunted groves or slippery ruins, but he does do that on the regular. The odd duck in the paddling is most definitely Under A Soular Moon, seeing as it's mostly digital but all those synths are really just a different shade of sunglass staring at the same wubbly brooks and misty meadows. The whole mess is ripe with occult and gnostic references that I might know if I collected rare books or lurked at Bieneke library like I did in my younger youth, but I don't so they're largely lost on me. And, anyhow, they're really only an edge piece; you can still see the picture.
Going to Tom Nevers beach, which is just a skip from where I sit, and listening to XETB is the kind of experience I wish I could hand out. Tom Nevers is eroding and decaying like almost nothing else on the island (ceptin' Sankaty, but that's a sung song). So fast, don't you know, that the cement blocks from piers and boat launches are still sitting there. Up along the cliff, you can look down at a fallen TV (the old 500lb, blown tube variety) from where the road has fallen off, spot a seal way out & regarding you like a lost dog, then turn around and look at low and crowded trees shaped by the wind and some unfinished mansions. See, to Legard, these records are geographically specific, so even if you've never seen "the caves and churches around Yorkshire and Cornwall" you can get a feeling for how he sees them. But take them somewhere else and they inform your peepers like you made'em happen.
Give it up for amorphous creativity. It could be the mark of longevity.
Hoof it over to the recordings page at Larkfall so you can ball out in the fallout.