Nov 14, 2008


Before I head out to stuff slow-food fans with vegan-friendly black bean soup* in the faraway (read: dull) countryside, I figure I'd clean out my ears first-like. The early morning trek looms like a grumpy hippo, so this night's done and called. Anyhow, there ain't a single smudge on this triptych, which is either a sign that the world really is brighter these days or I'm just spooning my wits away with each 4oz sample cup. Ticket, please. Sour cream and red sauce with that?

Human Eye- Fragments of the Universe Nurse LP, Hook or Crook 2008
I'll try to make this a quick and dirty sell: If pretty much all you want out of a "punk" record these days is a seemingly uncontrollable behemoth, blundering in and out of sister genres like, your unwieldy biker friend but ultimately holding it together through a lead guitar hissing and pissing like a stray cat, this one's for you. And me. The 'Buy' button is your savior.

Los Llamarada - Take the Sky LP, S-S Records 2008

Developing, harnessing and setting fire to a (recently acquired?) satchel fulla riffs is the task of the day in Monterrey, it seems. That and how to keep those three fingers between you and the snarling black hole at the end of your bed. Kind of a treat to see a band cuttin teeth and wax at the same time, like Jad Fair & Co used to do. I'm psyched for the Los Llamarada-related project Love Is So Fast LP what might be blowin in the 'Breeze come January, according to Midheaven. Mine eyes are peeled. In the meantime, this is stuck in all the ol familiar maws.

Home Blitz - Weird Wings 12" EP, Unknown Parts 2008
It's a testament to this little band's greatness that I was able to temporarily disengage from the free jazz tear I'm on (Leroy Jenkins, Marion Brown, Alan Silva) without gettin all crampy. I keep reading about an overwhelming Messthetics presence on this 5-song frisbee, but I'm guessing there's a copy of What Makes A Man Start Fires on somebody's floor, too. So, there you go. Bleach Boys taping over the Minutemen. They ran with it; I followed; you should, too. Pretty essential frivolty in the 08. Try Florida's Dying on for size.

*Vegan only so's I don't gotta hear the whines of wanderin trustafarians with wee ones in tow. I imagine this festival will be spewing them all over the park like cheap swill. Cheers, eh what.

Nov 13, 2008


Circle of Ouroborus - Venerations lp, self-released 2008 Remember that Mammal record on Animal Disguise? Lonesome Drifter? Okay, so imagine if that had been adapted by Peter Jefferies or Alasdair Galbraith. Now imagine that album played by amateur Finnish dudes. Now realize that their last 800 releases have been black metal in one way or another. Insert periodic, unidentifiable percussion (Castanets? Finger snaps? Faulty wiring?) and record the whole thing in a musty cathedral. Now take a nap. You've earned it.
I'd call it essential for followers of that pedigree, but there are about as many of them as there are copies of this record in existence. I kind of like it, but I also eat offal, so keep that grain of salt handy. Scour the eBays, you wispy New Zealand trolls.

Nov 2, 2008


Rafael Toral - Space Solo 1 LP reissue, Taiga Records 2008

(Just a note before I dive in: the cover really is really the most Raster-Noton throwaway I've seen in a long time. Deep in sad, limp, Touch Records-territory. It's a real shame. The vinyl is either red or white, depending on how fast you run to the label site.)

Synthesizers: maligned by six-string knuckledraggers, sublimated by scores of creepy krauts & Euros, and occasionally made innarestin' by out-there jazzbos and the skin-tight-black-leather-wouldbe-punk set. That about cover it? You know, ya got yer haters, your Snowy Reds, your Klaus Schulzes, your Tod Dockstaders, your Sun Ras (well, one really), and yer Primitive Calculators. Everybody doesn't like them but nobody hates them. Right. So where's the next chapter?
The next chapter, as you might expect, nicked some pages from an earlier draft. The Sun Ra draft, thankfully. Rafael Toral's transformation from a gauzy, Fennesz-y, drinking white wine in your backyard with friends from Brussels-y, guitar-based droner to his present incarnation as a free-improv collaborator and mad scientist pricked my ears right quick. It'd take a technical mind to explain how Toral goes about feedin all manner of homemade plunder into his Doepfer modular synth, so I'll skip the procedural section of this talkie. Just know that, at his best, the man is like Kaoru Abe goin feet-first into a gravitationally completely collapsed star, if you know what I'm sayin. Sun Ra treated the Moog like it was a piano married to a protractor. Toral's movements, like the second on "Portable Amplifier," can feel shuddaputit...peristaltic as Ra's but without the statement-ending blurts or woozy fizzles, leading to a strangely library-LP feel in the end. That is, it never threatens to lose itself, which might be my sole complaint about this record. This may also be due to the generally handheld feel and limited tonal vocab of Toral's source gadgetry.
I gotta say, it's a tricky path to snake, specially if'n you're makin it up as you go. Yet, somehow, there's some deftness, some historic sensibility detectable in these faint-yet-screechy grooves. Hell, if anything, it's a way more adventurous road than his last. Will appeal to fans of the Creel Pone aesthetic, the freakier end of 80s minimal synth mayhem, anyone down with scouring the BYG/Actuel back catalog, or folks than dug the bent-electronics parts of Chris Corsano's The Young Cricketer (I dug all of it). Minneapolis-based younguns Taiga Records'll probably cut you the best deal, if not Mimaroglu.