28 June 2009

Glaze Of Cathexis - 2009 - The Golden Konbanwa

This is a bit of a concept album, although it reflects my belief that the best concept albums are somewhat loosely tied together. You'll also find that this collection brings in a bit more of Scott Atkinson, my collaborator. Scott's poems go the farthest in tying the conceptual ideas together. I see it as an awakening and exploration of the world beyond, ending with the need to reconcile that with the world around us. I like to think that this is us at our A-game. Sound-wise, I'm trying to integrate the rock and electronic sides of our music a bit more. I'm definitely happy with the feel of these recordings, which I feel have a fuzzy warmth that was absent on previous albums. I'm far more happy with my vocals as well, and I enjoy the contrast with Scott's spoken word segments. The Dr. Schluss Mix Tape (in the last post) is a fairly accurate gauge of what I feel was influencing me during the recording, and there are some doses of 70's glam guitar along with a "Norwegian Wood" rip-off as well. Feel free to tell me what you hear; the musician often ends up with a blind spot in terms of influences. In all truth, the actual origin of my lyrics tend to gravitate toward my favorite TV shows ("The Ending Will Begin the Start," "Listen to the Voices," "Illusions Disappear") or complete subconscious abstractness ("The Release Will Come Soon"). The artwork is once again all Scott's work. I'd love to hear your comments, and feel more than free to repost this one.

Mike Floyd over at the awesome homemade lofi psych site had this to say:

The latest release from GLAZE OF CATHEXIS - simply their best until now!
Can't say too much about the lyrics (being not a native speaker of the English language - I don't really understand everything), but I very much like the sound of the words and also the singing.
The music is probably the most psychedelic GLAZE OF CATHEXIS have ever recorded, ranging from garage-psych-rockers ("The Release Will Come Soon") to relaxed spaced-out tracks ("Call of the Cosmic Tribe") and more electronic songs ("Into the Aether"). Great stuff, strongly recommended!
Track Listing:
1. The Release Will Come Soon (3:02)
2. The Ending Will Begin the Start (3:50)
3. Call of the Cosmic Tribe (5:16)
4. Listen to the Voices (4:28)
5. Into the Aether (5:02)
6. It Doesn't Matter (4:24)
7. That Halycon Moment (2:08)
8. The Wisteria Garden (3:13)
9. Forget (4:16)
10. Illusions Disappear (3:50)
11. Cosmic Decay (4:18)

P.S. - On a personal note, my wife is due to have our first baby any moment now, so I may vanish for a little while... or maybe not. We'll see. Either way, I'll be back.

27 June 2009

Dr. Schluss' Groovy Mix Tape, Vol. 1

While most of this probably falls under the psychedelic umbrella, there are a few deviations. You'll find some of these albums in the psychedelic garage, but we've also got stuff like a little 70's jazz-funk lurking about, along with a touch of rawk. There's also a fewer newer releases represented here which are too recent for me to feel ok posting the entire album. I made this little compilation to illustrate to Scott, the other fellow involved with Damaged Tape and Glaze of Cathexis, where my musical headspace is currently residing. This is the kind of stuff that I end up playing everyday. It's certainly influenced the new Glaze of Cathexis album (which will be posted in the next few days) and a few even more recent recordings. Hopefully you'll dig at least some of the music that's been catching my ear.

1. Agoraphobia - Deerhunter
2. Rainbow - Thee Oh Sees
3. Half Up Front - Prefuse 73
4. For Our Elegant Caste - Of Montreal
5. Spirit Molecule - Zoroaster
6. ZAP!...That's Witchcraft - Michael Flower
7. Heeding the Call - Bear McCreary
8. Mind Gardens (mono) - The Byrds
9. You Make Me Feel So Good - Bobbi Humphrey
10. Title Music From A Clockwork Orange - Wendy Carlos
11. Motorbike - Wooden Shjips
12. Cardiff in the Sun - Super Furry Animals
13. Wrathchild - Iron Maiden
14. Flower Sun Rain (Japan version) - Boris
15. Zauberburg 5 - Gas
16. It Feels So Good - Grover Washington, Jr.
17. Hold a Desert, Feel Its Hand - Grouper
18. Do You Close Your Eyes? - Rainbow
19. Illusions Disappear - Glaze of Cathexis

Listen to Me:
Dr. Schluss' Groovy Mix Tape, Vol. 1

14 June 2009

Some Groovy Web-Based Music

While I still highly enjoy writing this blog, I do find my time is at more of a premium than when I started two and a half years ago. This means that I tend to focus more on the classic oddities. Still, plenty of folks send newer music my way and I find a good portion of it quite groovy. I'd like you to hear them, so I'm going to try a mini-review format. Here are the ones that I've found myself listening to the most.

Blancanus - 2009 - Singles

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

This Spanish fellow makes music that I feel is very much in the same vein as my Glaze of Cathexis recordings. You'll hear some homemade, relatively clear sounding psych rock with an 80's tinge. Blancanus also strikes a chord of envy as he's adorned these tracks with some live drums. There's a clear progression of quality as we reach the more recent singles, with "The Sea of LSD" standing out as overtly awesome. My only complaint is that these recordings really deserve some proper cover art (I'd be willing to do it, but my covers are a little half-assed).

Caregiver - 2008 - Letters 1

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

This is an analog synth fantasy well entrenched in the Berlin School, especially the mid 70's Tangerine Dream stuff. While I do wish for a few more organic sounds, music of this nature doesn't necessarily need them. Just be forewarned that you're in for a coldly beautiful ride. The arrangements are pretty spot on with old-school trance sequencing underpinning the whole affair. I'm especially partial to the first ten minutes of "ABC," and the whole of "GHI." That's more than half of the album.

Catasto Elettrico - 2009 - Infinite

Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

These jazz-psychonauts have been grooving along on the internet for a few years and eight releases now. This is their most recent. It's got a serious experimental edge to it, and quite a few electronics at the forefront. I tend to enjoy their jazzier parts the best and have an affinity towards the first track. It all depends on what your bag is. Head to their website for more, especially my favorites, Micro and Radio.

Sister Waize - 2009 - The Lights Come From Above

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

This sounds like the soundtrack for a super-trippy, lost Mega Man game. Now this is coming from a guy who was made his way through all the Mega Man games and even a few of the X's, so I mean this as a compliment. Sister Waize has an enjoyable way of filling up the soundspace with lots of super quirky bleeps and bloops. Although lacking the lush wall of sound, I hear a few echoes of early M83 bouncing around in here as well. Like Caregiver, this is very cold sounding music for the most part. The difference here is that I get to play video games in my head while it's playing.

We're Late For Class - 2009 - Opium Den Music

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

This is the most recent release from the prolific collegiate stoners. My favorite is still the one that re-appropriates Jim Morrison, but I'd say that this one ranks in their upper-tier. Prepare yourself for an enjoyable brain-vaporizing, tranced-out psychedelic jam as these intrepid musicians try to take you along for a ride in the seedier parts of Asia. At least that's what they say. For me, this track would be right at home in one of David Lynch's more surreal bars; that or the Titty Twister.

09 June 2009

Jameson - 1967 - Color Him In

Quality: 3.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.5 out of 5

It's been a while since we got our fix of supreme psych/sunshine pop producer Curt Boettcher, but here's one where he serves as pinch hitter. Featured star Jameson is far from the best singer and his songwriting ranges from ok to somewhat embarrassing, but the real star of the show is the psychedelic production gauze slathered over most of the tracks. We get Boettcher's signature background vocal arrangements wafting through the mix, as well as occasional blasts of unidentifible backwards insanity. Even the lesser tracks end up with a production treatment or two well worth hearing.

"Jamie" is a fine opening track, and makes you think that Mr. Jameson may well be worth hearing. You may not think this anymore once you reach the blue-eyed soul caterwauling of "Right By My Side," but the tripped out vocals and fourth dimensional fade-out to the song should still hold your attention. Fortunately, we also come across tracks like the handclap-driven "Windows and Doors" and the truly weird "The New Age." Truthfully, the album does peter out in the second half as the lamer side of AM pop becomes more apparent, and the tweeness of "Candy Colored Dragon" leaves you cringing behind the couch. You'll still find the occasional production tweek to make a note of on your musical scorecard.

If the name 'Curt Boettcher' means nothing to you, by all means seek out the Millennium's "Begin," which also happens to be the very first post at the psychedelic garage. Those of you already indoctrinated will find a few pleasures here, although you'll also have to deal with Jameson's somewhat tuneless singing and half-assed songs. If only Curt kicked him out of the vocal booth then we'd really have something here.

Buy Me:
Jameson - 1967 - Color Him In

Mythos - 1975 - Dreamlab

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

We don't see a whole lot of prog rock here at the psychedelic garage. I must admit that it has more than a little bit to do with my personal bias against prog. I've never really been able to enjoy a Yes or Emerson, Lake and Palmer album. I've had a little more luck with Caravan and King Crimson, but they still don't rank anywhere near my favorites. Yeah, I know that many see psychedelic rock and prog as kissing cousins, but the latter is missing a few of the elements that really make me dig the former. For one, I dig disorientation in my music. A lot of prog rock separates the instruments to a crystaline degree and the focus is often on instrumental prowess. I'm more into the strange blurring of instruments. I'm also a major proponent of drones and grooves, and I find that usually when a prog band stumbles into one of those they change it two seconds later.

Now, Mythos is a krautrock band, but there are certainly some prog-like elements at work here. For me it's a de-evolution in comparison with their first album. They often hit upon some truly awesome passages (and I'd say those bits actually surpass the previous album), but then some of the other parts make me think more of Jethro Tull, and that doesn't impress me as much.

So, let me point you straight to the parts that make me happy. The opening track, "Dedicated to Werner von Braun," is bloody awesome. For me it begs favorable comparisons with Ashra's "New Age of Earth" or "Blackouts." It rests on a nice delayed guitar pulse and produces one of those sonic clouds of blue smoke that always gets me going. If I end up as a rocket scientist when I grow up, I hope someone dedicates a similarly awesome track to me. "Message" fights the good fight for about three minutes, but then turns me of as it opts for a flute groove instead. This happens several times until about four minutes into the title track, when we once again get a few minutes of sonic opium.

I'll recommend this album for the prog fan, but it doesn't really hit the right buttons for me for three quarters of its running time. That last quarter flies into pristine spacey essence, however. If only they focused a bit more on that.

Mythos - 1971 - Mythos

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

In many ways Mythos strikes me as being Ash Ra Tempel-lite or something. I really don't mean that as an insult since the Tempel tends to barter in insane psychedelic squealing. These krautrockers play with a little more restraint, but the music is still very imaginative and the fire does kick up a notch here and there. Mythos tends to let you drift on downstream with them a little more. There's a fine tribal-sounding rhythm section along with some very groovy, if particularly flamboyant, guitar. There's a fair amount of drifting flutes to keep your attention, too. I guess it adds just a touch of more conventional prog rock to the proceedings.

The first couple tracks are more meditative. Really, this album does manage to do an artistic job of upping the intensity until we find a few truly insane noise voids in the two part "Encyclopedia Terra." Stuck in the middle is "Hero's Death," which rides out a pretty reasonable groove for almost ten minutes. It's my least favorite track here, but it's still of fine quality. I'm more partial to the mystic mountain space jam of "Oriental Journey" with its waves of sound, or the aforementioned "Encyclopedia Terra." I think that suite is more like what I wanted to hear from the first Tangerine Dream album (I dig the goofy concept-ridden spoken word at the end as well). Electronic meditation indeed.

While this may not quite have the demon spark that possessed Can or Ash Ra Tempel, Mythos will come a long way in convincing you that sometimes a touch of restraint is worthwhile as well. Most of the key element of the more psychedelic-side of krautrock is front and center here, but it won't necessarily assault your fragile egg-shell mind as much as some of their peers will. I'm happy to give the cover art seven 'groovy points' as well.

Buy Me:
Mythos - 1971 - Mythos