26 April 2014

Glaze of Cathexis - 2014 - Cryptic Hullabaloo

Psychedelically rocking your mind out, here is the newest Glaze of Cathexis release.  I think we cranked up the amps a little more than usual, and while I wouldn't be one to dispense with the groovy 60's vibes, there's more of a mid-80's Husker Du/Sonic Youth buzz hanging around on the tracks.  I think it's the best one we've cooked up yet, but I suppose I wouldn't be so keen on releasing it if I felt differently.

Scott was is charge of the surreal visions of the words and imagery.  We've snuck a photo essay along for this ride, with each track pairing with a cosmic photo taken during his travels in Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe, and beyond.

I've always tried to keep the music free, but the Bandcamp download this time carries a $5 charge.  It's getting to the point where I can't really keep up the music without some kind of an income stream, so if you dive in you'll be supporting both this blog and Glaze of Cathexis.  We're far from rich, put in quite a bit of work on it, and I think we need to stand by the quality of our work to advance our lives and future music.  If I can't make something sustainable out of it by the end of the year, I may very well have to hang it up.  We've tried to add some bang for the buck on the new one with the photo essay and a couple of photographic slide show videos included with the download.

Hmm.. I used to give you track notes here.  Could be fun, but spoilers abound if you don't want to know just what I'm ripping off:

1. An Acrobat of Worlds - I was going for that slightly goth 80's vibe, with the poppy Cure and all.  Maybe I ended up kind of ripping of David Bowie's "Heroes" instead, especially with the keyboard part.  I didn't record any keyboard on this track, but something sure sounds like one.  There's no doubt that the guitar solo at the end is putting Eric Clapton's Gibson 'woman tone' clear in the sights.

2. Primordial Epiphany - Is it acceptable to let the Big Bopper in as an influence nowadays?  Because that's one I'm doing with the vocals.  If that bugs you, dig the full-tilt, out-of-control rock n' roll informing this track. I don't have to worry anymore if the track's psychedelic or not, because Scott's lyrics keep the proceedings visionary.

3. Path of the Starry Vortex - It's a Goldilocks track.  The first pass at it was too screwed up, the second was too fast, and the third was just right.  Wait... no it wasn't.  I just added bongos to the fast version.  In other news, I finally figured out how much fun you can have with the tone knobs on a good guitar.

4. Koans of the Paradox - This is a top 40 hit in my mind.  I borrowed a super-cheap pawn shop Strat and decided to try and be Hendrix.  Then I realized that the strings tended to scrap in strange ways and ended up warping the thing through vibrations of Cream all the way to Sonic Youth on the lead guitar track.

5. Archway Complexities - This was a straight down funk track called "Shartymobile."  You can still hear a touch of it at the end (although not with the ridiculous lead guitar and funk growling).  Now it's a mystical showcase for Scott, but I'll give you "Shartymobile" if you beg me for it.

6. Vales of Fire and Light - Should I say it?  Should I say it?  What the hell.  I played drums along with "The Wind Cries Mary" on my ipod and just recorded a new song on top of it.  The Santana leads, Moody Blues organ, and Roger Daltrey-before-his-balls-dropped-in-1969-vocals are just there to throw you off the path.

7. The Windcharmer - I read an interview with Kevin Shields about a year ago where he talked about his recording technique, and the fact that most Bloody Valentine tracks don't feature 6,000 guitars, but rather two or three really loud ones.  That's what I try to do these days.

8. Cryptic Hullabaloo - My wife doesn't like this one because she thinks I'm trying to sing like a pirate.  I'm glad she didn't hear the first pass at the vocals.  Otherwise, I was just trying to see how much blues howl I could get out of an Epiphone Casino and it was always going to be the title track.

9. Cycles of History - The first tune I recorded for this album.  It has goofier percussion than usual and crossfades the Madchester scene with Yo La Tengo.  I think you can dance to this more than you can with most Glaze tracks.

10. Droplets on a Lily - This is what the Dead's "Dark Star" would have sounded like if the Buffalo Springfield had recorded it on a tape reel that had been in the sun too long.  It was called "Thracian Intro" for months, but the next tune just needs a musical partner, not a conceptual one.

11. Thracian Moonlight - I don't think I really used much actual distortion on this album, just lots of tube overdrive.  That bass has a dang Big Muff on it though, because that's always a good idea.  Otherwise we're sort of doing Dylan leading an amphetamine-addled Byrds (I suppose that actually did happen a few times).  Artificial energy, indeed (not for me, just my metaphor).

12. Twilight in the Cloud Forest - And then I wanted to do Buddy Holly on that cheap Strat before I returned it.  I might of bungled it up with that Sterling Morrison sort of lead guitar, though.

13.  Holes in the Vastness - I might have gotten a touch lazy.  This is the forward version of the backward section from "Cycles of History," but with Scott intoning over it.  But if the Stone Roses could get away with that, maybe I can too?

14.  Rivers of Life - I didn't click with Husker Du as a teenage.  But then I spent nine months in 2003-2004 drinking scotch, playing San Francisco Rush 2049 on the Sega Dreamcast, and blasting a vinyl copy of "Zen Arcade" at uncomfortable volumes.

15. Bonus track - What could it be? What could it be?  Recorded at the behest of the ex-Glaze of Cathexis drummer for his daughter's first birthday.  Apparently, it's her favorite song.

19 April 2014

Hapsash and the Coloured Coat - 1967 - Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Man, I had a ceremony with this one.  Listen to this and you're down for a primordial psychedelic pummeling.  Yeah, this is the music that the CIA created.  The sound's going straight for the hidden punk rock face of the Velvet Underground follow-up act in the Factory.  They don't necessarily have the talent, but they've got the Owsley to do their thing.  Word on the street is that the group were some English visual artists throwing down the drafting gear, picking up guitars and bongos, and doing their thing.  There's barely songs here, but the tribal gathering is clear and the vibrations are just at the right frequency.

We'll focus straight on the main event.  "Empire of the Sun" is an epic, fifteen minute awakening - drums pounding away with a churning rhythm guitar, punctuated by bells and strange spoken incantations.  The opening "H-O-P-P-Why?" opens the proceedings in a similar vein, but there's plenty of weirdness in between.  "A Mind Blown is a Mind Shown" rides folkier waves and "Aoum" goes spiritual, acapella Ligeti, but the pure freak out comes in "The New Messiah Coming 1985."  It's a warped audiograph of the dosed coffee house of the times - unplugged but electrifying to the ear.

Are songs always the answer?  Hapsash and the Coloured Coat don't seem particularly convinced.  The tunes here are a far cry from psychedelic pop, but they take the raw elements of what was hip and splatter it against the wall Pollock-style.  At least they have the etiquette to warn you with the album cover depicting your mind getting blown.

04 April 2014

Glaze of Cathexis - 2014 - Koans of the Paradox

Psychedelic rock for the chicken soup soul.  The title track is a preview of the "Cryptic Hullabaloo" album coming later this month.  The other three tracks are exclusive to this release and dip through the more tranquil vibrations of shoegaze and cosmic country.  I wrote the music to "Passageway to the Oracle" sometime in the mid-90's, staring out the window of my high school chemistry class.  Scott says this:

Think a musical experience of ye olde merrie pilgrims armed with Casino guitars
on a jolly East Asian ayahuasca cavalcade. 

I suppose that's better than I'm going to put it.  Listen here:

02 April 2014

glu - 2014 - Numbers

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

This is a very groovy set that rides the slipstream of bloopy 70's analog electronica and the digital planetarium of 1986, while paying heed to all the soil festivities in between.  Most of the tones seem to have been carefully selected and custom fitted right where they need to in the tracks.  The core of most of it seems to spring from the more beastly analog synthesizers and drum machines, but the detail work and fine lines open up the canvas of sound to a primordial world of doomed dinosaurs staring at the new moon, star-splattered sky.

I can't help but notice that glu seems to be somewhat parallel to my own electronic project as Damaged Tape - although glu seems to have it's hand a little more firmly on the production tiller.  "Aztek Sunrise" is that fanfare that comes out when it's time to pull out all the stops on the synths, while "Levels of Power" is framed by a bit of spoken word.  From there's the album shoots through a trip-hop vibe on "Tronic Poutry," before tacking east for more experimental sonic abstractions that eventually morphs into the throughs of ragged hip hop and drum and bass on "Cloudy Days."

This album darts through a variety of sonic motifs, but they do well to serve the whims of the artist rather than mere mimicry.  There is an worthwhile, individual voice to be heard on this electronic opus, but those of you that dig music from Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis all the way to Boards of Canada and the Orb
are going to find something to latch onto here.