ARTIST: Archipelago Swell
RELEASE: Archipelago Swell EP
RELEASE DATE: 14th September 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
There are support groups for drug users, there are support groups for alcoholics; where is the support group for fans of post-rock? Much like the aforementioned substances post-rock is addictive, translucent and a trip of sorts for the listener; for those addicted, we must always go searching for the next ambient, picturesque sound of swirling guitars and pounding drums. On this search it is clear to see just how popular the genre has become and fully displays the kind of culture (or aesthetic) its fans sport and love. But, as is with every genre, there are both masterpieces and… I don’t know, less than masterpieces? Where does Scottish post-rock/post-metal/instrumental band Archipelago Swell’s self-titled EP land on that spectrum? Well, somewhere in the middle, I suppose…
Archipelago Swell by Archipelago Swell
Archipelago Swell begins with ‘Terraforms’ a dark, heavy piece of post-metal underpinned with a touch of psychedelia for good measure. Impressively, the guitars switch between the tones of a heavy metal band to that of beautiful touching post-rock soundscapes; the drums do a similar dance but not as obvious or perhaps entrancing. In fact, the drums and percussion stay heavy and airy for most of the EP, something that always brings the band back to its post-rock roots; in a good way. As with most songs on the EP, the guitars eventually launch into a much, much heavier sound that rickets through your speakers with all the makings of Viking metal, backed nicely to sound heavier by the drums and the neat but at times inaudible bass. For the most part ‘Terraforms’ takes the shape of almost an intro track; the beginning shuffles around minimally (for the most part) before evolving into a heavier/metal-infused track of an epic scale. And that’s where things get a little bit awkward. After some beautifully intricate guitar playing and soft-dream like backing and textures, Archipelago Swell begin to turn up the metal-scale, and do so to their advantage; things still seem neat and instrumentally interesting. And then after the three minute mark there is a cringe-worthy tempo and riff alteration that weaves itself into some slightly embarrassing drum pieces and boring-as-paint-drying guitar *sexually explicit word*. For the small portion of what could be considered an outro the band regain some of the magic that was withheld at ‘Terraforms’ playful beginning, but all in all the bizarre attempt at ‘experimental’ rock is enough to make the listener take a step back and assesse what the band was trying to do.
‘Terraforms’ is followed by ‘The Overview Effect’ a much wider, epic track in which the band majestically bounce back and showcase their true talent. A sweet, colourfully intellectual piece of music, filled with everything the band are good at; blending instruments, writing cohesive and enjoyable riffs and walking the preverbal line between post-rock and post-metal in a greatly pleasing way. The song builds around a sweet, sketched out guitar line that sweeps and plays around the pounding but delicate drums and churning bass guitar. Epic in scale but never pretentious, the band dabble with a touch of math rock in the outro; which is where some of the greatest slices of music on the track are stationed. This track functions as a full leap into the core of the sort of sound that features on the EP and a step beyond the basic functions of ‘Terraforms’.
What follows is ‘Olympus Mons’ which is... Not that flash actually. What starts as a semi-interesting guitar riff just goes on and on, full of meaty-ness or whatever you want to call it… Occasionally there is a noise in the background that’s supposed to make us all go ‘what a post-rock song this is’ but isn’t really fooling anybody. Wait, I’ll do a cover for you: *Chug-Chug-Chug-Chug* *drum roll* and so on and so forth. Congratulations to the bass player who wrote and played interestingly enough to keep the band slightly above water. This isn’t offensive or meant to be abusive because I still think the previous track is absolutely brilliant, and that elements of ‘Terraforms’ are also beautiful and genius pieces of song writing; but I really don’t know about ‘Olympus Mons’. So here goes; the song has way too much reverb, the opening sounds like an interlude; the riff is uninspiring, generic and bland… And then there is the mixing and the production… Which leaves a lot to be desired. The levels of the guitar on the second half of the song are just so all over the place it literally transcends making an effort. It’s like somebody spilt alcohol on the mixing desk and the levels just started doing the can-can all over the place. And what in all musical sanity made the band put galloping guitars in… Like what are they doing in the song? Is this to try and see-saw the song between credible but bland music and humour? I don’t know. I really don’t know. I didn’t want to make it sound like this, but this is the PG version of what could be written about this; I apologise, but I just can’t put it any smoother. That’s just ‘Olympus Mons’ and how it sounds, how it’s mixed and how it’s heard.
‘Olympus Mons’ leads into ‘Accretion’ which seems somewhat refreshing, albeit nowhere near the pleasing heights of the EPs opposing half. There is more chugging at the songs opening, reminiscent and following on from ‘Olympus Mons’, but this gesture soon seeps into a soft and pleasing outro. Said outro presents a beautiful and majestic piece of post-rock guitar playing. The drums and bass ease back and the whole song sounds like a gentle and atmospheric sigh of relief; like a return to form for the band who use the outro to showcase their talent at simple and dreamy song writing. Eventually the softness of the outro blends into a more heavy and guitar orientated piece of music. I feel like this part of the song is what ‘Olympus Mons’ was trying to or could have been; a nice and enjoyable but epic piece of music.
Okay, okay, okay; a few things you should know. It may sound like in this review that I’m spitting on post-metal… I’m not. I actually love post-metal and the sort of sound and instrumentation a band or artist can play around with while under the moniker of its name. This band has some fantastic pieces of music that are definitely worth listening to. And ultimately, I think both post-rock and post-metal are difficult genres to sound refreshing or original within. But Archipelago Swell at times just try to transcend this difficulty… You’re probably saying ‘well they aren’t pro so…’ but one would only have to look as far as how absolutely mesmerizing unsigned post-rock can be by listening to 'Vinter' by the majestic and very talented 'Star of Heaven' from Stockholm. And while there are certainly many beautiful and fantastic pieces of music and songs on Archipelago Swell, I just can’t help but wonder what they were doing on some songs. At times it’s awkward, at times it’s cringey and at times I wondered whether the band had re-listened to the songs before releasing them. Anyway… I did enjoy some of it, and those pieces of enjoyment were enough to perhaps recommend the EP around, but ultimately I just guess that the listener can decide for themselves. If you enjoy post-metal, if you enjoy post-rock then you might appreciate this. If you are looking for some instrumental songs to chuck on in the background without looking too closely at them, this is for you. If you’re a stickler for production, assessing song writing structures and neatly looking ‘into’ the mixing and the songs meaning, then this is not for you. Credit, however, to the band for their performances, which throughout shine and make things interestingly swift and engaging. Shout out to the bassist for keeping things always interesting throughout the EP (that’s not a joke). You should know that within this EP there is some fantastic and engaging music from a band whose talent sometimes drift, but when it’s practiced; it’s a rewarding listen. Within this talent the band impress through blending, performance and sound.
Archipelago Swell is available to buy/download right now from archipelagoswell.bandcamp.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Movie Brain
RELEASE DATE: 25th September 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Alien Age Records
Tennessee based dream gaze trio 'Movie Brain' have unleashed a stunning collection of four tracks on an EP aptly named 'Soma' via Alien Age Records. The EP is full of effervescent sounds and hazy sonic compositions coupled with soaring instrumentation and blissful vocalisations. This latest release follows on from the bands full length, self-titled debut album, released back in July, that contained four new tracks and a handful of previously released handpicked 'Favourite Tracks' lifted from the bands first three releases. Movie Brain are made up of Jonathan - guitar/vocals, Adam - bass guitar & Kevin - drums and the 'Soma' EP is available to buy/download right now from moviebrain.bandcamp.com
Soma by Movie Brain
'Soma' opens with the blissful 'Honey', a glistening tremulous instrumental piece that gracefully hovers within a cloud of layered reverberation, all neatly saddled on a bedrock of busy percussive hits, glorious guitar progressions and throbbing bass frequencies. Up next, the beautifully arranged 'Azure' ambles into earshot on a thread of melodious lead guitar before we're hit by a wall of golden hued noise in the form of tempered percussion, snaking guitars and the deep hum of the addictive bass lines. The vocals soar blissfully, held fast within a dreamy reverb induced bubble as the instrumentation weaves a magical trail of of sonic discovery. Utterly delectable and possibly my favourite track on the entire release.
'Wasting Away', the EP's penultimate track, is a beautiful slice of glorious dream pop, infused with jangling guitars and lazy percussion, the medley driven vocal lines, drenched in stunning reverb, swirl as they work through their pre-designated repetitions with aplomb deftly leading the track to its finale. The EP's self-titled closing track enters into earshot on a wave of plodding sonic swells, pounding drums and a woozy vocal. 'Soma' purrs as it undulates and moves hypnotically through its verse parts until the chord change interrupts the almost metronomic like drum pattern, instantaneously bringing the listener back to reality and introducing them to the tracks final throw of the dice, an exploding cacophony of magically golden reverb induced frequencies. An absolutely stunning finale to a blissful EP!
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
RELEASE: Motorcycle Song EP
RELEASE DATE: 29th July 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Elephant Stone Records
Florida’s Seafang released a trio of trilling, thrilling fuzzpop this summer. Out on Elephant Stone records, this debut release blends the best of late 80s British indie, a dollop of doowop and turns the speed up. Already having secured the support of BBC 6 Music in the UK and college stations the US over, it’s a milkshake that’s going down smoothly with gaze fans.
Motorcycle Song by Seafang
Motorcycle Song goes along at a lick, fuzz and hair flying out behind. There are some gothier tones in Summertime, but the pop sensibility is still strong and the influences of Ride and Lush come through clearly here. I Don’t Want To Be The One’s update on the 50s girl group aesthetic has a pleasing ‘end of summer vibe’, melancholy and pretty, like a sunset.
Motorcycle Song EP is available to buy/download right now on various formats from seafang.bandcamp.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.
ARTIST: Travelling Wave
RELEASE DATE: 28th August 2016
Following on from their blistering 2013 full length release 'T-Wave' and their impressive collection of singles since that debut release including Adidas Shoestrings (April. 2014), Tradition and Evolution (May.2014) and A Cloud of Madness (Nov.2014), comes the latest immense assault on the senses from stunning Brazil based psych/gaze outfit Travelling Wave. The Simoom EP is a sonically sublime collection of four tracks that swirl gracefully within a hazy reverberating cloud of layered frequencies, soaring instrumentation and gloriously addictive vocal progressions. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Travelling Wave, the band are made up of Carol Alleoni - vocal/synth, Thiago Altafini - guitar/backvocal, Nathalia Oliveira - drums & Vitor Galvão -bass/synth and this latest EP is available to buy/download right now from travellingwave.bandcamp.com
Simoom by Travelling WaveSimoom opens up, squeezed within a swirling drone before Travelling Wave unleash their full instrumental might in the form of a massive wall of reverberating noise, coupled with pounding drums & soaring synth swells that impressively envelopes that addictive vocal will ease. 'In A Dream' undulates as it loops and arc's high into the ether, eventually soaring into its chorus progressions, blissfully spraying beautifully iridescent layered frequencies like sonic raindrops onto their listeners ears. A stunning opening salvo! Up next, 'Lotus' shimmies into earshot on glorious synth swells and throbbing bass frequencies before its metronomic percussive attack takes hold and the track sways into action with the addition of a melodious dark bass line. The guitars wail and intertwine with the instrumentation as the creeping vocal arrives, held fast within a pulsating sonic pulse. 'Lotus' meanders maliciously as it works through its gears, building tempestuously into a whirlwind of intense noise that crashes to finality like storm driven waves breaking on a perilous beach.
Dark swirling organ swells coupled with throbbing bass frequencies announce the arrival of 'Wind May', the EP's penultimate track, before we're swept up and dragged into the abyss by pounding drums and the arrival of droning guitars and reverb induced vocal progressions. Travelling Wave can instil stunningly dark atmosphere at will, dragging their listeners with them on a reverb filled thrill ride that breaks through layers of tremulous frequencies and soars into the ether. Vocaly sublime, 'Wind May' is a delicious slice of modern psych/gaze and my favourite track on this entire release. The EP's closing piece is a thing of beauty. 'The Unseen' launches into a maelstrom of instrumentation, with its pounding drums, cascading sweeps of monumental organ and synth swells, driving bass lines & droning guitars. Its explodes into its chorus progressions, ramping up the overdrive and pulsing immense reverberating instrumentation into the sonic ether. A blissful ending to a magnificent EP.
Simoom is available to buy/download right now from travellingwave.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: The Intelligence Service
RELEASE: Maladies EP
RELEASE DATE: 02/01/16
RECORD COMPANY: Wiener Records
Hailing from Vancouver, Canada ‘The Intelligence Service’ collectively creates stunning psych induced garage rock, peppered with droning guitars & melodic organ swells that are tinged with subtle shoegazing flourishes. The band are made up of Alex. P - Vocals & Guitars, Heather Campbell - Vocals, Organ & Analog Synth, Sam Daoust - Bass & Backing Vocals & Dror Zur - Drums and their latest four track EP entitled ‘Maladies’ is getting the cassette treatment via independent label ‘Weiner Records (A Burger Records Subsidiary)’.
Maladies EP by The Intelligence Service
The EP opens up with the monolithic ‘Distraction (Here Comes Dror)’ & with a running time of fourteen minutes plus its recommended that you strap yourselves in and make yourselves comfortable. This track is insatiable! Opening with a swirling droning synth that reverberates on its own sonic axis before being joined by shuffling percussion, melodic organ swells, throbbing bass lines & a warm fuzzy guitar progression. It builds & builds into a cacophony of stunning noise that swirls around some impressive spoken word as it meanders through musical peaks and troughs increasing in intensity around it’s raging sonic maelstrom. An absolutely stunning fourteen minutes of sublime sonic sounds. Up next, ‘Driving To My Sun’ does exactly as it says on the tin! Hypnotic organ swells compliment the driving guitars and that steadying drum pattern as duel vocal lines help lift the chorus changes out of a monotonous vocal trench that had been ploughed during the verses. Another solid track from as band who are starting to grow on me.
Track three is explosive! ‘School Me’ pulses on it’s foundation of throbbing melodic bass frequencies, addictive drum hits and driving fuzzed up repetitive guitars. The duel boy/girl vocal attack adds impressive atmosphere. The closing track ‘Can’t Believe’ leans more into garage rock territory than the previous three tracks whilst keeping a tentative finger firmly within a psych rock mould by subtly layering melodic organ swells underneath that pounding instrumentation.
ARTIST: The Wands
RELEASE: Faces EP
RELEASE DATE: 5th September 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club
Copnhagen natives The Wands' newest release is a trip. The six track EP that follows up 2014's The Dawn is a love letter to 60s pyschedelia. The band revel in the sounds and structures of the first wave of one of modern music's weirder forms, full of rich analogue sounds.
Faces by The Wands
Scene-setter Living the Dream swirls in like smog, that partially clears to reveal Faces, a loose and languid cocktail of 60s and eastern influences. Cosmic Sinners metallic glint comes from jagged guitar tones and gongs that transition ito a thrumming sway for Out of Fever. Between Heavens feels like a partner to Faces in some way, the pure 60s influences (and maybe even a hint if Merseybeat) so strong. And in a swell of sci-fi sounds The Wands are gone again, not faraway, but defintely somewhere far-out.
Faces is out now on various formats via Fuzz Club Records.
ARTIST: New Horror
RELEASE: Fruitless Search
RELEASE DATE: 27th August 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Soft Verse
Dirty, wild, echoing and beautiful… These are all words one would use to describe the EP Fruitless Search by lo-fi post-punk band New Horror. Their sound is one of untamed uniqueness, nestled somewhere near the punk-violence/garage sound of a band like 'Pigeon Religion' and the warped but dazzlingly emotive riffs of a band like 'Codeine' (but louder). Indeed, Fruitless Search will not be everybody’s cup of tea but, perhaps, this is an indication of the kind of alternative brilliance that can be heard on this EP. Slowcore, garage rock, noise, lo-fi, post-punk, dream rock and alternative rock are just SOME of the genres that get tossed around, from song to song and sound to sound. Funnily enough, most will mute the noise frequency of the band, complain about how distanced the vocals are or beg to know why the guitars are so *expletive word* loud; But honestly these songs and sounds are refreshing… In a technological age where everybody thinks their sound and image are their own, a band like this don’t even try to mount the task of being ‘original’, rather they stick to what they know, churn out rattling song after song after song and defy genres in the process.
Fruitless Search by New Horror
The ghostly, dark and garage infused post-punk song ‘Like a Child’ opens the EP with the bands noise-riddled guitars and drumming reminiscent of classic 80’s style post-punk. The vocals echo heavily in the distance; they sit at such a volume that many can hardly hear them amidst the churning fuzz of the guitar. But before you jump to the conclusion that it’s just a pile of wild fuzz proclaimed to be ‘noise music’ the band showcase their song writing abilities to the absolute maximum when they include an emotive guitar riff over the top of the aforementioned noise. This allows the song to rise from pure noise rock into the realms of dense lo-fi post-punk, with touches of the French orientated Coldwave and other dream rock elements thrown in for good measure. Up next, 'In The Night' growls into earshot with driving guitars, throbbing bass and a repetitious drum pattern before ‘Everything Feels Like a Stab in the Heart’ ambles into frame featuring what sounds like an authentic eighties drum machine keeping the tempo high and fast, as the band show off a more alternative rock related sound. The song still yields post-punk elements underneath the wall of noise and guitars; rising higher than previous tracks, the vocals on ‘Everything Feels Like a Stab in the Heart’ sound more accessible, albeit still in a deeply alternative way.
While these two fantastically well-written songs sound as though the band have put their best foot forward first, this is all thrown out the window when ‘Through You’ begins to play. An absolutely brilliant, first class, downtrodden song of shoegaze proportions, the noisy but dreamy ‘Through You’ showcases an almost slowcore style of sound that the band present to the listener, wrapped in a second hand, dirty, style of wrapping paper. ‘Through You’ runs for six minutes and is built around the slow but intelligent drums that keep the tempo rolling and dreamy; over the top sit the bands noisy and humming guitars… But the added feature that ties the whole song together majestically is a dark and loud synth which sounds like the good-looking cousin of a train engine. Praise should also be given wholly to the fantastic bass riff that’s featured on ‘Through You’, which at times may be hard to hear, but is in fact the musical backbone of the song. Together the instruments manage to bring across a totally wild but completely exalted piece of music; fantastic.
‘White Walls’, a type of interlude, follows on and features a nice, toned down and less noise based sound. The song actually features acoustic guitar, strummed along to a dreamy bass tone and backed eerily with noise-filtered but distanced guitar and a bright soundscape. As the song picks and strums away, it leads into the bands ultimate beast; a ten minute epic called ‘Mirror’. ‘Mirror’ is a monstrous track of immensely beautiful sounds, all melded together and once again stationed around the reverb and hard sound of drums in the background that, beside the occasional fill, maintains the same pounding rhythm for the whole song. The song, in all its musical layering, is actually perhaps more upbeat than most others on the EP. What begins as the bands core (guitars, bass, drums, voice and a few other bits and pieces) playing along eventually exceeds into many sounds, instruments and soundscapes, flooding the listeners ears. ‘Mirror’ is hard to define and outline, but it stands as a brilliant piece of music recorded and presented by a group of song writing virtuosos. Much like all diverse and epic songs, I can’t really do ‘Mirror’ any justice with simple, bland and rhetorical words. You might have to just listen to it.
And there it is, Fruitless Search, an EP heavy and soft, deep but surfaced and loud but almost always beautiful. The production and mixing reflects the sounds that are evident on the release; scratchy and loud, but maintained and done so with a degree of professionalism that appears too simple to be successful. With this very thought in mind, the entire EP, the entire aesthetic of the group may be completely evident on the EPs cover; featuring a bland, awkward photograph of somebody simply standing there. This photo defies the songs that feature no real conceptual basis (in a good way) and the entire sound of the band; simple but deeply brilliant. As mentioned before the song writing is of a majestic and utterly talented quality, as are the performances and the additional sounds and synths that feature throughout.
Fruitless Search is kind of a reinforcement of the idea that there are still warriors out there producing almost completely original music; borrowed and influenced by others but always reshaped and restyled to be their own. And what, I quietly hear you ask, is that supposed to mean? All I’m saying is that many bands throw albums and EP's out, tell you how amazingly original they are and how they smell like critical acclaim when in actual fact they are bland, boring, un-educated and incorrectly referential to the music they supposedly play and are influenced by. Here, with Fruitless Search, the concept of originality in non-professional bands appears and reminds us all what can be achieved when you are actually talented. So I suppose you should probably listen to this EP… As I stated before though, this may not be for everybody, and not everybody may understand it or even try to understand it… And if you don’t, please feel free to *expletive word* off and listen to some self-proclaimed geniuses generic music. This EP is for those who appreciate song writing, context and quality of performance and sound.
Fruitless Search is available to buy/download right now on various formats from softverse.bigcartel.com & newhorror.bandcamp.com respectively.
ARTIST: The Autumn Sighs
RELEASE DATE: 21st August 2016
German based indie shoegaze trio 'The Autumn Sighs' have returned with a brand new five track release entitled 'Branches', the follow up to 2015's impressive 'Sprig' EP. Their sound meanders gracefully through melodious and dreamy swathes of blissful dream pop infused shoegaze coupled with soaring chorus progressions, thunderous drum patterns and addictively hazy instrumentation. The band are made up of Katha - guitars/vocals), Ulrik - guitars/effects/ebow & Denis - drums with bass guitar duties on all songs for this recording going to Florian Malicke. The EP is available to buy/download on various formats right now from theautumnsighs.bandcamp.com
branches by The Autumn Sighs
The EP opens up with 'The Autumn Sighs', a beautifully constructed slice of dreamy shoegaze. Glorious frequencies greet the listener as the guitars jangle and sway, held firmly within the metronomic swing of the hypnotic drum pattern. The vocals float in on a wave of beautifully enticing reverb, swirling blissfuly in unison with the instrumentation until the chorus progressions explode into a maelstrom of beautiful frequential noise. As opening tracks go, this is monumental. Up next, 'Thirsty' takes its foot off of the noisy reverb pedal as a melodious vocal line meanders and undulates gracefully, intertwined with a brilliantly constructed guitar progression and another impressive drum pattern. The track builds as it shifts through it's sonic gears and finishes with a flurry of golden hued sounds.
Track three, 'Tonight' initially confuses me. At first, it leans into indie pop territory as its opening chord progressions coupled with another blissful vocal line unfurls. That notion however is quickly shattered as the track unleashes a whirlwind of soaring reverb induced guitar squall coupled with driving instrumentation and an explosive percussive attack to bring what is now my favourite track on this entire release. What tweaks my attention about the 'The Autumn Sighs' is that they have the ability to surprise their listeners as each track works through its progressions. Something that is unfortunately lacking in most modern shoegaze bands these days.
The EP's penultimate track entitled 'Flat', woozily enters earshot on a tremulous guitar line, throbbing bass frequencies and an accompanying percussive pattern. Its dreamy vocal lines enter the fray and instantaneously lifts the entire track to new heights allowing it to glide and arc all over the soundscape thus bringing a serine calmness to proceedings until its finale. The EP's closing piece entitled 'Sway' gently flows as its crawling instrumentation acts a s bedrock for another impressive vocal performance. Its chorus parts build momentum on waves on glorious reverberation coupled with ethereal vocal lines and steadying percussion. Bass frequencies throb as the track meanders along its chosen predesigned course culminating on swirling fuzzy drone. A beautiful & fitting ending to a marvellously executed EP. Recommended listening!
ARTIST: Dead Sea Apes
RELEASE: SOY DIOS
RELEASE DATE: 5th September 2016
RECORD COMPANY: SKY LANTERN RECORDS / CARDINAL FUZZ
Manchester based underground psych experimentalists 'Dead Sea Apes' have had their stunning debut single 'SOY DIOS' repackaged and re-released on vinyl via Cardinal Fuzz (Sky Lantern Records in the US). It contains a reworking of the original track, released back in 2010 on a then run of 100 CDR's. 'Dead Sea Apes' create massive sonic soundscapes and have the ability to switch from wonderfully picturesque sun-scorched psychedelia to dust laden desert rock and on into hypnotically charged & motorik driven drone rock improvisation with marvellous aplomb! The album is available to buy/download on various formats from cful.bandcamp.com & skylanternrecords.bandcamp.com. You can also purchase the vinyl right now from cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com
Soy Dios by Dead Sea Apes
The opening salvo's of 'Soy Dios I' are hauntingly good. Aggravated fret noise and spacious atmospherics open proceedings as 'Dead Sea Apes' bring their post-rock credentials to the fore. Melodious guitar progressions add tension as sparse percussive hits enter the fray and we push off on a magical journey of sonic experimentation, stepping into a world of expansive musical understanding and distorted sonic hallucinations. Its not long before a swell of explosive instrumentation takes over and the metronomic swing of the drum pattern brings on a giddying state of hypnotic abandonment. Guitar lines meander menacingly throughout the piece, every so often allowed to soar into the ether as if chasing some unknown prey, before arriving back to terra firma and slotting into its assigned progression to continue on with its pre-designed course. Truly magical in its entirety!
If 'Soy Dios I' was the doorway into the world of 'Dead Sea Apes' then Part II is the hallway .... a wide expansive room filled with oppressive atmosphere, droning swells and spiralling guitar squall. 'Soy Dios II' is a pleasure craft bobbing up and down in a dark tremulous ink like sea, constantly being hit by a wave after wave of shuddering reverberation. The percussion builds as throbbing bass lines hold court before the track lurches forward and explodes into a cacophony of wonderful noise and warbling repetitious progressions.
'Soy Dios III' achingly drones into existence, its burgeoning weight swirling & snarling as it enters earshot, shattering the perilous ideology of the previous soundscape as it circumnavigates its own self. It builds in momentum allowing it to plough a deep furrow into the sonic template, eagerly trying to gain enough updraft to lift itself into the ether. Intermittent fret noise doused in reverb adds atmosphere to the piece as the arrival of much welcomed guitar squall builds intensity .... and we're up and soaring into the ether on waves of golden frequencies inlayed with swathes of reverberation. 'Soy Dios III' is a true masterpiece of modern day psychedelic exploration.
The closing piece on the momentous release brushes aside the previous three tracks from the off. 'Soy Dios IV' is the stunning finale to an expansive collection of experimental musicianship. The culmination of a trip through massive passages of sonic floatation and distorted but oppressive melody driven hallucinations, into a gargantuan cyclonic whirlwind. 'Dead Sea Apes' bring the curtain down completely on this impressive release riding a maelstrom of senses pummelling distorted noise. A fitting end to a marvellous sonic journey. Recommended listening!
ARTIST: SPC ECO
RELEASE: Favourite Colour EP
RELEASE DATE: 12/08/16
RECORD COMPANY: Saint Marie Records
SPC ECO just dropped a brand new album 'Anomalies' on August 12th, then on the same day, they also released this excellent new EP. There is no song overlap, but the songs do seem like they’re part of an ongoing theme or series. Dean Garcia and his daughter Rose Berlin are surfing some gorgeous dark wave here, filigreed with gossamer vocal strands and icy cold synths. Ominous bass bubbles up from a deep well and Rose’s light, airy vocals float to the surface.
Favourite Colour EP by SPC ECO
This is especially true of the opening track, 'Out Of Your Control'. And wow, the second track 'Favourite Colour' is even more stunning, with its slow burn and ultra trippy vocal layers. It is a complete mind gasm, spinning its web and ensnaring the listener, holding tight and never letting go! It is one of the best tracks I’ve heard in this genre this year, and one I hope the band continues to explore. 'In Doubt' is a moody miniature soundtrack for a noirish spy flick or murder mystery, red fingers of blood spreading from a dead body, a moment stopped in time even as civilization rushes by at breakneck speed. My head is bobbing and weaving as I type up this review, and this EP continues to be a great listen as I work my way through it. 'Trouble' is dark and mesmerizing, a mesh of dreamy trip hop and glacial beats that drags you along in its wake.
'Whisper' is a witch’s cauldron overflowing with noxious sounds, edgy and hallucinogenic while it builds slowly in intensity, unfurling like a deadly nightbloom until it lulls you into submission. Truly, I do like hearing the band explore its darker side with this smoldering short collection of mostly extended jams. Highly recommended for all fans who enjoy their dark wave with a lot of dense layers and glimmers of light threaded throughout a sonic tapestry.
Pick up a copy of this EP over at spceco.bandcamp.com And check out the band’s many other releases while you’re at it.
Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days "continues to define my existence". During and after her college years, she ran a weekly radio show at WMUA FM Radio and also at a community station in Springfield, MA, in addition to writing music and concert reviews for the college newspaper. At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and recently began producing a semi-regular Mixcloud-based show called The Kitchen Sink. In the real world, when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.