Date Palms ‘Honey Devash’ LP

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Two tracks of sublime instrumental ambient, each taking up a record side. Soulful, forbidding ragas of modernist landscaping. Just enough primitive zoning to keep it from feeling electronic but no dismissable guitar noodling to wreck the space either. On reflection, I thought Date Palms managed the one crucial thing needed to pull this off; patience. The record starts off right in the mantra, but everything is allowed to stretch out and build. Georgeous drones float past. Deep plucked tones keep millenial time. The sun moves across the sky. Sand shifts then night falls. Amazing, a must have for anyone that liked O Yuki Conjugate or the more organic Tangerine Dream such as Rubycon or Tangram. mexicansummer.com

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Our Broken Garden ‘The Golden Sea’ LP

goldensea
I heard a snatch of ‘Seven Wild Horses’ and a couple other things and thought this would be worth picking up. Was dismayed to learn that the video version of the song was different than the LP version. But still, I’m enjoying this when I’m in the mood for something ethereal, transportive and oozing airy female vocals. I always liked the retro, james bond-ish feel of Goldfrapps Felt Mountain and this is similar, minus the homage to things past. I can’t really get into any of their other material, it seems like it’s aimed at some type of listener…I don’t know who but it’s not me. Hopefully all their future material can be like this or better. The vinyl is very hard to get, there is one seller on the planet, located in Manchester UK. Their Ebay sale will say it ships from Irvine CA but mine still came from the UK.

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Best Coast ‘Crazy For You’ LP

crazyforyou
I should know better. But when I heard this band mentioned in the same breath as certain other bands and saw tie-ins with that hipster clothing store, I dismissed. The old thing about not being able to like a band because you don’t like the other people that like them. It’s been a long time since high school…so again, I should know better. After listening to this several times and realizing I really, really liked it, it struck me why. First, these songs have great hooks and beneath the fuzz and reverb are some achingly sweet chords. And I got it. It’s all about 60′s girl groups, Leslie Gore, the Brill Building, Phil Spector when he was still a crazy genius and not just crazy. Ignore the hype and give it a listen. So far there are five LP Versions. The 1000 hand-numbered copies on seafoam green from Mexican Summer seems to be the most sought after. But there’s also a repress of 1000 on orange. Here’s the Discogs.com link for you vinyl freaks. But your best bet is to just get the affordable black vinyl direct from Mexican Summer.

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TROUM ‘Eald-Ge-Stréon’ 2xLP

troum
Troum has made some great records, I have yet to be disappointed with anything I’ve heard. But this is miles ahead, a progression I didn’t expect. We would have been perfectly happy with more dreamy, coalescing drones, but for raw, anthem-power, only a few previous works come close to this. Right out of the gate, the driving, emotive pulse of side a sets a tone, establishing an energy level that sustains across several tracks, giving them a high ground that makes their valleys even lower. And when the avalanche finally trickles off somewhere in the second record, we’re on to something else anyway. Rhythm is what sets Troum apart from other ambient projects, and Stefan Knappe is a master of using it. In his hands, it forms the muscular, pinnacled geography from which the ebb and flow of his drones progress and mutate. When I waste valuable listening time thinking about what Knappe must be doing to create the final work, I wonder if there is an almost occult alchemy he adheres to, a formula for making each piece so effective to my ears. There is no doubt something meticulous yet instinctual is going on with Troum anyway. A must have. If not for the music then the amazing product: one black disc, one blue, thick vinyl, limited to 400 copies in an amazing jacket with art by Soma and photgraphy by Seldon Hunt. The label still has some. http://www.chronoglide.com/Equation_releases.html

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NED OLDHAM ‘Let’s Go Out Tonight’ 7″

oldham
For those who don’t know but wondered; yes, they are related. Afficianados will know this from their various collaborations. And Ned is right in there with that, perhaps less fragile and shambolic than Will, playing just percent more traditional folk. Let’s Go Out Tonight is worth the while, a three song ep, each one a dark, introspective piece of poetry with beautiful guitar work. Translucent blue vinyl, limited to 500 copies. $5 from www.gold-robot.com/records.

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MONSTER RALLY ‘Coral’ LP

coral
I’ve been a sucker for cut-up, recontextualized found sounds since first hearing People Like Us way back when. But Monster Rally relies more on chintzy music than media, so it’s all imbued with a more musical sensibility. Exotica out of control; film scores subjected to botched surgery, the result a glorious frankenstein monster that waltzes between martinis at the pilots lounge in the Pan Am terminal. I feel like I’m rooting around in some hip cat bachelors record shelf, playing three or four at once, Arthur Lyman, the Beach Boys, Carmen Miranda and Bollywood film scores on 78′s. Coral has several parts with that unique ability to sound completely familiar yet totally new each time, nostalgia for something that never happened. Beautiful seafoam green vinyl, only 250 copies were pressed so get going. From Gold Robot Records www.gold-robot.com/records, only $12 plus S&h.

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STEVE GUNN ‘Sundown’ LP

gunn
I’m not sure how I found out about Steve Gunn. I think I was looking up
another artist and found a video of an amazing piece of guitar that
precipitated one of those frenzied searches I get into. In any case, I
eventually stumbled on the Harvest Recordings site, learned that Gunn is
part of the unclassifiable band GHQ and heard some samples. Sold. I really love
old Neil Young guitar work; the minutes-long, sweetly tortured shambling
in the middle of Cortez The Killer, and all over After The Gold Rush, the
delicate, clockwork melodies throughout Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,
and Harvest. And Gunn does that same thing for me. Airy, sweet and sad phrases with little else, perhaps near-whispered vocals. Dispatches from a ghost
town, a lone plainsman, older than his years, on his stoop, playing to no
one under stars. The guitar case next to him has stickers from Texas,
Tangiers and the sweltering Delta, among many other places, and each far
corner has left a ding or scratch on the guitar. I love the thick,
matte-finish jacket, looking much like an antique photograph -
silk-screened I think. Very nice. Limited to 500 copies, only $12 plus $3
shipping from harvest-records.com.

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LANDING ‘Gravitational IV’ LP

landing
What a great find. I get the urge to name-drop Experimental Aircraft, Slowdive and even Troum and realize it’s a little lazy. Their sound may be in those universes, but repeated listens make it obvious that Landing is doing their own thing. Soft, dreamy guitar phrases, rhythmic pulses and far-away, indecipherable female vocals stretch out to the horizon – I can put this on and just float away. A nice, sentimental tone, always reaching for beauty and never full of itself. And everything feels so organic, I’m seeing real instruments and analog recording equipment, that these are songs that can be played exactly the same way live. A little research indicates that Gravitational IV is sort of considered their “lost album”. I am compelled to seek out more. Always nice to find someone doing this sort of thing so well, without imitating, just making their own world out of roughly similar materials. I’ll have to get a sample posted soon to show what I mean. In a stunning gatefold jacket, 180 gram vinyl, only 450 copies pressed, each numbered, and as hard as it is to believe, this thing is still available from the label: http://www.chronoglide.com/Equation_releases.html

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FEAR FALLS BURNING ‘I’m One Of Those Monsters Numb With Grace’ LP

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Each side is it’s own epic, pondering hammerfall of dark guitar drone, layered with glacial-pace rhythm, stretching out into infinity. In the same universe as Nadja, Jesu and Year of No Light. Perhaps what White Hills would do if they were less psych and more ambient. But Dirk Serries, the man behind Fear Falls Burning, has a pedigree with ambient material that the rest can’t come close to. As the mind behind Vidna Obmana, the venerable and accomplished experimental project, he understands how to construct a twenty-plus minute piece in a way that sucks the listener in. This sensibility is carried over into this heavier project quite well. Unfortunately, it’s sold out from the label, Equation; http://www.chronoglide.com/Equation_releases.html, but secondary sources may still have it.

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ILYAS AHMED
Between Two Skies/Towards The Night 2xLP


toyousoonsilencethehigh
I’ve been trying to figure out how to review this album for a couple days now. Acoustic guitar, layered together, some layers melodic, others rambling and disjointed, but still elegant. Vocals are used as an instrument as well; no lyrics, just far away, mournful or whispery intonations, some of those layered as well. Reminds me of neil Young’s soundtrack for the ‘Dead man’ film in many places. Ahmed reaches mystical places with this, the entire thing becoming a dark, poetic tapestry of lights and shadows, moving in and out of one another. The story is that Ahmed recorded his material alone, in a country cabin somewhere, to primitive equipment, not thinking of it getting released one day. I can see that – the material lends itself to those sorts of inspired, genuine efforts, uninfluenced by particular intent. Just the night reeling out its directions, the fingers and mouth following. The package is a lovely matte-finish gatefold jacket, containing two thick records. very nice. Only $20 direct from the label at immunerecordings.net.

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