Posts by Daniel Gottlieb
“Rideaux de Nuit” comes as a bonus track to Evan Caminiti of Barn Owl's sterling new Thrill Jockey LP, Dreamless Sleep. It brings together Caminiti with Root Strata’s Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, making this a mouth-watering collaboration between two of the West Coasts’ best experimental musicians. “Rideaux de Nuit” is a sweeping 10-minute composition that tacks an uncertain, but scenic, course through a number of discernible sonic climates-- each unveiled to the listener through evolving arrangements of their signature imbricated guitar and synth drones.
Opening with thundering low tones, the track steadily ascends to its emotional epicentre, where the forceful clash of distorted textures evokes a total enrapture in the dreaming unconscious. “Rideaux de Nuit” sees both Caminiti and Cantu-Ledesma pushing the full dynamic range of their instruments to capture these subtle transitional movements from one state of reality to another. By the time the track opens up to the soft elegiac drones, one senses the curtains of night being slowly pulled across the ears.
Austin Cesear is a Bay Area producer whose debut LP Cruise Forever on Public Information continues the label’s exploration of the interaction between “1950-tomorrow. New-Archive. Light-Dark” and the musical possibilities found in between (see previous releases from No UFOs, ADR, FC Judd and Ekoplekz). “Cloud Hall”, the opening cut from the record, commands immediate attention with its muscular kick and filtered synth stabs that dissolve into the track’s liquid centre of abstracted, processed sounds. While “Cloud Hall”’s groove gives it an eminent danceability, its slower tempo and preference for widescreen hypnosis rather than clinical punch, makes it a track more for imagined dance floors rather than real ones - more suitable for a rave in the sky rather than the basement.
Cruise Forever is available via Public Information on July 30th.
The prolific output of Seattle’s resident stargazer, Panabrite, doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down anytime soon, nor does the quality of his finely constructed cosmic missives appear to be dipping. Having already released the immersive sci-fi tinged Kosmische of Soft Terminal in 2012, Norm Chambers returns with The Baroque Atrium, this time for Sydney label Preservation. Our first taste of the record is “Spetses”, a luminous piece of analog synthesis that displays Chambers’ distinctive take on new age and early library music and is also reminiscent of Terry Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air. Minimal synth loops thread together garbled vocoder melodies and grand organ gestures, all of which are foregrounded by the sounds of birds, lapping of water, rustling of leaves. While Panabrite’s music is usually spacey, it has rarely been this cosmic. On “Spetses”, Chambers loosens up the structure, allows the musical elements to breathe more and uncoil with less calculation. The result is an airier listen, a track that hovers in the lightness of the space, but still hits with the evocative mix of mystery and the epic which has always characterised Chambers’ rendering of the world around him.
Panabrite’s The Baroque Atrium is out now on Preservation Records.
You get the sense that it was only a matter of time before Spectrum Spools and Motion Sickness of Time Travel’s paths would cross. Since its inception last year, the John Elliott (of Emeralds/Mist/etc.)-curated Editions Mego imprint has served as one of the more conspicuous focal points of a fertile American synth underground. Through a series of reissues, re-releases from tape (No UFOs, Driphouse), compilations of previous works (Bee Mask’s Elegy For Beach Friday), and new editions (Fabric, Forma, Headboggle), Spectrum Spools has offered valuable insight into a scene’s psyche: its history, its oddball inspirations, and the rich musical possibilities that are constantly being explored within it.
Rachel Evans’ work as Motion Sickness of Time Travel perhaps best embodies what is so eminently exciting and vital about the music Spectrum Spools embraces. Evans has released a plethora of Motion Sickness tapes and LPs over the years, including one on the impressive Hooker Vision tape label co-run with husband and Quiet Evenings bandmate Grant Evans. Ranging from outsider-electronics to cosmic ambience, her sound is marked by idiosyncratic electro-acoustic atmospheres that ebb and flow graciously between cathartic highs and lush, meditative stills. It is on the self-titled Motion Sickness of Time Travel, however, that Evans reveals the full scope of her compositional force, reassembling the disparate tones, sounds, and spaces that have interested her previously with a new sonic energy that dazzles from start to finish.