"Eventually the music will have to pay its own way in the language of its being," Chris Weisman told AdHoc in a 2015 interview. "If it's good, or God willing if it's great, that's a good thing. Let the money fade off and we'll duke it out in music: the spirit realm." Recently the reclusive Brattleboro-based songwriter and home-recorder offered another glimpse into his spirit realm with Hi, a 2009 full-length given its due by OSR Tapes. Plucked from a long backlog of unreleased work, this collection of guitar-voice songs draws from the peripheries of Weisman's style. Tracks like "Makachi" and "When The Cops Get Over The Town" are moments of madcap bliss illustrated by whimsical pitter-patter and droning fuzz, while gems like "50 Hikes" and "Wishbone Sun" are striking in their simplicity and dedication to melody. These traits coexist on "Lake Of Fire," a glowing ballad, rich with chromatic harmonies that allude to Weisman's training as a free-jazz musician. Wether eliciting a smile or a tear, Chris Weisman is committed to a vision, inviting listeners to immerse themselves his provincial diorama and find wonder in the otherwise ordinary.
Hi is available now through OSR Tapes. Chris Weisman's first solo performance in NYC is a free show, April 10th at the NYU Kimmel Center with The Hartley C. White Project.
Hellier Ulysses is part of an exploding Atlanta scene that's incubated a new generation of avant-rock acts like Warehouse, Faun And A Pan Flute, and Red Sea (with whom Hellier Ulysses share members). The economy of their songs, averaging less than two minutes, coupled with their thematic disjunction and tight execution jarred me as I devoured their debut self-titled EP. Now they're back with Prime Example, a new tape slated for release on Blanche Blanche Blanche's Zach Phillips' label OSR. The title of "Genesis is Dispersion" references a lecture by poet Fred Moten on recently deceased, self-taught Alabama artist Thornton Dial, whose work often incorporated found objects which he arranged into abstract statements about the contemporary African-American experience. Like Dial positioning driftwood and bone on canvas, Hellier Ulysses build their sound out of the rubble of desperate elements as abstract musical ideas are jump-cut together, becoming hyper-active sonic pastiches that testify to the frustration facing artists searching for new modes of musical expression within well-established forms.
Prime Example is out March 15th on OSR Tapes.
In its recent batch of new releases, Brooklyn-based label OSR Tapes is giving a fresh vinyl lifespan to the Monet In The 90s LP that Brattleboro pop savant Chris Weisman first recorded and released back in 2008. The album artwork features doodled figures, the swirling sketchiness of which is reminiscent of Saul Steinberg’s Art of Living output. I mention Steinberg because both he and Weisman seem to approach their respective media with a delighted, childlike wonder. The earnest chord progression on "Working On My Skateboarding" is a callback to the pubescent days of beer and Skittles, capturing a sense of spontaneity that is also at the foundation of any evocative pop songwriting.
Monet in the 90s is out now via OSR Tapes.
Zach Phillips' experimentation with melodic structure has taken form in several projects over the past few years, perhaps most notably in the controlled yet chaotic music of Blanche Blanche Blanche, whose final LP Hints to Pilgrims will be released next month on his label, OSR Tapes. Phillips recently put out a solo album titled New Cartoons that includes 22 tracks, most of which are under 1-minute in length. To attempt a succinct description of this record would reduce what is a complex synthesis of sweetness and dissonance; a totality guided primarily by a unique expressive mode. It might just be better to listen to it for yourself.
Stream Phillips' New Cartoons below. It can be purchased via Gnar Tapes.
Last week, Zach Phillips' OSR Tapes imprint announced a whole bunch of exciting new projects, which include: a 110-minute long Blanche Blanche Blanche tape called "Termite Music", an album from Phillip's and Quentin Moore's rock group Heat Wilson, and a tape of Phillips' solo work recorded on a Tascam 8-track and released by Portland, Oregon label Gnar Tapes. And then, there is Phillip's new band with Christina Schneider, CE Schneider Topical, who have shared a couple new home-brewed tracks and videos, one of which Phillips introduces on the label's Facebook page saying: "I know music is over & we're all asleep, major dust in every corner, but hear ye wasteland crawlers, check out this new radical thing we did." We second this advice.
We really like this CE Schneider Topical song, "Growing Back (Mix 2)." The video was made by Christina Schneider. Watch and listen below. Head over to OSR Tapes for more info on upcoming releases.
Big French, the project of New York-based Quinton Moore, is yet another cross-roads project for the extended OSR family. Moore plays with Great Valley member Jo-Miller Gamble (on drums) and keyboard whizz//Blanche Blanche Blanche member Zach Phillips (whose Recorded in Heaven was one of our favorites.) The contributions are immediately apparent on the frenetic cut "Payback," where Phillips' idiosyncratic melodi-pop oozes each synth chord played. However fascinating Phillips' contributions are, they take a backseat to the squalling and manic guitar workout that Moore delivers. The one-two punch results in a feeling equivalent to rocking out too hard to Royal Trux while watching workplace-instructional films. The video, by Phillips, parralells the song as cars drive down surburban streets in a mélange of tape-induced colors and transparent images.
Big French's debut Downtown Runnin' is out July 23 via Wharf Cat Records.