Saturday, July 25, 2009

holy shit, i'm alive?

hi all. yep, it's true. i'm still here. been a while, no? anyhoo, i think i'll give you something nice now since you've all been sooooooooooooo patient (i think?)

so... this is a big one. as you may know, i am a big fan of all things finnish, especially droney folky musicy stuff. this here is a 3 cd collection of tracks from the mysterious and smokey artist Uton. three cds are a lot to cover here, so imma gonna let mr. brad rose do the talking about this one.

"Where to begin with a 3 CD set of one of my favorite artists around... that's not easy. Last Visible Dog's massive "Whispers From the Woods" set is an essential, monolithic look at one of the most underappreciated artists in the sprawling Finnish scene. This release compiles many of Uton's (aka Jani Hirvonen) essential, but out-of-print, releases along with some bonus unreleasted material. It's a huge set, but for those who haven't yet experienced the forest spirit that is Uton, this is the best possible place to start.

The best disc here is the first, just because it finally gives Uton's essential "T?m?n Sanan J?lkeen" CD-R (originally released on Hirvonen's own, now defunct, Haamumaa imprint) the proper reissue it deserves. This densely textured album is the aural emergence of the first primeval woods centuries ago. This music has an old soul and Uton's use of dark electronics in conjunction with acoustic instrumentation is nothing short of spectacular. This is a wholly satisfying release, combining all the elements that makes the Finnish underground so great.

Also of note is the long out-of-print CD-R on the Jewelled Antler label, "Ay Um Au Lam." This seven-song release was Uton's most impressive foray into minimal droneworks. Hirvonen never overwhelms you with the electronic tones on "Ay Um Au Lam." He knows when to hold back and let the listener's imagination fill in any gaps or cracks that he leaves out. It's an underrated skill, but is used to perfection on this album. "Ay Um Au Lam" is the logical precursor to what is my favorite Uton release to date, "The August Light." Where that release had rich, organic threads weaving through it, like it was the modern music of the magic woods, "Ay Um Au Lam" is more primitive. It's the primordial soup that all life emerged from. In this simple state, this is pure beauty.

The other releases on "Whispers >From the Woods" expand on these various themes and offer a deep insight to Uton's modus operandi. The more noisy and abrasive "Mik? Kasvaa Maan Sis?ll?" (from the noise label Hammasratas in 2003) has an almost childlike feel to it, like a baby learning to finally walk. And there's the underrated 3" from 267 Lattajjaa, "Buddhamania," that is like the same moments from "Mik?," but from the perspective of a concerned, yet proud, parent. It's full of anticipation and fear. This is simply an awesome collection by a wonderfully talented artist.

Uton should be mentioned in the same breath as all the better known acts from Finland. Sure, popularity or recognition means squat these days, but in the end, more people need to hear these excellent compositions. Jani Hirvonen knows what he's doing and does it very, very well. "Whispers From the Woods" is essential for fans of Uton and those who have yet to discover his brilliance. 9/10 -- Brad Rose (25 July, 2005)" - from the Foxy Digitalis page.

huge release for sure, get this while it's hot.

Uton - Whispers From The Woods

cd 1:

cd 2:

cd 3:

Friday, April 10, 2009

the harmony of the spheres is in the spheres themselves

kind of more like harmony of the circles (get it? records aren't spheres? get it?) released in 1996 on the awesome drunken fish label as a triple lp boxset with one of the more beautiful booklets i've ever seen (i wish i had scans, i've searched for them. acetate, cardstock, and spot varnish everywhere, not to mention awesome blurbs and partial discographies of all the bands. way well done!) this is like the space-drone who's who of the mid nineties. three lps, beautiful box and book, and a hell of a line-up. one side each by flying saucer attack, jessamine, loren mazzacane conners, bardo pond, charalambides, and roy montgomery. this is a really huge comp, and really really really well done. tough for me to give it the full review job, just know that the flying saucer side is awesome (duh, right?), the bardo pond side is stoned ass meanderings that aren't boring for a change, this is some of the best loren connors stuff, the only better jessamine are either the first lp or the triple 7", charalambides were coming off of the houston lp (i think, it was around there) and it's beautiful, and roy montgomery really can do no wrong. if you have not heard this monumental and wonderful compilation, then do yourself the biggest favor you have done in a while and get it now!

Harmony of the Spheres boxset:
part one:
part two:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

sorry for the lack of posts.

internet access around here has been shady to say the least. i'm planning on making a few updates this weekend, so stay perked cause this shit is gonna be howt.

on that note, here's to 1993.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

throw up in the sky!

Ashtray Navigations is/are a project of one Phil Todd and his friends when he feels like incorporating them, playing with the likes of Alex Neilson, Neil Campbell, and Ben Reynolds. he crafts a style of drone music that stays very close to the grounds his contemporaries do, but it stays strictly unique and his own. coming from a noisier side of things (think west coast noise bands like Noggin or yellow swans (even though they aren't similar really)), but still sticking to the drone, he crafts lush fields of drone that are spacious and immense, with loads of little details that keep shifting in and out. very dynamic for drone, and usually the quality control is on "high."

this is his Qbico album "Throw Up In The Sky / With Fine Clinking Magnets." two shimmering pieces of processed guitar and tapes and other such jingle-jangle. i like this record a lot, it sounds awesome at 33 or 45.

just ripped at 33 though. sorry.

Ashtray Navigations - Throw Up In The Sky / With Fine Clinking Magnets

Monday, March 2, 2009

get slap happy, humphrey.

Slap Happy Humphrey were an interesting little idea of a band from japan. they played covers of songs by japanese folk singer Morita Doji, but they didn't do just straight up covers. they took the songs, and played them as straight as they could except for the inclusion of hyper-distorted ultra-destruction guitar that comes in and makes noise more than solos every once in a while. it's incredible how it comes off, the juxtaposition of harsh guitar noise and the crystalline voice of Mineko Itakura (also singer for Angel In Heavy Syrup). it works quite well, though the entire album is a tough one to sit through at once. there is, however, a standout track entitled Chiheisen (which also was the single released for this album) that is staggering.

this cd is a tough one to find. the band forgot to get permission to do these songs from Morita Doji, so she threatened to sue them unless they stopped selling the cds. so they did. sucks.

Slap Happy Humphrey - S/T

heat, birds, and jewelled antlers

here's the other Jewelled Antler Collective compilation entitled "Heat and Birds." this one is a bit different than the other comp. firstly, there are bands on here outside of the immediate Jewelled Antler family of members, before this the label had been pretty much solidly only side projects and friends bands. now it had grown to encapsulate bands of a similar spirit and global friends. the lineup is awesome. my two favorites are the MCMS track and, of course, the Golden Hotel track, but really there are no stinkers here, though it is a much slower and droneier affair than the other comp. lots more to do with feild recordings. very peaceful, really.

Track Duration
1 Jewelled Antler Collective - 'heat and birds'...and frogs 2:15
2 Hala Strana - Kanasztancok Ket Hegedun 3:02
3 The Floating Birthday Children - Swan On A Black Lake 1:30
4 The Muons - Little Star 3:51
5 Of - Aerial Cisterns 4:12
6 Kemialliset Ystävät - Juurakkotukka 2:49
7 The Blithe Sons & Daughters - Death In The Woods 3:01
8 Dead Raven Choir - Red Rocking Chair 3:28
9 Markus - King Of Black Leaves 2:35
10 Byram Abbott - 'doves rehabilitating at fort cronkhite, 2001' 1:01
11 The Family Of Apostolic - Mabel's Umbrage 3:52
12 The Franciscan Hobbies - The Horned Ibexes 3:21
13 Avarus - Hessu Se Tässä Vann, Ei Mikki 1:58
14 Golden Hotel - The Blame 1:38
15 MCMS - Live In Brooklyn, 8-24-2002 8:23
16 Thuja - Opaque Reeds 8:23
17 Yasmomati-Nandana - Gill's Pier, 6am, 07-07-2002 Krsna Meditation 14:27

hop on pop.

Jewelled Antler Collective - V/A - Heat and Birds

Friday, February 20, 2009

old habits are hard to kick. so is Vibracathedral Orchestra

here's their double lp that i think the band released themselves (there's no label listed at least) and this one is a free-form doozy. loads of skittering and skattering of random percussion, strings, and keyboards going on underneath the layers upon layers of buzzed out, stoned up, messed around, and faded guitars that shimmer in and out when necessary, but mostly just occupy a drone space to set the mood of the track. this is the orchestra really letting loose and bouncing ideas off each other in a way that is playful but still retaining the overall feel that any of their albums holds, drones that you just want to give yourself to and fade into as they fade you out of this world.

i think this is one of the better of this band's cannon of albums. a bunch of minds on tape. truly exceptional.

Vibracathedral Orchestra - Double lp
(link removed cause i'm a dumbass.)