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The Long Decline #11

When this column is finally published, we'll be but a week or so away from the kick-off of the World Cup. Suffice to say, I'm fucken stoked. Obviously I root for the US, but I never expect they'll win it in my lifetime. I do think they've got as good a shot to get out of the group stages as they've had recently. I just hope they fucken beat England (sorry guys) and that fuck Wayne Rooney gets a straight red just for being such a dbag. But alas, these things won't likely happen. I also, obviously, love the Dutch and am hoping for a big tournament from the Oranje but especially Robin Van Persie who is the object of one of my serious man-crushes (the other being Michael Essien who is, sadly, hurt). So yeah, World Cup Fever is in full-effect here at Digi HQ. Eden & I will be spending countless hours in front of the TV watching footie while folding tape and record covers, assembling packages, etc. Good times indeed.
 

Summer is in full-bloom (first 100+ degree day this weekend!) so lots of beer and, more importantly, lots of time to blast through some new tapes:

Lace Bows "Glitter Pulse" (Cubic Pyramid)

I'm still not quite sure how I ended up the myspace page of Lace Bows some months ago, but I know that I am better for it. áI will admit that I know very little about this project (though he/she is based in Portugal, if I've done my homework) though I've had a few exchanged emails with the person responsible, but all that being said - this is a glorious, tripped-up ride through crunchy guitar fields and synthetic drips. áThe label description aptly mentions "gamelan-like textures." áA real WTF until you hear it... swimming under tremolo'd to the moon guitars is a river of flowing sonics that I can't figure out. áAT ALL. áBUT "gamelan-like" is spot-on. áSeriously mind-blowing and perfect for the heat of summer. áProcessed field recordings of children singing stretched to death and drowned in echoing shimmer adds some excellent organics, just in time to send synthesizer sequences into outer space. áI am in love with this.

Reuben Son "Sensual Square" (Private Chronology)

No doubt about it, the Cambridge Mass-based Reuben Son is one of 2010 biggest and best surprises. áOn his first tape (last year's "Glowing Departure"), Son flirted with acoustic elements and organic textures (and did so with aplomb). áBut with "Sensual Square," we're already going to the next level. áDecaying heaps of overblown madness are totally removed from his first effort. áSon pummels his guitar into submission, crashing wave after wave of tape manipulation on top so that all you can hear is a sadistic mass of aural damage. áSide B soaks up the flutter and gets totally melodic. áMore picked guitar action but still constantly shifting under layer-upon-layer of tape hell. áIt's like a lone troubador playing on until the end as a the storm of the century brews outside. áTotally cryptic and totally magnificent. áReuben Son is on a fucken roll.

Solars "Mist" (Prairie Fire)

Solid slab of grey-glacial drones from this Vancouver project. áSurface-wise, this is all slow bones and bleak but if you dig deeper, crank it up loud and let the tones wrap around your face - it gets DEEP. áThere's some seriously understated melodies happening in total contrast to the obvious. áBy the end of the a-side, you are almost ecastatic. áReally quite watery and beautiful. áThe flip side is too short but cements Solars as the real deal. áBarely-there tribal stomp and cabe-laden acoustic guitars throw themselves on the pyre, ready to be overtaken by more glacial whir... reminds me quite a bit of some cross between Barn Owl and Cursillistas' last stand. áHello Canada.

Basked Unit "Nexus Hexus" (House of Sun)

We're not leaving Canada yet, folks.... you've got to get a grip of bliss before you go and the new duo of Michael Pouw (aka Knit Prism) and Scott Johnson (aka Thoughts on Air, Hunting Rituals, etc) are happy to provide it for you. áBacked by a field recording of singing birds, Pouw and Johnson unleash the hypnotic beauty from the get-go. áDelicate guitar tones etch out forgotten lovers names in rose petals, trying hard to keep the tears at bay. áThere's something totally beautiful and heartbreaking about the sporadic sounds the two mutate. áPlaying off each other, the pieces come together like crystal candy. áHaunting stuff. áRain clouds and decay move in on the flip - there's something ominous just off in the distance coming at you so slow that it might not be real. áGuitar shards echo like discarded dust while Pouw's electronics churn methodically underneath. áElements of tape flutter and other forms of subtle manipulation add to an already excellent set of recordings. áBasked Unit may only be making their debut here, but trust me when I say there's a lot more greatness yet to come.

Red Electric Rainbow "Poltergeist" (Neon Blossom)

My affinity for Dan Smith's Red Electric Rainbow guise is probably pretty obvious, so when I say that "Poltergeist" is some of the absolute best work he's done it's for good reason. áTotally blissed-out new age vibes hit you like the first morning light. áParadise pads send the whole thing into overdrive. áIt's total syrupy goodness. áMelodic and hypnotic all housed inside a frosted-pink bubble. áThe thing that makes Red Electric Rainbow so good, to me, though is that it's not just another of the many 'nu age' synth projects showing up lately (and don't get me wrong, there's a bunch of great ones). áWhile Smith's compositions may start in familiar territory, there's murk and depth to the proceedings that help set it apart. áAdd in various samples and field recordings and it's music that, while obviously _serious music_, doesn't take itself _too serious_, if you get what I mean. áAt times this feels a lot heavier, more depressed than his other efforts. áThere are conflicted emotions finding their way through the synthesis, leaving a multi-colored trail in their wake. áAnd if that's not enough. these are dubbed on totally awesome pink tapes that I am obsessed with. áGreat art too.

Perispirit & Brendan Murray s/t (Semata)

This tape is the natural next step after the absolutely stellar split LP these two shared earlier in the year. áPerispirit has never failed to impress (their recent Hospital tape being a real high point) and Murray's track record speaks for itself. áOftentimes when collaborations like this happen (i.e. ones that look awesome on paper), the results can be underwhelming. áLuckily, this is not the case here. áThe first side was compiled via mail while the flip is a live, unprocessed recording. áThe two are quite different, but when paired together paint an entire, exquisite portrait. áSlow moving signals cross wires and stare straight into the sun. áGuitar echoes and electronic, subharmonics blast back & forth before settling in for the night, edging closer and closer to the edge of melody. áIt all falls apart on the live recording in the best possible way. áNaked waves of guitar drones shatter like they've been frozen in liquid nitrogen reaching its eventual climax under the weight of sonic detritus. áIn a time when 'drone' is being done to death you are unlikely to find anyone doing it better than this (sold-out from the label, but head on over to MMS).

Goodwillies/Theo Angell split (Ikuisuus)

A split that was a long-time coming and really needed to happen. áThis tape is totally fucken epic. áNinety minutes, 45 from each - holy shit. áGoodwillies are all over the map like I hoped and expected. áSkronk freakouts of the highest order devolve into space-race exercises that flutter in the grass. áCreeping pop melodies that all feels like it was born in a carnival house of mirrors flirt with kraut-y destinations but spurn them in favor of no wave minimal horror. áI still obsess over the "Greenmachines" tape of theirs I did years ago, but this is up there. áThere's so much to digest here, I'd have been happy with just the side alone. áBut we still have the mighty Angell to contend with and contend he does. áLofi minimalst creep that seems aimless and confused until you've sat through the entire episode and realize that this is Theo Angell's dreamstate. áThese are the falling-apart halls where the master dwells. áIt feels so hopeless and burned-out, desolate to a fault. áBut that's why it works, especially paired with Goodwillies' "Revenant Sun." áHe is the darkness, they are the light. áGet on the bus.


SHORTIES

Vom Grill's "Meditatie Kassette" on Trilogy Tapes is completely fucked-up... weird moaning and minimal electronics make the world go round. áKiller art (as expected) from the TT crew. áWhile in Chicago, got a stack of great Irma Vep tapes from Madalyn Merkey... one of my faves is her "Goddess of the Horizon" tape. áSluicy tape loops rumble along drunkenly toward a blue horizon with zonked casio ambience and drum machine catharsis. áPretty fucking brilliant. áI'm a little obsessed with Eggy Tapes, the label run by Polyp & Golden Hour-er, Raf Spielman. áThis new jam by Street Gnar is helping push that along. áPop breezes that stick in your skull like bubblegum in your summer hair. áI need more of this in my life. áPerfect summer tape. áFrom Canada (again!) comes the awesome Sundrips duo. áAptly named, their cosmic sonics feel totally liquid and on fire. áThey've got a few self-released live jams and "Basejumping at Cliff Clavin" not only has an amazing title, but floats divine and sends you on a dreamquest. áGreat introduction to a very promising group. áWe get a lot of promos from the Beach House label and for that I am thankful... really seems to be an underappreciated purveyor of killer tape sounds. áTwo recent ones that I especially dig are the Gaze "1" tape and the Slaughtering Dolphins/Night Burger split. áThe former is all over the place... synths and keyboards spurt out space dust like there's no tomorrow. áWeirdo drum loops drive forward aimlessly. áI have no idea what's happening here but I like it. áA lot. áSpace junk, hell yes. áThe split rules. áNight Burger blast off some caustic electronic headrushes and warped vocal creep complete with hypnotic rhythmic minimalism that will put you straight into a trance. áViolators need not apply. áSlaughtering Dolphins bring it full-on with an electronics binge-and-purge that will keep you static for ages. áNot exactly harsh but not easy listening either. áFlesh Coffin's name seems to give it all away... you have a pretty good idea what's coming when you put Andreas Brandahl's latest 2:00 AM Tapes release, "In the Woods," into the deck. áThings are totally bleak. áSounds like a tornado hitting a metal worker's studio with a billion pieces of steel caught in a massive blender. áIn other words - fucking great. áIt's not as harsh as it sounds - it's totally listenable and at a shade under 30 minutes, the perfect length. áWell done. áAnother new name to me is Foxdye. áWe ran a review of a recent album of theirs that made me real damn curious, so the "Close Hearts Over Far Hills" tape on Corpus Callosum was nice to see and it certainly lives up to expectations. áA little digging shows this to be the brainchild of Amina Kirby and based on this tape alone, I am totally hooked. áSeemingly sad rotary-infested ballads that are soupy in all the right ways. áGhost vocals and melodic keys fly you straight to the dunes. áReally, really good.


If you want to submit something for review specifically for this column, send it to the Foxy Digitalis address ATTN: Long Decline. I won't be able to get to everything, but I'll do what i can. thx.

 
-- Brad Rose (2 June, 2010)
Brad Rose started this fucken zine.
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