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Published: 2009/01/14
by Jesse Jarnow

Indie Weirdo Round Up – Bird Show, Stag Here, DJ Olive, Yeti, v. 6, Chris Watson

Indie Weirdo Round-Up

Bird Show – Bird Show (Kranky)

Post-concrete songwriting makes Ben Vida’s project a series of drone-like constructions and semi-tribal rhythms interspersed with the occasional verse. "Clouds and Their Shadows" is a song, sure, but the words come and go almost as ambience, between gentle interruptions and builds: fluttering water giving way to chimes, stereo-panned insects that melt into synth washes, and turn into gentle gongs before Vida’s voice arrives in slow motion. All are equally unpredictable. Some fail (the maybe too New Agey "Pan Pipe Ensemble and Voice"), many more are drippingly trippy ("Green Vines").

Black Medicine Music – Stag Hare (A. Star)

Slowly unfolding, crystalline drone psychedelia. Not for everybody, and not for all occasions, but Stag Hare's indie-ragas bring a world of Indian classical music back to the top of the conversation. Though there are some slightly draining tabla breaks and electro-harmonies ("Holy Quinn"), most of the five-song/40-minute disc is given to rich bell parties ("Yert Yah Matreearchy") and Milky Way swirls ("Crystal Dust Dream"). A solid chill-out.

Triage – DJ Olive (Room)

A quiet listening environment is a must for this hour-long ambient piece by the New York illbient master. It even says so right there on the package. Headphones help, too, as a rolling fog of synth-drone reveals itself to be an infinitely textured landscape filled with ominous growls, distantly flickering trills, rolling bells, vast canyons, cloud swells, prepared piano, winds, farts, whistles, and more synth-drone. For ambient music, it's powerfully ADD. But for listeners who like to fall asleep while listening to music on headphones, Triage is perhaps the greatest album ever recorded.

Yeti, v. 6 – various artists (Yeti Publishing)

The always-essential companion disc to the always-essential music/lit Portland quarterly doesn't disappoint. Rare tracks from DIY staples the Clean and the Sun City Girls (including a cut from Alan and Richard Bishop's recent Brothers Unconnected tour), a deliriously saturated take of Times New Viking covering the Clean’s "Anything Could Happen" (recorded on cassette?), Frankie Rose’s demo for the Vivian Girls’ perfect "Where Do You Run To?", and—of course—some vintage gospel-blues (The Dixon Brothers, Grant & Ella) from the collection of editor Mike McGonnigal.

Cima Verde – Chris Watson (Fondazione Edmund Mach and LoL Productions)

Totally blissed out field recordings. Birds, water, and the long, low rumbles of the Earth make Cima Verde a useful acoustic/ecological respite from everything else this side of the new Buddha Machine. Watson’s made a career of landscape sonics, and these entries from idyllic Italian mountainsides are richly framed compositions. Layers of chirps, winds, and other drones work their way together. Deep listening is great. Passive listening, well, it’s fun to dig dense birdsong on a crowded train.

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