Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue

Reviews > CDs

Published: 2009/02/17
by Jesse Jarnow

Pleasant Obsolescence – Black Moth Super Rainbow, Secret Machines, Sun Circle, Talibam!/Wasteland Jazz Unit, Towering Heroic Dudes

Pleasant Obsolescence: Non-Digital Music

Don’t You Want To Be In A Cult/Feel the Drip 12-inch picture-disc – Black Moth Super Rainbow (Mexican Summer)

It's hard to say which is the A-side and which is the B-side of Black Moth Super Rainbow's new 12-inch/1000-copy picture-disc on Mexican Summer. Like, you can't tell which is which unless you hold it up to the light and squint at the etchings in the run-off grooves. But that's cool. And even though the lovely illustration of a mutant eating corn has no bearing on the Pennsylvania outfit's post-Boards of Canada psych grooves, it's still pretty fun to look at. Musically, too, it's a bit tough to tell. On one side ("Feel the Drip," maybe?) vaguely minimalist organ figures turn over on themselves until a downtempo beat rides in with a few dozen slow-motion neon/laser/synth blasts. On the flip ("Don't You Want To Be In A Cult," purr-haps?) a vocodor melody melts into harpsichord. The flute might be a little much, but the strange atmosphere floating just behind each harpsichord strike is tantalizingly deep.

My Morning Jackoff cassette – Towering Heroic Dudes (Abandon Ship)

The cassette-only releases in Abandon Ship's prolific small press CD-R/tape catalogue are especially beguiling, long abstract pieces that come unlinked to outside reference points. No way to know which track one is playing for sure without rewinding, starting at the beginning, and keeping track. Like other acts on the roster, label head Nate Rulli's Towering Heroic Dudes offer no clues, just stretching, subsonic guitar/noise/drone jams. Side one, three shorter cuts, is more articulated, layers of feedback almost separable into voices. Side two, just labeled "Live at Math Bills" is particularly gnarly, the compressed crunch of the lo-fi recording churning out a particular warmth that could never come from an mp3, could never be co-opted, because the mechanism is built right in. Turn it up loud enough and you can even hear it, whirring away peacefully. And, of course, brilliant tape name.

Dreaming of Dreaming/Daylight It Won’t Be Long 12-inch – The Secret Machines (World’s Fair)

On the Secret Machines Dreaming of Dreaming, out now on honey-marbled vinyl, the New York psych trio never let their guitar-drenched tunes loose from its backbeat. On "Dreaming of Dreaming," they move gradually from verses towards chaos, which turns out to be just a drum turnaround and some guitar feedback. "The L.A. sky has faded out the stars, it’s easy not to see these kinds of things," they sing on "Daylight, It Won’t Be Long," the flip. "This is where the world divides in two." It’s hard to say which side the Secret Machines fall on, their need for order overtaking occasional moves into space. The drums disappear for a moment, the stars swell, and the trio almost escapes. But then come melodramatic drum fills far too epic for the distance traveled. Nice little trip, anyway.

self-titled 12-inch – Sun Circle (Lichen)

Two extended drone-outs from Burlington experimenter Greg Davis and Ann Arbor, uh, experimenter Zach Wallace, first issued in a 125-disc CD-R pressing, now on slightly-less-limited vinyl. Side A is dense and long, distorted voices echoing over feedback, like spools of dark yarn. It is impressive, then, that side B is even spacier: long stretches of silence punctuated by clusters of bells and gongs. And that's pretty much it for 20 minutes. Doesn't come with a mantra, but that—or something else to help a listener zone out with the music—is definitely recommended. Though, if Sun Circle sounds like your kind of music, you probably have a mantra already, anyway.

Ecstatic Jazz Duos 12-inch – Talibam!/Wasteland Jazz Unit (Thor's Rubber Hammer)
It takes a moment for noise-obsessed jazz duo Talibam! to work up to speed on "The Geometric Mophometrics of P.P.P.P.P. McNasticals," their contribution to a split 12-inch with Wasteland Jazz Unit. But, by a quarter-way through, keyboardist Matt Mottel and drummer Kevin Shea are firing on most cylinders. Ultimately, the pair is retarded as ever, arriving in half-rapped surrealities, and dropping into deeper-then-ever weirdness. It's chaotic, no doubt, but the quieter first improv sets a good picture of their dynamic, though the three-part structure doesn't always hold together. On the flip, the Wasteland Jazz Unit—Jon Lerenz on saxophone and John Rich on clarinet—turn in a woodwind version of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, droning at full blast through "Termite Prayer" and "Cicada Sermon."

Show 0 Comments