Tired Trails sent over a big fatty of a package containing 7 tapes, all in handmade fabric enclosures. The first tape I popped in was The Mind of Christ by Odawas because it was a soundtrack for a short film that played Cannes Independent Film Festival last year. Not sure if it's associated with the regular old Cannes Festival or not but it is actually in Cannes so that's pretty cool. My favorite track on the tape is "Mariner's Hymn" as it's full of epic spaciness, you could throw it on as an alternate soundtrack for For All Mankind if you wanted. The aforementioned film, Kill Yr TV by Neil Blakemore is embedded below. Elsewhere in the package is a noisy tape by Endometrium Cuntplow (what in the fuck is an endometrium cuntplow?) and On Growth in Form by Endless Endless Endless which delivers some really nice grooving, synth-drones. Besides, who could dislike anyone who looks as friendly as these guys do. I'm halfway through the Tired Trails stack and I gotta say the gorgeous warbles emanating from The Death of Kung Fu by The Diamond Family Archive (pictured) is absolutely top of the pile at this point. It's a lo-fi backwoods folk trip on the first side gradually morphing into some beautiful droning compositions on the second side. Wonderful stuff. I'll finish the rest of the pile in the next rotation.
The other night, I saw Davy from Weird Forest play in his killer guitar/sax/synth combo with Matt Kretzmann, eloquently christened Garrincha & the Stolen Elk, recently reviewed by yours truly. (By the way, that Stunned tape is the entirety of available recordings of the former 4-man line-up so I suggest you hop on that while you can.) Anyway, Davy, incredibly kind gent that he is bestowed upon me 3 double LPs Weird Forest dropped last year.
I'm obsessed with this incredible head scratcher, Rain in England by Berkeley-based, recently death-threatened emcee Lil B. Relentlessly serene, the the double LP features B rapping in free verse over drifting new-age synth pads. It's hip hop without beats, without hooks just set adrift. His voice sounds like a combo of Lil Wayne, Sensational and Prince; his flow is harder to pin down but it has the elasticity of Vast Aire on the The Cold Vein. This really is a record. Each track sounds more or less like the last but as a whole, it's entirely engaging, perhaps even a little addictive, over all four sides. I am gonna be doing a lot more listening to this. DJ Yo-Yo Dieting (Portlander Pat Maher a.k.a. Glamorous Pat, Sisprum Vish, Indignant Senility et al.) billed even more awesomely here as Expressway Yo-Yo Dieting also decimates hip hop convention in an entirely different way on Bubblethug. Unlike the Lil B record this one is bristling with groovin' beats. The bad ass abstraction at play here comes from the seriously complex chopping and screwing going down. The best thing about this record is it still is a hip-hop/DJ record at its core; you scrape away all the cough syrup residue and aural vomit and you have some sickass catchy beats and melodies throbbing underneath. I get up multiple times to dance over the course of the thing. It's incredible that Maher retained the essence of the source material while rendering it completely unrecognizable. Still not sure how he pulled it off, will listen more for clues. Damn fine work, damn fine.
The last of the three records is a 10th Anniversary gatefold reissue of Afternoon Tea (which I'd never heard until now) by the one-off supergroup of Oren Ambarchi and Keith Rowe on guitar, and Christian Fennesz, Peter Rehberg and Paul Gough a.k.a. Pimmon on computer. Over the course of the incredibly dynamic recording guitars clank, rumble and drone processed by digital tones, oscillations and plenty o' crackle. Perhaps the most attractive quality of the record to m is it delves masterfully into deep, deep zones but the quintet keeps everything rough; the set is fluid but most definitely not a smooth ride. So much of the time music created with heavy use of computer ends up devoid of texture--this is an instance where the absolute opposite is true. Though since this album employs software circa 2000, maybe them computers back in the day were a lot more raw and instinctual.
In addition to the original afternoon Tea recordings, there is a second LP with a fairly short remix Fennesz did and two live recordings from the What is Music? festival, performed on the evening of the Afternoon Tea sessions. The "evening tea" sessions are pretty much just as essential so it's great to have them included here. Heavy and hardy recommendations to each of these records, each one tickles a different fancy but they are equally stellar.