Sunday, December 30, 2007

Maquiladora - ritual of hearts (2002)

Maquiladora remain one of the best kept secrets of contemporary Americana, probably the most atmospheric and also one of the most emotional alternative-country outfits.

"The Secret" is a ghostly waltz worthy of the Black Heart Procession, while "Ritual Of Hearts" is a dreamy lullaby that weds the Cowboy Junkies and Mazzy Star, and then vanishes in an industrial whisper. The ghostly atmosphere reappears in "Heaven", which drapes the singer's evocation across a mirage of guitars, pianos and strings.

Another meditation, "Sweet After", takes the desert-rock of Calexico and gives it an eerie metaphysical dimension. In comparison, "I'm In Love" sounds much more traditional but no less tender. Then the brief vignette "A Vow" sounds like whispers carried in the wind through romantic ears, leading to "Sound Of Rain", half bittersweet hymn and half melancholy ballad.

The album reaches it's apex with the last 3 songs, featuring their best attempts at an otherwordly ambience. First, "Chinese Girl", which garnishes the intimate melody with an organ drone, fragile harmonicas, playful piano and a delicate beat. The mood that prevails is resigned melancholy. Then the anemic dirge "She's More Beautiful To Me" transforms this melancholy to an incorporeal entity, as if the soul is leaving the body after a long and painful journey. The journey then ends with "Static Hum", which is almost dream-pop and slowcore (Low crossed with Slowdive), with the blurry instrumentation clearing to reveal a sweet melody. Still, as this heavenly illusion fades into nothingness, a reprise of "The Secret" leads us back to where we started, back to the start of the circle.

Get it here.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christian Death - deathwish (1984)

Deathwish EP is in fact the first recording of Christian Death (from 1981), but it was only released in 1984 by French label L'invitation au Suicide.

"Deathwish", "Desperate Hell" and "Cavity" suggest psychedelia, distorted hard rock riffs, existential terror and a horrifying intensity. "Romeo's Distress" adds romantic elements to the recipe, "Dogs" displays doom synths and electronic effects, while "Spiritual Cramp" is a punk maelstrom.

The record demonstrates the formidable power of the first Christian Death line-up, and features excellent guitar & vocal work by Rikk Agnew (ex Adolescents) and Rozz Williams respectively.

Get it here.

Oh, and one more thing, merry Xmas from IAS. -)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lizzy Mercier Descloux - mambo nassau (1980)

Already hinted by the previous Press Color, Lizzy Mercier Descloux adopted the mutant-disco stance with Mambo Nassau, a hyper blend of energetic funk ("Slipped Disc"), bloated disco beats ("Funky Stuff"), Caribbean flair ("Lady O K'pele"), oriental ballet ("Sports Spootnicks"), and often presented as cubist reconstructions ("Payola") or feverish music-hall ("It's You Sort Of"). In short, another excellent album by Ze Records.

Get it here.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ludus - the seduction (1981)

Ludus bridged post-punk and the progressive jazz-rock of the 70s (think
Soft Machine).

"Unveiled" and "Herstory" (with a middle section made entirely of concrete sounds), are complex compositions that seem to be made of out 15 different songs, and also funky, danceable and raw.

In addition, "My Cherry Is In Sherry", "Inheritance" and "See The Keyhole" even incorporate lounge-jazz, punk-funk and synth-pop, while "Dynasty" is almost free-jazz vs classical sonata. Finally, "Mirror Mirror" and "Escape Artist" are more pop-orientated but still complex.

Get it here.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fred Frith - gravity (1980)

The new impetus for Fred Frith brings short experimental sketches exhibiting enormous variety.
Check the jazz-ethnic cacophony "The Boy Beats The Rams", the naive Canterbury melody "Spring Any Day Now", the hysterical Latin dance "Don't Cry For Me" (that ends as a vocal freak-out), the Middle-Eastern/ bolero/ electronic-jazz crossover "Hands Of The Juggler", the prog-jam "Norrgarden Nyvla", the acid guitar solo-ing "What A Dilemma", the smooth and yet unsettling jazz "Come Across", the surreal ditty sabotaged by electronic noise "Dancing In The Street", the Celtic folk-dance with dissonant outbursts "Career in Real Estate" etc.

A marvellous album.

Get it here.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pain Teens - destroy me, lover (1993)

Pain Teens released their best album with
Destroy Me Lover, an explosive fusion of the psychedelic rock of the 60s, urban garage rock, grunge, stoner-rock, industrial suffocation, destructive glam ("Tar Pit"), anthemic folk and power-pop ("RU 486" - with the raga guitar spiralling out of control), and dwelling in a paranoid atmosphere ranging from sinister ("Cool Your Power", "Lisa Knew"), hallucinogenic somnambulism ("Prowling"), bombastic music-hall ("Dominant Man"), industrial spy-soundtrack with hip-hop breaks ("Sexual Anorexia"), voodoo march ("Body Memory"), delirium tremens ("Shock Treatment") etc. The cover of Leonard Cohen's "Story Of Isaac" sounds paradisiac when compared to the rest of the sonic mayhem here.

Get it here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Paik - satin black (2004)

Criminally overlooked, Paik's
Satin Black is one of the best albums ever made. More than shoegazer, Satin Black depicts psychological landscapes. Kickstarting with the stellar ecstasis of "Jayne Field", "Dirt For Driver" suddenly brings a sense of unrest and turmoil. "Satin Black" then brings an uneasy balance between the ecstatic melody and the terrifying noise - culminating in a dizzying massacre. "Dizzy Stars" dives further into the void - this is the soundtrack of a mind ready to collapse, and the collapse comes with "Stellar Meltdown" - 15 minutes of paralyzing drone distortions.

The album is anything but ordinary. It's distortions are among the most colossal ever heard in shoegazing or beyond. It's sense of dynamics between melody, noise outbursts and inbetween is extraordinary. It's structure is metaphysical, alternating between states of cosmic ecstasis and personal apocalyptic turmoil.

Get it here.


OK, so why another music blog? Well, first of all because I can. -)

No, actually I meant to do this for a long time. I wouldn't have done it yet, cause I still can't rip vinyls, but a friend asked for some albums I owned on CD, so I thought I'd post them, even if I'm not fully prepared to do this.

I'm not going to post daily or anything like that. I really appreciate and I'm grateful for the work some other bloggers do, but how they keep up with it is beyond me. But I'll try to to do a few updates a month at least.