Sunday, August 23, 2009

Animal Collective - here comes the indian (2003)

It seems funny now, when considering the kind of stature they enjoy today amongst the indie community, how uncompromising the Animal Collective used to be. "Native Belle", a direct continuation of the spirit of Danse Manatee (their masterpiece), was an even more abstract tribal chant amidst a jungle ambience. "Hey Light" went further beyond, basically a flat-out free-form acid-trip, and ditto for the 12-minute "Two Sails On A Sound".

In "Infant Dressing Table", the musique concrète sampling turned to a mechanical chant. In "Panic", it was the reverse, it was the tribal chanting that formed a musique concrète ballet. After such excruciating dadaist environments, the hyperactive pop oddity "Slippi" came as some sort of relief, and felt like a cover of The Trashmen' "Surfin' Bird", paving the way for the fluid defunct chirping of "Too Soon". Get it here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tuxedomoon - joeboy in mexico (1998)

Tuxedomoon had another partial reunion in 1998 (Brown and Principle) with the release of Joeboy in Mexico, and to their credit, this sounds closer to the post-rock generation than to new-wave revival. The industrial/ jazz/ ethnic collages "Door", "Viaje En La Sierra Madre", "Les Six", "Bitter Bark", "Hindi Loop" etc have something of the expanded noise jams of Jackie-O Motherfucker, or the disjointed elements of some Legendary Pink Dots works. It's rare that jam-based music can be successful, but this makes the grade, despite a few tracks ("Zombie Paradise 1") being overlong and slightly unfocused. Get it here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Angels Of Light - everything is good here / please come home (2003)

Having exorcised himself from the tension of the Swans, Michael Gira reinvented himself as a folk-shaman that turned to mysticism and religion for inspiration, as evidenced by "Palisades", a mystical folk/gospel that went back to Buffy Sainte Marie's Illuminations as a point of reference. The obsessive, almost delirious boogie/ hymn "All Souls' Rising", viewed the other side of the same shape, whereupon Gira recaptured some of the Swans' frenzy, but the gentle psychedelic raga serenade "Kosinski" retreated back to a delicate emotional balance.

The solemn folk lullaby "The Family God" grew more vibrant, eventually radiating a spiritual choral grandeur, but "Rose Of Los Angeles" freaked out, in what was essentially a devilish folk-dance ceremony. Clearly Gira was not freed from all his demons yet. His mystical folk acquired it's most spiritual guise yet in "Sunset Park", a folk chant which rotated like a nebulae until it ascended to a heaven-like trance. "Wedding" was the dizzy aftermath of this vision, but still acknowledging the existence of the mystical forces that exist around us. "What Will Come" was a much more somber aftermath, a mournful stream of metaphysical ambience that had no other way to go but to keep recycling itself in cul-de-sac tension. Get it here.