Wednesday, June 24, 2009

United Bible Studies CD Out Now!

Time to catch up with a lot of news, starting with this release.

It's been a while since we've had something new to offer our fine customer base, so we're glad it's a very special release, close to our hearts, and hopefully, very soon, yours. This won't be in the shops for a month or so yet, but for mailing list and web customers, it's available right now.

Artist: United Bible Studies
Title: The Jonah
Cat No: CAM084CD, 10 tracks, 49:49 mins approx

About the band:

Originally formed in Ireland as a duo with an unhealthy desire to emulate the Incredible String Band, UBS quickly evolved into a collective and laid the groundwork for the Deserted Village label and associated activities. Since their formation in winter 2001 they have played and recorded sporadically-never settling on one recording method, or on one line-up. Previous CD "The Shore that Fears the Sea" showed a love of the unadorned beauty of Shirley Collins, Anne Briggs and Vashti Bunyan, Current 93 and Coil.

Live shows throughout Ireland and Britain and most recently the USA (Including Terrastock '08) have seen them wildly improvise with up to twelve members, or play straight trad as a trio. Standard rock instrumentation is bolstered with theremins, fretless banjos, accordions, bugles... whatever comes to hand... Their philosophy is that all paths are equal, all approaches relevant. Members have sometimes met on stage for the first time.

Though inspired by Irish folk, UBS have always seen themselves in a global context. They've had a slew of releases on microlabels across the planet and have invited many like-minded artists to tour Ireland with them including Avarus, Fursaxa, Corsano/Flaherty, Black Forest/Black Sea, Circle, Sunburned Hand of the Man and Josephine Foster. "The Jonah" is their third formal studio album, after "Stations of the Sun, Transits of the Moon", and "Shore…", and the first to garner international release.

About the release:

Camera Obscura is proud to be able to present to the world the follow-up to the band's masterful "The Shore That Fears the Sea" (Deserted Village 2006), and it's a cornucopia of sonic delights, traversing the spectrum from delicate folk to sprawling progressive rock.

The album title is a reference to the James Herbert novel where a "Jonah" is a cursed person who brings bad luck everywhere, and is also the title of the 16 minute avant/progressive folk suite that forms the record's centerpiece. Richard Youngs' progressive rock project Ilk provided the impetus for the band to make a "Prog Album" (which was the working title) so they started with the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink opus "The Jonah". It was the first track recorded for this album during a two week burst of industry and creativity when the band locked themselves away in Mullingar. David's imagery for the first section was partially inspired by the Vin Diesel film Pitch Black and it takes flight in all kinds of different dream directions from there. Running the gamut from delicate acoustic guitar to Sunn 0))) style doom metal and back again, it's an extraordinary feat of the imagination.

Around this central track, a range of shorter tracks orbit, typically acoustic or folk-rock in nature with occasional experimental flourishes, they are characterized by glorious melodies and arrangements and a peerless array of guests. Current 93's Richard Moult provides synth and very David Tibet like vocals to opener "The Swallowing", and help out with the space folk piece "A for Andromeda". Ex Mellow Candle singer Allison O'Donnell provides vocals for several tracks, including the climactic conclusion to a Dave Colohan and Sharron Kraus duet version of the traditional "Lowlands of Holland". Sharron's stamp is elsewhere as well, playing tin whistle on "Veilsong" and her unique parlor guitar was borrowed to bring instrumental "Mirror in Clerkwell" to fruition.

With a sound like expiring infant suns weeping for worlds they'll never warm, "The Jonah" should appeal to lovers of the likes of Espers, Black Forest/Black Sea, Sharron Kraus, and Nick Castro, as well as darker matter like Current 93 and Sol Invictus.

Check out some sounds:

Go to and select "Sounds" from the menu. Or visit:

Price US$15.00/AU$22.00 including shipping.

Method of payment accepted outside Australia:
Go to: to purchase on-line via Paypal. There is a link on the home page, as well as on catalog and release info pages.

If having trouble ordering via Paypal through the site, send us your Paypal address, and we can send a invoice direct to you.

Method of payment accepted within Australia:
Paypal (use the US$ or AU$ options), Direct Debit, Bank Deposit (use the AU$ cost of $22.00).

For direct debit, bank details are:
Bank Name: Westpac Banking Corporation
Account Name: Camera Obscura Records
BSB Number: 033018
Account Number: 133347

Sunday, June 08, 2008

New Black Sun Ensemble CD Available for Mail Order!

20 years down the track from their debut and the Black Sun Ensemble have come full circle, presenting a pristine, wholly instrumental and semi-acoustic work that recalls their legendary LP debut.

Artist: Black Sun Ensemble
Title: Across the Sea of Id: The Way to Eden
Cat No: CAM083CD, 12 tracks, 52.53 mins approx

About the release:

What started out being a side project between Black Sun Ensemble guitarist/founder Jesus Acedo and multi-instrumentalist Eric Johnson, "Across the Sea of Id: The Way to Eden" has become the final collaborative project of new material from Black Sun Ensemble involving Tucson’s Sun Zoom Spark members and their collective, SlowBurn Records. In fact, "Across the Sea of Id: The Way to Eden" maybe the final Black Sun Ensemble record. After completion of the recording, it remains unclear if Jesus Acedo will choose to continue with music. Because of this, "Across the Sea of Id" may be the capstone of a nearly 25 year career that has created some of the most unique rock music of our time.

"Across the Sea of Id: The Way to Eden" is a dramatic shift away from the heavy ethno/progressive rock of 2006’s Bolt of Apollo CD to an earlier style of semi-acoustic instrumental music that became Black Sun Ensemble signature sound in the 1980s. According to Eric Johnson, “…in the end, BSE has truly come full-circle. "Across the Sea of Id" is the record I have always wanted to make with the Ensemble. It captures what I think makes Jesus Acedo such a huge talent ­ its not about the guitar solos, its about the haunting quality of his song-writing.”

After recording over three hours of material for the project, BSE chose songs that created a rich blend of past and new works. The material, all penned by Acedo and arranged by Johnson, ranges from not only engaging retellings of early work like the majestic Blues for Rainer and a definitive version of the medley Sky Pilot Suite, but also offers a trance-inspired version of St. Cecilia and a more subdued Baphomet’s Curse from "Bolt of Apollo".

However, it is the new material that offers a singular, dreamy vision of BSE’s potentially final works. The two title tracks, Across the Sea of Id and Eden Song, are reflective, yet hallucinatory explorations into Acedo’s unique compositional and melodic sensibility. While Angel de la Guardia has a refined yet explosive rock swagger, it is balanced by the meditation Perelandra and La Paz.

"Across the Sea of Id: The Way to Eden" was recorded and mixed by Eric Johnson at Tucson’s SlowBurn recording studio and was mastered by John Axtell at Signal House Studio. The art for the album was created by BSE percussionist, John Paul Marchand. It's an enhanced CD, featuring a music video directed by John Paul Marchand of BSE’s signature Dove of the Desert, recorded live on radio station KXCI 91.3FM, Tucson.

Check out some sounds:

Go to and select "Sounds" from the menu.

Price US$16.00/AU$22.00 including shipping.

Method of payment accepted outside Australia:
Go to: to purchase on-line via Paypal.

Method of payment accepted within Australia:
Paypal (use the US$ option), Direct Debit, Bank Deposit (use the AU$ option).

For direct debit, bank details are:
Bank Name: Westpac Banking Corporation
Account Name: Camera Obscura Records
BSB Number: 033018
Account Number: 133347

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rusalnaia CD Now Available for Mail Order!

Welcome to our first release for 2008. We bring you new psych-folk from Sharron Kraus and Ex-Reverie member Gillian Chadwick. Eight songs influenced in greater or lesser part by Mellow Candle, Trees and Jefferson Airplane and coming out like "gypsies in Bohemia, smoking opium and drinking ginger tea". Luminously Pagan: a soundtrack to Bergman's "The Virgin Spring" rather than "The Wicker Man". Read on...

Artist: Rusalnaia
Title: Rusalnaia
Cat No: CAM082CD, 8 tracks, 38:18 mins approx

About the release:

Rusalnaia is about honouring (some would say placating) the Rusalki - mischievous water nymphs capable of tickling victims to death - with song, dance, tree-decorating and wreath-making. Rusalnaia is what happened when Sharron Kraus and Gillian Chadwick, then neighbours in Fishtown, Philadelphia, became friends and decided to honour the Rusalki in each other! The two, coming from very different musical backgrounds, made journeys into each other's terrain until it was no longer clear what the boundaries were. In the collaborative process they became as close as sisters and found their way to the shared musical aesthetic that is Rusalnaia.

Rusalnaia's album was recorded at Hexham Head Studios in Philadelphia, engineered by Greg Weeks (Espers, The Valerie Project) in two sessions through 2007 that corresponded with Sharron's extended visits to the country. Weeks helped capture the duo's organic and sometimes unusual instrumentation, from dulcimer and guitar to pennywhistles and goat's nail shakers, and contributed his own accents to a few tracks: acid Les Paul leads and vintage 70's synths. Eight tracks of haunting, ritualistic, magical pagan-folk were the result, varying from the darkly processional tale of dispossession "Shifting Sands", though the Comus-like ceremonies of the title track to the extended forest-folk trance of the concluding "Wild Summer".

Sharron Kraus is a singer/musician/songwriter who creates music rooted in the folk traditions of England and Appalachia. Her first two solo albums were released on Camera Obscura to critical acclaim and her third will be released on Durtro on March 10, 2008. She has worked with The Iditarod, Fursaxa, Meg Baird and Helena Espvall, and her most recent release was Right Wantonly A-Mumming, a collection of seasonal songs recorded with an eight-strong host of traditional English folk singers and musicians including Jon Boden, John Spiers, Ian Woods and Fay Hield.

Gillian Chadwick is the creative force behind Ex Reverie, whose debut glam-rock full-length, The Door into Summer, was released by Language of Stone (an imprint of Drag City) on Jan 22, 2008 in the US. In addition to Rusalnaia and Ex Reverie, she also plays lead guitar in the Philadelphia-based dance-prog outfit Golden Ball, and is one-half of the Black Sabbath-tinged duo Woodwose.

Read many reviews of Sharron's work here:

Check out some sounds:

Go to and select "Sounds" from the menu.
Or visit:

Price US$16.00/AU$22.00 including shipping.

How to purchase:
Go to: to purchase on-line via Paypal.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Linus Pauling Quartet LP Available for Mail Order Now!

Hi folks,

A real pleasure to be able to offer a vinyl release to you - the first one in many moons. This will not last long! Ordering details and release notes follow:

This item is available to order to addresses outside Australia from the CTD Ltd online store Most of the copies are in the USA and therefore best shipped from a reliable on-line mail order service, thus the CTD option was considered best. If having problems or CTD run out, email me and I'll try and hook you up with the band, as they will probably have copies after CTD's are gone. Click here:

Clear Spot in the EU should eventually have copies but I don't think they do yet.

I have a tiny number of copies for Australian mail order customers, so you guys email me if you are interested and I'll get ordering details to you.

About the release:

Artist: Linus Pauling Quartet
Title: All Things Are Light
Cat No: CAM080LP, 7 tracks, 34.44 mins approx (Limited to 500 copies)
Format Details: LP, Purple vinyl, 12 page insert, bonus CDR of LP tracks

About the release:

The Linus Pauling Quartet is one of the most formidable bastions to have risen from the same primordial Texas Psych waters as the Mike Gunn. The band has been tenaciously distilling its chemically induced music over five critically acclaimed if difficult to find albums. The five to seven piece “quartet” is known for putting its three guitars to the floorboard and taking listeners straight off the cliff simply because "anything worth doing is worth overdoing!"

Limited to 500 copies, ‘All Things Are Light’ is The band at its most Herzogian and bombastic, pulling no punches and taking no prisoners. Etched within the grooves, listeners will find epic, guitar-drenched songs about aliens, hallucinogenic psych numbers that turn on you and crush you when you least expect it, drunken brawling garage rock, heavy and dense guitar stomps, a country ode to 40 oz. malt liquor, a punk tribute to cuisine best not discussed in mixed company, and a sprawling sword metal epic; this concluding piece being inspiration for some brilliant insert art from Mike Gunn alumnus John Cramer. Keeping it in the family, Tom Carter (Mike Gunn, Charalambides) weighs in with entertaining liner notes.

If you want finesse, subtlety, and in-depth social commentary stay far away. But if you like your music big, loud and made by knuckle-scraping apes who will beat you with the jawbone of rock, this is the album you’ve been awaiting for.

Press quotes on previous outings:

"A large red sticker proclaiming WEIRD ALERT could not make things plainer." -- Q Magazine (UK)

"Variety through dementia indicative of excessive drug use and boredom" -- Flipside (USA)

"one of the top purveyors of the Texas stoner psychedelic style" - Free City Media (USA)

"..possibly the most enigmatic yet bombastic rock band to emerge out of Texas in the last 10 years." - The Broken Face (Sweden)

"Anthemic, stupid and selflessly unrestrained, the LPQ eventually attain self immolation of sorts during the sprawling chaos."-Ptolemaic Terrascope (UK)

" [the band] should consider doing a few less bong hits" - Option Magazine

Check out MP3s:

Go to and select "Sounds" from the menu.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Linus Pauling Quartet LP Out Soon!

Cover Art

The LP4 has been carrying the Texas Psych torch since the Mid-90s. Following in the footsteps of the Mike Gunn and Dry Nod this seven member quartet has been praised in the pages of Ptolemaic Terrascope (UK), Rockerilla (Italy), Magnet (USA), Broken Face (Sweden), et al. Their latest slab of psychedelic riff-carnage will be released on purple vinyl 12" Vinyl LP on 06 November 2007 on Camera Obscura. The release includes a 12 page insert and free CD-R of the album tracks and limited to 500 copies. Ordering links will be provided very soon, so keep checking back. Release notes can be found here. Listen to MP3s from this and other releases here.

Christian Kiefer and Jefferson Pitcher CD Reviews!

Check out what the press are saying here:

All Music Guide (4-Stars)
Ptolemaic Terrascope On-Line

Praise by Broken Face blog: "Christian Kiefer and Jefferson Pitcher’s To All Dead Sailors (Camera Obscura) is a concept album of sorts that explores the mysteries of the sea. Acoustic and electric instruments are combined with field recordings to create a wide palette of oceanic colors. We get the sonic equivalent to its brutality and we get the hard-explained beauty of the crashing sea in its eternal struggle to create physical shapes beyond the world of imagination. But most of all we get tracks that overflow with longing over people lost at sea or people being away from home for too long. It’s an intriguing sonic document that goes from airy fogbanks of sound experiments to graceful, soft-spoken, folk-tinged melancholia with impressive ease. This is one of those hushed, heart aching, and utterly timeless moments when the sum indeed is greater than its parts."

And forthcoming from Dream Magazine: "Christian Kiefer and Jefferson Pitcher To All Dead Sailors (Camera Obscura) Oceanic sounds, water, waves and low spectral traces of instrumental illumination glimpsed through the sea spray begins and ends things. Acoustic guitar deep and resonant, while a fellow softly speaks in Spanish and English as a soft singer carresses a song about a lonely sailor so far from home. Subtle, soft spoken but gently resolute. Sweetly sad story songs, hallucinatory dreamy visions, ambient fogbanks overflowing with cool menace, melancholic prayers, lovely instrumentals and doomed soul’s laments. Shifting from folk-tender, to darkly haunting memories or imaginings. Wind-tossed soundscapes turn into warm family reunions in paradise. Whether Astrolabe was written just to use such a great word in a song or not, may never be known, but it’s a charming chiming thing one way or another. The title track is a sublime sorrowful ballad, but it’s all thematically unified in it’s deep blue hue."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cool Marianne Nowottny Video

Fresh From Youtube, a video for a new track from her Abaton Book Co release "What Is She Doing?":

And the Nowottny CD on Camera Obscura "Illusion of the Sun" is still available.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Kiefer/Pitcher CD Now Out For Mail Order

We follow up Christian Kiefer's critically acclaimed albums on Camera Obscura ("Czar Nicholas is Dead") and Undertow ("Dogs and Donkeys") with Christian's new and very accessible song-based collaboration with fellow traveler Jefferson Pitcher. The official release date is 02 October, but as usual we offer you, our beloved MySpace customers, the option to purchase from now, well in advance of the street date.

Artist: Christian Kiefer and Jefferson Pitcher

Title: To All Dead Sailors

Cat No: CAM081CD, 14 tracks, 53:04 min

About the release:

The slow shifting hiss of the surf fades. The footsteps of men stumble across the beach rock; a tottering over, facedown. Waves on the stones further out: black, now green, now shadow again. Somewhere, so far under the surface that only the bleakest fish run their dark gunnels: ships rest their masts. Crabs like spiders spin homes in the maw of rock-smashed hull and keel.

It is upon such images that Christian Kiefer and Jefferson Pitcher have built "To All Dead Sailors". A collection of songs, instrumentals, and sonic experiments, this is an album that explores the mystery of the sea: its violence, its beauty, its grace. Through it all, the album tells the story of the men who have chosen a life, and ultimately a death, in its vast expanses. From the story of a haggard submarine captain disgraced amongst his countrymen, to the lonely sound of the ship's engine room, to the tale (borrowed from Pablo Neruda) of a mermaid wandering up onto dry land and into a world she could not have imagined, these are songs and sounds that envelop the listener in a long rumination on things of the sea.

Merging songs with more experimental sounds has long been of interest to both musicians. Pitcher developed his experimental performance as a member of Tintinambulate, a free-improv workshop based in upstate New York and featuring legendary avant-garde musician Pauline Oliveros. His previous albums, including the superb ambient song cycle "I am Not in Spain" (Mudita/Moonpalace), move between songs and sonic textures, displaying his ongoing interest in using sound to create a particular sonic space or location. Pitcher's work is mirrored in Kiefer's, who has a long history of alternating between song and experimental forms, including his recent albums "Czar Nicholas Is Dead" (a mostly-instrumental look at the Russian Revolution on Camera Obscura) and Dogs & Donkeys (a song-based narrative on Undertow).

Listeners may remember Kiefer and Pitcher's previous collaboration: "The Inexplicable Falling" (Mudita), a split full-length CD with Pitcher fronting the now defunct orchestral indie-rock band Above the Orange Trees. Unlike that album, "To All Dead Sailors" is a collaborative project, with the singers trading harmonies and instruments on various tracks, and working through various songwriting ideas as they floated to the surface. Acoustic and electric instruments are combined with field recordings to create a finished project that is reminiscent of Brian Eno's ambient projects, the moody soundscapes of Sigur Rós, and the song-based work of Califone, Xiu Xiu, and Damien Rice.

Press for previous Kiefer releases:

"Dogs and Donkeys":
Pitchfork Review
All Music Guide Review

"Czar Nicholas Is Dead":
Pitchfork Review

Other releases:

"Exodust is the beautiful musical evocation of a page of Americana. Kiefer scavenged through the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin collections at the Library of Congress, looking for songs and stories by the protagonists. Their narrative, along with creaking chairs, fiddles, singing, etc., establish a strong American folk atmosphere. Where Kiefer's artistry shines is in how his own themes adopt the simplicity of his subject, creating an integrated narrative of its own. - All Music Guide on "Exodust" (Extreme Records 2002)

"Christian Kiefer's music brings the listener directly in contact with a new sonic landscape. The atmosphere is crusty and old, hearkening back to a time when mine shafts dotted the forests. I grew up in the same part of the world and I am intimate with its shape. Kiefer captures it beautifully; his music is the real deal." - Terry Riley reviewing "Welcome to Hard Times" (Extreme Records 2000)

"I have one thing to say about Christian Kiefer: It's GREAT to hear new music!" - Thurston Moore

Check out MP3s:

Go to the Camera Obscura Web Site and select "Sounds" from the menu. Or visit:

Price US$16.00/AU$22.00 including shipping.

Method of payment accepted outside Australia:

Go to: the Camera Obscura web site to purchase on-line via Paypal.

Concealed cash will work for us at a pinch as long as in US$ or AU$. Any
other currency than AU$ add the equivalent of US$7.00 for exchange fee.

Method of payment accepted within Australia:

Paypal (use the US$ option), Direct Debit, Bank Deposit.

For direct debit, bank details are:

Bank Name: Westpac Banking Corporation
Account Name: Camera Obscura Records
BSB Number: 033018
Account Number: 133347