Thursday, May 18, 2006

Veronica Mars Renewed

So, miracles do happen, there is a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny, and we'll be getting a third season of Veronica Mars, albeit one with a ticking-time bomb of a perfomance-based existence clause embedded in its chest. Considering the (albeit highly intriguing and watchable) mess that was the second season's through-mystery I'd say they dodged an entire automatic pistol clip full of bullets. The concluding - resolving- episode rushed to a goth-noir psychodrama of a climax that seemed to exist sui generis rather than as an outcome of what had been set up before, and I wasn't convinced by Beaver as the psychopath, though don't doubt that there were signals of underlying psycho-sexual problems earlier in hi relationship with Mac. The thing with the plane bomb and with Keith's highly predictable escpae from that seemed cheesy and overplotted. But then the theme of the season seemed to be that too much plot is never enough.

On the good side, pretty amazing continuity throughout, sets up in Season 1 paid off in Season 2, and there are few series that make me use so much of my cognition to keep track of everything. They need to make better use of their strengths in Season 3, like the underused Fank Capra Jr (Weevil) and phase out the problematic and unconvincing Wallace (sorry man), unless they have a decent arc planned for him, and his acting chops can carry it off - not optimistic! Bring back Duncan, there is no way he looks like he is in Australia.

College Years...bring it on.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Next Project - The Lucky Bishops

While getting the Christian Kiefer CD out into the world, we'll also be starting work on our next CD soon, "Unexpect the Expected" by The Lucky Bishops. I'll get MP3s happening soon, but here's the rather disturbing cover:

Saturday, May 13, 2006

New Reviews for Ptolemaic Terrascope On-line

Latest scribblage here:

The Darling Downs - "How Can I Forget This Heart Of Mine?" CD on Carrot Top Records
Two United Bible Studies CDs on Barl Fire and Deserted Village
Painting Petals on Planet Ghost LP on Time-Lag
Two Bjerga/Iversen CD-Rs on Barl Fire and Musicyoormindwillloveyou
Agitated Radio Pilot - "Your Turn to Go it Alone" CD-R on Rusted Rail

Random Quote Generator:

"'Smoke-Filled Mirrors' forms part of the duo prolific 2005 work, being
recorded and mixed in June least year as part of the 'Hovden Tapes' sessions.
One could almost consider it an EP, since it is comprised of a single track
eponymous of around 27 minute's duration. It starts will a cloud of electronics,
oscillating drones, nether-shortwave voices and associated detritus conjure a
dysfunctional machine-shop ambience. Odd, whirs, clanks, rattles and the sounds
of broken machines inhabit the sound stage like the ghosts of impending failure
that flow through the wires and fluid lines of a badly maintained third-world
passenger airliner as the clock of its existence winds down. Warning lights go
on and off, caution tones bleep but there is no one around to hear them but us,
and we don't care. Signal waves roll onto tape in the black box of this grim
industrial symphony, and eventually all the components begin to scream in unison
and they figure out their number is up. There is power here, and a certain
industrial revolution beauty, but no peace, and all of the possible resolutions
obey the third law of thermodynamics. The machine dies, and its ghost moves on"
- from the Bjerga/Iversen round-up

Christian Kiefer CD Now Out

Woo hoo! Hi folks,

We're pretty excited to have Christian on the label, since we're big fans of his three CDs for Extreme Records, two sublime singer-songwriter works "Welcome to Hard Times" and "Medicine Show" and one instrumental guitarscape work "Exodust". He's also got a recent collaborative CD with our very own Sharron Kraus out on Fontana ("The Black Dove"). The first of what we hope to be a series of releases, both instrumental and song-based.

Artist: Christian Kiefer
Title: Czar Nicholas Is Dead
Cat No: CAM075CD (10 tracks, 49:02 min)

About the album: Some ideas are difficult to dispense with. Were you to ask Christian Kiefer why he fixated on Russia, and on a particularly grisly period in the country's history, he would probably be unable to answer. After all, Kiefer lived (and still lives) in a quiet, unassuming, and decidedly American suburb in Northern California, a far cry from the North Asian continent of his imagination. But it was, in fact, Russia that had become the object of his curiosity and like Franza Kafka's Amerika, a novel similarly fixated upon a geographical location that the author had no firsthand knowledge of, Kiefer set out to address his interest through art.

The end result of that interest is "Czar Nicholas Is Dead", a soundtrack to a tundra wasteland filled with lonely soldiers, ornate towers crumbling into ruin, and desolate, blood-soaked snowscapes. An essentially ambient project with minimal instrumentation, "Czar Nicholas Is Dead" captures Russia as a fever dream, a strange and disorienting place that lay on no map, but rather resides entirely in the author's imagination.

On the one hand, the subject of Kiefer's project is a strange one to be sure, particularly since most of his recorded output-including the similarly epic and minimalist instrumental project "Exodust" (2002) -has been rooted strongly in American soil. But Kiefer's work has always also been rooted in history and in academic and intellectual pursuits. His Ph.D. work at the University of California at Davis explores the intersection of history and the arts (particularly literature) and "Czar Nicholas Is Dead" falls perfectly within his primary field of interest, even if the geographical location has shifted off the North American continent. For research, Kiefer turned to thick volumes on the assassination of the Romanoff family, the tradition of Russian folk music, and to early Russian silent film.

Kiefer brought in a handful of his favorite musicians and asked them to improvise with him live in the studio with a handful of simple instructions. The material was then worked over further in the studio, edited, rearranged, and produced, often with additional parts being added or subtracted as the musical force of the album began to reveal itself. The end result is part collective improvisation on a conceptual and musical theme, and part constructed and composed musical work.

Press for Christian's work:

"A beautiful musical evocation of a page of Americana. Environmental recordings and electronics wrap up a slow-changing bed of loops consisting of simple folk guitar lines, banjo, accordion, and voices (both singing and reciting)." - 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

For ordering, go to the Camera Obscura web site and follow the ordering links