Tuesday, June 27, 2006

First Review of our Christian Kiefer CD

Read the Psychotropic Zone review here. It's not really an album that is up Santtu's alley, and I don't agree it's as dark as he contends it is, but it's good to have press starting to emerge:


Monday, June 19, 2006

A Review of the New Nick Castro CD

A version of this is now posted in the Ptolemaic Terrascope's May Reviews.
Nick Castro & the Young Elders - "Come Into Our House"
(CD on Strange Attractors Audio House)

Here is a something I've been listening to a lot lately - a CD (soon to be double LP in Europe) that could well end up being one of the year's finest (whether it is recognised as such or not in the fickle world of neo/freak/folk is another matter). Nick achieved some kind of breakthrough on 2005's "Further From Grace", which I summed up elsewhere to be "the kind of album that refuses - and is in fact demeaned by - easy reference points in the present and past, existing as a sui generis masterpiece of new acoustic music, and a model for what might fly in the future to replace to already tattered and stained flag of “freak folk”. British, American and Middle-Eastern traditions are respectfully drawn together, and it’s difficult to imagine improving on any decision made on the record". On "Further From Grace" Nick was backed by "The Poison Tree", which included Josephine Foster and members of Espers. For "Come Into Our House" he has gathered "The Young Elders" - a fine assemblage of musicians including John Contreras, who is so effective on the latest Current 93 CD; B'eirth, driving force behind In Gowan Ring and Birch Book, and various members of Cul de Sac and Damo Suzuki's Network. This new line-up has allowed Castro to achieve a vision that is cinematic in scale and faultless in execution.

The disc opens with "Winding Tree", which echoes the mellow 70s UK folk of the Village Thing label, and The Sun Also Rises album in particular, with its intertwining male and female vox and recorder. A beautiful Renbourn-ish guitar pattern introduces the exquisitely-wrought "Sleeping in a Dream", which transitions from a dreamy west coast singer-songwriter vibe, to a hypnagogic percussive conclusion. Taste and restraint, rather than self-involved quirkiness, is thankfully the key here. The work of John Renbourn is also recalled by the stately, almost medieval, instrumental "Picollina", on which Castro lays down a stunning guitar motif which is gradually picked up by more and more instruments. The fluent folk-rock of "One I Love" (a Jean Ritchie cover) could be a lost Trees out-take, with long-time Castro collaborator Wendy Watson contributes some fine vocal work, and swathes of beautifully phrased, multi-tracked electric guitar from Castro tripping off into psychedelic realms. The CD then takes a distinctly Middle-Eastern turn with the snaking instrumental "Attar" and the shimmering and suspenseful dune-scape of "Voices from the Mountains". The latter suggests that Castro may have a career in film music should he choose to go that route. More fine song-craft in "Back to the Coast" leads into the first of two lengthy workouts. The first, "Lay Down Your Arms" is a communal acid mantra of monumental proportions, its raga structure evoking Monterey and the birth of the late 60s Bay Area ballroom scene, as well as German touchstones like Amon Duul 2 and Can. The second, "Promises Unbroken", is progressive folk of the Can variety; Contreras' cello introducing a caravanserai of a piece with many stop-overs in exotic destinations. It's a compositional tour-de-force, and a fitting way to conclude a CD with which Castro signals his arrival as a major progressive folk force independent of any scene, or place in time.
(Released 27 Jun 06)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lucky Bishop MP Goodies

From their forthcoming Camera Obscura CD "Expect the Unexpected".

London Lounge (2.998 MB)

Witches (3.304 MB)

And visit their MySpace site

Goal! Goal! Goal!

If Australia progresses no further in this World Cup (though it seems likely now that they may get through to the second round) I'll take the memory of the last 10 minutes of the game v. Japan to my grave, and pull it out for inspection whenever I feel like giving up on something that seems insurmountable.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Lucky Bishops Cover Now Revised

New, equally disturbing cover for the Lucky Bishops CD. In reality, there will be four to choose from on one side on an eight-panel gatefold.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

New Current 93 CD Reviewed

It's finally here! Current 93's Black Ships have landed, and here are my excited scribblings on their arrival:

Review of Current 93's "Black Ships Ate the Sky" for the Ptolemaic Terrascope

Saturday, June 03, 2006

New Reviews for Ptolemaic Terrascope On-Line

Verbiage now posted on these fine releases on the Digitalis label:


Go here to read the reviews.

Random quote generator:

Although recorded outside, the tracks evoke enclosed spaces like lost caves and underground caverns and the air and water that runs through them. Occasionally one gets the impression that the quartet have taped the keys down and nodded off, but closer listening reveals small quanta of sound - perhaps extraneous, perhaps intended - hovering around the central drone core. The listener is constantly challenged to identify sounds – is that a beer bottle falling over? – did someone just trip over the whole recording rig? - and so forth, but in the end, it becomes a work about the creation of meditation spaces, and their precise contour mapping. - From review of With Throats as Fine as Needles CD