Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Burnt Hills/Rambutan Eye of the Sun split c60 (Skell 017)

On a snowy night in March 2013 the Burnt Hills crew hosted a show at the Helderberg House with Chalaque, Jon Collin, Yek Koo, and Zaimph. With one longtime member on extended hiatus, Chalaque's Nick Mitchell sat in with us...the resulting bruiser of a set is presented here on side A. Six guitarists, two drummers, one bassist, and a xylophonist baked up a crispy sonic nugget, held together at the seams by feedback, interwoven guitar tones, and a pummeling rhythm section. Burnt Hills has been shredding free-rock style since 2006 on labels like 8MM, Flipped Out, Carbon, and Noiseville--and this missive from the outer reaches of the multiverse fits right in with the band's sprawling aesthetic, showing surprising restraint and unit-wide deep listening to go along with its massive ensemble onslaughts.

Eric Hardiman's Rambutan has had a fine year in 2013--highlighted by the excellent "Inverted Summer" LP on Fabrica Records. While on hiatus in Scotland Hardiman brought Rambutan out live on a number of occasions; this set at Glasgow's Volcanic Tongue record shop finds Hardiman mixing abstraction and more formal melodic elements with characteristic skill, as ideas and textures combine and dissolve in the listener's ears.

Skell Records couldn't be prouder to put this one out, and though there may have been physical separation between Burnt Hills and Rambutan on the days these jams were put down, the eye of the sun saw it gracioiusly provided by Phil French. Pro-dubbed, edition of 100. $7 ppd. US, $12 ppd. rest of the world.
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Hering und seine sieben Sachen/Parashi split c40 (Skell 016)

Daniel Voigt is well known in the underground as the man behind the wonderful Sicsic Tapes label. His Hering und seine sieben Sachen tape on Cae-sur-a from 2011 was one of my favorite releases by that fine label, and he has subsequently released material on Cosmic Winnetou and Sicsic. Voigt's side of this split tape (entitled "Desiring Machines" utilizes four walkman cassette recorders as the primary sound sources, augmented by pedals and mixer treatments, and it's a zoned-out beauty of a piece. Drones, voices, and odd sonic interjections all flow together into a ceaselessly interesting, rapidly-shifting river of sound.

Parashi's menacing sonic collages have appeared on labels like Tranquility Tapes, Stunned, and House of Alchemy. These two tracks feature modular synthesizer and a variety of tape sources, chopped and mangled beyond recognition. Parashi's side (entitled "Sigil of the Shining Man" was recorded live at Heron Room North in 2013. These two pieces delve into the darker regions of the psyche, an area where the subconscious mind is the ruler of all it surveys. Edition of 100. $7 ppd. US, $12 ppd. rest of world.

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Vales--Boreal Head Trip c28 (Skell 015)

Dave Doyen gets rough with his modular synth setup on this burner, a 28-minute trip that leaves scorched wreckage in its wake. Different in temper and feel from earlier Vales releases on labels like 905 Tapes and Ghetto Naturalist Series, Boreal Head Trip finds Doyen working with sharp-edged and brittle tones. Vales may have moved into harsher realms but Doyen's sense of development keeps things intriguing throughout this journey into darkness. Edition of 100, pro-dubbed. $7 ppd. US, $12 ppd. rest of world.
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Saviour Self/Grab Ass Cowboys split c30 (Skell 014)

This split tape features two of the Albany/Hudson area's most vital noise crews. Saviour Self is a duo from Hudson NY that works with mixers and pedals and various sound sources; the resulting sound is a distinct amalgam of patient dynamics and harsh textures. Albany's Grab Ass Cowboys use tape recorders, home-rigged microphones, percussive devices, and an array of pedals to create their sounds. This live piece from May 2012 is a killer example of their style, explosive and cacophonous in some parts and restrained and almost pretty in other parts. Each side smokes, can't wait to see where both these crews are headed next..... Edition of 50, SOLD OUT. Image manipulation/design by Julie Watts.

Skullorian Sound Sculptures--Keseruseg c60 (Skell 013)

Skullorian Sound Sculptures' Thomas Gerendas has been a busy man this year. While handling the artwork for Ghetto Naturalist Series (the outstanding label that he runs with Cruudeuces' Nathaniel Brennan), he's also managed to drop a solid collab tape with Sicsic Tapes headman Daniel Voigt. Here Gerendas returns under his more familiar alias of Skullorian, bringing forth 60 minutes of his trademark murky, scuzzy noise trickery. Sounds appear and disappear, they float and stumble together, and it all flows like liquid concrete. Before long, the tape is finished, and all that's left are the questions.... Edition of 50, pro-dubbed. $7 ppd. US, $8 rest of world. Image manipulation/design by Julie Watts.

Kraken Mare--Iapetus Ocean c30 (Skell 012)

Adam Harris is the man behind Kraken Mare--he also plays in Den and runs the excellent Retrograde Tapes label out of Chicago. Last year's self-titled gem on Retrograde was fashioned from huge, dark, and abyssal synthesizer tones. "Iapetus Ocean" offers up a bleak and stark collection of noises, patiently sculpted into massive structures, equal parts material and space. The waves of the ancient oceans are heavy with dread and the bloody memories of prehistory. Edition of 50, pro-dubbed, $7 ppd US, $8 rest of world. Image manipulation/design by Julie Watts.

Mortuus Auris and the Black Hand--the Transit of Venus c40 (Skell 011)

Peter Taylor's Mortuus Auris and the Black Hand project has been responsible for an intricate and unique body of work over the last few years. Outstanding releases on fine labels like Stunned and Reverb Worship have shown Taylor to be a clever and thoughtful manipulator of sound. On "the Transit of Venus" MABH creates an extended sonic ritual for the planet Venus that blends elements both old and new, giving the listener a deep look into a challenging, blissful, and well-ordered musical system. Accordion and warped vinyl and pitch-shifted tapes and electric organ all combine in forms that confound all expectations and yield a deeply meditative listening experience. Edition of 50, pro-dubbed, $7 ppd US, $8 rest of world. SOLD OUT. Image manipulation/design by Julie Watts.