Tuesday, July 10, 2012
I Shall Be Released
Today is thee day.
Sanguine Futures is officially out (Buy It Here!) and I'd like to take a moment to thank
John Twells (and Aisha), Greg Kelley, Simon Fowler, James Plotkin-
The Men of Bathetic: Jon Hency, William Cody Watson, and Omar Mashaal.
The community all around. and, of course, my Family.
This excellent album is defined by sections of warm guitar drones and wide-scope bells placed over rushing sounds of nature – wind, rain, creaking wood, etc.; these aspects seamlessly kaleidoscope through six movements of deeply fluctuating sound, via a series of drones that subtly vary pitch, reminiscent in their feel to the drone tape style circa 2006-2008, prior to the shift to a predominant use of synthesizers within the form.
The synthesis of style and content is extremely well done here. Along with Attenuated’s “Night of Sense,” Tidal and Rambutan’s split LP, and Ernesto Diaz-Infante’s “Civilian Life,” this album shows that 2012 is already developing as a strong period for strikingly heavy drone releases whose creators share a common ability to bring the listener into their artistic process.
The subject matter of the work seems to be one of psychedelia without sentimentality: titles like “The Northern Sky Ablaze” and “River Runs like Jewels” convey mental images of bright and overwhelming color, while titles like “Sleep Like the Dead” and “Methodist Bells” convey an American-Gothic feel, or at least a version of America that was once defined by a haunted, superstitious people and landscape.
The mental associations brought to bear by the album’s song titles are fully borne out by the music; the form used is a continuous, echoing Monument Valley of negative-charged emotion and crushingly heavy aural space that transitions at times into sylvan and peaceful emotional shades. This last quality is particularly profound, in that it conveys serious emotion without falling into the trap of mawkishness.
Music that is written so that it brings the listener into the world of its compositional structure is very important, and this album accomplishes that feat; moreover, it adds to a long list of experimental releases of the last number of years which demonstrate artistic integrity and an absolute faith in its style. It’s fortunate that the internet has provided access to music such as this, which is cut off from many of the other avenues of the music business.
This last point I think is important: as so called “indie-rock” has turned more and more in the last ten years into either music used to sell cars and deodorant for huge advertising companies, having the musical integrity, appropriately enough, of a sophomoric Wieden+Kennedy commercial – or worse, is seen as an alternative to law or business school for arrogant young men and women who view art as just another vehicle to further their careers, we are fortunate that so many artists are operating on their own for the sake of the music itself.
It’s a shame, however, that genuine artists such as this do not have the amount of attention or financial backing as charlatans such as the abominable Wavves or YACHT, or the utterly contemptible Salem, or artists who wear the “experimental” tag like a fashionable accessory – people such as Grimes, who have talent for songwriting but who put forward such a high level of insincerity that it reads to their audience as sincerity. Then again perhaps that is for the better.
It seems like maybe this is High Aura’d's (thee John Kolodij) big one. He recruited the mighty Greg Kelley for his trumpet powers, got Simon Fowler to create a masterpiece for the artwork, had John Twells (Type, Xela, etc) produce & mix it, and dipped it in lead with James Plotkin’s mastering. Not to mention that this is his first slab of vinyl, and it’s on Bathetic, and it’s already been praised to the high heavens by everyone including the fucking Boston Globe. But today is its official release, and I can pretty much guarantee Sanguine Futures will end up somewhere on my year end drone list, so this is my authorized stamp of approval that this record is the fucking BEST.
It seems like with each release Kolodij’s gotten darker & darker, which is A+ in my book, and this one is by far the blackest he’s gone. With the exception of a singular jaw dropping moment of euphoria (and trust me, it’s a special fucking moment), this is mostly all ominous rumble, running the line of doom and black ambient. He’s been pretty metaphoric with the water theme in the past, but this is overt and unmistakable, starting the album off with watery samples. This whole thing is like a foggy midnight journey through the middle of the ocean, with distant muffled canons fighting off some ancient sea beast, mythical & literal sirens wailing, calling with sweetness & alarm, chimes and clatter rattling in the still darkness, the crazy dude on top of the mast playing his song of mourning, the much saner dude in the hull with his heartache piano, everything sad and black, but not quite devoid of hope. Seriously pushing all of my drone buttons right now, ranking in the very top of records this year and likely for years to come. This is Kolodij at the top of his fucking game. Dude is already unstoppable and this is only his first vinyl. If you haven’t been keeping an eye on him yet, now’s the fucking time.
HAMMER SMASHED SOUND
These are things I've been repeatedly visiting and re-visiting...
GAS - Konigsforst
Suzuki Junzo - Ode to a Blue Ghost
Codeine - ALL
Sutekh Hexen - Larvae
Guy Reibel - Granulations-Sillages / Franges du Signe
KTL - V
Zelienople - The World Is A House On Fire
Mutilation Rites - Empyrean
Townes Van Zandt - Live at The Old Quarter
GOG - In Our Architecture This Resounds
UNWOUND - Leaves Turn Inside You
Suum Cuique - Ascetic Ideals
Ray Bradbury - Dandelion Wine
Lucky Peach #4
Rudolph Wurlitzer - Hard Travel to Sacred Places
Carl Sagan - The Demon Haunted World
Don Coscarelli - Phantasm
Ridley Scott - Prometheus
Anthony Mann - The Naked Spur
Dario Argento - Suspiria
Andrew Dominik - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Terence Malick - Badlands
Tacos from Tallulah's Tacos
Rose/Sauvignon Blanc/ Mourvedre
New England Brewing Sea Hag
Pretty Things Magnifico
21st Amendment Bitter American