Friday, December 4, 2009

Birushanah - Akai Yami

Birushanah is quite an original experimental doom/sludge group from Japan and "Akai Yami" is their debut and currently sole full-length. While only three tracks are on this release, with the first one being a mere two-minute intro of sorts, the material altogether adds up to be a bit over 40 minutes. I suppose that's not exactly shocking when taking in consideration the average length of tracks throughout this genre, but what will come to be a pleasant surprise is the truly profound avant-garde nature of the these epics. From the start, the listener is greeted with traditional Japanese scales and folky sounds with a relatively dark twist, complimented with strange vocals reminiscent of something you'd hear via Mike Patton's Ipecac label (the bizarre vocals of fellow Japanese band Ruins comes to mind). However, so much can be said for only the first seven minutes of this release, as the beauty at this point is absolutely decimated by brutally heavy and crushing riffage. All the while, the drumming and metal percussion pummels the brain, often times retaining the traditional Japanese influence, and the vocalist quite simply goes fucking nuts. These dense sounds dominate the rest of the album, but Birushanah continuously reminds the listener that they're not your average sludge.

1. Jyodo
2. Akai Yami
3. Kairal

Download (61.58 MB)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ananda Shankar - Self-Titled

Ananda Shankar released his first record of many in the wake of the 60s, successfully blending traditional sitar and Indian music with comtemporary psychedelic and popular Western styles of the day. I realize that description might easily put someone off from the start, but the blend is masterful and a unique experience, unlike any other that one may find with the musical Shankar family, or even other sitarists in general, for that matter. Trust me folks, there is good reason as to why you might see this particular man referred to as the 'Hendrix of sitar'. While perhaps not as technically inclined as the aforementioned Hendrix (who is to say moving across the sitar isn't a shit-ton more difficult than the guitar anyhow?), Ananda busts out some epic solos in Metamorphosis and the droney/ambient track Sagar, showing incredible talent akin to other superstars of the time. Where as Hendrix was extremely influential in the realm of the guitar, I could see Ananda having done the same with his instrument, had he been more popular throughout his lifetime. The amount of variety on this album is just astounding, folks.. you have your covers of the Rolling Stones and the Doors, you have your beautifully psychedelic Snow Flower, and several electronic touches throughout the whole album. I know he's received some recent interest due to his inclusion in the hit video game Little Big Planet, but if this is all that you know of the man, dare to dig deeper and check out this rare gem in music.

"I have had a dream to try to combine Western and Indian music into a new form, a music which has no particular name, but is melodious and touching, and which combines the most modern electronic devices with the old tranditional instrument, the sitar." - Ananda Shankar, text on the above cover art.

1. Jumpin' Jack Flash
2. Snow flower
3. Light My Fire
4. Mamata (Affection)
5. Metamorphosis
6. Sagar (The Ocean)
7. Dance Indra
8 Raghupati

Download (42.54 MB)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Toadliquor - The Hortator's Lament (2003)

Toadliquor is a little-known band from.. who knows? And good luck finding out any information regarding the members. But that's okay - this is heavy-as-fuck sludge that needs no explanation or background history; the lack of information compliments the dissonance that drenches this release quite well. The vocals, while in many ways similar to that which one normally hears along with the sludge genre, have a noticably unique tone to the agonizing screams that really does showcase the drunken isolation and generally slow and brutal pace of the instrumentation here. Well, so much can be said about the majority of the album anyway, as "Tatterdemalion" and the last track offer some interesting experimentation (convieniently following the epic sludge rendition of the popular classical composition "Also Sprach Zarathustra") that is, rest assured, still pretty collosal. But regardless, this is fucked up and relatively negative music all around - not for the weak, but definitely a treat for those of us who thrive on such dense sounds and feedback-drenched atmospheres.

1. (Opening Sections Of) Inter-Stellar Space
2. Gnaw
3. Charred
4. Fratricide: A Requiem
5. Survival Is The Fittest
6. Swarm
7. Tenderloin
8. Nails
9. Also Sprach Zarathustra
10. Tatterdemalion: The Gladiators' Debasement Before Cain
11. (Second Continuing Sections Of) Inter-Stellar Space: Love
12. The Hortator's Lament

Download (94.09 MB)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kaada - Music For Moviebikers (2006)

John Erik Kaada is a Norwegian musician that primarily composes film scores, with the occasional solo release on Mike Patton's Ipecac Records. His most recent venture outside of films, Music for Moviebikers, is not a film score despite it's title. It is, however, music that would fit in extremely well with that of a dramatic film, creating atmosphere and utilizing an ensemble of over 20 musicians and various instruments, both traditional and classical-oriented as well as strange and of Kaada's very own creation. While modest and relatively calm, there is no doubt that there is a lot taking place in each song; behind the familiar swelling of strings and piano lie plenty of unique sounds and instrumentation, all focused on creating soft compositions that evoke powerful emotions. Sometimes sad, always beautiful - I recommend this to anyone interested in the film scores out there which transcend minimalism and simple background noise and carry themselves just fine when played seperately from picture. With little effort and assistance from drugs, one may close their eyes and create their own movie to this album. Tracks such as "From Here On It Got Rough", "Julia Pastrana" and "Celibate" deserve careful listens in particular, as these may be among the most beautiful tracks here. One can only hope that future solo albums from Kaada will be as profound!

1. Smiger
2. Mainstreaming
3. From Here On It Got Rough
4. Spindle
5. The Mosquito and the Abandoned Old Woman
6. Julia Pastrana
7. No Man's Land
8. Daily Living
9. The Small Stuff
10. Celibate
11. Retirement Community
12. Birds of Prey
13. In Hora Mortis

Download (78.63)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thrones - Sperm Whale + White Rabbit (2000)

Thrones is the product of Joe Preston (Harvey Milk, Melvins, High on Fire, etc.) and Joe alone. This fact is extremely impressive, as the band could VERY easily be mistaken as the product of several minds and writers. Many of these tracks are experimental in nature and there are a lot of varied styles to be found. From the start, the most obvious experimentation is in the use of vocoders and drum machine programming. While these two aspects have annoyed me at times in other projects, Joe utilizes each with perfection, successfully adding a certain aesthetic quality to the music that enhances the listening experience of already well-written tracks. With the compliation Sperm Whale + White Rabbit, two EPs are gathered and placed in a mixed order that interestingly manages to flow like a full-length.. it's very difficult to listen to one track without going on to the next and then the one after that. No joke, Thrones has demanded a surprising amount of solid listening sessions from me in a relatively short time, and hasn't let up. As a matter of fact, I'll soon probably end up posting an awesome live bootleg that I found, oddly enough, ages before delving into the rest of the limited discography. In the meantime, enjoy - and pay special attention to the epics 'Manmtn' and 'Obolus'!

1. Oso Malo
2. Nuts and Berries
4. Acris Venator
5. Django
6. Ephraim
7. The Anguish of Bears
8. Obolus

Download (81.15 MB)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Arzachel - Arzachel (1969)

Straight outta the late 60s, Arzachel (UK) was an extremely obscure project that unfortunately saw only one release, a self-titled album issued on an also short-lived label. To give you an even more complete idea of the isolation surrounding this release, from what I've read the band only existed for a single recording session and was actually a mere pseudonym for the band Uriel, which I've found no music of. According to this same story, the band of four had broken up (forming the progressive rock bands Gong and Egg) and had received a posthumous offer to record music together as a quartet. The result, due to legal issues concerning the name Uriel, was Arzachel, an album overflowing with reverb and characterized by it's intense use of the Hammond organ and the occasionally improvised psychedelic godliness. The last two tracks, "Clean Innocent Fun" and "Metempsychosis", are especially epic, clocking in at over 10 minutes each. And although the album as a whole proves to be a pleasant listen, these final two offerings stand out above the rest, with the former being perhaps one of the best psych-rock tracks of '69 and the latter containing a long, spacey jam reminiscent of early Floyd. So then, with that said, how could you possibly go wrong, hm?

1. Garden of Earthly Delights
2. Azathoth
3. Queen of St. Gang
4. Leg
5. Clean Innocent Fun
6. Metempsychosis

Download (56.56 MB)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Indian - The Unquiet Sky (2005)

Ah.. many times now, I've wanted to share this record, even with those who generally dislike this style of music. Yes, I feel pretty strongly about "The Unquiet Sky". Simply put, it truly may be the best sludge album that I've ever had the pleasure of being acquainted with. This is absolutely devastating metal, plenty of slow-plodding riffs with psychedelic droning elements throughout (which can be credited to the massive amount of gain and reverb emitted from their relentless Orange amps). The guitars are dense and fuzzy, as one might expect, but it's a welcomed tone that has been tweaked to perfection - theses axes are crushing when they want to be and let out carefully-planned cries of feedback at will. So, needless to say, this album has excellent production topped off with songwriting skills that succeed in keeping things interesting through the entire trip. Oh, and vocals here are harsh and manage to work well alongside the dark, sludgey tones. Rhythm section is naturally good and, if you enjoyed this album anywhere near as much as I have, will have you air-drumming along through 'Ration' every time. To sum things up, it's the best elements of Ufomammut and Eyehategod; the album neither wrote, but probably would have loved to. Toke alongside this one.

1. No Able Fires
2. Ration
3. Dead Weight
4. Los Nietos
5. Queen
6. Tied and Gagged
7. God of Panic, Lord of Decay
8. Loophole Noose
9. Shill
10. We Can Build You
11. Worshiper of Sores

Download (73.46 MB)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Learning the ways of the blog.

Well, I'm finally here. Since p2p programs have difficulty running on this terribly old machine and I haven't enough money to buy all that I want to hear, blogs have been a choice of mine for a few months now when it comes to finding new music. I hope to upload some stuff sooner or later, but for now I'm still getting a feel for this place.. it's all pretty confusing and time-consuming at the moment. But anyways, expect more posts in the future, and thanks for visiting and reading in the meantime.