microphones in the trees: 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019

new management ~ 遠くの見知らぬ人



Either it's something of a "the beauty is in the eyes of beholder" kind of case, or it is a true fact, but recently more and more excellent ambient works started to happen in the world of vaporwave music. The specifics of the genre – namely, the fact of not knowing if that's an original work or simply some effects applied an old slowed-down track by a long forgotten artist, – gives an additional dimension to the vaporambient subgenre. You can easily tell what's is going on with more regular kind of songs, but with ambient and drone... It is not clear whether to thank the author for the quality of the work done with the sound editing or for the opportunity to hear something that otherwise would have remained forever in the depths of history... Both, most likely. In any case, the specificity of vaporwave is not to steal someone else's music but to create the right atmosphere using anything you can lay your hands on. Whether it will be a short intro from disco-funk hit or some old elevator Muzak composition. We have enough music gathering virtual dust on the music servers... Why not recycle it?

In the course of the listening to such albums like this one, it is easy to put aside reflections on the topic if the goal justifies the means or not. It's an experience happening right here and now after all.  Soft, enveloping music for subtle immersion into relaxed bliss. A dream disturbed by only slightly strange images, which, however, tend to blur and elude from sight. A sound that dissolves the need to think or to do anything. Sleep potion, gently pulling it into one's arms. Sometimes it may even seem like a sleepy paralysis, an intermediate peace between sleep and reality... An yeah, that's what we used to call hypnagogic some years ago. But there is nothing scary in this state of mind – except, perhaps, the desire to remain in it for as long as possible.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

bear bones, lay low ~ atlantean encrypted message



UFO-cult is another funny evidence that we all live in a sophisticated virtual reality or better say a reality show. Well, think for yourself, what could be more fun for a galactic viewer than to watch naive people seriously ranting about their extraterrestrial travels, living spaceships from the Pleiades, star seeds and the Mayan calendars, messages of wisdom from Atlantis and Shambhala... Even more fun is the fact that this is all true to a degree, but the essence of the reality show lies in making homosapienses believe in half-truths and to make funny conclusions about cosmic order out of them! Changing their lives according to them and creating new, non-trivial scenarios. Thus, entertaining those who are directly related to this – the Sirians, the Atlanteans, Pleiadians, Zets, and all other 'celestials'.

Another big irony here is the fact, that creators of this show included in it an opportunity for humans to create similar shows and make fun of with each other. Well, just to make it even harder to get to the truth. Someone in another trip discovers the highest truth and all around are like 'have you seen enough of the X-Files?'. It's postmodern, and fun, and instructive! And if you start pushing it too hard, you're immediately off to secondary storylines and, as always, politicians, religious leaders and pop stars will get all prime time. Oh, and they know how to make top-rated shows. And if you have learned the whole essence and truth, it is better to encrypt it into some piece of music, or a movie, or a picture of some kind. Can be fun for others, and easier for you... You have nowhere to go off this spacecraft anyway.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

kyle landstra ~ bloom lake



Migrating to the Pacific Northwest after years in Chicago brought new light to Kyle Landstra's crystalline sounds. Bloom Lake represents some of the first deeply devised sounds made by Landstra in his new environment, and while it's not a dramatic reaction to some conceptually new life, you can't help but hear some clouds clearing all the same. Recorded in real time, these two side-long pieces slowly braid strands of reflection and acceptance. Drifting but bright, "Love In A Mist" stirs with a kind of restrained excitement that comes at the beginning of promising times. The title track communicates a darker side of the same excitement, but in a way that again suggests understanding more than fear, growth more than foreboding ~ unifactor tapes

It's nice to see that some of the names that have been beloved in the wake of the cassette revival, like 7 or even 10 years ago, are still active. Kyle is a real magician when it comes to making music on vintage analog monsters. There is always a certain balance between his drone, ambient textures, and sequences in his music, and there is always some kind of pacifying frequency or some secret modulation which makes you immediately want to sit back, take a deep breath and close your eyes, just not thinking about anything... Trite maybe? Yes – and isn't that can be said about most of the music on this blog? That's definitely true, but at the same time, it's about many other things! All shades of feelings and impressions can be coded in the simplest vibrations of sine waves, what to speak of a rich synth sounds then! And when there's a very gifted practitioner behind them. Perhaps this album is just another reference point in that endless ocean of sound, plunging into which at some point you can completely forget that it can also be considered music, even recorded, also published, even on cassettes... Yet, even considering its transience this albums manages to create a portal that offers a view of the amazing dimensions of total serenity and bliss. 


Saturday, January 12, 2019

polonius ~ anaxia short movie ost





“Welcome to the world of Oskexis, an ancient land of dark magic, an underworld frontier to the continent of Trocia above. Oskexis’ soil is rich, unidentified metals, gems, ores, and fuel – which brings countless crusades and bloodshed. The few remaining oasis’ are controlled by feudal warlords who engage in unending mining/military campaigns. Demons, bandits, and gangs run unchecked. It is a hostile place.  
Anaxia is an archaic and rare type of magic, originally developed by ancient Trocian mystic-engineers. Anaxian Magic grants the user abilities of psycho-navigation and psycho-puppetry others’ minds – an ability alike cloning one’s mind.” ~ weston razooli


Nope, you're wrong, that's not a trailer of some sophisticated erotic hippie movie from the 70s. It is a 2018 short filmed on tape and imbibed by something tightly embedded into the subcortex of world's cinema – spaghetti-westerns, fantasy, mafia... The simplicity and at the same time bright dynamics of the script creates a dream-like journey as if recorded by someone (without permission, of course) for sale on the magic crystals black market. Unexpected special effects continually break the retromaniac mood of the video sequence, but it immediately draws you back into its warm embrace. If Conan the Barbarian was filmed by feminists group who had the idea of it on the lysergic withdrawal while watching some western movie from a randomly selected nameless VHS tape.

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Yet, in reality, costumes, video, plot, the whole thing was the work of the director Weston Razooli hailing from sunny LA. While bizarre soundtrack and awesome sound effects were created by Seif Gaber (aka Polonius) from even sunnier Egypt. And all this sums up to the wonderful experience with just one flaw – it's criminally short! The music here seems to be caught on a cassette with the help of some magic spell or reanimated from some dusty archives of weird field recordings recorded over some old game soundtrack. And its meanderings are so convincing, that there will be no surprise if some impertinent fairy will enter your room next moment, angrily saying something like: "Hey, are you still chilling? Did you learn ten spells for tomorrow's class? Oh, you've finished my marshmallows again!" and will dissolve in the air, leaving the smell of dusty cacti behind...

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By the way, the soundtrack in full duration of 24 minutes will be released on cassettes next week on the Artetetra – Italian stronghold of the "occult psychedelia" and other wonderful things, so I probably should take back my words about this thing being criminally short. Yet, that would be super nice to watch a full-length movie like this some day. Meanwhile, you can chill with marshmallows and cocoa listening to amazing tunes Polonius had on Goaty Tapes and his double tape as Rorschac at Corum's Nonlocal Research, and then head to Discogs to find out much much more about Gaber's gorgeously bizarre soundworld. 


Friday, January 11, 2019

geology records winter batch




Sitting in the dead of Winter, I'm really excited about this collection of songs because it is just dripping with Spring. If you are familiar with Black Eagle Child, this collection fits very nicely on the continuum of his work. Gorgeous, sometimes folky, looping guitars, found sound and field recordings. A lathe-cut 12" version is also available from the artist's Bandcamp page. Cassette packaging includes a slipcase and full-color j-card with art by Black Eagle Child.

Yes, we are familiar with Black Eagle Child and when it comes to guitar goodness infused with tape hiss and light-radiating psychedelic repetition, one can hardly find something better than this. Since 2009 and thanks to such imprints as Digitalis, Stunned, Housecraft records signature tunes by Michael Jantz found their place in my subconscious and roll out of it in moments when they are most needed – like now, 1,5 months (and counting) without the sunlight in the middle of Russian winter... When these melodies are here, I can almost feel the breeze of warmth and imagine as snowdrifts outside suddenly started to melt... And the greyness were removed from the sky, and birds started to sing their spring songs. Okay, they will eventually, so no tragedy here. Actually, I love winter pretty much and with music like this, I do even more.


~~~



Adam is a prolific experimental artist in Milwaukee, having played in or guested on piles of the best albums to come out of the scene over the past 15+ years. These are more song-based than his normal terrain, but still with a nod to his drone/minimal work. Adam and I have a similar music coming of age background, I think, and so a lot of this hits my musical lizard brain in a really satisfying way. Wholly original, but sounds like home. Packaging includes a fold-out booklet and Autumn leaves from near my home in Milwaukee (unique to each tape).

Pretty much warming as the Black Eagle Child, yet a bit diverse and with carefully overdriven guitars and rudimentary percussion, this is another example of chord repetition which can be as meditative as pretty dynamic. Sliding from mantra-like folk ballads towards droning sound overlays and humming and back to songs rendered in krauty mood. Changing moods from lazy contemplations to melancholic philosophizing (on the dead bird). At any given moment this tape captures something sincere and emotional despite the seemingly cynical and indolent approach. It all resolves in Trees Listed Alphabetically with exalted awe and marching rhythm which takes you up above treetops... Cozy heartwarming music, what else we need to spend January evenings?