artifacts of the no-audience underground: preslav literary school, orphax, waz hoola

June 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Preslav Literary School – Veer (Interdisco ID027)

One lunchtime last week I took a stroll to a small park that forms part of the campus on which I work.  St George’s Field, formerly a cemetery, is now an arboretum of sorts and is intended to be a place of quiet contemplation.  In it are three magnificent rhododendron shrubs (trees?) each 12-15 feet high which are currently in bloom.  From a distance: three billowing clouds of purple somehow tethered to the grass.  Up close: a wall of flowers, each a variation on perfection, alive with bees drunkenly stumbling from one bloom to the next.  Glorious.

Throughout lunch I was wearing my mp3 player and the soundtrack was this release by Preslav Literary School.  It fit very nicely indeed.  I may already have dozens of albums full of satisfying, well constructed drones, but there is always room for another particularly satisfying and well constructed instance of the type.  Available as a free download in mp3 or flac format from Interdisco.

Download here.

Orphax – A Room With A View (Striate Cortex S.C.41.)

Another excellent release on Andy Robinson’s impeccable label Striate Cortex.  The package is of the usual high standard: a full size plastic CD wallet contains a liner of apparently hand-made paper, a window in which reveals a glossy photo of a handsome moth.  The music, a single track of about 20 minutes duration, is contained on a 3″ CD-r which comes nestled in its own wallet within.

So what of the music?  The room in question appears to be the cockpit of a spacecraft shaped, for reasons too complicated to get into here, exactly like the moth on the cover.  The view, at first, is the hanger where we hear it fuelled, prepared and launched at which point the view becomes the frigid nothingness of space.  Once safely away, the pilot settles down to watch a video of a man leaving his family house and trudging up a hillside path.  The pilot cracks its equivalent of a grin then busies itself with the process of landing.  The view is now of sparks and the growing orb below.  The sound is of the moth-ship manoeuvring in the heat of the thickening atmosphere.  We land on the hillside that we saw on the video.  The sound of crickets from outside can now be heard, slightly filtered, in the cockpit.  The pilot issues a command which sounds unnervingly like the mewling of a domestic cat and a hatch opens.  Some distance ahead the man from the video looks nervously over his shoulder…

Great stuff.  Buy here.  Visit Orphax here.

Waz Hoola – Multiply Reality by Infinity (Red Guard RG002)

OK, no stories this time: just the facts.  This is a proper CD containing two tracks totalling about 55 minutes.  It is a solo recording by Waz Hoola, the head honcho of Infinite Exchange Records.  It comes housed in a cardboard sleeve sealed with a blob of red wax.  The monolithic heaviness of the music is underscored by the accompanying booklet: a collection of photographs of cracked slabs of rock (paving?).  But I get ahead of myself…

‘Infinity’, the first track, builds into a deep, resonantly textured drone – its components like lava liquefying the motorway tarmac it rolls over.  Occasionally the cooling surface cracks to reveal the white-orange heat inside.  It is no joke recording this stuff – distortion or clipping can really harsh the buzz or pop the enveloping bubble – but this is immaculate.  I was agog when, at around the 21 minute mark, something remarkable happens: there is a drum roll, no – it’s a rhythm track, then a guitar riff, then someone stamps on the pedals and the whole piece insta-evolves into a stoner metal groove.  This is, to put it bluntly, fucking genius.  Both this type of rock and drone music involve a pursuit of ego-dissolving noise and to layer the latter with the former is so perfect that it made me laugh out loud when I realised what was happening.  When I first heard this I was walking to work and arrived at my desk with a few minutes still to run – I shoed my colleagues away and sat it out, marvelling.

The last of the riff fades out as the second track, ‘Reality’ takes over.  The final cymbal crash stretched out into the start of a shimmering, metallic drone.  This ebb and flow carries us through a twenty minute comedown, reality indeed, before leaving the listener beached.  Possibly my favourite thing that I’ve heard all year.

Buy here.

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