drink up the vapours: luke vollar on winebox press

April 1, 2015 at 11:37 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Jon Collin – Wrong Moves / Dream Recall (tape, Winebox Press, winebox26, edition of 72 ‘from the door of the below wardrobe’)

Whole Voyald Infinite Light – Uncollected Recordings (2 x tape, Winebox Press, winebox25, edition of 82 ‘in a double tape case constructed from the broken down frame of a wardrobe’)

wrong movesuncollected

Winebox Press is something special.  Thus when an e-mail appeared in my inbox advertising two new releases I didn’t hesitate to order them immediately. Jon Collin seems to occupy his own little pasture of contemplative music untroubled by the futile excesses of modern life. The fact that most releases are on the cassette format and attached to lumps of wood fashioned from old wardrobes, boxes and whatnot adds a charm that really emphasizes the aesthetic at work. Whether it’s Jon’s music or that of like minded artists which gets released, there is a common theme: a primitive folk music that’s been nourished with a knowledge of underground forms and approaches. A scan of the Winebox Press blog will show an impressive list of highly desirable objects put together with love and devotion, most now long gone. I cannot think of another label with such a heartfelt dedication to presenting their cherished sounds in a way that makes them feel possessed with cosmic force.  It’ll warm you from the inside out.

Wrong Moves / Dream Recall is straight up lovely.  An unfortunate habit of the male music scribe is to show off his knowledge when discussing artists in order to make unnecessary comparisons:

blah blah John Fahey, blah blah Robbie Basho

…ad nauseum. Well I’m not going to do that [Editor’s note: heh, heh – you kinda already did! Sneaky].  I will say that his guitar playing on Side A is languid, reflective and beautiful.  Notes are shrugged off like drops of water falling onto the surface of a lake, while the creak of his bottle neck confuses his playing and the cassette format keeps the listener cradled in ‘cotton wool arms’ (copyright: Joe Murray). There is no purpose or forward motion to these short pieces, rather it sounds like Jon is out on the porch, daydreaming his fingers across the strings.  He manages to combine a hesitant probing approach to playing with a profound serenity that is as deep and green as the forest that adorns his High Peak Selections album. The picture attached to the box is a scene of coastal idyll: a beach, some trees and a blurry patina that reminds me of flicking through my grandparents’ photo album as a kid.  Shit, I’m already choking up and I haven’t even flipped it yet.

Side B sees some piano and ebow action.  The tactile feeling conveyed is supremely seductive – the kinda opiated creek you could swim in for hours.  Pure piano for the second piece and Jon’s playing is as unhurried as his guitar playing. I LOVE this sound and if this brief foray into piano is new for Jon then I hope we get to hear more.

Uncollected Recordings by Whole Voyald Infinite Light sees Jon joined by some guitar slinging buddies, a quartet on the first tape and a duo on the second. Tape One sees some loose and heady psych jams with Tom Settle and Edwin Stevens on bass and drums and the ethereal vocals and guitar of Barry Dean (Infinite Light) coming over like Tim Buckley via Kate Bush. If you, like me, can dig baggy, exploratory wig outs that roam around like crazy horse then this will most certainly stoke the coal in your fire.  Jon shows another side of his chops and goddam if that boy can’t play the shit out of his geetar.  Grizzled leads carry the rest of the group over the horizon into the sunset with enough conviction to make the most seasoned of heavy psych collectors nod solemnly in approval.  Side B is a slow burner, the collective instruments and ‘that voice’ glowing like stars in the sky – hell, there’s even a harmonica – and some truly stupendous string blurt going on.

Jon and Barry go it alone for the next tape and the guitars coalesce into thick streams of fuzz tone, showering sparks like a six stringed flame thrower.  Things slow down to more nuanced interplay with swelling feedback, off kilter spontaneous riffing and the vibe of a tape left to roll capturing ‘the moment’.

Side D starts with an almost Japanese feel of desolate, wasted melancholy.  Barry’s vocals are at their most nuts here (seriously how does he sing that high? I wonder if he talks like an ordinary guy?) and we bow out with more harmonica and drunken guitars crying into their beers.  I’ve no idea if this configuration is an ongoing concern but I certainly hope so.  The wild and the free, the prairie dwellers who howl at the moon and drink up the vapours, are always welcome in my kingdom.

—ooOoo—

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