forcing the entire world thru the ghost of a worn-out shredded nail thread: joe henderson on an eiderdown records easter special – the year of the rabbitApril 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: a story of rats, bent pyramid trio, bird people, easter, eiderdown records, gonzalez & steenkiste, gregg skloff, hellvette, hound dog taylor's hand, jake blanchard, joe henderson, prana crafter, rabbits, somesuprises, tales from the street, the shouts from the sea, woven skull
A Story of Rats / Hellvette – Split (Eiderdown Records)
Gonzalez & Steenkiste – Stuffed With The Down Of The Eider (Eiderdown Records)
Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand- Live at the Comet (Eiderdown Records)
Woven Skull – Emissions from Sun Bleached Brains (Eiderdown Records)
Bird People – Down of the Hasma (Eiderdown Records)
Gregg Skloff – The Glacial Enclosure (Eiderdown Records)
Jake Blanchard – Colour Discolour (Eiderdown Records)
Bent Pyramid Trio/ The Shouts From the Sea – Split (Eiderdown Records)
Prana Crafter – Mindstreamblessing (Eiderdown Records 2017)
Somesurprises – Serious Dreams (Eiderdown Records)
I have in front of me three cassettes. I also have Bandcamp links and a number of mp3s. They are all from Eiderdown Records, in Seattle. I chose ‘em. I consult Discog’s for information.
The releases span roughly five years. I feel a puzzle is to be solved. I am looking down the open grove of trees, at a path yet taken. The urge to contact my editor for a quick resolve is there. But for now I will resist it and admire the dates as if they were counting down to some future event, all partnered up in artwork duos, twin-sets of thick printed double colours. That’s the Eiderdown Way. All releases on cassette tape, some available, some sold out. But all put together they remind me of a comic book strip, that goes like this:
A Story of Rats / Hellvette – Split (Eiderdown Records 2012) Split tape and digital album
Track one: The ‘deep vibes scene’ of the Pacific Northwest, Garek Druss & James Woodhead: AKA A Story of Rats & other. 19 min’s wandering thru the last route taken by Laura Palmer. Deep swells, UFO’s, tremolo sap greening bright fluorescent, and a few ghostly voices. Melody breaks the inhuman sphere. The clearing. A tongue comes in. It’s backwards looking. Opens up into protocol. The humans are coming.. .
A soft plod. Menagerie of grey-tailed parrots applying pressure to their own necks. Reminds me.
Tracks two – five: Before I know it we have skipped a few miles. It is SYLVESTER ANFANG ‘s Glen Steenkist. The accordion swells. If it is that at all. It is an air organ. Swirling. Hypnotic. Cathedral.
You’ve just got to slow down, space your letters, don’t dash your punctuation, don’t join up, half-it.
It stops, for once. It’s retrospect. Harvest-like. Shuttered backwards through a field of maize. Sunshine. Leaving tracks in the floor. A newly formed memory. Slightly disintegrating. Moving downwards. To the place of forgotten dreams. And sly bubbles. And synths. And something in between the air gland again & the well-rounded little option on a keyboard (I miss those). Hermes continues to smile from the wall out there. As always, but this time craning low. A bunch of fairytales beside him. Half broken, half working; illuminating. By a battery box. – TIME – bowed banjo, harmonium, tampura, and Casio. There you go.
Cassette SOLD OUT. Super limited “bootleg” version cassette: All tracks dubbed on one side of a 100 min cassette. Side B left blank for you to dub your own music on it.
Gonzalez & Steenkiste – Stuffed With The Down Of The Eider (Eiderdown Records 2012) Tape and digital album
Three tracks. Track one; bowed metal and air. The sense of circular gestures, I imagine it to be calming. Physical. Tactile. Not synthetic. Not synthesized. But in volume. Loopified. Pulling at two threads. Stop.
A tune in the dried up grass. Gentle. Concerned for each other, in a non-charitable way. Like brothers. Striving to make things better, in a tiny microcosm on a field. Surrounded by houses. Displaced. Cancelling out the manufactured skyline.
The breathing exercises continue. Made public. Like a cut in time. I get to thinking about how we are not free. That free-will and potentiality are just different words for chance and chaos. Walking the line, as if being tested by a police officer. The bright blue strand of lineage. The cat-eyes that light up the road.
Closing the window for a while because it is my right, or option. To be in the world or to halt. And world a place right here, right now. Worlding the moment you retreat from “them”. And encounter “them” in another place. The transportation of music has made it possible for us to be with others. With their dreams. Their fantasies. Their drives. I am listening to the sound of a man scrape the walls of a metal cave, I can even hear the monkeys outside in the jungle. Is it a ritual?
I look at the vent half plastered over in the far side of the wall. Is it an attempt to cover up the vent? In wavy lines. An ornate pattern of holes that I had never noticed before.
I become aware of my pace. My punctuation. My breath. Picking up tiny mounds of wisdom along the way. That I rattle imperceptibly in my hand. My fingers aware of the air. Correcting myself. I like how this music compresses the air, as if it were being played as an accordion itself. Pleated time and space crumpling and expanding in designed concertinas.
They are Belgians, these too. The Anfang guy again with Ernesto Gonzalez. Released in 2012 and all SOLD OUT. Makes you think of the bliss of the ‘original’, that we all, seemingly unwitting or not, follow. The glow of the most bitter and finest. Tinsel like. This is an attempt at redemption. I mean to say an attempt to speak thru the Distorian. Through the hand that muffles your snout. The internet soon breaks. We’re all left alone on a cloud. Unable to talk. Unable to speak to each other. In Australia. Bites hard, the fingers tapping down. Predicting the past. A bend in the pipe. And then a hard finish. Which makes me impressed with that. Like an orphaned duckling.
Bootleg version still available: All tracks dubbed on one side of a 100 min cassette. Side B left blank for you to dub your own music on it.
Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand – Live at the Comet (Eiderdown Records 2014) Tape and digital album
Hound Dog Taylor throws a rusty old bike into a lake of river water that’s swept into town (see, we can play with time – it’s guitar and drums). I’ve become anxious.
What is this non-existent howling coming from the courtyard outside?
Good, I’ve become sentient again. Climax Golden Twins man Jeffery Taylor has been jamming with Ostrowski & Seman. There’s double bass.
“First ever release by Seattle’s secret weapon against the tech squares and yuppie droolers! . . “Live At The Comet” is a document from a town that doesn’t even know what’s good for it” – says Eiderdown Records.
Windows open and close quite energetically upstairs. Pain fecks (or paint flecks) rain down. The hairdryer or likewise is activated. No, it’s definitely a deliberate hoover. Aggressively cleaning the hallways upstairs. I am confronted and close huddled to these kinds of sonic events that ring down thru the courtyard that amplifies micro-details like the squawking of the birds and that same mans laughter. Just breath in time with the words, said to the cleaner. And slam the brakes down on these old walls. Everyone is in silence.
Cassette available (with perhaps the coolest artwork of them all)
Woven Skull – Emissions from Sun Bleached Brains (Eiderdown Records 2015) Tape and digital album
(Aonghus: Guitar, bells, field recordings, Gamelan, wooden flute. Natalia: Mandola, Gamelan, Scrap metal, wooden flute. Willie: Percussion, Gamelan, Wooden flute. With others. Recorded between 2013 & 2014 in Drumnadubber. Antwerpp. Occii. Amsterdam. Queens University. Belfast)
This is one of the tapes I have between my fingers. I begin down this twisted path. The trees make tunnels. Rain. Sudden and reliable. The most soothing of all waters. The mystery remains. They are Irish. I begin to satisfy my laziness. The day becomes an option. We have entered sacred territory now. Time is better. It is not so frightening. The walls become a healthy option. Like some decision made centuries ago. I turn the corner slightly. The course of the future. It’s all a game now. With no winners, only players. I zone in on the voice now and it startles me. Something has entered the realm, or I have left. This is magical realism. An invocation of the artistry. The artisans of past. The Old Ones. Who knew how to operate the forest. And the seas. The Old Ones who have come to look at their children. And what they have done. It’s the smoke from waste incinerators that seems to make our environs clean and pleasant to be around and in. I live for those drums. That synchronisation. Something faintly emerging from it. That sounds like a voice. And then it gracefully ends. Somehow we have entered the last third of the second track. I wonder if this is numeric. There’s moss growing where it shouldn’t be. We should not hack this of life. The earth is an emerging artwork. Only seen by our worlded eyes.
- The Uncertain Shuffle / A Sweeping Minion And A Man-Made Goat / A Toad Till Now.
- First Three, Then Seven / Stoned Teenage, Listening To Tangerine Dream (part 2) The Quivering Few.
Bird People – Down of the Hasma (Eiderdown Records 2016) Tape and digital album
‘The bird-hipped group’. Is the first thing I wrote of this. Whilst I was reading about T-Rex & Britain (that fictional island). Working in the sewers. Having a genuine holiday whilst listening to this release. That’s from 2016.
Our future in the sun. Hanging off the edge. Dangling. The dam synchronicity. The bell taunts from a newly formed occasional windows message. At precisely the same time. We have taken some few steps towards the opening of another dimension. And we walk thru it confidently. We make a quick promise to take it with us wherever we go. And that is a little one of the magic’s of musical ‘stuff’. We kinda touch fingers, and everything becomes a little bit shorter. A little bit more.
(I will talk about artist Jake Blanchard, who’s made the imagery for the tape, later.)
Bird People are from Vienna. Turns out there is myth-istry in the duck and the Eider. Something about the Hamsa. Someone wants to go back.
Lap steel guitar, electric bass, voice, cello, fiddle, sitar, shruti box, gong, percussion, bansuri, alto sax, harmonica, oscillator, and bells. From 14/15. Winter. Uli Rois, Roy Culbertson III, Réka Kutas, Steffi Neuhuber and Lucas Henao Serna.
It’s still bellowing. With string and air. It’s like a wooden Nintendo-65.
There’s some sitar now. And the soothing bellows. The drone again. Who would have known that a sub-genre would become equated with these creepy little entities that we’ll have to become acquainted with very soon. Or else live in the shadow of a shadow world.
Chewed up India. Mixed up with America. Something rustic about this introspection. It’s still whirling. On a pleasant Easter afternoon.
It’s all gone Jungle Book, one of the best. We’re still here. I feel as though I am looking backwards at a marathon I have just run. I put on the shawl of India. And sit here, in Brighton. As the music has ended. And the seagulls talk in increasingly complex fashion.
Gregg Skloff – The Glacial Enclosure (Eiderdown Records 2016) Tape and digital album
Cryptic contrabass, ‘objects’ and ‘effects’. Olympia WA. 2014. Nehring on artwork. Weathers on the Master. At the Little Blue House by Kevin Doria.
What is this? And who are you? Are questions bought to mind when I’m tapping. Gregg Skloff. The time flies by right throughout the day. I pay close attention to the keys, as they are always present: dangling. Puts me in the oeuvre of ‘Miasmah Records’ in Scandinavia, Norway.
I feel the lineage, a rope in the blizzard. Pipes, wooden pipes with reverb stuck on them. WITHIN. BENEATH. OVER. AFTER. THE GLACIAL ENCLOSURE. The scoop calls closure. They go on. They’ve got echoes to catch up with.
Decriminalise human behaviour. We will continue on. It is drone. It is a discipline. It is to see into the future. It is all about time. And the stretching of time. Somehow thru sound. The making of sound physical. As it has always been. Imperceptiblebeginnings to track three that lush into a private and introspective hum, one that’s just for yourself. Not the kind of music, as has been said before, to play with companions. This is private music. For you, and you only. It’s all gone silent.
Jake Blanchard – Colour Discolour (Eiderdown Records 2016) Tape and digital album
Scissor snaps. Sundays blur into Sundays. And then the rain shifts, he’s doing something mathematically wet. They’ve stolen the duck tunes. It’s of no use to them. Intermittent.
Quite relaxing for this supposed Brighton Beach scenario, where I’m all holed up in a basement. That’s the way it is.
It’s pretty, this. Like jewelry. Where are they when you need them? A reddish ecstatic.
Intermittent: joyous snake. Digitized. Searching the horizon for home.
The line blinks. We’re still here. I am watching ‘Arrival’. Long drones let us know we are here. The eyes set downwards. “You can do this”.
Released in 2016 with some nice pink and green screen-print of a mammal on a tree.
Pigment // The Witches horse-Block // Distant Migration
“Electrifying shahi baaja and other contraptions”
Bent Pyramid Trio/ The Shouts From the Sea – Split (Eiderdown Records 2016) Tape and digital album
(BPT. Ambrosia Bartosek. Voice & Electricity. James McClellan. Reed & Floor work. Adam Svenson. String & Metal. Recorded live at Hollow Earth radio for Magmafest Eiderdown Sound Salon. 3 – 2015 / TSFTS. Patrik Cain & Phong Tran. Recorded “live” at Richmond House. January 2016)
A twitch. It’s sounding right now. I check to see if the world is still closed off. I will continue as long as you have my hands bound behind my back. Conducting my business as usual. Tinkering. The bells. A stroke of genius. Wistful. Because they cannot make noises. It’s two tracks. One from Bent Pyramid called “Three points”, one from The Shouts From The Sea called “Untitled. Swinging, jostling. These are faint and warbling. Lots of little sounds.
A device in your hand. Some kind of Walkman. Encouraging. Enthusiasm, tempered by the physical properties of metal. And clapping hands.
Tinkering about in loops. And beating. Breaks into my kind of rhythm. The one you dread to describe, or pin down. It’s nice now that there are voices travelling backwards. A siren winding down. At night. Something squeezing past the alleyway. The bits of rubber. Elongated waste. Quite erratically whirling around. Gurgling. Ascending. I leave it be. There is a siren. It cannot be! Plucks us into ‘The Breathing’.
Blue & purple artwork of a three faced naked Cyclops-persona.
Prana Crafter – Mindstreamblessing (Eiderdown Records 2017) Tape and digital album
Very beautiful, sounds live at the start. Reminds me of Mayonnaise. The day belongs pretty much to us. Let’s walk along the path of honesty. Find out what music can do to you. Softly softly. Whilst cutting a filthy figure. Digits roll down. You’ve burnt your tongue. Like a cloud, splintering at the seam. Always looking a little bit further past the rift. Each track distinct. A new mood. Impressed upon you. I’d forgotten what a good nights sleep felt like. My limbs, like Luminous Clouds. It’s a bright and chilly Easter Monday morning in this part of the world. I forget it is The Year of the Rabbit, mist rolling in over The Downs. Joined with me is Prana Crafter aka Will Soll, gusting by my left, but your right shoulder (an enduring riddle). I leave the rest up to fate…
At Agartha’s Gate // As The Weather Commands // Praina Pines // MindStreamBlessing // Luminous Clouds // Bardo Nectar
Purple and green picture of a four-poster bed with a tree in it and a lizard on top in some fantastical volcanic landscape.
Somesurprises – Serious Dreams (Eiderdown Records 2017) Tape and digital album
The guitar plucks intro is reminiscent of Hope Sandoval (yes, Joe – I told you I wouldn’t use comparisons) – but whilst we’re at it, Marissa Nadler too. The peach guttural of Cat Power. That phonic embrace, the mouthing of the words.
Now, for a certain disposition at times, I would say that this constellation of invocations may actually serve a purpose for people like me. If you are like me. And like Cat Power et al. All standing in a circle holding hands. Sisterhood.
Noun: a quasilegendary nymph of the Rhine who lured sailors to shipwreck on her rock by singing: a creation of Clemens Brentano in a poem of 1800.
Strumming my arteries, this is a nice sensation. I feel as though I could welcome anyone in right now, to tea & cake & some surprises. I look like shit, I feel like shit, but this is civilized. No-one will suspect me.
It is beautiful, and past-tense, and hurrying back in time. Infinitely sad. In a retrograde way that you will recognize when you see it. Like this sadness has always been around; I only just noticed it. I only just read the news today. I*just* didn’t have the time to think about it. Somesurprises here are trying to think of things that make me sad. And introverted. But I blame it on the news and turn away. ‘Cause I know I’ll be coming back to this one solely because of my disposition. It is undeniably beautiful. [A past commentary].
Part two of the aforementioned landscape mini series. This time it’s a pile of alphabetty-style bone things with a chimney bit ontop that is smoking and a river in the foreground. El-Sergany & Medina w. Luelle. Washington.
Eiderdown says: “late night sound epitomized…true hypnagogic odes to the spaces in between dreams and reality, form and fiction”
mayor skipped town / srs drms // late july // all my failures // low on sleep // 21st century cigarette.
Thanx Eiderdown Records in Seattle for occupying my mind for the last month or so with spiraled curly audio-forms and carefully chosen relics from the distant present-era.
Next up is an ECLAT (Every Contact Leaves A Trace) special for May: ‘The Year of the Waking Machine’.
We leave you with this month’s installment of pavement topics:
THE APRIL STREETS EPISODE
“You’ve fooled me time and time again, Brer Rabbit, but now it’s my turn to pay you back. I’m going to teach you a lesson you’ll never forget and when I’ve finished we’re going to eat you for supper.” With that Mr Man called his daughter to guard Brer Rabbit and stamped off angrily up the garden path. Brer Rabbit stayed very quiet until Mr Man was out of earshot. Then, to the little girl’s surprise he began to sing. In those days Brer Rabbit was a very good singer, though not many people were aware of the fact. The little girl was delighted and as soon as he had finished she begged him to sing some more. Brer Rabbit coughed harshly. “Oh I don’t think I can sing any more, little girl. You know I haven’t been well at all and I don’t want to damage my chest. “ “Oh please, Brer Rabbit. Just one more.” “Impossible, I’m afraid. I could dance for you instead of course. There’s nothing wrong with my legs and you may not believe it but I dance even better than I sing.” “Yes please, Brer Rabbit. Oh yes, do dance, I’d like that.” “Not possible, unfortunately.” “Oh please,” said the little girl. “Just look at me. How do you think I can dance trussed up like this? I can hardly waggle my ears let alone move my legs.” “Let me untie you then,” said the little girl. “You can if you like,” said Brer Rabbit coolly. The little girl bent down and untied all the knots in the fishing line – and Brer Rabbit was free again. He looked around cautiously for any sign of Mr Man, but he was still busy in the house. Brer Rabbit did a rapid pirouette. “Just watch me dance, little girl,” he shouted as he raced for the garden gate. And Brer Rabbit danced all the way home.
Tags: deserted village, hairdryer excommunication, joe murray, jurgen de blonde, köhn, kevin sanders, kirigirisu recordings, petals, woven skull
Woven Skull – Fat Baby Blues (tape or download, Deserted Village, DV51)
petals – enactment & advocacy (CD-r or download, hairdryer excommunication)
Köhn – The Long & Unwinding Road (CD-r, Kirigirisu Recordings, edition of 50 or download)
Woven Skull – Fat Baby Blues
Two seventeen-minute pieces that sound jammed on the fly… but deeper inspection reveals some careful meshing with historical recordings.
‘Fat Baby Blues Part 1’: Dawn chorus guitar strums along with a misty moor drum pattern (locked like Liebezeit) summoning up some Summer Isle ensemble. The rural ritual is played out as simple structures emerge; green shoots springing from black loam. They unfurl like ferns revealing the mathematical complexity of fronds, the solemn beauty of autumn leaves.
But this is no sepia-tinted back-look to Fairport, String Band etc. The wooden ‘clunk’ of the gamelan folded into the end of ‘Fat… Part 1’ adds a whole-world-weirdness that wouldn’t be out of place in a Sun City Gurls joint.
‘Fat Baby Blues Part 2’: A deeper vibe. Free reeds huff and drones are musty like cumin. It reminds me of the great Jazzfinger; weaving sumptuous washes of sound from broken amps. This fades into a damp techno where field recordings spar with shrimp synth tones.
The Woven Skull and their folding-in method becomes an exciting, bubbling tributary to the overcrowded field recordings debate. Book an appointment with the Skull Doctors, pull up a chair and listen.
petals – enactment & advocacy
I’ve never knowingly listened to Kevin Sanders’ Petals project but it’s a name I’ve seen about loads. Or is that Plurals? Or Petrels? Jeepers N-AU it’s hard to keep up at times! Alls I know is that I plugged this baby in zooming through York and didn’t pick my head up until Peterborough. Proper heeds-down drone action as they say in Newcastle.
This disc (or ‘load’ is probably more accurate) consists of two lengthy tracks: ‘enactment’ and ‘advocacy’.
Super-heavyweight organic machines thrum deeply on ‘enactment’, pumping dark waste-gas through a grotesque puckered orifice. There’s a real sense of musicality and movement to this track although it’s glacially slow. You could certainly pick out the notes on a piano (slowly) as they descend through a scale with the flutter of an enormous damselfly – if you were that way inclined. Being as tasty and uniformly stratified as a top notch lasagne your sonic nourishment is then deconstructed! Eventually the layers are gradually faded out one-by-one to reveal the truth; the individual parts of this symphonic insect hum are simple electronic tones slathered with varnish and endlessly tweaked.
A war of attrition becomes the image-totem for my listening during ‘advocacy’. Two forces: one weak but constantly modulating with plucky underdog energy, the other one stronger but erratic, bloated and unfocused. Pitted together they are evenly matched creating a neutral stalemate position.
Plucky underdog seems to weaken further and play dead lulling bloated and unfocused into a sense of superiority. Bloated and unfocused advances with speed, tactically over-stretching itself; snapping out at an enemy that doesn’t exist, chasing shadows until it changes shape entirely becoming dangerously shallow and all-encompassing.
Slowly, gradually, plucky underdog whispers an echo that’s almost impossible to pick up. At first mimicking bloated but taking its time, gradually overpowering the once bloated and now almost transparent signal.
And so this listen ends, as it began, with two opposing forces pitting themselves endlessly against each other. The balance of power has changed, that is true. But at what cost?
The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.
– George Orwell, Animal Farm (1944)
Köhn – The Long & Unwinding Road
A three-track synth/organ/keyboard meditation from one of Gent’s finest, Jurgen De Blonde.
Track one, ‘Alwatis is Alwateris’, is a static, stately almost regal drone that seems to look backwards (Logan’s Run jumpsuits) and forwards (thought transference and soul download) in time simultaneously across its eighteen minute span.
Where Petals were carbon-dense this is hydrogen-light, fixing to float away until moored by the occasional luscious Rhodes Piano-type tones making this as swooningly lovely as that Cocteau Twins and Harold Budd album I remember from incense-fuelled bedsit fumbles. But it’s not all anxious eiderdown arranging; the fake-locked groove ending made me cough up a cola cube with a genuine LOL.
‘Nu-uN’ wears it’s Flemish heart on its sleeve with that slightly wonky 1980’s animation feel. Monster organs float in the upper atmosphere, pipes the diameter of small cars pumping out sky-music to the primitive creatures below. At least that is what I’m hearing.
But it’s the final track ‘Albeit’ where I lose my shit [Editor’s note: I love this track too]. There are pin-prick tone clusters to start; all bright dazzle but with a peculiar flavour – I’m getting aniseed, I’m getting turpentine.
Then my slow mind thinks,
this is not the sort of stuff you normally listen to…
and I start feeling the excitement of a new vista opening up between my ears. My slow mind says
…this is Autechre repainted in primary colours, all textures softened with practical linoleum.
This is no Drake-style diss-track. The optimism and hope that flows through ‘Albeit’ is a joy. Music moves me every day. It makes me twist and shout, throw the horns, stroke a chin…even fall in love, but very rarely do I feel so goddamn charmed by a piece of music that’s simply going about its business without any fuss or expectations.