28.10.09

News 10.28.09

On Friday I'll be leaving on a much anticipated vacation to Montreal, meaning no posts until about mid November. For now though, I leave you with some news on the cassette releases that I've been promising for over six months. My initial stabs at starting up a label basically flat out failed, but I'm pleased to announce that I've decided to give it another shot, from a different angle. To be continued...

25.10.09

MaëRor Tri 'Myein' (Waystyx Records, 2005 Reissue)


I've met a fair number of Germans in my life mostly through chance encounters while visiting annual vacation spots or when traveling abroad, and in my experience I have never met a shitty one. In fact, whenever I meet a new German person I either end up dating them (just kidding Lucy, honey) or partying with them for a week. Maeror Tri, consisting of the lads pictured above are three Germans that I would have loved to hang out with, because after long sleepless weekends of pub crawls and partying, instead of retiring back into the mundane 9-5 life waiting for the next weekend to emerge, come Monday we would gather in our cramped yet comfortable jam space to pay homage to the drone Gods with nothing but effect soaked guitars and a unified understanding of the transcendental qualities of our particular brand of music.

Formed in 1988 and influenced by the right side of the brain, Maeror Tri, the trio of Stefan Knappe, Martin Git and Helge Siehl emerged from the shadowy corners of Leer, Germany. Quickly establishing themselves as a band worth knowing about, Maeror Tri began to produce a specific yet completely pure form of guitar music, their craft blossoming from the dark atmospheres of their effect laden strings and adolescent creativity. After nearly a decade, Helge left the band to form Tausendschoen while Stefan and Martin started the untouchable Troum in 1997. Stefan also went on to establish Drone records, a label almost entirely dedicated to limited run 7"'s from some of the world's best.



Myein, originally released in a triangle shaped sleeve (pictured above) on N D records in a run of 1000 copies, got a proper reissue in 2005 on Waystyx, and with good reason, as this is quite universally accepted as one of, if not the most seminal release by the German trio produced in their eight years of existence. Just listen to the opener Phlogiston, with it's slow building guitar plod and fuzzy interference. The track manages to be super heavy yet gauzy at the same time while maintaining a climactic incline that is such a golden example of the band's structurally improvised purity. The static blast at around the 14 minute mark is worth the price of admission alone, and it doesn't even end there.



It's Desiderium, the 10 minute slow burner that's the highlight for me. It opens with what almost sounds like drenched organ tones but is soon overtaken by a reverberated guitar wash, reminiscent of Mcguire's work in the more recent Emeralds' albums. Then a voice, or maybe it's more guitar that comes in adding to the now lushly unraveling soundscape. The 47 minute! title track closes out the album, commencing with a densely distorted ocean of fuzz. Just as quickly as it fills the air it dissipates with one motion of a leg bringing a foot down atop a distortion pedal, leaving behind an unfathomably long comets tail worth of endless space and time in the form of simplified elongated guitar drones left to float aimlessly in a blackened unforgiving Universe. This album helped pave the road towards a tonal movement that has been steadily gaining steam in many underground music societies across the globe. Totally essential and limited to 675 copies.

Listen to Phlogiston


Listen to Desiderium


Also, you can stream the entire album Ambient Dreams, one of the first Maeror Tri cassettes released on ZNS Tapes in 1990 here. (content: fulltime tapes, 4th one down) Raw.



17.10.09

Terrors 'Inequipoise' Cassette (Monorail Trespassing, C30, mt65cs, April 2009)

Link to last post: Scott Reber of Ordinary Machinery has released not one but two cassettes on Jon Borges' Monorail Trespassing label under the name Work/Death. Inequipoise by Terrors was released on MT earlier this year. Monorail Tresspassing

It's great when a label releases something that is both equally unexpected and absolutely stellar. Diverging from the abstract noise and endless tonalities of most of the MT albums comes this absolutely addictive slice of midnight-loner-bedroom-pop, complete with interspersed segues of fragmented noise. This stuff brings to mind acts like Grouper and Californian doom folkers Flying Canyon (terribly unfortunate story with that band) but crafted into a distinct melancholy that is very much unlike anything I've ever heard. It all just works so well together and I can't get enough.

The
Myspace page reveals a few micro edition releases on Cavelife records including what I can only presume is Inequipoise's other half, Equipoise, and also a couple of forthcoming titles. According to the site, Terrors is from W. Baltimore, Maryland. During a show in Denver earlier this summer, however, which you can listen to and download here, the main man behind Terrors -anyone know this guys name?- said he used to live in California and is now residing... nowhere. In trying to find out more information I've only been left more confused, funny really. The bedroom haze is somewhat lifted in the live setting but I recommend those tracks none the less.

Recorded in a window in February 2009.

The opener Inequipoise/Smoke Anyway immediately ropes you in with it's repetitive warbly keyboard melody and guitar parts. Another great use of the looped phrase surfaces on the final A side track Wrought Iron Door, definitely one of my two favourite tracks, with it's totally catchy guitar part (you'll know it when you hear it) and cave dwelling vocals. Not to mention the embedded emotion in the overall pace and tone. So beautiful, like weepingly beautiful. The B side starts with my other fave, the mellow-epic (not to be confused with mellow dramatic) Turn Out the Cradle. A lazily strummed guitar just floats there over the duration while the almost Jamie Stewart- (think Fast Car cover) like vocal delivery is haunting. And as the word "One" is uttered a mildly uplifting wave of energy takes control of the song and it's absolute gold from then on.

My favourite line, which has been stuck in my head for days now, "...burn their villages, ruin their spires, pull down their skyline with fire...Yours to control..." is simply perfect, as if he's describing an incident of the destruction of a beloved pastoral oil painting from his childhood. Flail Or Rust, with it's crumbling electronics sets us up for the closer Last Chance/FNB, an appropriate finale to this downward spiral of an album, the track eventually getting crushed under the emotional weight of the preceding songs in the form of a howling vortex of muted noise. Love it.

12.10.09

Scott Reber's Other Project...Ordinary Machinery

In 2009 alone, Scott Reber has released at least three cassettes on some very notable labels operating in the American underground: Ekhein, Monorail Trespassing, and Arbor all under his Work/Death guise. Notably, last year's 5-way east coast tour collab cdr with Vancouver's own noise guru Sam McKinley (aka The Rita), and others also featured Reber. Sometime in 2007, or maybe late 06 (not much info out there), Reber started the Three Songs of Lenin label, it seems, as a personal creative outlet for (mostly) his projects. Spewing from this miasmic cloud of creative freedom is Ordinary Machinery, an apparent "field recording" project. Reber seems determined to capture a perfectly bleak urbanized landscape, barren and unforgiving, rife with mechanized buzz, generator churn, far off voices and the occasional lashing electrical surge. Sonically similar to Work/Death maybe, but an entirely different approach. These are the sounds of the everyday, walking to and from wherever it is you go, the typical white noise that most people don't give a second thought too, only slightly warped and pulled apart then woven neatly back together in a way that makes perfect sense. Expect to hear in these recordings what one can accomplish musically, given only that which is in their immediate environment, but don't expect the typically stagnant, background murmurings of your average ordinary machinery. This is so much more.


Ordinary Machinery "Stand While Fields Pass"
(Three Songs of Lenin, C20, 2008)

Recorded while others slept
At Work
Under Highways
Near Electricity and Refridgeration


Ordinary Machinery "Accumulate and Acclimatize"
(Three Songs of Lenin, C30, 2009)


In and Around one Building
Saturday Night. Spring Weekend
Avoidance Proximity
Inch by Inch Scrutiny
No Transmissions


News 10.12.09

First of all I want to thank everyone who has shown any interest in the Scrapyard up to this point. Ever since I changed the domain and name from the Church of Drone I guess I left a lot of people hangin'. With that said there now seems to be a resurgence of interest and for that I am grateful. Could it be because I am now properly linked from the Aquarius records blog? I don't really know. probably. In any case, thanks to all of you and plenty more posts to come.

Secondly, I am as of now instigating a new upload policy. I've been on the fence about this for so long. At first I didn't really care and linked everything, and then I felt guilty and took a lot down. But now I've made things available once again. So, from now on I will provide a download link for the majority of albums I review BUT ONLY FOR ONE WEEK. So now, the material is like a reward for those of you who follow close enough. Certain extremely rare or long OOP material and very limited run releases will be made permanently available. And upon request I will re-post almost anything for an extra week, but you have to ask. After the two week span, that's it. Down for good.

That's all for now. Have a good day.

A

3.10.09

Emeralds, A Kosmixtape.

Let me start by stating that I've been on a huge Emeralds kick lately. This Ohio three piece has become a staple in the soundtrack of my everyday life. Having these warm, enveloping sounds constantly playing in the background has made even the most demeaning tasks, like washing dishes, or folding laundry a complete joy to do. And I'm not saying that you can't enjoy this stuff in other contexts. I'm saying that it's enjoyable all the fucking time.

Last year's Solar Bridge was a huge favourite of mine (I totally overplayed it) and the number of albums to follow have been equally as good, if not better. And while I was trying to snag those releases I admittedly dipped into a lot of the older out-of-print tapes and cdrs that have been floating around the net. My findings are as follows: It all rules. Therefore, I couldn't help but compile this mixtape that I think is an excellent introduction to the band, but keep in mind that it's in no way meant to be a compendium of their material. It's just something I threw together. It's also heavily weighted towards their newer material because this blog has always been and will always be about tangible releases, and also because in my opinion the material that has come out in the last 6 months from these guys is most certainly their best. So yes, for the most part it's new stuff, or newly "released" stuff with a few older gems popping up here and there. Do enjoy.

Side A:

1. Up in the Air
Taken from What Happened (No Fun Productions, cd, 2009)


Released on the first month of 09' What Happened was the album that really sealed the deal for me. it's a collection of 5 improvised tracks that were recorded live to tape in 2007-08. It's hard to say whether these were all previously released or not because the one I know for sure that was previously released had a different title, and it was also the only one I had recognized as such. More on that later though. What Happened is a great document of the many subtle spectrums of sound that Emeralds shift into. Up in the Air, although short, perfectly exemplifies this subtle interplay of the band. Mark McGuire's guitar is heard first, a looping, sunken rhythm set atop building analog synth swells (Steve Hauschildt and John Elliott). McGuire then introduces another layer of angelic guitar plucks accenting the now fore-fronted synth pulse. It's an all too short tease for an album that only the coolest of dads would be saying "Man, I haven't heard such groovy spaced-out drone stuff since my trip to Germany in the late 60's when I did acid with the guys from Ash Ra Temple."

listen to Up in the Air


2. Mistakes
Taken from Allegory of Allergies (Weird Forest, 2lp, 2009)


Allegory of Allergies was the title chosen for a C120 tape released in 2007 on the Gods of Tundra label. The 2lp version is the same material as the cassette, only re-sequenced and shy a few tracks that I guess didn't make the cut. Mistakes, despite it's name, was a keeper. And for good reason too as this is some of the lushes straight drone stuff that the band has produced. Mcguire's guitar doesn't rear it's head until the final declining moments. Everything up to that point is shear blissful washed out synth-esthesia. Yes, there is most certainly something wrong with you if you can't hear vibrant colours in this music. LP is beautifully packaged, thick gate-fold, abstract paint smears, treetops, gold jackets and all.

Listen to Mistakes


3. Untitled A Side
Taken from Planetarium (Tapeworm Tapes, c20, 2008)


I always want to call this Aquarium and not Planetarium, because of all the submerged water sounds that seem to bubble up from uncharted depths and because of the blue cover. Or maybe because the oceans are just as dark and mysterious as space is, so it's easy to get confused or something like that. Either way, this stuff could easily allude to one or the other. The A side, which I've chosen for the tape, starts off in perfect Emeralds fashion with that ethereal bubbly synth stuff that 's just so warm and nice. Eventually the track gets a lot darker with Mcguire plucking some minor key notes. Oh it just hit me, the tape is about the sensation of floating down to Earth from space then suddenly falling through the air and finally plummeting into the ocean. Ya, that's' it.

Listen to Untitled A


4. The Quaking Mess
Taken from Solar Bridge (Hanson, cd/lp, 2008)


Solar Bridge is a masterfully crafted album. It's mere 26 minutes can feel like a life time, especially if you are playing it on repeat for hours as I was when I first laid my hands on it. All I can say is, the washed out wall of sound that overtakes The Quaking Mess midway through it's 14 minute duration is about as potent as it gets. So good.

Listen to A Quaking Mess



Side B:
5. Untitled A Side
Taken from Fresh Air (A Soundesign Recording, 7", 2009)



The first and only 7" release thus far by Emeralds. The great thing about this band is that their music doesn't limit them to any particular format. They are not stunted by brevity, nor do they drag in the longer form. The A side, almost bridging on a melodic tune, is about as busy as these guys get. Rolling-hill synth flourishes carve a meandering path for loping guitar rhythms, like a waltz that could go on forever. The flip is a bit of a darker affair, almost sounding like the A side but filtered through countless tapes, degraded with it's edges dulled. All around really nice.

Listen to Untitled A Side



6. Standing Water
Taken from Grass Ceiling (Fag Tapes, C34, 2007)


Released somewhere in the middle of a pretty prolific year of limited run cassettes and cdrs, Grass Ceiling stands somewhat taller than a lot of the other stuff. There seems to be matured sense of space, especially on the opener Standing Water that makes this one just a bit more special. The typical elements of gingerly plucked guitar and warm synth drones are there, but everything seems just a little bit s l o w e r. Judging by the opening track, this almost seems to recall a Dream Syndicate approach more than Berlin-school tactics. One of the best Emeralds songs to date.

Listen to Standing Water




7. What if God Was on the Subway?
Taken from Sunburned Hand/Emeralds Split Cassette (Manhand, C30, 2007)


So, what I was eventually going to get at about the shifty song titles from What Happened I am now going to get at. This track, What if God was on the Subway? is the same song as Damaged Kids from What Happened, just titled differently, which is perfect, because I wanted to include two songs from that album anyways. What if God.. is definitely a noisier affair, at least, it starts off noisier: far out space sounds and lazer synth lines. There are definitely a few distinct parts here, the whole track feeling a bit more heterogeneous than most of their material. Eventually the noise is subdued and we are lulled into more familiar Emeralds territory. I can't recall what the Sunburned side is like. Maybe I'll listen to that again soon.

Listen to What if God was on the Subway?




8. Lasting
Taken from Lasting Compilation (Pineapple Tapes, C90, 2009)


And finally we've got the Emeralds contribution to the Lasting Compilation, which I reviewed earlier this month. First off, the track start with a shot, as if already in the middle and the layers just build and build a top each other: lush droning synthesizers, mad guitar dabbling, and great squalls of UFO's orbiting the speakers. It's like five Emeralds tracks mashed into one but without subjecting the listener to a sensory overload. But, as the track comes to a close, everything is stripped away except for Mcguire's lone guitar plucks. Now were at the end and all you have to do is flip the tape and start the whole experience again.

Listen to Lasting




Well, that's it. I encourage all of you who download this to transfer it to cassette tape. Also, please consider buying some of these. You know where to go.

Emeralds Kosmixtape