Monthly Archives: June 2012

| Craft Beer Review | Stillwater Import Series Vol. 2 ’A Saison Darkly’ |

3.9 out of 5

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20

skoisirius (1072) – Earth, USA – JUN 30, 2012

11.2oz from Belmont Station in Portland. Pours a deep dark brown, barely able to see through at all. Aroma is roasty toasty with gentle hints of banana, rose, and the hibiscus. Flavor is sweet up front with the rose (and the berries?), and gets spicier with the hibiscus as the flavor settles on the palate. Remains fairly roasted throughout. Has a nice kick to it. Lingers. Quite a thick brew, lips smacking for sure.
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Music for the Ear…as of late. The Second.

June 29th, 2012

Music, music, music, Life, music, music, MUSIC!  It doesn’t stop.  Overload the ears, but be nice to them with a safe listening volume.  Brain swell.  Incredible.  Little mix of old and new on the ear drum As Of Late:

: Meshuggah :
: Catch Thirtythree : Nuclear Blast : 2005
:
~ metal, progressive.rock, doom 

Pure, unfiltered, and in your face.  Sweden’s Meshuggah step up their game quite a bit here with the experimental 47 minute opus “Catch Thirtythree“.  The band’s 5th album, and only piece of this nature to this date, has always been quite the difficult listen – but can be extremely rewarding beneath the heavy and more often than not darker undertones of the piece.  Stepping into a more texturous flow inside themselves, layers and layers of guitars come whirling out at you, with electronically sequenced samples of the drummer (in place of the drummer physically playing the kit) for the first time in the band’s career.  Jazz elements present themselves at times.  The album is lyrically said to float through specific paradoxes, hence the title “Catch Thirtythree (as in the phrase ‘catch twenty-two‘).  Complete with an intermission or sorts during ‘In Death – Is Death’, this is the one space on the album where everything isn’t driving at full speed metal ahead.  After death or course is an awakening, and you’ll definitely find one if you’re able to push through this opus.

: BT :
: If The Stars Are Eternal So Are You And I : Laptop Symphony : 2012 :
~ ambient, glitch, experimental, modern.classical ~

BT.  The man has simply been all over the place with his music, and all over the world because of it.  I used to see him back at NAF Studios, full on rave status Dj, blowing up trance like there would never be an end to that style of synth line (is there yet??).  He’s made dance music, soundtracked, and he’s also put out some extremely beautiful experimental works.  2006 brought the first of these more experimental works, “This Binary Universe“.  I’d never listened to BT‘s music on the regular until that point, but that album, along with the incredible video work from LA’s Scott Pagano, one of my favorite visual artist’s, had me as a quick convert.  “ITSAESAYAI” is said to be the follow up to the beginning of a new direction for BT.  ITSAESAYAI” provides you once again with beauty from all ends of the spectrum.  With seven tracks ranging from the 7 – 14 minute range, the journey  had me sucked in the entire time the first listen (which proceeded to be three full listens the day I got it – something that very rarely happens around here).  The disc is mainly comprised of gorgeous waves of ambient pads fluttering with organic instrumentation, glitch of the most precise nature, and every once in a while, bassy beat driven sections spanning from dubstep, to chilled out techno, to glitched out breaks.  I can definitely see this being on my ‘Top 10 of the Year’ already.  Even though I believe the whole album is incredible, ‘Our Dark Garden’ has been standing out quite a bit – one of the more vocal driven tracks on the album, it brings you to a place of pure bliss if you let it, gliding through a land of harmony…with loads of fluffy clouds to lay on.  A masterpiece of an album…highly recommend checking this one out.

: Broken Social Scene :
: You Forgot It In People : Arts & Crafts International : 2002 :
~ indie.rock, experimental.punk, art.rock, ambient, post.rock ~

Broken Social Scene’s second album witness’ the band changing up a few aspects quite heavily – one being adding numerous members to the group, and two being to start pumping out forward rock jams, a drastic change from their mainly post-rock ambient styled first album “Feel Good Lost“.  One might think this could get quite messy.  Well, they pull it off, and it’s done so well that it’s still my favorite album of theirs!  Starting off where “Feel Good Lost left off, the album starts off with a post-rock ambient piece, and then leads directly into where the sound has grown up – rock based grooves with plenty of experimental noise of all sorts going on underneath.  Horn sections, waves of ambience, static based noise, tons of guitar distortion, and epic amounts of screaming through plenty of filters of many types.  This almost sums up the album, except you end up with pieces like the widely known ‘Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl‘, ‘Pacific Theme’, and ‘Looks Just Like The Sun’, hitting elements of ambient based indie folk tunes, making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  ‘Anthems’ specifically has a special feel to it – they’re not joking around with that title – you feel like a seventeen year old girl hanging out in her room starting at the mirror and wondering about her emotional state.  ‘Pacific Theme’ takes you on a drive on Highway 101 through Northern California and Southern Oregon, exploding in on itself in one of the grooviest grooves ever right around the 4:10 mark.  The album consists of segments of similar sounds, usually three to four songs at a time, which makes the whole journey feel extremely conducive.  All in all, absolutely spectacular album, and now a for sure classic for the books!  Have to toss out another shout out to my old friend Steve Salisbury for turning me on to these guys (and this album) way back when!

: True Dream :
: The Night Again : 4×4 Records : 2011
:
~ pop.rock, doo-wop, folk, indie.rock, ambient ~

Seattle based Danny VanHollebeke comes marching out of the ether with his first full length LP under the alias True Dream.  The layers of which this pop masterpiece consist of make it easy to tell that nothing but the utmost consideration, concentration, and careful attention to detail have been placed into this work. Having spent seven years putting the album together with all it’s finishing touches, a story is woven here, a story of life, feelings, and consciousness at it’s level of striving for love.  The album presents itself to you in the form of pop, but boasts elements of waltz, ambient, metal, 60’s, 80’s, dream pop, doo-wop, and indie rock – all enveloped by a layer of light experimentalism to infuse it all together.  As Todd Hamm of the Seattle Weekly said, “think doom-wop”.  Even deeper we find out that all aspects of the music, including the vocals, are played and made by VanHollebeke.  At only 32 minutes, the piece will quickly bring you from happiness glee to reverent melancholy, keeping a fairly moving undertone throughout.  Personal favorites?  The whole thing!!  From the moment the title track reached my ear, and all the way through to the Brian Eno inspired ambient ‘Decomposition‘, Danny’s album has me captivated and invested, repeatedly.  I purchased the finished product sometime last year, it has been through constant rotation on all my players – at home base, and on the road.  You can find True Dream’s The Night Again on iTunes here:  |— CLICK —|  Fantastic work Danny!

: Demdike Stare :
: Elemental : Modern Love : 2012 :
~ dark.ambient, industrial, drone, techno, witch.house, experimental ~

Since 2009, the illusive Lancastrian outfit known as Demdike Stare have been birthing into the Universe some of the world’s most unusual and forward thinking sounds inside of the dark ambient/drone, witch house, and experimental realms.  Really though, their music is flat out at times, indescribable.  Hinting on elements of tribalism, folk, and neo-paganism, it seems as though Sean Cantry and Miles Whittaker are attempting to call back in the witches who were once running around rampant in the area the group comes from, especially with the “Demdike” name hailing from Elizabeth Southern, the supposed leader of the Pendle Witches.  After their three part release in 2010, I knew never to miss anything from the duo again.  Released as four parts on colored vinyl, with a full double-disc CD release in 2012, this new collection of works leaves you feeling as though some sort of ancient underworld Earthen being has gobbled up your thought processes, and spit them out into a dark new reality that makes you feel…haunted!  Even as OCD in describing genres as I love to be, this disc leaves me so floored that it’s hard to put into words.  Take the track “Mnemosyne” for instance – their is a backbone of some stripped down 135bpm dubstep styled beat in there, but beneath that, you feel as though you’re in the middle of a longhouse in the 1600’s and the coven you belong to is about to sacrifice some sort of lamb or goat or small furry animal – AND it’s a joyous occasion.  Elements of dark drone plaster the album, taking over sections of otherwise beat oriented music, out of no where.  Little nods to Aphex Twin’s more twisted and disturbing sound experiment works come out of the woodwork at times, making me think back to a track off 2001’s “Drukqs“, ‘Gwarek2‘, by far one of the more perverse 6 minutes of sound my mind can really think of.  All in all I could sit here and try and describe “Elemental” to you all day, but really you just need to bust out your best pair of speakers, turn off all the lights, sit next to a fire (inside or outside), and let yourself immerse into another world.  Genius work!

 : Scuba :
: DJ-Kicks : !K7 Records : 2011 :
~ 2-step, dubstep, techno, bass.music, ambient, glitch ~

If you haven’t heard of Paul Rose’s Scuba at this point, you’ve definitely been hiding under some sort of rock underneath the top layer of soil of the Earth for the past…oh, five years or so.  Probably more.  The official headmaster of one of the most forefront running labels out there today, Hotflush Recordings, Rose has been helping advance the sound of 2-step and dubstep alike now for over 10 YEARS – amazing really!  Everything this man touches that I have found, I have been into (minus maybe two or three songs on his latest LP, “Personality“).  This edition of the DJ-Kicks series is absolutely no exception.  Starting off with a lovely deep ambient piece to set the mood, from Hotflush’s Sigha, the mix begins with a churning of techno cross bred with 2-step influences and does nothing but pick up and get groovier from there.  Sitting around 132bpm for the length of the mix allows the blend between the crossover of styles to mesh flawlessly .  Track selection, programming, mixing – PERFECT.  You’ll notice that each song tracked out lasts for just over a minute to just under three minutes (with a few exceptions) – proof of the generous amount of layering going on between selected tracks for the majority of the journey.  Notable tracks to dig for on their own: Peverlist’s Sun Dance‘, Trevino’s Shorty‘, Boddika’s ‘Acid Battery‘, Scuba’s M.A.R.S.‘ (made specifically for the mix), Jichael Mackson’s Gedons‘, and Sepalcure’s gorgeous ‘Inside‘, which provides the mixes outro and end point.  This is how it’s done properly people – Know This!

Injoy.  See ya hopefully sooner than later this next time.  I’m going to attempt to do this once a week at this point, as well as randomly posting interesting bits of all sorts of finds from the net and beyond into this Blog, so, stay tuned!

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~ Headstash Bassy Party Mix From XI ~

Found this fantastic 46 minute mix from XI last night on Hotflush Recordings website!  Party bass vibe, but Toronto’s dubstep brain child does it right by also making it proper for your dome!  Includes the incredible reconstruct of Sepalcure’s Love Pressure” – a track is worth seeking out on it’s own.  The edits made to the track are remarkable!

The podcast can be found by clicking the picture below:

Injoy!!

~S~

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Music for the Ear…as of late. The First.

June 9th, 2012

In getting my what.CD account activated again, the new barrage of music has started to flow heavily once again after taking a break while traveling.  Going a bit overboard, the flood has been a bit sporadic in nature, spanning a large field of genres.  Here’s what’s been getting scooped up by my ears As of Late:

: The Mars Volta :
: De-Loused In The Comatorium : Universal Records : 2003 :
~ rock, psychedelic, progressive rock, latin, jazz, electronica ~

The Volta’s first record.  I remember a friend of Flando and I’s came over, dropping this album on us.  I’d never heard anything like it.  One large moving -flow of pleasure waves, hitting all points of your emotional psyche.  Ecstatic rhythms seldom stay in one time signature for all that long – random movements of tripped out electronic synths – Led Zeppelin style vocals completely take attention of your head, screaming down your spine…  Digging into the album a bit we find that Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is on bass in songs throughout the album, most notably on the final track, “Take The Veil Cerpen Taxt“.  Digging deeper we find Mr. Rick Rubin co-producing the record (w/ the Volta’s musical genius frontman Omar Rodriguez-Lopez) in an abandoned and supposedly haunted old house, where a studio lives in the basement.  A full on concept album, the short story was written by lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and sound manipulation artist Jeremy Michael Ward, the album is an hour-long tale of Cerpin Taxt; a man who enters a week-long coma after overdosing on a mixture of morphine and rat poison. The story of Cerpin Taxt alludes to the death of El Paso, Texas artist — and Bixler-Zavala’s friend — Julio Venegas (1972–1996).’ (1)  If you are at into hearing some of the past decade’s most forward thinking psychedelic progressive rock, you’ll definitely want to check this out.  I’d dare to say this is one of my favorite albums, period.

(1) Wikipedia.org

: Blamstrain :
: Ensi :  Merck Records : 2003 :
~ idm, ambient, downtempo, experimental ~

Another first in 2003!  Finnish artist Juho Hietala, who goes by the ever so odd name of ‘Blamstrain‘, drops an instant Merck Records classic with his career’s first LP.  Beeps, clicks, pops, hidden futuristic vocals, heavy basslines, and full swooping pads politely fit together throughout this entire record.  A range of styles of drum patterns continue to make the album seem like a constant journey in a deep black to blue to gray cave, once in a while finding a tiny hole to the outside, then most certainly seeing the light.  The personal standout track is “Alive In Arms“.  I found this on track on wax years ago, had no idea it was a 45 and played on 33 repeatedly.  Opening it up heavily made the joyful nature of the track expand upon itself in the greatest way.  Fantastic record!!

: D-Bridge :
: The Gemini Principle : Exit Records : 2008 :
~ drum&bass, ambient, tech-step ~

D-Bridge’s only and Exit’s first full length in 2008 is a drum & bass masterpiece.  Taking a minor step away from the dance floor style, ambience moves most of the background of the album with gorgeous washes of lushness.  Though many songs seem to feed off of the 85 side of the bpm, the album sits right around the 170bpm mark consistently throughout the work, racing drums kick out at you, programmed in a complex way, but that’s easy to deal with.  Calibre makes an appearance on ‘Ponderosa‘, churning out a liquid grooved beauty.  Sensual vocals ride the basslines at times.  Your d&b crunchy synth is softly used all over, adding flavor, but never taking over.  There’s even a bassy LFO experiment included in the rest of the drum & bass perfection that is this album.

  

: Truth :
: Insanity/Skitzo EP : Boka Records : 2012 :
: Dreams/Last Time : Tempa : 2012 :
~ dubstep, half-step, UK, bass music ~

Truth has been quite active so far here in 2012.  These two EPs show the two showcase different sides of the project, and both sides are equally as well thought out as the other.  The second record for Boka Records comes out swinging with an incredibly groovy bass cavern styled hard hitter.  On the B-Side, the LFO takes over, carrying the track as it morphs all over the place.  Great hi-hat work on the ‘Skitzo‘ tune!  The A-Side on Truth’s first on Tempa provides a trippier, less dance-floor friendly look into the style, with a hypnotic vocal & pad combo that ends you up lost in your own head.  The flip brings it up a notch and gets bouncy into a swingin’ minimal half-stepper.  Both tracks end up being keepers, and both records are great pieces for the crate at the moment.

: Sigur Rós :
: Valtari : Parlaphone, EMI, XL : 2012
:
~ ambient, post-rock, folk, experimental, modern classical ~

Valtari” is the band’s first original work since a break starting in 2008, and frontman Jón Þór Birgisson‘s first completely solo side project.  Taking an even more ambient direction that previous works, the album is mostly movements of modern classical post-rock bliss, done only like Sigur Rós can.  Gorgeously full pieces are layered with distorted bowed guitar, fluttering strings, and melancholy piano, and of course, always backed by Birgisson’s falsetto and sometimes very haunting voice.  It definitely takes the right mood to set into the vibe they are thickly laying down within these pieces.  ‘Varúð‘ is one of the standout selections for me on this record.  The bursting fleets of pure happiness speckled across the dotted regions of joy produce such a rush that you can feel the physical side effects from the music.  Climactic a bit?!  Absolutely.  If you’re lucky enough, they’ll be coming to your area on their US tour this summer.  They provided me with two of my favorite live act shows that I’ve seen in my life, luckily, inside Benoroya Hall.  Highly recommend!

: The Smashing Pumpkins :
: Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness :
: Virgin, Hut Recordings : 1995:
~ alternative rock, 1990’s ~

Need I say anything here?  Not really.  I don’t know why exactly I started listening to this again, but it had been YEARS, and I’m stoked I did.  From the classical and subtly inviting beginning at Dawn, this double disc LP holds it’s test of time here in 2012.  Absolute Classic.

~S~

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