Life’s been chugging right along here at RCU towers. The weather’s getting warmer, vaccines are rolling in and the possibilities for healthy and safe concerts seem to be just on the horizon. Despite all of the changes, we’ve still had our ears glued to the stereo with plenty of new and recent releases. Here’s a rundown of some of the best things we’ve heard this month…
Josh Medina – Drifting Toward the Absolute
The Drew Gardner solo tape that I reviewed a few weeks ago was released in a series of cassettes by Eiderdown Records, which included an album by The Modern Folk and one by Josh Medina. Medina’s record, Drifting Toward the Absolute, is an ethereal flood of synthesizers and heavily processed guitars.
The music here is consistently hypnotic, with an extensive use of loops, calming tones and celestial effects. Songs like the shimmering “Harvester” are rich with the vibe of a hot summer day on a quietly empty beach. You can close your eyes and absolutely fall deep into a meditative state, totally lulled into a warm sense of tranquility.
Meanwhile, other songs, such as the closing track, fall under a decidedly more experimental vein, often twisting off into new directions with unusual textures and disorienting panning effects. This album is a deep listen that completely swallows you up and leaves you in a comforted daze.
Get your copy (along with the other releases in this series) from Eiderdown Records today.
Son of Buzzi – Fluss
Son of Buzzi (AKA Sebastian Bischoff) is one of the most skilled experimental guitar soli artists in Europe today. His latest album, Fluss, is only further proof of that.
Available in America through Fire is Free Records, this album weaves together spacious acoustic and electric fingerpicking with reverb-slathered field recordings and pulsating drones. This heady mix glows with the melancholy of pure nostalgia.
You can perhaps feel this vibe most with the harmonium-backed acoustic meditation that is “Wir sind das Wasser,” and the meandering sound collage of “Der Raum.” The latter of these two tracks is straight up haunting. This is due to the inclusion of a child speaking quietly in the background as fragments of electric guitar lines emerge from a mist of white noise, like brief shafts of headlights piercing through a thick fog bank.
Rich in intimacy, color and a total reverence for the negative space around notes and sounds, Fluss is a solo guitar record that is quite unlike any other.
Ashtoreth & Grey Malkin – Heretic
Grey Malkin, best known for being behind The Hare and The Moon, teamed up with the dark shamanic Belgian group, Ashtoreth, and created a spooky and ritualistic record that will haunt you for days.
Heretic thumps with primal beats and quivers with spectral vocals and fierce guttural chants. Giving the album a creaky and hallucinogenic quality is a combination of synths, heavily distorted electric guitar and a woody mixture of rustic string instruments.
Sounding half-way between an epic horror film score and the pagan folk ceremonial spectacle of a Heilung concert, Heretic is a well-crafted audio experience that gives you the feeling that you’ve uncovered something sacred.
Click here to get your copy today.
Daniel Carter, Brad Farberman, and Kid Millions – Forever Is an Infinite Always
Middle Blue’s Brad Farberman dropped one hell of a surprise on us all for his birthday a few weeks ago, by unleashing this killer jazz improv album with Daniel Carter and Oneida’s Kid Millions. It’s as transcendent as it sounds.
Recorded live at NYC’s NuBlu in August 2019 (Editor’s note: god I miss this venue), this unbelievable performance sparks with vivid excitement. Each member of this dream trio is in absolute cracking form. You can hear Carter soaring on flute, trumpet and tenor saxophone as Farberman cuts funky abstract licks on his guitar, all while Kid Millions erupts into a total cataclysm of sound from behind the drum kit.
The tight supergroup keeps the mood somehow both chill and anarchic at the same time. There’s little order and a wild sense of unpredictability throughout the album’s four tracks, but the vibe always remains fairly cool. This is an avant-garde jazz record that you can actually relax to.
If Sonny Sharrock, Herbie Hancock and Albert Ayler get plenty of use on your turntable, you definitely need to hear this album. Get your copy here right now.
Blake Hornsby – Dogwood Dance
Big thanks to Buck Curran for bringing Blake Hornsby’s music to my attention. This is a solo guitar record that goes very much against the grain of this well established genre.
Hornsby, a guitarist located in Boone, NC, utilizes the texture of his instrument’s strings, unusual palm-muting, and at times, even some semi-percussive fingerpicking styles to create fantasias that are psychedelically-minded and far progressed from what you’d heard from the typical Takoma school of thought.
Shades of Peter Walker’s sound do occasionally shine through, but there are more resemblances to musicians outside of the guitar world. Take for instance the Ravi Shankar-esque “Yaman Kalyan.” Hornsby plays his instrument like a sitar on this epic-length track over a droning faux-sarod backdrop. He slashes at his strings along to a raga-like rhythm and flies all over the fretboard with lightning speed. He somehow even makes his guitar sound at times exactly like a sitar. It’s worth the price of admission alone.
Get your copy of this breathtaking new album here today.