Let’s discuss any and all music here. You’ve got a new artist who’s rocking your boat that you want to talk about? Post a video! Found out about that unearthed Coltrane album that has the jazz freak in you losing your mind? Lay it out for us! Do you have a theory about what your favorite band might do for their next album? Let’s hear it! Anything and everything music-related goes here, but do please remember to also pay attention to the more niche threads; if your post would either fit better or equally well in one of them, please post it there as well. I absolutely do not want to steal traffic from those threads.
Prompt for this week: What releases did you almost instantly regret purchasing? Did you ever really give a release a chance, but still ended up hating it?
Sigil’s Music Journal (2018-08-16/2018-08-23): Back to our Regularly Scheduled Program
66. Psychick Warriors ov Gaia – History of Pyschick Phenomenon (1996). Since I’m shuffling through all of my music, and since I’ve kept backups of most of my music since the mid-2000s, I’ve got a number of really shitty releases hidden in here. This is one of them. Well, okay, it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever bought, but it’s really boring. This band is loosely associated with Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, which in turn is associated with Genesis P-Orridge and Psychic TV. But, it’s just industrial techno with some tribal drum influences. At 2 and a half hours it’s just way too much, plus it has a number of different versions of the same tracks, none of which are particularly revelatory. The first track “Ov the Maenad” is still pretty enjoyable, to me, but it’s followed by some mind numbing repetition. Not a particularly auspicious way to resume my music journal. 4/10
67. Cocteau Twins – BBC Sessions (1999). The Cocteau Twins are great, but I don’t think these BBC sessions add much dimensions to the original album cuts. So instead this is sort of a poorly arranged greatest hits album. Again, as an ‘album’ it’s exhausting to listen to, but I can’t deny that there’s plenty of great songs on here, and great performances. 7/10
68. Tool – Opiate (1992). I wasn’t a big Tool fan until I downloaded Ænima from an MP3 FTP site on a whim (this was a staple of pirating music prior to Soulseek, for the youngin’s in here). Once I was exposed to that album, I was hooked, and had to buy all (2) of their previous releases. Neither one is really nearly as good as Ænima objectively, and I’ve moved on from Tool almost entirely, so listening to Opiate, their first EP, is pretty rough. The production here is awkward, and Tool hasn’t really centered on their signature prog-metal sound, so it kind sounds like a typical middling metal band. And Maynard’s lyrics are even more sophomoric than normal (“Hush,” ugh). A big shrug on this one. 5/10
69. M. Geddes Gengras – This Could Be the Last Time (2011). One of my many Stunned cassettes. Gengras would go on to collaborate with Sun Araw and The Congos for a FRKWYS release, and concentrate more on automatic music in the coming years, but he was a frequent contributor to the sadly missed Stunned label. This is a great document of drones and atmospheric electronics, with a fairly nice variety of approaches. Gengras is generally great, and I totally recommend him to anyone interested in synthesizers. 7/10
70. Georgia Maq –Friends & Bowler’s Run (2014). This is a solo album by the Georgia Maq, currently in Camp Cope. It really highlights her ‘confessional’ lyrics. This one seems to be more replete with in jokes than her later songs, but they’re still extremely clever and evocative. I have seen a lot of discussion about this, probably because it’s pretty short, but I enjoy it quite a bit, and I highly recommend it for any Camp Cope fan. 8/10
71. James Plotkin; Mark Spybey – A Peripheral Blur (1998). Another one of the many industrial records I picked up when in highschool. This holds up better than most, which is consistent with Kranky’s usual dedication to quality. Mark Spybey usually releases music as Dead Voices on Air, and there’s a similar approach to airy and atmospheric drones here, that would make up his earlier recordings under that name. Plotkin, on the other hand, is all over the place; if you are at all into metal, noise, or avant-garde rock, there’s a pretty good chance that you have several releases that he’s mastered. But he’s also been in a number of groups, and often plays the guitar in ambient projects, which he does here. There’s some moments that are quite breathtaking on this release, and it’s odd that the two of them haven’t collaborated more. 7/10
72. William Parker – Voices Fall from the Sky (2018). To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure why I have this. I don’t like vocal jazz, and this is a compilation of William Parker’s vocal jazz works… well that’s not entirely true, there’s previously released material and new material. It consists of 3 CDs, with 3 different themes, I guess? I think I just bought it because I like William Parker and I like box sets. Well, I’m glad I got it, because, despite being vocal jazz, it’s really quiet good. Admittedly, my favorite passages are instrumental, but there’s a variety of vocal approaches on this album, and, since it’s focused on Parker as opposed to the vocalist, the vocals accent rather than overtake the music. 8/10
Record of the Week: I’m going to give this one to Georgia Maq. It’s not a very long release, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s obscure enough, I think, that I’m happy to recommend it.
The releases and order of releases in the ‘Journal’ section of this post are dictated by a random list, which is great when you don’t know what music to listen to. But I’ve bought enough music recently, that I want to listen to that instead. Furthermore, I want to listen to the ‘hi-fi’ stuff because of my new audio equipment. So this section is just going to be some thoughts on some of those new releases, or reassessment of old releases.
Felt – The Strange Idols Patter and Other Short Stories (1984/2018). The first five Felt albums were reissued at the beginning of the year, encouraging me to explore their whole discography. I would say three classic albums, a few good albums, and one absolute piece of shit. This is my second favorite album after The Splendour of Fear, released the same year. The remasters sound great digitally, and I decided to pick this one up. It’s a bit ‘brighter’ than Splendour of Fear, but there’s some catchy songs on here like “Spanish House.” This release also maintains the dreamy instrumentals that Felt had been offering since the beginning, but would eventually go away. The next album, Ignite the Seven Cannons would integrate a lot of that dreaminess into the whole record, appropriate given The Cocteau Twins involvement. 8/10
Heather Leigh – I Abused Animal (2015). Leigh, most recently, has been palling around with Peter Brötzmann in a sax/slide guitar duo. That’s produced two excellent recordings: 2016’s Ears are Filled with Wonder, and 2017’s Sex Tape. It’s too bad, though, that Leigh hasn’t released anything recently that’s as beguiling as this is. She centers this record around her voice, which has a very folk singer quality to it: rough and somewhat tentative. Some of the tracks on here are mostly acapella, but there’s a few where she switches on the distortion and it becomes totally unhinged. A really great record that I’d love to see more attention paid to. 9/10
أحمد – New Jazz Imagination (2017). Cafe Oto has a deal where you can give them £10 to get three digital downloads a month. Initially they had a lot of their live shows available, but they’ve branched out to include select titles from a number of avant-garde labels. The latest label that they’ve added is Umlaut Records, who represent and publish a Collective of European musicians dealing in free jazz and more traditional sounds. This group is a quartet and makes music about Ahmed Abdul-Malik (أحمد is transliterated as Ahmed), though they don’t appear to be playing music by Abdul-Malik. There’s a lot of conceptual stuff going on here that I don’t really understand or care about. The music itself is driving and propulsive, using repetition as a structure, almost like a wilder Necks. It’s good, I hesitate to give it a score, just because I haven’t listened to it that much but let’s say 7/10