Monday, 3 February 2014

Amae - Eridanus

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Amae is the side-project of Chris Boat from Spiral, an outlet for his ambient spacerock musings and a thoughtfully appreciated change of pace, of texture and tone, for this blogger. Eridanus is a river in Greek mythology. Eridanus is the Po River, according to Roman word usage. Eridanus is a southern constellation. Eridanus is four tracks of quiet and meditative reflection. Eridanus is minimalist, but it is not minimal.

This is all.

Amae @ Bandcamp

Admiral Browning – Give No Quarter

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Admiral Browning, who are based out of Middletown Maryland, have been around since way back in 2002, though they started playing live in 2005, and are comprised of Matt Legrow (Guitar), Tim Otis (Drums), and Ron McGinnis (Bass), playing a principally instrumental form of heavy progressive rock – they’ve also an enormous reservoir of patience, since I’d afraid to say this is another release I’ve had backlogged for commentary for quite some time: they first dropped me a note back in July of last year. But they’re currently having a sort of ‘second-wave’ push on this album, ‘Give No Quarter’, so I’m pleased to be able to contribute a review to that, even if I was remiss in not following it up much earlier. Sorry chaps!

What they’re playing on Give No Quarter is well described in the album’s title: relentless, grungy, taking no prisoners; robust and muscular poundings with titles such as ‘Theme For Evil’, ‘Traps’, and ‘Rogue Planet’ and in that respect there’s a particular modus operandi at work and once they’ve found it works they don’t start digging around in their toolkit for something different. I’m not complaining – it works in a heads down, no nonsense rock manner with each man having a mission to make noise and the three of them combining to play something pretty pulse-pounding, and if it’s pile-driving chops that you’re after they’re here in spades.

And then it twists out of itself and into ‘Las Aranas Lobo’, which though it again builds into a great mashed-up mesh of sounds, starts with a South American, or at least South of the border vibe from Legrow’s guitar playing that maintains through the track while McGinnis lets go on some free-ranging, wandering, expressive bass-lines and Otis keeps a firm hand on the track’s rhythms, so that it’s a piece where each musician expresses himself deftly while all three still collude in that building up of noise. A curio, a piece that’s about individuals even while being a nine-minute let-loose band extravaganza.

‘Rogue Planet’ is also something of a point of difference with the full-on salvos of much that comes before it, starting with some haunting and spacey sounds, the most spacerock influenced of anything here, before Otis starts calling the trio to order with some ever more pointed and studied drumming, though his band-mates continue with their increasingly expansive riffing so that again Admiral Browning are building upon each other to get to that crescendo point of noise, urged on by the drums and finally reaching a peak before the soundscape retreats into that from which it expanded and an album that delights in sonic assault confounds expectations and leaves in discordant oscillating quiet.

Not on the album, but one I liked from their Soundcloud…

 

Admiral Browning @ Soundcloud

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Vintage Cucumber – Tee Sessions EP (2013)

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Johannes Schulz plays all instruments on this psychedelic / krautrock project and by the look of his Bandcamp page has been pretty prolific about it recently, but it’s his latest recordings, Tee Sessions, that he’s emailed me about. Now, as a committed non tea drinker, would these recordings be my, err, glass of coke, I wondered? (‘Not my cup of tea’, you see what I did there? No, you’re right, I’ll never make anything of myself in comedy).

Actually, I spent quite a pleasant half an hour on a Sunday afternoon listening to Johannes’s music, drawn in by the bright and engaging ‘Hagebutten Tee (Am laufenden Band​.​.​.​)’’, which Google Translate advises me as ‘Rosehip Tea (Churning)’, a bubbly six minute piece that sounds like Ozrics Tentacles taking time out and relaxing with a cuppa, though with some background vocals slipped into the mix. ‘Weißer Tee (Maakute a Shaakalaka​.​.​.​)’, which apparently is ‘White Tea’, is a different texture, quite dark and brooding while the thirteen minute ‘Green Tea’ (‘Grüner Tee (Laufen ohne Schnaufen​.​.​.​)’) has a squelchy keyboard arrangement that when it really gets started – and when I say ‘gets started’ I mean a back-beat kicks in but gently - it reminds me just a little of what Pete, Glenda and co of Sendelica are sometimes doing with their more ambient krautrock pieces.

‘Gelber Tee (Nachricht an mich​.​.​.​)’, otherwise ‘Yellow Tea (Message to me..)’, is a an abbreviated piece, less than a minute and a half in length, and as such as just something of Eno’s ‘Another Green World’ about it, lovely and understated, making you wish there were more of it but actually perfectly judge in content, so it absolutely works on that level. Finally, ‘Schwarzer Tee (Gans allein​.​.​.​)’, ‘Black Tea’, rounds this EP out with seventeen minutes of droning sounds and intoning vocals that feels oppressive and perhaps tells us that from the bright opener to the denser closing piece, there’s a journey laid out and undertaken. I liked these recordings and definitely would investigate further.

Vintage Cucumber @ Bandcamp