Friday, October 27, 2017

Illuminated Paths 451

Artist: Whalez X Cobra
Title: Midnight Sounds / Dystopian Future
Label / Year:  Illuminated Paths  / 2017

It’s nearing midnight. You find an abandoned cassette player in the street, tape still running. There’s drama in the humid air. Maybe a hint of adventure. Yet the batteries are running down, and from a passing vehicle you hear the static of a forgotten radio. The red pulse of a radio tower shimmers in the distance. Is this a novel of your own invention? It’s Y2K & all those technical difficulties are melting like a chalkdust Dali scrawled upon the sidewalk. No worries – there’s a lunar spa and a beautiful garden just on the other side of that clockface.

Unplug your TV. Listen to this instead.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ajai - Golden Gate Demos

Artist: Ajai
Title: Golden Gate Demos
Label / Year:  Self released / 2017

After being immersed in Chance, For Us I decided to investigate Ajai’s Golden Gate Demos. This is a collection of paired down acoustic songs that seem to have been recorded on a lo-fi cassette recorder in one take in the park, reminiscent of of Michelle Shocked’s Texas Campfire Tapes. With birds & crows for an audience, Golden Gate Demos feels like an anachronism, an antidote to a music industry run amok. But of course this is no industry – it is DIY magic. Two tracks stand out in this collection: Give In and The Fall Of Night. The rest of the tape meanders from SSW folk to frightening melancholy dirges.  

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bubblegum Best - some soon day

Artist: Bubblegum Best
Title: some soon day
Label / Year:  Freaks / 2017

Cool home-taping indie pop goodness with an experimental edge. Bubbling synths, mellow vocals, Jandekian guitars, hints of banjos (?), all filtered through the dappled sunlight of an autumn afternoon. Is that the moon on the horizon? Twelve strong tracks that culminate in the life affirming “A Real Love”. Released in an edition of 50 on clear tangerine cassettes.Gorgeous in every aspect.

Ajai - Chance, For Us

Artist: Ajai
Title: Chance, For Us
Label / Year:  Self-released 2017

Life, love, loss … circular memory, musings on interior distances, sweeping cinematic midnights. Simple yet profound lyrics. Floydian slips. None of this really scratches the surface of Chance, For Us which wrestles with mortality and ephemeral relationships through songscapes & soundscapes that are stunning in their originality. In particular, the drumming on this cassette (courtesy of  Alan Mctavish) feels unique and cathartic. By the end of this journey, the sparse hymnlike Move, the listener has been moved – from where to where?