Snoqualmie Falls - Dream Sequence 7.4

                Dream Sequence is gigantic. Taking up the majority of the conscious realm Snoqualmie Falls quickly move the environment sounds towards a surreal soundscape. Every possible frequency is overwhelmed by the sheer slab of sound that comes forth. A gradual piece it feels simultaneously menacing and comforting in tone. With each additional movement the darkness grows larger in scale. Nestled within the over-sized clouds of sound are shimmering beams, little flashes of light that permeate through the impending gray. 

                Over the course of the first ten minutes Snoqualmie Falls introduces the listener into a beautiful natural environment. Editing allows them to pull further away from the tangible into the deep unknown. Whispers emerge out around the twenty to thirty minute mark. Pieces seem to emit great feelings of hope. Angelic extended voices hover above the dense drones that have come to give the entire piece its structure its sound and its ecosystem. Towards the end of the thirty minute segment recognizable instruments are incorporated. Guitars begin to ring out beyond the touch of the large dense fields of sound. 

                Counteracting that with the fifty minute mark is a doubled effort to destroy any traces of humanity. Down go the guitars the wordless angelic hues into pitch blackness. For the finale the song returns back to its pastoral roots, to the quiet field recording, as if the song is waking up from heavy dreams. Everything moves in a peculiar way on Dream Sequence allowing things to focus on texture on the elements lost.

Monolyth and Cobalt – Polarlicht 7.9

                Monolyth and Cobalt refuse to keep things static. The manipulation of sound is kept gentle. Intersection between the glitch effects and the instruments feels so natural. Elements of the sound go everywhere. Various moments are reminiscent of Jim O’Rourke’s experimental work, Goodiepal’s work incorporating folk into electronic (or electronic into folk) and moments of early Mego releases. By using such a broad palette Monolyth and Cobalt subject the listen to a wide variety of moments, all of them done quite tastefully. 

                On the opener “Polar (Introduction)” the song remains relatively relaxed for much of the duration allowing plucks as the only reminder that the sound has organic origins. By far one of the collection’s highlights is the absolutely jubilant “Titanium (Geology)”. Aspects of it shine through with such enthusiasm. Excited anxious tones nervously quiver. The opposite approach is taken on the scrapings of “Skyscrapers; Sleepwalkers”. Nearly asleep the song appears to stumble through with guitars moving with a degree of unease. Sounds shift into the steam-like industrial noises found in the background. “Adolf Wolfi Never Died” takes wind chimes and uses a sound not dissimilar to early Four Tet recordings. The folksiness of Four Tet appears again on “Et Ces Arbres Qui Cueillaint Des branches” which is downright glorious. 

                For the final stretch of the collection comes the epic “Birds Are Some Holes In The Sky Through A Man Can Pass”. The constant moves make it a regular engaging emotionally charged piece. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Licht)” ends the collection off on a noir note with disembodied voices and a clear debt to jazz.  Polarlicht plays with perception.

Feel No Other – Feel No Other 6.9

                Feel No Other is a disorientating experience. Expanding into literally every possible genre it can get its hands on Feel No Other is an adventurous album indeed. Influences are nearly impossible to pinpoint. With such a wide range of styles Feel No Other is a unique group. A few features help to tie much of the pieces together. Vocals bring the pieces together serving as one of the consistent elements on the tracks helping to give the pieces a sense of narrative. 

                Eclectic pop introduces “my brother’s guns and knives”. With a consistent beat and multiples synthesizers the song manages to impart a sense of dread. Taking a similar approach with completely different instruments is “winter is all over you” which uses a folksier template. Incredibly organic it is one of the highlights of the piece. Such an atmosphere continues on the mellow “altavilla milicia”. Using a strange spaghetti western style on the aptly named “gunslinger” Feel No Other allows the sound to spread out a bit relying on texture rather than traditional melody. “eclipse” is an electronic interlude to help clear the palette for the album’s next turn towards more ambient pieces. 

                The best piece on the album comes right before the ending. “even the blue” brings together the alluded to previous genre. Nearly theatrical in execution it highlights the power of the singer’s voice. Finishing the album off is the whimsical “toy soldiers”. Feel No Other is a dramatic introduction into an emotionally charged world.

Taking a Shit with the Door Open by Steven Ye

                Life is made of small gestures. Nothing big happens. Rather the gradual accumulation of experiences is enough to reveal greater truths. Somebody lying down on an un-vacuumed carpet can get such realizations. One moment everything is normal. The next a sudden awareness of how much time is spent being naked checking social media telling untruths to whoever cares to ask. Yes these are the things that make up a life. Those who say otherwise have not truly lived. Life consists of plenty of moments where the moments can be wasted. In fact early on in life people are encouraged to waste time to socialize. Somewhere along the line that time gains value and life’s quality begins to suffer. 

                Pop culture exists to create an outlet for killed time. Feeding killed time into pop culture is a time-honored tradition. Some people make entire careers out of careful analysis of what pop culture says about society as a whole. Most don’t. Most choose to focus on the surface level stuff, rapping on the beat, matching up, the technical prowess required. Digging deeper into the actual original intention is what gives pop culture its true meaning. Hence an artist who longed for riches and spent money on nice things later on shows exactly how that longing successfully translated into tangible goods. The world appreciates it and the world likes it. Every single move towards new products is something that the world at large encourages for purchases help things move forward for reasons that remain hard to fully define. Growth is a must in every country yet nobody can really state why. 

                The tiny subcultures grow too though their growth is harder. People obsessed with fonts, obsessed with obscure games, they become obscurists. Individuals who identify as obscurists might not realize how limited the reach is for their passion, how few care about that artist who might have one or a few songs. Nobody cares besides a handful of equally lonesome people. When interests become too narrow they tend to do the opposite of bringing people together, they break them apart piece by piece. Suddenly that interest becomes another barrier to friendship in case they didn’t already have enough of them. 

                Memorable days are the ones that remind people why they should spend more time socializing. Sure online interaction is one thing. Going out and meeting new people is quite another. Age has its restrictions limiting who can go where. Eventually those are thrown out for a day of mildly doing nothing, of a blank canvas of a day where nothing was expected and everything was delivered.

Taking a Shit with the Door Open by Steven Ye

                Life is made of small gestures. Nothing big happens. Rather the gradual accumulation of experiences is enough to reveal greater truths. Somebody lying down on an un-vacuumed carpet can get such realizations. One moment everything is normal. The next a sudden awareness of how much time is spent being naked checking social media telling untruths to whoever cares to ask. Yes these are the things that make up a life. Those who say otherwise have not truly lived. Life consists of plenty of moments where the moments can be wasted. In fact early on in life people are encouraged to waste time to socialize. Somewhere along the line that time gains value and life’s quality begins to suffer. 

                Pop culture exists to create an outlet for killed time. Feeding killed time into pop culture is a time-honored tradition. Some people make entire careers out of careful analysis of what pop culture says about society as a whole. Most don’t. Most choose to focus on the surface level stuff, rapping on the beat, matching up, the technical prowess required. Digging deeper into the actual original intention is what gives pop culture its true meaning. Hence an artist who longed for riches and spent money on nice things later on shows exactly how that longing successfully translated into tangible goods. The world appreciates it and the world likes it. Every single move towards new products is something that the world at large encourages for purchases help things move forward for reasons that remain hard to fully define. Growth is a must in every country yet nobody can really state why. 

                The tiny subcultures grow too though their growth is harder. People obsessed with fonts, obsessed with obscure games, they become obscurists. Individuals who identify as obscurists might not realize how limited the reach is for their passion, how few care about that artist who might have one or a few songs. Nobody cares besides a handful of equally lonesome people. When interests become too narrow they tend to do the opposite of bringing people together, they break them apart piece by piece. Suddenly that interest becomes another barrier to friendship in case they didn’t already have enough of them. 

                Memorable days are the ones that remind people why they should spend more time socializing. Sure online interaction is one thing. Going out and meeting new people is quite another. Age has its restrictions limiting who can go where. Eventually those are thrown out for a day of mildly doing nothing, of a blank canvas of a day where nothing was expected and everything was delivered.

Inherent Vice

                I am a big Thomas Pynchon fan. Having enjoyed a lot of his books from the tiny “The Crying of Lot 49” to his massive tomes “Gravity’s Rainbow”, “Mason and Dixon”, “V” I never thought I would see the day where one of his books would become a movie. For a long time even Thomas Pynchon seemed to find any adaption of his work to be impossible, having told someone they could make a “Gravity’s Rainbow” opera only if they used one instrument: the banjo. 

Yet here in a new century, new millennium, things have changed for Thomas Pynchon. He has started writing very prolifically with “Against The Day”, “Inherent Vice” and “Bleeding Edge” all delivered within a seven year period (really fast for a guy who previously released one book a decade for most of his career). It sort of makes me wonder if all of these more recent efforts were things he had been working on for years. “Against The Day” and its sheer length suggests the work had been going on for quite some time. “Mason and Dixon” probably my personal favorite, with its obsessive attention to language, history, and geography, appears to have taken roughly twenty-two years to get fully together. 

“Inherent Vice” is considered by most Thomas Pynchon fans to be a sort of nice mellow introduction into his world. I am pretty happy that Thomas Pynchon has finally given the go-ahead for a movie to be made from one of his books. Judging from the trailer I feel that a lot of the intense energy he has in his books has actually been effectively translated onto screen. Plus having Joaquin Phoenix as the lead does not hurt either as Joaquin Phoenix is basically told to be as crazed as possible. 

Honestly I want the movie to be the success I know it can be. I am still shocked that there is a film made from one of Thomas Pynchon’s novels. The talent looks impressive. Additionally I like the fact that even though this is one of Thomas Pynchon’s ‘less insane’ books a lot of the maddening plot still seems to be there. Right now it looks like a cross between “The Big Lebowski” (which is what the book itself reminded me of when I read it) and his usual paranoia/goofball work. 

Not sure if this is going to be the thing that introduces Thomas Pynchon to a larger, typically non-reading audience. I hope it does.

Plebeian Grandstand – Lowgazers 7.2

                Lowgazers rages against everything. Anger has finally been given a name and its name is Plebian Grandstand. The assault is relentless. Screaming at the listener with every bit of energy the body can muster Plebeian Grandstand simply dominates. Instrumentally the band is rather ferocious. Drumming is about disgust at the kit than anything trying to keep a basic rhythm. Guitars are the true boon of the album as they offer the listener an anchor of sorts. By giving the guitars a bit of structure there are a few fantastic moments that arise. 

                 For the first few moments “Thrvst” appears to be relatively subdued. This slight break lasts for approximately twenty seconds before the drums begin bludgeoning. And yes they bludgeon because this is violent music. Everything around is fully decimated. On “Endless Craving” the guitars get a chance to shine. While the sound continues to get pulverized by vocals and percussion the guitars show off a real talent for form. “Lowlifers” gets downright gorgeous with its veering from beauty to ugliness. At times the music even stops for a rare breath. “Relief of Troth” immediately follows to provide something of a palette cleanser. 

                “Svn in Your Head” goes for malice without the punishing drums. Guitars linger providing a brutal field of sound. “Aimless Roaming” makes up for the loss of the drums as it maintains a machine-gun staccato rhythm. For the finale of “Mvrk Diving” Plebian Grandstand make their final stand against the world taking dark ambient, metal, distortion and all that entails. Lowgazers leaves nothing behind.

Orme – Debut 7.5

                Trapped in amber Orme’s Debut feels positively timeless. Clarity is of the utmost importance for each of the four pieces. By retaining a sense of group play the songs manage to express something truly beautiful about the quiet moments of life. Every instrument is given plenty of space to be fully recognized. Pieces are ideally paced. Debut is an album that celebrates the splendor and subtle grace of acoustic folk. Inclusion of the cello is a wise choice as it adds to the overall spry feel of the pieces bringing a much needed classical component. 

                Gently introducing the collection is the spiraling work of “Le bois”. The restrained playing is accompanied by cello adding to the sense of lightness. About halfway through the piece the instruments frolic allowing themselves a great deal of space. Emotionally it is diverse going from joy to bittersweet. By far it is the highlight. On “Retentissant” things quiet down. Joys are found in the small gestures the slight ache of the strings. Passion defines “Sur le pavé” which ends up being the densest piece. With its constant zigzag approach it covers a lot of territory before it finally calms down. 

                Finishing off with the rustic “Des cours”. A slight move towards deeper sounds helps to keep the piece propelled. Strings prove to be particularly prominent on this piece. Light percussion halfway through helps to make it feel closer to a contemporary sound. On the final moments the song appears to be rushing towards a beautiful conclusion. Orme’s Debut is light and full of exquisite detail.

Sunlit: Fall 2014 

                Interesting how Sunlit spends it autumn days. The days grow shorter during the fall. People miss the summer sunshine. Trees weep their leafy tears onto the sidewalks and yards across the world. Colors appear to be beautiful and they are the colors of death. Autumn is a celebration of death showing how beautiful it can be. With this edition Sunlit gets together a bunch of great writers to celebrate the season in style. 

                Sheikha A. knows days look best in porcelain. With that sturdy material the days get a nice sheen to them. In the fresh sea the wagers smell wonderful wafting through the waves. Ripples of shame happen when the wager has been lost. Wine in eternity is well-aged over a lifetime. To properly make eternity wine one must water the grapes with tears. That way in death people can get drunk off of their sadness and realize suffering has a promise as those who wronged them spend eternity in a burning pit of fire. 

                L. Ward Abel winces and the office loses power. This is a reason to end the daily routine the office that shreds people apart. Signatures change making people into sandpaper when they shouldn’t be so hard. From far away the shimmering presents itself: of childhood, of retirement, which borders the supposed necessity of the workplace. 

                Sarah Edwards feels the nose go inside the mind. Of course that happens when something smells fishy when the stench becomes too great. There is no need for that sense of power. People ought to be equals. Disagreement with this basic truth can result in a lifetime of disappointment. Not everybody sees it though they should take the hints the refusals due to their failings their inabilities to face the truth. 

                Beatrix Lanuit knows old paint is poison. Lead paint tried to protect against the outside world making the inside world that much worse. The layers linger on the skin for years. Most can’t get through every layer and find themselves partway through a person. Summer solstice is a one-day celebration of the longest day. Twists and turns of the modern life lead to the heart of the matter being warbled useless. Vibrations of the tongue try to keep language together and they fail. It is okay. It happens all the time. 

                Owen Lucas knows about the motorcars. He better! The motorcars are what make commerce possible. Without motorcars people would not be exposed to such danger. Post men and Post women might be a bit slower in their deliveries. And is it really worth it: to delay instant gratification? No rain nor sleet nor snow shall stop it. 

                Ian Macks floats alone in the overcast. Clearly this means fog and this means low visibility. Drivers out on the roads need to be cautious when driving in a fog. Plenty of clouds regret becoming fog but they have no choice but to feel so down. Tired eyes search for the shine but the shine has already been pocketed by uncouth youngsters. 

                James Owens talks about water disrespect. No body of water is better than the other. Every body of water is better than the Arctic Ocean, that sad tiny ocean. Ducks need big bodies of water in order to get their duck on and the Arctic Ocean can’t do it for them. Only the rivers and lakes of the world can. That is the power. 

                Adam Tedesco witnesses the phases of baby raccoons. They grow up so quickly. One moment they are mere infants, the next they are King Trashmouth, head of the trashmouth family. Raccoons stick together among the bikes and bats for they too need shelter from the cold. Like any animal they stick with their family. 

                Elias Van Son knows the challenges of phenomena. Information grids are new phenomena that decide how to categorize things. Winds scale the phenomena down to erode them into sand mere cached packets. Invisible Earths are soon revealed on night islands. This is normal. 

                Shae Void deals with a problem that happens far too often. This should not be normal. Nobody has the right to demand that kind of thing to guilt somebody into doing anything like that kind of thing. It is a vile world where a guy can simply do whatever he likes without any worry about being called out. Honestly the era will someday come where that guy no longer has the baby face where that guy understands his wretched behavior, looks himself in the mirror, and knows where he went wrong. 

                Fall ends and winter begins. With it comes less sunlit landscapes. The winter solstice is harder than the summer one even though the winter solstice technically makes days longer. Nobody can really realize that fact that every day the days grow longer by minute by minute until spring and summer make their colorful appearance. Until then Fall is the best that nature can do.

The Splits: A Trollcore Game Collection by Ilya Zarembsky

                Wow I could start by discussing the games but why? The descriptions of the games are done best by the designer himself, one Ilya Zarembsky who remains the only person who has added me as a friend on Facebook after meeting me in real life. Plenty of people have met me in real life and after meeting me in real life have proceeded to un-friend me. So I give the highest kudos to Ilya Zarembsky, a former citizen of a country that no longer exists. My deepest apologies to the former USSR: it was quite a ride but it was not meant to be. 

                Ilya Zarembsky’s “The Splits” is amazing. I have played a few of the games a few times and have come to realize that Ilya Zarembsky’s games are the equivalent of a very enjoyable form of masochism. The Splits are the most thoroughly well-researched annoying things I have ever had the displeasure of playing. Sonically annoying with irritating controls it is an absolute torture to play. Clearly Ilya Zarembsky cares about annoying his players which is why he needs money to make it even more amazing. 

                The rewards for funding it are among the best I have ever seen in my entire life. Like I wish all Kickstarter rewards were this well-thought out. For the lower levels even have a peculiar sense of humor that I for one greatly appreciated. Donate $10 and get an elegant cursive font. $25 gets a donor the chance to berate and insult Ilya Zarembsky which sounds pretty fantastic honestly. Then there are the higher up amounts which include the remarkably vague “secret surprise”. A lot of money (like very high, like unlikely to actually be funded) gets a very personal touch. $1,000 gets a vial of tears that makes me wish I was a wealthy insane person. Even more, like to the point I can’t even comprehend, includes sound effects from his mouth, a high five, a deathbed shout-out, and a unique game. 

                Honestly I love the rewards. I think they accurately capture the insanity that is required to create such deeply weird games. Hopefully this Kickstarter is actually funded and Ilya Zarembsky can live out his dreams of living inside an apartment designing irritating games for people. For the dream of Trollcore should not have to be a dream it should be a reality. I long for the day when trolls are able to create careers out of their deep weirdness. Until that day I’m a sloth.