Styles: Post-rock, ambient, kosmische, chill-out, drone, psych-folk
Sort of similar: Mike Oldfield, Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd, Tortoise
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Dark Bird describes In A Milky Way as “lazy, hazy, cosmic, psych-folk electronica” and we describe it as “kosmische new age post-rock for stargazing.” Tomato/tomato.
See also, the trance-inducing intergalactic video for the title track by Melissa Boraski (aka Eiyn Sof).
Dark Bird was founded by Roan Bateman in 2005 in Toronto (2013 he moved to Waterloo), and has been the home for almost all of his home-recorded music. His sound is often personal and low-key, but covers a lot of ground. The influences range from psychedelic, folk, alternative, electronic, ambient, experimental and more. Roan is a singer/songwriter, but often records instrumentals. Usually these two approaches will be kept separate from album to album, but there is definitely some overlap.
Dark Bird self-released Long Gone in 2007 and played numerous shows around Toronto for a few years. It became too much to continue with music while juggling family & work. Roan became focused on visual art as a creative outlet—designing album covers, T-shirts, and concert posters for Hawkeyes, Comet Control, Skydiggers, Michael Hurley, and Marissa Anderson among others as well as artwork for effect pedals by Greenhouse Effects—only performing and recording sporadically.
2018 will see the release of two new albums. In A Milky Way, which is an instrumental EP of lazy, hazy, cosmic, psych-folk electronica. To be released by Arachnidiscs Recordings in the summer as a limited edition CD, and digitally on Bandcamp. The full-length album, Lay Low, will be released by Ur Audio-Visual this Fall as a cassette, and also digitally on Bandcamp.
Styles: Freak-folk, american primitive guitar, post-rock, instrumental, acoustic improv
Similarities: The spiritual lyricism of Ben Chazny mixed with the stark brutalism of M.Gira. James Blackwell camping in a lo-fi cave. A doomcore John Fahey.
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Decay/Swarms is comprised of two guitar compositions recorded in single long takes. Both pieces are in an alternate tuning, and both explore various finger-picking patterns and musical styles, documenting durational guitar playing that changes speed and mood as the player cycles through emotion, fatigue, silence, tactile intimacy, and sudden improvisation.
The second piece, “Swarms” is dedicated to the late Ana-Maria Avram. It is inspired by her music, and in its later moments reinterprets her composition “Swarms for string orchestra”.
C40 high bias pro-duped cassette. Envelope sleeve with fold-out poster.
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Styles: Dub, post-punk, electronic funk, sampledelic
Sound similarities: Adrian Sherwood/New Age Steppers, Basement 5, 70’s dub sound systems meeting Bill Lazwell at the Cabaret Voltaire. The Scientist and Mad Professor living in the bush of ghosts.
Lakeshore Sound Clash is a paean to King Pong’s community of New Toronto. A culturally diverse neighbourhood divided along class lines by Lakeshore Boulevard placing industrial lots vacant due to toxic contamination, dive bars, sex clubs, knife and gun violence, and working class families in community housing on the north side, with yacht clubs, lawn bowling, and multi-million dollar waterfront homes just a few blocks away on the south side. Most emblematic of this divide was the recent Ontario election (that saw crypto-fascist stooge Doug Ford seated in power) where it was a close race between the diametrically opposed NDP and PC parties. America has Red and Blue states, New Toronto has Orange and Blue streets and those who voted for Ford walk shoulder to shoulder with those who’ll be most negatively affected. Already you can feel tensions rising.
Limited-run white CDr, hand stamped, numbered, in chipboard wallets with coloured decals.
Styles: Sound collage, ambient, musique concrete, electro-acoustic, electronica, drone
Similarities: FSOL’s abstract side, The Orb minus the beats, the Asphodel label’s Sombient compilation series, the spawn of Luc Ferarri and the Internet.
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International Debris is the musical project of Ross Baker, a genderqueer musician from the UK. Their music has encompassed various styles over various aliases, but generally falls into the category of sound collage, tying together acoustic and electronic instruments with field recordings and samples. Baker refers to their sound as ‘horizon music’, signifying a recurring theme of open space and a fascination with that which we only know from a distance.
The immersive sound-experience Exteriors was created over the years 2002 – 2018. While recording numerous albums during those years, Baker recorded a number of sound collages which didn’t fit in those collections. Over time, from these orphaned pieces, a cohesive album began to form organically.
“Exteriors is an album I have been considering making for many years together, but never came together. Much of my music is about natural or surreal environments, but I have always wanted to create an album about an everyday town situation. This album compiles and reworks various attempts at creating this soundscape from the past fifteen or so years.”
C90 high-bias tape, comes in printed envelope sleeve
Styles: Ambient house, shoegaze, dreampop, drone, ambient dub
Similarities: The smell of a ’90s dorm room, Seefeel, The Orb, Robin Guthrie producing a down-tempo FSOL track, sleeping in a washing machine on the gentle setting.
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SPUME is the ambient house project of producer Jakob Rehlinger (Heavy Moon, King Pong Dub System, etc). Taking a cue from a hype sticker on a Seefeel CD he saw when browsing in a record shop in the early ’90s (“The lovechild of My Bloody Valentine and Aphex Twin”), he blends dreamy synth pads, chilled-out beats and hazy ambient guitar loops to create a frothy, trance-inducing dreamscape.
Tide/Fall was recorded on the shores of Lake Ontario in the fall of 2017, wherein Rehlinger tried to emulate the natural sounds of a shoreline encroached with human activity.
Side B of the cassette features a 43-minute long drone version of the album (“Tide/Fall Dronly Mix”), which strips away the sound fx, beats and basslines leaving only the winding, ethereal guitar and deep synth drones.
Double boutique numbered edition of “Communion” & “Il Delirio E La Mortalità Di Amore”. Lino printed outer sleeve, stamped inner envelopes, hand-stamped CD-Rs, full-colour insert/poster.
Two ecstatically mind-bending free-improv face-melters and esoteric soul-healers from RAIC (the Richmond Avant Improv Collective)—which features members of the category-4 noise-rock hurricane, Among the Rocks and Roots—in one 2-disc set.
Communion and Il Delirio E La Mortalità Di Amore are RAIC’s 3rd and 4th albums, respectively. Ranging from traditional free-jazz combo improvisations to distorted noise jams and lush, global drones, the two albums span an impressive breadth of vision as well as offering an eclectic, yet unified, listening experience.
RAIC is the Richmond Avant Improv Collective. Founded in Richmond, VA. in September 2015 the collective has turned into a group featuring founders Samuel Goff and Abdul Hakim-Bilal. The group expanded in late 2016 adding Erik Schroeder and Zoe Olivia Kinney. Laura Marina rounds out the group joining in early 2018. The group has remained active playing shows in the Richmond area and has recorded 4 full length albums with the first “Lovers Never Leave” appearing in March, 2017 on Pennsylvania’s Orb Tapes. “Love Lingers Like Poison In The Veins” followed in November 2017. The group plays multiple genres including avant garde, jazz, noise, post rock, classical, black metal, free jazz, film scores, etc. All of their performances whether live or in the studio are improvisational in nature sometimes structured based on mood or emotion and sometimes not. RAIC has been busy, simultaneously recording 4 albums the first of which “Symbiosis” will be released in April on Chicago’s Lurker Bias label. The other 3 albums “Gestalt”, “Multiplicity” and an unnamed film score album will be finished by summer 2018.