THE UNQUIET GRAVE: Whispers In The Wind
C40. high-bias tape. Cassette box encrusted with earth, twigs, grass, leaves and other detritus of nature. Each one is unique. Numbered edition. Limited to 40 copies. ($7 plus regional shipping) Released: HALLOWEEN 2014
Dark, lyrical doom-folk from the gothic desolation of rural Canada.
“Wraithlike and enveloped in the dusk-dance solemnities of macabrely attuned spirit-surges, Whispers In The Wind is the last breath of manna before a trans-dimensional freefall through the nine circles of drone-buzz psychedelia. These epitaphs of contralto contortion slowly linger along the fine divide between ’80s gothcore and the post-neurosis of aphotic avant-garde ambience, suturing the two realms to the ashen trance of an extrasensory cannonade.” ~ Weird Canada
CALL IT: Doom folk, ambient goth, southern gothic from the rural north, hymns of spiritual angst.
SONIC COUSIN TO: M. Gira’s solo albums, Current 93, TG, Boduf Songs, a harsher lo-fi Black Walls.
REVEREND MOON: Coyote Gospels
Reverend Moon: Coyote Gospels // Limited to 25 copies. High-bias C44 cassette tape. 20 page 5×8 perfect-bound lyric book. 1-inch “coyote pyramid” insignia pin and 3x illustrated lyric cards in linen bag. 1 full colour fold-out poster of cougars riding on the backs of bears. Download code included. (Another 25 copies available as cassette/download only).
REVEREND MOON is Jakob Rehlinger of Toronto-based psychedelic space-rock band Moonwood and founder of the Arachnidiscs Recordings label. Over the past 20 years the Reverend has been slowly working on Coyote Gospels, an album of 13 songs of ersatz-praise and upside-down faith. The song cycle was born in the manger of university poetry workshops beginning in 1994. It grew into an awkward adolescence at the dawn of the millennium when Rehlinger suffered a nervous breakdown and was paid for his trouble in what he called several “dark prophecies” in the form of visions. These hallucinatory cosmic messages from beyond are recounted in the songs “A Message for You”, “Black Sun Rising” and “Old Graves” — wherein animals reclaim the Earth from humans. Since 2007 Rehlinger has been polishing these heretical-hymns and pseudo-psalms over several demo versions before setting out to record them in earnest beginning in 2012.
“One of the most immediate and essential albums of this year…. as dangerous, imperious and wonderful as the title itself.” ~ Music Musings and Such
Clara Engel: Ashes & Tangerines
C56 / 11 tracks § edition of 50 § smokey cassette shells § burlap sleeve § stamped and numbered tags § fold-out poster/lyric sheet § download code
Burlap. It conjures the innocent fun of potatoes sack races. It evokes the scents of coffee beans or even its own rustic spice. And it haunts us with the cruel tragedy of kittens, drowned in a sack at the first light of dawn.
Clara Engel‘s enchanting Ashes & Tangerines is infused with the dark heart of the Nick Cave, the gruff sensuality of PJ Harvey, and the storied lyricism of the Cohens and Dylans of the world. It was a pleasure to put together the packaging for this album; an album which is every bit as smokey as the noir-tinted cassette shell and coarse and earthy as the burlap it comes wrapped in.
ROSS BAKER / TRANZMIT split tape series
C60 // Pro-duped // Stamped, numbered download card with stamped envelope // Sticker-sealed obi sleeve // immediate download
SIDE 19 — ROSS BAKER: Terra Incognita.
ROSS BAKER has been making music since he got a hold of a tape recorder at the age of 10. From early tape and radio abuse, his music has been linked by a love of contrast and collage.
A half-hour collage salvaged from at least three hours of recordings, soundtracking the countless distant landscapes and buildings glimpsed momentarily during 28 years of car, bus and train journeys. Sprawling farm and forest punctuated by sinister undentified buildings and distant motorways. Ambient washes and sci-fi movie memories with a synth-pop interlude.
SIDE 20 — TRANZMIT: Deep Video
TRANZMIT began as a radio wave sound-college side project of BABEL in the early 2000’s. In recent years it has moved with the times, “mashing-up” (in the contemporary parlance) audio material sourced from the internet.
Film dialogue and Star Trek sound FX. YouTube video collage and movie trailer audio. Retro television commercials. Public transit, elevator and busker field recordings re-mixed. Augmented vocoder demonstration video audio. Spam emails read by text-to-speech and modified Bach. Voice synthesized random phrase generator and Twitter and Facebook updates. Digitally synthesized zen monks.
BEARD CLOSET / PRIMATE PYRAMID split tape series
Sides 17 and 18 of the Arachnidiscs Recordings Split Tape Series.
Toronto’s Beard Closet and Primate Pyramid administer 40 minutes of essential Skullflower-esque doom-gaze guitar improvisations. White noise bliss. Harmonic reverberations. Avant post-rock drone. Ambient guitar experimentation. Hypnagogic feedback dreams.
High-bias cassette tape. Gold cassette shells. Hand assembled, fur-covered cassette boxes.
A SACRED CLOUD: ENSOLEILLÉ, 1972
A Sacred Cloud is the Montreal based experimental electronic / guitar / drone / ambient / noise duo of Maggie Cho and Johnathan Woo. The album was mastered by Sandro Perri. Vinyl LP edition will be released by Jeunesse Cosmique. Be prepared to drift into a the ecstatically bleak retro-futurist android sheep daydreams of Vangelis-in-hell on a cloud that’s only silver linings.
Electro-funk, post-punk dystopian dub nightmares. Chilled psychedelic pop daydreams. Futuristic streams of anime unconsciousness. Gothic bubblegum doom fantasies. Romance. Violence. Action. Wealth. Decay.
MAD/MOD : Neurinomes
78 mins // Pro CD-R, thermal print // Sticker-sealed fold-out sleeve// Numbered edition of 25
Neurinomes (a type of nerve tumor that can affect the inner ear) is the haunting debut by the duo of Montreal-based reed player Marc-Antoine Dagenais (Mad) and guitarist Dominic Marion (Mod).
Shimmering drones and angular melody lines dance and collapse against hazy ambiance and fractured glass surfaces; ecstatic meditations give way to deep noir melancholy and fiery avant expressionism.
The album revolves around improvisation, rewriting of improvised sounds, resonant mappings, organic acousmatic, combination tones; a process one may call recomposition, using recordings of spontaneous interactions as draft mapping, free to be reinvestigated and refined. All timbers were produced solely by miking acoustic sources. With the exception of a wine glass slowed down to a low drone, these soundscapes remain faithful to original acoustic production.
The duo has developed their own vocabulary through research of improvised music based on harmonic specters, thoroughly experimenting in the fields of peculiar textures and frictions that their instruments can provide. Marion often, but not always, treats his guitar signal through a certain range of effects, working a specter of textures, going from delicate jazzy chords to screaming organ like sounds. Blending with those amplified sounds, Dagenais uses different extended techniques (trumpet sounds, multiphonics, screams, circular breathing and others) on the saxophone and flutes as well as different parts of the instruments to produce unusual soundscapes.
File under: Chamber music, post-rock, free-jazz, late-20th century minimalism, soundscape, ambient expressionism, drone, harmonic resonance
CHIK WHITE / HOLIDAY RAMBLER split tape series
C50 // edition of 50 // pro-duped // DL code // glossy accordion fold insert // cloth bag with hand stamped product tag.
Side 15 – Chik White: I Am Muck. You Are The Wind.
CHIK WHITE is the recording alias of Darcy Spidle, star and co-writer of the Canadian cult film, Lowlife, and the guy behind Canadian indie institution Divorce Records. Playing almost like a possible alternative soundtrack to Lowlife, I Am Muck sucks you into a starfish licking world of bizarr0 psych improvisations and avant soundscapes created from “experimental jews harp and acoustic guitar”. Exciting and fearless stream of consciousness music/noise/sound making—like the wind and tides blowing and flowing.
Side 16 – Holiday Rambler: It Lasted A Hundred Years, It Will Last A Hundred More.
“More like coal than gasoline”, HOLIDAY RAMBLER (aka D. Alex Meeks of Hooded Fang infamy) is one of those young men you meet where you simply know they have a time machine buried in their backyard. They’re just too comfortable wearing the attire and diction of yesteryear for it to be entirely an act. The title of this set of songs and sounds, It Lasted A Hundred Years, It Will Last A Hundred More, could be a reference to the timeless/old-timey nature of the Rambler’s American gothic folk-blues. Despite being a relatively young sprout, there’s a lot of gravelly down-home wisdom woven throughout the set of bluegrass and gospel informed tunes with a decidedly end-times feel. Kind of like a Smithsonian Folkways recording from the backwoods of Virginia in an alternate universe where the Great Depression never ended.
BABEL (Tranzmit): MetaMeme
Pro CD-R. Numbered edition of 10.
Sound collage of news videos, film dialogue, vintage commercials, shortwave radio squelches and anonymous Facebook and Twitter updates read by a text-to-voice screen reader. Additional minimalist percussion and synth textures. A dark portrait of our times as seen through the eyes of the world wide web. Selections edited, compiled and remixed from BABEL’s TRANZMIT “mixtape” series. Includes selections from “Radio EnZyme”, “Interknot” and “Radio Flatline” plus new material.
NICK KUEPFER / KHÔRA split tape series
C44 // edition of 50 // pro-duped // DL code included // 16 page full-colour mini-zine
Side 11—Nick Kuepfer, Tape Test For A New Year / Audrey’s Aspin / Grackles: Grinding string harmonies drone from the celestial abyss. Birds sing, forests crumble. A ghost trains thunders across the prairies, hammers on tin roofs as it passes. Somewhere to the south, a bank robber dies in the tumbleweeds, clutching a satchel full of money with a dusty hand. An entrancing, cinematic soundscape; a travelogue of the spaces between light and shadow. BIO: Montreal-based guitarist Nick Kuepfer weaves nylon string and electric guitar pieces with live-sampled tape loops, recordings of animals, and drones from various sources. His predominantly wordless music ranges from subtle and static to frantic and abrasive, with a methodical, vigilant sense of experimentation guided by the search for consonance and dissonance with the sounds of “nature”.
Side 12—Khôra, Foris: Ringing in the shadows of a European cathedral, tones weave behind a camel train on the spice road and twist like smoke beyond the bazaars of Turkey before erupting like an Icelandic volcano, black ash on white snow. BIO: Matthew Ramolo’s Khôra project is based chiefly on acoustic/electric guitar and field recordings, with extensive signal processing and digital interventions conditioning these sources to create an immersive soundworld of drones, chimes, rings and other pointillistic sonics. His longform compositions contain lovely stretches of relatively unprocessed and fully recognisable guitar work, with picking patterns and chord sequences that evolve/devolve into more signal-bent and DSP soundscapes. The results are highly organic and meditative while retaining plenty of icy shards, bubbling distortions and passages of controlled monumentalism, making this anything but an ambient listen.
AARON LUMLEY / THE KNOT split tape series
C40 // edition of 50 // pro-duped // DL code included // hand-assembled window sleeves
Side 9: Avant improv bassist Aaron Lumley has been making waves lately with his harrowing long-player Wilderness. We posit this improvised session goes one further, both visceral and teeming with expression in the traditions of Dave Holland and François Rabbath. Recorded by Matthew Dunn in Toronto who, in Lumley’s words, “brought the fuzz and grime to the fore.” And we have to agree. In the middle ages, people were burned at the stake for playing music like this—he’s clearly possessed by some kind of demon.
Side 10: We’re pleased to present the debut release for The Knot, the duo of cellists Tilman Lewis and Nick Storring. With allegiance to both form and freedom, they embark on sonic explorations that draw on various folk traditions and experimental musics. The pair love to bend the instrument’s lyricism, drawing not so much on extended techniques as on an array of audacious contra-techniques: preparations/ apparati (practice mutes, hair-clips, clamps, wine corks, mallets, egg beaters, plectrums etc.). They still, however, permit the cello’s natural beauty to have its place. Their large palette of sonorities is channeled and combined into single unified textures, and everything from improvised heterophony, to stark contrast. Intertwining beauty and discord meeting somewhere between the gravel pit and the northern lights.
Espvall/Jakobsons/Szelag: Improvisations for Strings and Electronics
CD. 5 tracks / 43:13 mins. Multi-layered handmade transparent outer-sleeve, lino-block printed envelope. Limited edition of 100.
Improvisations for Strings and Electronics, Marielle Jakobsons and Agnes Szelag (Myrmyr) team up with cellist Helena Espvall (of Espers) on a series of, you guessed it, improvisations for strings and electronics. Recorded in Oakland, CA, Jakobsons and Szelag created graphic scores for the occasion. Ethereal and rapturous beauty tempered with sinister, creeping danger looming ominously in the shadows. “To make references to pieces by Arvo Part of Henryk Gorecki is easy, but also to the point. But then less composed and all improvised. Music that is dealing with long form, sustaining but also bending of tones, making this both melodic yet also abstract, gentle and majestic, moody and atmospheric. Somewhere in between modern classical music and improvised music, this is an excellent release. ” ~ Vital Weekly “It’s particularly affecting during its mournful nachtmusik passages, such as during the opener, “Black Frost,” where the strings etch serpentine pathways as they coil seductively around one another, and “Arctic Rains,” where the playing is at times so restrained it almost retreats altogether into silence … bluesy explorations and a lovely plaintive coda so lovely it verges on hymnal … “Ice Age,” for example, offers a dense and brittle treatment that renders its sound-world rather daunting and disturbing, while the skeletal “Lunar Horizon” exudes an appropriately ethereal character.” ~ Textura
Healthy Animal / Summer Amp split tape series
Side 3: Healthy Animal –7X Untitled. Seven nameless compositions from the East Coast of the USA. Rhythmic and fuzzed-out, Healthy Animal’s music is as much a part of the No Wave and Krautrock traditions as it is the new schools of Chillwave and Shitgaze. But who cares about labels? HA bury pummeling rhythms under waves of blissed-out white-static psych haziness. Sounds kind of like a possible score toCharles Burns’ graphic novel Black Hole as performed by aliens who only know earth music from hearing Brian Eno on a poorly tuned radio-station.
Side 4: Summer Amp – Danger Zone. Five pro-wrestling inspired psych/noise jams from the West Coast of Canada. Features members of New Yaki and The Madonna Bangers. The vibe might be described as the sunburned hand of Tully Blanchard. Or tribal/industrial folk music for life at the end of the universe when there’s no electricity to play your Can and VxPxC records.
40 mins (total). Edition of 34. 2-sided full-colour poster insert. Cloth bag.
Moonwood : Coal Aberrations
2010. Lino block cover, hand stamped discs. Limited edition of 25 copies.
Collaborations with New Yakicohorts Stephen (Partli Cloudi/Summer Amp) and Andrew (Gown/the Bark Haze) as well as a host of others including Healthy Animal and robrobrob.
Moonwood : Aubade
(CD/DVD) 2009. Hand-stamped lino-cut cover.
Digital download available at Moonwood’s Bandcamp site
“… invokes elements of Ry Cooderian Western slide , the intimacy and rootedness of Lau Nau and the psychedelic influences of a drone band congealed into a meandering crystalline rivulet of moonlit notes. Handclaps, piano, dilatory drumming and subdued synths furnish a flamboyant and delicate backdrop to the acoustic guitar; the guitar is invariably central and imperious on Aubade. Hints of vocalisation add a touch of mystery or discomfiture to the work. Nice job. ” — robrobrob“Though it has a decidedly improvised feel at times, Aubade comes across as a remarkably focused and exceedingly mellow album that could be the soundtrack for nearly anything—a long daylight walk, a harsh chemical comedown, new love, or even a heavy-hearted morning separation.” —The Georgia Straight
Moonwood – Forest Ghosts
2009. Hand-stamped lino-cut cover.
Digital download available at Moonwood’s Bandcamp Site. Various improvisations recorded between 2007-2009. Only a few remaining copies of “Edition One” left, “Edition Two” will feature a slightly different track-listing.