Limited edition of 99, presented with 16-page book.
Ultimate deluxe box set of live material from Matthew Valentine and Erika Elder, documenting their entire three-weekend residence at The Zebulon in New York City that took place in January 2012 in a stunning self-released edition of only 99 copies: the set-up in January was that every Sunday night MV & EE would present three sets with massively different configurations, all drawn from the Golden Road inner circle: Rongoose, Smokehound, Steve Gunn, Herbcraft, Willie Lane, Jeremy Earl & Jarvis Tavenier (Woods) and P.G. Six. So across this seven CD-R set, packaged in a large hard card fold-out book ala the Suub Duub and April Flower sets, there are acoustic shows, all-instrumental Environment-al blow-outs, full-on guitar army ‘septuplet’ bombs, nifty garage band rave-ups and deliriously extended jams. The set lists are particularly choice, drawing heavily on Drone Trailer material (which seems like a particularly endless font of potential reinvention at this point) while reaching deep into the back catalogue for some inspired re-toolings.
But the big news here is the presence of multi-track recorders, sound boards and room mics, meaning that the entire residency was captured in ultra hi-fi and skullfuck-deep Spectrasound. While Heroine-fi speaks in the kinda tongue that is undeniably volcanic, it is nothing short of a blast to hear this amazing music rendered with such clarity and magnificence.
“East Mountain Joint” is, for me, rapidly becoming MV & EE’s “Playing In The Band”, in the way it celebrates something that might initially seem kinda hokey by using it as a launching pad for the kind of inspired jams that the song was talking about in the goddamn first place. The version on “Skullbong/Pudding Tone” here, taken from the electric set on the second weekend w/Smokehound and Herbcraft, is an absolute revelation, poised on the perfect axis between endless riff-roll euphorics and sensual dissolve in F/X bliss. Indeed, the whole set is a peach and perfectly demonstrates the way that MV & EE can sail the void – and make you feel like you’re sailing it too – with nothing but the sound of one note and the next.
The ‘Beyond’ set from the first weekend – appropriately titled “See Ya” – presents a single 26 minute long ‘Environment’ from MV, EE, Rongoose, Smokehound and Gunn that sounds like the goddamn sun coming up over the Hudson-as-Ganges with the kind of constantly peaking modal string action that would give Kalacakra the bends.
The electric set from week three has a particularly celebratory feel, with the dream-team line-up of MV, EE, Willie Lane, Jeremy Earl, Jarvis Tavenier and P.G. Six played in a hyped-up teen garage band style that pretty much explodes classics like “Canned Happiness”, “Tea Devil > Powderfinger”, “Get Right Church” and more.
The ‘acoustic’ set from week three might be the most fractured and puzzlingly ‘Corwood’ of the box, with MV & EE joined by Willie Lane who is on particularly unfathomable form, working entry and exit points through amazing versions of “Drone Trailer” and “Feelin’ Fine” with alla the individual precision of a ballistics expert.
Erika’s vocal are at their disembodied, calling-over-time best while MV makes with the kinda vocoder blues that confuses man/machine like no one this side of Klaus Dinger.
Barley able to touch on the many highlights and surprises on this endlessly great set but suffice it to say that this functions as the ultimate MV & EE live box to date and stands as perhaps the greatest articulation of the many tentacles they have sprouted over the years. Expect to spend the best part of 2013 in here. All individually hand-assembled in the usual OTT/deluxe COM style, complete with a full-size booklet featuring in-depth commentary, full track details and liners from MV and Coot Moon. -Volcanic Tongue