Reissue of the 2006 CDr released on Christina’s own Many Breaths imprint.
Three sides of music & an etching of one of Christina’s drawings on the fourth side.
Red vinyl with maroon splatter.
Edition of 500.
Recorded at the Magic Blueroom, Northampton, MA, September 2005.
Ive been a big Roy Montgomery fan for a while now and Id actually been listening to the cd version of this lp in my car a good bit this past winter. The length and breadth of winter being well augmented by the sounds of roy montgomery.
So it was a good surprise to see this being reissued.
Put out by Grouper/Liz Harris’s Yellow electric imprint; in fact the only lp not by grouper issued by that label. That alone should tell you that this worth checking out.
I myself was pretty enamored with Scenes from the South Island and Winter Songs and took a little longer to get into this collection. But this collection is slow burn, dark at times but much like grouper’s recordings there is light in the darkness.
“‘Ten singles and two albums. At a certain point during my stay in the apartment on 13th Street I either said it to myself or said it out loud — I can’t recall — but that seemed a realistic target all things considered. Few distractions, few visitors, few appointments. A busy city to break up the endless music looping in my head long after the headphones had been taken off. A micro-studio easily patched together and able to be configured in only one or two variations. Time to pay some dues. Both to the 45 single and the concept album. The small vinyl artefact that fed my musical appetite at key times in my life. No ‘b” sides if it could be helped. Chasing a theme for as long as it took. Waiting for the real pattern to emerge. The perfect visual ratios of 7″ and 12″ cover art. Talking with the dead. Replying to the faded parsimony of a young fan and would-be maker of records (me): “Get it down now because this may be as good as it gets,” “Don’t wait for a real label to pay for your studio time,” “Time spent recording should always at least match time spent playing live.” I figured that the universal average for bands and recording artists was one, maybe two, good singles and an OK album then oblivion or, worse, a slow decline through contractual obligations. The only contract I had was with a scattering of friends, mostly American, who were there to deal with the out-pourings, should they arrive. And things had bottled up. Time to un-bottle. Not all at once. A few minutes at a time only for the intense stuff. Handing over bracketed ideas to this or that label as an act of faith. Then watching in awe as others transformed signals into objects. And here, running full circle in the literal sense, seven goes into 12 many times, with folk new and old keeping the faith. Lucky me.’ -Roy Montgomery. Housed in a gatefold sleeve. Includes three new songs, new artwork and unpublished photos, and an insert with an updated intro by Bill Meyer and Roy Montgomery. Remastered by Timothy Stollenwerk.”
The project of the Merseyside, UK native Matthew Barnes, Forest Swords crept into the underground consciousness in 2009 with the release of acclaimed EP ‘Dagger Paths’ (Olde English Spelling Bee/No Pain In Pop) – a record so eerie and expansive that it touched on both Ennio Morricone and early Massive Attack, while still sounding resolutely unique. The release received critical acclaim, and – despite being just EP length – charted in numerous ‘Best of’ lists that year.
Subsequently battling hearing problems, Barnes was forced to take a break from his own music, returning to his work as a designer and artist. In the ensuing period, he completed sound commissions for art festivals (including a piece involving tracks cut on disintegrating x-ray film dubplates; new Forest Swords compositions heard in public just once); lent his skills to other artists, including co-writing and production for How To Dress Well (‘Cold Nites’, from his recent album ‘Total Loss’) and NYC rap youngster Haleek Maul; and released tracks made with German fine artist Otto Baerst online under the Dyymond of Durham moniker.
Slowly but surely, Barnes started work back on his Forest Swords project with a clear vision and renewed passion. Unwilling to spend long amounts of time in a studio, he looked around his own environment for inspiration.
Debut album ‘Engravings’ is the sound of his home peninsula of the Wirral, a stone’s throw from Liverpool, a place imbued with spirit and history (‘Thor’s Stone’ takes its title from a local slab of sandstone, said to be used for Norse god sacrifices by Viking settlers). Completed over the course of the year, Barnes mixed the entire record outdoors in the Wirral countryside on his laptop: as such, ‘Engravings’ is a record that feels as exposed and organic as his immediate environment; beaches and bark, sand and soil.
The resulting record is a rarity in electronic music – an emotionally resonant distillation of the past couple of years in Barnes’ life, and an unflinchingly powerful body of songs: both euphoric and bleak, triumphant and heavy. Taking off where his previous work started, ‘Engravings’ feels more articulate, structured, and affecting. Beats are more pronounced, with the looser tribalism of ‘Dagger Paths’ replaced with a more direct approach to rhythm. Voices are also more prominent. Barnes spent time learning to splice his own and sampled voices together to create abstracted, elliptical melody lines, and rough snatches of ecstatic choirs interject throughout the LP, calling out in either desperation or elation.
From the train-track rattling drones of ‘Onward’ to euphoric marching-drum closer ‘Friend, You Will Never Learn’, the record steps its way between cavernous electronic music and dubby, heavy slow-mo pop. Lead track ‘The Weight of Gold’ is an urgent, melancholy meditation centered around razor-sharp harpsichord, tranced-out vocals and chiming guitar; ‘Anneka’s Battle’ features a guest vocal from Brighton act Anneka manipulated around a sparse, skeletal R&B beat; while ‘Gathering’ sees Barnes weave and loop choral voice samples to create a rapturous, hypnotic hymn.*Includes download code.*
Double LP version. In hindsight, the pairing of Chris Madak and Donato Dozzy was inevitable from the moment when the two connected on Mount Naeba, Japan at the storied Labyrinth party last fall. Both artists have worked to craft singular visions unlike anything else happening in electronic music today, yet despite each producer’s unmistakable individuality, there is a deeper reservoir of shared sensibility between them which makes Donato Dozzy Plays Bee Mask feel like a logical and necessary event. 2012 saw the release of Madak’s monumental When We Were Eating Unripe Pears (SP 023LP) album along with the astounding Vaporware 12″ for Room 40, the title-track of which opened Bee Mask’s Labyrinth performance to memorable effect. Dozzy had an equally massive year thanks the release of the acclaimed Voices from the Lake (PRG 001CD/003LP) album with Neel, which set the bar for intricate, subtle, and forward-thinking contemporary techno at a new high. Both artists have pushed the respective boundaries of their work to arrive at the point of this crucial and welcome overlap: a double album of material from the Vaporware sessions, re-imagined as only Dozzy could do it. Initially commissioned for a single remix, Dozzy found so much possibility in the source material that he turned in over an hour of material, making a standalone release the only reasonable course of action. The results are absolutely divine, a suite of seven pieces of time-stopping bliss in which the structure and melodies of Vaporware glitter through the prism of Dozzy’s singular production style. The meeting of these powerful minds provides evidence of an unparalleled organic chemistry. When listening to these works we hear the worlds of Bee Mask and Donato Dozzy bleed into one another, creating a new sonic entity with a life of its own — one which with any luck will not end at this release. Mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin, May 2013.
In 2008, a triple cassette oddity appeared out of nowhere adorned in washed-out nature collages and zero information. Turns out that John Elliot of Emeralds was behind the madness, and after further dissection of the sounds enclosed, it all began to make sense. Those three tapes (one yellow, one blue, one red) were the first taste of something that felt like a lost private-press object from the early European electronic experimentations of the ’60s and ’70s. Each vignette is its own story, its own exploration. Synthesizers and other electronics are stripped to their bare bones, never drifting beyond a mere five minutes. It’s the brevity that is the guiding hand, though. Every tone and every note is carefully considered and utilized as you’re sucked into a world of washed-out colors and sullen landscapes. One thing that immediately stands out with these pieces is just how restrained Elliot is with them. It adds considerable tension, even if it’s understated, giving the album a surprising amount of emotional depth. Each piece is its own miniature mountain, traversed and left behind all in a matter of minutes. As you interact with the subtlety changing harmonics and tonal shifts, you begin to float away into synthetic dreams. If all bedroom albums were this great, I’d never leave the house. A true gem. It doesn’t get much better than this. Completely remastered for vinyl by James Plotkin and cut in Berlin by D+M. The deluxe vinyl edition is presented in full-color gatefold jackets with all new art from John Elliot in conjunction with the inimitable Witchbeam. Strictly limited pressing.
Stunning new record from Natural Snow Buildings, the collaborative project between Mehdi Ameziane and Solange Gularte, the minds behind Twinsistermoon and Isengrind respectively. This new epic from the French duo is their first physical release since 2009’s well received ‘Shadow Kingdom’, also issued by us here at Blackest Rainbow, and it follows on from 2010’s download only ‘The Centauri Agent’ and both Twinsistermoon and Isengrind full length LPs. So 2010 has been a relatively quiet year for Natural Snow Buildings in comparison to 2008 and 2009. Mehdi and Solange have been working on ‘Waves of the Random Sea’ for us for quite sometime, both in terms of art and audio, and it really has come together beautifully. Solange has created a truly stunning series of artworks that spread across the 4 panels of the gatefold sleeve, and the music is a gorgeous tapestry of dreamy drone blurred with their enchanting ethereal folk balladry. This release continues to show how important every aspect of a Natural Snow Buildings release means to them, I was blown away by the standard of the music and artwork. Pressed on heavyweight virgin vinyl, and housed in a beautiful gatefold sleeve featuring artwork by Solange. The vinyl edition features an extra track not on the CD and all tracks in their entirety.
Tape-warped phantom band Rangers finally unleashes the grainy, soaring, expansive prog-pop opus we always knew was floating inside the fretboard (and imagination) of multi-instrumentalist mystery maestro Joe Knight. The north Dallas-raised, San Fran-residing head Ranger grew up taking classical guitar lessons from a dude who claimed to have ‘toured with the Dead,’ and some of that brain-wonked jam agenda obviously seeped into the young Knight, who began recording his own loose, lo-fi jangle sprawls in 2005. But whereas last year’s critically lauded Suburban Tours LP found him condensing his cassette-crushed alien pop into 3 minute radio nuggets, Pan Am Stories uses the reverse strategy, letting each blurry strum pattern coast away and ride the breeze a bit before steering it into a fresh counter-melody or flanged-out guitar comedown. The extra breath and space gives the 13 songs a real sense of freedom and lightness and flight, layered in gentle blankets of fuzz, silky reverb, and audio collage riddles. A total saga, and a summit achievement of next-level invention for Knight as a musician (it’s insane he played/recorded every instrument on this thing!) and artist. Have been soaking in these tracks non-stop since we first heard ‘em this summer and are thrilled to get to share Stories with the world. Black vinyl LPs (mastered by Carl Saff, who worked on Suburban Tours too) in gatefold jackets with micro-detailed collage art by Mr. Rangers himself; interior artwork by Knight and Anthony Yuen. Edition of 850.