The Audictive Bunch

october 2015, part 1

BOTANY : dimming awe, the light is raw : Western Vinyl

RNK: Still not even a sign of brown rot, no premature defoliation for Botany, the best ambient/hop/psych cross-breeding plant specialist we’ve heard of in recent years. The man behind this gardening experiment, Spencer Stephenson, was only 22 when we first spoke to him, and now, some five years later, one of the last things he told us back then rings strangely true: He mentioned “some deliberate mystical/aquatic themes,” and that odd combination, blossoming underwater spirituality, is a pretty good line to describe what’s happening on his latest effort, “Dimming Awe, The Light Is Raw”. “Birthjays,” for example, one of many standout tracks, serves to illustrate that combination, gracefully moving like ambient shoals of fish around your legs and soon disappearing to make more room for his other specialty, Beats (with a capital B). Returning to Stephenson’s gardens, many new drum-driven plants have budded in the meantime: Surrounded by Boards (of Canada), the slow hip-hop beat of “Glow Up” serves as a foundation for a fairytale dreamscape featuring occasional vocalist Matthewdavid, and here it’s another statement from back then that seems to still ring true: “I’m just extremely happy when I’m making music.” Oh, one can tell. Still best at pruning, grafting, clipping away until the ambient light is just right to grow a strange, jazz-minded mix of bonsai beats and home-recorded sample shrubs, “Jotu” is another standout, a spherically sick banger with glitches, lush as usual, and just perfect for a rap part which unfortunately doesn’t grow here. And yet, “Au Revoir” features rapper Milo, and that drum-kick snap is perfect Dilla, green fingers caressing his sonic tombstone. Want some subaquatic horticulture? Man, there’s no place like Denton, Texas, really. 



GIRL BAND : holding hands with jamie : Rough Trade

RNK: This one ain’t no cookbook. It ain’t easy to digest. It’s not a recipe for mellow Girls’ nights, some chatting over dinner, soon giggles, and maybe some bubbly later on. Instead, it’s Slint-like vocal aggression, abrasively pounding textures, instruments used in reverse and moving in strange scales, like food exploding in the microwave. They're guys who’ve been doing this for a while and are finally releasing their debut album. It’s “Pears For Lunch” and then some “Fucking Butter” with a truckload of reverb on top, leading to stomach cramps down the road, while en route to pick up some 40 oz. bottles to wash it all down. It’s bloody knees and touring in a fucking Fiat Panda. It’s ferocious and not easy to digest and not easy to digest and not easy to digest because it’s too banging, a sonic wallride almost bailed, not quite landed, but still done with grace. It’s tension on tape, “Dubliners” 2015, it’s scrapes of wrath, galls from the hall, road burn in the studio. It’s Daniel, Liam and James, the kind of Girl Band girls like Taylor Swift will hate. And did we say it’s fucking good? 



PRINS THOMAS : paradise goulash : Eskimo Recordings

Skism: Es gab ja so Lehrer, die waren einfach toll, denen hat man gerne zugehört, die hatten was zu sagen, sprachen eine verständliche Sprache, konnten bildhaft erklären, man verspürte sowas wie einen Bann und man ärgerte sich fast, wenn die Klingel zur Hofpause schrillte, man wieder ein paar Tage auf die Fortführung des Exkurses warten musste. Hier gibt Prins Thomas den Dreier-Doppelstundenblock in Kunst- und Musikgeschichte und es verhält sich genau so. Gebannt lauscht man, was er noch so zu erzählen hat, als nächstes und noch so kommt, ist überrascht, manchmal überwältigt, was hier alles rein- und zusammenpasst. Man beginnt zu verstehen, was Musik ist, wie sich alles gegenseitig - und ihn - beeinflusst, zitiert, eins wird. Gabor Szabo, Richard Schneider Jr., Jan Akkerman, I:Cube, Torske, Hood, Dundov, Villalobos, Abbott, Pittman, Vile… alles in einem, sorry, drei Mixen. Muss man auch erst mal die entsprechenden Kurven kriegen. Plötzlich: klingeln - Mittagspause: Gulasch. Zum Glück gibt es Hausaufgaben! Freu mich wie Bolle!



WAND : 1000 days : Drag City

Seven: Is this Los Angeles based trio ever not recording? It’s their third album in two years, and second album in 2015, which sees them returning to the always reliable Drag City family. Obviously, this kind of release-tempo as well as their love for psych and glam makes them easily comparable to the luminary Ty Segall on first impression. At second glance though it becomes rather evident that Wand by now have clearly found their own musical vocabulary: the fuzz is a bit heavier, the vocals a lot more peculiar and the joy of clashing with particular styles and genres is a rather vicious one. Their previous album “Golem“ was a consciously murky affair that sounded a bit like Melvins with paisley shirts, this time around each and every song scores a fantastical world of its own - the oddest synths since Goblins’ heydays included.

KURT VILE : b’lieve i’m goin down : Matador

Seven: I have to admit I was never actually into Tom Petty, didn’t bow to Neil Young’s oeuvre once, and don’t own a single Bob Dylan album, but when Kurt Vile does his best impersonation of aforementioned artists I’m all hooked and flirting with the idea to get their entire back catalog on vinyl at all costs - Traveling Wilburys records included. Vile’s previous album “Walking on a Pretty Daze“ already introduced his new found love for delving deep into unhurried and very spacious jams (well, actually it already did in one way or another since he signed to Matador), but back then the genius of his songwriter beauty opened up slowly. This time around it hits you immediately, his trademark finger-picking and stoned wiseass observations of everyday life, the brilliant melodies and his distinct way of disclosing his inner turmoil. As a bonus he throws some piano chords and subtle banjo sounds into the mix - not necessarily because they add anything dramatically new to his songs, but because he can - proving once and for all that the weird loner you laughed at years ago is by now a lot smarter and sophisticated than you’ll ever be. “B’lieve I’m Goin Down“ is his best album so far. Until the next one hits us in around two years time, that is.

NILS FRAHM : v.a. late night tales : LNT

Skism: Nils Frahms Late Night Tales hören sich eigentlich genauso an, wie man sich Nils Frahms Late Night Tales vorstellt. Da man sich das aber dann doch nicht so recht vorstellen kann, hat er das eben hörbar gemacht. Irgendwo zwischen Jazz, moderner Klassik, Field Recordings, Ambient, abstrakter Elektronik, Clicks’n’Cuts, in dicke Vorhänge gewickelten Dub Techno, Filmmusik, Hörspiel, Einschlafmelodei, Spieluhr, Hintergrundrauschen, Grammophönchen, Dösen im Park, Traum. Legt man sich das neben das Bett (wo dieser Mix meiner Meinung nach auch hingehört), so ist der Übergang zum Traum auch völlig fliessend, am Morgen wird niemand mehr sagen können, was er/sie abends tatsächlich noch gehört und was erträumt hat. Perfekte Late Night Tales - im wahrsten Sinne.