Saturday, December 15, 2018

VOL.-1; self released, 2018

Continuing here with the recent submissions from the ever active Max Nordile, Disaster Amnesiac has been digging into VOL.'s first release, 1. Max is joined by guitarist Marissa Magic for a couple of documented live shows from this year. The duo wrap alto saxophone from Max and guitar/sax from Marissa into two extended pieces of personal language exploration of a very liberated nature.
A side Active Music Series benefits from a very clear recording by Jacob Felix Heule, on which he captures the intimacy of VOL.'s approach. Nordile gurgles, screams, sighs and moans over and atop Magic's rubbery rhythmic six string focus. This tune moves up and down the energetic slide as the two speak to each other, ever aware of the need to keep things gritty. Disaster Amnesiac definitely appreciates the funkiness of VOL. Somehow a bit later on the track a bit of cool metallic percussion emerges from the mix as things get out of hand in the best, most confusingly thrilling kind of ways. How do they get all of this sound with only four hands? VOL. stops, Max utters a quick laugh and a "thanks", and a roomful of people applauds. This is real.
The wonderfully named Tunnel Jam keeps the sounds going on side B, wherein VOL. utilize the big echo of said tunnel for more of their intimate back and forth. The guitar is dropped for another saxophone as both reeds are rattled for a conversation moans and vibes with more great Free energy. There's a slightly eavesdropping dynamic to this one, as if the listener has stumbled upon some kind of ritual enactment being held late in the night in some lonely part of town. Really beautiful, intimate stuff going here as one can feel the glowing energy of inspiration coming down from a very sublime place. Despite the lo-fi nature of Tunnel Jam, should you listen, you'll surely bask in its glow.
Nordile will undoubtedly keep up the pace. The question is, will you be there to listen? Disaster Amnesiac would advise you to do so. VOL.'s sounds have certainly turned me on.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nothing Band-Descension/Digestion; Decoherence Records 2018

If you've to it, flaunt it, and if by "it" you mean a determinedly d.i.y. ethic paired with personalized aesthetic prowess, then Oakland California based musician and artist Max Nordile certainly does. Over the past three or four years, Disaster Amnesiac has watched, amazed, as Max has put on shows, put out product, hit the road, and just generally been a driving force, pushed along by his own clear energies. Nordile seems to always have something cooking.  
Descension/Digestion, from Nothing Band, is one of a few such works that he has thrown my way for listening to.
Described as a two part concept album, this recording by what sounds to me like a trio features a group sound that is made up of short, sharp blasts of primal Blues-inflected Garage Punk Rock. The group swings together with the kind of unique vision that, to my mind, shows them as having put in a lot of effort at some type of rehearsal pad. Nothing Band feature rattling guitar riffs paired with clipped bass notes, both pushed by clattered drums and and occasional alto sax honk, all evincing the kind of "fuck everybody" singularity, in terms of their sounds, that all bands should aspire to. The bio blurb on the Bandcamp page for Digestion mentions No Wave, and, indeed, Nothing Band do achieve that coveted effect of, to paraphrase Lydia Lunch, an urban laundry mat in full motion. Atop the racket, Max recites his personal stories in scraggedly way that suggests off-handed insights and perhaps a fair amount of frustration with....something. It's to his credit that these lines remain somewhat obscure; they leave a lot to the imagination, entirely a good thing. Disaster Amnesiac feels very certain that Policy Wonks, however, is the best dis song that I've heard in a minute.
Fourteen songs clocking in at a concise twenty minutes or so, this one's perfect for post-work day's end head cleaning. Stay tuned for more observations of music generously shared by Max Nordile, but Disaster Amnesiac will likely be spending the next couple of days letting Descension/Digestion scrape off the lower regions of my cranium.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

SF Bay Area New Releases Roundup!

The San Francisco Bay Area continues to go through myriad changes these days. Disaster Amnesiac has noticed towns such as Palo Alto and Walnut Creek morph into strange little Beverly Hills imitations. San Francisco proper? Forget about it! Even gritty old Oakland is turning into a bit of tourist showcase. The list goes on and on, as do the observations and commiserations of long time residents. That said, the music somehow remains, thankfully. Of late, I've received some sweet musical libations from a handful of local creative musicians. Here are my thoughts!

Voicehandler-light from another light; Humbler Records, 2018
It's been a few years since Disaster Amnesiac has heard from Voicehandler, and I'm glad to hear them back on record. light from another light features a few changes, with Jacob Felix Heule switching to a full drum kit and Danishta Rivero seemingly putting away the text-based vocals from their 2015 release for a looser style. The former's performance is damn great. Jacob explores the kit with an ear towards the vocal sounds, always sounding focused on and in sync with Danishta's voice. This voice is, as stated, much looser, pushed a bit further back into the mix. This production pairs really well with her glitch-ey, pinpoint electronics; it's almost as if they are intended to sound like one fused instrument. The engineering on the three tracks of light from another light must also be mentioned for its sumptuous treatment of Heule's kit. A top notch recording in both performance and sound capture. Will we really have to wait another three years for new recordings from this great duo and their active, elevated Experimental Music visions?

Nathan Corder-Hardcore Boring Electronic Music; self-released via Bandcamp, 2018
The vibe that Disaster Amnesiac gets from Nathan Corder's Hardcore Boring Electronic Music is one of hardened Minimalism. It's nowhere listed from what sound sources these tones spring, but they certainly are allowed to ring out unimpeded and seemingly unprocessed. Tones emerge and float into the ears before they morph, at their own paces, into new ones. Opener I could go to the movies has eerie notes that wrap around a beautiful high note drone. Centerpiece What comes through the door brings the Hardcore element. Its squealing high tones get pretty piercing at times. Give yourself some space from the speakers as you listen, though, and they become lovely bolts of lightning within a room. This one builds into a heavy crescendo before slipping away a bit more quietly. Strata brings back the contemplative drone for a few minutes before launching into some mysterious chords that bring about lovely overtones and foggy visions. Nathan Corder does SF Bay Area Minimalism right, by Riley!

Sheldon Brown Group-Blood of the Air; Edgetone Records 2018
Here we have long time Bay Area woodwinds player Sheldon Brown and a cracking great group paying tribute to the words and voice of poet Philip Lamantia. Blood of the Air features Brown's incredibly astute writing; seriously, following these charts' sounds is a thrilling instrumental experience. Paired with the great vocal interpretations of Lamantia's written words by singer Lorin Benedict, the sounds on this disc swing, shout, rock and just really kick ass. The rest of the group, trumpeter Darren Johnston, guitarists Dave McNab and John Finkbeiner, pianist Jonathan Alford, bassist Mike Wilcox, drummers Vijay Anderson and Alan Hall, and theremin player Andrew Joron provide ample talents to make the music on Air fly out in very effective ways. This here is whip smart music played by top flight musicians, and if the international Jazz Community ignores it, it really is neither. Seek out Philip Lamantia's richly Surrealist poetry as a add on for this shining star of a record.

Spirit/Joshua Allen/Henry Kaiser/Joshua Marshall-In The Realm Of; Fractal Music 2018
Last up we have a disc of sublime quartet music from more SF Bay Area heavy hitters. In The Realm Of features tenor saxophone players Joshua Allen and Joshua Marshall mixing it up with the rhythm section of Spirit and Henry Kaiser. Over multiple listens, Disaster Amnesiac has imagined myself watching sublime hieroglyphics or subtle zen brush artwork being done. The music on this CD is downright delicate at times. It's as if the four of them are in a room, passing conversations around and around, with each member adding or commenting upon what's being said. For a strong dose of the sounds of everything right and good about current improvisational music techniques and aesthetics, one will want to find a copy of In The Realm Of. This group's sound is one of listening and playing together in the deepest of ways.

The San Francisco Bay Area is filled to the brim with music and music scenes, way more than one person could ever really find and take note of. The above four recordings represent some of the best that Disaster Amnesiac has been able to find this year. What's going on in your region?

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Hamelmal Abate-Yenie New b/w Zelesegna digital single; self released 2018

Along with Youth Chairs, Los Angeles drummer David Winogrond is a member of Hamelmal Abate's group.This latter has released a very dynamic digital single, Yenie New b/w Zelesgna, and, thankfully, shared it with Disaster Amnesiac.
The A side features a sharp, horn-driven arrangement and Winogrond's characteristic tight ride-cymbal lead playing. Flying atop the music is Abate's great alto singing, full of Ethiopian trills and sweet melodic effect. Yenie New is an energetic and driving rocker of a tune that brings to mind the Los Angeles Punk Rock of the late 1970's and early 1980's for Disaster Amnesiac. It has that same pairing of concision and frantic drive.
B side Zelesegna features a more traditional Ethiopian sound, possibly familiar to listeners of any of the Ethiopiques series. The vocals feel a lot more introspective within the slower waltzing pace of the song as violin and keyboard sounds frame Hamelmal's vocal. As I'm writing this, the sun is rising outside my window, and it fits perfectly with the tone of Zelesegna. That said, the track could probably work for the day's end, too. It has that kind of pensive drama.
If she hasn't brought David and her band north of Los Angeles already, it's my hope that Hamelmal Abate does so soon. Disaster Amnesiac would love to see and hear them at Ashkenaz in Berkeley or some similar venue! Get 'em in the van, David!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Various Artists-Switched-On Eugene; Numero Group Records #198, 2018

Towards the end of Douglas McGowan's great liner notes for Switched-On Eugene, Peter Nothnagle, one of its featured artists, is quoted thus: "...I think that if there's one key thing that has inspired me in life, it is uncovering that which is hidden...". These words can truly be the maxim for Numero Group, a label that has been finding all sorts of hidden gems and putting them out for the interested public for several years now.
Earlier this year, when Disaster Amnesiac read about Switched-On Eugene's immanent release, I felt pretty excited and confident that it would be highly worth checking out. I have long had a fascination with the release's time frame of mid-to late 1980's synthesizer music! Of course, this feeling has been proven to be correct.
Over the course of fourteen tracks, the listener is treated to a beautifully detailed overview of Eugene, Oregon's Electronic Music Collective, founded in 1984 by six of the musicians featured. The synthesizer-generated music featured on this release is all wonderful and diverse, linked loosely by a common focus on Post-Psychedelic and New Age aesthetics; that said, all of them are uniquely realized and are clear examples of the individual vision of their respective creators.
Eugene kicks off with David Stout's The Seven Rays. This track features Stout's dramatic incantation about crystals and numerology, backed by great marching drum pulses and a mixture of billowing and bleeping tones from his synthesizers. What a great, definitive opening statement for this release! From and artist with the excellent nom de plume of Phyllyp Vernacular, track two, The Clinging, has a bit more driving pulse, classic machine sounds pushing big keyboard chords towards a slow fade. One can really feel one's self within a blissfully digital realm here. A very meditative piece for Prophet 5 Synth, Shimmer, comes next. Peter Thomas's largo approach features a lovely mixture of longer, longing tones and wistful commentary from the higher notes. It really does indeed shimmer within the perceptions. It seems like a definitive statement of New Age Music from that time frame. Other Playgrounds, from Peter Kardas, proves to be quite a good transition from its predecessor on Eugene, as it continues with the longing feelings in some ways. His Jon Anderson-inspired vocals hover above a drones generated from a delay pedal before fading out. The peripatetic (at least during that time frame) Kim Carter and his lively, almost Beatles-ey Energy wanders in next. Driven by a jumpy drum machine beat, this song is really catchy in a Pop sense. Sadly, its insightful lyrics are probably a bit too deep for mass consumption. This one has been bouncing around in Disaster Amnesiac's brain for days. The more rhythmic sensibilities continue with Great Moves, by Nathan Griffith. It gets to the heart of the machines as robotic poly voices mix and mingle within its moves. Moves veers almost into Punk Rock territory, not so much in overt show, but in its harder edged surfaces. Joel Horwitz joins the action with a very cool fusion of drums and synthesizers for Finale From "A Walk Down Serenity Lane". A track that can by its nature be considered Electro-Acoustic, it was produced to be promotional music for a drug rehab clinic. Joel mentions that it was not used as intended. Its tripartite form runs the gamut from harrowing to uplifting and has some really fine, loose drum set action. What was Serenity Lane thinking? Perhaps the term of Techno-Primitive can best be used to describe Michael Chocholak's Skomorokhi. Sparse washes of sound and a incessant, tapping beat frame vocal samples of the track's title. Its atmospheres are quite mysterious and perhaps a bit dark, and provide fascinating contrast to the dreamier cuts that precede it. Every story needs an element of tragedy, and Derryl Parsons may well fit that role on Switched-On Eugene. After reading about his jaw being broken in a street altercation and his somewhat early passing, Disaster Amnesiac certainly has sensed so.  The icy synths of Floating Landscape (including Chase Scene), Derryl's contribution to the the disc, pulse along gaily and belie the sorrow which the man apparently embodied. Chase Scene is particularly cool with its Minimalist stuttering and water atmosphere. Dance Pacific, by Portland OR native Scott Blair is very aptly titled. He managed to coax bamboo Gamelan sounds from his Yamaha CX5M, along with bright chimes and longer, supporting tones atop them. Really gorgeous tones here. Heather Perkins brings The Eugene Electronic Music Collective to a pretty much Punk Rock place with Burning Through. Her slurred recitation about not being cool and remaining her own person in the face of social pressures has a really sharp edge. The spare electronic percussion bed upon which her lyrics rest is perfect for this type of street level ranting. It's a testament to the broad mindedness of the organization, hinted at from a quote in the liner notes, that they allowed this declamation sit side by side with the more Aquarian sentiments generally expressed. More drum set and electronics fusions emerge with Self-Regulation (II). A trippy blend of bent guitar (?) notes, up beat traps drumming and electronic washes from Carl Juarez, it carries on with the harder sounds. A blending of Punk Rock with Psychedelic in the fine tradition of the German groups of the early 1970's. The next couple of tracks, The Ride and Patterns, by Talve and Suse Millemann respectively, seem to show a return towards more upbeat, vocal-oriented Pop sensibilities. The former has a quite catchy chorus that Disaster Amnesiac has been humming a lot, delivered from Talve's clear soprano. The latter, a bit more subdued, has Suse singing in a rougher alto. Both are finely crafted and inspiring, really nice pieces of 1980's styled song writing. I've really enjoyed these ones during early morning commutes from Richmond CA to Concord CA along Highway 4, a somewhat rural stretch surrounded by ranches. They lend themselves to early morning contemplation. Switched-On Eugene concludes with the very placid New Snow by Peter Northagle. It is a sumptuous piece of smooth tones that floats the listener gently away patient waves of synthesized chords. Along with Shimmer, Nothagle's piece may be the most classically New Age of this set, and it's a fine ending statement.
Additionally of note about Switched-On Eugene are the lovely cartoon graphics by the late Paul Ollswang, numerous reproductions of Eugene Electronic Music Collective tape covers and show flyers, and wonderfully candid photos of most of the artists represented. Numero Group clearly put a ton of effort into this beautiful package. No surprise there, of course. They are stunningly meticulous about all of their output.
Switched-On Eugene would surely appeal to both long time fans of Electronic Music or curious new comers to this fascinating, wide ranging genre. Disaster Amnesiac has been loving this very intimate glimpse into this hidden, hermetic scene and its admirable d.i.y. aesthetics. Most of these artists are still around, doing cool stuff in the world. Throw 'em a couple bucks and some listening time!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Panic!-photo book; Ryebread Rodeo Press, 2018

It took a day, maybe two, for Disaster Amnesiac to splurge on Ryebread Rodeo's great new hardbound book, Panic!, upon hearing of its release. Being a huge fan of Black Flag and pretty much anything SST and Greg Ginn related, there really wasn't much choice for me. Kinda HAD to have it. I figure that's the case for many out there, and they'll surely enjoy the photos of Hermosa Beach based Punk Rock group Panic!, a few months before they'd morph into being Black Flag. Robo looking half naked and totally feral, Keith holding onto a can of cheap beer for dear life, Chuck looking every bit the philosophy professor gone Col. Kurz, Greg with his piercing stare and lanky frame. The four of them rehearsing in their padded cell (I've marveled at how clean it looks!) and goofing off inside of what I think is the fabled Church, posing dangerously, while being double exposed, on Aviation Blvd., sitting in Keith's car (there's that brewski again, too). Also of note are the rough, naturalistic backgrounds that show Los Angeles in 1978. One can almost feel the grit and smell the exhaust coming off of the contact sheets.
The most instructive takeaway for Disaster Amnesiac, though, has been the repro'd contract with Bomp! Records. After reading it, I was struck by the "in perpetuity" clause mentioned. Is it painting with too broad a brush to suggest that this clause in some sense was the seed for the underground, do it yourself ethos which Black Flag would pioneer?
Dig: Disaster Amnesiac has been trying to imagine the conversation between Ginn and...who? His inner voice? Dukowski? Regis? In which, he saw that some other entity would own his vision for ever. For me, it's fascinating to ponder this, and the final decision to jettison the Bomp! plan and go completely independent. It seems likely that, had Panic! been signed to Bomp!, they would have put out a few 7 inches, maybe a 12 inch, and withered upon the vine of their boutique aesthetic. As we all know, Black Flag took over their own destiny (or, at least made a bold attempt to do so), got that first single out, and proceeded to carve out a tour circuit that is still extant into the 21st Century. Granted, this is pretty speculative statement, but it seems logical from where I sit. From a historical perspective, the contract is really the most compelling piece in the Panic! book for me.
Anyone interested in SST Records, or Black Flag, or Los Angeles, will likely spend a ton of time with it, should they grasp a copy of Panic! It does not feel as seminal a description of them as, say, Enter Naomi, but they most definitely expose some heretofore obscured views of the very important cultural achievement that they represent.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

United Slaves-United Slaves Live in Paris; Muteant Sounds digital release, 2018

The releases are coming fast and furious from Muteant Sounds, so much so that Disaster Amnesiac is having a bit of trouble keeping up with them! It certainly is a pleasure to attempt to do so, of course, especially when releases such as United Slaves Live in Paris, from the quartet known as United Slaves, comes forth through the 'net.
Consisting of one continuous forty minute blast of heady improvisation, Live in Paris hits several different musical zones as it evolves. It starts out with a few minutes of droning, burbling electronics from Julien Palomo's ARP 2600. Upon hearing this initial passage, I was thinking that the entire set would be a meditation of a mellower sort, but as Michel Kristof on guitar, Yann Geoffriaud on drums, and Vinne Pasternostro on sax join in, it became clear that this set would be leading to a lot more wildly energetic areas. The quartet dives into some seriously thickened sonic interaction, with every voice adding their piece to the collective maelstrom that is conjured. Things settle down for a bit before Geoffriaud's rolling tom tom patterns guide Pasternostro, Kristof, and Palomo back up and out into Stooges level trance energy displays. It's within the mid-to late set times that the full force of United Slaves reveals itself, and it's a powerful improvisational force at that. Disaster Amnesiac has been swooning at the precision polyrhythms of Geoffriaud as it combines with Kristof's equally on point guitar stun attack and Pasternostro's spiritually uplifting tenor wailing. Palomo colors within and beyond his compatriots' collective matrix, sending whirling spirals this way and that.
All throughout Live in Paris, I hear many influences as play: Experimental Lab Music, Free Improvisation, Jazz in all its guises, Heavy Metal. Within the Slaves' hands they are all grasped and wrung into a very effective set of their unique sonic head cleaning praxis.
I couldn't care less what sounds others are listening to, but, if Disaster Amnesiac had to present an example of fiery, freely improvised music to a non-clued in listener, I'd seriously consider United Slaves Live in Paris as that example. It's raw, real, and very, all very exciting. Head on over to Muteant Sounds, and tell 'em I sent you.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Frank Wilke/Wayne Rex-Cobra Venom-Muteant Sounds, 2018; Digital release

Why do you listen to music? Kind of rhetorical, yes, but while Disaster Amnesiac has been listening to Cobra Venom, Frank Wilke and Wayne Rex's 2018 release, the question has been on my mind. Ask me why, and I'll likely respond with my personal answer: to feel some sublime emotion or insight. Some people listen for other reasons, and that's fine, but the above stated is generally mine. I state this because I really thrilling upon the intimate interchanges from trumpeter/trombonist Wilke and drummer Rex that comprise the entirety of this release.
There is not a ton of showing off or grandstanding. Instead this duo sound as if they're having a deeply detailed conversation with their respective instruments, chatting back and forth with subtle details given great consideration as they converse. Tracks such as opener Cobra Venom, with its slow unfolding tom rolls and longer trumpet tones, the quickly paced Gold Flakes in Bed and Everyday Thermidor, and 83 Dogs and its inventive, swinging percussion (shades of Baby Dodds!) show two musicians who are formidably in sync with each others' playing.
Cobra Venom is the kind of improvisation recording that does not deliver fantastical displays of macho, but instead reaches out and invites the listener in to its deep focus and reflection. A great release of un-fussy, contemplative instrumental give and take from two musicians who seem to be making music for all of the right reasons, at least as far as this listener is concerned. Plenty of sublime within this fine release from Muteant Sounds.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sonny Simmons with Barbara Donald-Reincarnation; Arhoolie Records #551, 2015

A friend of Disaster Amnesiac who is somewhat in the know regarding American Master Jazz Musician Sonny Simmons has recently told me that Mr. Simmons is in pretty bad shape, unable to move his arms apparently. Thankfully, Sonny has a permanent roof over his head during this ordeal, but, man, it feels tragic to hear this news. Thankfully for astute Jazz listeners, there are discs such as Reincarnation, an absolute smoker of a live recording that captures the Man, rippin' and runnin' during a prime period of his playing life. I recently grabbed a copy at Arhoolie Records' home base in El Cerrito, and its sounds have been bouncing me into the kind of delights that one gets from seriously great Jazz.
Reincarnation starts off with American Jungle Theme, in which the quartet, featuring Simmons' former spouse Barbara Donald on trumpet, his son Zarak Simmons on drums, pianist Travis Shook, and bass player Court Crawford. The tune's opening theme, a crisp, Bop-ish line, sends Sonny off into an incredible extended solo to start. His complete control of the alto sax is on full display as he crisply rips through it, pushed by the intensity of Zarak's polyrhythms and Shook's modal comping on the piano. Donald answers with her own, somewhat shorter but equally intense passages on trumpet, with her son Zarak shifting the rhythms just ever so slightly, enough to provide great contrast while keep the overall energetic feel the same. His time spent studying with Elvin Jones and Tony Williams really clearly shows, but when the group gets down to piano/bass/drums interplay before restating the head, his individuality is readily apparent.
The title track, up next, is familiar to Disaster Amnesiac from 1994's Ancient Ritual (still got the cassette!) and fascinating in this live set, as Shook rounds out the sound during the head, filling out the theme before Sonny takes another turn, one which is full of fast runs, all colored by his deep knowledge of Blues and Jazz. He may be the last living connection to Charlie Parker, seriously, save perhaps Bobby Bradford and surely not many others. Listen and study and learn my friends. Sonny Simmons kicks the REAL. Crawford plays great, melting notes within the rhythmic matrix here. Barbara Donald kicks in next with a flying trumpet solo, right out of Sonny's statements. It mirrors his solo with its fast and high energies, keeping things going as Zarak continues to romp with Shook. Crawford does a great solo of pizzicato high notes before handing it off to the piano, whence this tight rhythm sections mixes solidly, all three members bouncing ideas off of each other before Donald and Sonny trade 8's and everyone goes back to the head.
Sonny shows his strong familiarity with standards on Body and Soul. He starts off sweet before branching out into more of that great alto sax abstraction, stretching out from the tune's changes as the piano/bass/drums section plays it cool behind him.  Shook follows with a pretty solo, during which Zarak pops and swings with his great brush technique. This relatively short number is rounded out by a quick statement from Court before the alto flares back in for the tune's head is stated again.
Barbara Donald comes back to the fold for Ancient Ritual, another hard swinging odyssey on Reincarnation. This track gets all kind of heavy trance moves from the thick, tight playing of the rhythm section as Sonny plays an extended solo. He moves from mid to low to high registers and just speaks for bar after bar of warm, sublime ruminations on his axe. Zarak chugs and rolls underneath all of the action of his fathers playing; it's quite audible that they're in serious sync. Wherever father goes, son follows, and vice versa. Piano and bass emerge from within the tom tom maelstrom always present but wisely laying down more simple tapestries for the alto and drums to emerge from. Again we find Barbara starting right on key in continuation of Sonny's solo. Her playing is punctuated by some dramatically sparse moments that are pushed by more great tom tom rolling from Zarak. The notes wave into the winds of the band and then burble out the perfect time, making way for Crawford's higher register bass notes. Zarak steps up with some playing that reminds Disaster Amnesiac of Art Blakey at his most tribal or Tony Williams at his loosest, with melodies flying from his drums. Oh how the room of Barb's BBQ in Olympia WA must have reverberated that evening! The quintet plays the head with a brief coda, lead again by Zarak to its conclusion. The slight applause at here is kind of heartbreaking to me. Did this audience realize the magic that they were privy to?
The CD closes with a lovely version of Over the Rainbow. Donald plays around with the melody in really sweet ways. Her solo has almost brought tears to this listener's eyes, what with its emotional depth. The emotions shown: sadness, elation, optimism, sorry.....they're all in it. Travis lays into some lovely melodic piano playing, notable also for its insights into the harmony of this old tune as well. It sounds very much as if he's familiar with it at a deep level, a level he brings out. The trumpet returns, as if especially inspired, going to high notes and trills above the brushing latticework of the drums. There's a point on this track wherein it feels as though they could play into infinity, but soon they restate the head with even more of that Blues-ey sadness at parting, and stop. Over the Rainbow has always been a song that expresses such depth of longing, and these four musicians bring that with incredible depth.
As stated, Sonny Simmons is, apparently, in pretty rough shape. Disaster Amnesiac hopes that he is receiving physical comfort for his ailment. Thank you, Sonny Simmons, for sharing your vision with the music loving public. And thank you, Ahroolie, for making Reincarnation available to us. This here is the GOOD STUFF, and we're lucky to have it. Dig.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Bill Brovold's Stone Soup-Michael Goldberg Variations; Public Eyesore Records #141, 2018

Along with some really fine discs of new music, a recent package from Public Eyesore contained a promo sheet announcing the label's 20th anniversary. Great job Bryan! The music that you've been documenting for the last two decades is always so compelling and groovy. Kudos!
Disaster Amnesiac is breaking with habit by starting off the reviews out of sequence, having delved immediately into Bill Brovold's Stone Soup's Michael Goldberg Variations, a disc of music that is generally quite introspective and quiet. Bill Brovold, per the liner note, utilized the input of artists Michael Goldberg in creating a piece of music that is Minimalist without being meandering or even repetitive. A four or five note motif is played on an acoustic guitar, around and along and beside which various guests are heard adding their own musical additions. Guitarist Mark Ormerod goes first, finger picking some lovely guitar lines, notable for their at times fret buzzed tension. What sounds like an amp being hit for subtle feedback and viola-like theremin sounds from Scott Burland come next. Disaster Amnesiac is fascinated by the very unique sounds Burland coaxes from his theremin; the instrument really is developing by leaps and bounds, and Scott pretty clearly is on the forefront of that. Bill's former band leader Rhys Chatham appears next with cool flute sounds wordless vocalizations that evoke very primal feelings as they wrap around Brovold's continuing guitar float. Really sweet e-bow riffs on electric guitar, too. Things seem to get back to the aesthetics of the first track as Fred Lonberg-Holm uses cello with implements in order to get shorter percussive attacks followed by long drone bow  sounds. This track feels like it go on for a great deal longer, but, in keeping with the overall mission of Variations, it fades into Leonardo ProtoPeople's synth pops and crackles as they fuzz and distort, pointillist additions to the guitar that has transformed into a sumptuous current. Kieth Moline seems to have added both audio processing and guitar to his version of the piece: the repeated guitar riff rings more, colored by buzzing strings and hollow echoes. The track feels like a natural half way point as it up the energy with its other worldly dynamic flashes.
Stone Soup settles back down into an easier boil with Frank Schultz's lap steel bends and turns. The instrument surely brings out a bit more of rural, Western U.S. feel as its Schultz's lines emerge over and atop the motif, cooling it off from its previous interactions and setting up the second half of this disc. Guitarist Nick Didkovsky treats his sounds with great psychedelic tape delay flashes that circle somewhat beneath the Goldberg Variations riff. These allow the buzzing of its strings to be highlighted. It's as if Nick wanted to frame it, rather than add, and even as his playing gathers intensity, it remains settled in a "support" role. Quite an astute aesthetic move. Tracks 9 and 10 segue right into each other, with the former featuring Toy Pop artist Frank Pahl, who adds chiming percussive hits from what sounds like a plastic toy piano. The latter has Karen Haglof spinning out sweet six string Psychedelic, and Disaster Amnesiac is moved to hear echoes of Golden Gate Park 1968. NEVER a bad feeling as far as I'm concerned! This track rolls like sublime fog careening down into the Western Addition. The paired guitar sounds of Beth Wilusz and Erik Gustafson flutter ghostly on Michael Goldberg Variations' penultimate track, ascending and descending subtly around the now transformed central riff, which takes center stage and holds it right on through to disc's end, a second feature for Mark Ormerod. This short piece has small, two note riff, somewhat higher notes giving a last counterpoint. A quick fade, and its work is done.
Disaster Amnesiac's initial experience with Bill Brovold's Stone Soup had me listening to it on a San Pablo Bay cold Saturday, ducking in and out of its sonics as I watched marine layer mixing with ash from horrible fires a couple of hundred miles north of my residence. Michael Goldberg Variations provided the perfect soundtrack for this bittersweet experience, with its pensive modes. It features music that most certainly could be utilized either as good background or for more foreground intensive listening. Either way, Brovold and Co. have clearly done their job. Enclosed within a lovely hand printed and colored cover, this disc just exudes effort and integrity. No surprise, seeing as that it's out on Public Eyesore!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Youth Chairs-Some Kind Of Amusement Park; digital self release via Bandcamp, 2018

It's always a pleasure for Disaster Amnesiac to hear from David Winogrond. I've been in contact with this great, under appreciated drummer for about ten years now, and when he gets in touch with news of his current musical moves, I feel very happy just knowing that he's soldiering on. A couple of months back, David let me know that Youth Chairs would be releasing new material, and despite a pretty terrible lag on my part in posting, I've known that it would get the Disaster Amnesiac treatment. Hopefully that's a good thing for them!
Some Kind Of Amusement Park begins with the stomping Hot Rod To Nowhere, which features Gabriele Morgan on vocals. It's interesting to note that Youth Chairs utilize two vocalists on this release, Gabriele and Kim Dart Hurwitz, both of whom were in the band's initial early 1980's runs. Really cool to see this type of cooperative compromise! Gabriele's voice is a bit more gritty, and it works perfectly for this track, with its early 1960's U.K. Country Blues feel. David's drumming locks in perfectly with Larry Jacobson's slashing guitar chords and John Richey's understated bass playing. When the band band launches quickly into a post-bridge ascending unison riff it's a thing of beauty! Hot Rod really hooked this listener's attention.
Youth Chairs bring the sound a bit closer to their Los Angeles home on When Amy Says. The tune has that post-Punk energy that fueled many bands in Southern California, with nodding hints towards Bakersfield and maybe Ventura and Pedro aesthetics. Guitars jangle a bit more, and Kim's vocals feature a bit more naivete perhaps. David's swishing cymbal sounds and crisp fills drive this great piece of Pop Rock energy.
Gabriele's more deeply dramatic voice starts off You Made Me Believe. Disaster Amnesiac again finds it fascinating to compare hers with Kim's. They're both great, mind you. Just very fun to dwell on the differences as these songs roll by. The former has a voice perfect for the sentiments of this damn fine love song. Larry strums some effective acoustic guitar and Lisa Haley helps out with lovely viola, while Richey and Winogrond keep things simple and clear in the rhythm section. A very pretty, uplifting, optimistic track.
Youth Chairs bring the energy back up for the spiky Kim feature, Next Best Thing, which fuses most of the stated influences into a very catchy chant about misunderstanding within love relations. Any song that features the line "...the weed is on your nightstand/and the rest is in your head..." is fine with Disaster Amnesiac, that's for sure. Such a damn catchy chorus and bridge, to boot.
Gabriele takes the mic again for the world weary sentiments of Your Perfect World. This tune cannily fuses sunny Dream Pop keyboards from John Kaysing with righteously dissing critiques of some shiny scene. Was this written during Youth Chairs' initial forays? Surely these types of insights are perennially available to the observant person. The approaching of wrapping this message into such a lovely Pop sound is real neat.
Next up, we have the deceptive Don't Make Me Your World, and it is so because while it's Gabriele singing, she sounds a lot like Kim. Or is that vice versa? This track has a loping, almost Ska feel at times, greased by more cool keys from Kaysing and David's tight fills and swift hi hat sticking patterns. Disaster Amnesiac keeps thinking "the Who" during this song's bridge, and envisions a strange carnival during its brief non-sung musical interlude.
Some Kind Of Amusement Park's penultimate track, Paper, kicks in with more fine jangle from Larry's guitar before Kim's return to the mic is pushed with power chord authority. Tight arrangement keeps things moving on this track, leading to more of that great Los Angeles (not Hollywood, mind you) cymbal bell bar stomp action. That sweet jangle gets reinserted there for more Youth Chairs ear candy.
The album ends with a tom tom lead ode to cross country travel, New York Gray, in which Kim utilizes a bit more dramatic leanings to describe a rather ambiguous affair that takes place in the Big Apple. Kaysing's keyboard solo has Disaster Amnesiac thinking about Doug Yule's great playing on that third Velvets LP. Gray most definitely has that bitter sweet feel, and having recently been to NYC, I'm relating. Life's full joy and sadness, and a track such as this adeptly illumines this fact.
Full of Pop vim and Punk Rock vigor, Some Kind Of Amusement Park continues the odyssey of Youth Chairs in a compellingly listenable way. As stated, Disaster Amnesiac always relishes hearing from David Winogrond. Sounds this catchy and energetic just sweeten that deal even more. Nicely done, Youth Chairs!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Henry Kaiser-The Deep Unreal; Metalanguage Records, 2017

It was completely unexpected by Disaster Amnesiac to have come into a copy of Henry Kaiser's The Deep Unreal. I found myself being handed one by the man himself after a scheduling snafu had brought us into a brief bit of contact at an Oakland recording studio. The CD was quickly loaded into my listening rotation, and has been, much as I imagine Henry's views during his deep sea dives to be, full of odd and delightful surprises.
Opening track The Story Of My 2017 Austral Spring At The McMurdo Intake Jetty plunges the listener quite rapidly into Kaiser's personal ocean of sound, wherein he finger picks chiming single notes that drift atop currents of delayed drone figures. These sounds, per the liner note all improvised with no looping or overdubs, blend into a long form meditation of the guitar and its sonic possibilities. Kaiser's been playing for a long time now, and many of his approaches are at play here: glassy tones, 'plexed filigrees, quick runs along the strings, micro tonal zones and more. All of this coalesces into a piece that has felt both seductively relaxing and scarily intense to me as I've listened. It's a marvel to hear all of this real time sound organization as it blooms into and out of its beautiful moods and modes. Disaster Amnesiac has thought that it has the kind of "natural" feel that much instrumental music aspires to, the emotional depth that New Age music promised, the other worldliness that I've always wanted from Psychedelic music. Deep within this track is a kind of purity of playing which should serve as an inspiration to those with ears to hear it. Henry dives way deep.
Unreal's eponymous track kicks off with a bit more darkness than its predecessor while Kaiser continues to investigate the the areas into which his playing drifts. Don't panic though, as he's soon spinning those luminescent notes, clavichord-like in their timbre and pushed through some fascinating pedal processes. It's as if one were watching strange jellies and bubbles as they journey through some deep zone within the ocean of Terry Riley's brain. Disaster Amnesiac has sworn that I've heard a quote from My Favorite Things, to boot! The Deep Unreal does have the kind of raw openness of an elongated Coltrane jam, with the way in which the piece spirals ever more into itself, the music revealing more and more as it makes its way through time. Stunning technique throughout, but  one never gets the showing off vibe that can mar the work of certain shredders. This technique is sublimated to aesthetics, from which art emerges.
Never one to shy away from Blues, Kaiser plays a good one on A Spoonful Of Ice Death Blues. The delayed tones setting up a somewhat foreboding mood as the the finger picking dances atop. It's tough to believe that this track was recorded live, especially when a ripping solo begins to emerge from this initial interplay. I've listened to a fair amount of soloing from Henry, and this one ranks as probably the most effectively wiggy one. He goes off into a progression that is blasting and raw, yet chillingly smart as it melds intellect and emotion into a killer statement of what the guitar is capable of showing when in certain hands. Ice Death Blues leaves whomever are currently Kaiser's contemporaries in the dust as far as real expression within the Blues is concerned. Dig it and be blown away.
The CD ends with Henry picking up an acoustic guitar for First You Fall In Love With Antarctica-And Then It Breaks Your Heart. Here, he shows his Kottke/Fahey side in a sweetly melodic piece of American plucking. It's another piece of sheer beauty from his mind and fingers. Just gorgeous, and over quickly. Please pay attention and let your heart melt as you do so.
Mention must also be made of the sonic depth of The Deep Unreal. Disaster Amnesiac has noted that the tones on this disc, from low to high, are all so expertly captured. The former are speaker-shaking in their presence, and the latter are incredibly clear in theirs. No engineer is listed, so I'm assuming that Henry was charge of that aspect as well. Tape Op readers, take note!
The Deep Unreal is a masterful work from Henry Kaiser. Disaster Amnesiac can't say much more than that. You just gotta listen to it.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Nava Spatiala-Noisenautics Vol. IX; Muteant Sounds Net Label, 2018, digital download

One thing that Disaster Amnesiac is learning for certain as I continue to dive into the download thicket sent to me be Muteant Sounds is that along with being a purveyor of fine Free Jazz, the label is also gifted with some really great Noise/Industrial acts. Seeing as that I'm a fan of the latter as much as being one of the former, taking a flyer on them was obviously pretty easy.
Bucharest based Nava Spatiala have cooked up their own brand of Noise, dubbed it Noisenautics, and have been lucky enough to have releaseed Noisenautics Vol. IX on Muteant Sounds. Consisting of two tracks, this offering from Miron Ghiu and Claudiu Chihaescu boils and bubbles with a pace that flows like hot lava.
Opening track Mental Noise Detox starts off with rocket ship sounds that are wrapped in spiky feedback and sharp dial tones. This combination forms a drone that sets up and continues for several minutes of Noise immersion. What Disaster Amnesiac has really enjoyed about this sound bath is the way in which it its pace allows for either deep listening or background ambiance. There is real depth to the sound processing, and the listener can either fall into it or stand/move/dance before it. I'm always grateful to Noise acts that allow the option! Nova Spatiala's promo blurb states that the group's sounds "...could make you dance or or get tripped out on a journey of sounds...", and I'm in full agreement with them. Detox wends its way through many discrete zones, but it always has the feel of being one piece. Picture yourself on a boat journeying down a glitch-ey river of multi-colored information that manifests itself as physical embodiment of sound. When it ends, you'll most definitely be feeling its traces.
Noisenautics Vol. IX second track, Morning Glory, cuts in quickly with percussive shaking sounds and more glitch.  What sounds like a keyboard ostinato takes up the pace even more, and the listener is off and running into a somewhat more claustrophobic area. Siren sounds rise up, giving the impression of a kosmiche krieg being fought. The battle lines settle in for more of the nuanced drone which Nava Spatiala are do adept at dishing out. Toward the end of the track, Disaster Amnesiac has felt encased in some kind of sonic ice block; these chilly sounds begin to warble and eventually lead to a very dramatic hard cutoff. I've actually had to go to their page at the Muteant Bandcamp page to check and hear if my file was corrupted. It wasn't. The track just has a jarring, hard stop that completes the listening experience is a somewhat frustrating way. Ah, well, I guess that Noise shouldn't be all about ease of use, now, should it?
Combining Noise with nuance, Noisenautics Vol. IX would surely be of use to fans along multiple stops of the Experimental Music spectrum. Maybe pair it with some of Muteant Sound's more Fire Music offerings for a greater view of the depth currently on display within the international Outsider Music world. Stay tuned for more reviews of Muteant releases, as Disaster Amnesiac is nowhere near the end of download codes sent over from them!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Abbath-s/t; Season of Mist Records, 2016

Every time that Disaster Amnesiac enjoys and/or writes about any Metal made past, say, 1990, I confess that I feel a certain amount of mental trepidation. It's the details that really scare me: it's pretty much a given that after that date, micro-genres within Metal began to take root, and one can certainly be called out as a phony for missing even the slightest detail. Still, Disaster Amnesiac continues to enjoy it, and goddamn but I've enjoyed the hell out of Abbath's powerful 2016 release, Abbath.
Marching boots let the listener know right away: there will be no peace for you here on Abbath as To War! slams in with a stomping groove from drummer Creature as Abbath frames it with some seriously violent, ripping tri-tones. A minute in, and the entire rhythm section locks in and leads in to a blast beat that supports the vocals. This piece is all kinds of dramatic, and I swear that I hear a subtle nod to Tony Iommi at one point. It's these kinds of nods to their antecedents that often make Metal bands compelling to Disaster Amnesiac; paired with the sheer creativity displayed on the opener, To War! sets the tone for the Metal massacre that follows it.
Abbath stays locked in for Winterbane, as Creature continues to slay behind the kit, driving bassist King and Abbath toward a pounding 2/4 breakdown and a snapping bridge part which grinds out Power Metal riffs. King coaxes huge steel pole riffs from his bass and Abbath throws out more delicious dissonance before Creature pauses, signalling a return to the stomp. Headbanging fucking delights abound before some fine acoustic picking pairs with a half time breakdown, evidence of master song crafting and arrangement. Abbath's vocals are great on this ending tag, too.
Perhaps a bit more Iommi influence shows on the spiky lead guitar intro to Ashes of the Damned, a medieval lute sound after which the group quickly pulls out their Thrash chops, a "demonic storm" of pure Metal fury, punctuated by well-placed synth hits. This cut travels into a major chord anthemic zone for a brief moment before that doomed lute arises again, leading to a quick, thrashing outro. Disaster Amnesiac's perceptions are left on the side of the road, whipped by the frenzy into exhaustion.
The pace slows down, but certainly not the energy, for Ocean of Wounds. Creature sets things up with heavy tom tom pounding. The thick guitar and bass tones perch atop the beat as Abbath croaks out his lyrics. It all leads to one of the best hooks that Disaster Amnesiac has ever had the pleasure of hearing from Black Metal. Every time I hear it, my excitement level jumps up several notches. Abbath seem to know not to abuse a riff like this, as it's only utilized twice before the songs fades away. Disaster Amnesiac has already mentioned song craft, but dammit, I must do so again. Abbath is awash in astute examples of it, and one need look no further than Wounds for great examples of it.
Then again, one really should continue listening, as I suspect one would, for Count the Dead. A post-battle order, given in the rain, presumably reeking of blood and guts, starts the song off as Abbath rips out high end chords for King and Creature to lock in with. They march through the grimy field and into yet another great goddamn chorus, repeated twice, before another blast beat is set up. The group swirls around within the fast rhythm as Abbath intones Simon Dancaster's bloody lyrical vision and spurts out a great melodic solo. Dig on how rough his throat sounds on that last chorus. Dude ain't holding back, that's for sure.
Speedy double time Thrash pushes the next track, Fenrir Hunts, quickly out into the air. Creature breaks things down while never losing sight of the beat as King and Abbath join him, speedily spraying out their Metal assault. The drums at times threaten to overtake everything else going on on this track. It's most definitely a showcase for a kick ass drummer. Abbath adds some more of his lead guitar voice as the trio breaks things down and falls into the blast. The ending portion of Hunts has a stumbling, almost tiered portion before returning to solid Thrash to end. An almost Technical Metal song, and Abbath nail it.
Is Root of the Mountain a sly nod to Blackmore or Priest? Disaster Amnesiac hears a lot of British steel in its opening, clean pre-NWOBHM tones that set up a solid 4/4 opening verse. They end up at a triplet feel, almost swinging, much the same that many bands did pre-Metallica. Clearly, as in Abbath's case, they still do, and it works. King gets downright Geezer on the bass here, too. This one's absolutely rooted in the sounds of Abbath's progenitors, but they've built their own, powerful sounds and firmly embedded them on this mountainside.
Abbath concludes with tight thrashing of Endless. The group, seemingly not contented to end with the power and majesty of Root, throws down one last ripping gauntlet of pure speed and fury. They lock in with more of that whip tight precision, in Dancaster's words, "....Dauntless Fearless Tireless Relentless..." Ah.....hell yeah. Forty five or so minutes in, and Abbath is still kicking the listener squarely between the perceptual nuts, and that ending fade guarantees that they'll still be there for you when you return, waiting....
If you're a fan of well crafted, tightly played Metal, of the Black or many other varieties, you surely will want to return to Abbath, too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Z'EV-Mackay Duo-Live KFJC 2007; Muteant Sounds, 2018 digital release

The initial plan that Disaster Amnesiac had for reviewing the massive Muteant Sounds file transfer was strictly linear. I'd get to each one in the order in which they'd arrived. It was scotched when Live KFJC 2007, the recording of z'ev and Steve Mackay in duo at the BEST RADIO STATION IN THE WORLD, arrived at my inbox. I knew that I'd be listening to it before any of the earlier ones received. Disaster Amnesiac had been very excited to hear it. I mean, come on! The brilliant Industrial percussionist paired with the equally brilliant Noise Rock tenor man, caught live and sweating in the Pit at The Wave of the West? There was just no question that I was gonna dive in pretty quickly.
Live KFJC 2007 starts off with metallic gonging sounds from z'ev, which are quickly joined by clicking pad sounds from Steve's tenor. Mackay does not stay there long. He plays a Bluesy statement shortly thereafter, which in many ways sets the tone for this set. It's not that there aren't plenty of moments of fiery abstraction from the two masters of the their craft; indeed, plenty of moments of energetic wailing, especially from Mackay, occur. That said, as I've listened, it's struck me just how earthy and, again, blue, so many of the sounds on this recording are. Disaster Amnesiac hears a lot more Ornette than Pharaoh, let's put it that way. I'm pretty sure that there's a Lonely Woman quote at some point, even. Steve is by no means subdued with his playing. It's just quite contemplative much of the time. z'ev does a great job of matching Mackay's sax language. I've marveled at his ability with accompaniment on here. At times, Disaster Amnesiac has thought to myself "...z'ev plays the Blues...", mostly on account of just how in the pocket his playing is throughout. Aside from some short bursts in which his partner lays out, z'ev sounds content to lay down relatively quiet percussive patterns and drones alongside the sax. As usual, it's all he really needs to do: when z'ev's playing, one is bound to feel it, whether piano or fortissimo. The essential quality of z'ev's musical adeptness, shown by the way in which he can mesh with another player, is a huge revelation here. I realize that he spent a lot time in his later years playing in combination with other musicians. Still, that point really comes out on Live KFJC 2007.
This relatively short release features two committed and proven musical greats, melding their aesthetics into an earthy and subtle statement. Right at the end, as they introduce each other, you'll realize, again, that they've both left us. Lucky for you and I both, they left us with recordings such as this. Cue it up and drift on off.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Kenny Millions-Multiplexity; Muteant Sounds, 2017

Again we return to the Muteant Sounds massive drop of downloads! This time, Disaster Amnesiac has been grooving to Kenny Millions' 1977 offering, Multiplexity. After repeated listening, I feel foolish that this guy's work has been unfamiliar to me! I am always telling myself and anyone that will listen about Jazz's bottomless well of talent, about how there's just so many great sounds out there, but......yeah. Disaster Amnesiac has been caught seriously off guard with this one.
Right from the jump, with Bop It, Millions and his crew: Peter Warren (tracks 1, 5, 6)/Mark Miller (tracks 2, 3) on bass, Sadiq Abdu Shahid on drums, and Garret List on trombone, slam into some seriously swinging instrumental interaction. Shahid hits things crisp and hard, knocking around with great rolling aplomb, and tight syncopation that melds like iron to Warren's big walking bass lines. Atop this, Millions speaks all kind of multiphonic dialects with his alto sax. His cries, wails, guffaws, and all around extended ruminations carry the attentive ear into the kind of aural abstractions that seem like such inherent qualities from reed instruments when in the hands of a superior player. Disaster Amnesiac has read about the mid-1970's time frame being a kind of dry spell for Jazz, but, clearly, whomever wrote those words was not aware of Kenny being on the scene. Multiplexmulti follows. This track of Musique Concrete styled experimentation features List and Millions getting odd with their voices, along with their respective axes. Buchla synth tones blend with 'bone bleats and flute trills as these dudes get very Avant Garde with it. As I've listened, my mind has conjured up fragments of Ira Cohen type films. This track would fit in fine with those kinds of moves.
The band moves back into earthier territory next, with the nice, lengthy Bossa Nova From Hell. Miller takes a great, plucky solo pretty early on, followed by a short statement from List, cool for its warbling tones, before Millions takes off on an extended sax musing. He starts off kind of low, before soaring up into higher register glossalalia. Shahid holds things down for him, varying his bossa beats with a feel that Disaster Amnesiac keeps thinking of as "gravillic" (see Anthony Braxton). It for sure ain't no half step. List steps back into the fray for some more duo exchanges with Kenny before the head statement is given again. There's a sophistication to this song, shown strongly within its harmonic voices, that you just gotta go with. These guys were players.
More pure abstraction occurs  with Lament For A Caged Lion, in which steaming Buchla sounds serve as a bed for plaintive bass clarinet playing from Millions. Kenny lays into this lament with passionate insight, giving human voice to some poor, caged creature. Sadiq steps out on the next track, What's the Difference Between a Pizza and a Jazz Musician?. This track's tight turns and corners are navigated easily by the drummer. His snare rolls fit in tightly with the (harm)melodics of the piece's head. He pairs sweet cymbal rolls with bowed bass from Warren before taking a kick ass solo on which his well tuned tom toms are played with musical fury, with stabbing interjections from the 'bone. It's the kind of solo that gets people standing in the live setting. Give it up for Shahid! Good lord what a great skins man.
Mulitplexity concludes the Blues-ey shuffle of Terrestrial Delectations, during which Kenny Millions serves up a sweet, extended solo that is indeed earthy in its tone as Warren throws down the Funk on an electric bass and Sadiq absolutely buries the pocket. Millions hits high notes, gets all kind of colorful, and just generally slays throughout. This track's groove is Miles wide, as if they'd been digging a tunnel from an extended stay in Agartha or Pangea. A very different solo turn from Shahid signals the close, and the band takes things home, struttin' all the damn way, as well they should. If you've got it, flaunt it!
As stated, Disaster Amnesiac is at somewhat of a loss as to why I've never been aware Kenny Williams, or the other stellar musicians on Multiplexity up to this point. If you've been listening to them, right on, if not, this is a fine way to be introduced to their talents. I guess that we all have catching up to do in one way or another.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Two blasts of sonic heaviness from The Pet Goat Records!

Last weekend Disaster Amnesiac was in attendance for a bittersweet event. Noisebridge Hackerspace, a really down to earth, fun spot for hackers and digital makers in the Mission District of San Francisco, was having what was likely to be its last Godwaffle Noise Pancakes show. Godwaffle itself is in real danger of not having anywhere to happen in the City, as Grux can't seem to find a new venue. Hopefully, he'll soldier on, as these shows are absolutely fun. Dario, main man of the powerful Noise project Blood of Chhinnamastika, hooked me up with a couple of recent releases from his The Pet Goat Records. As my bloodied perceptions stumble away from their sonic pounding, here are some enthused thoughts!

Blood of Chhinnamastika-self titled, cassette; The Pet Goat Records #97, no date given
Having seen Blood of Chhinnamastika live a handful of times, Disaster Amnesiac knows that it's a project that can seem somewhat assaulting. That said, my take is that Dario wants to find a way to get an audience moving, and as such will wade into their fray in order to do so. With this eponymous cassette tape, Blood of Chhinnamastika moves the battle to the home listener's ears. Big, whirling, fried electronics blast out from the three tracks contained within it. Power Electronics moves are thrown with jolting force, sometimes left to drone and waver dramatically, sometimes cut up and juxtaposed with recorded voices. Within the former spaces, and at high volumes, tracks such as Death Is the Greatest Teacher, See No Hope, and Unreality Tortures (great title!) kick some serious sonic ass as they fly out into the air. Huge, blackened blocks of what I'd imagine are sounds sourced from analog synthesizers, pedals, and digital methods are combined to stun the brain with their force. The cut ups at times provide some levity as the human voice is made to stumble, babbling away with stunted non-eloquence. Disaster Amnesiac can't help but wonder if these passages Blood of Chhinnamastika's none too subtle commentary on the human proclivity towards verbal diarrhea. At other times, it's as if the vocals of some subterranean being have been captured within their natural habitat. Demonic as all get out, that's for sure. Surreal and seriously fried, this tape must be cranked up loud for its full effect, and Disaster Amnesiac highly recommends that you follow suit.

Microwave Windows/Blood of Chhinnamastika-CD; The Pet Goat Records#98, no date given
The duo of Microwave Windows and Blood of Chhinnamastika actually played the Hackerspace event mentioned within the the intro to this post. Their set certainly was powerful, but it is this CD which really shows off their finely honed chemistry. Starting off with the burbling, bubbling sounds of Stab Homing, this pair dig down deep into some pretty bonkers action. Freespace Power follows on track two with some harsh feedback which leads into robotic death burps and junkyard scraping. This track keeps making Disaster Amnesiac think about the ending scene of the Exorcist III, in which, if recalled correctly, had some dire warning about the impending Hell on earth paired with a soundtrack that sounded a lot like this stuff. The Noise cuts directly into Sentient Craggy Mantilla from there, wherein some type of signal gets the shred treatment from competing banks of digitized mania, leading up to a wild, fuzzy retard that lingers into the disc's centerpiece, Call And (Phantom) Response. It weaves masterfully jacked beats, Blood's cut up techniques, waves of glitched mania and spewed feedback into a heavily layered treatise of Noise. This fucker rages and pummels for a good fifteen and one half minutes of extreme noise terror (yes, I know). Microwave Windows and Chhinnamastika proceed next down Too Many Rabbit Holes, in which signals get flanged and 'verbed. Disaster Amnesiac has been digging the percussive sounds on it, along with the shredding slow build of its second half, which melts into its earlier sonic elements. The Holes blend seamlessly into Smashing Paper Cranes; this second longest track on the CD gives off sparks of wiry energy. I hear a laser war in some past iteration of the planet coming from what I believe to be Moogerfoogers chained into a loop of audio barbed wire. Again, there are just layers and layers of stuff happening with the action. The relatively placid Atmospheric Chemistry ends things Pet Goat #98, with wheedling scraps of electronics and ghostly feedback spitting some demented goodbye. The last minute or so seem to even feature some type of emergency broadcast network sirens. Fitting, as Microwave Windows and Blood of Chhinnamastika have pretty much destroyed your shit with this release.

Places such as Noisebridge Hackerspace and getting more and more rare within the SF Bay Area, but, hey, Disaster Amnesiac has already told you that. Thankfully, there's a rich, varied Noise scene that's pretty deeply ensconced. Will these myriad acts have any spaces in which to play? I'm thinking that they'll find ways to get out and get down with their sounds. Surely, if you find these spots, you'll find the likes of Blood of Chhinnamastika and Microwave Windows going at it within them. In the meantime, one can find stellar examples of their moves at Pet Goat Records. Give 'em a click or two!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Steve Mackay and the Radon Ensemble-Tunnel Diner; Muteant Sounds digital release, 2017

Back we go to the Muteant Sounds haul for this installment of Disaster Amnesiac's 2018 campaign to make it ten years of my little corner of the internet writing game! Where does the time go?
We all know where Steve Mackay went, him being a member of the Stooges and all. One has to figure that his way out tenor honking on L.A. Blues was the initial serving of Out Jazz for many  a music fan, myself included. It was really cool to see that he spent his last years being recognized and lauded for his talents. As far as Disaster Amnesiac can tell, the decades between the Stooges initial moves and their eventual renaissance were lean for Mackay. Is this the case?
Originally released in an extremely limited vinyl edition (26 copies!?), Tunnel Diner has been given a much wider potential audience on this digital release from Muteant, and hopefully Mackay's sounds find their way into many more peoples' ears that way!
Starting off with Brooklyn, North Carolina, Mackay leads the charge with some very soulful phrasing which indeed blends the urban intensity often blown through the tenor saxophone with gritty countrified accents. As Disaster Amnesiac has listened, I've thought over and over and this sound being a prime example of the Harmelodic approach to music. This is not to say that it's at all academic sounding: we find some really juicy Jazz playing therein. Steve gets some really funky backing from what sounds like steel drums, which add even more sweetness to the nectar as they pair with slamming Funk rhythms from the drums and bass.
The drums switch to a kind of tribal pounding feel for Bohunk Lane. Wah wah bass and odd electronics skitch and skitter atop this drum maelstrom, a second line at Burning Man before Steve and another reed man (sorry, scant credits on the Bandcamp page), intertwine their horn riff, one of them eventually taking a short solo before the whole thing gets clipped off rather abruptly.
Mackay and his partner kick off Sans Frontiers with more of that great duo exchange, longer held notes being framed by electronics and Free drumming. Wordless vocalizing enters into the mix as the group kicks off into more of their energetic weaving, the group eventually getting kicked into overdrive by intense guitar chords. It would indeed be tough to put a fence around improvisations made up of energy levels this high.
The Frontier leads to a short interlude called Patrick's Brain Aneurysm where bells and snare rolls get tenor sax smears and mourning hollers before ending up at place of pure solo energy from Mackay. The saxophonist lays it out emotionally naked and intimate, pairing sax tones with sighs and moans.
Side A of Tunnel Diner concludes with Mixed Martial Language. A rolling drum line, more steel drums, bass guitar ostinato and wiggy sax lines lead up to some cathartic vocalizing from a contrite lyric from a dude that want's the listener to know that he's "trying". Disaster Amnesiac is glad to let into this crazed confessional, despite being a bit nervous at the emotional intimacy of it.
One thing that strikes Disaster Amnesiac as I've moved from side A to B on Tunnel Diner is that the band sounds as if they're getting a lot more warm, midway through this set.  Canal Street opens the side with some intricately honked tenor from Mackay, paired with electronic whisps before the steel drums strike up again, quickly followed by thick percussive maelstrom; all of this action pushes Steve into some passionate shredding, his voice going all manic and insistent.
This energy persists into 200,000 Sax Players In Nashville as the electric bass rolls, the percussion tumbles, and the sax offers up more of those fine voices that give off heavy Blues vibes.
These two pieces serve as introductions to the the LP's title track, in which the entire rhythm sections gels into a heavy marching tempo, as Tunnel Diner's surreal second line pushes Mackay to summon up the Pharaoh. The physical impact of his notes spread out from the speakers and push the ears around a bit before syncopating beautifully with the rest of the group. A bonkers, funky bass line pushes Soul to spare and, naturally, the group responds accordingly.
As more of those shards of electronics take Tunnel Diner out, they lead to a bit more of an introspective, ESP-Disk place for Tu Croire C'Est Gratuit???. Paired horns moan and mourn a bit on this one, giving Disaster Amnesiac thoughts of spiritual services in some doomed domicile. Eventually the guitar pushes the playing out into more rhythmic bump and grind: hands clap, cymbals pop, ring modulators whirr, and before too long the group is back on Bourbon St., kicking butt and flashing on high.
Naturally, it makes sense for the group to blast off from Sun Ra's confining planet (not Saturn, hint hint) to take things out, and out they certainly do with Voyage To Arcturus. The Radon Ensemble scrawls, beeps, blips, honks, and pounds on the tune, truly sounding at one point as they're more of a rocket engine than a group of mere Jazz men. A powerful sendoff, and, yes Space IS the Place for these dudes.
Presumably pleasing to Free Jazz heads and/or headbangers of the Stooge-ian stripe, Steve Mackay and the Radon Ensemble's Tunnel Diner is a fiery and powerful document of a legendary player, doing his thing, no holds barred and ripping. Disaster Amnesiac is sad that I never got to see this group play live. I suspect that this one will stay in my rotation for a good long while.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Wolfmangler-Cooking With Wolves; Black Horizons Records, 2008

A recent trip down to Venice, CA had Disaster Amnesiac checking out a small, funky shop on Venice Blvd. I'd already picked out a few slabs when Cooking With Wolves, a 2008 release from Wolfmangler, a mysterious, Black Metal project that seems to have originated in Poland caught my eye.
Admittedly, it was the crazy script of their logo that pulled me in. Adding to this fascination was an online review that I read, essentially trashing the LP as non-musical conceit and a total waste of time. Pretty much anything that gets that kind of derision piques my interest.
Having listened to Cooking With Wolves, and really having enjoyed its Blackened sounds, Disaster Amnesiac must strongly disagree with the naysayer.
Starting off with a Cole Porter tune, All Of You, Wolfmangler sets the tone of the release with somber cello riffs that feature heavy, dragging bow techniques and gruffly whispered vocals. Google the lyrics to this 1954 song, and you may see how and why it fits within the sentiments of a Black Metal set.  It's a fascinating connecting of the pathos of Jazz with that of later forms. Disaster Amnesiac really loves the sound of what I believe is the cello being struck for percussive accenting, too.
Traditional Polish song Czerwony Pas is up next, and it sounds perfect for the type of treatment that Wolfmangler utilize. Its ascending chorus fits really well with the vocal technique as the relatively simple Folk melody chases behind it. Cool arco bends from the cello give feelings of unease; perhaps you're not welcome in this village, stranger.
Heading back across the Atlantic for track three, Wolfmangler takes on Hammerstein and Kern's 1927 Ol' Man River, where Disaster Amnesiac is hearing electric bass along with the cello. Originally a show tune, it becomes on Cooking With Wolves a powerful track of Doom Metal. Instead of seeing the languid Mississippi as I've listened, I've seen freezing ice floes in the dead of winter in some Eastern European backwater.  The cold Minimalist tones continue almost without pause on Beata Z. Albatrosa, which, like its predecessor, floats coldly upon the whispered vocals and sparse cello scrapes.
Disaster Amnesiac seriously wishes that the vocals on side A's last track, Compost With a Grudge, were more understandable to my ears. They are listed as being sourced from "various journalists". Given its title, it makes me wonder if these words are purely taken out of reviews of Wolfmangler's music. Are they pro or con? Supportive or dismissive? I'm leaning more on the side of the latter, but who knows? All that I know is that the vocals become pure texture to my ears, which is never a bad thing for this listener either.
Side two of Wolves gets its start with Zegar, as more mournful cello and bass guitar pairings entwine with what Disaster Amnesiac feels is the most gravelly, spitting vocal performance of the LP.  The vocals linger down into the bowel of the singer before being dragged, slowly, up and out into the air.
More traditional Polish tune-age is presented with Szwolezerowie, which brings back the percussive cello body knocks, huge mid-song spaces of vertigo-inducing Minimalism, and vocals almost...almost sung, as opposed to growled or burped, and great melodic feels that Wolfmangler seems to be really able to pull from their tradition. Surely, this is Black Metal success.
Coooking With Wolves concludes with another pass at Porter, thing time 1934's (You'd Be So) Easy to Love, listed without the parenthetical portion. After a pretty extended opening portion, in which acoustic bass and cello twine and twist around the melody, the vocals come in with whispered intimacy. This track feels pretty close to Jazz for this listener; Disaster Amnesiac can imagine similar versions of this standard coming from the haunted minds of Arthur Doyle or Don Ayler.
One thing that you've just got to admit in 2018 is that Metal can produce just as much Experimental Music as any other genres are capable of. Disaster Amnesiac finds bands such as Wolfmangler to be incredibly fascinating and enjoyable due to this reality. Cooking With Wolves, with its icy Minimalist take on the song form, filtered through Black Metal aesthetics, is a fine example of that type of action. Anyone know of live tracks from this group that are out there?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Noise Eating Monsters-self titled; Muteant Sounds, 2017, digital release

Installment number two from Muteant Sounds has Disaster Amnesiac moving and grooving to the sounds of Noise Eating Monsters, a UK-based group of quite significant pedigree. The three members of this improvising trio have played with all manner of big name players, and one can most definitely hear the confidence on their self-titled release from last year.
Noise Eating Monsters starts off with the trio of guitarist Alex Ward, baritone sax player Tim Hill, and drummer Alex Thomas marking out their respective spaces on Crunch Time. What's fascinating to this listener is the controlled manner with which the trio builds up the tune's riff, each side of this triangle slowly stretching out for a few minutes' duration until such time as they collectively blast off into the sonic thickets of collective sound production. Ward seems to favor an minimal set up: if he's using pedals, I can't tell. Thomas has some seriously pinpoint accuracy in his grooves, and Hill's richly melodic bari sound supplies all kind of invention. Noise Eating Monster show themselves to be a powerful trio, right off the bat.
Rumble starts off with the group engaged in quick, chattering interaction before Thomas sets up a stomping tom tom pattern which is quickly grabbed by Ward on great rhythmic accompaniment. This groove sends Hill into a prolonged sax musing. Disaster Amnesiac keeps thinking about the original No Wave groups as I've jammed Rumble. The shredding guitar rhythms, paired with the big groove and reedy yelp keep pushing the perceptions to that thought. It's three times longer than Link Wray's version of Rumble, but equally greasy.
Ward opens up Aether with chilly guitar harmonics and glassy slides as the drums and sax comment somewhat sparingly. The Monsters dip down into some fairly dramatic, almost quiet interactions here before building up another monster free groove, driven by Ward's tight strumming and Thomas's exacting sticking. There's more of that great, clean six-string atop press rolls, both of which the push the sax into spiraling declamations.
Tim Hill takes the lead on Djin Din, coaxing ripped and warbled tones from his sax as high end piercings stab out from the guitar and the cymbals shimmer. One of the tags on Noise Eating Monsters page at Muteant Sounds is "garage Jazz", and Disaster Amnesiac can see why it is while listening to Djin Din.  The track has that kind of Punk Rock edge that brands it as something bubbling up from the non-mannered feels that are so much more easily accessed within those out of the way places. This may be the most traditionally heavy piece on this release. Noise Eating Monsters really blaze here as they slice and dice with intricate interactivity.
Album closer Monster Munch gets chewed up with more of that great, quickening riffing from Ward. He gets great low tones, too, as Thomas sticks out circular 16th note flurries and Hill preaches apocalyptic in the fury. Disaster Amnesiac hears the Thrash roots from the drummer's Bolt Thrower tenure on Munch as he pushes much air around his kit towards its conclusion.
Noise Eating Monsters, with their tight interactive improvising, stripped down aesthetics, and energetic sounds, have a great release under their belts with Noise Eating Monsters. It's meaty power trio music that swings like mad as it packs great big improvisational punches.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Arnold Young & Flavor Mixing Systems-Live at Westport Coffee House Theater; Muteant Sounds, 2017; digital release

Recently a missive came out at Muteant Sounds Facebook page: "...reviewers, we'll send you stuff to review...." Needless to say, it took about a day of consideration before Disaster Amnesiac was hitting them back via private message, offering my services. I've bought their product before, mind you, and most definitely will again. That said, it was an offer that I couldn't pass up. Muteant started me off with Arnold Young & Flavor Mixing Systems Live at Westport Coffee House Theater. Disaster Amnesiac has been listening. Here's some of what's been heard.
Made up of a sprawling three pieces which clock in at a little bit south of 45 minutes, Live at Westport starts off all jungle style with Bamboo Interlude Texas Driveway Holding Pattern. Wooden flutes chatter, flutter, and scrawl as all members of this quintet dive in together. Bass guitarist Henry Fording Eddins picks up the harmonics and summons in the sax of Russell "Fairweather" Thorpe and really cool bowed upright bass from John Nichols. Drummer leader  UN RA Arnold Young swiftly joins in the fray, and suddenly the listener it transported to the American mid-West as the group improvises in a manner that sounds quite AACM or BAG in its approach: lots of space within the interplay, marching rhythms, scattershot percussion leads and lots of clearly attentive listening. A bit deeper in, trumpeter Nick Howell coaxes great big gut bucket bleats from his horn as he mixes things up with Young's drumming commentary. Bamboo Interlude drifts into a Bluesy ending section, with all members going collective yahoo as they lose the holding pattern and set their ship out onto a deep, muddy river of composed-sounding jam.
The second piece, Outerlude Joshua, continues with said mid-Western feel as Eddins, Thorpe and Young languidly wrap their tones around each other. This relaxed feel allows for an opening through which everyone begins to collectively strut, with Young pushing all hands on deck and into some really satisfying playing, Howell and Thorpe doing a call-and-response dance as the basses clip and click in their lower registers. Joshua has the kind of spaciousness that has Disaster Amnesiac's head spinning in a gooey bliss, and as the individual solos commence, I'm all ears. Young's accompaniment is tight and tasty as he weaves with Eddins and Nichols. This trio warps and wraps their sounds in all manner of stop-start zones, and the horns respond accordingly, moving up, down, and around their registers as they make their statements. Eventually, things boil down to duo statements before the collective comes roaring back to walk things home by way of whispered goodbyes. Twenty four minutes of highly enjoyable intimacy. It's what you want from your Jazz, yes? Well, it's surely what Disaster Amnesiac wants from mine.
Live at Westport Coffee House Theater concludes with a short piece, FlavorMix Drums, in which Young gets his Funk ya ya's out as the basses push him and the horns shout their encouragement. He takes a short solo, stops abruptly, almost as if he realizes that he's suddenly alone, and that's it for the set. Don't buy the modesty, though, he's kicking ass as he stomps out his changes.
Fat, hip, and juicy, Arnold Young & Flavor Mixing Systems Live at Westport Coffee House Theater is a fine set of grooving, spacing, and all out enjoyable slice of Heartland Jazz, coming at the listener real and hot. Fans of the polyglot truth of the music will want to drink from this mixture.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Scarab-In Difference; Genetic Dead End Recordings, no date given (recorded in 2006)

One thing holds true in the music industry: Document Your Work.
Case in point: on New Year's Eve, while at KPFA studios in Berkeley, Disaster Amnesiac had an opportunity to sort through a pile of giveaway CDs in the lobby area. The cover of In Difference, by the group Scarab, immediately caught my eye, and I quickly filed it away into a jacket pocket, hopeful that its sounds would be as cool as its cover. Having been completely unfamiliar with the group, and having spun this disc a ton of times over the past couple of weeks, Disaster Amnesiac is certainly glad that Scarab made this document.
In Difference starts off with the powerful Your Wholeness, which is propelled by a great, staggering rhythm section beat and cutting high end notes from the guitar before dropping into thicker riffs and singer Melanie Skelchy's cool vocal style. Her sound on this tune, and throughout the CD, is a dramatic spoke/sung alto that's really emotive: one gets the sense that she means what she's singin'. Additionally, there's well placed bell percussion and what sounds like a Ramayana Monkey Chant within the mix here. It's chaotic and ordered simultaneously, the way all great Rock tunes ought to be, and as such, sets  the pace for this work.
Mixed right into its predecessor, Slipped keeps up the dramatic vibes more dirty riffs from the guitars, played by either M. Skelchy, Felipe Neira, or Russell Skelchy (they're all credited), more of the effective vocals, and real fine high-hat driven drumming before dipping into a keyboarded mid-section. This part provides great tension with its tom tom marching beat and sprayed lead guitar work as M. continues with her tales. Things lead back to more driving hat/cymbal pound to round this one out.
Scarab get Tex-Mex on track number three, FTA, a fusion of waltz and more driving Punk Rock, sung en Espanol by Felipe Neira or Russell Skelchy. This tune rips along with accordion sounds that I'm guessing come from the keyboard of Mark Jolly, and more great guitar/bass/drums blending; it's the style of this blend, familiar yet obviously worked up within their group dynamic, that Disaster Amnesiac is absolutely digging about this band.
Next up come the atmospherics of Yaadon, with more of Melanie on the mic. Said atmosphere comes from heavily strummed acoustic guitar and great percussive sounds of the metallic variety. Thick bassoon by Lisa Boggeri makes the mix even thicker. Yaadon has a kind of demented circus feel in its first half, before getting more reserved, with cool tremelo electric guitar to match the acoustic picking that lead back to the initial atmospheric oomph. It speaks volumes for the musical vision that Scarab had or, possibly, still has.
This Is My Crime revs on as track five, with more of that heavy waltz time, Spanish vocal demonstrativeness, and a nicely placed mid-song breakdown. It packs a lot of punch within its short duration, ripping away at what by now will surely be a nicely tattered perception of an attentive listener to In Difference.
That listener will get a bit of a break during West Wash, which commences with Jazz vibes, lonely trumpet calls, and fuzzed bass before dropping into an almost Garage Punk stomp. As Disaster Amnesiac has grooved to this one, I've imagined a group working tunes out amid engine grease and ashtrays. It has the kind of looseness within the drum arrangements that makes me want to stomp and shout and twist. Again, Scarab must be commended for their imaginative musical mash.
As opposed to the Tex-Mex of FTA, El Canoero strikes me as a bit more Angeleno, with hints of Cumbia and hard hitting single note guitar slices  within the tight rhythms of the percussion section. What a great, manic ending note from Skelchy, to boot. Her singing certainly does have impact!
More of that rhythmic acumen is on display on The Big Stick, a Punk Rock rager that is moved by fuzzy bass tones, sweet ride cymbal beats, even more ripping, circular guitar riffing and some tight arrangements. It winds down with keys that evoke Black Metal in my ears. Again, Disaster Amnesiac is really impressed with Scarab's blend of disparate musical elements into a coherent, singular whole band sound.
After a goofy little sketch about a cell phone, In Difference continues with Tango de la Barba. If one wants to find a fusion of Tango and Doom Metal, one may want to look here. The guitars distort deliciously, the drums beat heavily onto the aural concrete, the damn thing just kicks righteous ass in a way that has Disaster Amnesiac thinking of the beSST South Bay stuff from, say, 1985-1991 or so. It's dipped in the sweat of Dukowski, or seems that way to me.
The Black Metal returns with Done Talking, as icy keyboards and dour chanting some high lonesome twang. The male singer sounds exhausted and emotional; it's the kind of Emo that I can handle, though, especially on drives home from work, which have featured In Difference as their soundtrack quite a bit lately.
A swift, shaker-assisted D-Beat drum groove brings things to a close on Speed to Stop. As with other tunes on the disc, Scarab do an exemplary job of using the basic tools of Punk Rock as a launching off point for music styling of their own. There is nothing stock about the ways in which they shape their tones and rhythms, and for that Disaster Amnesiac salutes them. I can imagine Speed to Stop as a high energy live set closer, and I'm saddened that I have not seen this group live.
Cursory web searches have shown me little about Scarab, except for an Amazon listing that shows In Difference as having been released in 2016, not 2006. Are they still making music together? Have they been long-gone as a working band? Either way, Disaster Amnesiac is very glad that they documented these songs.
Can anyone let me know of their fate?