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Archive for July, 2009

It’s the diskant Summer catch-up 2009!

Posted: July 18th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

Continuing our tradition from the last few years, I hunted down our team of procrastinating writers and got them to tell me what they’ve been listening to, playing, watching and reading recently. Starting Monday, you can read all about it in a series of blog posts that will take us through to August.

If you can’t wait that long, you can read our catch-ups from 2008 and 2006.

The Idealist – I Am The Fire (CD, Nosordo)

Posted: July 14th, 2009, by Justin Snow

If you don’t know, I kinda have a little obsession with The Skull Defekts. Especially their new album, The Temple, which totally twisted everything I thought I knew about rock music. The Idealist is Joachim Nordwall, who plays guitar and sings in the Defekts. However I Am The Fire is most certainly not rock music. Shit, there isn’t a beat to be found on this record. It’s all ambient noise drone awesomeness and it’s fucking grand.

I think the best way to tackle this is on a song by song basis because each one is so drastically different than the rest. It starts out with the comparatively short “The Knives Are My Eyes” and tricks you into thinking The Fire might be a shimmery blissful record. Well, you’d be wrong. The rest of the tracks are dark almost-but-not-quite doom drone. “To Make Exact Copies Of Every Mistake Ever Made” is 17 and a half minutes of throbbing, pulsing, rumbling beasts in the pitch black night, never changing course. The beginning is the same as the end and it could go on forever without you even knowing it had killed you in your wide-eyed hypnosis.

“I Am Not Here” is 100% oscillation, totally fucking with your sense of direction and perception. One minute you’re face down in the dirt and the next you’re standing gazing at the stars. The latter half of the song continues the mind fuckery but in a more static way. The kind of thing that you probably wouldn’t hear if you were in a car or train, even with headphones on.

My favorite track is “The Cranium” which is absolutely terrifying. It sounds like capital punishment via an electric room, which would be similar to the electric chair except this room would be more like a Tesla laboratory and you’d die from lethal amounts static electricity. I’m pretty sure this is what that room would sound like on the inside (minus the agonizing screams).

And then there’s the weird as fuck “The Declaraaation Of Indeeependence” which sounds like it was recorded in the ’30s by some batshit insane swamp hermit who used his swamp gas and swamp frog friends to accompany his ultimate manifesto. And there’s almost 15 minutes of that stuff. Just some guy ranting and babbling in a blown out language that I’m pretty sure is neither English nor Swedish. This is the sort of thing you’d find playing on a phonograph in the back room of a legit haunted house.

I Am The Fire finishes off with the appropriately titled “My Head Is On Fire.” Appropriate because if you are the fire, then clearly your head is also the fire. It’s a nice closer because it cleanses your aural palate from all that crazy shit you just heard. It’s the motionless thunder before the tornado hits. The white noise you hear when you all else is silent. Preparing you for round 2.

The Idealist

Ilyas Ahmed – Goner (CD, Root Strata)

Posted: July 3rd, 2009, by Justin Snow

Earlier this year I got a record by the name of Zomes and it was the solo project of Asa Osborne of Lungfish. I went certifiably insane over that record. I could not stop listening to it. It was full of short little fuzzed out drone loops, usually no longer than 2 or 3 minutes. Like a bunch of cold fresh juicy plump grapes, I couldn’t stop and always wanted more.

Well, Ilyas Ahmed’s Goner is probably the closest thing I’ll ever get to more Zomes. The songs on Goner are at times up to 9 minutes long and they sound like the Zomes bits fleshed out into actual songs with riffs, lyrics, and choruses. But everything else sounds so similar. Drenched in lo-fi echo crunch and laden with loops. These tracks have the hypnotic quality of drone while still retaining some of the traditional song structures.

The closest thing I can compare this to (other than Zomes, obv) is some sort of garage folk. Occasionally chilled acoustic Americana, occasionally sped up amplified rock tunes, but always always focused on the guitar. Ahmed has made a superb guitar record. Not like he’s trying to hide it, though. Sometimes guitarists are modest or bashful and try to make it seem like any old thing. Not Ahmed. He doesn’t necessarily brag about his skillz but it’s also fairly obvious that this guy can play.

Goner’s really got my attention on Ilyas Ahmed. Never heard of him before, even though he’s put out stuff on Time Lag and Digitalis. But now I know. And knowing is half the battle.

Ilyas Ahmed
Root Strata

THE DOOMED BIRD OF PROVIDENCE – The Doomed Bird Of Providence (CD, Laily Recordings)

Posted: July 1st, 2009, by JGRAM

Despatched dark and dusty, a small part of the Australian outback has found itself transplanted and captured in London for this release.

Almost like a post-rock (spit!) take on Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds soliciting The Pogues with a little pinch of the Tiger Lillies this is a true soup of string drenched compositions being pierced by jarring Australian vocals sung in a near shanty style about topics such as murder and honour amongst thieves.  The orchestration of the songs is such that you find yourself removed from your surroundings and driven to hell.  If you have ever been to Australia and felt miniscule when faced by the darkness of nothing but hot stinking hateful territory then this is where this music is at.  Flight Of The Conchords this most definitely is not (bloody Kiwis).

Of the four songs on offer the epic “Dorothy Handland” with its extended instrument section at dusk would not feel out of place sitting on a Dirty Three record.

As the release draws to a brooding conclusion it is with a sadness echoed by none and a future that feels uncertain depending on the conduct going forward of the band that judging by the lyrics may or may not scupper their fortunes.  Personally I await their return/response with real anticipation.

It’s not only the bird that feels doomed at the outset of this record.

You call that a knife?

Thesaurus moment: guilty. 

The Doomed Bird Of Providence

Laily Recordings