HOLIDAYS

Wasteland Jazz Unit – Marked By Lines (5nakefork, 2010)

Posted in Uncategorized by HOLIDAYS on June 27, 2010

My relationship with Wasteland Jazz Unit has been awfully short- it was probably about 2.5 years ago that I drove from central Illinois to see them open for Wolf Eyes at the wonderful Art Lodge in Cincinnati- a show that didn’t leave me feeling all that curious as to their rather large catalog of releases.

Fast forward to today. Being my first exposure since that show, my expectations of Marked by Lines was fairly hazy. Not quite knowing what to expect, I do know there’s no better way than a C20- in my opinion, the perfect length for most noise releases. The first side starts off promising- loud wailing of horns on top of some heavily distorted feedback- but all too quickly, a droning feedback takes over everything, while the no-longer-as-wailing-horns subside below. The second side is far more interesting, as throughout the entire side you have the constantly abrasive wailing horns and feedback (not nearly as overbearing as the first)- all played in a much more chaotic fashion, delivering a very energetic cacophony.

Both tracks are rather alike, but still very different, and after considering the release as a whole, I feel as if the second track (the more chaotic of the two) was not only the most interesting, but also gave a more tolerable amount of headroom for close listening and enjoyment, while the prior (even being a bit more droning and minimal) had me just easing the volume knob and anticipating the nearing end- the same way I felt when I saw the a couple years ago when I saw them live.

It’s hard to say where I stand now with WJU- I’m not necessarily turned off, but I’m not quite turned on either. With a rather impressively large catalog of releases, it’s hard for me to tell where this one stands without more prior knowledge, but what I can say is that the presentation given by 5nakefork is one of the finest I’ve ever seen (in general). Marked By Lines is packaged in an oversized 6×9 ziplock baggie that houses both a thick piece of cardboard with pasted on artwork and the tape itself literally tied in, and a wonderful little booklet of additional artwork and a few liner notes.

I’m sure current fans of WJU I’m sure would be in for a treat with this one- and with that said, those who are yet to be exposed may be enticed by the wonderful packaging as well as the shorter length.

Red Electric Rainbow – LSD Sunshine (905 Tapes, 2010)

Posted in 905 Tapes, Red Electric Rainbow by HOLIDAYS on June 22, 2010

It’s when I get to hear a tape like this that I’m reminded why I love music in general. For me, it’s this kind of music that gives me genuine warmth and inspiration as I listen to it. Both sides of this 35 minute tape produces sounds of wonder creating all sorts of tantalizing thoughts and images of calm and soothing as well as fantastic in nature – vast reefs, traveling at light-speed, electric dreams- the works.

While you can objectively categorize this as being ambient music, when really studied, LSD Sunshine has a ton going-  striking me as being more than your average ambient recording.  Floating above warm subtle textures, extremely dynamic and vibrant synth sounds are constantly migrating, never giving a true moment, to which I have no choice but to appreciate each movement as they come.

A truly remarkable tape from an artist who deserves your attention. LSD Suicide makes for a wonderful companion on a clear summer night and is certainly worth more than just a single rotation. And being limited to 50 copies, there’s no better time than now to pick it up.

Artist Page: http://www.myspace.com/redelectricrainbow

Label Page: http://905tapes.com

Whistlers at Ellsworth Station, Antarctica 1957 (Død Univers, 2010)

Posted in Død Univers by HOLIDAYS on June 21, 2010

I admittedly had no clue what I was getting into when I invested in this set. I was sort of under the impression that the whole Antarctica thing was some kind of tale, like an “Extreme Music from Africa” type of deal, but what I got instead has turned out to be one of the finest, most fascinating listens I’ve ever had.

The source of this release is said to be an old, dusty acetate found in the back of a record store, containing actual recordings from August, 1957 in Antarctica, where “whistlers”, or atmospheric sounds were recorded for whatever research. Each track is introduced by a rather monotone curator (possibly a J.B. Brown- as labeled on the original acetate- but there seems no way to be quite certain), describing characteristics of the sounds heard in each recording, including echos, swishes, hiss, etc. While it’s rather stop-and-go, but I felt that my listening to this was more for education than enjoyment- like watching a documentary about a movie instead of watching the movie itself. The recordings themselves of the “whistlers” are great- they’re very rhythmic, and often play off very cold and eerie, sounding almost like evidence that would be presented to Skully and Molder type characters for something unexplainable. It’s truly unique and captivating- I don’t recall ever hearing anything like this before.

Whistlers at Ellsworth is presented in a beautiful set, including two 3″ CDRs housed in individual black sleeves, all in a nice 3×3″ box that including a small card of track titles, and is accompanied by a one-sided C27 as a extra, titled “More Apparent than Real” (taken from a description given by the narrator on one of the recordings) that utilizes found sounds from the acetate. While unfortunately being just a one sided tape (only 13 minutes of material), it still makes the perfect companion to the discs- as you can now “watch the movie” after being educated on it.

Død Univers has certainly given these recordings a wonderful presentation, but sadly, the set is limited to a mere 50 copies, and once they’re gone, they “will never be reproduce”. I really hope this isn’t the end for these recordings. Between the actual and potential material, the possibilities are endless. In parallel, I look forward to seeing what else Død Univers has to offer- with a presentation like this, their name is certainly something to keep an eye out for.

Label Page: http://soundofadeaduniverse.blogspot.com/

T. Hannum – Mount of All Lands (5nakefork Records, 2010)

Posted in 5nakefork Records, T. Hannum by HOLIDAYS on June 19, 2010

While I’m familiar with Locrian, this is the first I’ve heard of Terrance’s solo work, and in my opinion, his being one half of one of the finest bands out of Chicago, there’s no reason for this tape to be sub-par. Paired up with some aesthetically pleasing packaging put together by 5nakefork, you’re definitely in for one sound product.

According to the label, either side of this tape is described as being an ascent, and a decent- a description that need not be read, as the feeling is strong throughout the release. The first side starts of harsh and abrasive- coming off like quite a push/shove as layers of heavy distortion collide with rhythmic sounds that break through, in-and-out until finally reaching a sort of calm, in which the distortion settles beneath some more relaxed gusts of cleaner, warmer sounds.

The B side- or the decent- starts off calmer than where the first side left off- a bit eerie, but literally like that of reaching the clearing of a mountain top. This time around, it’s winds of distortion that slightly break the blissful sounds in-and-out- leaving enough head room to even allow yourself to dose off peacefully- as the calm lasts through the duration of the recording, until a slowly opened valve delivers a denser sound- giving the decent it’s final release.

Wonderfully packaged, this C20 (said to be limited to “around 50”) is “sandwiched” in by 2 long pieces of artwork- one on heavy brown stock, and the other a transparency- both complimenting eachother well. The artwork- while a bit cartoonish- is still eye catching and fascinating enough to keep you staring throughout the duration of the tape. This tape is an absolute must to all fans of Locrian- but it’s certainly a taste that can rub off on any fan of noise as well. There’s certainly nothing to not like.

Artist Page: http://www.myspace.com/terencehannum

Label Page: http://5nakefork.blogspot.com/

Satoshi Kanda/Nick Hoffman – Split, Nick Hoffman – Anima (Pilgrim Talk, 2010)

Posted in Nick Hoffman, Pilgrim Talk, Satoshi Kanda by HOLIDAYS on June 11, 2010

Satoshi Kanda/Nick Hoffman – Split

This C47 begins with Satoshi Kanda’s “Two Tracks Recorded Simultaneously”, which begins interestingly enough with each stereo channel playing two completely different styles of noise- one rather soft and subtle ambiance, and the other more abrasive and  sporadic. This goes on for a little while until a very mysterious silence takes over- for better or worse- for quite sometime. I don’t mind it, but it certainly had me troubleshooting the tape and my player for a little while before coming to grips with the fact that the tape sure enough wasn’t over, as the audio comes back in and concludes the side with a long drone. All of which- according to the label page- is done with milk bottles, which actually took me by surprise having heard the tape, then later read the description.

Hoffman’s track is overall much more abrasive, starting with a back and forth between abrasive assaults of distortion and busting low end, to eerie bursts of sound and crackling- a lot of which seems to abruptly stop in a wide range of volumes. Half way through, the quieter moments begin to very work well as they arise anticipation- reminiscent of seeing lightning and awaiting the thunder- unlike the predecessor which just struck me as confusing. The rest of the track is more minimal and less energetic and distorted (aside from a few moments).

Definitely worth a listen. I probably could have appreciated Kanda’s side a bit more had I known what I was getting into- or simply relaxing and letting the tape play out- instead of dicking around with my player like a chicken without a head. But it certainly doesn’t take away from Hoffman’s track, which makes this a great tape. Maybe both sides should be played simultaneously? Support the label- buy two of them and try it out. The release is a C47 with great artwork on orange paper. Very simple, but very enjoyable.

Nick Hoffman – Anima

Anima is more like the Regosphere/Hoffman split I reviewed around a week ago in sound and instrumentation, unlike the split above. Again on a C47- this tape is very eerie and can be a bit unsettling. It seems to be influenced by a Lovecraft quote recited inside the artwork from The Rats in the Walls, stating “I heard voices, and yowls, and echoes, but above all there gently rose that impions, insiduious scurring; gently rising, rising, as a stiff bloated corpse gently rises above an oily river that flows under undless onyx bridges to a black, putrid sea.”

The quote is a mouthful, but just the first line is enough, as this tape certainly gives an eerie vibe like that of voices, yowls, and echoes rising. While the idea of a corpse rising from a river as it attributes itself to is a great mental image, when I heard this, it was more like opening a basement door to an abandoned psych ward and finding a tortured jazz band stuck in purgatory.

As stated above, the entire release is minimal in instrumentation, with the first side- “Earth Altar”- giving sounds of a trumpet and tortured, desperate vocals (or simply “voices”)- either separate, or layered on top of one another- it’s haunting. The second half of the track is very minimal, with even creepier trumpet and vocals softly coming in and out, as well as sound sounds of shackles and desperate wimpering. The second side, titled “Into the Clouds” is where I’ve taken the “jazz band” term from- while still given some squealing trumpet sounds as heard on the first side- they’re now accompanied by drawn out drum hits. The percussion definitely adds something to the release in its entirety, and gives me, personally, a whole new level of appreciation for the tape as a whole. The percussion becomes more a part of the music towards the end of the track, and concludes the tape wonderfully.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who digs minimalism- more specifically, acts like Graveyards, as that’s what it reminds me of a lot. It’s a excellent release with great, simple artwork, and I can’t wait to let it age on my shelf until the leaves start to fall in autumn, when I’ll definitely be bring it back out for a few more spins in my tape deck. Get this one!

Satoshi Kanda: satoshi.kanda [at] gmail [dot] com, http://d.hatena.ne.jp/tiptoe/

Nick Hoffman: bumbrelladonkey [at] hotmail [dot] com, http://www.myspace.com/nickhoffman7777777

Label Page: http://www.pilgrimtalk.com

Regosphere / Nick Hoffman – Honeymoon (DumpsterScore, 2010)

Posted in DumpsterScore, Nick Hoffman, Regosphere by HOLIDAYS on June 5, 2010

It’s when a release like this comes along that I can reminded once more that life in the midwest isn’t all that bad. Being my first introduction to both artists, it’s certainly one that leaves me wanting more from both.

Both artists offer up track(s) that are fairly quiet and eerie- like that of a slow, brink of death- from their own perspectives. The first track from Regosphere, “…As A Coffin Nail” lends itself just as that- like putting the last nail in a coffin- starting off slow moving with metal clatter that goes in full effect at the end. His lengthier track, “Gravity of Galatea” is rhythmic, giving cold, minimal synth lines topped with what sounds like indecipherable whispering/breathing that is awfully creepy, and goes on just long enough to question your sanity.

Hoffman’s track, “I’ll be the Doctor”, is rhythmic as well, layering dark and desperate  trumpet echos that play slowly and alterations. The release notes it as being recorded “In A Cold Room”- whether that be an actual place, or a genuine cold room- it certainly goes without saying. Both Regosphere and Hoffman do a good job of providing tracks that compliment each other by giving the same feelings of dark uncertainty.

It should be noted that as I’m writing this, it’s said that there is only several copies of this 3″ CDR left, and being limited to only 25 copies, it’ll be no wonder why it’s gone so quickly. While I may be in the minority with my unfamiliarity with both artists’ music, this definitely gave a great first impression, and I would recommend it to everyone. It seems like it could be an excellent gateway drug to what appears to be lengthy catalogs of releases from both these guys. Get it!

Artists Pages: http://regosphere.dumpsterscore.org, http://myspace.com/nickhoffman7777777

Label Page: http://www.dumpsterscore.org