The Rummage

Category: . issue XX .

. issue XX : contents .

. issue XX : contents .

. i;
. the funkees : dancing time .

. ii;
. positive no : via florum .

. iii;
. kohwi : hidden trees .

. iv;
. le super borgou de parakou : the bariba sound 1970-1976 .

. v;
. manthra dei : s/t .

. vi;
. marshstepper : s/t .

. vii;
. dead sea apes & black tempest : the sun behind the sun .

& viii .
. anduin : ww pool mix .

. podcast .

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. issue XX : viii .

. artist : anduin .
. album : ww pool mix .
. year : 2013 .
. label : self-released .
. grade : b .

WWPool

Richmond-based sound artist Anduin refreshes material scraps in this uncanny and resonant mix, the tension between articulated percussion and sustained ambient currents creating a uniquely insecure periphery. This is a temperate ambient stargaze, creeping through its rustic balm and tepid temperature warmed by a verdant flush, and chilled by vigilant drone and saxophone hoopla. Strings and wood wind provide harmonic fibril to enliven the listener, and are more compelling than the strictly-percussion foreground approached used elsewhere. Similarly, tape echo vocals are senselessly nostalgic; sometimes successful, especially when staccato, manipulated to seem performative (“ah hah hah”). The ambience ranges from abyssal to tinny, mechanistic to organic.

WW Pool (who?) seems to be ‘napping’ in some sort of mausoleum doted on by deciduous trees and sundry mosses, in grayscale. It’s not unapt — the listener sinks in with the effortless resignation of just someone locked in the cemetery at night, or better, marooned on an island half-crag and half-foliage. Though it conjures place expertly, remarkably and in spite of the photograph documentation, we don’t know exactly where this sounds like. Perhaps it’s the assortment of material used, Frankensteinian, to propagate the space, but there’s something untethered about WW Pool’s always evoking an uncertainly positive experience. And it is an experience. The dense resin of the space is not always full-bodied, but it always encapsulates, and without affectation, too. Not too arty and not too dark, this mix is just right.

by Brittany Tracy

. issue XX : vii .

. artist : dead sea apes & black tempest .
. album : the sun behind the sun .
. year : 2012 .
. label : cardinal fuzz .
. grade : a .

DSA_BT

On the surface (to the casual ear) there might not seem to be a whole lot in common between Dead Sea Apes and the sonic alchemist known as Black Tempest. The former traffics in rolling, and often boiling, maximum sized sonic tectonics, while the latter conjures up electro-kosmische wonders that lay out flight paths as much as they elevate you onto them. Though both cover huge tracts of land both here and out there with a beguiling agility despite the size of their crafts, they don’t deal in surfaces only. They may create them, but they journey far above them and often through them, glowing with a slow-burning cosmic light that blankets like the sun or provides the safe-harbor lure of a lone flame. Dead Sea Apes and Black Tempest don’t just create deep music. They operate along the other axes as nimbly as a spider, swirling around them, coaxing them into shapes far beyond the linear. Sounds and tangents turn in on themselves, gathering and jettisoning, until The Sun Behind The Sun becomes a gloriously constantly weaving knot, a sonic array with bodies that somehow orbit themselves.

Many collaborations sound good on paper, the lure of a pairing too much to pass up when talking about two bodies that generate as much space and gravity as Dead Sea Apes and Black Tempest. And that’s as far as they get; the sum far less than the parts. Here’s one that effectively generates a third entity to stand toe to toe with its parents. There’s not one point on The Sun Behind The Sun where either outfit feels like they are selling the project short by not being true to their mission. This isn’t Dead Sea Tempest. Both give the other wide berth to ply their trade and paint with with big strokes that turn soft edges into the outline of that unseen third party, the third stone behind the other sun…. Nothing feels grafted onto another or bolted in place; it’s a 100% natural weave. Dead Sea Apes and Black Tempest get down to the core of their individual work, finding the plasticity so they can coil around each other like a double-helix. Getting together to push their envelopes, they’ve turned the spotlight on the DNA that makes them both what they are. Consequently, that’s given birth to something that’s both bigger than both of them in some ways, while fitting seamlessly into their own continua.

The Sun Behind The Sun’s common ground between Dead Sea Apes and Black Tempest isn’t a limp superficial overlap of both. This is new ground, new territory for both, not limited by redundant points of interest and intersections. Its three cuts lay out orbits that ripple and pulse around—as well as in— each other as much as they do the sun of your choice. Both governing bodies become indistinguishable, the gears not so much meshing as melding into each other for a giant self-perpetuating solar fire. Considering the inherent pull and force of each respective gravity well, this is a match made in heaven that actually delivers on the promise, leaving Dead Sea Apes and Black Tempest fully redeemed, and their passengers fully satisfied. Highly recommended for new and old sun worshippers alike.

by Mr. Atavist

. issue XX : vi .

. artist : marshstepper .
. album : s/t .
. year : 2012 .
. label : chondritic sound .
. grade : b plus .

marshstepper

Marshstepper make swamp disco of dated drum machines, urgent vocals made to stutter, and unearthly tides fuzzy and cold. On this self-titled effort, courtesy of the notorious Chondritic Sound label, Marshstepper manage to be brusquely communicative even in their murkiness, alternately guzzling down samples and regurgitating them through a foghorn. It’s indeed like sinking in up to your knees, and it doesn’t take long to become fully submersed.

With two sides at 15:58 each, Marshstepper is like being held under the particulate, burning water of a noxious fen for half an hour, the rat-a-tats and dum-dum-dah of the 80’s pitter patter platter bobbing occasionally into view. Other highlights include the shriek of a siren and particularly nebulous stutters: “wake up wake up wake up wake up wake wake wake wake,” and so on with the even more ill-applied “are you are you?” ad nauseam. The entire cauldron forms the distortion of percolating peat tongues dripping with the rustling, nervous pants of a pack of dogs, hoary psychedelic rays of warbly guitar through ashen stained glass, and the restive, unceremonious urgency of the Jonestown suicide sermon.

Why only a b plus? Because this self-titled cassette seems like sweet buns, puppies and whole milk next to the fervor and the putridity of their latest score for Ascetic Houses’ ‘reel’ terror, on film, complete with the loud texture of retrace lines.

by Brittany Tracy

. issue XX : v .

. artist : manthra dei .
. album : s/t .
. year : 2013 .
. label : acid cosmonaut .
. grade : a .

manthradei_cvr

Italy’s Manthra Dei lay down a classic in more ways than one with their self-titled stoner prog chronicle. Manthra Dei is equal parts lunar rock, runestone and an often unhinged, keyboard soaked love-letter to the 70’s. They themselves say that inside you’ll find “Hawkwind, Causa Sui, Can, Kyuss, Earthless, Black Sabbath, Colour Haze, King Crimson, Motorpsycho, Popol Vuh, Sleep, Goblin, Hypnos69, Jethro Tull, Ozric Tentacles mashed-up, with no criteria, but with horns up against the sky.” Absolutely.

The whole package is infused with a furious proggy 70’s devotion that oozes out of every instrument, especially Paolo T.’s keyboards. There’s Deep Heep wizards lobbing fireballs, liquid soundtrack vibes and plenty of prog freak outs from the heavier end to the more baroque. The rest of Manthra Dei relentlessly keep up; filler free, active and effective drum work are whipped tight with muscular bass that’s agile, careening and hairy. The guitars have an expansive sound that matches the deeper, spacier probes yet stay intimate and near at hand. Lead single “Stone Face” is about the perfect introduction to what’s to come. Easing into a nebulous space rock glide, “Stone Face” eventually erupts into a prog dervish, replete with bell-bottom worthy crunch. “Xolotl” follows a similar template, with a swampy layer of haze over the intro. And like “Stone Face,” “Xolotl” ultimately breaks free, this time into a whole other animal. Vocals come in on “Legendary Lamb” as well as a bowl full of desert sand and swagger, whipping up a groovy bluster not that far removed from Brant Bjork and comrades. Paulo T. gets the spotlight on “Urjammer,” a solo organ outing that’s part soundtrack and doom laden prog hymnal. “Urjammer” oozes and encroaches with a mad scientist’s determination. Determination is what “Blue Phantom” is all about; 17+ minutes of running multiple paces, stoking embers and infernos while still finding time to whip up whiffs of some exotic traveller setting the sextant for that heart of the sun. Manthra Dei wrap it up by revisiting “Stone Face” with an acoustic reprise that is given enough room to fully become its own entity. Rather than tack on some throw-away ditty at the end of the firestorm that gets relegated to an afterthought, the reworking seems like a genuine attempt at easing you out without putting you to sleep. Or worse yet, negating said firestorm.

Excluding the breath of air Manthra Dei gives at the end, band and album virtually consume all other traces. Manthra Dei is incandescent, incendiary and at the right moments, unhinged. A highly recommended progeny of progsters, astronauts and highway stars.

by Mr. Atavist

. issue XX : iv .

. artist : le super borgou de parakou .
. album : the bariba sound 1970-1976 .
. year : 2012 .
. label : analog africa .
. grade : a minus .

Super Borgou

Following in the footsteps of Analog Africa’s archival work on Benin’s Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou, here’s a band with some striking similarities from northern Benin, part of the territory that label head Samy Ben Redjeb has begun referring to as the “Islamic Funk Belt” (a region that also includes northern Ghana, Togo and Nigeria). Like Poly-Rythmo, Super Borgou’s sound is rooted in the traditional rhythms of Benin — in the latter’s case, mainly those of the Bariba and Dendi ethnic groups (“Guessi-Guéré-Guessi” is an excellent example). As professional musicians, both bands were accustomed to playing what people wanted to hear, which helps explain why both were fluent in the Cuban-derived Congolese styles that were so popular all over Africa (“Bori Yo Se Mon Baani” and “Abere Klouklou,” for example). And as American soul and Nigerian afrobeat made inroads, their influences were added to the mix as well (“Gandigui” and “Bininhounnin,” respectively). The end result was a fully modern rural band, simultaneously local and global in outlook. They may have been overlooked previously (as far as I can tell, only one song of theirs had been reissued before now), but they won’t be any longer thanks to this excellent release.

by Bill Lupoletti

. issue XX : iii .

. artist : kohwi .
. album : hidden trees .
. year : 2010 .
. label : black tent .
. grade : a minus .

Kohwi

In case it’s been a while since your hard heart got to be in love with the tremulous, warm, ether-borne fantasia of Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, pre-pretension, the spunky sap of Kohwi’s Hidden Trees might be just what the metacultural music doctor ordered. It’s an appreciatively substantive approach to the sort of free-floating freak folk whimsy of the past decade, and, in being so delightful, also functions as an antidote.

by Brittany Tracy

. issue XX : ii .

. artist : positive no .
. album: via florum .
. year : 2013 .
. label : self-released .
. grade : sweet tunes .

Positive No

Positive No is so playful, the name inspires conundrums for me instantly. Sounding out the systems of an adult to child relationship, overdrafts and coverages fail to attract or even sustain secrecy, sensation or the dreaded and expected surprises. As it is, they are a positive.

“Pocket Park” bares a perfect pop song in the familiarity of regionalism. I adore this band since Style Weekly told me so. “Georgia Purchase Agreement” condenses “Crooked Fingers” (Archers of Loaf) and “Ibi Dreams of Pavement” and “7/4.” I must admit being a sucker for Tracy Wilson’s breathy Skye Edwards command. Pure tone, backed by (I’m guessing) a male falsetto, which I must admit to being a sucker for. And to top my gourmet lollipop, I’m going to admit to loving this overcast rock, rolling grey clouds of season. There are certain chord beds I find fill seasonal surface soundtrack for, this one is suited to the winter we’re to have. I can get pretty lost in these days where the sun doesn’t shine as bright, and the cold gray makes you want to sleep in, or at least stay under cover, for another ten minutes or so. “Power of Ten” isn’t nearly as minor chorded as “Dreamland, VA,” but this shuffle jazz square is a perfect soundtrack for touring Iceland or Greenland in the summertime, when the sun shine between giant cloud formations almost all day, and there are no trees to make shadows, just sculpted stone cliff sides, or piles of lava rock.

This is indie rock you could play over any public address system to be modern and have no worries at being offensive to anyone … or causing any medical condition inflammation irritation. Wait. What do they call speaker setups in commercial venues? Sound systems? (CONNOR SEZS: OKAY ALREADY.) Via Florum is the kind of album that makes Richmond proud and accredited, from the kind of band you want to cozy up with in the winter.

by Perkus Tooth