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Astral Social Club & Grumbling Fur Time Machine Orchestra

Plasma Splice Trifle

    Debut collaboration between these like-minded English underground titans, perfectly mixing the long-form pop eccentricities of Grumbling Fur with the free electric sound of Astral Social Club to produce four epic and memorable tracks. The music is dense and layered, with hidden hooks, haunting vocals, unidentifiable electronic shuddering, delicate ambience, etc. Challenging but completely accessible and beautiful stuff.

    After a brief vocal declaration of purpose, “Back To The Egg” rides a motorik pulse ala Harmonia or Kraftwerk for ten hypnotic minutes. “Three Years Apart” pulses gently in a burbling cloud, reminding that along with crafting song gems, Grumbling Fur has collaborated with noted avantcomposer / performer Charlemagne Palestine.

    “Ozone Antifreeze Intelligence” layers electronics over a haunting piano and vocal melody, framed by subliminal fuzz guitar. “Toejam Boxdrum” closes the album with an uproarious polyrhythm hidden by more layers of soft-focus electrofizz, gradually giving way to thick bass riffs and tremelo’d interjections.

    Bruce Russell & Luke Wood

    Visceral Realists

      Debut album by the New Zealand duo of Bruce Russell (Dead C, Handful Of Dust, etc) and Luke Wood. Visceral Realists is a highconcept commentary on the state of vinyl, analogue recording, music culture, art, etc. A 45-rpm bullet of short bursts of free electric sound, the music here is tactile and rough but not “noise music.” Russell and Wood play over loops of scratchy records, with their guitars and electronics surging to get over the wall. Russell’s guitar sound from his vintage transistor amp and anti-style is instantly recognizable from countless classic Dead C sides, but the tracks are more painterly than recent DC epics—these are celebratory vignettes of thoughts— singles, if you will.

      Originally made as an unfindable edition of twenty by Wood’s Ilam Press label to accompany an exhibit of NZ lathe-cut records, this new edition is beautifully packaged in a debossed and letterpress printed sleeve designed by Wood and printed by Stumptown in Portland. Two color risographs printed by Wood in NZ are tipped onto the jacket, and an additional two inserts provide revelatory notes by Russell and glam shots of the instruments that made the sounds. Also includes download slip. “There’s more information encoded in an old record than in a new one. Every crack, every pop, a tree ring of recovered time. A life-time. Time again for life. Like the revenants, come from the grave warm; and once again walking. But still just blood in a bag. The glow of the vacuum at the heart of a market-place—where art goes to fetch bread. That is how we’ve warmed our hands for this work. To know we are alive.” —Bruce Russell.

      Wingtip Sloat

      Purge & Swell / The Lost Decade

        Wingtip Sloat’s slashing and arty post-punk sounds weirdly contemporary these days, so what better news than to have their first new music in almost twenty years! Purge And Swell is a 12-inch 45 RPM mini LP with ten new tracks, and is accompanied by a 76-minute bonus CD Lost Decade with thirty-one additional tracks. The 12- inch includes plenty of the trebly guitar blare and low-fi charm immediately familiar from the group’s classic early ’90s singles, backstopping winning and memorable tunes like “Stars Bailed Out” and “Gizzard Jett.” The bonus CD includes bric-a-brac from the Sloat rehearsal room, with found poetry, perfect ninety-second rockers (the DC-specific “Cruisin’ The Ellipse”), confusing instrumental detours, and winsome covers of Eno, Dylan, Wire, Belle & Sebastian and more. Wingtip Sloat.


        Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

        Flying Saucer Attack

        In Search Of Spaces

          First ever reissue and first time on vinyl for this unique Flying Saucer Attack live album, expanded with additional material and a new side four mix from Jim O’Rourke. Produced in collaboration with Dave Pearce / FSA and Bruce Russell (compiler of the original CD release for his Corpus Hermeticum label), featuring new artwork by Bruce Russell as well.

          While rightly known for the folk-influenced songs and spacey instrumentals of their proper albums, the briefly active live version of FSA unexpectedly delivered a blistering wave of electric sound. Recorded at various shows in 1994, In Search Of Spaces heaves with long passages of feedback guitar racket, broken up by sections of surging rock music. The live band focused almost exclusively on visceral, trebly guitar noise—which, while always a key element in their sound, was greeted by audiences with total mystification (and often disapproval). Following a few brief attempts to settle a lineup and play songs from their records, Dave Pearce / FSA abandoned live performance altogether, leaving behind this album (and the barely available P. A. Blues CDR) as the sole document of his in-person delivery.

          Originally compiled and released in 1996, this reissue adds several minutes of music back to the original program that had been edited out by FSA for being “too rock.” For side four, Jim O’Rourke revisited the original 1994 live tapes and has made a spooky and brooding new mix of music exclusive to this release.

          Jack Rose

          Red Horse, White Mule

            Part of a collaboration with Jack Rose’s estate and Three Lobed Records to restore all of his LPs to print, VHF presents new vinyl editions of the celebrated guitarist’s first three solo albums, newly cut by John Golden Mastering from the original source material. Originally issued on LP by Eclipse Records between 2002-04, these releases chart an eclectic, more experimental approach left behind as his technique and compositions became more refined and deliberate on later works like Kensington Blues. Rose’s 2002 solo debut Red Horse, White Mule was a bit of an outlier in the underground gestalt at the time, coming just before the wave of releases from the new generation of Takoma- / Fahey-inspired players. Strictly a solo affair, Red Horse balances the epic, side-long raga of “Red Horse” against a second side of shorter pieces, including the ragged slide style of “The Colonel’s Blues.” The compositions and performances incorporate the new and the classic with a rough-hewn charm.

            “Rose’s personalized and disparate criteria awaken feelings of both rapture and tragedy on the scale of that which must have been felt by the newly-wed anthropologist who drove Kiowa Indian guests out of his Oklahoma residence with Victrola discs of Amelita Galli-Curci in order to go to bed with his bride or the child who, on hearing Bugs Bunny sing Queen Liluokalani’s dirge “Aloha Oe,” quarantined himself in the clothes hamper until such time that the United States withdraws from Hawai’i.” - Kisan Nagai, blues scholar, on Red Horse, White Mule.

            Astral Social Club

            Fountain Transmitter Medications

              A boggling and super-fun 100+ minutes from Neil Campbell’s Astral Social Club, Fountain Transmitter Medications delivers the head-on collision of classic UK electronic styles, electric grit and the future.

              The LP starts with a set of tight chuggers, the high-end racket of “Infinity Thug” ripping through the speakers before closing the side with the loping “Grisly Terroir.” Side two is comprised of the 20-minute epic “Diamonds in the Dreich,” a mid-tempo journey of Throbbing Gristle-ish lurch-pulse and disembodied voices, giving way after ten minutes to an organ-interlude which accelerates into a full-on rock jam loaded with scathing guitar slashing. It’s unlike anything else in the Astral Social Club catalog.

              The CD (“side three”) offers three lengthy explorations of key facets of the overall Astral Social concept, where Campbell really stretches out and lets the tape run—the rushing sound effects and buried rock of “Sun Still God,” the bristling electric juddering of “Erotic Meditation,” and the blownout space-rock (!) of “Squeegee Anthem #3.”


              Ltd LP Info: LP comes with a bonus CD.

              Jesse Sparhawk / Eric Carbonara

              Tributes & Diatribes

              Tributes & Diatribes is the lovely second set of tracks from the entirely unusual duo of Jesse Sparhawk (38-string lever harp) and Eric Carbonara (22-string upright Chaturangui guitar, banjo, nylon string guitar). The four tracks here are restrained and unhurried, letting the elegant string flow breathe and build over each cut. Like on their debut Sixty Strings (also on VHF), there’s plenty of virtuosity, but it’s not showy and crass. These guys are more mood-builders (deep, cosmic, meditative) than doodlers. Even though Tributes & Diatribes is immediately graspable by those of us who like “our kind” of music, it really doesn’t sound like anyone else - a rare achievement. Along with the main dialogue between the two players, the arrangements are filled out with percussion by Peterson Goodwyn, giving some of the tracks an overt groove that cuts against the spiraling string notes. Beautiful.

              Spiral Joy Band

              Wake Of The Dying Sun King

              "Wake Of The Dying Sun King" is the second full-length of epic meditative drone from this South Western Virginia collective. Like Pelt (with whom it shares several members), Spiral Joy Band uses mostly acoustic instruments to create slow, building pieces rich with human detail. The steady rolling of multiple Tibetan bowls, bowed and struck gongs, hypnotic fiddle, sruti box, and other instruments are recorded live in continuous performances that frequently stretch beyond an hour per piece. The performance aspect is key to Spiral Joy Band's aura - the variations in approach, force, etc. with which each tone is played, and the clear, open recording (mostly in Blacksburg's Glade baptist church) highlight the subtleties of the music.

              Spiral Joy Band

              Lullabies For Jeff Dean

              This long running but until-now-undocumented Virginia group was founded in 2001 by Pelt members Mikel Dimmick and Mike Gangloff with Karl Precoda (Last Days Of May, The Dream Syndicate). Their debut CD concentrates on live performances featuring marathon, unorthodox drone treaties for acoustic instruments, including tibetan singing bowl, gong, sruti, and esraj. The bowed, rolled, and (usually) gently struck metal percussion anchors the sound with rich, resonating tones. The music is a cousin to Pelt's explorations. "Lullaby 1" is built almost entirely on the gongs and bowls, a slowly building narcoleptic trip. The forty-one-minute epic "Lullaby 2" begins with Gangloff on esraj, building up a trance before the shenais and sharply struck gongs take over at the climax of the piece. "Lullaby 3" throws some surprisingly melodic and active piano into the mix, evoking a long-form version of Popol Vuh's "Die Nacht Der Seele".

              Kang Tae Hwan Trio

              Love Time

              "Love Time" is Korean alto player Kang Tae Hwan's debut release; his trio includes Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple) and percussionist Ichiraku Yoshimitsu (known for his work in Omoide Hatoba). More minimalist than free jazz "Love Time" centres on Hwan's long circular tones. Active since the 1970's Hwan has recorded for Japanese Victor and DIW labels.

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