Pigeon Breeders Interview

PB INTERVIEW copy copy

Edmonton, Alberta’s psychedelic noisemaking trio Pigeon Breeders were kind enough to chat with me via email about some questions regarding their music and what they do.

INB4TRACK:
I’ll go ahead and start off with the most mundane and asked question, what got you into producing the style of music you make? When was it that you decided you wanted to make noise as oppose to other more accepted forms of music?

Tyler Harland: It was gradual for me. I was playing around with effects during my time with my last band, The Wicked Awesomes. After that I was doing quite a bit of making more structured songs out of unconventional noises, having no-input and oscillations, fuzz pedals and stuff.

Myles Bartel: How many pedals do you have? A rough estimate?

TH: 30 or 40. When I was in Wicked Awesomes I was getting into noise as a sort of instrument, seeing bands like Holy Fuck. I saw them when we were playing Sled Island [an annual music festival in Calgary, AB] years ago. That’s when I started listening to them, as well as Health and Nice Nice. I thought of making a solo project with looping and noise within a structure. It just never really happened — and then Pigeon Breeders did.

Will Scott: What got me into this style of music was listening to jazz, particularly free jazz and the like: Medeski Martin and Wood, Ornette Coleman — and even more mainstream music, I would like the two minute intros of ambient sounds. So I started making sonic landscapes with my own music, but it was still structured within a beat. Then I joined the University of Alberta’s experimental improvisational ensemble [XiME], and that expanded my mind more. So I was already practicing with making stranger music. Then one day, I was working on a song in my room — just recording it — and I hear Myles downstairs in the basement, improvising with some other people. We had not yet discussed much about that music; he had just moved in and I didn’t really know him that well yet. Anyway, he was doing that sort of stuff on the same page as me. It was totally an unexpected surprise — and I went downstairs and I just asked him “can I jam with you? This is my style.” So him and I just started jamming. So that’s when it sort of started with Pigeon Breeders.

Also, I don’t like to classify our music as noise. We’re not a harsh band. We’re more restrained. If you want to pick a generalization I would say it leans closer to ambient.

MB: I think experimental improv. But noise has been a useful umbrella term for a lot of bands and styles.

WS: I don’t think we’re noise at all.

MB: Sonically, its a similar mindset, in that its essentially just chunks of sonic textures as the driving force. I suppose when we started, we were kind of a noise band in the more typical sense.

Basically how I got into noise was listening to Throbbing Gristle and others like them in high school. At the time I thought of myself mainly as a guitarist. I was playing in a punk band with some friends. We had some songs but we were having trouble with our direction. It was hard to write songs after the first batch or two, and we were without a full-time bassist. It just fell apart. So I took it upon myself to go forward and explore music I didn’t think I could do with other people. I had bought a Tascam 4-Track [cassette recorder] and started laying down layers of improvised guitar and other sounds. That was basically how Ocra started. At some point I was able to jam around with a few people but never found an opportunity for a full-time band within that style. So when I started jamming with Tyler and Will it was this amazing thing. I had been to a lot of the Ramshackle Day Parade concerts, and even performed a few myself. It was something I knew I wanted to be a part of, and incorporating my own performance style with other musicians really opened up a lot of doors.

INB4TRACK:
With all of these sounds coming together as a sort of living wall of noise, structurally, Nocturnal Reveries reminded me somewhat of Cleveland, Ohio ambient / drone trio Emeralds and Portland duo Yellow Swans. Are their any particular musicians that have influenced the sound of Pigeon Breeders?

MB: I’m somewhat familiar with Emerald’s back catalogue, and Yellow Swans I’ve barely touched.

WS: I’ve never heard of those bands. My influences are more of the home recording material, such as John Frusciante’s solo albums, which is him and his tape player, just experimenting with his guitar. It’s not really noise, but it’s a more angular approach to working with his instrument. I find that interesting and inspiring to me. MMW is a huge influence because of the sheer magnitude of their improvisational skills — I have pretty much everything they’ve recorded. They have live recordings where it’s completely improvised. The main thing that’s inspiring with them is that, like us, it’s just three guys; they’ve been together for so long, they just know where things are going. They’re able to work together, it’s like a conversation — they know what they’re feeling at all times, how to respond and instigate things, and they know where to stop. Other influences — tons of them. I love Charles Mingus. Can, also — just like MMW — they’re master improvisers. They’re able to jam for as long as possible, and always create interesting things. What really inspires me about them is that they’ve had six hour jams before, and they’re able to sustain, and be able to know that they’re playing for so long; they’re not getting everything out for the first five minutes. We’ve tried lengthy jams like that to force ourselves to come up with new ideas.

TH: For me it’s bands like Health, they were the “noisiest” of the first such bands that I listened to. I was really taken aback by the weird sounds — the two guitars and a bass just sounding like random instruments, synths, and weird textures and stuff. The way they make your unconventional, or not necessarily melodic things and angular sounds — dissonance and stuff like that — sound like music. On that note, a bands like AIDS Wolf, especially the first album, a song like “We Multiply” — there’s nothing that would be traditional guitar chord or anything, it’s just a melody created by noise and a basic rhythm behind it. It’s incredibly catchy, and for a lack of a better term, noise. Also, as mentioned before, Holy Fuck — at its heart, just two dudes with a tableful of effects and mini keyboards. The amount of catchy melodies and great music that they’re making from unconventional instruments, a lack of real instruments. They’ll have singing in a song where there’s no lyrics — it’s just vocals as an instrument that’s highly manipulated and pitch-shifted to create a melody.

MB: Most of my influences for Pigeon Breeders came about before, with my work as Ocra. Around that time I was heavily into post-industrial groups like Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound. I think some of that carries through, in terms of sensibilities. Ambient artists such as William Baskinski, Andrew Chalk, and of course, Brian Eno, were all a bigger focus of mine. I like asynchronous sounds that can be noisy but melodic as well; when everything is just sort of this beautiful blur of sound. In that time, I got to see a great pool of bands live — Shearing Pinx, AIDS Wolf, Zebra Pulse, etc. Getting pretty into the Dead C when were starting Pigeon Breeders had quite an effect. That whole dissonant, wrangled punk/improvised noise style is just so wonderful. Looking back, it seems noise rock had more of a role in the beginning. Now that we’ve developed into a much more ambient style, I hear us sounding more like bands such as Natural Snow Buildings, we’re kind of just drifting naturally in that direction.

INB4TRACK:
The sound of Nocturnal Reveries could be described as encapsulating; are there perks to utilizing an electroacoustic means of producing sound as oppose to exclusively using a traditional means of producing music (via guitar, drums, bass)?

WS: Basically, I feel we’re incorporating these non-traditional instruments — for me, antique or flea market-style purchases — and just finding what these items sound like. It’s a joy to try to get sounds out of things you never would think you could get sounds out of. We do utilize traditional instruments — we believe in the best of both worlds. We’re just interested in new sounds, whatever it is.

MB: It’s important for us to re-contextualize the sounds of certain things. It keeps things interesting for us. You can get into certain patterns and habits regardless of what you play — the instruments, the pedals, the sounds, etc. can all start to feel very familiar. But as soon as you throw a new idea or two in the mix, so much changes. And everything builds from those changes.

INB4TRACK:
Being that this is a very specific style of music in terms of interest, it’s no surprise that music of this nature often harbors a negative reaction from listeners who are unfamiliar with it. Has there ever been a time while performing live that you have faced a negative reaction from members of the audience or are they generally receptive?

TH: Usually at our shows, after performing, people just come up and say, “I’ve never seen anything like that before, that was really cool.” They’ll ask when we’re playing again, so they can see us more often. But, one time we did have a heckler. He said “sound check’s over” and some other things, just near the end of our set.

WS: I really don’t care what people think of it. I’m making music for personal reasons. Sometimes it grounds me, sometimes it’s a way for me to get my anger, my sadness, or my happiness out — I don’t care either way how the public takes it. But it’s a pleasant surprise when someone comes up to you and tell you that they do enjoy it. As for people who don’t, I ended up smoking outside with our one heckler after our set. We were joking around, he said “you basically just turn volume knobs” and I just said “yeah, and you paid to see the show.”

TH: Yeah, “you paid for our beer tonight.”

WS: So, we take it light-heartedly, and I think it’s funny. There’s a realization that what we like, other people may not like, and it doesn’t really affect me, or the band. And I kind of appreciate a heckler more than someone who’ll just say “nice set” or “that was interesting.”

MB: Well, if we’re playing a more drone-oriented set, it will indeed look mostly like we’re just adjusting knobs and pressing pedals. To a general audience, that’s visually uninteresting, and to someone who isn’t even into that kind of music that’s just meaningless to them. But if we’re playing a well-rounded set, we’ll overlap a variety of styles and sounds — it’ll be dynamic and interesting, even on a visual level. But even our most interesting stuff could beckon hecklers, simply because they just want to see the other rock bands on the bill. It could be worse for those people, they could be watching three dudes on laptops.

WS: For me, it’s just great to go out on a night, be out and play, have a couple of beers with our friends for free. When we started this band, we never asked the question of who we’re playing to. We never thought people would be interested. It’s just a surprise that they are, so we’re happy, and we’ll reap the benefits.

INB4TRACK:
Noise and ambient musicians are notorious for being prolific, often releasing multiple albums and sometimes more within a year. It is obviously important to remain consistent in releasing material in this scene but would you say that there should be a balance between the quality and quantity of what is being put out? With that said what is your process like in determining what does and does not make the cut?

WS: We record every single time we play, more or less. We have a backlog of recordings. Sometimes they go un-listened, but we’re getting a lot better at listening back these days. We are striving towards listening to every show we play. Listening back to your own recordings is one of the most beneficial things you can do. We don’t even have to talk anymore — we listen, we analyze. We know how to fix ourselves; we know how to fix the each other. For the recordings we put out, it’s usually Myles who listens to a lot of the stuff, and he will come and let us know what he likes. Then we’ll all whittle it down. He picks “the hits.”

TH: He’s the one that listens to absolutely everything.

WS: He weeds it out and then we’ll all have conversations, sometimes heated ones. We’ll think of what we actually really like. Do I think everything we’ve released has been golden? No. But I think in this style of music there will be jams that have a really good energy. There may be a minute here or there that I’m not happy with, but overall it’s the right decision to release. We also select democratically. If two people are into it, the third can veto. Sometimes the third person will give it more thought, and it will go through.

MB: There are moments where I don’t think it’ll sound right, in that the dynamics or the levels are a little off, and you kind of just have to deal with the odd moments like that. Even more so when you record how we’ve done most of our stuff — with a Zoom H1. We can’t re-record them, it just doesn’t work like that, and there’s little you can do with editing. But the performances matter. It comes down to: does this represent us as a band? When we pick something, is it appropriate? That’s why we moved from something like “Nocturnal Reveries” to “Luminous Debris.” The whole point was that we had this jam, then this live show shortly after, and both performances had all these motifs and on the whole they complemented each other and were worth listening to together.

TH: It sort of shows off our process.

MB: It was an early move to do that [a partially live album], but I felt it was an appropriate one. I wanted to get it out there, I have an archival impulse. It was a breaking point in what we were doing, I think. That’s why we put out “Squab” so early, too, in that it captures so well how sounded at the time.

WS: Also, upon selecting tracks, as we go through them for our next few releases, it will be our best material but also what’s very different. We’re never going to release the same thing, it’s always the most unusual thing that can take us to a new place.

MB: At this point we don’t all live under the same roof. There’s less jamming, which means less recording, and therefore less listening material to sort through. It gives the jams room to breathe, and therefore it gives us a lot more focus. None of our albums were recorded as albums, they were just jams. We could release more, we were pretty close to, but we feel content with what we have. We don’t need to capture us as we go all-out for a set’s worth of material as one continuous jam, recorded on a Zoom H1, and sort through it later. What we’re interested in currently is using actual studio recording equipment. There’s been a few sessions, and some experiments in limitations. We can explore different combinations of what we have at our disposal and find a way to construct a statement with it. That’s a new way to express ourselves to an audience.

Pigeon Breeders released their second album Luminous Debris on Ramshackle Day Parade on August 22nd.

Links:

Tumblr: pigeonbreeders.tumblr.com

Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/pigeonbreeders

Bandcamp: pigeonbreeders.bandcamp.com

Facebook: facebook.com/pigeonbreeders

-Tyler Thompson

[willscott] – willscott… recordings

will scott... recordings [disc one]

When I was first informed of Edmonton, Alberta noise / drone trio, Pigeon Breeders I never imagined that this small town in Canada actually had stable place for other acts dabbling in the likes of experimental music until I checked out the 2012 Ramshackle Day Parade comp. which featured a solid collection of acts from the area and surrounding areas, the likes of which included musician, Will Scott, one of the members in Pigeon Breeders whose guitar oriented solo compositions draw from a number of influences and span a vast array of styles taking mainly from psychedelic, blues, and progressive rock and repurposing them into experimental and sometimes noisy electronic infused compositions that retain the catchy aspects of their contemporaries while branching out into newer territory.

The first disc in this two disc release can be seen as the more cohesive or realized set of songs whereas the second disc is more of a collection of short experimental sounds and compositions, “b-sides” and extras. Both discs do maintain a similar sound, although disc two does branch out a bit more, playing around with noisier sounds (‘3ree’, along with the inclusion of more irregular rhythms and unorthodox song structures that take queues from the angular playing of early math rock band such as Don Cabellero (‘Our Home Is Next…’, ‘No Love’) while some remind me of that Matt Stevens album that I reviewed last year taking from and meshing together a number of styles (‘Maybe and Sometimes’, ‘Funkin Ugly’).

While the first disc does provide a clear direction I actually prefer the diversity of the songs on the second disc. It’s pretty clear to me that ‘Recordings’ most successful attributes is it’s ability to appeal to a diverse audience. Even with the more straightforward efforts heard on the first disc each song provides a strong amount of variation with abstract pieces such as “Lonely Ground”, a track that sets itself apart starting off with guitars and “Ooohs and Ahhhs” that build to a climax before panning out and picking up with this directionless discordant noise. Although out of place among an album full of guitar based songs the track never sounds like it doesn’t belong. Even though [willscott] is primarily considered a solo project Scott is joined by a number of guest musicians who contribute the likes of guitar, vocals, lyrics, drums, bass, samples electronic embellishments, etc. that bring a sense of character where it would likely be lacking. While some of the songs are instrumental many do feature vocals and lyrics on tracks such as “The Saga Continues” from the likes as Elissa Cook whose voice soars above driving guitars and arena sized drums that gives this track a huge amount of space. ‘This Is What It Sounds Like To Record In A Cave’ and ‘Phatty Beats Bruce and Old Man Johnson” offer this free-form “frame of mind” style vocals reminiscent of rapping that strangely reminds me of experimental hip-hop group, cLOUDDEAD or even (dare I say) Beck. Initially one might think that all of this might be overwhelming but even with all of this variation it still works as a cohesive album.

The production is unreal, at times sounding like some strange lost alien blues jams. The drums are bold and cut through the mix without detracting from other aspects of the music and although the guitars are loaded with an arsenal of effects they don’t water down the tone and prove to be necessary as oppose to just being another addition to the sound. It is clear that every aspect of instrumentation on ‘Recordings’ was payed equal attention to but this projects biggest accomplishment is not only this ear for a great sound. Where musicians who have emulated a style of music from the past in this way tend to go wrong is in their pursuit to take the strong points of their various influences and combine them together as one. In doing this they push aside the possibility of using their influences to create something original and are left with this soup of sounds whose ingredients don’t mix so well. In an attempt to spice things up they continue to add additional flavors which aren’t as palatable together as they would be if they were left alone. I realize this is a terrible and overused metaphor, one that is just as bad as any band reusing past sounds but where [willscott] makes a difference is these sounds aren’t reused but repurposed and formed into something unique in its own respect without bothering to “pay homage” to earlier sounds but rather using these old sounds to do something new.

At the end of two discs of material there really is something for everyone to be heard here; if you don’t like one song on this release it’s likely that there will be a track among these two discs that will resonate. ‘Willscott… Recordings’ may be composed mainly of rock songs centralized around instruments traditionally found in rock music but this isn’t just another throwback retro-revival act. What is heard on ‘Recordings’ is an amount of experimentation that would not typically be expected or initially wanted on your standard rock album but is nonetheless encouraged because this is not your standard rock album and although it isn’t entirely new it is a carefully thought out coming together of influences and ideas that worked well separately in the past and sound great as a whole in the present. Do check this out.

Overall Rating: 8.4

Favorite Tracks: ‘SOS Fest Sucked This Year…’, ‘The Saga Continues’, ‘This Is What It Sounds Like To Record In A Cave’, ‘Happy Ending’, ‘Our Home Is Next…’

Recommended: Check out the Ramshackle Day Parade net-label.

Released: 04 December 2011

Links:

http://willscott.bandcamp.com/

-Tyler Thompson

Pigeon Breeders – Luminous Debris

Pigeon Breeders are a three-piece band from Edmonton, Alberta who you may remember from a review I did of their first release, Nocturnal Reveries, an album that brought together minimalist electroacoustic noise and thick walls of psychedelic drone. The latest release entitled ‘Luminous Debris’, a two part epic that continues to see the band move along familiar territory while progressing and pushing the boundaries of their sound.

Noise and experimental music in general have always been about improvising, at least in some aspects and Pigeon Breeders style of noise embodies the spirit of improvised sound. The group’s style of noise is psychedelic, trance inducing even but do take note, this isn’t psychedelic in the traditional sense so put away your shitty weed, your fractal youtube videos, and forget about The Flaming Lips. Pigeon Breeders brand of psychedelic is more meditative and a lot more noisy than what the word psychedelic entails.

Pigeon Breeders approach to drone and noise is more of an organic effort than most favoring the use of the electroacoustic noise of non-instruments and the exploitation of common instruments such as the reappropriation of the guitar, turning it into something more or less a device of noise making as oppose to a tool used to create music . If you are into drone and noise and this just sounds too out there for your tastes dont worry the band still implements some musicality into their performance which I would be so bold as to say the trio possesses traits similar to that of post-rock music, not so much the sound that is but the structure. The band’s post-rock tendencies aren’t so upfront, they never have been but still, their sound is created on behalf of each members contribution even if slight, they feed off of each other in this push pull kind of relationship where many of their tracks begin as these free-form jam session-like compositions in which each member of the band tends to bring a piece to the table and slowly build up into a crescendo or some sort of community of sound. At this point it isn’t about the technical prowess of an individual musician, I was never picking out passages from any one specific instrument that I enjoyed while listening to this. It is about the indication of something much larger that each musician’s sole contribution helps to create.

If you heard and enjoyed what ‘Nocturnal Reveries’ had to offer then Luminous Debris is sure to please. Each member’s offering, even if it is a minimal contribution serves as a crucial piece in creating these noisy soundscapes and proves that the musicians that make up Pigeon Breeders are surely masters of the improvised craft.

Overall Rating: 7.8

Favorite Tracks:

Recommended: Emeralds and Yellow Swans

Released: 22 August 2012

Links:

Listen to the new album via Bandcamp

Ramshackle Day Parade

-Tyler Thompson

Balmy – Metaverse

Mataverse is the first release by producer Balmy, formally known as Atmosfear.

So I used to have this problem a long while back with listening to instrumental hip-hop and strictly beat oriented music in general. The biggest problem for me was attempting to maintain an interest, not becoming bored with what you are given; that being these linear constructions that I felt would so easily be made listenable with some raps thrown in overtop. Musician’s such as Flying Lotus and Blockhead were some of the first that turned me on to instrumental hip-hop mostly due to their listenability, the idea of hearing their music as established pieces that I could feel involved in and draw emotion from. As musicians their instrumentals seemed to pull everything together allowing me to hear it as more than just a nice background jam which is exactly what Balmy has done for me as well. ‘Metaverse’ is a twelve track collection of tranquil and pretty beats built on samples, lush synth patterns and great compositional arrangements that is experimental and nonlinear enough to listen to as is while still containing enough versatility for ambitious rappers to attempt to spit over. These psychedelic arrangements of pretty synths and sequences of downtempo jazz and hip-hop are perfect easy listening.

The smoothness that the album starts out with is maintained masterfully throughout making for an easy and relaxing listen that shows Balmy knows how to create a good vibe and just stick with it throughout. Even though the music is dominantly downtempo it goes without saying there are plenty of great bleeps, bloops, and unconventional noises to keep you entertained during a number of relaxing events, whether it be just lounging around with your friends, going to sleep, or just listening. All of the tracks remain at a steady pace all ranking in at under 4 minutes, a good length that ensures things don’t get boring.

‘Old Hall’ is a track brimming with tons of spacey futuristic sounds that is truly a treat for the ears. Tracks such as ‘Woob’, ‘Space Cruise’, and ‘Space Lounge’ have this old dusty record feel that harbors a sense of nostalgia and sounds like they would fit right at home playing during an Adult Swim bump. All of the tunes feature samples derived from traditional instruments which makes it hard not to get caught up in trying to analyze every aspect of the music and the sounds sampled to create it; these quick snippets of guitars, orchestral instruments, bells and chimes, all so warm and familiar. It happens so quick that it is almost subliminal but at the same time you don’t not want to pay attention.

An impressive album full of enjoyable mellow tunes that although sounds like you may have heard this before (Cosmogramma) you’ll definitely want to hear it again… and again and keep hearing it just to be able to digest it all. If you’re into Flying Lotus or Long Arm this will be a treat.

Overall rating: 8.3

Favorite Track: ‘Protura’, ‘Old Hall’

Recommended: Flying Lotus and Long Arm.

Released: 06 February 2012

Links: Mellow out on Bandcamp

Redntoothnclaw

2gi – Cartello Fiorentino

After 26 years living in the Third World, I’m moving to LA next April. I guess this is my chance to finally actually understand electronic music, if I’m not too old for that already.

What I don’t get is this: I thought people were supposed to dance to electronic music. I had listened to Stockhausen and other strange stuff (some kind of early masters of electronic music compilation I downloaded in the eMule times), so yeah I knew that at least not always, but when listening to pop electronic music I thought people were supposed to dance to it. My previous experience with Pitchfork-recommended electronic seemed to vouch for this.

It doesn’t seem like it anymore. At the same time that I stopped reading Pitchfork, I started to get in contact with all of this crazy shit that can’t possibly be danceable. It’s a whole experiment with the infinite possible sounds you can music with, I suppose, and the whole thing has so many subgenres at any given moments that 1) it seems like anyone can come up with another crazy genre, and 2) no one really cares if people are dancing to it.

Fuck if I care. I don’t dance to shit so this crazy electronic music should be right up my alley. The problem is, is this ever performed live? Do people sit around carefully listening to it in some kind of classroom somewhere? Are they so drugged up that they could dance to anything, and thus dance to this stuff?

Fuck if I care. So I just: 1)  listen to this stuff and write down my opinion, judging it as a purely aesthetic experience; 2) ?; 3) profit.

Which brings me to 2gi’s Cartello Fiorentino, the crazy electronic shit I have most recently carefully listened to.

My opinion is that it is completely insane. I’ve listened to experimental psychedelic music and the idea behind it was always to kind of feel strange. But oh no for these electronic musicians this is not the point. The most absolutely batshit crazy stuff is just normal to them. They start with the batshit crazy and then they add Italian vocal samples to it. Not crazy enough? Add glitch sounds, that will do. Don’t ever keep a synth sounding the same for more than 30 seconds, you gotta have 100 different synths in each song. That will do it alright. Sounds come in and out for the one and only time, everything changes according to them, and then everything goes berserk with yet another beat that comes up out of the blue.

So yeah this album is pretty cool. There’s an incredible amount of effort behind it and a very cohese style. It’s like a concept album at that, really. You really feel it’s some strange mind’s best effort at making music that is so insane, insanity becomes the norm and stops being strange altogether. I like it. As for the genre, I name it “badass glitch psychedelic with italian samples”, this album being the best the genre has produced.

-Carpeaux

Dementia & Hope Trails – Parts of the Sea I & II

Dementia & Hope Trails is the solo project of prolific experimental musician Justin Marc Lloyd. Justin has performed in a multitude of bands and projects and has been releasing a constant stream of visual and musical content for some time.

Some people will argue that the idea of consistently releasing material comes at the expense of said material lacking in quality. At times this theory does prove to be true, especially when taking into account the tradition of productivity that is so abundant in musical circles such as drone, ambient, and noise which have been made all so susceptible to these accusations. Fortunately, Dementia & Hope Trails proves these accusations wrong; given the amount of content and even more so the quality of it ‘Parts of the Sea’ holds it’s own rather well. The first part of this double album features six tracks while the second half are three much lengthier racks, two of which reach past the 20 minute mark with the entire album coming to a nearly whopping two hours. Because of this I think it is important to keep in mind that like many other drone and ambient projects this is an album that is best experienced in one full uninterrupted listen (mood lighting optional).

Like any good piece of epic work, whether it be literature, film, or in this case music it is careful to begin things slowly which is apparent in the first track. Track two starts to pick the music up; ‘We Sent Hearts Soaring’ is a massive, beautiful soundscape brimming with the normal lush ambient swells, spacey echoes, and a catalogue of many other strange, uncommon, and ethereal sounds that make for a lush but calm track.

Another standout track, “Hazy Love Drifting Down A River” airy washes of slow moving chords flood over the listener. Eventually it all builds into a loud monolithic construction, intensely so, although not in such a way that it is unlistenable or intrusively noisy but in a self-liberating way that is not so structurally different from a Godspeed! crescendo. While listening, getting lost in the dense clutter of sound it is hard to forget that all of this is being created on the spot and when it comes to improvisation, proper attention to detail is crucial in not ruining the delicate pace and tonal atmospheric qualities of what one is attempting to accomplish. There are plenty of laid back repetitious moments as to be expected but Justin does well in making sure not to bore the listener making sure to implement a good deal of recognizable sounds and by that I mean sounds that actually sound like they are being made with an instrument.

Justin’s colorful visual aesthetic transfers over in his music, sometimes to the point of being saturated in a colorful palette of sound. Seas of shimmering reverb, crushing slabs of psychedelic noise, organ-esque synth tones, and cascading volume swells that seem to go on forever all add to the complexly layered construction of these songs. Some of the textures on ‘Still Replaying’ are so vibrant and colorful that it makes it hard to believe that ‘Parts of the Sea’ was completely improvised all in a single take on guitar with no overdubs when it was recorded. Some of the songs actually sound like they were composed, written out prior to being recorder. The sounds on these albums are like tearing into a pack of gummy worms, they’re colorful and delicious except in this case the gummy worms last nearly two hours and are the size of a mountain. Maybe that was a bad analogy…

‘Sunflower’, which is probably the most progressive track on the album in that it is constantly evolving and building to a climax. Although it ranks in as the second longest track at 24 minutes it is possibly the most accessible piece of music on the album. Although I feel that ‘Sunflowers’ is probably the best track (my personal favorite at least) I do feel that the guitars may be a little too trebly, especially for a track that lasts 24 minutes. Sometimes it can be grating for those who are not as familiar with noisier elements in ambient music, especially taking into account the recording style which sometimes contains peaks in volume. There are so many sounds on this sprawling epic of a release that it calls for multiple listens in order to fully digest the product of something so expansive. The final and longest track, “I Miss You, Don’t Fall Asleep Yet” is a cathartic journey of transcendental ambience and psychedelic noise. It eventually mellows out into a looping state of modulated drones. As the track continues more guitar tones get thrown into the mix of the composition building off of each other, reverberating and echoing up to the end of the album where distant vocals can be heard singing the title of the song.

As much as I just want to praise this album and not say anything negative about it, ‘Parts of the Sea’ is not free of it’s shortcomings. Although I cannot respect the spirit of this style of music and the improvised nature of it enough, the fact that it was improvised is somewhat of a flaw. For being completely made up on the spot the music is great, more than great actually but I feel as though it is not fully realized. It makes me wonder what Justin could have done if he had recorded other tracks overtop of what he had or manipulated the end result in post-production. Choosing a recording style, especially one like this is a crucial decision that sometimes opens up possibilities and other times restrains the musician causing them to work around whatever negative aspects that come with it This is of course a very small flaw seeing that end result sounds like a realized piece of music and as I mentioned previously, some parts of the album actually sound like they were written prior to recording as though they wren’t improvised at all.

The album starts off simple enough, some pretty ambient soundscapes, nothing out of the ordinary for ambient music but then everything takes a left turn and about halfway through the second track you realize that you are on a very different kind of ride, something so different and futuristic that it will surely take more than one listen to digest. It is all constantly changing, always moving, seamlessly shifting, deconstructing and reconstructing itself in so many ways. At times is is soothing and at other times it is apocalyptic and frightening, a formula for an instant classic. ‘Parts of the Sea’ is always something different with each listen and is almost never uninteresting or boring. There is very little I can say about this negatively. This is surely the result of trial and error, passed time, hours of messing around, doing things wrong and not giving a fuck if it is correct in the normal sense of what is considered “right” in music; this is indeed the work of a musician who has nearly perfected his craft.

Overall rating: 9.8

Favorite Tracks: “I Miss You, Don’t Fall Asleep Yet”, “Hazy Love Drifting Down A River”, “We Sent Hearts Soaring And Sailing At The Same Time” “Sunflower”

Recommended: Similar to attempting to stay awake in a house full of carbon monoxide while consuming an overwhelming amount of candy and ultimately failing. Progressive and futuristic. A monolithic audible depiction of spacial and apocalyptic visions. In the “about” section of the Facebook page it describes the music as being like “if This Will Destroy You actually destroyed itself”.

Links: 

Violent Threads

Justin Marc Lloyd

Facebook Fan Page

Click the links below to download both parts for free:

Part of the Sea I

Parts of the Sea II

-Redntoothnclaw

Carpeaux – Black Magic

With the godly Carpeaux, I ensured him that I would review his album a while back so here it is:

If anyone were to listen to this album on their first take they would wonder if there was a story book meant for this epic tale.  At the same time the guitars have the feel and the sounds from a lot of early Hendrix recordings of Black Magic with some wild flaying around.  But at the same time it’s got this nice math rock you would hear out of Tool or Muse (which I’m sure he hates both groups).  Overall the album has got a single trance like feel running through the entire album.  Almost would be perfect album to listen to drunk in a dark room so then your imagination could build up and listen in depth to the album.  The Vocals are dark deep and meaningful but too deep for me.

Best track on the album:

Gilgamesh, fifth king of Uruk: Such a powerful creation that needs to be listened to either live or at 100db minimum.  With a power swinging bass line and a flaying guitar, vocals that come from the deep depths of the sea, only a king could deny his rights into a kingdom of soloist’s with this track.

Download the album for free through this link     http://carpeaux.bandcamp.com/album/black-magic

Rekapper Overall Rating: 9.876/10