D: I’m looking at the stack of stuff we’re going to talk about and I am noticing an absence this time round of certain records, or styles, that I am particularly fond of. I am worried about the lack of brash super-volume riff-monster guitar and backbeat. C: Well D, the way I look at it is: We certainly can’t review everything that we come across—who has the energy for that? And we can’t even cover everything that’s obviously worthy—there’s just not enough space. So it’s a bit down to what most interests us at the moment. As Allen Ginsberg pointed out, “Mark Van Doren used to write book reviews for the Herald Tribune and almost every one of the reviews was intelligent and sympathetic; he was always talking about something absolutely marvelous. I said, ‘What do you do with a book you don’t like?’ and he said, ‘Why should I waste my time writing about something I’m not interested in?’” And anyways, don’t worry. There’s some riffs on the way.
Mountains Sewn (Apestaartje) D: [Listening to “Sewn One”] Hmm… Could it be the mighty Growing? C: Close, but no cigar. This is Mountains, a duo from New York who I only recently became aware of because Mr. Plastic Crimewave selected them to play at his 2 Million Tongues festival. Their second album. A nice electrical nature hum. I’ve also been hanging out recently in the mountains, so I feel a special affection for them automatically. D: An orchestral shower with the warm drone reminiscent of Herr Klaus Schulze on the synthesizer. C: And then, little acoustic guitar lines and horn tones, foregrounded, or deeply backgrounded. It’s pretty great isn’t it? Total mama nature kids in a low-wattage electronic garden. Reminds me of what Ginsberg’s “great peaceful lovebrain” would sound like, slowly comfortably spinning drifting slowly in eternal wombspace. An alternate soundtrack to Silent Running‘s opening sequence, or a lost instrumental Talk Talk aria… D: You’ve been on quite a Ginsberg kick lately. C: [smiles beatifically] Why bother to paraphrase already perfectly put words of wisdom? I say quotate away til we have something new to say… I like to listen to this at Arthur HQ with the windows and front door open, hoping birds will fly by or neighborhood animals will walk in, and we can all be at peace together, for once… Of course, it’s also useful to drown out the car alarms and sirens and lawnmowers and leafblowers and helicopters. It’s not sentimental flashy hot leftbrain human, not cold technical rightbrain robot: strictly ahuman, objective in a naturalist’s sense.
Citay Citay (Important) C: Continuing in the rural mode… D: Psychedelic canyon and meadow music such was made in ye olde ’70s! [starts air guitaring to closing ascending twin electric guitar line of “Seasons Don’t Fear the Year”] C: They’re really nailing that rich acoustic-electric rolling tabla honey harmony sound that all those heavy bands—Sabbath and Zeppelin, especially—used to do, back when all the best musicians were inspired by what the Incredible String Band were doing, and were still able (or willing) to express a feminine side to go with their preening barbarian or depressive wail aspects… D: [reminisces] When the maidens were fair and wore flowers in their hair instead of covering themselves in tattoos and piercings. I am awaiting Sandy Denny’s entrance at any moment. C: Total “Battle of Evermore” vibe, especially on “Nice Cuffs.” D: Nice title. I also like this one: “What Never Was and What Should Have Been.” C: More like “What Always Is and Will Ever Be.” This is an album without a sell-by date, with a song for every season. D: [listening to “Shalom of Safed”] Monumental. Like the best parts of Deep Purple and the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd. C: Making music for horse-drawn sledrides thru the driving snow to the lodge in the distance, where pale ale and a fireplace and friends are… D: [10 minutes later] Was that all one song?
ANOTHER WAREHOUSE FIND: We’ve got 55 copies left of this sweetie and then it’s gone forever.
This beautifully sequenced, far-ranging album commemorates the second annual Plastic Crimewave-curated, Galactic Zoo Dossier/Arthur-presented “Million Tongues” festival that went down at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, November 3-6, 2005.
1. MOUNTAINS – “Speaking”
2. NO NECK BLUES BAND – “Pulse”
3. MIMINOKOTO – “Tokedasu”
4. TIM KINSELLA & AMY CARGILL – “Song for Josh”
5. MICHAEL CHAPMAN – “The Northern Lights”
6. JOSEPHINE FOSTER – “Wondrous Love”
7. CHRIS CONNELLY – “Pray’r”
8. PEARLS AND BRASS – “Waterfall”
9. TRAVELING BELL – “Apparitions”
10. THE SINGLEMAN AFFAIR – “Good to Be With You Again”
11. JACK ROSE – “Hey Fuck You Rag”
12. TAR PET – “Takeit Heri”
13. BIRDSHOW – “Pilz”
14. TONY CONRAD – “Bowstring 1”
15. HOTOTOGISU – “Blues for Steve K”
16. HAPTIC – “Indifference -> Building On Fire”
17. LUX – “Need Fade In + Out”
18. HARDSCRABBLE – “Sail It Away”
Track selection, art and lettering by Plastic Crimewave. Limited edition of 1,000 copies in jewelcase, released through Arthur’s “Bastet” imprint in 2005. 55 copies left and then they’re all gone!
Arthur Radio is moving from daytime into nighttime, now broadcasting live every Sunday from 9-11pm EST on Newtown Radio. This past Sunday we spelunked our way into the new slot, feeling our way blindly through the cavernous darkness until our purple-hued blacklights hit upon a a sparkling formation of phosphorescent rocks. We decided to sit for awhile and rest in their glow, listening as intermittent drops of water fell from nearby stalactites, echoing endlessly along the ancient limestone corridors from which we came…
Like we said before, these treesitters are HEROES. We were really just kidding around about the tunes, but this video has some jams from HELLA and it’s totally great. Thanks to SPAZ at http://www.climategroundzero.org for the update. Don’t let the bastards get you down! Sit strong for real.
The National Film Board of Canada was founded in 1939 in part as a way to distribute World War II propaganda throughout the Great White North, but went on to become a bastion for experimental animation, “socially relevant documentaries” and other film projects “which provoke discussion and debate on subjects of interest to Canadian audiences and foreign markets.” In particular the NFB is known for producing some of the dreamiest nature documentaries of modern times — it’s where Boards of Canada got their name and a lot of their soft-focus naturalist vibes. And now the NFB has started posting their library of films online.
A lot of these docs are wordless montages of natural imagery accompanied by droning Eno/Tangerine Dream-style synthesizer soundtracks — our favorite so far is William Canning’s 26-minute short Temples of Time (1971), described by the NFB as follows:
A mountain is a living thing; it has an ecological balance, a process of evolution manifested in slow, subtle ways; but it is also subject to the ravages of human intervention. Filmed in the Canadian Rockies and in Garibaldi Park, this picture brings to the screen magnificent footage of mountain solitudes and the wildlife found there, of natural splendor in all its changing moods. The film carries the implicit warning that all this may pass away if people do not seek to preserve it.
Hook your computer up to your stereo for the full effect of Edward Kalehoff’s warbling synth drone soundtrack. Who needs to figure out the whole new digital TV upgrade chip whatever thing when we’ve got this treasure trove to explore? More to come …
Note: The NFB’s online library is brand new and still a little wonky from time to time. If the embedded Temples of Time isn’t working for you, go here to watch it on the NFB site.