Jul 28, 2009

ilyas ahmed

Portland, OR. bedroom wanderer Ilyas Ahmed emerges from the shadows and offers up his first new batch of songs in some time. Over a year in the making, ‘Goner’ sees Ahmed telescoping his previous acoustic wanderings into fuzzed out rockers and a hypnotic set of beautifully tight knit nocturnes. The whole things kicks off with a massive rush to the head called ‘Earn Your Blood’ which has Ilyas effortlessly channeling any number of stoned out trajectories found in a Topanga Canyon ditch circa mid 70’s. Massive waves of hiss still penetrate the mix, and so do the smeared vocal trails, it’s just that it’s all a little more in focus this time around. The comedown into ‘Exit Twilight’ with Grouper at the helm is a haunting broadcast that will for sure knock around in your skull for days. Edition of 1000 CD's in an offset buff case with maroon ink.

Warm tape distortion casts a little grime over the jangling arrangements, with Ahmed's swirling acoustic and electric guitars taking up the most space in the mix, providing a bluesy lynchpin for the recordings.organic percussion and filtered out vocals also adorn these songs, but you get the impression that Ahmed is first and foremost a guitarist - certainly that's how the album's been mixed, and it's always great to hear such a florid and accomplished musician rising out of the lo-fi dirge of underground Americana. With great songs like 'Some Of None' and 'Love After Love' Ahmed proves himself as a writer in the traditional mode, while 'As Another' finds him in Loren Connors mode, taking off with ether-dwellng lead guitars and spine-tingling, weightless melancholy. boomkat

Jul 17, 2009

sir richard bishop

Listen through
Sir Richard Bishop's six readily available solo albums, and you get the picture that the worldview of the former Sun City Girls’ guitarist is not only complex, but also more than a little ambiguous. What exactly is Richard Bishop? A dealer in the exotic? A dabbler in esoteric mysticism? A “traveling salesman”? The Freak of Araby doesn’t make Bishop’s worldview any simpler for us, but it does clarify it some. He is, first and foremost, a traveler, picking up inspiration as he roams, but he is also a worshiper at the altar of the guitar, occasionally himself transforming into a guitar hero/idol.

On The Freak of Araby that challenge is the guitar styling of Omar Khorshid, an Egyptian-born guitarist and composer of music for film. After a period of immersion in Khorshid’s music, Bishop recorded a handful of standards from the Arabic world alongside a few from his own pen. Playing exclusively on electric guitar again and with a bare-bones band (bass guitar, drum kit and hand percussion), Bishop does his best to inhabit Khorshid’s spirit, eschewing any extended soloing in favor of concise variations on simple, sensual themes, some of them Morricone-like in their directness and memorability (...)

Bishop’s interpretations of standards little known in the West are enlightening and his originals a nice complement, but they feel a little dry at times, even flat. One would’ve wished for more of the adventure he shows on pieces like “Taqasim for Omar,” a brilliant solo feature, or the delay-pedal and reverb orgy of “Sidi Mansour,” a piece that reaches for the same psychedelic excess Khorshid could unleash. In this case, a little less tribute and a little more irreverence would have been very welcome.

Sir Richard Bishop prosigue su andadura de fingerpicking aventurero, despojado de ataduras y convencionalismos. The Freak of Araby, se desenvuelve en
intrincadas melodías enraizadas en el middle-east. Junto a Rasheed Al-Qahira a la guitarra, Mohammed Bandari y Abdulla Basheem a la percusión y Ahmed Sharif al bajo, Bishop revisiona el folclore egipcio, marroquí y libanés, a Omar Khorshid, a Peter Walker, a Robbie Basho, hay ecos del pasado, terrenos fronterizos, psicodelia. Resulta sorprendente su habilidad para moverse en la tradición y dejar señas de su espirítu insólito y único. El mejor disco del ex-Sun City Girls, atrapado en 'Blood Stained Sands' y la maravillosa 'Solenzara'.

Jul 15, 2009

beth jeans houghton

Newcastle-based singer-songwriter Beth Jeans Houghton is only 18-years old, yet this single suggests a far more mature talent. The beautifully knitted together harmonies of 'Golden' bring to mind Josephine Foster (albeit with the 'mad old lady with too many cats' vibes toned down) and it's a superior piece of acoustic songcraft all round. 'Night Swimmer' keeps the densely woven vocals but favours glistening tuned percussion over guitar, lending a sense of breadth to Houghton's music and suggesting she's got a few more tricks up her sleeve than your run-of-the-mill troubadour.

En espera del disco, la jovencita Beth regresa con otro 7'', esta vez para Static Caravan y 500 copias que ya han volado. Tan sólo dos canciones en las que continúa en la senda de trovadora nocturna de su primer ep, son la
brillante y preciosa 'Golden' y una inspirada y aventurera 'Night Summer'. Entre Joanna Newsom y Vashti Bunyan e incluso como dicen en Boomkat a una Josephine Foster en baja frecuencia. Cada vez me gusta más, habrá que añadirla a la lista de imperdibles féminas.

Os dejo este
golden y su primer y homónimo Ep que ya estuvo en f. aquí.

Jul 9, 2009

sand snowman

sand snowman - two way mirror (tonefloat, 2009)

Like a beautiful trilogy with a comparable compositional concept this is the third LP reissue (now also on a mini-double LP sleeve CD). The backing vocalists are Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Jason Ninnis and Moonswift. The whole album sounds like a well thought over large composition in different sections and with a natural, semi-improvisational nature. The mood brings you in an eternal timeless atmosphere where everything seems to disappear except sound and its visions expressed in time and harmony signatures. The acoustic guitar (or two) lead more often these quiet themes, while distant electrified guitars bring textures and confirm the feeling of being at that time in a bubble in space. When piano is added, this can change into a contemporary classical atmosphere, as something of a 20s 30s time adventurous perspective. Sometimes this piano is quiet as well. The intensity of this meditative different time-perspective can be intense in its minimal character, while textures surrounds and before like on one part other elements appear, when a voice comes in at a certain point it sounds as if this is a cello part for a classical composition. The whole music unfolds like colours seen from a drifting boat. But also songs are added or better said are part of the transformation of moods. Harmony vocals, flute arrangements all are able to become part of this expression.

Another rather brilliant album, from a highly recommended pair of three.