Tome to the Weather Machine Podcast 033

On this latest episode of the Tome we dip into ambient music that is both beautiful and tension-filled, free/freak jazz btw of Thollem/Clouser/Chase trio, sedated bedroom experimentalism and then straight into the noise-blasts of Lana Del Rabies before closing out the episode back where we started from. 

David newlyn - "church fires (excerpt)" church fires (polar seas)

When churches catch fire do the plumes of smoke rise like incense? Or can we assume that god let his guard down in protecting private property from communal damage? Either way, David Newlyn's work for his second on Polar Seas is all alight and ascension. Breaking through rafters and snapping wooden beams in its attempt to find release. Subtle shifts in sound like holy ghosts shivering in the fire.  

Hotel Neon - "Unseen Landscapes" Means of Knowing (Archives)

The ambient trio consisting of the Brothers’ Tasselmyer (other coverage includes Gray Acres and Andrew Tasselmyer’s solo output) have released a near perfect ambient record – placid and glacial enough to garner all sorts of SOTL or Kyle Bobby Dunn comparisons while additional instrumental accoutrements  press in from the edges. Distortion-bending tones, human voices, gently plunked piano keys make fleeting, but distinct, appearances until they are pulled back into the creeping fog of drone.

Tapes and Topographies - "Shivers" Opiates (Simulacra)

On the Dallas, TX ambient artist's latest CD aptly titled "Opiates", acoustic instrumentation is pushed well below a thick aural haze only to resurface in strange half-lights of themselves. The very edge of audible contours of the source is heard. Pianos become mechanical clunks, or scrapes of fabric against a contact mic. It's a medicated fuzz that feels like interacting with everything using oven mitts. 

Thollem / Clouser / Chase - "It's a Drab" Dub Narcotic Session II (Personal Archives)

For this followup to their session at Calvin Johnson's Dub Narcotic studio, the trio are back to covering an insane amount of ground within a relatively short period of time. The trio consists of Thollem - permatour pianist and frequent collaborator of well-known out artists - Todd Clouser - lauded guitarist and total gut-check of technique and tonal mastery - and Brian Chase - drummer, collaborator and member of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. The trio move from spacious, careful treading to pure hive-and-swarm attacks on melody and resonance. I'm so happy that something like this exists. 

Sparkling Wide Pressure - "Staying Awake" In the Stream (Quiet Bedrooms)

Frank Baugh's Sparkling Wide Pressure has been releasing understated bedroom experimentation between hushed, shuffling folk and wildly, self-actualized abstract compositions for the past 10 years. On his latest for the Toronto-based Quiet Bedrooms - Baugh holds both of these aspects of his music in hard tension. Creating soft melodies and allowing his lo-fi experiments of tone, noise and controlled chaos make their incisions into the fabric of the song leading a path towards clear-minded synthesis.

ikjoyce - "pavor nocturnus" selene (naviar records)

The UK based sound-artist and drone-wrangler has created something inherently born and living in the deepest shadows of a moonless night. Not that this crosses any line into "dark ambient" but certainly "Pavor Nocturnus" rides that edge of ambient tones fading into the black instead of an upward celestial pull. It's tension-holding music for sure, a place right between your shoulder blades is where you hold it. 

lana del rabies - "devour" shadow world (deathbomb arc)

There is a viscousness to Lana Del Rabies noise-pop songs. Not so much a vindictiveness but a righteous anc clear-eyed anger that burns through the hole-searing distortion that announces "Devour". North of Cincinnati there is a mall that is 98 % abandoned save a dollar movie theater and arcade and holdout Chinese food restaurant. I was there one night when, unexpectedly, a group of men began to play the shofar in unison. This is the second most dread-inducing introduction I've heard. Lana Del Rabies may be one of the most vital artists working right now. 

Robert Farrugia & Roman Willi - "Chimes" Melting Snow (Mensch)

And to end on a forgiving note we turn to the Malta based ambient artist Robert Farrugia and Switzerland-based Roman Willi. The collaborative album hits right in that sweet spot golden-ratio drone that settles into the air like moisture collects on your skin after a heavy summer rain. We've made it out of abandoned malls and are just starting to head north where the houses are further apart and the trees become thicker.

June 11th, 2018