Posts Tagged ‘blackest ever black’

Ashtray Navigations

The last Ash Nav album, A Shimmering Replica, dove into the kind of shimmering waves and whirlpool psychedelia that fills out their latest, but never to these depths. To Make A Fool Ask, And You Are The First stands at the edge of the wormhole and contemplates the inevitable plunge. Phil Todd, here with his oftentime collaborator Mel O’Dubhshlaine, boils Kosmiche in a manner that suggests he’s got a direct line to the cosmic source, foaming and frothing his way through synth nodes hard pressed to contain the oddly pulsing gamma waves that radiate from within. The two tip the scales into churning absolution well before they make it to a twenty minute closer that evaporates everything it touches into the cold ether of night.

Its been a banner year for some deep space synth tinkering, but even heavies like Hauschildt are having a hard time keeping up with the sonic salve that Phil Todd lays down in excess over two thick sides of aural quiver. That side-long closer on side two is no small feat, by the way, “Spray Two” starts out on the same sonic flood plane that the rest of the album visits, before sprinkling in doses of piano improvisation to the mix, taking the cold isolation of space to a more contemplative place and melding jazz to cosmic synth skillfully. The album is certainly a highlight for Ashtray Navigations, and in a catalog that’s admirably ambitious, it stands to push Todd’s vision further than ever before.




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People Skills – “89¢ Public Render”

It’s hard to pin down Jesse Dewlow’s sound under the name People Skills. He squirms from rock shadows to acoustic dirge over the course of his new album for Blackest Ever Black, all rendered half intelligible under a broken VHS veneer of faded sound glory that seems recorded in an oil barrel under the sea. He’s at his best, though, on the chaotic clatter of “89¢ Public Render,” a junkyard hymn of electronic thrum and buzzing guitar beamed through a b-movie asteroid belt that picks up some odd bits of chatter. He’s been honing a sound that’s desolate and dark for years and its coming to a head on the intriguing Gunshots at Crestridge.


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Ashtray Navigations – “Spray Two”

Last year Ashtray Navagations hit hard with their sprawling drone-psych record A Shimmering Replica. Now they’re back to hammer the psych nail even harder with To Make A Fool Ask, And You Are The First for the ever excellent Blackest Ever Black. The first taste from the record is a big one, the sprawling, side-long epic “Spray Two.” The track builds almost twenty minutes of pulsing, hazy dronescape flecked with piano improvisations. Screw releasing singles, Ashtray Nav knows when its time to drop a Tangerine Dream epoch on the public and let them sort out their headspace through glycerine tones and creeping dread. If the rest of this album stacks up (and I’m betting it might) this is definitely a force to be reckoned with in 2016.


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Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards – “…And I Tried So Hard”

The purposely elusive Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards returns to Blackest Ever Black for a new long player that from all indications will be a really interesting listen. The first track proper is a slinking bit of calm tranquility that builds on angelic synths and swirling bliss. The cut emerges from the gauzy vortex for some piano fragility that builds the runnout to euphoric heights. Its a gorgeous track that can’t help but lift your spirits, even just a little bit. As I said, from the sampler that BEB just put out for the rest of the album, it sounds like the rest will weave all over the place into a mash of delight and cacophony, which sounds just perfect. Excited for this full length to unfold over the next month.




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Tarquin Manek

Coming late to F ingers release, but thoroughly enjoying it, makes one think I’d be more on the ball with tangential offshoots as well but this solo release by Tarquin Manek slipped a listen until recently. Its a tightly wound ball of tension and an amicable mash of dub overtones laid through valleys of broken bone techno, noise experiments and a hauntological hall of mirrors. The tone on most of Tarquin Magnet is of menace lost beneath the floorboards and pounding like something from a Poe tome scratching at your temples to get out. Sounds bubble up from under six tons of murk and sea water, beaming alien beacons hoping to reach home but pinging endlessly into the blackness. Hauling out whatever instrumentation, or simply sound source, could fit – clarinet, keyboard, Dictaphone, mobile phone – Manek succeeds in crafting an album that is wholly not of this world, and barely a blip on the idea of music as means of seeking out joy. If there was ever an artist that embodied the ideal of Blackest Ever Black, this is the one. Pulling the needle is like breaking through the surface for some much needed air, leaving the rest of the album to feel like swimming for the light while the heft of water drags you down and the burning in your lungs only grows.

Listen:


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