Posts Tagged ‘Kosmich’

Channelers

It’s probably a bit obvious to state that cruising through the junkship, scroll-addled future of 2019 comes with a few stressors. Its hard to block out the noise and settle, even when ladled full-stop into the arms of nature it’s hard to let the brainwaves cool and enjoy the sounds and soft green light. The latest release from Channelers, aka Sean Conrad, takes a gentle swipe at easing that tension, or at least placing the listener in a sealed containment unit of perpetual bliss. Conrad lifts the burble of streams, the chirp of birds, the calm, yet vibrant rhythms of nature for his own use and drops them into his own imagined landscapes of synth float and dulcimer yawn. It’s not new territory to create utopian space via the musical landscape, but Conrad is deftly weaving his field recordings with just the right amount of meditative melt.

The Depth of Rest plays on the listener’s core of calmness, evoking what Conrad claims is a form of magical realism – virtual reality splayed on the backs of the eyelids and reaching into the upper echelons of the human condition. The record isn’t wallpaper or noise cancellation, it’s a full reset of the psyche. Between the imagined woodland respites and streamside oases listeners begin to feel the weight lift off of their minds and the everyday grip of sociopolitical body horror release for as long as they exist inside Channelers’ realm. It always ends, as I suppose it must, but while the red light of playback glows, its nice to be alone in this cocoon of calm.




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Forma

Brooklyn’s Forma follow their cosmic comedown album Physicalist from 2016 with the propulsive, glistening sounds of Semblance. On the last go ‘round the band split their impulses between sides. The opening half of the album embracing the skitter and propulsion of Krautrock given electronic tendrils. The back half, on the other hand, took a suite of songs down a much more Kosmiche road, spreading its attention between synth float, drone and free jazz. This time they’re not keeping the halves of their personality at arm’s length and in turn they create a layered retrofuturist pop album that’s just as likely to dazzle in plastic and glass refractions as it is to siphon the anxiety out of the room via meditative haze.

Its an extension of Physicalist to be honest, but the coherence here makes the last album seem like sketches for the more elaborate arc of Semblance. They weave the weapons of their psychedelic journey in a more articulate fashion this time. Ebbing and flowing in chapters, the album moves from synth scratched with sax through mechanical Zen, into a palpable play on technological anxiety and settles into lucid dreams that are almost too real. By the time the listener is entering “New City,” its hard to know if we can trust our own eyes or ears. The moment is refreshing, but also feels like one might be able to reach out and touch the elastic and static crinkle of VR film holding in this surreal serenity.

Somewhere there’s a film missing a solid score in this, and its definite highlight in the band’s catalog. There’s no lack of synth slingers who are aiming for the raised bar on Kosmiche clatter, but with Semblance Forma have come into their own. Even if you’ve tired of the dystopian drift and cosmic checkboxes that so many in this genre hit regularly, Forma have given these touchstones a new life and a reason to float out into the ether once more.





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Expo Seventy

There’s never really a bad time to have a new Expo ’70 album on deck (two actually as of this posting) but somehow Fall/Winter seem to lend themselves entirely to the thunderous creep of Justin Wright’s doom psych. America Here & Now Sessions captures the band as a rare four piece, adding an additional drummer whose presence amps up the churning sea of rhythm that ushers along both of these sidelong epics. Wright has long had a habit of improvising heady studio jams and these pieces, recorded as a part of a cross-country traveling dialogue about America through the arts, find the band lashing out into the howling void with the best of their releases. In turn they wind up summing up the ominous vibes of current Americana in fine fashion.

The first movement rolls over the land like a tornado on treads, spreading a seed of fear that’s mirrored in the stark and spectral second movement’s more Kosmiche approach. Where the first is chaos shot through a keyhole and smashing everything under its eighty tons of terror, the second movement is desolation, and stunned shock ramping up to a meltdown moment that’s packed with 50 megatons of amp toned torque. Every Expo release seems to find a new storm within Wright’s soul and America Here & Now is as ferocious and bracing as his best work. Essence has gone above and beyond in the packaging dept as well, aside from the normal color spectrum, there’s a super deluxe edition that comes in a woven silkscreened bag with prints feeling like super ‘luxe has been taken to a new level.




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