Here’s another great one from a few months back you may have overlooked: an excellent split by Lay Llamas and Tetuan, put out by my friends at ArTeTetra. Label heads Babau support all kinds of ecstatic and strange psych sounds, and many of them are a far cry from their own (check: Alegrìas y Duelos de Mi Alma by the Spanish surreal free-folk guy Futeisha). Here though, we’ve got something that is really in their vein– droney psychedelic rock characterized by an experimental hunger and strong ties to a wide range of trans-ethnic influences. We need more of that these days, less of the tired revivalism. Put this one on and you’ll feel as though you have stepped into the torrid air of an oneiric greenhouse.
On Side A, Lay Llamas’ “The Big Calm Sea of Transition” fleshes out an ethno-ambient soundscape of probing drone that might throw you back to certain offerings of Sun City Girls, Pelt, and Vibracathedral Orchestra for its enveloping psychical unease and mystery. An electric guitar sounds like a sarangi, a flute sounds like a voice calling from a dream, and when it is over you are left feeling it was over too soon.
No sooner than the transitory sea has retreated, Tetuan bolts you upright with the cosmic dervish “Juju”before ushering you through the slow progression into night that is “Lame Rosse”. Slowly surfacing ambient textures on keyboard and murmured chants are anchored by thundering, insistent percussion and a muscular bassline that all at once bring Latin, North African, and Celtic vibes into confluence with that krautrock evocation of suspended time. Fantastic stuff.
I could go on, but I shouldn’t! Fall into this weirdness and let it speak through you for a bit. Highly recommended.
Wave Collector is a Portland-dwelling guy by the name of Neal Wright and his self-released LP Catalog of Stolen Worlds is a fine debut. The delicious aural pranks and everyday vagaries that weave their way through the Wave guy’s sensuous downtempo electronica give off a little bit of shibuya-kei kitsch, a bit more of the cosmic. The way Wright marries poppy melodies to simultaneously goofy and meditative sound collage takes me back to that open-ended and airy spirit of the electronic sounds of the late 90s and early 2000s. Though he does bust out some pop vocals of his own for “Teach a Man to Long for the Sea New” and “Ice Enchantment”, it is sound design where he excels and he knows it. You can be certain an artist is on an interesting trip when he describes himself as a sonic collector/traveler, yet isn’t afraid to throw an exchange with a curious bystander to a field recording into the mix (see: the opening moments of “Crow Flies”). It’s smart stuff, it’s pretty stuff, and it’s a journey you’ll want to take with someone who’s definitely pushing himself places as a sound chemist. Favorite moment: the bittersweet farewell of “Temps Perdu”, propelled by dubby stabs and the faraway trails of bells and lapping water.