2017-10-12 Atavachron


Atavachron by Allan Holdsworth.

My Millennial Coworker loaned me this album and I have been, I won’t say “avoiding” exactly, but I have been procrastinating listening to it.

Anyway, the name comes from a Star Trek episode, “All Our Yesterdays,” wherein the “Atavachron” is an alien time travel device.

On this album Holdworth deploys the “Synth-Axe”, a guitar shaped midi controller, an instrument which would become his signature on several albums. The synth axe allows him to trigger synthesizers/samplers using events generated from his fretboard.

This is a fine example of Sci-Fi inspired 80s Rock-Fusion, with all the sign posts of that genre. Many chords and many, many notes.

Impressive, in many ways, but also feels a bit slight in the goals all these impressive techniques are applied towards. More technique than meaning, if you will.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #AllanHoldsworth #Atavachron #SynthAxe

2017-10-11 Luciferian Towers

Luciferian Towers by Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Constellation Label link: Luciferian Towers

Pretty majestic, and downright “pretty”, sounding stuff for tunes with names like, “Bosses Hang”, “Fam/Famine”, and “Anthem for No State”. Bordering on “Symphonic” in places.

Also, is this the first time GSYBE has used wind instruments? The first time I remember hearing trumpets and woodwinds on their tunes, anyway.


#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #GodspeedYouBlackEmperor #CSTRecords #luciferiantowers #BernalHeights #BernalHill #DogWalkAtDawn

2017-09-29 Crew Licks

Crew Licks

Crew Licks by Dead Rider.

I have a problem, OK, well, maybe two problems, with Dead Rider.

My first problem is that the vocalist, Todd Rittmann, was previously in a band I REALLY liked called “US Maple”. Mostly, I just wish Dead Rider was US Maple. But, it’s not, so I guess I should just get used to it.

Second, Dead Rider’s musical style is amorphous. One song will be in one musical style and the next in another. On Crew Licks, this means you get a couple Hendrix-esque tunes, a couple Sweet-esque tunes, and, god help me, a couple that sound like a more eclectic Red Hot Chili Peppers. This means, I like some songs on the album, and some rub me the wrong way. Again, after 4 albums, you’d think I’d make my peace with this.

They are named after a Hawkwind song, so I guess that is something. 
I should probably just go see them live, they’re playing the Hemlock on Oct 6. I’m sure they rock.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #DeadRider #CrewLicks

2017-08-24 Cymande


Cymande (Sometimes called “Dove”) by Cymande.

Sparsely arranged percussion and bass driven groove based funk with Jazz, Soul, and Reggae influences.

Saxophonist Matt Nelson posted a photo of recent vinyl score of this album, with the comment, “Oh yes. One of the best ever.” So, I thought I should check it out.

And, man, it is great! Once one of these tracks kick in, you get the feeling they could go forever, the groove is so powerful. Yet the playing is relaxed and poised, with every song given the time it needs to develop organically. I also like the feel of space conveyed by the production and engineering.

Just makes you feel good to listen. I bet they were kick-ass live. “But it’s all right, we can still go home.” 

#Cymande #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-08-23 Xe

Xe by Zs.

Since I’ve been recently playing with digital tools for recording and manipulating sound, it is interesting to listen through a release like Xe where nearly every track involves some sort of effect or looping.

I can’t quite decide how I feel about listening to albums where it almost seems more like a showcase for digital effects than a recording of people playing together.

Said the pot to the kettle.

In any case, a very interesting album.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Xe #Zs

2017-08-22 Dark Days & Canapés

Dark Days & Canapés by Ghostpoet.

It’s usually worthwhile to check out audio artists shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. Obaru Ejimiwe, aka Ghostpoet, is no exception.

A master of the artistically deployed vocal fry, his soundscapes have been sounding more and more rock-ish lately, while still maintaining a pleasant noisiness.

The Guardian describes this release as, “languid and assured,” which is about right.

#Ghostpoet #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #DarkDaysAndCanapés #graffitti

2017-08-21 Strange Days II

Strange Days II

Strange Days II by Wolf Eyes.

A new EP or album by Wolf Eyes, one of my favorite purveyors of electro-acoustic skronk, (or PyschoJazz, as they like to put it,) is always a cause for spending some time zoning out and contemplating the phase shifting of time and space through acoustic alchemy.

My main complaint about this new two song EP is that it is far too short. Or maybe it is too long. Who can say?

#Wolfeyes #PsychoJazz #JimBaljo #JohnOlson #NateYoung