hard at work as ever, got two new CDs ready for your enjoyment.
ACE023: ACRE "Sacrifice" CD - $13 PPD Worldwide
This album has been a long, long time coming but the wait has most certainly been worth it. Aaron Davis has been firing missile after missile as ACRE for some years now, but nothing else stands out as his defining moment quite like "Sacrifice." This opus was in the pipeline for years, being etched out of silver and rising from pile of ash after pile of ash. It's absolutely monumental, totally epic in scope. Each thick slab of heavy droning sibilance is a testament to Davis' vision and attention to detail. It will suck you in immediately and stick to you like glue.
Notably there are no synthesizers or guitars anywhere on "Sacrifice." When you hear the density of sound and variety in the sonic textures blowing out your speakers, that seems utterly impossible. Yet, here we are. As the opening blasts of "Badlands" echo through your skull at 100 mph, the horizon seems lost in a thick, white haze. Everything else stops and shuts down. Subtle shifts in trajectory are barely noticeable at first, but by the end of the journey you've landed on a completely different plane. Surface to air, infinite flight; all achieved just over 14 minutes. It's not all a blown-out, straight-to-the-skull masterpiece. "Live Take" feels positively smooth and silky in comparison. Reverberating tones drenched in pure light bleed nothing but efferevesence and life. Everything feels exactly in the spot it should be, there's no detritus or collateral damage to speak of. Davis runs a tight ship, only letting things bolt for the door and scream over the edge when its absolutely necessary.
In the end, the biggest thing about "Sacrifice" is just how massive it feels. From the beginning, its string of endless symphonic hypnosis. There are lingering connections to David Tudor and Norman McLaren fighting their way to the surface throughout. ACRE's compositions are as precise as ever here, each note and each path carefully chosen and dropped into place. No synths. No guitars. No laptops. No looping. Yeah. It's time to start dropping bombs.
Edition of 500 in neon-green gatefold jackets printed by Stumptown.
ACE031: J. Hanson "Boolean Blues" CD - $13 PPD Worldwide
Josh Hanson is another of Portland, Oregon's underappreciated sons. Having come up through the ranks of long-time, long-forgotten faves Hochenkeit, he also spent time as a member of The Davis Redford Trio. But Hanson's path diverges into a totally different sphere nowadays, spinning solo modular synth exploits to the stars. Influenced not just by the likes of Subotnick and Cluster but also various types of Eastern sounds, Hanson is looking forward, trying to find new pathways in electronic music. Using a homebuilt synth, Hanson is like a magician that keeps you looking one direction while he's cooking up something special from out of left-field. "Boolean Blues" is psychedelic and mathematical all once
Starting with the pulsing and surprisingly catchy "Shut Your Fucking Krout," you are instantly sucked in as a listener. The revolving synth melodies are in your face, never trying to hide behind a veil of reverb of fuzz. "Catshit and Sandalwood" works as two separate tracks, conjoined at birth and held together through piercing synthetic bleeps. Again, there's a softness and melody here that hook you straight off, but the heavy doses of electronic mayhem that go along with it are what keep things uneasy. It's like a warning bell going off so often you have no idea if there's hell on the way. That feeling comes to a head on the centerpiece, "Swat Valley Driver." This is where the psychedelia really kicks in. After a methodic exercise in control backed by a minimal, analog beat, you are greeted with heavy Indian influences. No, of course there's no sitars or tanpuras, but Hanson twists his synth into spitting out racing analog ragas. It's fucking exquisite, all the while backed by black bass lines. "Peace in Sumeria" continues the theme but moves a little bit West, getting lost in translation all the way.
What is perhaps most amazing about "Boolean Blues" is that even though at its heart it's a synth album, wholly electronic, it feels like so much more. It's full of warm tones and rich visions. It's a trip in every sense of the word.
Edition of 500 in gatefold jackets printed by Stumptown, designed by Brad Rose.
both of these have been a long-time coming (a good year or so), so it feels real good to finally have them out. hoping some kind of album release show in portland will come together, but i dunno! would be rad, though. dylan ettinger's "cutters" should be available at distros before the end of the month and a 3-tape batch as well (indian weapons, sorc'henn, & jouurney). scott tuma's "dandelion" LP will be available soon, too. we'll have limited copies on hand, but as always overseas customers should grip it from boomkat.