L’animaux Tryst

While electric guitar mangler / vibe-generator Pete Fosco may call Kentucky home, he is nonetheless a man smitten with Maine. After a trip up the coast to Acadia and Belfast last summer (which included a show with MV & EE and Herbcraft at the now-sadly-defunt Roots &Tendrils), Fosco was so inspired that when he returned home he sat down in front of some warm tubes, strapp’d on a six-string, and let rip on some true Vacationland meditations. What we’ve got here are four extended improvisations/compositions for solo electric guitar, with Fosco bending, growling, coaxing, and summoning tones with fingers, slides, and other mystery implements. The sounds evoke dusty winds streaking across the Desert of Maine, Northern Lights shimmering from atop Cadillac Mountain, and vertiginous views from Pemetic. Sometimes sparse (Fosco is a master at the pregnant pause), sometimes as swirling and dense as a January blizzard, the soundtrack Fosco creates is a heavy homage to the dark mystery and latent wonder of exploration in the Maine wilds. Black shell cassettes with hand-painted and typed labels, held in polybox with full-color, pro-printed insert on vellum, enclosed in a piece of a vintage map of Maine. Limited to 75.

Ditching the domestic life for a stint of wild-abandon nomad drift, Planets Around the Sun departed from Maine in July to unplug and roll on down the line… WE O WE is their parting gift to the musical community that launched them into new orbits. Drawing from every era of the band’s career and pointing forward to new phases, it is a carefully crafted full-length mixtape of past trysts and future haunts. From the opening acousto-electro instrumental shimmer we move to a stretched-out heavy drone-folk version of the classic White Light side “Saraswati”, here completely re-figured with the addition of guest baritone guitar and cello from local duo South China. The Ian Paige solo excursion “Agnes” follows, with drones and steel strings lulling raga moves into your atmosphere; once the tablas and electric guitar hits, you’re halfway between Demolition Derby and Country Stash, truly a vapor to be savored and returned to often. The B-side hits with “We Owe”, a possession-ceremony standard with netherworld vocal chants circling around watery bass wobbles and wah’ed synth stabs. This flows into “May Day” and its extended doom-dub treatment “Version”, moving from Velvety melodic guitar-scorched psych to a half-tempo high-stepping astral-funk groove. But enough about the past. Planets point to their present/future with the closing track, a cracked lo-fi country-folk tune that serves as their on-the-road calling card. Sure to be a counterculture hit in 22nd-Century America. Hand-written (in white paint) cassettes held in a case with full-color pro-printed art, featuring a reproduction of a totally psychedelic needlepoint by Paige’s grandmother. Limited to 75.

It may be counter-intuitive to think of “G-funk instrumentals” as a possible product of an icy and blizzed-out Maine winter, but holed up at the House of Hits (aka Hit Factory) in Winter 2011 with an array of analog synths (SEIL OR 400 for the highs, Moog Taurus II for the lows) and hip-hop golden-age drum machines (E-mu SP-1200, Drumulator, and Korg DDD-1), Key Jr. Dee Jay and Slouch formed Altered Gee amid a thick cloud of purple smoke and didn’t stop making hits til the tape ran out. Recorded entirely on 8-track cassette(!), the deep-grooved trunk-rattlers on European Gees ride that line between suave Euro electro-futurism and dank, dirty, post-Zapp R&B boogie and G-funk, all stretched out, heavy-lidded and dazed. Weightless, pitch-shifting, portamentoed synth lines arc over and around each other, anchored by heavy-bounce syrupy-thick bass and Slouch’s ace reverbed-out kick’n’clap beats. This is dance music with runtimes long enough (in the case of “Magnum Opus”, 15+minutes of synth-funk ecstasy) to get lost in the transcendence of the groove. The song titles say it all: “Dowsed”, “Funky Airs”, “I Wanna Lay You Down And Feel You Up”… this is some sexy, fonky shit, ideal for sittin low in your Coupe de Ville and gettin scandalous in some sweaty bedsheets. 69-minute white cassettes with individually-chrome-painted and typewriter-engraved labels, held in a case with full-color pro-printed j-card designed by the band. Limited to 75.

Way back in 2008, The Wire magazine named Lightning strike Lightning’s “The Moon” 7” single as one of the top 10 of the year, while Foxy Digitalis’ Brad Rose remarked that they were “quickly becoming one of my favorite bands” while naming it the Best 7” of the Year. So what’s been going on since then? Public silence; private Creepy Power. After four long years of hermetic writing, recording, re-recording, editing, mixing, re-mixing, and so on, LsL finally emerges once again with their second full-length, the follow up to their 2007 disc Turn Myself Into The Ocean. Many of the original ingredients remain (worldless female haunt-vox, busted mini-amp guitar growls, tom-violating rhythm tracks, banjo ruffs) but are in service to arrangements that are both tighter and more expansive. Moments of breathless spectral visitation bloom alongside forest-folk recitations, bell loops drawn out to time-bending drone, heavy dirge remembrance, and general free-form folkery. While the murk of of the previous recordings has been dialed back a bit on Creepy Power, the gossamer echo chamber that remains—combined with the slightly-higher-fidelity—makes for a smoother ride and headier drift; this is one to get lost in.
SPECIAL ONE-TIME-ONLY ART EDITION: Clear cassettes with in-house screen-printed labels, held in a case with double-sided reversible pro-printed j-card, each with a one-of-a-kind Land camera photograph taken by band member S.Turley with tracklisting handwritten on back, held in a sewn fabric sleeve. Limited to 33.


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