Sonic Meditations

SM033 SUNGOD – ‘Laurentide & Cordilleran + Others’ CS
Sungod from Austin, Texas have been working hard and consistently since I was introduced to them at SXSW in 2011. Expo ’70 shared the same stage that night early on in the showcase week along with Quiet Evenings, Hubble, Woodsman, Toby Aronson, Kevin Shields, Thousand Foot Whale Claw, just to name a few. Unfortunately I arrived to the show just as Sungod were in on the main stage performing, I didn’t get to catch much that evening, but Mike of Sungod and I swapped tapes. Some point in the week I busted out their self-released hand packaged cassette release and came to find out that this was a majestic collection of superb drones, crafted well with great tones and the patience to let the instrumentation blend together.

SM036 KOI POND – ‘So Higher’ CS
Koi Pond is comprised of 3 friends who get together when the time is right to do what is known to many band participants as “jamming”. This term may be a bit harsh on your eyes, but when friends David Aron, Arik Roper and Pete Vogl some together to “jam”, its an epic dense solid session of heavy playing. Koi Pond originally released a cassette on Night People entitled Volcano, which I has the pleasure of happening on to. That limited cassette peaked my interest, sounding like a basement tape from Exmagma or some other lost recording from the mid seventies. After contacting the band to find out this is a one-off project between friends, I coerced the trio into reuniting for a recording, which became So Higher, a recording of 2 side dimensions between locked Krautrock groove with washes of synth exploration. Side two is a very different affair, more improvised heavy jamming comprised of solid bass line, dubby drumming and heavy psych guitar workouts. Those same elements from the cassette “jams” are there, but more focused and sonically represented. At times side A showcases a beastly resemblance to Monster Magnets 25 – Tab mixed with Spacemen 3, side B on the other hand, is a journey unto its own…

SM039 LAUBE – ‘Ausmerzen’ CS
Originally self-released by the band in plain white CD jackets.
“This German trio of Nils Lehnhäuser (bass), Christian Dräger (drums) & Eric Bauer (piano) have produced a wonderful set of minimal, melodic, ambient jazz. The instrumentation is sparse, the melodies free-falling and the mood tense yet underscored with a studied lethargy. I’m reminded, favourably, of Angelo Badalamenti’s scores for Twin Peaks as “Ausmerzen” has that same dreamy quality to the music. It’s a twilight album full of sleepy colours and vague shapes and for the most part it’s really quite beautiful. I’ll admit to being less than enamoured with the final track as the musicianship and musicality of the rest of the album is replaced with atonal, avant-garde crashes and bangs. It sounds like an Einsturzende out-take or a Z’ev composition and as such feels remarkably out-of-place here. In other circumstances I’d have probably enjoyed it but after the sublime beauty of the preceding tracks it is a disagreeable end to a sumptuous album.

SM041 KYLE LANDSTRA – ‘Thought Conjurer’ CS
Kyle Landstra has been producing some self-released music and recently had a cassettes released on Already Dead Tapes and Sacred Phrases. This recording was made in April of 2011 using a Juno-106, completely improvised through the night, it captures Landstra’s moods and reflections from the night’s aura. Music, like the title, conjures majestic images of night, echos of silence and corridors of thoughts constructed though images on the canvasses of closed eyelids. No New Age wankery, just pure improvisation.

SM042 DUANE PITRE – ‘Monolithic Youth’ CS
Duane Pitre has been fairly productive over the last few years having released music with NNA Tapes, Root Strada and more recently, two new releases (“Feel Free” CD/LP & a split LP w/ Eleh) on Important Records. “Monolithic Youth” features a newly recorded track on side A and a live solo concert recording from September 10, 2009 at the Community School of Music & Arts in Ithaca, NY on side B. “Monolithic Youth” captures a more bright tonal pitch and choral movement within tones and underlying pulses of shifting bass, similar to Terry Riley, Charlemange Palestine and Brainworlds.

SM044 STAR TURBINE – ‘Gravity’ CS
Star Turbine is the long-distance duo of Sindre Bjerga from Stavanger, Norway and Claus Poulsen from Copenhagen, Denmark. Sindre Bjerga is a very active live musician, touring 2-3 times evey year since 2006 all over Europe, and have released more than 200 records, mostly known from the hyper-productive duo Bjerga/Iversen. Lately he has mainly been playing more solo gigs, including improvised voice as a new element in the mix. Claus Poulsen is a ”formal” multiinstrument musician as well as noise improviser and music producer, who enjoys working in very different music styles, and has worked for 8 years in Sound ensemble Alarm112, and now with Small Things on Sundays (amongst many other projects).


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