Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Literary Observations of New and Recently Released Music and Video

Creative individuals are driven by a need to make something new no matter how many times they may have conjured up something before. One way to spark emerging ideas is through new partnerships and alliances. Drawing on familiar sources of inspiration and bouncing those ideas off a complementary musical mind can lead to something unexpected. The June DaveCromwellWrites delves into four separate releases that examine this approach and the positive results arising out of it.

Frequently featured label Patetico Recordings returns to the DCW realm with a new collaborative effort Heliocentric Overdrive and their debut EP “Weightless.” Formed via DIY internet track sharing, drummer Anthony Gatta and singer-songwriter/guitarist Tom Lugo now share their melodic-pop tracks fueled by precise and frenetic interpretations.

Lead off track “Reveling” builds out of a clarion ring guitar figure, before bass and drums quickly join in to set the rhythmic progression off into full motion. Vocals come on initially in an understated, effects free manner, offering a conversational style question “do you want to fly -do you want to touch the sky?” It's a song of delight and celebration, where you “make your move,” because “there's no room for doubt.” All vocals effects are reserved for the hook-chorus that rides a guitar-wave of speed-strummed melody while proclaiming having “had the time of my life.”

It's straightforward pop for sure, with the drums showing restraint while still propelling everything forward via subtle accents on highhat and snare. Like all great three and a half minute song, there's a vibrant guitar segment two minutes in delivering additional melodies and allowing the drums to stretch out with some rolls. A special nod to closing production elements where instruments are pulled back and an upper and lower register vocal are revealed.

Title track “Weightless” immediately establishes a more forceful percussive statement, with the opening beat jumping out first with hard struck toms, snare and jingle shake. A wall of sheering guitar wave commences with Johnny Ramone energy, while another melody rides over top of that. Like the image depicted on this EP's cover, a quick cut tale of space launch - “counting down – all systems go – time to blast off – rocket thrust – lift off” come in rapid fire succession. The chorus hits with expected hyperdrive momentum, extolling the virtues of “ripping through the atmosphere-feel the thrill of being here-weightless, floating in space.” However it is the unbridled instrumental breaks that follow (both here and on the songs end-out) that are the true highlights. On these segments the melody rises, with both percussion and bass guitar let loose underneath to throttle on in a relentlessly joyous cacophony.

Listen in on this cut and see if you agree:

Find out how to pick up this recording here:

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If it seems like there is yet-another Shoredive Records artist being featured here on this site every other month or so – well, that's because it's true. One of the busiest, most-consistent labels out there, something new, exciting and previously unheard of appears in our listening sphere that simply can't be ignored. This time it's mysterious dreamgaze from Montpellier/Paris going by the somewhat painful name 40 Days Without Water. While contemplating how anyone could even survive that scenario (unless the water was replaced with some other beverage) the music produced by this collective is utterly sublime.

Lead off track and featured single “Shed” starts with a higher-register, piercing guitar texture chiming over a muted undercurrent. A mere :15 seconds of that is met with what is considered more “gazey” guitars, rumbling percussive undercurrent and those vague, emotive vocals synonymous with this musical genre. The snare beat is crisp and on time, guitars are strummed in quick speed tandem, bass throbs and those vocals are delivered with smooth, elongated cool. A minute in and drums get busier with repeated snare rolls until it hits an ambient plateau. It's almost dub-style here, with distant sounds providing the background for an upfront bass guitar segment. Hissing waves and another round of voices begin filling in the spaces as the bass-line fades back somewhat with snare-beats reentering the mix. It's full-on forward again until another plateau is reached, this time less sparse with wind rushes and melody tones remaining. The final minute pushes ahead with a strong drum beat leading it all out to it's ultimate fade.

Chore” rises up out of some mysterious void, before settling into a quick military rolling snare-drum pattern, deep-tone guitar line and soft-vocal delivery. Sheering “gaze” guitars soon enter the mix that now feature more elevated voices, along with staccato, fragmented percussion. This formula continues to delight with additional sections playing off the simpler “Cure-like” guitar-bass melody interplay floating over those unpredictable broken-pattern drums.

We Woke Up Early” builds around a clean bass guitar pattern, cymbal rushes and FX-laden vocals that give off a dream-like sensation. Continuing this meditative state for three and a half minutes, the calm is ultimately shattered with an explosive wall of guitars powering the tracks final 2 minutes.

Listen to these tracks (and more) from this wonderful recording here:

Acquire the EP Here - and keep in touch with all things Shoredive Records via their Socials Here and Here.

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Another independent label discovery is the Peruvian based Chip Musik Records. It specializes in ambient, electronic, chillwave, experimental, glitch, dreamgaze, vaporwave and experimental artists from all over the world. Their latest release Lego 15 – Pulsos de Bosques (Forest Pulses) is an extensive collection of music from Central/South American and other international locales.

Opening cut Miyagi Pitcher - Akiraka ni suru (を明らかにする) is a gentle meditative offering that relies on looping ambience, alien vocal snippets and beat-free environment. A Dream Short - Better day (Italia) follows that up with more traditional songcraft. Melodic, bass-heavy synth pulses provide the rhythmic basis for vital female vocals delivered in tandem. An active percussive element enters the mix, along with guitar layers adding a decidedly alternative rock feel. Big Channels - Sigue orbitando (Argentina) churns out the bliss of sawing between two-chords over a drum machine, with effects on the guitars providing much of the musical variations. Strong, single guitar notes emerge at the mid-point (and end) adding further movement overall.

Cielo Oceano - “Eclipsed” returns a familiar collective to this site, having reviewed their work previously here. This new track emerges out of ambient build-up of wind rushes leading into a slow shuffle drum beat groove. Against that two-pronged backing of swirling rushes and ambling beat are vocals presented in deep, breathy cadence. A sheering wall of high-wind guitars surge up in the mix and threaten to obsure everything else going on underneath. Snippets of vocal melodies can only be made out – until a sudden shift and the harshness is temporarily pulled back. That easy shuffle beat and soft vocal delivery step forward once more, and the cycle repeats. Halfway in a guitar solo (of sorts) commences amid the chaos, proving one more audio element to latch onto. A final round of MBV-style (mini “holocaust”) noize consumes the tracks final 2 minutes, fading out under slow moving melodies over top.

Listen to this incredible track here:

There are many more remarkable tracks on this compilation, which can be acquired here:

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Sometimes a record is released in a low key manner with little fanfare, and the band moves right to playing live as a means of showcasing this new material. Such is the case with Tight Lips debut EP, which was released at the end of March. A quick scan of recorded evidence shows the tracks were first put out individually throughout last spring and summer. With bands and audiences reconnecting at live shows again, the opportunity to focus on this previously uninvestigated recorded music now presents itself. Aware that it's the collaborative work of many-time reviewed (in multiple iterations) Jasno Swarez and Abdon Valdez, indicates a high-quality output.

Initial release “Leaving the Planet” evolved from drum and bass riffs into a fully-formed three minute-plus melodic, danceable rhythm pop song. Drawing lyrical inspiration from futurists J.M. Godier and Lex Fridman spark the creativity for original prose. As the angular guitar melody and crisp percussion drives the track forward, signature lyric "I want to feel what it's like to fly, I want to fly when it feels like I could die," is delivered with nuanced flair, followed by the hooky “I'm alright, I'm alright, I'm alright – yeah.” Fluid guitar-line turns lead into musings on “the atmosphere in me to the moon in the sky.” The pure enthusiasm is felt completely on the beat-less, keyboard only segment stating “I wanna be unstoppable.” A rock-solid instrumental interlude follows, locking down that melodic-dance appeal. Going introspectively deeper with lyrics “all I can hear, and all I can feel – freak out with fear I knows not real” leads to “maybe neither am I?” Ultimately the uncertainly is pushed aside with the return to dramatic sonic plateau and the declaration “I wanna be – a trillion miles away from here – with you.” Roughed-up guitar chords, keyboard and that steady beat leads everything out to conclusion.

Follow-up track “Black Rainbow” ruminates on the human mind and how we are presently faced with technological evolutionary stress. Fuzzy bass-bounce guitars and trip-hop percussion powers the track along momentary synth-twinkle grooves. Space is carved out through drop-outs and stark power-chord moments, emphasizing the songs overall theme. Choosing to “be a light” and “do right,” focuses on human choice that rises above “the sums of my thoughts ran on living circuitry.” Whether intentional or not, the riff from Jimi Hendrix “Third Stone From The Sun” is echoed a various points throughout the song. It serves as a launching point for the sinewy guitar riffs and extended percussion that follows.

Center placed on the EP is the popular YouTube track (impressive at 111K+ views so far) “Nearly Nude.” Taking the previously established theme of human-to-cyber existence (in this modern world we now live) even further, striking representative video imagery creates a “Max Headroom” style experience. Open note chords and tweetering bird sounds introduce the audio as the first “head” flickers into view. A walking bassline sets the groove in motion as a second “head” (and shoulders) pops up with appropriate visualized distortion. Sparse and minimal audio serves the track well, as vocals about “feeling like a hologram” sync perfectly with the imagery. Jasno's soulful vocal delivery and Abdon's fingersnap/handclaps on percussive moments add one more level of appeal. Keyboard strokes at opportune moments (like when everything else drops out) underscore how well-produced this whole song is. The bass guitar drive is just funky enough against spacious ambience, while lyrical passages emphasize android confusion. “I fragmented my mind” leads to “I am a human being with circuitry made to bleed and see sunlight. I think I know that I'm me – because I'm alive. This is the person I programmed myself to be.”

Check out this trippy (electronic-soul) song and video here:

Deeper cut “Digital Death” emerges out of atonal synth drones before drums, bass and guitar kick in with an angular progression. The movement is downward-circular with bass guitar (once again) an initial driving force. Self-discovery becomes the primary lyrical focus (“Try – try to be me – should be easy”) and yet one more “digital killing” seems necessary. Open note chords take the instrumental spotlight later on, along with a 20 second (or so) guitar solo. “Immortal Living” pulls elastic, bouncing guitar chords into focus, alternating those strokes against snare and high-hat percussion. Allow ample space for vocals, the running theme on our high-tech lives looks closer at cellphone dependence. “I am processed on a screen,” and “through the internet – I can outlive death.” However, it is the human component (once again) that garners the bigger musical moments. At the 2:20 mark a guitar segment begins but it abruptly truncated by single twinkling keyboard notes – before the initial cycle starts over. That's as much a statement as any of the lyrics.

Final cut “People” bubbles up from an ominous electronic field with piercing keyboard notes stabbing out a slow moving melody. Deep buzzing bass joins in along with solid trap drum percussion. As the title suggests, a litany of individuals are named, both well-known icons along with those known only to close family. “I'll never meet Elvis Presley, I never met my dad's mom, I'll never know Jimi Hendrix, my mom's dad is dead and gone. My sister's got a new last name, and I'll never be Kurt Cobain.” Combining universal themes with a personal touch, the central theme “I don't wanna be alone” (paired to descending keyboard line) pulls everything together. Bonus points for the lines, “I'll never meet my great grandson, John Lennon or Johnny Cash. I saw Bowie on Lafayette now he's dead.” Although those three icons may have left this planet, their influence is still very much alive. Tight Lips now make a case for their own influence as well.

Find out how to access everything Tight Lips related via their official site.

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