Thursday, February 27, 2014

FIDELITY CASTRO: Grisha Shakhnes

Grisha Shakhnes
leave/trace LP
Glistening Examples GLEX-1301

With my discounted scotch sittin proper, let's talk tape dudes right quick. There are a shit-ton of em at work around this green world, some content to run the TV in the background and leave us to figger out the motives behind they's smothered mishegas. Some finna conceal they sources like folks stow tacos in they bras on the way into a movie megaplex. Others, the best of the species I reckon, leave just enough murk and squalor as-is and let the rest ride plain as a daylight drive-by; tuggin yer coat with seductive detritus but leaving enough wind and ungreased swingsets on which to stable yer soundholes. Grisha Shakhnes, ya mighta deduced, be in the latter crew. Born in Moscow he now be operatin' outta Tel Aviv (Is there even a regional context for this dude? Alla the Youtube footage sees dude settin' up in a cluttered apt whilst Endtroducing... of all thangs bumps on the stereo). Earlier releases came under the nom de sumpthin-er-other Mites: mostly a grip of CD-Rs and the occasional cut on a comp of drone and [oh the barf I've postponed at the sight of this word] "experimental" shits, but otherwise scarcely catching a quaff of heat outside the relatively small clan of field recording heads. Ya can count me as one, low profile though I be keepin'. Though you mighta also deduced I'm a touch jaded on the whole scene. Like so many thangs in this age, instant grat has lead to underdone loaves ya can just as soon form back into raw dough. And so few of the deserving cats at work in this area is makin' enough raw dough to release reasonable editions for the [admittedly mostly potential] masses.
This is Shakhnes's first release under his IRL handle and hoo boy yo, this is quite the entrance. As anybody what heard the Mites recordings can say, it ain't so much the sourcing but the deft hand workin that there mixer box machine into elevatin' and harnessin' the limited fidelity for maximum heft. I ain't just talkin' what mosta these folks cater in, i.e. texture and atmosphere. Like almost no other ferrous oxide peddler in my Rolodex, Shakhnes reduces music to shifts in volume and fundamental techniques (reversing, bass boosting, overlap, the blush of a good slow fade-in) most overlook for superfluous fireworks or aimless irreverence. It's a tall task but he conquers it like Jerusalem the chickpea. I'd throw some contempo parallels or ideological antecedents in yer maw but instead lemme put it to ya plain: Jason Lescalleet runs Glistening Examples what put this out. That there is stamp of approval and and context all cuddled up and spoonin' together. Most impressive, inspired and inspiring thang in this canon that's graced my house since The Breadwinner. Get at it before errybody else on ya block does samesies.

THE SINGING NONE: One of You discography

One of You
One of You LP compilation
Little Axe LA-009

Finally got to spend an XL chunk of time with this record, comprised of all three of One of You's self-released singles and a whole side of unreleased demos in her native lengua. The anonymous lady behind the name was/is a Czech immigrant to Canada who apparently found the whole experience super-alienating. Made with a tiny organ, some acoustic guitar (on the home recordings), a low voice so small you mightcould fit it in yer fifth pocket, and little else, these songs speak on big thangs that come in frail wrappings, like displacement and isolation. And so frail and slight is the execution, it took a baker's dozen listens to convince me I wasn't playin a pitched down version of Sœur Sourire or the Carnival of Souls score. It seemed to drift by as light as campfire ash. But I hung in, lovin' the befuddlement and admirin' the quiet chill that descended upon my sloppy lodgings every time I dropped the needle anew. If'n the past few reviews is any indication, tis the season of the grow-er not the show-er. For fans of Desertshore, Janet & The Johns, and Księżyc, or any folks lookin for something to unravel.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Primitive Motion
Worlds Floating By LP
Bedroom Suck Records 2013

Apparently my blind spot is bigger than I thought--though, don't hip the RMV to that lil admission. This pretty lil wonder's been gettin more play in the Sniper's Nest (He means his third floor walk-up-the-back-way apartment. --Ed.) than all the current tenants combined-like. It's a convenient historical intersection, too, reminding me in equal parts of HaHa Sound, Essendon Airport and The Limp's Marked Man 7" whilst bein' a thing independent of alla that. Leighton Craig formerly of Lost Domain (or have they not belched their last?), whose LP Unnatural Act I had on the hob for a write-up years ago and let burn well past even the Cajun threshold, and Sandra Selig of Fig. (also co-starring Mr. Craig) on a plethora of audible plunder (asst'd winds, drums, and vocals and cuz this sentence needed more parentheses and ands). Though they've been at it for a few years and have a few albums behind em, it may as well be a week-old project to my oblivious ol' ass. Glad them dark days is done did for me! But, it should be said, the line above about this affair bein' pretty don't mean it's necessarily sittin' that way, too. Up in these grooves also lie the longings and misgivings of the heartbroken, uptempo twitches, and straight up disrobed and spot-lit pain. Which is to say, the reveal you get on the third or fourth go round (hey, it ain't but three-quarters of a hour and lends itself to flippage; you got a packed calendar or sumpthin?), even if them listens was stacked like an indie wrasslin' tournament, is pure reward. This lil' lantern got mad rubs left in it. And it'll be blarin' in my kitchen tonight while I braise collards just like it has all week--and probably will for a minute.