Lee Jackson (Texas, USA), writer
1. Alastair Galbraith ?Cry? (Emperor Jones) - Latest from Mr. G. mixes
dense droning Caleian soundscapes (read as mounds of smoldering violin
and organ) and an ever-increasing mastery of delicate songcraft into a
hallucinatory aural achievement of great scope and rare beauty.
2. Brian Eno ?Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)? (EG Records) - A
monstrous little record that sneaks up under low cover and takes the
cerebral cortex by force, dishing out 10 perfectly drawn sound documents
of demented pop strangeness, ten beautiful worlds to explore and get
3. Mercury Rev ?See You On the Other Side? (Sony) - Forgot just how much
I really love the way the Rev balances so many extremes on this disk,
from the unbridled optimism of the opener to snarling rock and epic
jazz/psych exploration, theremin symphonies and psychedelic tributes to
Van Dyke Parks and the Band.
4. Damon and Naomi with Ghost (Sub Pop) - The ethereal duo join forces
with Japan?s premier psych/folk ensemble (well three of em anyway), and
the end results are absolutely stunning, easily standing with both bands
finest work, and truth be told together they obtain an aura that
neither has ever really captured in their own works. Not to say this is
better, just different.
5. Leonard Cohen ?Songs? (Columbia) - If you?ve never seen the Robert
Altman film, ?McCabe and Mrs. Miller,? I implore that you do so as soon
as possible, not just because it?s one of Altman?s best works, or one of
the most grimly beautiful movies ever captured on film, or even because
songs from this album are grafted effortlessly into the narrative,
serving not only as aural enchantment for those wide open shots of the
northwestern vistas but also illuminating song sketches for the
characters on the screen. No, see it for the whores and the opium
6. Sleep ?Enfolded in Luxury? (Metonymic) - Beautiful melding of
prominent minds in New Zealand?s free scene employing guitars, bass,
percussion, voice, radios, violin and sax to conjure indescribable
?music? that veers from grating harshness to swelling ethnic drones and
soothing celestial contemplation, often in the space of the same song.
7. Various Artists ?The Nature of Systems? (Carbon) - Mesmerizing
compilation of some of today?s most compelling outer sound explorers,
including many familiar names, and just about as many new ones.
Features what is currently my favorite Charalambides track, ?Mansfield
8. Spacemen 3 ?Recurring? (Dedicated/Fire) - J. Spacemen?s side is the
more fully realized of the two?his mastery of production is apparent
from the first swelling harmonies of ?Feel So Sad,? but that doesn?t
mean Sonic?s stuff is a wash-out: faux disco beats, cheese lyrics about
?cool, cool people,? racks of effects and enough reverb to blind an ox
make for good shit in my book.
9. Angus MacLise ?Brain Damage In Oklahoma City? (Siltbreeze) - Second
in a series of archival releases focuses on events surrounding Angus and
wife Hetty, busted for pot in 68 in Oklahoma city, which spurned the
mammoth trance jam, ?Dreamweapon Benefit for the Oklahoma City Police
Dept,? proceeds of which went to the Man; MacLise?s intense hand
percussion is at the center of it all, with a revolving cast of
legendary avant composers supporting.
10. Various Artists ?Runner? (Next Best Way) - Excellent comp of various
New Zealanders, some familiar, some not so familiar names. Can?t get
Dermania Lloyd?s mysterious ?Maple? out of my head,and the Cake Kitchen
track is a revelation, but the whole damn thing is a mystical
experience, running the gamut from alienated loner rock to elegant
balladry and experimental noise.