Tangerines and Eagle Keys

Tangerine is a new miniature from Joe Frawley. 16 and one-half minutes of piano music and sound collage from this Connecticut-based fellow. His previous one Wilhelmina (received earlier this year, not yet reviewed) was most evocative in an oneiric way, so I’m sure this one will press similar nerve-centres. Unlike a lot of modernist composers who have gone out of their way to deny (or even destroy) narrative elements, Frawley embraces story-telling with a passion. Track titles like ‘Death by water’ and ‘The House was Full of Books’, plus a Herman Melville quote on the back cover, confirm his literary resonances. He’s also a fan of old sepia-tinted photographs, and although there’s nothing deeply macabre about his work, it could be situated on the fringes of turf occupied by Joel Peter Witkin or The Brothers Quay.

Tibetan Red made a debut release in 1986, originally on a Canadian cassette label and released briefly on a CD. Heard it in 2004 and reviewed in TSP 13. It was a pretty relentless but subtle exercise in using loops to build up a suffocating blanket of terror and dread. Now here’s their third release, Fouta Djalon (GMGTSMMSAND014), released by Gliptoteka Magdalae at Gracia-Territori Sonor in Barcelona. Salvador Francesch writes: “There was a second release Tao Point, which was a collaboration with Victor Nubla. You reviewed his work too with maximum accurateness. I don’t recall if you ever received it because it was Nubla’s doing but if you don’t have the CD I will send you a copy. Now this CD Fouta Djalon links up with my first CD.” I’m certainly relishing the chance to re-enter this unique sound world of twilight capers. The cover art appears to be seven small white seashells on top of a purple and black composition much like a slightly more geometric Mark Rothko, and titles like ‘Fire Pilgrimage’ and ‘Stone Koan’ promise further esoteric delights for the aurally initiated.

More tempting morsels from Japan, this time from a label called Evenstilte which was founded in 2002 by Stéphane Perrin in Tokyo. Only 7 releases to date; his new project is the ‘Even Statics’ series which seems to involve various underground stars remixing each other (not really in my line), but I see his first release was by Guilty Connector, one of my favourite incoherent Japanese noise cassette-beasts. In my hands I hold two discs…Eagle Keys (ES105) by our old friend Tim Olive (the Canadian improviser who lives in Osaka), here playing with Francisco Meirino, on a record wrapped in a smashing sleeve drawn by Marc Bell. The other one is No Noise (ES104), a various artists comp from 2006 with Reynols, Dustbreeders and Junko, Guilty Connector, Birchville Cat Motel and others. This might turn out OK, but it feels a shade ‘retro’ and the grisly sleeve art by Rudolf Eb.er doesn’t bode well.

Temporary Residence Ltd (from Brooklyn) have been sending through quite a number of releases whose overall vibe suggests the label is ‘dark and moody’ without quite tipping over into the realm of the Goth. New CD by Grails is called Burning Off Impurities and the front cover is made up from a clever assemblage of fractured religious icons, making a composite of the faces of holy men. On the back cover, a bearded character who could be anyone from Karl Marx to Moses is up to his neck in a purple ocean of gloom, with what looks like a large whale’s tail looming behind him. Grails have had releases on Neurot, Southern and Important; based on this, and their grim countenances in the press photo, I’m anticipating some fairly efficient studio-based psych-doom guitar noise.