Saturday, June 19, 2010

John Zorn - The Crucible (2008)

| Avant-Garde | Noise Rock | Avant-Metal |
| Experimental Rock |

The legendary Moonchild trio returns for another intense journey into the worlds of magic, alchemy and witchcraft. Following one of Zorn’s true masterpieces "Six Litanies for Heliogabalus", this fourth volume streamlines and simplifies the music with new melodic elements bringing Zorn’s sax and the lyricism of Masada into the power and structural complexity of the patented Moonchild sound. With Patton using his versatile voice to sing melodies in addition to his preverbal screams and howls, The Crucible is another bold step from mad alchemist John Zorn. Including special guest guitarist Marc Ribot on one Led Zeppelin influenced track ("9x9"), this is a rocking new installment to the Moonchild-Astronome-Heliogabalus legacy.

Catalog: TZ 7372 (Tzadik)
Download (192kbps)

Neuss Noise - Hangars And Graveyards (2009)

| Dark Ambient | Drone |

Hangars and Graveyards. I couldn't think about a better name to describe this album's landscapes. Dark, vast, lonely, frightening... The thorned drone of Neuss Noise crawls through the pinch-black wilderness in a decayed mood for breathless half-hour. The gnarled melodies are stretched until it reaches the timeless void in which the subconsciousness inhabits. The huge and eerie "Evaporated Purple" struggles in dense and yet airy notes while clutches the floor with its horrorful growls. And talking about that, you just can't wait: "Hangars And Graveyards" and "Dark Hall" uses samples from Keiji Haino's "A Challenge to Fate" and "Tenshi No Gijinka". That's right, what already sounds wicked, now sounds even more fearful. Imagine Keiji rumbling and screaming while a dark melody expunges the mind-balance. Fans of Keiji and Dark Ambient music will just love this - which means, fuck, this is awesome!

Catalog: VB-27 (Velvet Blue Records)
Download (320kbps)

Monday, June 14, 2010

John Micah Rapp - M(((O)))(((O)))N (2010)

| Stoner Rock | Drone Metal | Doom Metal |

John Micah Rapp is one adventurous musician. Since January, he's been producing one song per day, and one album per month. His Fantômas-ish journey has given lots of good harvests - and a big part of it is collected in this alb(((um))).

Kicking in with the ominous low-tuned Drone Doom summoning, John Micah Rapp's M(((O)))(((O)))N swims into an enigmatic mist of soundscapes. Slowly marching through the ears and into the deep of the conciousness, the heavy and repetitive riffs never fail to vibrate every single part of my eardrums. This oceanic album features weighty drums+bass metal songs ("Trudge, Trudge", "Heavy Shaman") and even epic-er drone giants ("M(((O)))(((O)))N"). There's also the experimental side of the record, which includes tracks like "Tibetan Singing Bowls" - with its beatiful and stunning chants -, "Satanic Worship, Suicide and Animal Sacrifice" and its samples, and "Some Things Just Aren't Meant to Be" - with its mix of tribal rhythms and spacial echoes.
The music flows naturally throughout the record, and besides its weight, it always achieve to sooth my thoughts. The mixing is neat, producing a 'soft-to-heavy' ambience that totally fits the instrumentals. Fascinating enough, the doomy atmosphere combined with a perfect dose of psychedelia makes M(((O)))(((O)))N one of the most accessible and yet intriguing albums in the whole world of Stoner and Drone metal.

Catalog: VB-26 (Velvet Blue Records)
Download (320kbps)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ghost - Second Time Around (1992)

| Psychedelic Rock | Experimental Rock | Folk Rock |
| Progressive Rock |

Ghost's second album, released one year after their self-titled debut, saw a slight shift in the lineup, with Krishna replaced by Iwao Yamazaki on percussion. Guest performer Kazuo Ogino also became permanent, introduced with his Celtic harp on the opening "People Get Freedom," while multi-instrumentalist Takizawa and bassist/singer Kohji Nishino remain from Ghost's debut. As always, Batoh remained the center around which everyone revolved, with even more eerily beautiful and powerful music than before. All members were credited with a large number of percussion instruments, from bell tree and Tibetan bells to "some nameless bells and stones," further intensifying the aura of ancient and mysterious rites that hangs through Ghost's music. The blend of influences both Western and Eastern results in a series of fine syntheses, perhaps even stronger than on Ghost. "Higher Power," with oboe and finger cymbals among other things, and "First Drop of the Sea," which could almost be a calmer Scott Walker number from the late '60s, both capture this sense of broad listening to grand effect. Batoh can be as straightforward as he chooses, as on the title track. He almost sounds a bit like Bowie in lighter cabaret mode (an approach he generally maintains throughout the record) even while the acid folk atmosphere gently kicks along, sometimes with quiet drama in the arrangements. When the band fully kicks in, as on the rolling "Forthcoming from the Inside," everything achieves powerful heights as a result. His lyrics throughout are often quite striking -- his images are ceremonious, seeking the spiritual amid the mundane, and more often than not, make a lot more sense than the fuzzier hoo-hah coming from his West Coast psych/Krautrock forebears.

Catalog: PSFD-25 (P.S.F. Records)
Album Overview on Allmusic
Download (192kbps)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ghost - In Stormy Nights (2007)

| Psychedelic Rock | Experimental Rock | Folk Rock |
| Progressive Rock | Stoner Rock |

Japan's Ghost has always been a truly enigmatic kind of rock band. From the beginning, they've only recorded when they felt it was necessary, and only when they had something utterly new to say. In other words, there isn't a set Ghost sound. They turn themselves inside out on each recording, and no two sound the same. In Stormy Nights is no exception. It is as different from 2004's Hypnotic Underworld as it was from 1999's Snuffbox Immanence and its completely separate companion album released on the same day. Ghost can play everything from strange mystical folk music -- notice the gorgeous Celtic-Asian flavor of "Motherly Bluster" that opens this set -- to flipped out, spaced out psychedelic rock; give a listen to the cover of "Caledonia" by freak noise rockers Cromagnon, and get your head ripped open. The centerpiece of this set is the completely genre exploding "Hemicyclic Anthelion," clocking in at over 28 minutes. This cut was taken from numerous live performances and edited together by Ghost's spiritual leader and guitarist Masaki Batoh, who has spearheaded Ghost's direction since 1984. It is a series of sonic universes showcasing all the elements of Ghost's sound from folk to noise to free improv, feedback drone, and psych terrorism, and never loses its momentum despite its utter self-indulgence. Merzbow, John Zorn, the Holy River Family Band and Derek Bailey would all be proud. The sheer staccato piano, guitar, synth and drum workout that follows it in "Water Door Yellow Gate" is, conversely, a tautly scored song, where the riff is monotonous, played as a simple set of chords carved from the lower eight keys of the piano. With numerous layered typmpanis washing out middling noise textures and roiling, razored electric guitars played by Michio Kurihara haunting the background, a chorus of backing vocals underscore Batoh's voice like an opera choir in a horror film while a constantly throbbing and pulsing bassline by Takuyuki Moriya wrenches up the tension. Conversely "Gareki No Toshi" is the piece's mirror image. No less a formalist construct, its shouted -- not sung -- vocals are relegated to the background and are distorted, almost buried under waves of seductive synth wash (courtesy of Kazuo Ogino), guitar feedback, bashed drums (Junzo Tateiwa) and a syntactical cadence that inverts the entire sequence in another key. It's remarkable how seamlessly the two pieces fit. The album closes with the gentle medieval sounding folk that is "Grisalle." A crystal clear acoustic guitar played by Batoh and his voice in its lower register is supported by Taishi Takizawa's flutes, Kurihara, and sonic atmospheres courtesy of the rest of the band with beautiful muted tympani pacing the verse; it's as gorgeous a psychedelic folk ballad as one is likely to hear and sends the entire thing out on a cracked, spacious wail as Kurihara's guitar and Ogino's analog synth carry it out. The rest of the band checks in -- especially that deep contrabass of Moriya's -- to make sure the thing stays on the earth. In Stormy Nights is another step. It walks out further than before, and yet, its melodic sensibilities, harmonic invention, and sonic exploration are utterly accessible to any listener willing to approach it with an open mind. Since Ghost has no set sound, there can be no "best" Ghost recording; they all appeal differently. This one is no exception, but it is a work of absolute beauty, chaos, seductive darkness and cosmic light.

Catalog: DC313CD (Drag City)
Album Overview on Allmusic
Download (224VBR)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Velvet Blue Records Economical Store!

Due to the high prices for mailing the CDs, VBrecords has decided to start a new economical method for distributing the releases. This consists on mailing only the prints (covers and the cd sticker - as seen on the photo above).
So, what's the good thing about this?
By mailing only the prints, we are able to send them as a regular letter. That makes the prices REALLY cheaper (check below).
Then, what's the bad thing about it?
You'd need to provide the CDr's and cases by yourself. But c'mon, that kind of costs less than U$1.
The prices are the following: (remembering this is just the postal costs, since we do not charge anything like production costs or stuff)
  • World: U$3 for 2 albums
  • Brazil: R$2 for 1 album
Well, that's it. Any doubts or orders, just mail me at :)
Also, we're still working in the old way. Just check the store for the standard full-package prices.
For more photos and the available catalogue, just check the store.
Thanks for your time.

Also, this:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Knead - This Melting Happiness - I Want You To Realize That It Is Another Trap (2003)

| Avant-Garde | Free-Jazz | Noise Rock |

Knead is the free-jazz colective of Keiji Haino with Tatsuya Yoshida and Hisashi Sasaki (drummer and bassist from Ruins). This Melting Happiness, released as a LP limited to 500 copies, is a live recording and one of the only two albums by the band. Their skeletal music consists of call-and-response compositions, mostly lead by Haino and often by Yoshida, which mix the adventurous prog-rock of Ruins and Fushitsusha's avant-rock with Derek Bailey's inspired free-improvisation. Don't expect some Fushitsusha or Ruins-like rock though, Knead is far from what these guys used to play. It sounds more like an earlier "Haino+Tatsuya" thing, but less experimental. Songs also lack a base, since the three of them just keep jamming around. But the spiritual unity of their instrumentals gives enough support for the structures the grow from paced jazz to furious noise strikes as naturally as the time passes. There's also some mad vocals provided by Haino and Yoshida thrown at some points, which just add more chaos to the uncontrollable band. The greatest thing about this is that, besides the huge mess they make, the listener is always able to touch their music. No matter how abstract they can get, their sound is so soulful that it always manages to be truthful. It's really rare to find this kind of authentic improvisation around. Overall, Knead is a must-have to every fan of Haino, Ruins and adventurous free-jazz.

Catalog: Fractal023 (Fractal Records)
Download (256kbps)

Ghost - Ghost (1990)

| Psychedelic Rock | Experimental Rock | Folk Rock |
| Progressive Rock |

Give points to Ghost for defying expectations right from the start of their first album, at least if one is coming in merely expecting a drifty, new age type of experience. "Sun Is Tangging" may start off fairly quietly, but then it explodes in a noise fest and then returns to a calmer acoustic serenity throughout. With that as a fine surprise starting point, Masaki Batoh and company enter fully into their fascinating acid-folk-jam world with a strong number of songs. The group and its many guests -- no less than 11 -- explore everything from droning mysticism that sounds like it was recorded in mist-shrouded jungle temples to heavy-duty percussion-led songs that will make any Amon Düül fan smile in happiness. Given this wide range, Batoh's particular vision feels not merely like a tribute to his musical forebears but a striking new synthesis, while his main collaborators at this point match his dreams well. Mu Krishna, the chief percussion player, does a particularly fine job on his own or with various guests throughout, also contributing "whisper," as the credits name it. One moment where Batoh gets to step fully to the fore is the lovely "I've Been Flying," where his soft acoustic playing and understated but still strong singing float above a lovely electric guitar solo from then guest performer Kurihara. The immediately following "Ballad of Summer Rounder" is just as grand, Batoh's tender, evocative singing and playing accompanied about four minutes in by Takizawa's flute and guest drummer Shigeru Konno's steady, restrained percussion. It eventually ends in a classic jam, Takizawa switching to sax and going off over the head-nodding beat as Batoh seems almost to be speaking in tongues or mantras. "Rakshu" wraps up this quite fine debut with an intoxicating, hushed blend of percussion -- gongs, bells, blocks -- and Batoh's prayerful singing.

Catalog: PSFD-9 (P.S.F. Records)
Album Overview on Allmusic
Download (320kbps)