Earthen Sea - Seeking Enlightenment 12 oz. At a Time / Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Floating Weeds / Taiga Remains - Vermilion Dusk (Twonicorn CSs)
When Twonicorn mainman Ry Wharton wrote to me to see if I'd be interested in hearing a new batch of tapes he'd drawn up, my answer was a very enthusiastic "yes please". Because way back in some month that took place a while ago (June?) I reviewed a couple that I was able to get my hands on, a tape from Tombi and a double-cassette from Drunjus. They both slayed. And with these three new ones Ry just put out, Twonicorn's reputation for slayingness continues unabated. The only kink is that they're just so darn tricky to get ahold of, being limited to no more than 100 copies each and all. Aquarius Records is probably your best bet, or just keep refreshing the Twonicorn website until they're posted for sale. But don't dwadle.
Earthen Sea is a name I'm not familiar with, and the liners don't do much to help that situation, stating only "recorded late at night, winter of 2005 in a corner in my bedroom, Davis, California" but not explaining exactly who the "my" in the sentence pertains to. Also taken from the liners, Earthen Sea's sound appears to be fueled by Casio, electronics, coffee and beer. Well all right then. I pressed play on my stereo and then left the room to attend to some other matter briefly and in that span of time when I was in the adjacent hall it sounded like a spaceship was prepping a lift off next door. These sonics are slow-moving aquatic orbs, drifting and floating in front of your face creating massive resonances in between your temples. The long tone drones are eventually accompanied by a barnacle-encrusted organ-sounding ditty, but I guess it's actually a keyboard. Nitsche meets Cale by way of ambient forebearers like Eno et al.? Cale's "Sun Blindness Music" without all the delibitating "blindness" and leaving only the sun and the music for you to bask under? I don't know dude. "Seeking Enlightenment..." (nice title by the way) is a rather lovely, weightless, sinking feeling. The first side closes with a freaky brain crawl comet-tail synth augmentation. Over on side B things are downright blustery, like the spaceship finally took off and someone is holding a microphone out the window. It contains harsher tones than its sister side but still nothing too tremendously bent. Reminds me a bit of Hive Mind with a smoother edge. This side also closes with a byootiful little outro...nothing too fancy but Mr. E. Sea clearly knows his way around a tape/my heart. Good stuff!
You might recognize Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's name from the post-rock superstars Tarentel. I sure did. But here he's striking out on his own, goin' down the only road he's ever known. His Twonicorn set is called "Floating Weeds". Floating? Fucking you better believe there's floating...lots of it! I don't know what instruments Jefre is using (keyboards? Synths?) but he lays down some bodacious, floaty, shimmery, dreamy, oceanic tones all over the place. Like in the style of just pinching one out, letting it hang there in the air for awhile, and then sending out another one for them to rub up against eachother before they disintegrate, and then begin the whole process anew. Both sides are very, very Birchville Cat Motelian, especially circa "Chi Vampires" (minus the heavy metal) and you know that can only mean good things. The flip is a touch darker and slightly more ominous than the other side, but it's all slick and extra-nice and just packed to the gills with extra-fab, mind-freeing drones. I can't find too much to say about it since Jefre keeps his attack simple and straight-forward, but that's totally in the manner of the best sound-strategists so there's no harm done...except for when you wake up and realize your drool has hardened and bonded you to the floor.
Taiga Remains is another name I don't really know but there is some substantial detail inside the case. "Vermilion Dusk" is the work of Cincinnati's Alex Cobb, whose dreamweapons include the acoustic guitar, the voice, the organ, and the computer. I'm going to confess and tell you that I'll be damned if I can make out the first two anywhere in this bloodpool. Side A cracks open with a super-loud blast of quasi-righteous holistic ritual vibes that's soothing at 3 and sperm-killing at 9. It could all be so sunny and rosy but Cobb totally woke up on the wrong side of the cot and is determined to punish anyone and anything within a 500km radius. Talk about your orange/red/white-hot bug-grilling buzzes and whirrs. Can you imagine feeding this one through your deck after a night of hard drinking? I think I would melt. Heck I know I would. Maybe because it mirrors so well the sound that's already going on inside my head after such a night it's like a double dose, I don't know. Second side is equally punishing, and it reminds me of the outside tones and mountain drones brought on by the likes of Twonicorn alumni Drunjus. This is heavy and bright and intense and all those things in between - again, nothing too sophisticated but all the more powerful for it. I'm definitely going to play this one again though and see if I can pick out anything remotely resembling a guitar or a voice. Pass me my sword and shield.
If the Tombi and Drunjus tapes had hinted that the Twonicorn label was going to be something to watch out for, these three have completely set that notion in stone. And they've still got something on the way from fan favorite Spectre Flux aka Pete Nolan, which at this point I'm anticipating more than retirement or first-born children. They're that good. Now get out of my face and start trying to find a way to obtain these mothers.