Kolumkilli - Waxwing (Pasalymany Tapes 3" CD-R)
Favorite local label, favorite local artist, and this handy 3" presents a strong argument for both. First of all, let me tell you about the packaging. This month's Wire had some musings in the Masthead and in the Inner Sleeve about the relationship between packaging and the music contained within...Geert-Jan Prins (penning the latter obviously since he's no editor) in particular discussed a release with packaging so complex that once you undo it, it's impossible to put it back together again. Thus creating, essentially, a non-cover. Same kind of deal with Pasalymany's latest offering, a 3" from Montreal drone warlord Kolumkilli aka Iain McMaster. The picture you see there isn't a picture of twine that was used for the CD's cover - the twine is the album's cover. And it's up to you, the listener, to ruin the beautifully hand-rendered art just to get to the music. And, like the CD in Prins' article, there's no putting it back together again. Once you've unwound the rope, it's over. Goodnight Irene. And even then the CD-R doesn't come easy - it's kept inside a sealed plastic envelope (backed by a wooden square, w/xeroxed info sheet, w/printed image on the plastic, w/spraypainted CD-R - intense!) you have to cut open to get at. Man, this notion of massacring the art to get at the music is something I dig completely. I don't know, it just has a certain amount of irony or something that appeals to me. Alternately (and the option I'm going to pursue) is you can buy two copies, one to destroy and one to keep in its initial pristine state for all of eternity. So it says they're limited to 50, but it's more like 25 when you think about it.
Just to give you an idea how long it took to do all 50 of these up deluxe style, I'm pretty sure this Kolumkilli track was recorded about a year ago by now, and its catalogue number is three, despite the fact that Carlo and Pasalymany are up to at least number eight now. Worth the wait? You know it is. Different from modern-day Kolumkilli live slayings though, where recent directions saw heaps of instrumentation layered atop more heaps of instrumentation until the drone became a towering seam-splitting monolith of power. The 18-minute tune here is a more minimal side by comparison, but no less great. I think it's just ("just") guitar, vocals, effects and maybe a violin bow, but it's never easy to be sure with this kind of stuff. Basically what you get is a lovely spectral float, puffs of acrid smoke billowing out from basement-level amplification. The barely-recognizable vocals intonations work to sweet sweet perfection with the gentle strands of dark goo emitted from a melting guitar...translates into the ideal amorphous blob of sound that gets under you and takes you all the way up to Mt. Olympia and/or beyond. Actually what the track reminds me a looot of, in fact, is the now-world-famous Buddha Machine. Only not looped (obviously) and with an infinitely more darkened atmosphere. Like Sunn O))) or the Double Leopards recording for or remixing said device (hey I know Sunn are on that "Jukebox Buddha" compilation, I just haven't heard it yet). Either way, worth the time it takes to unravel, hands down. And sure I'm biased since I'm friends with Iain (and Carlo too) but I'm telling you, I wouldn't review it if I thought it was shit. Associations aside, artist and label both rule end of story!