(VxPxC) - Stoned to Death / Quetzolcoatl - Living (Leaf Trail CD-Rs)
Hard times for these lovely new editions from the lovely new Leaf Trail label, the Irish imprint run by Irish human Tim Hurley aka Quetzolcoatl. Well, they hit hard times once they got into my hands at least. These discs come in oversized plastic sleeves which is a good thing because I promptly spilled Dr. Pepper (the vanilla berry one, fyi) on one of them. Luckily it was surface damage. Then the other snag came when I put em both in my three disc changer and forgot which was which, even after I specifically instructed myself not to. I think I got it all clean and straight now though, which is more than I can say for you and the group you hang around with.
I'm not really sure if it's divine coincidence or if there's something actually connecting these two names but the last time I reviewed a whack from Abandon Ship (the time before last, actually), (VxPxC) and Quetzolcoatl were two of the three acts involved. What's the deal, brothers? Birds of a feather flock together or what? Well whatever the case is, all I can tell from a surface glance is they're both heavy on nature and panoramas thereof. No complaints.
I thought the first disc was Quetzolcoatl, turns out it's (VxPxC), and you think I'd be able to tell the difference with one being an L.A. trio (Justin McInteer, Grant E. Capes, Tim Goodwillie), and the other being an Irishman solo flight...but that's more a testiment to (VxPxC)'s uncanny knack for sounding like a single solitary unit than my general ineptitude (really!). They pulled the same stunt when I heard "Reticent to Manifest" and I may have remarked on it then, too. A coupla exhibits on "Stoned to Death" (no shit) back up my testimony. Dig, por favor, the excellent way-torched frazzle worked over on the yawning psychedelic tone investigation "Empty Mall" and the harmonica-flecked toil + trouble of "Smoulder Exude", the name pretty much tells the whole story of this destroyed piece of ex-architecture. "Someone is Here" also sounds like it stems from one head, the duality of its razed soundscapes and glistening, bright vocals (maybe?) blending and intertwining as one. And maybe there was indeed only one at work on some of the tracks, who knows. The sounds these guys spew out their wizard sleeves is always so obfuscated, I'll be fucked if I can figure it all out. The next record should come with Venn diagrams for liner notes. Also of note is the amazing mutated dance/pop song "Love Falls" that closes out the record, sounding like something I'd expect to hear crop up on a James Ferraro tape. "Later Than You Think" shakes out heavy full-band action, built around fuzzy, downtrodden riffs that could crumple into dust at a moment's notice and swirling, looped background wash coming off strikingly similar to the more come-down moments of shoe-doom (I prefer Doomgaze, man he was a bastard in FF6) stars Nadja, Goslings, Jesu and similar. Meanwhile "Lower Still" channels the living soul of Terry Riley w/a heavy dose of Eno's bedside manners, all hazy and stumbling and rattling guitar/synth/noisebox fug. The whole disc volleys back and forth some between skyline and sewerpipe, and I don't mean that in a good and bad way. Sometimes you gotta get high, sometimes you gotta start low.
Quetzolcoatl's "Living" is a set of ten untitled tunes clocking in just under an hour, and all "crafted by piano artifacts". Which is to say that yes indeed most of these figure loosely around a charming/haunting piano refrain, drenched in a healthy helping of fuzzy ambience, distant creaking, the sound of howling wind, holistic breaths from heavens above, fragile heartbeats amidst low mechanized hums - all kinds of glorious, chest-swelling aural pleasures, really. Absolute tits is track number six - a dizzy piano tangle off in the sun-blinding horizon smothered in angelic drones and choir-like refrain emitting from who knows what. None others stood out as much as that one, but it's not to suggest the rest are bad. Quite the contrary. The entire albums bleeds together so seamlessly it's really one endless dunk into shimmering lakes and warm summer days without a touch of the irony or cheesiness you might expect to go with it. "Living", as the Leaf Trail jabber states, is "a personal, meditative, moving journey, through time, mind, worlds and dreams" and I'm a believer. No way is this music created by someone not in touch with the other and I'm convinced Tim is roommates with the other as of hearing this outing. Valid comparisons would be to the lighter moments of the Skaters (again!) and Double Leopards but moreso early John Cale and Tony Conrad (and Theatre of Eternal Music, it must be said), Charlemagne Palestine, Florian Fricke and Popol Vuh, more Eno...shoot I don't know, but don't take my word for it...pick one up and air out your skull yourself.
Not only do these jams come in oversized full color glossy sleeves (the (VxPxC) one is even stitched together!) but there's sexy inserts to match and cool, watercolor-style disc labels. Definitely a one to watch, especially with new blather en route from hooligans with names like Bonecloud (x2), Ghost Brames of the Cerf, Ixchel, and another Quetzolcoatl.
Samples available here because I don't have the time to do em myself tonight. Do forgive me.