Smokey Emery – 04 (Holodeck)
Smokey Emery is one Daniel Hipólito who works primarily with reel-to-reel tape loops, he’s been working on this Soundtracks For Invisibility series for a while (as well as a series titled Lives), and while this one, Volume III: Qui Mal Y Pense, was originally released digitally in 2011, Holodeck gave it a proper physical debut on cassette this summer, so thanks a ton for that, because this is fucking awwwwesome, a wide open space jam of dark dank beautifully transcendent drone, an hour’s worth of material, half of which is from a single 30 minute piece, this thing goes all in for minimal weirdness, slow-mo fog horns and glacial swells, subdued industrial dread with possessed moaning and ethereal resonant guitars, the sound of an inter-dimensional séance that’s not meant to contact the deceased but rather alternate versions of yourself, and it goes horribly wrong leaving you deranged and with an abyss for a soul, this takes you on a harrowing journey to great & terrible places, a glorious black slab of ancient drone that will reach your innermost thoughts, this is unsafe music for those seeking the true phenomenons of life, an absolutely killer fucking record, love it ’til it’s dead.
Symbol – Shadow Harvesting (Holodeck / Light Lodge)
Christopher Royal King of This Will Destroy You exorcising his inner psyche with this solo debut as Symbol. On the surface this could be just another synth record, a drop in the overflowing barrel of New Agey revival, but King takes this shit to the next level, if only due to the additional instruments he brings to the table, he’s got harmonium (which is an instant win obviously), singing bowls, hammered dulcimer, bowed cymbals, tape manipulation (another “fuck yes”), and guitar, all processed to heaven and back, giving this gorgeous beast a rare richness, full blown bliss that’s overworked and overdone to perfection, simple subtle drones that drift like dust in the sun, burnt static & soaring melodies opening new doors in your mind, falling apart as soon as you grab ahold of it, euphoric but not overwhelming, truly fantastic work that sounds all the better on wax.
SSLEEPERHOLD – Beatsslave (Holodeck)
This bad boy was sold out for a bit, even though it only came out a few months ago. But Holodeck knows their shit and repressed this asap, so I figured now’s the time for yall to hear about if you missed out on the first go-round. SSLEEPERHOLD, aka José Cota of Medio Mutante, puts together a sexxy synthy dance fest that has the catchiest hooks outside of pop. This is all over the place style wise, like a New Age cloud rap darkwave that could just as easily come from a John Hughes movie as it could from John Carpenter, slow & grimy, tender & bangin, making for beastly times on the dance floor as well as solo transcendental mind explorations. Ruleth gets all the points for originality in this synth saturated scene. Can’t wait to see where he goes with this. Excellent fucking stuff. And the repress was only another 300 copies, so don’t wallow for too long on it.
Troller – Winter (Holodeck / Light Lodge / Living Tapes)
Ok, first of all, that album art is totally bitchin but not at all an accurate representation of the music, or at least, not your first reaction to it. This isn’t psych, garage, metal, or whatever. Not at all. Second of all, I’ve been jamming this 100% for many months now, since Holodeck & Light Lodge released the vinyl (Living Tapes originally released the tape back in ’11) but for some terrible reason I never found myself compelled to write it up on AGB. This is hands down one of my favorite fucking records I found this year and the non-metal album I’ve listened to most. I honestly can’t get enough of this. It’s some strange & beautiful drone/pop/darkwave hybrid with the deepest buzzing bass lines, catchy as fuck synth melodies, and haunted Cocteau Twinsy vocals that soar through the midnight fog, totally unintelligible and perfectly melodramatic, this is graveyard hallucination pop that takes your emotions on a joyride right off a fucking cliff, interspersed with short droned windswept drifts to catch your breath in between the suffocatingly thick goth anthems, I could cry every time this lady epically yells (yup) at the peak of Mount Pop on “Winter,” goddamn this album is pure bittersweet darkpop perfection, I can’t even fucking handle it, I love it, I think I’m gonna marry it.