Deceh / Total Life

Total Life is at it again on this Important Records split: sawtooth synths and tremolo waves rise, crash, and recede in the time frame of about one second, over and over again.  It feels like you’re listening to a beam of light perpetually reaching for an infinite horizon.  It doesn’t differ greatly from his early 2013 release “Bender/Drifter” or his forthcoming “Radiator,” but it doesn’t need to.  Deceh, in three movements, contributes a track that is thinner, but more varied than the flip side.  ”Thrive Outside Economy” uses shruti box, Hammond organ, upright double bass, and modular synthesizer to form tight, harmonic drones that are content to drift and pulse in a manipulated timbre.  Both projects are luxuriant and built for ceaseless durations. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Gunter Schickert

From its era it recalls the work of Ash Ra Tempel or Klaus Schulze, but Gunter Schickert’s solo guitar endeavor from 1974 still remains clearly ahead of its time, surely a determining factor in this Important Records reissue.  ”Samtvogel” loops, echoes, and rings through a variety of delay units, creating a tapestry of sound that flows fluidly, but is highly technical at the same time.  It was recorded and bounced down a few times through low tech tape recorders, recalling a time period where one mistake meant starting anew.  Still, “Samtvogel” is also decidedly prescient, even forecasting such psych-leaning indie records as Animal Collective’s “Sung Tongs” and Battles’ “Gloss Drop.” – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Ellen Fullman
Through Glass Panes

FROM THE ARCHIVES//  To my ears, Ellen Fullman’s 1993 release “Body Music” is a classic in avant-garde modern composition.  A grand, glistening network of beautiful overtones and unpredictable harmonics, “Body Music” was a culmination of years of activity with her long string instrument.  ”Through Glass Panes,” her first full-length for Important that was issued two years ago, is just as exquisite as Fullman matches the singular timbre of her strings with a variety of instruments, including violin, cello, and percussive box-bows.  It’s a fascinating upgrade to her sound sculptures that use subtle sonic collisions and textural contrasts to create four extended tracks that I sincerely wish could linger in the air forever.  Her approach easily transcends recent experimental tendencies and avant-garde ideologies, making “Through Glass Panes” a work to be cherished and submerged in. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

James Blackshaw & Lubomyr Melnyk
The Watchers

James Blackshaw has become a frequented name in acoustic guitar and neo-classical circles, but Lubomyr Melnyk, at the age of 64, seems to be undergoing a much deserved renaissance of attention and accolades.  Certainly a dream collaboration, the duo combine their considerable talents of 12 string acoustic guitar and continuous piano techniques in this rapturous 46 minute album that is every bit as good as I thought it would be.  Culled from a six hour London improvisation session where apparently little was discussed prior to pressing record, “The Watchers” says more than words ever could with a vibrant acoustic sound that positively shimmers.  The approach remains the same for all four tracks with flurries of guitar chords rushing over cascading piano melodies to erect a sound as golden and enveloping as the rays of sunshine that fall during the warmer months. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia 

Padang Food Tigers
Ready Country Nimbus


Close to the very definition of pastoral music, Spencer Grady and Stephen Lewis, operating here as Padang Food Tigers, allow the sounds of rural life – rain, children playing, and wind – to become just as necessary as the guitar, piano, and banjo, the three traditional instruments that appear most often on “Ready Country Nimbus.” The two musicians are better known as two-thirds of Rameses III (Type, Important Records) and, though their style is similar, the music on this LP is noticeably pared back in order to illuminate naked, rough-hewn folk songs without a hint of the technological world. Even song length is cut down with none of the record’s fifteen tracks eclipsing the four minute mark. Unlike many other acts who take a similar approach to folk and minimalist tropes, Padang Food Tigers carry an optimistic mood throughout “Ready Country Nimbus,” allowing a warm, inviting feeling to pervade this enticing album. - Ryan Potts, Experimedia