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Sun Stabbed, "The World Upside-Down"

Using E-bows (probably) and sculpted feedback, this guitar-based drone duo from Grenoble, France have achieved a masterful balance between womblike bliss and disquietude.  This is an understated and obscure gem.

Peasant Magik

This cassette-only release consists of two very similar sounding ambient-drone pieces (perhaps two halves of the same piece) built upon what the label describes as "expertly crafted, drifting guitar feedback. Ranging from Sunroof!-esque shimmering skree to glacial amplifier buzz."  It certainly is glacial, no argument there.  As for the skree, I am not entirely sure.  "Skree" is something of a pseudo-word that is not clearly defined, but I believe in this case it means an insectoid hum.  That is equally apt.   

Both pieces are based upon a sustained pure, wavering tone and a low drone, and slowly swell and ebb as additional tracks of feedback and hum wash in and out.  It never becomes harsh, but abrupt noises intermittently stumble into the mix (backwards chords, radio noises, some vaguely sinister rumblings deep in the mix that may be mangled speech) to keep things from being totally predictable or one-dimensional.  Listening to this album is not unlike (I suspect), lying in a field surrounded by crickets whose comforting whine is weirdly shifting in subtly psychedelic ways.  Every now and then a darker or harsher tone breaks through the cricket hum, threatening to shatter the nocturnal idyll and remind you that there is an ugly world waiting just outside, but it is always overpowered by your helpful acid-cricket pals almost immediately.  

Guitarists Pierre Faure and Thierry Monnier display a striking and egoless command of nuance, control, and patience throughout.  The World Upside-Down never escalates, incorporates other instruments, or really changes mood.  It just floats.  Endlessly and hypnotically. At least, it does if your cassette player automatically flips tapes.  Otherwise it only floats hypnotically for two twenty-minute stretches.

This is the first Peasant Magik release that I was exposed to. I have historically not followed the cassette-only noise genre too closely (even after being blindsided by the amazing Natural Snow Buildings).  However, I have since heard some other releases from this label and they are also pretty unique and intriguing.  This is still my favorite though.  It is a shame only 99 other people will be able to share my experience (as it's limited edition to 100).




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Review of the Day

You'd be hard pushed to realise that samples from classical music form the core of the second Illuminati EP, as they've mostly been utterly distorted and pulverised beyond recognition. A middle aged electrician commented that this reminded him of Soft Machine which is odd because Dave Clarkson of Illuminati and Planetsounds is a big fan of theirs, but I'd never have thought it was something that sounded similar. When I mentioned the comparison to Dave he asked if it was the third track, "Glass Box Trap" which chucks a melodic keyboard jitter over thrumming double drone backbone, and a nasal voice muttering disgruntled and nebulous. If I was going to fling comparisons at Illuminati though I'd have to mention Throbbing Gristle, particularly "DOA," but I think I did that with the first EP. This one has the same picture on the cover, but inverted to negative and in some ways this a darker and more menacing trip. A deep singular pulse beat opens the strange door onto a microscope resolution for "Midget Germs" which vibrate ominously in hell spawned misery. Feedback screams and muffled moans punctuate this tortured cancerous eyeball injection. The poor germs don't stand a chance when "Argenteum Atavism" squirts beatnoise bleach all over them. Crunching along in hectic overloaded abandon, this is what it might sound like if Aphex Twin tried to put one over on Non. Just as the melody creeps in one final crash collapses into semi-ambient bleepscape gurgling. The fourth and final track swings "The Strange Door" shut and desperate knocking can be heard from outside as the germs shut outside slowly fizzle to their demise, and a new dawn of lush angelic keyboard bursts across the blackened sky. Distant thunder rumbles.



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