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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

For their Warp Records debut, Antipop present a 7 track EP that's done spinning in less than 17 minutes. Warp may seem like a strange place for an MC trio to be, but APC's hip hop is as electronic and forward thinking as anything else on the label. NYC's Beans, Priest and Sayid fastidiously flow mile a minute rhymes, as always, and are as involved in the sparse yet phat production as producer/engineer/arranger/mixer Earl Blaize. "Tuff Gong" gets right up in your face quick, Sayid letting you know within the minute that he "have the need to tell what I see". "Splinter" is as close as you'll get to verse chorus verse but like "Vector", it's a bit too laden with annoying synth notes. Moog and synth lines help propel the instrumental future funk groove of "Dystopian Disco Force". In "39303," Priest testifies, "I write like a man who can't read / feelin' the need / to seize his mind of reason / I spit treason / MCs in season / vets freezin' / I rap like there's nothin' left to believe in / clumsily uneven," seconds before his voice is panned to one channel and digital gurgles fill the opposite one. Next, "Pit," disorients with 2 minutes worth of veering tones, off/on beeps and ping pong ball percussion, then "Perpendicular" adds another 2 minutes of tasty piano and atmosphere enhanced hip hop beats. This disc is all over the place, much like an APC album, but it's all the more obvious in such a short time span. And unfortunately, I'd say only 4 tracks are really necessary (but hey, it's only ~$7) so here's looking forward to the debut album for Warp set to drop early next year. In the meantime, get "Tragic Epilogue" and "Shopping Carts Crashing" if'n you don't already have 'em.



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