Monday, July 28, 2014

Claudia - Reza, Tambor E Raça (1977)

Cool, joyful fusion of soul, funk, and salsa. Get up on it.

Track listing:
1. Reza, Tambor E Raça
2. Soy Latino Americano
3. Glorioso Santo Antônio
4. Poeta do Medo
5. Pororoca
6. Lua Negra
7. Apenas Um Rapaz Latino Americano
8. O Cavaleiro E Os Moinhos
9. Vai Baby (Peter Gunn)
10. 2ª Feira
11. Homem E Mulher
12. Ana Cor de Cana

Head first

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Vomit Remnants - Supreme Entity (1999) + Indefensible Vehemence EP (2001)

From Japan, Vomit Remnants brought the proto-slams on Supreme Entity right around the same time as Devourment's Molesting the Decapitated. They're more obscure but just as gnarly -- pretty much the Pentagram to Devourment's Black Sabbath. (Although, to be clear, anyone who tries to tell you that Pentagram is as good or better than Sabbath is fucking wrong.) The Indefensible Vehemence EP is disgustingly brutal as well, and features what appears to be a tribute to Devourment.

Track listing:
Supreme Entity
1. Putrefying Dead Flesh
2. My Blessed Sickness
3. Decomposed of Structure
4. Rotted Human Waste
5. Macabre Mementos
6. Engorgement...
7. Faces of the Deceased
8. Murderous Thoughts Determined
Indefensible Vehemence
1. Intro
2. Prodigy of Solitude
3. 00 Buck Shot
4. Inherited Deformity
5. Embludgeonment (Regard to Devourment)
6. A Puppet Mill

Don’t avert your eyes
Rapture of pervert deep in the eyelids
Don’t cover your ears
Angel’s chattering, shameful melody of the dead

Friday, July 25, 2014

Twine - Recorder (2002)

Abstract, glitchy electronic. Dark, spacious guitars, thick layers of static-y noise, droning keyboards, heavily treated dialogue samples, and stuttering pieces of unnamed sounds that at times almost resemble beats. And bonus points for sampling Twin Peaks. Twine makes the kind of music that you'd expect to hear blaring in an empty room in a house after everyone had eaten mushrooms and moved to the basement to watch Baraka.

Track listing:
1. None Silver
2. Cign
3. Fine Music
4. Player Piano
5. Factor
6. Curved
7. Touched
8. There Is No One

It's like I'm having the most beautiful dream and the most terrible nightmare at once

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sabbat - Envenom (1991)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Sabbat - The Dwelling (1996)

First full-length from Japanese black/thrash outfit Sabbat. It's raw and evil, but there's a hint of fist-pumping butt rock chug to some of the riffs, so it's more fun than it is dark.

Track listing:
1. Bewitch
2. Satan Bless You
3. Evil Nations
4. Devil Worship
5. Reek of Cremation
6. Deathtemptation
7. King of Hell
8. The Sixth Candle - Eviler
9. Carcassvoice
10. Dead March
11. Black Fire
12. Reminiscent Bells

I devour the charred flesh
Oblivious to life
You're beyond death

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Urna - Mors Principium Est (2013)

Urna, along with Arcana Coelestia, with whom they share a crucial multi-instrumentalist, make what I consider to be the ideal style of funeral doom for my tastes. The music is largely dissonant, but allows just enough melody to peek through the cracks to allow a heartbreaking beauty to provide a backdrop to the crushing, ugly heaviness. It's lushly, densely layered; in my post about Arcana Coelestia, I wrote that it sounds as though there are "fifteen guitars, clean and distorted, all playing something different, at all times," and the same can be said about Urna. And while the vocals won't change your life, they're exactly what they should be: monstrous, cavernous growls that could be emanating from a deep chasm in the earth, demonic screams, and, at times, reverb-drenched choral singing. To cap it all off, they've allowed some of their black metal roots to stick around, especially on the oddly named "137 = 73 + 64".  I don't love Mors Principium Est quite as much as the aformentioned Arcana Coelestia record, but I do enjoy it more than about 95% of all other doom metal records.

1. Omnis infinita mens est gremium et sepolcrum universi
2. Ego sum templum et principium omniae rei
3. Intermezzo
4. Octo sunt grados ad càpere fine cycli magni
5. 137 = 73 + 64
6. Fui Sum Ero

The dream descends to the region of moon
To the land, the sphere of eternal sin

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sergius Golowin - Lord Krishna Von Goloka (1973)

An interesting piece of ritualistic German psychedelia. Organic instruments, such as guitars, flutes, and hand drums are offset by keyboards, electronics, and SFX that grant the otherwise pastoral sounds a heavily cosmic atmosphere. Over this, Golowin sporadically recites incantations in German. It's pretty far out there.

Track listing:
1. Der Reigen
2. Die Weisse Alm
3. Die Hoch-Zeit

The high celebration

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sister Irene O'Connor - Fire of God's Love / Songs to Ignite the Spirit (1973)

Here's a nice 'lil oddity. So as you can easily tell by the cover, this is a Christian album, through and through, recorded by a nun. An Australian nun, to be precise. Stick with me, though, and if you haven't heard this record, download it now.

Upon pressing play, you'll be greeted not by acoustic picking and a sunny-sounding voice praising the Lord, but by eery, ethereal, echo-laden vocals, primitive drum machines, and synthesizers. And even if not every song is as haunting as the album-leading title track, Fire never stops sounding as though it was written and performed by an insane person. Sounds as if Sister O'Connor wasn't just getting high on Christ -- she was straight-up tripping her balls off on him. Or acid.

Track listing:
1. Fire (Luke 12:49)
2. Nature Is a Song
3. Springtime (In Australia)
4. Mass: Emmanuel (Text: I.C.E.L.)
5. Messe du Saint Esprit
6. Light (John 8:12)
7. Mary Was 'There'
8. O Brother! (Matt. 7:1-5)
9. Teenager's Chorus
10. O Great Mystery (John 6)
11. Christ Our King (Col. 1:13)
12. Keshukoran

I am the living bread
He who eats this bread I give
He shall not die but he will live

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Knelt Rote - Trespass (2012)

Third and best LP from Knelt Rote, hands-down one of Portland's best metal bands. Trespass is an ugly, relentless piece of black/death metal art, deserving of far more attention than it has received. Having toned down the harsh noise elements that found their way onto previous Knelt Rote records, they nonetheless manage on Trespass to capture an even more overwhelming sense of extreme, dead-eyed, void-embracing bleakness, with sharper precision and focus. Fans of Incantation and Profanatica, this is for you.

Track listing:
1. Usurpation
2. Hunger
3. Passenger
4. Succumb
5. Compress
6. Identical
7. Interlude
8. Catalepsy

Every single human being on planet earth deserves to die

Friday, July 18, 2014

Robert Rich & Steve Roach - Strata (1990)

The first of two excellent collaborative albums from influential ambient/new age artists (and OPIUM HUM favorites) Robert Rich and Steve Roach. Roach's hypnotic, tribal rhythms mix extraordinarily well with Rich's darker, Eastern-tinged melodies, and glacial synth work provides a spacious, enveloping aural landscape. The end result is some of the richest, most evocative music in either one of their discographies.

Track listing:
1. Fearless
2. Mica
3. Forever
4. The Grotto of Time Lost
5. Iguana
6. Magma
7. Persistence of Memory (for Dali)
8. Remembrance
9. Ceremony of Shadows
10. La Luna

Lost landmarks

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Maze - We Are One (1983)

Smooth, impeccably produced soul/funk. We Are One represents a step away from the progressive sound of Maze's previous record, Joy and Pain, and towards an even more accessible, streamlined sound. There was a time when this would have been way too cheesy for me, but having learned to not give a fuck, I can appreciate the band's mastery of musical subtlety, Frankie Beverly's uninhibited delivery, and the unflinching positivity of his lyrics.

It may be worth noting that I found about Maze via a reference in the Prince song "Count the Days", an absolutely brilliant song for which I can't seem to find a Youtube link, as Prince is all over keeping his shit off of there. If you haven't heard it, you must -- it's on the Girl 6 OST, so get that, too.

Track listing:
1. Love Is the Key
2. Right on Time
3. Your Own Kind of Way
4. I Wanna Thank You
5. We Are One
6. Never Let You Down
7. I Love You Too Much
8. Metropolis

If you really want to be free

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pure Bathing Culture - Moon Tides (2013)

Well, the heatwave continues here in Portland, OR, which means that I'm probably going to the river again. Sometimes, life is a pretty sweet fruit. And for the ride there, it's gonna be Portland's own Pure Bathing Culture. It's not just the name -- although that can't hurt -- it's the shimmering guitars, the gently propulsive rhythms, the synth washes, vocalist Sarah Versprille's angelic but distinct delivery, and the overall laid-back, nature-friendly vibes that all seem to say, "Go, get a nice buzz going and take a dip."

Track listing:
1. Pendulum
2. Dream the Dare
3. Evergreener
4. Twins
5. Only Lonely Lovers
6. Scotty
7. Seven 2 One
8. Golden Girl
9. Temples of the Moon

You will become

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Disavowed - Perceptive Deception (2001)

Brutal death metal. Tremolo picked riffs over blasts, chug-chug riffs over Suffo-blasts, and brief midtempo breakdowns, with a growling vocalist whose lyrics forgo the expected descriptions of gory, sexually-charged violence in favor of quasi-philosophical, semi-coherent, grammatically unsound word salad. 100% free of dynamics, variance, or any other form of compromise.

Track listing:
1. Rhizome
2. Abolition of Impediment
3. Reason Rejected
4. Condensed Conditions
5. Masses Conformed
6. Unfolding Disposition
7. Generative Patterns
8. Critical Emulation
9. Opposite Extremities

To be objective is a primary priority
In order to determinate the importance of matter involved
Condensed conditions, a fixed objective can lead to convenience
Criticism will be obsolete

Monday, July 14, 2014

Korallreven - An Album by Korallreven (2011)

Damn, I wish that chilled out, hazy, 80s-referencing electropop was still trendy, I was so about it. This is, to date, Korallreven's only full-length, and it's one of the high-water marks of this largely abandoned microgenre. Plastic reggae doesn't get much better than "Honey Mine".

Track listing:
1. As Young as Yesterday
2. Sa Sa Samoa
3. The Truest Faith
4. Keep Your Eyes Shut
5. Loved-Up
6. Comin' Closer
7. Pago Pago
8. Honey Mine
9. A Surf on Endorphins
10. Comin' Down

Wrap your arms

If you like this, check out Tropics - Parodia Flare (2011)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ray Lynch - The Sky of Mind (1983)

First LP from classically-trained new age composer Ray Lynch. A bright, pleasing mix of organic and synthetic instrumentation, including acoustic guitar, flute, piano, strings, synth, wordless ethereal vocals, and Tibetan bells. According to Lynch's website:

"The Sky of Mind was created after I realized that there was a small (but robust and growing) alternative market for something called "new age" music. I wasn't sure what that was, but Sky seemed to fit in okay."

In other words, it was pure, divine inspiration.

Track listing:
1. Quandra
2. Good News
3. The Temple
4. Too Wounded
5. Pavane
6. Green Is Here

Falling in the garden

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Big Youth - Screaming Target (1972)

Debut LP from reggae deejay Big Youth. Raw, analogue production, out of tune instruments, and often redlining vocals? Should be a big hit with lo-fi black metal purists.

Track listing:
1. Screaming Target
2. Pride and Joy Rock
3. Be Careful
4. Tippertong Rock
5. One of These Fine Days
6. Screaming Targets (Vers 2)
7. The Killer
8. Solomon A Gunday
9. Honesty
10. I Am Alright
11. Lee A Low
12. Concrete Jungle

Lightning flash

Friday, July 11, 2014

Religious to Damn - Glass Prayer (2011)

Hypnotic, vaguely gothic indie rock featuring members of lots of bands, including Vaura, A Storm of Light, and Blacklist. Also, Tamaryn is on a couple of tracks. Sounds like a goth-y Kate Bush. Put this on the next time that you're drinking blood-tinged wine in the desert at night. Available via their bandcamp for free/name your price.

Track listing:
1. To Love the Machine
2. Drifter
3. Glass Prayer
4. Sunset
5. Let the Fires Burn
6. The Wait
7. Serpent Song
8. Terra
9. Black Sand
10. The Bell
11. Falls Down Again

Looking at the big sky

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Was (Not Was) - Was (Not Was) (1981)

The debut LP from this awesomely weird but highly danceable art-funk ensemble. It's the kind of stuff that you might find yourself dancing your ass off to, only to become slowly conscious of the fact that they've repeated a line like "One man liked milk/Now he owns a million cows" about fifteen times. I've liked this band for as long as I can remember -- my dad used to blast it while he did housework -- and, recently, I find myself enjoying them more than ever.

Track listing:
1. Out Come the Freaks
2. Where Did Your Heart Go?
3. Tell Me That I'm Dreaming
4. Oh, Mr. Friction!
5. Carry Me Back to Old Morocco
6. It's an Attack!
7. The Sky's Ablaze
8. Go... Now!

I was choking on the fish I ate for dinner
It was good while it lasted
I should've fasted, I almost had it yesterday
A song tied up my ankles
Couldn't walk, couldn't wiggle
Until you came along
Untied the song
And let its long golden fingers grasp the wind

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Exorcist - Nightmare Theatre (1986)

Occult speed metal with proto-black metal tendencies. Yup, it's a lot like Venom. It's campy, the solos are fucking bananas, the vocals are badass and multifaceted, and there's some sort of overarching story about witchcraft going on. There's a bit of a mid-album lag, but stick around for "Lucifer's Lament". For some reason -- possibly the album cover -- this record always makes me want to watch Return of the Living Dead.

Track listing:
1. Black Mass
2. The Invocation
3. Burn Offerings
4. The Hex
5. Possessed
6. Call for the Exorcist
7. Death by Bewitchment
8. The Trial
9. Execution of the Witches
10. Consuming Flames of Redemption
11. Megawatt Mayhem
12. Riding to Hell
13. Queen of the Dead
14. Lucifer's Lament
15. The Banishment

Do you wanna paaaaaaaaartay!?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Entrance - Prayer of Death (2006)

One of the great modern psych rock records. Thick, bluesy riffs, wah-wah leads, violins, organ, sitar, and vocalist/guitarist/bandleader Guy Blakelee shredding his vocal chords at the center of it all. Prayer of Death demands to be played loud, preferably on an oppressively hot day like today, and, ideally, in a car that's hurtling toward the coast.

Track listing:
1. Grim Reaper Blues
2. Silence on a Crowded Train
3. Requiem for Sandy Bull (R.I.P.)
4. Valium Blues
5. Pretty Baby
6. Prayer of Death
7. Lost in the Dark
8. Never Be Afraid!

I want to die without no fear
I want to die rejoicing
I want to meet my brother there
And hear his glorious voice sing

Monday, July 7, 2014

Flied Egg - Dr. Siegel's Fried Egg Shooting Machine (1972)

Won't you come with me to a place and time (Japan, the early 70s) when Dr. Siegel's Fried Egg Shooting Machine was a viable title for your album? This is catchy, zany psych rock with some pretty heavy moments, and a couple of cheesy ballads. Good times.

Track listing:
1. Dr. Siegel's Fried Egg Shooting Machine
2. Rolling Down the Broadway
3. I Love You
4. Burning Fever
5. Plastic Fantasy
6. 15 Seconds of Schizophrenic Sabbath
7. I'm Gonna See My Baby Tonight
8. Oke-Kas
9. Someday
10. Guide Me to the Quietness

It's a bird! It's an airplane! Whoa! It's fried egg!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lætitia Sadier - The Trip (2010)

Lætitia Sadier (of Stereolab)'s first solo album. As one might expect, most of these songs would sound right at home on a Stereolab record, but much of the sonic clutter of that band has been cleared out, leaving space at front and center for Sadier's exquisite vocals and evocative lyrics. For me, the album highlight is the haunting, poetic "Statues Can Bend", whose lyrics I've excerpted in the DL link below. Also included is an uptempo cover version of Wendy and Bonnie's illusive, bittersweet "By the Sea".

Track listing:
1. One Million Year Trip
2. Fluid Sand
3. Our Interests Are the Same
4. Natural Child
5. Statues Can Bend
6. By the Sea
7. Unfasten
8. Un Soir, Un Chien
9. Another Monster
10. Ceci Est le Coeur
11. Summertime
12. Release, Open Your Little Earthling Hands

The wind is blowing through
Stripping the many colored lights
Dissipate into oblivion
Mirrored infinite
Unadulterated light
Rejoining the starry night
Who knows but doesn't speak

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Levellers - Levellers (1993)

The Levellers are, as far as I can think of, the only folk punk band that I remotely enjoy. They have more in common with Bruce Springsteen -- arena-ready, Spector-esque sound, big hooks, nuanced songwriting and emotionally charged politics -- than with Mutiny, Mischief Brew, or any of those other good-intentioned crusties that I can't fucking stand listening to.

Having had about fifteen years to mull it over, I'm pretty sure that Levellers is my all-time favorite album of theirs, but Levelling the Land might just take the crown. I can't make up my mind! Life can be so challenging, but what's important is that we never let obstacles such as these overcome us.

Track listing:
1. Warning
2. 100 Years of Solitude
3. The Likes of You and I
4. Is This Art?
5. Dirty Davey
6. This Garden
7. Broken Circles
8. Julie
9. The Players
10. Belaruse
11. The Lowlands of Holland (bonus)
12. English Civil War (bonus)
13. Subvert (bonus)
14. Belaruse Return (bonus)

They took me to the hospital
And pulled aside the sheet
They said, "Look at that pulsating
Just listen to the beat"
They showed me the incision
Then took away the heart
And isn't nature wonderful
But is this art?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Richard Buckner - Since (1998)

Next to Nick Drake, Richard Buckner is the best artist that I've discovered via a Volkswagen commercial. Since is the kind of beautiful, raw, scatterbrained album that is destined to alienate many, and make lifelong fans of a few.

Track listing:
1. Believer
2. Faithful Shooter
3. Ariel Ramirez
4. Jewelbomb
5. The Ocean Cliff Clearing
6. Goner w/ Souvenir
7. Slept
8. Pico
9. Coursed
10. Lucky Buzz
11. 10-Day Room
12. Brief & Boundless
13. Raze
14. Hand @ the Hem
15. Boys, the Night Will Bury You
16. Once

I kept your poem here
With all my other gear
But in the end
I missed what it meant