Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mammatus - Mammatus (2006)

Heavy, heady psych rock from Santa Cruz. One of the best albums to come out of the early-mid 2000s psych rock boom. Also, their new record is a shoo-in for a spot in my top 10 of 2015 -- get it, ding-dong.

Track listing:
1. The Righteous Path Through the Forest of Old
2. The Outer Rime
3. Dragon of the Deep Part One
4. Dragon of the Deep Part Two

The coast explodes

For more like this, try:

Entrance - Prayer of Death (2006)
Sleepy Sun - Fever (2010)

Friday, November 27, 2015

Moon - Clavicula Nox (2014)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Moon - The Nine Gates (2013)

Droning, uneasily hypnotic, atmospheric black metal mastery. Hazy guitars, eery keyboards, and ghostly, reverb-drenched vocals. Clavicula Nox consists of unmastered demo versions of songs that ended up on their phenomenal new album, Render of the Veils. Free/name your price via bandcamp.

Track listing:
1. Modraniht
2. As Stars Merge with Ice
3. Oration As Vessel of the Void
4. Souls Secreted in Transparent Cells
5. Casting the Shadow
6. Tunnel of Lost Thoughts
7. Mirror of Black Souls
8. Hanged at the Gates
9. Corrosion Delerium


More like this:

Endless Dismal Moan -
Endless Dismal Moan (2004)
I Shalt Become -
The Pendle Witch Trials (2009)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Urban Verbs - Urban Verbs (1980)

First of two excellent new wave LPs from Urban Verbs. Razor-sharp guitars, a tightly wound rhythm section, and the sneering yet emotionally sincere vocals of band mastermind Roddy Frantz (Talking Head Chris Frantz's brother) -- all while synths burble, oscillate, and squeal. Dive into the frenzy!

Track listing:
1. Subways
2. The Angry Young Men
3. Next Question
4. Frenzy
5. Ring Ring
6. The Only One of You
7. Luca Brasi
8. Tina Grey
9. The Good Life

What next?

Check these out too:

Japan - Adolescent Sex (1978)
Magazine - Secondhand Daylight (1979)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Magic Dirt - Young and Full of the Devil (1998)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Magic Dirt - Friends in Danger (1996)

Magic Dirt's second LP is druggier, dirge-yer, and all-around gnarlier than their debut. The soothing hum of that rumbling guitar tone, thankfully, remains.

Track listing:
1. Babycakes
2. She-Riff
3. Rabbit with Fangs
4. Shrinko
5. What Have I Done?
6. These Drugs Are Really Starting to Fuck Me Over
7. Short Black
8. X-Ray
9. Ascot Red
10. Babycakes You Always Freeze Me Up

If you touch me, I'll kill you

If you like this, you should check out:

Chokebore - Motionless (1994)
Starflyer 59 - Gold (1995)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Novalis - Brandung (1977)

Tight, dynamic German prog. Mellotron, flute, synth, piano, and more color these perfectly indulgent compositions.

Track listing:
1. Irgendwo, Irgendwann
2. Wenn Nicht Mehr Zahlen Und Figuren
3. Astralis
4. Sonnenwende I - Brandung
5. Sonnenwende II - Feuer Bricht In Die Ziet
6. Sonnenwende III - Sonnenfinsternis
7. Sonnenwende IV - Dämmerung

High evolution

If you like this, try:

Life - Life (1973)
Eloy - Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes (1979)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Michael Stearns - Ancient Leaves (1978)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Michael Stearns - Floating Whispers (1987)
Michael Stearns - Encounter (A Journey in the Key of Space) (1988)

Michael Stearns -- as with Robert Rich, Vidna Obmana, Deuter, and many other ambient/new age staples -- started out making darker, more challenging music before moving to more accessible territory later in his career. Ancient Leaves, Stearns' first LP, consists of two haunting, drone-heavy synth, samples, and wordless vocal meditations.

Track listing:
1. Ancient Leaves
2. Elysian E

Life in the gravity well

If you like this, you'll probably like these:

Robert Rich - Sunyata (1982)
Kevin Braheny - The Way Home (1987)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Finster - Existenz (2012)

Alrakis - Alpha Eri (2011)

Jaw-dropping German black metal. Soaring tremolo-picked melodies, agonized howls, rapid-fire drumming, and guitar work that simultaneously conveys sorrow, awe, grimness, and beauty with an unrelentingly aggressive approach. A perfect, criminally overlooked record.

Track listing:
1. Existenz
2. Ins Dunkelreich
3. Hoffnungslos
4. Die Welt Vergeht Im Chaos
5. Kalte Zeit
6. Der Sturm

Blood-drenched infinity

You might also enjoy:

Omega Centauri - Universum Infinitum (2012)
Tortorum - Katabasis (2014)

Alice Donut - The Untidy Suicides of Your Degenerate Children (1992)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Alice Donut - Bucketfulls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life (1989)

Possibly Alice Donut's finest hour. As nihilistic as it is fun, Untidy Suicides finds a bizarrely effective middle ground behind snotty punk, Sonic Youth-esque guitar bliss, and butt rock.

Track listing:
1. Magdalene
2. Untidy Suicides
3. Loteria*
4. The Tingler
5. Everybody Is On Sale
6. Hang the Dog
7. The Son of a Disgruntled X-Postal Worker
8. Annie's Empty
9. Loteria
10. Medication
11. Things Have Never Looked Better
12. Wire Mother
13. She Loves You She Wants You
14. Loteria**
15. In My Head

The boredom never seems to stop
It fills her head with ugly thoughts
Annie makes two small incisions
She's sure she's made the right decision

If you like this, check deez out:
The Flesh Eaters - A Minute to Pray,
A Second to Die
The Fits - You're Nothing, You're Nowhere

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cultus - A Seat in Valhalla (2004)

Dutch raw Pagan black metal. Epic and sorrowful, in a Transilvanian Hunger kinda way. This 2006 reissue has three additional tracks.

Track listing:
1. De Dodenstoet
2. Tussen Bomen
3. A Seat in Valhalla
4. Eenzame Wandelaar
5. De Nachdtwaler
6. Tragwldia
7. Hallo Lentedag
8. Forest Music
9. Wijze Stem Uit Het Verleden
10. Fire of Hate
11. Tears of Blood
12. [Hidden Track]

Sorrow will find you and the wounds will remain open

You might also like:

Orenda - Back in the Grave (2006)
Aboriorth - Far Away from Hateful
Mankind Plague

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Deuter - D (1971)

Psychedelic musical explorations from German artist Georg Deuter. With its frantic guitars, loops, primitive synth drones, and sprawling, multi-suite arrangements, D is druggier and more difficult than the comparatively bright, new age material for which Deuter would become better known.

Track listing:
1. Babylon (Andantino -- Allegro 138 A -- Andante -- Allegro 138 B)
2. Der Turm / Fluchtpunkt
3. Krishna Eating Fish and Chips
4. Atlantis
5. Gammastrahlen-Lamm

Morning glory

Paroxysmal Descent - Paradigm of Decay (2009)

Darkly epic Australian black metal. The glacial, sorrowful guitars and machine-like drums are reminiscent of Hate Forest and their Ukrainian ilk, but with a slightly more experimental bent -- the droning dark ambient of "(Of Manifest Attrition)", for instance -- and rawer production.

Track listing:
1. Loathing
2. Beyond the Threshold
3. Throes of Abjection
4. (Of Manifest Attrition)
5. Paradigm of Decay
6. The Becoming of a Pain (More Real)

Traversing lost dimensions

If you like this, check out:

Ulvegr - Arctogaia (2012)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jean-Luc Ponty - Cosmic Messenger (1978)

Cosmic instrumental fusion led by electric violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Lots of synth, chiming guitars, and the most spaced-out, noodle-y violin playing I've ever heard. Just about as awesomely nerdy as it gets.

Track listing:
1. Cosmic Messenger
2. The Art of Happiness
3. Don't Let the World Pass You By
4. I Only Feel Good with You
5. Puppets' Dance
6. Fake Paradise
7. Ethereal Mood
8. Egocentric Molecules

Mystical adventures

If you dig this, try:

Billy Cobham - Total Eclipse (1974)
Ian Carr's Nucleus - Out of the Long Dark (1978)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

P.H.O.B.O.S. - Atonal Hypermnesia (2012)

Four towering monoliths of abstract, atmospheric, impenetrably dark industrial sludge with distant, reverb-saturated, tremolo-picked guitars and raspy howls occasionally cutting through the murk. Combine Streetcleaner and MoRT, slow it down, and you're on the right track.

Track listing:
1. Necromegalopolis of Coprolites
2. Maelström Mani Padme Hum
3. Solar Defrag
4. Transonic Mahasamadhi


If you like this, try:

Skin Chamber - Wound (1991) + Trial (1993)
O.L.D. - The Musical Dimension of Sleastak (1993)
+ Formula (1995)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Terry Riley - Le Secret de la Vie (1974)

Mystical, largely synth-based compositions by legendary experimental composer Terry Riley. I've never seen Lifespan, but if this is the soundtrack, it's gotta be good.

Track listing:
1. G Song
2. Mice
3. Slow Melody in Bhairavi
4. In the Summer
5. The Oldtimer
6. Delay

Curved air

You might also like:

David Axelrod - Song of Innocence (1968)
+ Songs of Experience (1969)
Daniel Kobialka - Cosmic Ecstacy (1981)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cripta Oculta - Sangue do Novo Amanhecer (2009)

Epic lo-fi Portuguese black metal. Sprawling and majestic, with some folk elements in quieter moments. Portugal does this stuff as well as any other country, and this record is one of the best of the bunch.

Track listing:
1. Erguem-se os Rostos do Abismo
2. Sangue do Novo Amanhecer
3. A Suastica que chama por Tempos Distantes
4. Caminho para a Idade Moderna
5. Vitoria e Celebracao

Forest of eyes

If you like this, try:

Famulus Ab Satanus -
Sacred Assembly Beneath Unholy Secrecy (2006)
Nortada Gelada -
Inverno das Trevas (2005)

Bennie Maupin - The Jewel in the Lotus (1974)

Beautiful, highly abstract jazz fusion led by multi-instrumentalist Bennie Maupin. Much of the album has a fragmented, nervous energy that nonetheless maintains some semblance of tranquility, perfectly matching my presently unsuccessful attempts to decompress.

Track listing:
1. Ensenada
2. Mappo
3. Excursion
4. Past + Present = Future
5. The Jewel in the Lotus
6. Winds of Change
7. Song for Tracie Dixon Summers
8. Past Is Past

Weird door

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bernard Xolotl - Return of the Golden Mean (1980)

Hypnotic space music from French-American musician Bernard Xolotl. Return of the Golden Mean centers on echoing, shimmering guitar, with a backdrop of lush, drifting synthesizers. Comes highly recommended by the one and only (and like-minded) Iasos.

Track listing:
1. Nearing the Gates of Eleusis
2. Baroque Refuge
3. Gypsy Crystal
4. Tornadove
5. Opalescence Blue
6. Tides of Exile
7. L'Eternal Retour

Music of the spheres

If you like this, try:

Popol Vuh - Spirit of Peace (1985)
Roy Montgomery - Temple IV (1996)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Eddie Henderson - Mahal (1978)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Eddie Henderson - Sunburst (1975)

Funky, synth-y jazz fusion led by trumpeter Eddie Henderson. Certain tracks, such as "Prance On", enter full-on disco territory, while others are super laid-back.

Track listing:
1. Butterfly
2. Cyclops
3. Emotions
4. Prance On
5. Amoroso
6. Mahal
7. Ecstasy
8. Cyclops (Disco Remix)

Pillows and pills

More like this:

Caldera - Time and Chance (1978)
Ramsey Lewis - Sun Goddess (1974)