Friday, October 8, 2010

MUSIC: Indian Weapons and Altar Eagle

Brad Rose may be best known, to me anyway, for his solo project The North Sea and for running the exemplary Digitalis label. but Brad's a man of many hats and has been involved with projects such as Aerial Jungle, Corsican Paintbrush, Eagle Altar, Ajilvsga, Charlatan, Ossining, Crystal Alligator Mouth, Hanging Thief, and Sea Zombies to name just a few. Below are two very different releases from two very different duos of which Rose is one half.

The first is from Indian Weapons, a spinoff of sorts of Brad's Ajilvsga project with Nathan Young. Parousia, the duo's debut under the Indian Weapons moniker, was put out earlier this year by Digitalis Limited on pro-dubbed cassettes in an edition of 80 copies. Similarities to Ajilvsga are undeniable but Indian Weapons is definitely a distinct project. Whereas the former is more often than not black-as-pitch, the soundtrack to some decaying, scorched earth, Indian Weapons is a bit less bleak and a bit less relentlessly chaotic. Unlike more recent Ajilvsga releases, specific instruments  (violin, guitar, melodica) are often extractable from the murk, making it more closely linked to early Ajilvsga or even early The North Sea output. As such, Indian Weapons sounds a little more organic, with acoustic instruments woven through growling oscillator hums into a glorious sea of noise. Don't worry though; It's still dark, still chaotic, and still beautiful.

A-side sample
B-side sample
Digitalis Limited (The Parousia cassette is long sold out but you can buy plenty of other great stuff here)

And then there's the official debut of Altar Eagle, the duo of Brad Rose and his wife Eden Hemming Rose. These two have put out a couple very hard to come by cassettes as Altar Eagle and Eagle Altar but this time they get the full length CD/vinyl treatment courtesy of the always excellent Type record label. Anyone who listened to The North Sea's Bloodlines LP, also put out this year by Type, will be shocked by the almost complete 180 Rose has taken (call it a 165 for accuracy's sake). What we have here is an honest-to-god electro pop album albeit with a healthy dose of noisy experimentation thrown in for good measure. Both Brad and Eden sing throughout and their voices burble up through shimmering electronic bliss, weaving in and out of one another. Shambling, mangled percussion, buzzing synthesizer madness, and dreamy electronic shimmers are built into a dense, lovely mesh. Don't let that mislead you though: though complex and lovingly crafted layer upon layer, this is far and away the most accessible album Rose has been involved with. It also happens to be the pop album of the year!


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