Archive for the Sunroof! Category

Sunroof! – Silver Bear Mist (VHF) 2005

Posted in Drone, Music, noise, Sunroof!, Vibracathedral Orchestra with tags , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

In the past few weeks I’ve come back to the improv free drone/noise/rock/whatever of Matthew Bowers other “other” band. In the ten years they’ve been producing records they manage to get a proper release out every two years or so. Panzer Division Lou Reed was reviewed here some time ago but it’s only now that I’ve decided to explore further. Their first record Delicate Autobahn Under Construction is hard to get a handle on and I’ll leave that one for another time. But this double CD from 2005 is tremendously accessible. Thinks of of a freak take on psychedelic krautrock and you’ll have yourself a firm starting point.

A lot of these improv, free, noise bands rarely get their shit together and as a listener you have to wonder whether we’re all being hoodwinked by what is in essence aural, narcissistic wankery (I’m looking at you No Neck Blues Band) – I know these records must have been fun to make but I mean seriously, they suck to listen to. I suppose this why Silver Bear Mist has struck such a chord with me. It is a seriously mental, fun listen. And at the end of the day isn’t that what music is about – enjoyment. I can enjoy challenging experiences, I enjoy having my brain scrubbed clean by Lasse Marhaug, I enjoy exquisite drone by Daniel Menche, and for the last few weeks I’ve been having a blast with Sunroof! – if it ain’t fun to listen to it ain’t worth shit.

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Hototogisu – Chimarendammerung (De Stijl) 2006

Posted in Double Leopards, hototogisu, Music, noise, Skullflower, Sunroof! on September 19, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

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Chimarendammerung is basically a drone record. A very busy, noisy drone record but a drone record none the less. Hototogisu is a duo of  Matthew Bowers when he’s not playing in either Sunroof! or Skullflower and  Double Leopard’s Marcia Bassett. If you know Matt Bower’s other work you know what your going to get basically improvised noise jams filled with feedback  and other tricks of the trade. The din created on this record is pretty powerful and the first time I played it I was pretty underwelmed. I had a chance to concentrate later and it was only then that the full palate of the tracks was revealed. The metal-infused, guitar-based drone is flecked with other noise and instruments the most readily discernable being a bow being used on some type of string instrument. But this never quite reaches the  transcendent  beauty of Burning Star Core – Hototogisu play a much more visceral form of drone. I like this record more than the other Hototoguisu record I own, Some Blood Will Stick and I thought that was pretty good. Although that record was a much more claustrophobic and darker set of tracks,  it’s not like Chimarendammerung lets the light in. The sounds used are merely different and it doesn’t come close to creating the same mood of Some Blood… which had some genuinely creepy moments. In all there are five Untitled tracks. I particularly liked the second one especially in the  final third where a vaguely doomy lost souls effect bubbled to the  surface every now and then but for most of time the enjoyment in this record is the slight shifts in tone and variation as the tracks progress. I’m more of a fan of Skullflower and Double Leopards than this band but every now and then I give it a listen when I’m in that whole white noise coming through headphones kind of mood. If you watch the short clip I’ve included, they manage to achieve that whole transcendence through noise thing yet on this record that might give it a red hot go but they never quite get there.

Skullflower – Tribulation (Crucial Blast) 2006

Posted in Music, noise, Skullflower, Sunroof! with tags , , on January 22, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

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I’ve had this sitting in a pile for some months. I forget where and exactly when I bought it but a reconissance mission to get things to sell on ebay (seller ID manitobahill if you’re interested. I’m selling some Merzbow and a rare Death in June CD?DVD that I stumbled over)  turned this up. I’ve already posted on IIIrd Gatekeeper (I quite liked it) so after a few days listening it’s time to post ion the last Skullflower record I’m likely to own. It’s the last Skullflower album simply because as Daniel Johnson summed it  up in a recent Wire interview, you can’t listen to everything and I certainly am not a rich man.  I find a lot of what Matt Bowers (Sunroof!) does is pretty interesting and Tribulation is no different. I was trying to explain this to a mate and the best I could come up with is: Imagine you are at a music festival of some type. You’re standing at the back of a tent where some noise genius is blasting out squall of pretty generic distortion and fuzz. The noise is so thick that you almost descend into a trance. But somehow, under the din, you can hear, in another tent over yonder, a Black Sabbath tribute band. The riffs are murky, they sometimes sound doomy, but you know that there is a metal band playing and they  fucking rock. That is what this record sounds like. It is a bit inconsistent towards the end but those middle tracks are right up my alley.  Although this might be the last Skullflower record I buy I’m pretty keen to get hold of one of Bower’s records when he records as Hototogisu.

Skullflower – IIIrd Gatekeeper (Crucial Blast 2007) 1991

Posted in Music, noise, Sunroof! with tags on September 7, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

In 2007 , Crucial Blast reissued Skullflower’s long out of print IIIrd Gatekeeper. Skullflower’s one fulltime member is Matthew Bowers who is know to many a noise freak as the  brains behind Sunrroof! and Hototogisu. I had always thought that Skullflower were a noise band and thought at some stage I’d get around to hearing one of their records. I decided to start with this one solely for the comment that Neil Campbell (Astral Social Club) made in an issue of the Wire. He described IIIrd Gatekeeper as “awful, ridiculous, Goth dogshit.” He’s wrong. What IIIrd Gatekeeper actually represents is an early, extreme example of sludge rock. It’s a total rock pig record and if you love those moments when Birchville Cat Motel gets his metal on, then this is well worthwhile checking out. There is still  a crap load here to keep noise freaks happy with massive walls of impenetrable feedback but it’s really a record for Melvins and Boris fans to wallow is and wonder what might have been.

Sunroof! – Panzer Division Lou Reed (VHF) 2007

Posted in Music, noise, Sunroof!, yellow swans with tags , , , on May 18, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

A couple of weeks ago a reader left a comment on this blog alerting me to the imminent demise of Yellow Swans. On June 30 of this year they will be no more. Now I fucking love the Yellow Swans and after the excellent At All Ends I was really looking forward to where they were going next. So I again look to greener pastures on my journey through experimental music. One of the bands that I’d heard of but hadn’t heard was Sunroof!. Sunroof ! is the band of Matthew Bowers, the veteran experimental artist that was also behind Skullflower (another band I’ve heard of but haven’t heard). I thought it was time to give them a go and I started with Panzer Division Lou Reed because firstly it is their latest and secondly because it was the only Sunroof record I could find in my local rip-off record store.

I’ve read a couple of other reviews and they all seemed to mention that his is one of the more aggressive and dense recordings that Sunroof! have produced and is a swerve to the left from their usual drone based recordings. I have no idea whether that is true. This is the only Sunroof! record I’ve listened to, so I have nothing to compare it to. What I will say though, is that this is one of the most challenging yet interesting noise records I currently own. It’s a big slice of improvised rock-noise that certainly took me aback when I first listened to it. I’ve wrestled with it now for couple of weeks and I’m pretty happy with the journey it took me on. This sounds similar to those Yellow Swans records when they preface their name with a word beginning with D. In particular I though that this sounded a lot like Dreamed Yellow Swans which is now sadly out of print. I’m a sucker for this type of noise and although the reviews I read weren’t exactly positive, having no knowledge of what their other records sound like allows me to approach it with an independent mind. This record is great and if you are a Yellow Swans freak like myself then Panzer Division Lou Reed is well worth tracking down.

Sunroof Live 2007!

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