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2013 was an outstanding year for melodic instrumental rock releases. Our ears were treated to gems from Waking Aida (‘Hyperdiamond/Allergic’), Wiltz (‘Sea Dog’), Vasudeva (‘Life in Cycles’), Signal Hill (‘Chase the Ghost’), Enemies (‘Embark, Embrace’), and North End (‘Cognoscere’). Each record delivered intricately buoyant tracks, shifting time signatures, sharp u-turns, driving rhythms, and layers of chiming guitars. Follow-up releases from a few of the bands have either landed already (including Signal Hill’s brilliant ‘Alturas’) or will be arriving in 2017. One that I’ve been eagerly awaiting is ‘Alpha State’ from North End. When they reached out the other day with the offer of an advance listen, I was quick to agree and looked forward to play #1 once we were through the wonderful chaos of the holidays. As I expected, ‘Alpha State’ doesn’t disappoint. This blissfully-melodic whirlwind offers the pop-goodness of mid-period Wedding Present, the lush dynamics and forward-movement of 4AD’s Dif Juz, along with the angular rhythms and loops/sways of their contemporaries in the instrumental math-rock scene. The songs have a lighter touch than found on 2013’s ‘Cognoscere’ – the production focuses on the interplay between the guitars, while rhythm perfectly supports the movement with (at times) a more relaxed jazzy tempo. From start to finish, ‘Alpha State’ exhibits the confidence and maturity that develops after a band has been playing together for a long time (check out their press release below to learn more about the band’s history). This release isn’t just ‘Cognoscere’ part 2 – it’s growth and exploration, built upon the core North End-sound that we’ve enjoyed for nearly 10 years. A brilliant release that is highly recommended for all ears. ‘Alpha State’ is available now, so dig in and spread the word! For your listening pleasure, click on the arrow below to hear one of my favorite tracks from the record – Emergence. The full album stream, along with digital purchase/download is available on the North End Bandcamp page –> https://northend.bandcamp.com/album/alpha-state. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for news about upcoming shows.
Philadelphia, PA (January 2017) – North End started in 2008 near Philadelphia, PA and much has changed since those early days. The Alpha State story is a reflection on how the band has evolved over the last 3+ years, from playing sporadic shows in the NY/PA area to moving around the country to becoming one of those bands that does the long distance writing thing. Previously, the band lived within 20 miles of each other, making it convenient to play local shows frequently, write songs, record, and conduct general band business. Now, Marcus (bass) lives in Denver, Russ (guitar) travels frequently for work, KB (drums) just had a daughter, and Pete’s (guitar) career has really excelled. Even longtime recording collaborator Kam (keys) worked on Alpha State in his RV at Yellowstone National Park. Life changes quickly, in a positive way, if you let it, and Alpha State is a culmination of these changes manifesting into the style of music we love to write, play and share.
As a result of North End’s remodeling, Alpha State was recorded uniquely as well. Drums were tracked in KB’s basement, guitars, some keys, and bass were tracked at Pete’s house, mixes were generated by Kam while still in an RV in Yellowstone and tracks were mastered by Paul Gold of Salt Mastering in Greenpoint Brooklyn. If you listen to the closing moments of “Imperial” you can hear the faint sound of rain captured by a single microphone in the park as Kam wrapped up the final edits during mixing. This array of locations and perspectives triggered boundless creativity but still kept Alpha State flowing cohesively.
Alpha State is available through the Brooklyn-based AM 800 Sound, an independent music collective bringing together like-minded bands. Limited 12” vinyl of Alpha State will be pressed and features the artwork of fellow label-mate Rishi Arora of Signal Hill. Following the wide release and distribution of Alpha State, North End plan to play shows in Philadelphia and New York City in 2017.
It’s the goal of 6forty project to be an objective and comprehensive on-line resource for independent music; a vehicle to spread the word to as many ears as possible. As long as listeners are streaming, buying and sharing the releases that they hear on a 6forty mixtape or on the radio stream, my efforts have been a success. So when it comes to selecting favorites from 2016, I’ll leave that decision up to you. For your listening pleasure, I have compiled a list of the records that were on heaviest rotation here at 6forty HQ throughout the year. Each band name is a linked URL – just click to access their Bandcamp pages. I only ask that you share the music that you love and encourage others to do the same. Even if you can’t afford to pay for releases, simply spreading the word is an invaluable benefit to the bands. Thank you!
At the end of this post is a compiled list of the 2016 weekly releases along with links to all 6forty project social media feeds and radio stream. The weekly releases document includes live links for your convenience – countless hours of music to explore and enjoy. Feel free to download and share the PDF.
< 6forty project’s 2016 heavy rotation >
Overhead, The Albatross ‘Learning To Growl’ (released May 13, 2016)
The Seven Mile Journey ‘Templates for Mimesis’ (released October 7, 2016)
Somniferous ‘Somniferous I’ (released January 6, 2016)
Kokomo ‘Monochrome Noise Love’ (released January 20, 2016)
Au Revoir ‘Veles’ (released March 1, 2016)
Yndi Halda ‘Under Summer’ (released March 4, 2016)
NOIR|REVA ‘Nuance’ (released April 30, 2016)
Seas of Years ‘The Ever Shifting Fields’ (released May 17, 2016)
Tone ‘Antares’ (released June 24, 2016)
65daysofstatic ‘No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe’ (released August 5, 2016)
Tess Said So ‘Scramble + Fate’ (released June 24, 2016)
Signal From Europa ‘Dusty Monuments’ (released August 31, 2016)
Our Smallest Adventures ‘The Quiet Terror of Being Alive’ (released October 17, 2016)
Signal Hill ‘Alturas’ (released September 23, 2016)
Goodbye, Kings ‘Vento’ (released November 7, 2016)
Meniscus ‘Refractions’ (released October 21, 2016)
Blueneck ‘The Outpost’ (released November 25, 2016)
Landing ‘Complekt’ (released November 25, 2016)
Swans ‘The Glowing Man’ (released June 17, 2016)
Caspian ‘Castles High, Marble Bright’ (released October 20, 2016)
Coronal Mass Ejection ‘EP’ (released February 2, 2016)
in violet ‘amber’ (released October 21, 2016)
All shall be well (and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well) ‘GEELZWART’ (released November 30, 2016)
Nothing ‘Tired of Tomorrow’ (released May 13, 2016)
Indignu [lat.] ‘Ophelia’ (released October 31, 2016)
Capillaries ‘Kenopsia Side A’ (released December 2, 2016)
Mogwai ‘Atomic’ (released April 1, 2016)
The Azure Vault ‘The Trials of Aleksandr Black’ (released October 13, 2016)
NYOS ‘Nature’ (released September 30, 2016)
Horst ‘Never Two Without Three’ (released June 20, 2016)
< 6forty project links >
new releases | recent discoveries | miscellaneous
These playlists are from two of my shows while I was a DJ at WPTS (the University of Pittsburgh, 1986 – 1994), broadcasting to the campus and surrounding neighborhoods on a Sunday afternoon in early ’94. So much great music was released during my years at the station and I’m pleased to be able to share some of it with you. I hope you enjoy these collections as much as I do. Details about each track can be found on the PDFs linked below.
6forty project social media:
604.007 ‘sweetness and light’
Ride – Leave Them All Behind -00:00-
Lush – Sweetness and Light -08:18-
Moose – Suzanne -13:27-
Slowdive – When The Sun Hits -16:55-
The Boo Radleys – Does This Hurt -21:35-
Chapterhouse – Guilt -24:58-
Lilys – Periscope -29:11-
My Bloody Valentine – Don’t Ask Why -34:28-
Blind Mr. Jones – Henna and Swayes -38:35-
The Boo Radleys – Naomi -44:36-
Slowdive – She Calls -50:10-
Chapterhouse – Satin Safe -55:48-
Closedown – Bumblebee -61:40-
Kitchens Of Distinction – Three To Beam Up -00:00-
Underground Lovers – I Was right -07:43-
Pale Saints – Half Life Remembered -12:01-
Butterfly Child – Botany Bay -16:40-
Moose – Last Night I Fell Again -20:38-
Bailter Space – Get Lost -23:57-
Majesty Crush – Seine -29:55-
Medicine – The Powder -33:38-
Swirlies – Pancake -37:18-
The Telescopes – Oil Seed Rape -40:35-
The Nightblooms – 59 #1 -43:33-
Ride – Seagull -47:06-
Half String – Eclipse -53:15-
Majesty Crush – Ghost of Fun -56:53-
The Boo Radleys – Sunfly II: Walking With The Kings -63:42-
“I am afraid I cannot convey the peculiar sensations of time traveling. They are excessively unpleasant. There is a feeling exactly like that one has upon a switchback — of a helpless headlong motion! I felt the same horrible anticipation, to, of an imminent smash. As I put on pace, night followed day like the flapping of a black wing. The dim suggestion of the laboratory seemed presently to fall away from me, and I saw the sun hopping swiftly across the sky, leaping it every minute, and every minute marking a day. I supposed the laboratory had been destroyed and I had come into the open air. I had a dim impression of scaffolding, but I was already going too fast to be conscious of any moving things. The slowest snail that ever crawled deshed by too fast for me. The twinkling succession of darkness and light was excessively painful to the eye. Then, in the intermittent darknesses, I saw the moon spinning swiftly through her quarters from new to full, and had a faint glimpse of the circling stars. Presently, as I went on, still gaining velocity, the palpitation of night and day merged into one continuous greyness; the sky took on a wonderful deepness of blue, a splendid luminous color like that of early twilight; the jerking sun became a streak of fire, a brilliant arch, in space; the moon a fainter fluctuating band; and I could see nothing of the stars, save now and then a brighter circle flickering in the blue.” H.G. Wells ‘The Time Machine’ – first published in 1895
All of the songs on 640.089 were either purchased legitimately or were offered for free. For more information about the music featured on this collection, please click on the band names in the list below.
640.089 (click the arrow below to play)
Maybeshewill – Farewell, Sarajevo [00:00]
Caspian – Sad Heart of Mine [05:14]
cataya – sombre sommeil [09:42]
Compass & Knife – The Setting of the Old Sun [18:50]
Mr Dog The Bear – Sawubona Sikhona [23:51]
Waking Aida – Jilted Surfers [29:32]
Fleur de lis – Blaa [35:01]
Sejd – Båtsman [39:10]
All shall be well (and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well) – Some Speak of the Future, Others of the Past [46:21]
Ranges – They Denied That Wishes Were Horses [53:55]
Shy, Low – Nostos [58:35]
R A N G E S :: The Gods of the Copybook Headings
In my role as ‘curator’ of 6forty project and radio, I’ve been very fortunate to develop friendships with many bands from all over the world, and most of time, those friendships exist entirely ‘in the cloud’ via social media and email. But regardless of the fact that we’ve often never met in person, there’s one thing we all share – a love for a style of music that is passionate and intelligent; created by hard-working musicians who aren’t primarily driven by fame and ‘air time,’ but who are writing deeply expressive music that tells their collective stories. Bozeman, Montana is home to one of the bands that perfectly exemplifies this ethos. When I listen to the music of Ranges, I’m re-living their experiences, visualizing their environment, traveling along with the band as they pour their heart and soul into the music. They’re writing instrumentals that not only embrace the inherent power found within a song’s quiet moments, but also confidently deliver soaring guitars, driving rhythms, and layers of perfectly epic and beautiful noise.
The band has generously offered to have 6forty project feature one of the songs from their outstanding new record ‘The Gods of the Copybook Headings.’ The track ‘Robbing Selected Peter to Pay for Collective Paul’ is available to stream via the link below. As soon as you click that play button, you’re hit immediately with a massive wall of sound that slowly transitions into a lushly relaxed and melodic instrumental. There are many similar moments throughout the new record – the swells are expansive, the quiet is comforting, and at its core is a sense of ‘completeness’ that leaves you feeling the same way you would after finishing your favorite novel or watching your favorite classic film – utterly satisfied.
Please enjoy this 6forty project exclusive, and make sure to support the band by purchasing their merchandise. You’ll find a link below to their upcoming record, as well as to their equally amazing earlier releases. And if you’re fortunate enough to live anywhere near Bozeman, Montana, please go see them when they play live – you won’t be disappointed. A huge thank you to CJ Blessum for giving me the opportunity to feature his band’s newest single here on my site, as well as for the generous Ranges surprise packages over the years. And most importantly, for being a part of a band that continues to deliver such lovely sounds for our continued listening pleasure – I look forward to enjoying their collective output for many years to come…
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
releases February 26, 2016
Written and performed by R A N G E S
C. Blessum • J. Caldwell • E. Demarais • M. Levy • W. Raska
Recorded & mixed by C. Blessum at The Low Country, Bozeman, MT.
Mastered by D. Coutant at Sun Room Audio.
Artwork, production, and distribution by A Thousand Arms.
Copyright MMXVI – A Thousand Arms Music
Ranges Music >> http://rangesmusic.com/
The Sea of Izabella was considerably colder than Candy had expected. It was gaspingly cold; iced-to-the-marrow cold. But it was too late for her to change her mind now. With the ball knocked out of the cup by Mischief’s bullet, the Sea of Izabella was retreating from the jetty at the same extraordinary speed at which it had first appeared. And it was carrying Candy and the John brothers along with it.
The waters seemed to have a life of their own; several times the sheer force of their energies threatened to pull her under. But Mischief had the trick of it.
“Don’t try to swim,” he yelled to her over the roar of the retreating seas. “Just trust to Mama Izabella to take us where She wants to take us.”
Candy had little choice, she quickly realized. The sea was an irresistable power. So why not just lie back and enjoy the ride?
She did so, and it worked like a charm. The moment Candy stopped flailing, and trusted the sea not to harm her, the Izabella buoyed her up, the waves lifting her so high that on occasion she caught sight of the jetty and the lighthouse. They were already very far off, let behind in another world…
Clive Barker ‘Abarat’ 2002 Harper Collins Publishers
We Lost The Sea – A Gallant Gentleman [00:00]
We Stood Like Kings – Volchovstroy [06:04]
Alma – The Lighthouse [15:23]
Spurv – Passacaglia (fugler med ord i nebbet) [21:16]
A Shelter In The Desert – Todo podrá estallar, pero siempre habrá una adelfa que nacerá de entre los escombros [35:29]
Signal Hill – Freelance Forest [44:22]
New Century Classics – Post-Cards [51:51]
Aesthesys – Scrolling In Mind Images Of The Past Day Before Falling Asleep [57:30]
…Of Sinking Ships – Comforted By Predictable Current And Tide [62:00]
Tides From Nebula – Let It Out, Let It Flow, Let It Fly [68:40]
Goodbye, Kings – Memoire [73:40]
All of the songs on 640.088 were either purchased legitimately or were offered for free. For more information about the music featured on this collection, please click on the band names in the list above.
< 6forty project’s 2015 heavy rotation >
We Stood Like Kings ‘USSR 1926’ (released 30 October 2015)
We Lost the Sea ‘Departure Songs’ (released 23 July 2015)
Oiseaux-Tempête ‘ÜTOPIYA?’ (released 5 May 2015)
Tangled Thoughts of Leaving ‘Yield to Despair’ (released 17 April 2015)
Spurv ‘Skarntyde’ (released 11 May 2015)
Maïak ‘A Very Pleasant Way to Die’ (released 20 March 2015)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor ‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’ (released 31 March 2015)
Pauwels ‘Elina’ (released 26 January 2015)
Listen, Earth ‘Embark’ (released 27 January 2015)
The Declining Winter ‘Home For Lost Souls/The Waning Mill Chronicles’ (released 23 March 2015)
Flies Are Spies From Hell ‘Underdog Underfoot’ (released 2 April 2015)
Tidings ‘Death Leaves a Bright Trail’ (released 1 May 2015)
End Year ‘Kursk’ (released 4 January 2015)
A Shelter In The Desert ‘Pequeñas Hiroshimas’ (released 21 July 2015)
Caspian ‘Dust And Disquiet’ (released 25 September 2015)
Fleur de Lis ‘In the midst of chaos there is stillness’ (released 22 October 2015)
Shy, Low ‘Hiraeth’ (released 13 November 2015)
Fourteen Nights At Sea ‘Minor Light’ (released 20 November 2015)
Glasir ‘Unborn’ (released 10 May 2015)
Alma ‘Alma’ (released 3 August 2015)
Doomina ‘Doomina’ (released 26 November 2015)
Waking Aida ‘Full Heal’ (released 25 September 2015)
Compass & Knife ‘The Setting of the Old Sun’ (released 17 November 2015)
Legendary Skies ‘Novarupta’ (released 10 April 2015)
The Living Sleep ‘Remnants’ (released 19 March 2015)
Celestial Wolves ‘Illusive Landscape Of Expression’ (released 5 December 2015)
Sannhet ‘Revisionist’ (released 3 March 2015)
Rachel Grimes ‘The Clearing’ (released 26 May 2015)
– cheers! Michael
640.2015 new releases | discoveries | miscellaneous