Jul 242011
 

A recent 5-hour drive for a client site visit was soundtracked by these excellent songs. While at the rest stop for gas, the moth pictured above was on the ground beside the car. One photo later, and a few quick notes in my book about the playlist, and 640.043 was born. This is a really great collection of music – perfect for your next roadtrip. Please support these bands – buy their records, and go see their shows. All of the releases are available online.

And we can’t have a 6forty collection without a quote from the book that currently has me consumed…

I waited for him to continue. When he didn’t, I asked, “What makes this a good place?”

He looked out over the water for a long time before he answered. “It is an edge,” he said at last. “It is a high place with a chance of falling. Things are more easily seen from edges. Danger rouses the sleeping mind. It makes some things clear. Seeing things is a part of a namer.”

“What about falling?” I asked.

“If you fall, you fall,” Elodin shrugged. “Sometimes falling teaches us things too. In dreams you often fall before you wake.”

©2011 Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two)

6forty on twitter :: 6forty on facebook :: mike@6forty.com

 

They Say We’re Sinking – Beth (Declarer)  -00:00-
Maybeshewill – Co-conspiritors  -03:59-
Flies Are Spies From Hell – Yes, I Think They’re Closing In  -08:07-
…And Stars Collide – Together We Glimpsed The Heavens  -13:13-
Vessels – Meatman, Piano Tuner, Prostitute (feat. Stuart Warwick)  -19:33-
The Burning Paris – Whitlock  -25:08-
Atlantic Drop – Broken Balance  29:38-
Panzer Queen – Into The Golden Ocean  -33:55-
Khuda – Boreas  -41:53-
Orders Of The British Empire – Beksinski  -45:52-
The End Of The Ocean – May Be for The Better  -52:33-
Beware Of Safety – Meridian  -57:00-

640.043 playlist.pdf

 Posted by at 11:07 am
Jul 082011
 

What The Blood Revealed   .   Harbour Of Devils
Field Records, 2012

The drums were pounding out a battle beat as the Iron Victory swept forward, her ram cutting through the choppy green waters. The smaller ship ahead was turning, oars slapping at the sea. Roses streamed upon her banners; fore and aft a white rose upon a red escutcheon, atop her mast a golden one on a field as green as grass. The Iron Victory raked her side so hard that half the boarding party lost their feet. Oars snapped and splintered, sweet music to the captain’s ears.

He vaulted over the gunwale, landing on the deck below with his golden cloak billowing behind him. The white roses drew back, as men always did at the site of Victorion Greyjoy armed and armored, his face hidden behind his kraken helm. They were clutching swords and spears and axes, but nine of every ten wore no armor, and the tenth had only a shirt of sewn scales. These are no ironmen, Victorion thought. They still fear drowning…

…The Drowned God had not shaped Victorion Greyjoy to fight with words at kingsmoots, nor struggle against furtive sneaking foes in endless bogs. This was why he had been put on earth; to stand steel-clad with axe red and dripping in his hand, dealing death with every blow. They hacked at him from front and back, but their swords might have been willow switches for all the harm they did him. No blade could cut through Victorion Greyjoy’s heavy plate, nor did he give his foes the time to find the weak points at the joints, where only mail and leather warded him. Let three men assail him, or four, or five; it made no matter. He slew them one at a time, trusting his steel to protect him from the others. As each foe fell he turned his wroth upon the next.

By then the deck was slick beneath his feet, and the dead and dying lay in heaps on every side. He threw his shield away and sucked in air. “Lord Captain,” he heard the Barber say beside him, “the day is ours.”  **

If you’re a regular 6forty visitor, you already know that I enjoy connecting the site’s content with books that I’m reading. So when I was given the opportunity to write a review of the latest release from Scotland’s What The Blood Revealed, I quickly agreed. Their EPs are on regular rotation here at camp 6forty, and I was confident that ‘Harbour of Devils’ wasn’t going to disappoint. I also had the perfect literary reference in mind, one that I’ve associated with their music since I first heard the early releases (EP1 – December 2010 / EP2 – January 2011), and their massive track on the ‘A Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters – Issue 1’ (November 2010) compilation. The fierce confidence and power of What the Blood Revealed’s music consistently reminds me of House Greyjoy, one of the seven great houses of Westeros, featured in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. The above quote is just one of many scenes that graphically illustrates the strength and determination of the Greyjoy’s fleet commander (and mightiest son), Victorion, as he easily overwhelms his enemies at sea. He endures the days of extended calm as his ships hunt for prey, and then unleashes his full fury on anyone who mistakenly ends up in his path. What the Blood Revealed’s latest release ‘Harbour of Devils’ (Field Records) delivers this same intensity – seven slabs of heavy instrumental rock that ebb with moments of restraint, and then hit strong and hard, much like Victorion’s Ironmen.

The record kicks off with the grinding guitars and trudging rhythms of ‘Embrace The Rational And Seek The Truthful’ and ‘To Travel Deadly Ground.’ These two beasts are restless and explosive. I enjoy how the band utilizes the quiet moments to give more power and emphasis to the heaviness throughout the songs. Most of the tracks follow this same format – a dynamic that definitely gives the record an added richness and depth. ‘Waiting For The Storm’ is up next and churns like rolling dark clouds over the ocean  – it’s melodic, yet brooding, and slowly grows in intensity as the song nears its end. But just when it reaches its peak, it transitions immediately into ‘The Streets Ran Red With The Blood Of The Pious’ – 9 minutes of epic instrumental rock. When I listen to this track, I enjoy adding the visual of Victorion Greyjoy leaping on to the deck of his enemy’s ship, ax in hand and kraken helm blazing in the afternoon sun. Next up is ‘Eyes To The Horizon’ – once again, relaxed and calm rock music to start, but slightly different than the others since its build is slower and much more melodic, with the last few minutes highlighted by a very lyrical lead guitar, weaving its tale cleanly on top of the solid rhythms.

And then there were two… I first heard ‘The Corporation As We Know It Is Dead, Dead, Dead’ on the ‘Cheery Wave’ compilation, and 7 minutes 30 seconds later, I was completely consumed by the power of What The Blood Revealed. Grinding, ominous, and unsettling – a post-metal anthem for our struggling world. Closing out the record is one of my favorite tracks from What The Blood Revealed – ‘Cast Adrift In A Harbour Of Devils.’ This massive beast is so perfectly heavy – it’s best when played at full volume so the low end rumbles through your body like a freight train. This would definitely be Victorion Greyjoy’s anthem – powerful, complex, and intensely driven.

What The Blood Revealed’s ‘Harbour of Devils’ is an outstanding rock record, and definitely one of my favorite releases of the year. The only thing that would make this listening experience better for me would be if I were in a pub enjoying a fine cask-drawn ale, while the band cranks through these beauties on stage. Spring tour with Alright The Captain? Sounds good to me. Now if only someone would invent the damn transporter…

** George R.R. Martin, ‘A Feast For Crows’ copyright 2005.

 Posted by at 8:48 am
Jul 012011
 

Website:  http://www.lowercasenoises.com
Music/Purchase:  http://music.lowercasenoises.com
Contact:  andy@lowercasenoises.com

Andy Othling (Lowercase Noises) has been busy. Late 2010 saw the release of his full-length gem, Carry Us All Away; he has contributed songs to several outstanding compilations (Singularity1, Hope For Japan, Hawk Moon Records Volume II); and now we get his latest EP, Migratory Patterns, which, according to the notes accompanying the release, “is about a lonely whale, and is inspired by this story http://bit.ly/52hertz.”

You should definitely read the blog post about the whale – the story is somber and lonely, and the calm of the songs on this EP give an additional dimension to this mysterious animal. ‘Migratory Patterns’ is a classic Lowercase Noises release – melodic, modern guitar soundscapes and hushed electronics, perfectly accompanied by strings and other acoustics. There’s a wonderful richness and depth to these songs, and as you listen, it’s easy to picture this mysterious whale wondering the ocean. I know that Andy isn’t fond of the word ambient as a description for his music, although for those of you who aren’t familiar with Lowercase Noises, but are fans of ambient/electronic/acoustic artists such as Harold Budd, Michael Brook, A Produce, and Robin Guthrie, you’ll definitely enjoy this record, as well as the other LCN releases.

When listening to ‘Migratory Patterns’ (which I do quite often these days), I hear a confident musician whose talent and experience is evident throughout the five songs on this release. “Song for No One” starts the EP quietly with hushed and smooth waves of sound; “Persistence” is a more traditional Lowercase Noises song with a relaxed beat, keyboards, strings, and guitar; “Depths” is melodic and quiet – a composition that features a wonderful strings arrangement, bringing to mind the work of Martin McCarrick, and the instrumental tracks on This Mortal Coil’s classic ‘Filigree and Shadow;’ and closing the record are two outstanding selections, “Migratory Patterns” and “Farewell,” that will surprise you with the addition of mellow vocals and banjo – a very interesting and wonderful layer to the final songs on the EP. Andy has truly mastered the art of Lowercase Noises. His enthusiasm and passion about his music is what makes it so perfect for the listener.

‘Migratory Patterns’ is an outstanding Lowercase Noises release. It’s mellow, melodic and as smooth as a calm ocean. Has Andy captured the essence of this wondering whale? That’s for you to decide – you can listen to it in its entirety via his Bandcamp page (along with his other releases), and since it’s so reasonably priced, you should buy a copy for your music collection. I need no convincing – I’ve been a fan for a long time, and I look forward to enjoying the music of Lowercase Noises for a long time to come…

As an extra treat, my daughters (Eliza is 5.5 and Abby is 9) listened to the songs while I was writing this review and did their own artwork to go along with the story and the music (link below).

Abby, Eliza, and the whale

 

 Posted by at 9:10 pm