ROTW: Ipan In Xiktli Metzli, México Mágico Cósmico, En El Ombligo De La Luna!

It's Tuesday Wednesday (whoops) so here we are again with another exciting WDYLI? Record Of The Week pick: Ipan In Xiktli Metzli, México Mágico Cósmico, En El Ombligo De La Luna. Newly reissued by Mr. Bongo, this 1981 album from Mexican multi-instrumental folk musician and ambient explorer Luis Perez is a wonderful, unique artifact of musical imagination informed by Perez's dedicated ethnomusicological research into the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica and abetted by late 20th century technology. It evokes the “cosmic magic of Mexico” via an array of flutey bird twitter, ceremonial-sounding hand percussion, stately horns, spoken invocations and space-age electronics.

The shimmer and pulse of ‘70s-era synthesizers blend with sounds sourced from Perez's collection of traditional, ancient instruments. As the wooden clatter of percolating rhythms echoing jungle chatter mixes with the cosmic synth vibrations, this becomes all the more fantastical and fascinating. Imagine, maybe, Morton Subotnick making a Mayan or Aztec themed exotica album! Also it's a little bit László Hortobágyi, a bit Atrium Musicae de Madrid, and a bit Jon Hassell “Fourth World”-y too. Quite special, so good.


ROTW: Chapel Perilous!

Two Records Of The Week on Rocket Recordings in a row? Eh, why not? Actually, not even sure if this one is in the shops yet (so out of the loop!) but it's on Bandcamp, so... also it's always an easy pick, to go with Gnod. This new one, Chapel Perilous, does not disappoint. In Gnod we trust!

It begins with "Donovan's Daughters," a harrowing 15 minutes of pulsating, rhythmic, repetitive noise-laden skronk-rock aggression that's part This Heat, part Swans/Godflesh... It lurches and grinds, getting more and more droned and blowned out as it goes. The final track on this album, "Uncle Frank Says Turn It Down," also hops on that feedback maniac crazy train, bashing it out without restraint, whilst the intervening three tracks, "Europa," "Voice From Nowhere" and "A Body," go deep and dark into a much more spaced out drone/dub zone, with echoing clank and spooky spoken word adding to the alienating atmosphere.

So, basically, just a heads up for all the Gnod heads who might not have heard about this one yet. And also, if you're gnew to Gnod, this is one well worth checking out...


ROTW: Bonnacons Of Doom!

Droning epic arty hypnorock, anyone? Folks across the pond might know this Liverpool, UK collective from their occasional live performances, reportedly always mysterious, masked, ritualistic. Their anonymity has allowed an ever-shifting cast of musicians to participate, including members of Mugstar and Forest Swords, we're told. Now, whatever lineup that's currently behind those masks and cloaked in those black robes has recorded a full-length LP for Rocket Recordings, and it's quite excellent.

Really, Bonnacons Of Doom's self-titled debut is more or less just what we'd hope a psych-damaged avant-doom-ish outfit claiming acid house DNA and having hauntological New Weird Britain allegiances would sound like... repetitive noise rock riffing, primitive beats, liturgical chant, witchy wordless female vox, and plenty of strange, occult, WTF? vibes, yeah!

Speaking of WTF, just what the heck is a bonnacon, anyway? Well, Wikipedia tells us:
"The bonnacon (also called bonasus or bonacho) is a legendary creature described as a bull with inward-curving horns and a horse-like mane. Medieval bestiaries usually depict its fur as reddish-brown or black. Because its horns were useless for self-defense, the bonnacon was said to expel large amounts of caustic feces from its anus at its pursuers, burning them and thereby ensuring its escape."
Um, okay then. Glad we asked.

Via Bandcamp, the majestic skronk of opening track "Solus" can be heard now; presumably more of the tracks will be available there too, once the official release date of Friday, May 18th is upon us:

[Addendum: if we were to pick more than one Record Of The Week this week, like we wuz oft prone to do at aQ, we'd have to go with the cinematic drone bliss of Rausch, the latest from Pop Ambient pioneer Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project! You can read Andee's very aQ-ish review of it on the Pandora Blog, btw.]


ROTW: Uncertainty Is Bliss!

We all were disappointed that Swedish heavy metallers In Solitude called it quits not long after producing their 2013 masterpiece Sister. Perhaps they never would have topped it... But those curious to hear something new and somewhat In-Solitude-Sister-ish, the German trio Black Salvation has just released their second full-length, via Relapse. Black Salvation features former In Solitude drummer Uno Bruniusson, who also plays with dirty Dutch rock n' rollers Death Alley and Chilean doomsters Procession and even was in the live lineup of Swedish true metallers Wolf at one point (drummers, always in demand!).

Black Salvation is a retro-tinged, trippy heavy psych doom band... yes, there isn't exactly a dearth of such bands in the current scene, but Black Salvation manage to be just a little bit different. And really, really good. It's heavy, but also full of what can only be described as spacey, jangle-y echoey death rock, that's quite catchy and/or mesmeric. Totally freaky, garagey, gothy darkness that some of the time sorta sounds like In Solitude meets Shocking Blue! Also 'RIYL' such disparate acts as: The DoorsThe Bad SeedsSeremonia, Fraction, The Cult, Stillborn...


ROTW: Kolme Toista!

Our obsession with all things Finnish continues unabated, with this, the most recent release, via Nuclear War Now!, from Finnish outsider death metal power trio Oksennus.

Over the course of close to five years, these demented death metal weirdos from Joensuu have a created a truly singular body of work, falling somewhere between the raw primitivism of classic first wave death metal, and the twisted audio imaginings of their most way-out Finnish brethren, metallic and otherwise.

We were immediately smitten by the band’s bizarre aesthetic, one that's somewhat of an anomaly in the world of metal, for sure. Their releases are always adorned with simple black ink line drawings on stark white backgrounds, the images rather un-metal and confusionally brilliant: some sort of eggbeater-shaped carrot / onion hybrid, three eyeball-carrots with lightning bolts coming out of the top, a fish barfing out their vomitous logo, a skull-tipped root vegetable mandala, a strange horned demon playing lightning bolt recorder with his third eye (below his two, center-of-the-forehead ears) and a barfing yogi sitting atop an extremely prickly version of the band’s logo. This was definitely one of those instances where we were already all in before hearing a single note of music.

This latest release from Oksennus consists of one 39 minute track, divided into three 13 minute 'movements.' The sound is definitely death metal, but a particularly virulent, caveman strain. The production is muddy and noisy, and the playing seemingly rudimentary, but locked into endlessly hypnotic, headbanging grooves, occasionally even blossoming into strangely psychedelic stretches of krauty hypnorock, the guitars weaving shimmering webs of unlikely melody beneath the endless motorik drum and bass churn. Similarities to fellow Finns Ride For Revenge are most definitely not lost on us. But where RFR is more pummeling and caustic, Oksennus seem more subterranean and tenebrous, and at times it's almost like there’s some weird experimental psych band buried beneath all of that death metal murk... But death metal they are, at their core, and they’ve got the deep, bellowed death grunts to prove it, drifting over the ever shifting metallic morass like ominous (and of course, strangely shaped) black clouds, except when they transform into garbled, anguished ramblings or hypnotic monk-like chants, even further subverting the very metal-ness of Oksennus’ damaged death metal explorations.

Also, if there was any doubt to the group’s “Finnish-ness” (although trust us, there’s not!), live photos seem to suggest that at least one member plays some sort of unicycle-guitar (?) and in one press photo, they are posed with a trumpet and some tiny hammers!