Pete Swanson/Moin – Positive/Elsie [2012, Confessions]

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Exceptional 7″ offering to kick start Blackest Ever Black’s new imprint, Confessions. Side A finds Pete Swanson picking up where he left off with his Man with Potential LP last year, weird repetitive electronics that people tend to call techno (I don’t really agree) but this is all about the B Side for me with Moin showcasing some very sleek guitar drones laid on top of a numbed out 4/4 kick and the proper amount of spoken word that doesn’t become cheesy. Very curious as to where this venture will go with future releases, but definitely off to an amazing start!

Thisquietarmy – Vessels [2011, Aurora Borealis]

Somehow this one skipped my radar during 2011 but thankfully found its way to my playlist this weekend and what a treat this was! After looking into him I realised there is more to be discovered about Eric Quach aka thisquietarmy but seems like ‘Vessels’ was the best place to start. With a naval theme throughout the album and having his guitar drones as the backbone for it, he creates an interesting listen which leaps from tranquille moments of subtle synthwork and lazy percussions (the quiet seascape at dusk waiting for the sun to hide behind the horizon) to blasts of sonic energy with all three ingredients being overused and abused only to leave the listener with powerful orchestrations filling the room soon after the initial force of impact has settled in (brutal currents and waves crushing on the same shores that felt comforting and safe just moments ago).  Highly recommended

Phono Stage Addition

This weekend I went ahead and purchased the NAD PP3i in order to stop feeding the signal from the turntables to the amp, through my mixer. The descision on which phono stage to get was mainly reached by browsing the net and reading reviews since the cost was fairly low and I wasn’t up for going into extensive sound testing in a variety of systems and combinations. One of the straight out of the box advantages is the ability to connect my computer via USB and record my collection in up to 24bit/96kHz qualitiy.
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Shackleton – Music for the quiet hour / The drawbar organ EPs [2012, Woe To The Septic Heart!]

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Out of sheer completism I had to have the box set, but I can see how Shackleton has planned this release out and why. The three EPs feel overproduced in a bad way, with a couple of tunes being the exception of what is mostly Shackleton testing out his solo riffs on the drawbar organ. Having ‘Man on a string’ in mind these 12s felt a wee bit disappointing! But after moving on to ‘Music for the quiet hour’ it became apparent how Shackleton has once again surpassed himself! Dark and loomy drones, otherworldly vocals, elaborate and complex percussion which builds and builds into Vengeance Tenfold’s letter to his grand daughter, only to reach her in a new, better, post-apocalyptic earth. This is Shackleton at his best, with a captivating narrative throughout the whole listen! It all comes together with the extraordinary art we’ve come to love by Zeke Clough embracing all covers and an extra book with the uniquely grotesque images and the aforementioned letter for you to read in your own free time.