Masstransfer << Rewind: Perplexa

This article was originally published in the third issue of Masstransfer, 1999.

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It has been said that in order to produce a great work of art, the creator must struggle and suffer to achieve the breakthrough that will make their art unique. If this is true, then Perplexa’s new CD is a masterpiece, representing a leap forward in both song quality and musicianship. Sustained by guitarist Rob Schurgin and drummer Jon Wald, Perplexa has survived 4 years of personnel changes, studio relocations and a general life of poverty in order to truly express the music within them.

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Featured Band: Lorelle Meets the Obsolete

From the moment I first heard them on the “Psych For Sore Eyes” compilation EP 6 years ago, and up to today – Lorelle Meets the Obsolete remain one of my favorite bands of the decade. The songs they produce are so genuinely unique, there are no direct comparisons or sonic competitors. 

After hearing the track, I had to look for more – and I found Corruptible Faces, a swirly amalgam of guitar-noise-drone mixed with hypnotic beats and acoustic treats, layered with the hazy alternating male and female vocals of Lorena and Beto. It took a few months for that album to really sink in, with each passing week revealing a new favorite track.

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Take a break from reality, grab some headphones, close your eyes – here’s 30 minutes of musical meanderings with no agenda.

Included in this episode: VHS Dream, Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, Bosques, All in the Golden Afternoon, a new track from Epic45, a throwback from Malory, and Do Make Say Think bringing it in for a landing.

For more information on the podcast and the bands included, please subscribe to the email newsletter. Thanks for listening!

Masstransfer << Rewind: Malory

This article was originally published in the sixth issue of Masstransfer, 2003.

I couldn’t pass this one up – going to another country to see a band from across the Atlantic, one of my favorites at the moment.  Sure going to another country was actually just crossing the tunnel to Canada, but since the band was Malory, I would have gone to Mexico to see them!  Their sound, which blends early 90’s shoegazing (a la Slowdive) with modern mechanics and technology, is instantly engaging.  That said, I was really surprised that hardly anybody showed up!

Malory was playing shows in North America this year as part of the Alison Records tour, that included Skywave, Mellonova, and about five other bands.  They played in Windsor, Ontario, at a place called The Diesel Lounge – somewhere that Ratt or Poison likely played at the week before.

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Hello, and thanks for joining me on another audio-go-round of cosmic bliss. In this episode, I’m revisiting some of my favorite bands and albums from 2018 – starting off with probably my favorite band of the moment, Ulrika Spacek. In fact, many of the artists in the episode have only flown across my radar in the past few years or so, including Listening Center,  and The Advisory Circle.

Sprinkled in among the new blood are some long-time favorites like I Am Robot And Proud – who released a kickin’ album late last year called Lucky Static; and My Autumn Empire – aka Ben Holton, one-half of the classic British post-rock duo Epic45, with the epic title track from his latest album “Oh, Leaking Universe”.

Rounding out this episode, and easing you into oblivion, comes “A Living Thing” – the title track of the recent album from ambient kingpin Steve Swartz (Swartz Et), who has been immersed in the Detroit space/ambient/folk scene for close to two decades now. At one time, he was part of the dreampop group Au Revoir Borealis, who achieved some success in the early 2000’s. From there he went on to a more acoustic sound with his solo project For Wishes, and in the last few years has gone in a more ambient and conceptual direction. Stay tuned for a Masstransfer Rewind on Au Revoir Borealis in the coming weeks.

For more information on the podcast and the bands included, please subscribe to the email newsletter. See you on the flipside!

Masstransfer << Rewind: Yellow6

Yellow6, aka Jon Attwood – circa 2016

This article was originally published in the fifth issue of Masstransfer, 2002.

With textures that drift in and surround you like a dense fog, Yellow6 has the ability to sound both fragile and thick at the same time. At the moment, Yellow6 and it’s human-form, Jon Attwood, is quite the prolific artist, appearing here and there (and here on the Masstransfer:05 compilation), constantly refining his unique style. Y6 came to being in 1995 as a home-recording project, and has evolved to the digital realm, as well as to the live stage.

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My Favorites of 2018

As we make another trip around the wheel of life, let me take a moment to look back at some of the releases that made the year a little more bearable. Drumroll please (rimshot where necessary)…

  1. LandingBells In New Towns
    This band continues to amaze with each release, progressively fine tuning their own unique soundscapes. Well done.
  2. Ulrika SpacekSuggestive Listening EP
    Probably my favorite new band of the moment – hoping for another full-length in the near future
  3. My Autumn EmpireOh, Leaking Universe
  4. The Asteroid #4Collide
  5. SpiritualizedAnd Nothing Hurt
  6. Adrien75The Deep State
    Although Mr. 75 has released several albums last year, this is my fave of the bunch
  7. The Advisory CircleWays Of Seeing
  8. Chatham RiseMeadowsweet
  9. Lazy SalonBoot Magna
  10. A Year In The Country – The Quietened Mechanisms (Various)
  11. LowtideSouthern Mind
  12. I Am Robot And ProudLucky Static
  13. Swartz EtA Living Thing

You’ll hear some of these artists on the next Sonixcursions podcast episode – on its way shortly. Subscribe to the Podcast or the Email Newsletter to get updates when new episodes are published.

Sonixcursions Podcast Available On iTunes and Spotify

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the Sonixcursions podcast is now beaming to your town via iTunes and Spotify, as well as good old RSS. As new episodes are released, you will get updates and notifications to join another transcendant musical voyage. Each month or so, I put together a mix of space-rock/dreampop/ambient/electronic/other music that gives you a brief escape from this crazy world, delivered by headphones. Rock on.

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photo © 2018 Yiu Wah

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Sonixcursions – for our first trip, I’ve selected a number of bands who have been consistently producing stellar outersounds for over 20 years. Many of the bands on this episode can be traced back to the very early issues of the Masstransfer zine – starting with the opener Adrien75 (who Is Still Alive) and the lunar/tropical vibe of “Hawaiian Ring Drum Rum”; plus a throwback track from the band Seely; the dreamy electronics of Lazy Salon (Sean Byrne of Lenola/Twin Atlas); and the California-via-Philly psycountry rockers The Asteroid #4.

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Back From Beyond

For any of you out there who had followed the Outersound Underground site and podcast may have noticed it’s been off the air for a few months now. The last podcast went out at the very tail end of last year, and sometime in April the site had gotten hacked (it was a WordPress site after all) and the event gave me the chance to rethink the direction of the whole thing.

Coinciding with all of this, last year turned out to be the 20th anniversary of launching the Masstransfer fanzine – back in 1997. This caused me to reflect on all the music and bands from that scene, and realized that a good many them are either still together in some form, or their constituent players continue to record and perform.

This brings me to the new site, Sonixcursions.com – with a podcast that pulls from 20+ years of Masstransfer and Outersound tracks, focusing on bands that are standing the test of time, with a dash of throwbacks. The first episode will be posted in a few days, and if you’re familiar with the scene, many of the artists will be friendly to your ears. If you’re new to this realm of the sonicontinuum, they will be just as friendly.