Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ancient Crux / Norse Horse split on La Station Radar Records

Just got a couple of overseas releases all the way from France courtesy La Station Radar. I first heard of these guys after reviewing that Terror Bird co-release with Atelier Ciseaux. Looks like they've been out for a while releasing cassettes from Dirty Beaches and split LP's with Jeans Wilder...so I was looking forward to hearing how these two sides on this one would fit into that story.

First of all ...the sleeve by icinori is great, it folds out into another giant illustration printed on the reverse, once you pry it out of the mylar. They took great liberties with the ancient/norse theme both bands names lend themselves to. Tiny knights and chain mail fighting in a psychedelic landscape of exploding color boxes and pieces of a solar system.

The Ancient Crux side is Travis from Murrieta, CA masterminding a very Fresh & Onlys slightly surf sound on two laid back tracks. "Benevolent Void", the first one, might even nod to huge echo surf lines like Ty Segall, but it's when it all gets massive distortion at the end of this one it really gets going. I like the barely delivered vocals, just hinting at melody, buried in robotic plate reverb. Like F&O, it's a solid stress free tune, the melody being front and center, whatever direction he's going, and it's sticking.
In "Pushed out of my hands" Ancient takes a few decades steps back into almost a 50's slow picking ballad, the strained ballad vocals here even follow along in the garage sweetness "...then I pushed out my hands / the blood gushed out gradually" ???? and something is a little off. It's a sincere un-relateable sentiment in the form of this harmless crooner. I love the dirty sloppy massive reverb solo right in the middle of this one firmly placing it in 2010, and sustaining the mystery.

Norse Horse, also from CA on the reverse side starts things out with "Meat Whale", a slide electric woodblock-y meandering ride with lots of layers of vocals....sounding like a real chorus of vocalists at times. It's a sea lullaby rocking back and forth on the water, hypnotizing and bizarre in it's Animal Collective drum circle complexity. "Shoodikids" then changes direction and lands on the island adding layers of tropicalia with a Hawaiian slide guitar this time. Sort of a looped sample Ducktails meets Black Dice direction...monstrously slowed down vocals, shimmery electric, cowbell, shakers.....it's definitely completely unique, it has a clear direction that isn't ever obvious and remains completely re-playable.

Great split from two bands united by geography that weirdly end up on this label far far away from home. The kind of single that just makes me want to hear more of both... even after hearing a couple songs each, I'm only more interested.... I know this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Hand-numbered and only 300...Get it direct from La Station Radar, email first to work out postage or check the usual distro's...I bet Fusetron or SS would be able to add this to an import order.

travis von sydow is ancient crux
Ryan beal is norse horse
recorded / live contributions with friends as tyler haran (twin lion), sam woodson and more...
they have already some killer songs out on Family Time Records...

this split comes with a killer art work by french duo inconiri from france
cover to open like a book (with a flap)
artwork outside / inside...

OUT NOW !!!!

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