Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Aran Ruth / Scott Michaelski self released split
It seems like sometimes a band wants to make it a lot of work to find out anything about them. As if they don’t want to be burdened with any snap judgments based on the art or even name of the band or tracks as was the case with this single. A search for the matrix code came up in discogs as a split between Aran Ruth and Scott Michalski but still no real links to any sites for the artists themselves. This being distributed by UFO factory it HAD to have something to do with Detroit and that finally turned up a brief review from Metromix with Aran herself briefly talking about this release, which is just going to have to mostly remain a folk mystery from artists who obviously want this to speak for itself.
A-Side turned out to be Aran with a track called, "Red Mountain" with a howl and fingerpicked electric launching a folk heavy psych with great ethereal vocals. Her high register vocal draws out chords like Vashti Bunyan, it’s folk themes of silent green hills and Jose Gonzalez stillness, (actually I had to re-listen to "crosses"). It’s a heavy bass line synth sound, but this electrified acoustic plinking takes the slow melody precise places. When the chorus (if you could call it that) erupts and changes direction, a burst of synth howls again. This has nature written all over it - even alongside the foreign sounding synth whirring around a spacey and somber sitar direction and vocals about the deep sea. She's pulling out whatever melody she can against this free association square sine wave that slowly fades out. It's above all a strange combination of a stilted, almost robotic sounding folk recalling Robedoor or Not Not Fun Records sounding neofolk that’s heavily based on experimentation and new sounds. She’s nailed something weirdly specific here that’s hard to put a finger on its origins and/or future.
On the B-Side Scott Michalski does "Big Black Buffalo Woman" with a strumming acoustic and a hard tambourine, like porch sessions from Mark Lannegan, low and baritone. Uncannily like those solo records. The barest of echo and I think a woman is coming in with ‘Oh’s’ in the background or that’s a weird synth sound again. It's got to be this vocal. Heavy metallic hits across the strings and they’re pointing the mic right into the hole. Scott is smoke filled just barely reaching the lowest tones into Lou Reed territory, hardly expressing emotion except for that heavy sorrow of barely being able to have a heavy thought. Just opening your mouth is enough. A lot of background layers rise to meet a more emotive part, but the bells and ringing can't even pick this up out of the ditch.
Hand printed inner labels, double-faced two eyes on the sleeve. This is bizarre contemporary folk with enough other things going on to remove it from that genre entirely.
You can either get the sleeve at the top from Aran herself or the second sleeve from Ufo Factory, same tracks. Get a sample of her work at the free music archives...no other online presence anywhere.