Anthony Milton - "Sirens & Where The Coloured Planes are Rafts"

Seht - "The Voice of the Taniwha"

Brasil And The Gallowbrothers Band - "The Band Plays On, The Diunes Move On (You Caught me with my Eyes Closed)"

Last Visible Dog

There are records labels which have a clear agenda. I'm not exactly sure what the official agenda of Rhode Island label Last Visible Dog Records is, but my guess is they're trying to put me in a dour mood. These three releases are nothing more than depression-inducing music for the heart and mind.

Anthony Milton's release actually comprises two previously issues records "Sirens" and "Where the Coloured Planes are Rafts" [recorded between 1997 and 1998]. This New Zealander has surely swallowed his share of pills to come up with a release as unpretentiously real and hauntingly gorgeous. Imagine a mellower Daniel Johnston and you'll be close in getting the picture of the music he penned for this CD. This is as lo-fi as it gets. The music must have been recorded directly onto a cassette with no overdubs or other fixing processes. Anthony picks on his guitar, uses a few delay effects [really just a few], taps his foot on the floor and sings. How does he sing, you ask? I'm guessing he sings about his life, loneliness and despair. Then again, how can I truly tell when it's difficult to make out full sentences, let alone individual words? He mumbles his words so effectively [take an early Michael Stipe and multiply the effect by a thousand fold] it's best just to take in the music together with the words as a complete whole, and not question the minute details. Considering, Anthony recorded "Sirens" in an old abandoned cottage in the middle of New Zealand outback country, is it any wonder the surroundings had such a huge effect on the outcome of the music? Music for the loner in all of us.

Seht is a mysterious figure that emerged out of a mysterious place [I think it's New Zealand, actually] to produce "The Voice of the Taniwha". If you can call this messed up minimalism, then go ahead, be my guess. I won't stop you. In fact add on any label or moniker which you feel is appropriate, as I'm out of words. Seht is heavy on acoustic guitars [he lists John Fahey and Jim O'Rourke as influences], as well as ways of making them sound different and other-worldly. But it's not the guitar pieces that get me all excited about this record. Rather, it's Seht's explorations of the drone electronic field that has me jumping up and down for joy. His flare for field recordings which are then processed electronically to come up with the most intense but some of the most drone inducing pieces is what Seht should be applauded for. "The Voice of the Taniwha" is a perfect example of how much more can be done with less.

Getting away from New Zealand, we land in equally beautiful Poland, where Brasil and The GallowBrothers Band call home. "The Band Plays On, The Diunes Move On" is a re-issue of a 2003 Cat Sun release of the same name. [This band has a history that spans the last decade and were known under various permutations, including One Inch of Shadow and Mirt] The music this ensemble produce is boorish, calm but at the same time dark and ominous. You can't help but feel disturbed when you listen to their sounds, and the funny thing is that I can't figure out why. The band claims their music was penned on various roofs back in the hot summer of 2002, which may explain its' space-like quality. The instrumentation is varied, as the ensemble mingles with acoustic guitars, some bass, light percussion, violins, clarinets, glockenspiel, and cornet. The sounds are spooky but maintain a very earthy sound. Dominic Savio's voice is austere and drowning. [For some reason, he likes to appear in the left speaker.] I'm sure their compositions are about some topic or other, but it's best just to immerse yourself in the atmosphere they create. For better or worse, Brasil and the GallowBrothers Band are on a course to conquer your mind and sink your mood by a notch.

Tom Sekowski

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