MAYBE I’M AMAZED: It’s taken me several weeks to even begin to approach the magnificent new album by Nick Bradfield (White Rabbit Collective) named Unfinished Work. Although he released it under the name Dr. Trance, this body of work—a truly incredible accomplishment of 16 tracks, many of which extend past the nine-minute mark—deserves to have Bradfield’s proper name associated with it from the get-go. This is the second album, the first being The Chosen Ones (2017), in which Bradfield explores unrequited love, walking in faith and fearlessness and vanquishing hopelessness. Technically speaking, Bradfield works heavily with Ableton Live and synthesizers, multi-instrumentation and various human contributions. This method allows him to create albums that can vary quite significantly from each other, as this one does from the previously mentioned The Chosen Ones. Musically, this is quite akin to Iceland’s Sigur Rós and, similarly, breathes and exhales in deliberately wide spaces. Its themes—holiness, devotion, hope, despair and resolution—are often explored immediately adjacent to each other. It cannot be absorbed in one listen nor broken into component parts, which is why, although there are specific tracks that I find to be stupendous, I won’t advocate for any in particular. It commands and deserves uninterrupted listening but, upon doing so, requires no work other than a spirit of openness and acceptance. On a personal note, I have absolutely zero qualms about ranking this alongside Yoko Ono’s Season of Glass, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Find this on all streaming services as well as rabbitholestudios.org/dr-trance. Follow along at facebook.com/drtranceypants.
HOLA, CÓMO ESTÁS: Bilingual rockers Deaf Condors have a new five-song EP out now on Super Carnival Recordings named Sundown Radio. The Spanish-language immigrant declaration “Vamos” is a pretty killer representation of that weird era of hard rock that blended metal, hardcore and psychedelia, a style probably best represented previously by Faith No More. The very next track, “Third World Blues,” explores this style similarly but with more of a Meat Puppets tinge. The final track, “Sundown Radio” starts off with a full-on Ratt-style riff and continues this punchiness through the chorus. Its nearly six-minute running time makes it just way too long. Overall, though, this comes across as less than a polished release-ready collection and more like just a pretty solid demo. Listen for yourself over at deafcondors.bandcamp.com.
AND IT DON’T STOP: This week’s Hip-Hop Pit Stop show at Live Wire is a showcase highlighting Volumes Hip Hop which has spent years establishing itself as an enthusiastic go-to source for all things related to Athens hip hop. Featured acts this night are DJ Bobfish laying down the vibes, as well as Followxforever, Boregard, DK, Unique, Paco Marquez (aka Ayo Paco), Elevxn and J.O. & Satch. This night is the next-to-last show of this residency, which is brought to you by ATHFactor-Liberty Entertainment. As mentioned before, these nights are structured as follows: Segment I (8–9 p.m.) is an open mic session with artists performing pre-submitted tracks, Segment II (9–9:30 p.m.) features guest DJs and Segment III (9:30–11 p. m.) are the feature performances. For all other information, please see facebook.com/athfactor.
THAT WHICH YOU CANNOT HEAR: Author, experimental musician and visual artist Grant Evans just released a new album via Pennsylvania’s Flag Day Recordings. It’s available as a digital album as well as a cassette tape and is named Taciturn, Moribund. Across these five tracks, Evans works with recorded tapes that he describes as “in various states of erasure.” Thus, the listener’s experience is put in the odd situation of being as influenced by the unknown (i.e., what’s been erased) as he or she is impacted by what is clearly present. That said, I wish I’d have heard this before I knew Evans’ process for this, as my reaction would have been more authentic and less an attempt to imagine these fragments as pieces of something else. The empty spaces are not blanked-out canvasses though, and there are moments of very calm beauty, such as the entirety of “Beige.” Overall, the—perhaps unintentional—emotional work involved is amplified simply by knowing the sounds here have undergone some, or many, layers of degradation. As a thought experiment, it calls into question how an experience is murkily affected by unknown absence. As a listening experience, it is non-jarring and quite peaceful. Check it out at flagdayrecordings.bandcamp.com.
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