Cliffsides ‘Singularity’ on Anathema Sound

Cliffsides, Singularity 2009

Cliffsides is one of the projects of Brooklyn-based synth jammer Ryan McGill (Bones of Seabirds).  His recently released tape called Singularity contains two melodic works for synthesizer that launch the listener into celestial orbits.  Thick, spacey passages of delayed synth washes, combined with heavy bass notes that drop like meteors, are carefully constructed to form a heavy cosmic aura.  Drones and filter sweeps combine to form a mountain of sound.  It’s the sound of a spaceship set to fly just 200 yards above the earth’s surface, zipping across the sky, tracing it’s geological formations.  Ambient arpeggiations rain down from the skies above sub-bass tones, while emotive string pads slice through the center leaving gorgeous, wistful melodies in their wake.  This is an invitation to another place and an easy passage to a new universe.

This was my first acquisition from Franklin Teagle’s Anathema Sound.  Forming only a year and a half ago, this label already has 23 releases to date.  With such great artists and original artwork (Matt Yacoub), this is a definitely a label to keep our eyes on–check them out.  Also, I should mention–keep your eyes out for a new project called Afterlife, a collaboration between Franklin Teagle and Ryan McGill.  Some of you may have checked out the Stunned Records release, a split with Ossining (Brad Rose & Kevin Danchisko of Sovetskaya Gone).  I got this in the mail last week (thanks Phil!) and both sides are excellent.

Oneohtrix Point Never & Seagulls

Oneohtrix "Ruined Lives"

Onetrix Point Never, Ruined Lives, C20, Young Tapes

Imagine standing on the peak of a mountain during a storm; the massive geological structure splices the oncoming clouds in two.  Then the sun rises, burns off the fog, and the earth begins emitting steam.  Dense, mineral-rich soil feeds the surrounding trees the nutrients to sustain life on this planet.  And, simultaneously, you hear the sound of a seagull’s thoughts as she plans how to voice her next cry.

Oneohtrix Point Never is the work of Daniel Lopatin.    I think he is from Boston, currently living in Brooklyn – but I’ve gathered this from the internet – I could be wrong.  This tape is out on the ever-so-shreddy new new age label, Young Tapes, yet another fine addition to their catalog.  Daniel Lopatin is also a part of a few other projects including Infinity Window and Astronaut.

The arrangements on this tape are totally smooth.  Three tracks of finely-crafted fluid motions that seem to seep into each other make up the first side.  The first track is ambient, layered goodness, laying the groundwork for what is to follow.  This semi-meditative state is broken by speedy tribal drumming repetitions.  Enter the sounds of 80’s electronics instruments.  This sounds like a Roland Juno 106 and early 12-bit sampling keyboards.  It is a fresh perspective on what can be done with old technology, but more importantly, it adds an icy warmth of sorts, a digital sheen drifting in the breeze.   The third track is my favorite.  This could be a nod to Giorgio Moroder’s theme from Midnight Express, but there’s a certain depth to it that really reaches into your gut, pulls out your innards and launches them into the heavens (innovation is necessary).  Hell yes – this is good shit.  The second side is one track that lasts around 10 minutes; beautifully sculpted waves of sound flow in the wind and hover above the sea.  Delayed arpeggios rise and fall; sifting, sailing, swirling into a vortex from which to view the transformation of the earth’s atmosphere over the past millennium.

Another excellent tape.  Sold out at the source, but don’t let that discourage you.  This is an excellent example of what can be done with vintage synths and sequencers and it makes me very happy to hear this music, knowing it was made now.

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