Friday, August 28, 2009

Upstairs Edition 1: "Black Comedy / Ambiguation"

We're pleased to present Upstairs' inaugural edition, titled "Black Comedy/Ambiguation"... the first pressing will be in editions of 50 per each title, with consecutive represses of 25 each. The CDRs feature color inserts and all-over black disques hand marked in metallic gold ink. All releases are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. They are available via paypal, and priced at $8 USD, $9 CANADA, and $12 WORLD. Please email upstairsCDR@gmail.com with your order inquiry. Thanks!

Sincerely Yours,
Daniel & KGB Man


Occasionally a synth record comes around that changes the game for me -- a while back it was my post facto discovery of Suzanne Ciani's Seven Waves -- a record that brought a level of emotionality to synth music that was rare in the Trancealot days of post-Berlin School new age.Exotic Cameo carries none of the genre-specific traits of Seven Waves, but the sincerity and natural weirdness that drives the record is much the same, putting it leagues above its contemporary brethren. If the current climate of out music here in the US feels decidedly post-noise, the overriding vibe polarizes new age kraut jams against lo fi pop -- the problem with a lot of it being the nostalgia redux factor tends more towards surfaces than substances. Enter Chris Bush aka Flower Man (also a member of Caboladies) who has constructed a bedroom synth classic with Exotic Cameo -- one that merges the lucid grey/bent melodicism of Bruce Haack, Claude Larson, and Enno Velthuys with a heavy dose of Radiophonic Workshop-style library record aerobics. The overall effect is that of a nightmare Jim Henson may have had one night -- scenario: spacing out at the townhouse with a glass of scotch on his knee/tube of ash between his fingers, listening to Nic Raicevic's Beyond The End, perhaps dreaming of an old flame or a pair of eyes. Nostalgic yes certainly, but conflated and made bleak in such a way that speaks directly from Flower Man's inner repository... a strange and dreary trip that takes the voyeur through a grayscale city of upside down salixi and softcore store fronts, only to roll credits with a haunting sonata that aptly offers no resolve. Flower Man is here.


Nonhorse is G. Lucas Crane (also of Woods & Vanishing Voice) -- the anointed doors-ajar tape champ of 2009 whose mysterious pastiche decorates interior minds with an acutely virtuosic slather -- similar in vibe to hearing a 3rd gen dub of a Technics battle mix from across a Gregorian yoga studio courtyard in Second Life. Shadow World is an epic 45 minute slab of exorcism enacted upon dead field transmissions from a nuked America. Listen as Crane bushwacks through twisted metal, phantom greys and clusters of question marks that hang in the sky like polluted simulacra. As opposed to traditional characterizations of Satan as an individual being -- Crane envisions a Lucifercrum that is disguised holistically throughout the social fabric. Some lines you don't cross on purpose, it's just the environment generating variety where we'd rather there be predictability. It is in that demarcated zone where the sensuality of Shadow World makes itself most apparent. Using the barest array of items in his inventory, Crane swiftly reconciles scratch/warble riddims with pure American floorcore haunt in such a way that narration and ambiguity are forced on the listener at once, impulsively and with passion. Feel the zone between your ears -- search for a column to lean against if only for a moment before she whispers you the punchline, "power... power... power." It's not a safe place for searchers, but those that do will be compelled to search every room for answers.


What better way to inaugurate Upstairs than with a kickoff comp featuring and all-star cast of accomplices? Radio Scenic Glow Vol. 1 features Julian Lynch, Autre Ne Veut, Baggy Magnum, Alice Cohen, Stellar Om Source, No Fun Acid, Pulse Emitter, Nackt Insecten, Caboladies, Oneohtrix Point Never, Driphouse, Asha Sheshadri, Earth Station, Mechanick Preachers, Elfenbeinturm, Games, Africa Germany, and Gatekeeper. Like a bouquet of jams whose stems are entwined, the sum of Glow's parts is harmonious and yet manages to retain the no rules/no genres spirit of Upstairs. From deep zoners to proto techno jams, thruuuu bedroom synth pop and onto damaged themes for suspense/thrillers, this is pretty much everything I like about the scene at large, year 2009. All artists featured have been sent a powerpack of tiffs, docs and mp3s so if you miss out on the first edition, you might consider commissioning you favorite jammer for a one-of-a-kind...


  1. Fucking rad. Great to see this stuff happening. I already gave my readers the headsup (like you need the help).




  2. picked up this comp last night in den haag at next horizon. it's amazing!