Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chokmah: "Laurentide & Cordilleran + Others" Available for Download

NOTE (08/11/11): As Sonic Meditations plans to rerelease this in the fall of 2011, we have taken down all but one track from the bandcamp. You may continue to download all of First Matter at no cost.

The virtual representation of Laurentide & Cordilleran + Others is available for streaming/download at Sungod's bandcamp. Drop in:

FLAC/MP3/whatever you want, files of all artwork included in the download.
Same price as the air you breathe.

The Tao resembleth the Emptiness of Space; to employ it, we must avoid creating ganglia. Oh Tao, how vast art Thou, Abyss of Abysses, thou Holy Secret Father of All Fatherhoods of Things!
Let us make our sharpness blunt; let us loosen our complexes; let us tone down our brightness to the general obscurity. Oh Tao, how still art though, how pure, continuous One beyond Heaven!
This Tao hath no Father, it is beyond all other conceptions, higher than the highest.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kether: Sungod presents "Laurentide & Cordilleran + Others"

I have been eagerly awaiting posting about Sungod's newest release entitled "Laurentide & Cordilleran + Others". This is a full length cassette featuring about 45 minutes of new music.

Each issue of this release has been hand crafted entirely by the band. The purple cassette comes wrapped in a hand-sewn cloth pouch inside a manilla envelope. A photograph glued to the front serves as the cover. A two sided, color card-stock and construction paper insert is included as is a photograph from the recording sessions of "Oh Baby, I Love you So". To complete the package, we have included an incense stick for proper atmosphere and a wax seal to close it up.

The first pressing of this cassette is earmarked for our two SXSW shows and is limited to about 25 copies. We will have 12 for sale at each show.

I want to give a brief description of the actual content of the release. This represents somewhat of a departure from the sounds contained on our First Matter LP. It still remains indebted to our space and krautrock forefathers, but with less rock and much more space.

A1 - "Honey it Ain't No Crime (To Run Off from Home)"
A poor man's raag for acoustic guitar, harmonium, and contrabass. Wheezing, drunken acoustic drones generate a deep pulse. A cloud of fingerpicked acoustic guitar emerges; sometimes gentle...other times frantic. The three wave sources interweave and dance around one another until the singular moment of samadhi as all become one in the everlasting light.

Braden Balentine: Harmonium
Mike Sharp: Acoustic Guitar
Alex Hughes: Contrabass

A2 - "Laurentide"
A luminous cosmic journey from start to finish. This beautiful slab of electro-drift locates the intersection of electric organ, analog synthesizer, and tremolo guitar and the alchemical marriage of these primal elements approximates the fabled Harmony of the Spheres. Soaring strings combine with lush synth trails as cavernous, pulsating guitar chords move the mind ever closer to total bliss.

Braden Balentine: Synthesizer, Organ
Mike Sharp: Electric Guitar

B1 - "Oh Baby, I Love you So"
The sound of a door slams as you enter the opium den. The faux-eastern sounds of a detuned and abused esraj lull you into an introspective haze. The clanging bells and arcing streaks of bowed metal disrupt the meditation and the mind is forced to wander amidst abstract fields of acoustic disharmony. Thuds, clangs, plucks, terror.

Braden Balentine: Bowed Cymbals, Bells, Tibetan Singing Bowl
Mike Sharp: Esraj
Alex Hughes: Contrabass

B2: - "Cordilleran"
A glacial wall of deep synth and organ ambiance surrounds this piece in a sinister glow. Moody echo guitar and synthesized starlight come and go as the sound seemingly approaches the infinite. As one resigns to float forever amidst this dark sonic river, a terrifying crash of detuning guitars and pounding drums distorts all perception; as if some very ancient energy has returned to initiate the destruction of space and time.

Braden Balentine: Synthesizer, Electric Guitar
Mike Sharp: Organ, Synthesizer, Drums

We will very likely do a second pressing of these in similar quantity after SXSW. We will also be posting this release on our bandcamp in the next week or so for streaming and download.

To reward merit is to stir up emulation; to prize rarities is to encourage robbery; to display desirable things is to excite the disorder of covetousness.
Therefore the sage governeth men by keeping their minds and theirs bodies at rest, contenting the one by emptiness, the other by fulness. He satisfieth their desires, thus fulfilling their wills, and making them frictionless; and he maketh them strong in body, to a similar end.
He delivereth them from the restlessness of knowledge and the cravings of discontent. As to those who have knowledge already, he teacheth them the way of non-action. This being assured, there is no disorder in the world.

Ain Soph Aur: First Matter Artwork

There isn't anything on the net as far as I know that gives a description of the First Matter layout, which we are still rather proud of. Here are some photos. The cover painting was done by our good friend Justin Grove.

All men know that beauty and ugliness are correlatives, as are skill and clumsiness; one implies and suggests the other.
So also existence and non-existence post the one the other; so also is it with ease and difficulty, length and shortness; height and lowness. Also Musick exists through harmony of opposites; time and space depend upon contraposition.
By the use of this method the sage can fulfill his will without action, and utter his word without speech.
All thing arise without diffidence; they grow, and none interferes; they change according to their natural order, without lust of result. The work is accomplished; yet it continueth in its orbit, without goal. This work is done unconsciously; this is why energy is indefatigable.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ain Soph: Sungod's First Matter

First Matter has been out quite a while now, so we decided to upload it to our bandcamp. You can listen to the entire LP or download it in just about any format possible. Much more coming to this space in the future including Sungod SXSW performances, line-up additions, and information about a new, very limited and lovingly hand made cassette release containing our finest material yet.

Here are two reviews. I believe there are still copies here are there around the net and we have some as well. Most importantly: 

     Somewhere, at some point in time, somebody gave one of the two members of Austin, Texas, psychedelic newcomers Sungod a copy of Nebula’s To the Center, and it’s a good thing they did. The duo (doesn’t anyone have a bassist anymore?) have taken this heavy, grooving influence and stretched it out as far as it’ll go, abandoning for the most part the aforementioned band’s penchant for catchy choruses in favor of wide-breadth atmospherics on theirCyclopean Records debut, First Matter. The album’s five tracks follow a reverse-parabola structure, starting long, getting shorter in the middle, then longer again at the finish, but there’s more to the flow than nifty toying around with the track list. Sungod worship at a number of altars and their sound — in no small part thanks to liberal guitar layering — is surprisingly full for an act without a full-time bassist.
     Comprised of string-section Balentine and drummer Sharp, Sungod traffic in a heady, open-spaced instrumental heavy psych, marked by guitar passages so lyrical I had to go back and double check there weren’t vocals on them. Nine-minute opener “The Key is No Key” starts with striking feedback and hard-pounding rhythms. Balentine takes this as a basis for layering reverbed guitar explorations, but keeps a solid foundation underneath. Sharp’s playing is strong whether during these freakout jams or the more straightforward intervals from which they’re birthed, and on the acoustic-led “Under the Golem,” the organic ambience of the song is only enhanced by the various bells and chimes present. On the centerpiece title-track (also First Matter’sshortest song at 3:46), the drums go on a half-backwards tape loop Dale Crover spree of intermittent hits punctuating feedback from Balentine, drones and noises of several other shapes and sizes, so you get some sense of diversity in listening to the album in more than just basic sonics.
     “Blanche of Castle” is pastoral psychedelic bliss made even more summery by the almost constant cymbal play. It’s like something Earth might attempt after a really good meal, but somehow less droning and more exploratory than that seminal Seattle outfit’s most recent work. Balentine keeps the guitars on the move, even if they’re peaceful, and the subtle bass-drum hits from Sharpadd a sense of structure, albeit a loose one. Leading into 22-minute closer “Inkailmeva,” it’s a quiet setup for a song that contains all of the above elements with room left over for some extra bombast and even a smoky, late night Hendrix blues jam about 13 minutes in that eventually brings the monolithic piece to its riffy, satisfying conclusion.
     If nothing else, what the track proves is that Sungod, while obviously playing with a focus on spontaneity, are also capable of enacting a plan with a song, and in so doing, to vary their sound even more. First Matter is well within the bounds of modern heavy psych, but the Austin duo work ably in the genre confines to pull of an album that’s still their own. I’d be intrigued to see the layering approach of Balentine and Sharp live — not that it couldn’t be done, it would just require setting up a lot of loops — and if hearing First Matter is what piqued that interest, then the album has done its job.

     Sungod’s First Matter is loud and heavy psychedelic rock from outer space. These five tracks are mostly gargantuan affairs wherein everything swirls, reverberates or drones.
     Nine-and-a-half minute opener “The Key Is No Key” is as appropriate of an introduction as any with its varying tempos, chugging and effect-laden guitars, and careening drums that send you hurling into black holes and milky ways.
     The next few tracks are a bit more subdued, alternating heavy and light atmospheres, while “Blanche of Castile” resets the mood nicely with its soothing strums and picks, and echoey slide guitars.
     It’s a nice and welcome respite from the chaos, especially since it’s followed by the 22-minute “Inkalimeva,” a track that one-ups the previous four to an nth degree with its chugging build-ups, vamps and explosions. It reaches a climax at just over 12 minutes in, followed by a hushed, sparse midsection that slowly builds back into a big, swirling crescendo.
     The bigness of some of these tracks might be a bit much to get your heard around the first time through, and there isn’t too much in the way of “hooks” to hold onto, but as an exercise in interstellar rock, it works nicely.

The Tao-Path is not the All-Tao. The Name is not the Thing named.
Unmanifested, it is the Secret Father of Heaven and Earth; manifested, it is their Mother.
To Understand this Mystery, one must be fulfilling one's will. If one is not thus free, one will but gain a smattering of it.
The Tao is one, and the Te but a phase thereof. The abyss of this Mystery is the Portal of Serpent-Wonder.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ain: The Beginning

Herein you will comprehend the mystical ramblings of two conduits of a force unknown.
The current manifestation of this force speaks in tongues of air and longitudinal compression.
There are many bodies in the Light of this Force, but here you shall know the Sungod.
The only law is change: movement, dynamism, electricity, love.
Find your way to the City of Pyramids.

Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.