Various Artists, Post-Asiatic Lost War Dream Music: A Compilation of Eastern Influenced Experimental Music
Those hoping for Electric Psychedelic Sitar Headswirlers Vol. 88 may not get exactly what they’re looking for, but this is a fine release from Urck nonetheles. It’s a two-CD (it was issued on vinyl a while back) set of avant-garde, traditional, psych and electronic sounds made primarily by Westerners on stuff like ouds, singing bowls, gamelans, and dulsitars, as well as typical rock gear. There’re a few recognizable names here — Amps For Christ, Muslimgauze, Bill Horist — but for the most part, it’s a pretty obscure assembly (Catastrophic Mermaids On Parade, anyone?) that’ll give adventurous record junkies some new leads to follow.
Ever since the Beatles and the Stones brought home sitars and tablas, musicians from Europe and the Americas have looked to the East for inspiration to get a little further out, and those tunings and tones are well represented here. This ride doesn’t just stop at the Indian Sub-continent or the Middle East, though; the Orient is here in spirit, as well. Making the trip all the more authentic (and disorientating) are the side trip field recordings of strolls through Indian markets, bells, arguments, prayers, and jam sessions overheard through paper windows.
There aren’t really any downers here except for some cheesy spoken lyrics (thanks, F-Space and Baba Larriji) on a mostly instrumental happening, and Muslimgauze’s electronic track sounds only roughly more “Asiatic” to these ears than say, Eddie Money. The winners make it worth the price of admission, though, and theres plenty of standouts.
Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra & Amps For Christ start it off with a sun-baked pair of daydreams, and you’re already “there” moments after takeoff. Volcanosis’ “Galapagobeats” sounds a bit like a Psychic Ills/Bardo Pond tag team. Metal Rouge brings first rate drone that transcends yer socks off. Frith-like guitar wizard Bill Horist gives us a Morse code tap dance and mystic violin serenade, supposedly with only guitar, screwdriver, and bow (I want video proof). Moe! Staiano’s “Chungking” is a percussive blast that could bring the Boredoms to attention. Neung Phak delivers a fun little ditty that’s equal parts “Telstar,” spaghetti Western, and dub that somehow still sounds a little Oriental.
Go ahead and get it for yourself or, better yet, get it as a gift for a friend that wants to get into “world musics”; they won’t like it, so they’ll give it back and you can take it back to your opium den feeling good about it.