Today, Astral Spirits released their 7th batch of tapes pushing the catalog into the twenties. Typically, I'd choose one tape to review from a batch like this, but I was compelled to comment on two of the three as I was blown away by them.
First up is In The Sea with Henry Crabapple Disappear. Although this qualifies as a free jazz recording, its very elegant and purposeful. The recording has a dichotomy similar to the art of pugilism: It floats with grace and style, but with that comes force and brutality. At times there is a sense of urgency and anxiety. And conversely, there are moments where the instruments sound woozy and the mood is sullen. Throughout, gravely vocals hock, spit, grumble, shush, articulate and sputter inane jibberish. It's a wild wild ride.
Just when I thought things couldn't get stranger, straight from the depths of Hell comes The Gate with Chuck. I'd have to actually see the band play to be convinced that they are human and not demons. In fact, I believe that this is Satan's drunken free jazz band recording incognito. For 52+ minutes The Gate crunches along, punishing their instruments with a guttural ferocity, then slowing to a snail's pace & stopping altogether at times because they goddamned well feel like it. If you like your jazz free and sludgy and as a friend put it recently, "fucked" well you are in for a treat - a very nasty treat of the best sort.
These cassettes are standard issue releases for Astral Spirits: pro-dubbed black shells with white imprinting. The covers continue in the label's tradition with a simple symbol and hand-numbering signifying the edition (150 of each of these were made). If you own more than one AS cassette, you know how great they all look together. Get your collection going by purchasing directly from Monofonus Press website.