Bed Rugs Bed Rugs… Another gem of an Ample Play signing

LPs Roundup: Peals, Barn Owl, WON, Bed Rugs

Published on May 6th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

Rocksucker reviews some rather splendid new releases from two of our favourite labels: the Chicago-based experimentation stable Thrill Jockey, and Cornershop‘s own Ample Play imprint…

Peals – Walking Field

An instrumental collaboration between William Cashion of Future Islands and Bruce Willen of Double Dagger, the pair recently told Rocksucker that they decided early on in the process not to use bass guitar, computers or drums. This aesthetic has resulted in the kind of gentle, pastoral splendour that might occur if Robin Guthrie was a dew drop drooping from the end of a leaf on a fresh Spring morning, but was somehow still able to create atmospheric guitar soundscapes even as a small globule of water.

“Floating Leaf” chimes mysteriously and comedown-folk-ishly, as if Mogwai had been around to soundtrack The Wicker Man (the original, not the embarrassing cop drama starring Nicholas Cage). It’s an eight-minute thing that melts off into gentle buzzing like the musical equivalent of a light, early-morning breeze – notice a theme emerging? – and makes way for the aptly titled “Belle Air” to make further inroads into this moment of clarity with its procession of fluttering, twinkling wind chimes.

“Pendelles” is a meeting of dolorous, meandering cellos, “Tiptoes in the Parlour” a mini symphony of plinky, fast-picked guitar, “Believers” a shimmering, benevolent wilderness, and “Koan 1” brings the journey to a close in a similar vein to that in which “Floating Leaf” started it. Walking Field is very much of and for a certain mood, but it has the power to be quite transportative in the right moment or setting. As long as this weather holds up, it’ll be arriving at an opportune time indeed.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Walking Field will be released on 13th May through Thrill Jockey.

You can pre-order Walking Field on Amazon.

For more information, please visit Peals on the Thrill Jockey website.

Barn Owl – V

San Francisco duo Jon Porras and Evan Caminiti infuse whooshing, atmospheric electronics into their guitar-hewn soundscapes with mesmerising results, consolidating their position at the forefront of Thrill Jockey’s abstract wing.

“Void Redux” is a twinkling, bass-plinking, shimmering wilderness that ever so gradually builds in intensity by shooting new sounds off into the ether, eventually welcoming on board what sounds like a brass section. “The Long Shadow” and “Against the Night” are both aptly named, rich as they are with the aforementioned atmospheric wooshing as well as what Rocksucker likes to call ‘monotone string tension’ (string as in the string section of an orchestra, as opposed to “a piece of…”), while “Blood Echo” gets sufficiently menacing to do its title too

“Pacific Isolation” introduces a simple, minor-key guitar progression into a mix replete with washing – you can imagine it lying at the bottom of the ocean, doing good by…well, you get the idea – before sixth and final track “The Opulent Decline” lets loose ghostly swarms of digital strings along the course of its seventeen minutes. As with Peals this ain’t for all moods, but in an appropriate context it can do magical things.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Pacific Isolation is out now on Thrill Jockey.

You can buy V on iTunes and on Amazon.

For more information, please visit Barn Owl on the Thrill Jockey website.

WON – Isolution

Finland-born, Italy-raised DJ/producer Marco Ricci featured prominently as part of Casa del Mirto on Cornershop’s recent remix album Snap Yr Cookies, and has been associated with chillwave even though this seven-track Ample Play debut is more of a minimal sort of tech house affair. “Helsinki” sets the scene with its array of popping, clicking and shuffing percussive elements, before “Idyll I” lets a slowed-down gong play out over an insistent rhythm that threatens to boil over at any moment, a bit like that of Aphex Twin classic “Digeridoo”.

A swarm of glitchy bleeps then flows out of “Idyll I” like a lava spill, all part of an exemplary display of how to hypnotise while almost totally eschewing melody. See also: the juddering, pulsating, skipping rhythm section of “Face Simmetry”. Closing track “Kiln” pounds insistently before letting fly with a kind of blaring, synthesised distortion that feels like it’s tearing a hole in the space-time continuum; suffice it to say, this pleases Rocksucker. Isolution won’t be everyone’s cup of digital – we prefer ours with a wider spread of colours, for example – but if you’re a fan of Cornershop’s occasional forays into clubland then you should get a load of this.

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

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Isolution is out now on Ample Play.

You can buy Isolution on iTunes or on Amazon.

For more information, please visit WON on Facebook.

Bed Rugs – Rapids

Belgium isn’t just churning out a generation’s worth of quality footballers at the moment; the nation qui n’existe pas is also giving rise to some fine young bands, such as Balthazar and this lot. Comparisons to Tame Impala and Deerhunter are lofty yet appropriate, such is the richness of their fuzzy psych-pop, and it pleased us greatly to discover that these six tracks were mixed by Paul Butler from Rocksucker favourites The Bees.

After the startling swirl of an opener that is “Daydream”, “Yawn” proceeds to wield what sound like similar ‘vintage psychedelia’ influences as fellow Ample Play-ers The Paperhead and The Sufis, but with more of a Byrds-i-ly melodic sensibility. There’s even some Beatles-y backwards guitar amidst its delightful convergence of light, sunny harmonies and the fuzzy haze of psych guitars, all niftily summed up in the line “There is some dusk in this dawn / We could be stuck in a yawn” (er, except for the yawn part: Bed Rugs are not cut out to elicit yawns).

“Wave” sounds like The Olivia Tremor Control meets Grizzly Bear, harmonies raised aloft like Olympic torches, and there are touches of Dungen and early My Bloody Valentine about “Blinds”, which plays benevolent host to an awesome fuzz guitar solo and even a spot of time signature trickery.

Majestic closer “Tell” fully justifies its eight-minute running time by being, well, really bloody magnificent, pretty much serving as confirmation that Bed Rugs are sonic questers as well as excellent songwriters; in this sense, we urge fans of the Elephant 6 to get all over this like a Rug rash. Here’s to a rapid (chortle!) ascent.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Bed Rugs will be released on 13th May through Ample Play.

You can pre-order Bed Rugs on iTunes and on Amazon.

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.