Holy Palms — Baba
(Tenzenmen no#, 2014, DL)
Holy Palms — Tribute to Snake Charmers Music
(Tenzenmen no#, 2016, DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-12-02
Many of the Western artists who have been inspired by the music of India and the Middle East have gone the acoustic (or near-acoustic) route, others have infused those sounds into space rock, others have gone electronic. Almost all have exploited what is perhaps the most notable difference between that music and European music: the use of a drone, or single pitch, as backing for melodic and rhythmic fancies, as opposed to changing pitches arranged in a progression. Another stream of cross-cultural music has been less prominent — applying non-Western sounds in the context of heavily distorted noise. Holy Palms is based in Moscow, the solo project of Pavel Eremeev, who was one half of the similarly inclined Usssy. The later sound of that band is Holy Palms’ stock in trade. Eremeev’s primary instrument is a microtonal baritone guitar, and he augments it with a variety of effects devices to produce a wide variety of tone colors and octaves. Backing it all are loops consisting primarily of percussion, often themselves subjected to heavy modification. A variety of noisy drones and electronic sounds also make appearances. The earlier release, Baba, consists of the two-part title track plus a live rendition of same. The distortion is most in evidence here, so unless you’re inclined towards noise rock, I’d check out the later work first.
According to the notes, Tribute to Snake Charmers Music presents Eremeev’s interpretation of traditional snake charming music from India and Nepal, and these eight tracks are less overdriven, with droning tambura and some melodies played by acoustic instruments. My favorite is the opening track, “Fractal Blossoms,” which contains the elements on Holy Palms’ sound in the best balance, and really sounds like a full group of musicians rather than a one-man recording. It also has more structure than many of the other pieces, varying the mix of instruments over the course of its seven minutes. Other tracks range from atmospheric found recordings to more aggressive, distorted pieces, but it’s all worth checking out. Eremeev has a unique vision, and provides a singular take on multicultural fusions that should appeal to listeners looking for something new under the sun.
Related artist(s): Pavel Eremeev (Holy Palms)
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more