Exposé Online banner

Vacuum Tree Head — Botofogos in Shadow Position
(Pest Colors Music #42.BiSP, 2018, CDEP)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-11-11

Botofogos in Shadow Position Cover art

And suddenly, after about five or six years of silence, there are two new Vacuum Tree Head EPs. I think the last one I heard was Hypothetical Quandaries (n) from around 2012. I think there was a download of live recordings the following year, and a download of remixes / alternate takes and such, then nothing for a long time. As one might expect, the two EPs (Aasraa and the one currently under review, Botafogos in Shadow Position) are chock full of unusual drawings (a three-eyed elephant knocking down a spiral of dominoes, or several drawings of cat people, for example, all illustrations are by VTH founder-member Jason Berry (who plays soprano sax, electronics, glockenspiel, timpani, and voice on four of the disc’s six tracks, all of which are equally unusual in that they can involve a variety of sounds, and launch off in any direction at any time without warning; that’s the way VTH is and always has been — if you’re looking for something predictable, you’ve come to the wrong place. Also on board are the other VTH co-founder Michael de la Cuesta (synthesizer, tuned percussion), Stephen Wright (bass guitar), Justin Markovitz (drum kit, except one track where Thomas Scandura plays), Richard Barber (bassoon, processing), Kyle Bruckmann (oboe, english horn), Amanda Chaudhary (all kinds of keyboards), Thollem McDonas (electric piano), Richard Lesnik (clarinet, bass clarinet), and vocalist Amy X Neuburg, who sings on three of the tracks (two with lyrics). The compositions are the product of various subsets of members, and nobody here plays on everything. The whole EP is only a smidge shy of 19 minutes. Opener “Chualar Diorama” lounches with a powerful growling bass figure and chaotic drums, and with the intense wordless vocals tends to remind me of classic Magma. “DL / DS” again has the vocal power, though this time with lyrics, which they follow up with a sprightly instrumental jazz workout that grooves along nicely powered by the woodwinds and keys. “Linconlon Log” is a short piece in sort of a twisted chamber style, making use of bassoon and oboe alongside synth, glockenspiel, clavinet, and Mellotron. “Cushion Fortress” crawls along darkly and deliberately with powerfull bass and drums crossing paths with two electric pianos, one played conventionally, the other making electronic weirdsounds, with oboe, bassoon, and bass clarinet and a section for Neuberg’s vocals and lyrics. This and “DL / DS” are easily the high points, but truly this entire EP is a most unusual and wonderful slab of avant experimental rock. So what about Aasraa? Stay tuned.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Vacuum Tree Head

More info
http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/vacuumtreehead8

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ash Ra Tempel - The Best of the Private Tapes – Ash Ra Tempel is one of the core founder bands of the German space rock movement along with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. But the group has suffered from less stateside notoriety than those previous...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues