Friday, July 20, 2007
Though tethered to some mundane Northeastern burg, Double Leopards make utterly placeless music. Immense, ungovernable music that sidesteps description as surely as it scoffs at chronology and geography. I've decided to attempt to do justice to Double Leopards' second LP, A Pebble in Thousands of Unmapped Revolutions, well aware that anything I write here can and will fall laughably short of the task. I suddenly feel like David approaching Goliath armed with a tattered thong and a cotton ball.
Double Leopards were before Chris, Marcia, and Jon; Double Leopards will no doubt continue to be long after Chris, Marcia, and Jon. Not to discount the role these individuals have played in the ascendance of Double Leopards, mind you. Some fortuitous convergence had to rouse Double Leopards into its current state of being, and Chris, Marcia, and Jon drew this particular card. 30 years ago, eight Japanese souls were called together by the same fateful purpose. Double Leopards adopted the name Taj-Mahal Travelers then. But Double Leopards are not Taj-Mahal Travelers any more than Taj-Mahal Travelers were Double Leopards. What both are is the avatar of a unique consciousness capable of spanning universes and locating some furtive but specific tear in the time/space framework. Where so many other collective minds batter clumsily against the wall, forever fumbling for that same secret defect, Double Leopards pinpoint the puncture, plug in, and light up instantaneously with the song of electric communion. Yes, Double Leopards reach out and touch the mystery just beyond the Veil the way you or I would call an out-of-state acquaintance over the wires. And the tape is always rolling.
Double Leopards' intimate connection makes each recorded transmission (and there have only been a few) seem like a love letter. Not "roses are red" grade-school scribblings but mystic missives of Song of Solomon magnitude. Even transcribed into the Pythagorean poetry of sound, and further reduced to vinyl grooves representing the polymorphous play of bass, voice, and vibration, the words whisper of metaphysical couplings - flesh and energy, essence and electricity - too profound for earthly ken. Knowing that we're unlikely ever to experience such cosmic intercourse firsthand, Double Leopards deign to share the sensation. Fortunately for us, Double Leopards recordings retain unmistakable traces of contact with untold Power. This becomes evident in the way that what sounds at first like midrange clatter somehow stokes the senses, spreading warmth and well-being through networks of nerves heretofore dormant. It's apparent when conventionally pretty drones seem to pulsate with a character that transcends conventional prettiness; when even silences sound incandescent and so melodious as to melt and shimmer; when your head and heart seem to fill with light and swell in response to certain sustained wavelengths.
Sadly, it's most apparent when the stylus lifts at the end of each side, rudely pulling the plug and dispelling the divine. Review from Fake Jazz.
Matthew Bower of UK power-drone outfit, Skullflower, who, surprisingly, are "back" with a new album on Tumult. If you ever lay your eyes upon copies of the band's Ruins, Xaman and Last Shot At Heaven CDs, then hold on tight, baby: them be the goods. I was fuggin' obsessed with Skullflower ca. '93, so this was a pretty predictable purchase on my behalf. I hadn't listened to this in years until the other night, though halfway through Side 1 and my mind was already made up: this is good, real good. Armed with a roomful of exotic instruments (gongs, bells, you name it), a piano, guitar and a distortion box, Bower has built a massive wall of sound, aided by his ability to stick an honest-to-God tune in amongst all the noise. A missing link between the caustic shriek of Masami Akita and late '70s Eno, this is a mixed bag that still sounds mighty good. Score it on the board for Majora! Review from Lexicon Devil.