Charlie Salas-Humara just doesn’t know when to quit, does he? And for that we should praise whatever deity we can find. It’s been exciting enough to see him lose himself in the frantic polyrhythms of Sun Angle and get really really spacey as a member of Regular Music. But for me, his solo work as Grapefruit reveals the most creative parts of his person. This latest cassette (released just this week on Constellation Tatsu) unfurls long synth bleats and wandering guitar lines that upends the usual nostalgia factor that can strangle similar borderline New Age efforts. If you like what you hear, be sure to hit the Experimental Portland Presents… event happening on September 11th, where Grapefruit will be performing at Rotture alongside Midday Veil and ALTO!.
I’ve been loving the hell out of Charlie Salas-Humara’s move into the world of synthesizers via his work under the name Grapefruit and his contributions to the group Regular Music. This elongated epic of a track, recorded with RM drummer Papi Fimbres, only proves how deeply Salas-Humara is diving into this world of electronic textures and moods. There’s a dub element that creeps into the 16-minute expanse of this track, as well as a little post-punk guitar, but otherwise it relies on the tension between the two rhythmic ideas presented here: one purely electronic, the other organic/acoustic.
In a lovely and inspiring turn of events, the European label AMDISCS has found themselves falling deeply in lust with the sounds of our local producers and musicians. The imprint has brought out/is bringing out a batch of impressive work by the likes of Grapefruit, a i r s p o r t s, and an enigmatic producer/musician known as 2øXX.
As will become obvious when you play the music clips embedded below, AMDISCS is as obsessed with the world of vintage synthesizers and sounds that have been inspired by the ’70s-era progenitors of tech-based music like Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Giorgio Moroder, and the like. And as any good label should, they embrace all expressions of a similar love, like the dreamier, fantasy movie soundtrack work that Grapefruit has done on his latest album Escaper.
2øXX takes a much more rhythmic approach, leaning into the syncopation and wavering rhythms that – in their original incarnation – would eventually inspire the world of technopop, New Wave, and acid house.
The most modern sounding of the pack thus far is a i r s p o r t s. The man behind the project Dylan Howe stirs in some glitch hop beats and a touch of dubstep wobble, even as he gets all hypnogogic with the chosen melodies and treated samples.
The rumors are now that AMDISCS is in talks with another local outfit, Romcom, to release some of theirs in the near future. All of the above is quite turn of events and something that the musicians here in Portland should be very proud of. Y’all are doing amazing work and the world is taking notice.
As if this year wasn’t already overflowing with fantastic music, our friendly local record imprints are doing their part to pour even more greatness in our ears. Here then is a small sample of some new releases from a trio of our favorite hometown labels for your edification and enjoyment.
— The mighty E*Rock is already a busy man, performing and recording as one third of Regular Music and creating visual brilliance with the collective known as Plink Flojd. But he’s also found the time to devote some effort towards his other love, his label Audio Dregs. This past month, ADR released a pair of brilliant new albums: the digital version of the first album from E*Rock’s Regular Music bandmate Charlie Salas-Humara, recording modular synth jams as Grapefruit, and gorgeous electroacoustic expressions courtesy of Japanese artist Yuichiro Fujimoto. The latter, entitled Speaks Melodies, is a particularly tasty little collection of found sounds recorded through an open window, slinky washes of acoustic guitar, and downtempo beats. Below you can find a track from that album, an enrapturing composition called “Street Pray.”
— Holy Mountain is one of those labels that never ceases to amaze when it comes to the material that they get a hold of, and how far-ranging their releases can be. It can go from the warped pop of Swiftumz to their most recent coup, a reissue of the very limited edition first release by Yoga. This duo from Sweden (Vattan Hast and Eld Anka) combine forces to create intense, fractured sounds that are as beautiful as they can be creepy and paranoia-inducing. I don’t have access to any tracks to embed here for you; just click on the link above and you’ll find some audio clips. Just be sure to either approach them stone cold sober or with a heady buzz on. Anywhere in between wouldn’t do the songs justice.
— A longtime veteran of the experimental world in his native Norway, Andreas Brandal is never short of surprises. So to find his latest release Staying is Nowhere to be a downright terrifying mix of horror movie soundtrack and meditative ragas was, well, nothing short of an amazing splash of color on our black and white perceptions. The cassette version of this new album is being issued by the hard-working purveyors of magnetic tape Field Hymns who are sure to give a visual presentation as striking and hypnotizing as the music it accompanies.
No matter how spacey Charlie Salas-Humara wanted to get with his new solo project Grapefruit, somehow I always knew that he’d return back to the world of the groove before too long. He proved me absolutely right with the release of a new album Pinks Quieter, a full-length which (according to the man himself) is “for those who like Go Go beats mixed with meandering psych, fans of mid period Miles Davis, kraut rock and weird arty psychedelic music, beats taken from cell phones, crappy video recorders and D.C go go drummers on the streets and festivals.” I believe you just described my entire readership, Mr. Salas-Humara.
The beauty of being an all-improvisational band is that, as long as you can maintain a steady practice schedule, you will always be creating new music. So it is with the all synth trio Regular Music. We’ve already sung their praises plenty on this blog, so we won’t waste too much time here. Suffice it to say, this new track from E*Rock, Copy, and Grapefruit is a sexy little jam. A jazzy breakbeat sidles up to long, chiming synth chords and teases some soft and sultry melodies out. The little death awaits within this meditative track that will curl your toes and make your eyelids flutter.
And lest you forget, Regular Music will be performing as part of Event 3, an all improvisational show put together by Devin Gallagher of Real Future Recording Co. (among other things) happening on Thursday September 27th at Holocene. They’ll be joined on stage by Ryan McAlpin of Typhoon playing trumpet. Also on the bill: Rob Walmart, Lisa Schonberg, Papi Fimbres, Erik Carlson, Eric Phipps, and a set by Gallagher, himself.