CS (edition of 70)
CD (edition of 150)
180 gram vinyl records (edition of 500)
CD (edition of 100)
From list No. 316
Normally we would spread out multiple releases by the same band over several lists and several weeks, but since these are so limited and folks are always so excited about new Expo 70 stuff, we figured fuck it, let's just do it, THREE new Expo 70 releases, all different formats, and surprisingly different sound.
This tape is limited to 70 copies. We got exactly HALF, it's already sold out at the label, so these are THE last copies anywhere. And it's awesome. Less heavy than some of the other Expo's, Awakening, features some super stripped down drumming (or drum machine, hard to tell), locked into an endless groove, pulsing over a swirling spacescape of smeared riffs and fragmented melodies, it sounds a bit like Goblin, very soundtracky and otherworldly, space-y and mysterious, and not at all cheesy, more sort of classic new age / krautrock, think Klaus Schultze, scoring some super abstract French sci-fi flick from the sixties, and you'll sort of get the vibe.
Like all Expo 70 stuff, dark and dreamy, warm and warbly, drone-y and hypnotic, but the addition of drums really adds a new dimension, and the soundscapes swirling around the groove seem to be endlessly shifting and transforming. Awesome stuff as always. Total blissed out new age spacey krautiness, as only Expo 70 can do it. WAY recommended. And it's also recommended that if you want one of these you don't dawdle, as we mentioned before, this is LIMITED TO ONLY 70 COPIES! AND WE GOT HALF!! Already sold out and out of print, so you get one shot at these. Nicely packaged in a hand colored psychedelic fold out sleeve.
ALL THE NOISES IN MY HEAD
My Copy/ First Heard - New CD bought direct from the Expo ’70 website, 2012
The idea of writing about a specific Expo ’70 release is an odd and interesting one, for exactly the same reason that I’ve yet to write about any Sun Ra releases. In a way, the individual releases themselves are kind of irrelevant. This is not music produced in the very modernist classic rock tradition of album as statement. This is music created in the post-modern form, in which the idea of the Body of Work is paramount and understanding an artist involves keeping astride of their progress via incremental change and development. I went through a phase a few years back where I became a somewhat obsessive collector of Justin Wright's releases. I do still keep up, though he has slowed down a little in more recent years. But I currently have 19 separate Expo ’70 releases on my iPod, plus a few others on cassette and vinyl with which I haven’t made the digital transition yet. Expo ’70 was a significant part of the inspiration behind a collaboration I have with Matt Wakeling of St Jambience fame, which we call The Children’s Encyclopædia. This idea is that of single take improvisations (though Wright himself doesn’t necessarily apply this - he will sometimes, including on this release, layer instrumentation via multitrack recording) which are then mixed and edited for release if they make the grade.
I’ve chosen Awakening as a starting point as, to me it is a kind of summary of what I most like about the music of Expo ’70. It’s possible to define it as ambience - it certainly floats along without any strong sense of rhythm - but it’s not quite the kind of thing that could be used as an anonymous, soothing background in a gift shop in the Southern Highlands, for instance. Particularly on the first track, ‘Prisms Adrift Luminous Sunbeams’ drift certainly plays a big part, but it is the drift of ever subtly changing dissonance. This gives the music a certain minor key darkness which is a large part of its charm. Another significant factor is that the hand of the artist is not removed. You can hear the guitar effect pedals clicking on and off, picked up by the miss obviously placed in front of the guitar amps. Abstract clicks and warbles are laid over the top of the beds of droning synth. This is not music that is meant to be thought of as existing in some sort of astral nether world, but music that is clearly human in origin, the reaching for the stars having a distinctly terrestrial root.
The album was conceived for vinyl originally and so consists of two approximately 20 minute tracks, one for each side of that 12”. The Side B - ‘Descending Celestial Moon Odyssey’ - is a little more strident in its intentions, opening with a buzzing two note guitar riff, delayed into slow motion movement, the guitar interjections a bit more sharply intrusive. The same bed of reverted out synth/guitar wash underpins, slowly panning around the stereo field, never allowing the music to settle onto a single harmonic focus. Delays are allowed to feedback in places, creating sharp growls. That initial two note riff fades out, then returns in reverse, the track flipping on its head and feeling like it is being sucked back into the black whole from whence it emerged.
When I was in the mode of collecting as much Expo ’70 music as I could, I would often use it as the music I play through my headphones as I fell asleep. I began to find, however, that I would half wake in a flurry after half an hour or so, with a feeling of dread. It is, undoubtedly, psychologically strong music and I found it necessary to save it for when I was fully lucid and able to cope with places it might otherwise take my subconscious. I like music with that kind of power. And I particularly like that it is created with such simple, attainable means, a true requirement of anything inspirational.
MY RECORD COLLECTION.ORG
Sloow Tapes has always been a great place to find rare releases by some of the most wonderful underground artists out there today, so to find Expo '70 joining the club was only a matter of time. With Awakening, Wright gives us one of his most personal (and original) recordings to date. These two tracks find the artist exploring new grounds while remaining incredibly intimate and evocative. As powerful as most of his work is, this is the first time I find the music to include a potent emotional charge, a transcending spirituality if you will. It's like a personal trip into Wright's mind and soul. Prisms Adrift Luminous Sunbeams breaks away from some of the artist's monolithic tendencies to include a spectacular build-up which peaks into an ear-rumbling drone without ever losing any of it's poignancy. Descending Celestial Moon Odyssey is as haunting as the first track with it's slowly pulsating bass and dreamy background drones lulling us away into a meditative state. A must!
We got a bunch of stuff in this week from Expo 70 including his brand new album Awakening. Well it's not a new album... it's a reissue of an old cassette that came out on Sloow Tapes back in 2009. But it's a new album to us as we've not had it before! It's an old school release as well as it's out on LP, CD and cassette! I can't remember the last time we had that happen. Here Mr Wright takes us on two druggy sonic explorations over two sides of an LP, two sides of a cassette or one side of a CD. The A side has a pulsing drum machine that throbs along like a limping man with a sturdy erection. Aside the metronomic beat you get some synthy sounding proggy business which sounds awesome. It really builds up nicely! Then about half way through the drums drop out and you're left with lots of synth exploration. The flipside has a guitar as the beat holds it all together with the usual synthy wooshy sounds in the background making you feel all spaced out. If you're into long mantric pieces of music then look no further as there's rhythms and beautiful sounding synth noises all over this beauty. It's chongtastic...
Rating: 5 ...according to our Phil on 21 July 2011.
Album of the Day Saturday, July 23rd, 2011
Expo '70 lights our fire with some slow burn drone-age courtesy of Sonic Meditation Records. Originally recorded in 2008 during a two day jam session and released as limited cassette (in an edition of 70), "Awakening" is a mind melter of an album. The sprawling ambient guitar dins take on an almost hallucinatory nature as each side messes with your perception of time as you get lost in the waves of tones and textures and you can't figure out if you've been listening to this album for two minutes or twenty or forever (theres a locked groove on both sides). Expo '70 is No(t) Pussyfooting with this album. Neither are we: recommended in '09 and still recommended in 2011. *Please note the badass cover art in all of its psychy 12 X 12 glory!
EXQUISITE BOREDOM Wordpress
Expo ’70 seems to be one of those artists that I can’t get enough of, even though everything is a very basic permutation on one idea. More specifically, it’s the monolithic drone. Main bro Justin Wright seems most interested in creating a very sci-fi vibe with minimal components — almost in 2001 sort of vibe. Awakening apparently was recorded with only electric guitar and drum machine (and, uh, a plethora of delay and reverb). As such, this is one of Wright’s more stripped back affairs, focusing on slowly billowing ripples of drone, but still sounding pretty much like everything else he’s already done. Still, that’s not to say that it’s simple. Rather, the guitars fold back in on one another, creating a strange prismic effect. Awakening might be as good a starting point as any, but I’d probably recommend the Center of the Universe CDr/2xLP, but only for the overall variation throughout.
Fabulously malevolent side of narcotic psych from the always thrilling Expo 70 aka Justin Wright. This is a heavyweight vinyl upgrade for what was originally a major cassette on Sloow Tapes in 2009. It starts off in minimal Suicide territory, with hissing rattlesnake percussion and beams of synthesised guitar tone before blossoming into a high gothic mass with all of the baroque majesty of Hermann Nitsch’s cosmic harmonium work. The guitar is as beautiful as anything from the hands of Connie Veit, just pure, glissing tones that come together in gorgeous sighing arcs before hanging in the air and singing softly to themselves as choirs of heavenly horns emerge from the fog. If you’re a fan of Aguirre-era Popol Vuh you won’t wanna leave. Edition of 200 copies. Highly recommended.
Justin Wright é a cara que se esconde por detrás de Expo 70, projecto com mais de duas dezenas de edições e que tem chamado a atenção com alguns discos de excelência lançados nos últimos três anos. Um deles foi precisamente este “Awakening”, originalmente editado em cassete em 2009 (Sloow Tapes), e finalmente reeditado em CD neste ano pela Sonic Meditations. Justin, a solo ou com alguns colaboradores regulares, tem criado o seu próprio espaço no campo do drone/space-rock, em ambientes homogéneos mas com um decoro diferente de disco para disco. “Awakening” é composto por duas peças sólidas que compõem um lado mais espacial/psicadélico de Justin Wright; um bom complemento para discos como “Where Does Your Mind Go?” ou “Sonic Messenger”.