LP (edition of 400)
DUMPSTER DIVING Blogspot
Have you seen Laloux's Fantastic Planet? The thing is that the track on the side A is a recorded live performance that was accompanied by the images from that film. Yeah, a good choice! Expo's are absolutely up their alley, it's their cup of tea (flower tea with flowers from Fantastic planet), etc. Whipping up, slow and menacing drum machine dexterously shill unembodied and flaccid guitar vibes into the world of insanity. That insanity is total and irretrievable. Side B is also a live performance at KJFC. This time sound is based on ski-fi synth waves constantly spurred by stabbing and spacey electric guitar. Music that forces you to get out, sit in the car and drive with no proper intention.
Buy the record from amazing Aguirre Records.
Latest LP from Expo 70 comes in an edition of 400 copies on 160g vinyl and presents two side-long pieces, one recorded live in New York as a soundtrack to the film Fantastic Planet, the other a live set from KJFC in California. Expo 70 have the gothic ritual drama of early Popol Vuh nailed, with high keyboard masses looming over endless serpentine guitar leads with a black monolithic drone that sucks everything into its all-devouring gravity. And when the deep heartbeat pulse kicks in on the first side it feels like your whole body is vibrating with the kind of organic electronic minimalism more commonly associated with Eliane Radigue. The second side is even better, with a Charalambides hymning the first rays of the sun feel that generates an intense slow-motion euphoria.
Two extended (inter)zone-outs by Justin Wright, recorded live on tour in late 2010. A-side 'Hynotic Brain Cloud Float' was captured at Zebulon Bar, New York, accompanied by visuals from the film Fantastic Planet. At the start you can even hear cash registers ringing in the background, and we're soon transported far away from civilization and into an utterly deserted dronescape, a plangently searching guitar reminiscent of Barn Owl scanning the sprawl of lushly unfolding synthdrones. At a crucial moment, a slow, motorik, analogue drum pulse appears to propel the track deeper down the desolate highway, leaving us dusted and dazed but throughly satisifed by the end. The other performance occurred at KJFC in California and descends through clouds of synth to a barren expanse of awe-inspiring solo guitar scapes, the sort of wide-skied, panoramic vision which makes listeners at home feel lost in the vast miasmah. This passage of purposeful meditation is resolved with an upwards ascent of Steve Moore-style machine pulses, and a cosmically chaotic finale. Truly epic material.
**RECORD OF THE WEEK JUNE 10th**
When you discover that this LP consists of two side-long tracks entitled 'Hypnotic Brain Cloud Float' and 'Mystical Bamboo Garden Cultivation' I think you know it's gonna be business as usual for Expo 70. Both tracks were recorded live in the Autumn of 2010; one in concert, one for a radio session. Both these tracks are Justin Wright performing solo, but it doesn't seem to make a huge difference to the already-minimal Expo 70 sound. On side A it's all ponderous drones and synth swoops and whooshes with a pedal note bass plod keeping what time there is. There's some really beautiful top end tones creaking through the warm rumble and plenty going on as it builds and recedes with a real organic grace. The track's closing passages have some beautiful big organ chords sounding all echoey and expansive. What I like about this guy's stuff is that even though it sits confidently within the 'ambient drone' umbrella, he seems to have a real appreciation of the need to keep things moving forward and I never find myself getting bored. On to side B, 'Mystical Bamboo Garden Cultivation' begins with a weird disjointed stabbing keyboard line which morphs into a curious, spacious groove before gradually being blended in on itself...then there's this awesome phased bass fuzz that comes in (On the cover it says he "performs electric guitar, Moog and analog drum machine" but some of these sounds he's making are so otherworldly they're really hard to place), and then that's joined by loops of chiming guitar, gradually getting more prominent and melodic until he's knocking out a brief '70s stoner jam before going back into cosmic, pulsing drones...then there's some microbeats come in, and a totally Hawkwind-esque high-pitched swirling noise, and he's back to a bit of that windswept '70s soloing. This is great stuff, densely layered and focused meditations to take your brain somewhere interesting.
...according to our Mike on 09 June 2011.
may 2011 release ; ... over the past year i’ve gone from being impressed by justin wright’s whole aesthetic omniverse (he really is an excellent designer ; witness the detailed cover of this very lp) to something of a raging fan of his music (i’ve seen him play about 5 times ; always different, always ending with me in an alpha state lying flat on my back on axis with his amp) ...
this lp covers two very nice live sets ; the second of which perfectly captures the whole ecstatic live guitar / synth-drone jam into organ-rhythm-box splendor of the real thing ; it should be handled with due reverance towards someone that ... while the rest of us complain about the state of underground live music ca. 2011, is actually out there playing 100 concerts of this music a year to anyone that will listen to his vision ... highly recommended !!!
ps. i’ve put up a good 10-minute chunk of the tail-end of said side ; revel in the majesty of justin’s doom-tinged “poppy nogood” -esque buildup ... entirely sublime ...
SONIC MASALA Blogspot
Expo '70 On A Predictably Unpredictable Trajectory
Expo 70 has never done anything by halves, continually dishing out his brand of droning guitar explorations with an astonishing rate of consistency. A solo project of Kansas City-ite Justin Wright, Expo 70 lurk around the outer realm of psych rock yet deserves to be further in the sunlight - even if its the wan, sickly kind. Latest release Inaudible Bicoastal Trajectory (out through Aguirre Records) is a two track behemoth, offering menacing drum machine, synth devilry and vibrating guitar thrums that intends to rend your world asunder - and succeeds unequivocally. The best part about this release is that it is a live performance, something that I struggled to fathom. Yeah, its drone, its Expo 70, its life as Wright knows it - yet I find it absolutely compelling, and another example of just how great this guy is.
EMOTIONALLY VOIDED Blogspot
Two excised chunks of lengthy performances from Expo '70's 2010 tour, one from New York and the other from California. I can't help but feel a little bit cheated on this one, because these aren't really complete pieces-they're just 20 minute snippets from what were probably epic brain-melting, fog-drenched jams beamed in from the outerzones. Expo '70 is a project that works much better across the double LP format, where the songs can really stretch themselves into rivers of narcoleptic hash dreams unfettered by a single record's paltry (for this band) 40 minute runtime. "Inaudible Bicoastal Trajectory" just barely allows the mind to warm up and begin to ooze into the crevices of liquification that Expo '70 can summon up, and the whole thing is over well before you've had a chance to leave the earthly realm for territories more astral and vague in their constructions. When you're not throwing yourself into 70 + minutes of this stuff, it seems more like an introduction than a record proper.
Side A is the lighter of the two, the NY side, played spontaneously while the film "Fantastic Planet" screened in the background. The piece is not a soundtrack per se, more like a visual counterpart to an audio performance, but it's hard not to imagine Expo '70's gentle, tangled guitar lines weaving in and out of the syrupy French animation like so much blood through oil, creating rich tapestries of interlocking components that comment on and enhance each other's presence. That sort of prophetic element, the ability of one work to somehow anticipate another despite the separation of years, is reflective of the kosmiche depth that Expo '70 always tries to achieve. This piece forsakes some of the droning heaviness in favor of a softer approach- floating, say, rather than sinking- but doesn't sacrifice any of the trademark stratospherics, delivering cavernous, heavily echoed guitar lines that reach up from the ground like tendrils stretching to the stars. The strain here is less about weight and more about yearning, a desire to see how far you can go before you rip yourself in two.
Side B is far more ominous. Given life in sunny California, this improv finds the band working fixedly in the John Carpenter vein, burping up fat, worming synth lines of bass menace while amplifiers groan and growl alongside them. This is a piece more concerned with stagnancy and atmosphere than direction, and the drones become nearly suffocating across their 18 minute span. Guitars sputter out here and there and some skitterish motorik percussion presents itself toward the track's end but mostly this is just darkness wrought into sound, a heavy batch of mass thrown out for your brain numbing pleasure. It's easy to think of waxy candles burning down while blood drips across creamy, dusty walls in some long lost Dario Argento film; the music doesn't read violent but it doesn't like the light, either.
Taken together the two sides showcase a nice dichotomy that more or less defines the Expo '70 aesthetic. Drone lends itself well to both darkness and light. The major flaw here is that these are mere excerpts-both pieces could easily (and probably did) move in vastly different directions across their actual, majestic, consuming lengths. That we're given mere bits of these performances and expected to come away with an idea of the whole is a little sad; at the same time, it's difficult to picture Expo '70 releasing these sorts of shows in their entireties as they'd all be 3 or 4 LP box sets. It's up to us to connect the dots and imagine exactly where we're supposed to go. Obviously the stars, but 40 minutes will only take you so far.
I would not say these two sidelong works are “inaudible.” Dreamy, spacious, drony, psychedelic, yes. A is indeed a “Hypnotic Brain Cloud Float”–I enjoyed some nice float time on my couch as I zoned out listening to this. B is near and dear to our hearts as it was recorded in a live mic in the KFJC pit on Nov. 6, 2010–”Mystical Bamboo Garden Cultivation.” The guitar and synth set a soothing backdrop into which the percussion enters at just the right moments (my dog barked, he was so moved). - Reviewed by humana on November 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm