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"Beguiled Entropy"

Blackest Rainbow

2012

LP )edition of 500)

 

Sonic Meditations

2012

CS (edition of 100)

 

 

 

PRESS

 

 

NORMAN RECORDS

Everyone’s favourite mega-prolific spliff-jammer is back with a new LP of his slow-chunter radiance for you to stick up your life pipe. Opening with apocalyptic slow guitar dirge-rumblings and wet analogue bloop-loops, we then find ourselves in a sheet of what sounds like violin drone, then bringing in some gently throbbing, shimmering guitar picking and dubby high pitched swoops before the real desert island delayed guitar picking comes in, massaging your head into a mongy putty while the background loops throb and decay away to themselves.

 

It’s pretty upbeat and airy for Wright, and definitely back in the cosmic psych-drone chunter territory he excels at (although it was a thrill to hear him doing straight stoner trio jams on that cool recent four-way split), creating a sprawling new-age stillness and then tinkering around inside it like Sun Araw gone cosmic drone. Apparently these jams came from the same session as last year’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ‘Hovering Resonance’ 12” and aesthetically it’s in similar places too, with his blazing cosmic guitar leads being both understated and grandiose and the dense fuggy analogue dronescapes being exotic and intoxicating.

 

Flip it and there’s more analogue droning and dusky shredding on ‘Backmasking Deeper than Darkness’ before closer ‘Pulsing Rings Of Ice’ brings in insistent tinny drum machine tics with an accompanying bass throb pushing the sheets of middy synth drone ever-upwards into the ambient techno cosmos until they’re finally overwhelmed by warm bass swells. Nice.

5/5 according to our Mike on Fri 31 Aug, 2012.

 

 

BOOMKAT

**Edition of 400 copies pressed on 180g vinyl. Includes download code redeemable from the label** Justin Wright hovers into view on his latest Expo 70 vehicle, 'Beguiled Entropy' for Blackest Rainbow. Essentially these are the final tracks to be taken from a 2-day basement session which has already manifested the wonderful 'Hovering Resonance' and 'Moon Raga' for Sound Of Cobra, which sold out pretty much instantly. The remainder of the session is collected here, the final journey in a psychedelic trip of potently lush proportions. The first side introduces itself on a velvet wave of bleeps and unfurling electronic drones, spiralling up to form 'Mark Of The Rising Mantis' before his guitar plots a winding course for 'Luminous Traveler' across gaseous seas of pink-hued swirl to the kosmiche bliss of 'Sunseekers (Out Of Diminished Light)'. That's all preparation for the epic B-side. 'Backmasking Deeper Than Darkness' stirs the senses with creamy synth drone and milky guitar strokes seceding to a mammoth black pulse and escalating alarm tone - proper deep space peril business - resolving with the crystallized drum machine patter of 'Pulsing Rings Of Ice'.

 

 

VOLCANIC TONGUE

Edition of 400 copies 180g vinyl LP from Justin Wright’s always brain-razzing one-man psychedelic juggernaut: recorded at the same basement session that birthed the title track on 2011’s Hovering Resonance, this once more sees Wright unaccompanied, jamming on electric guitar, synth and analog drum machine with the controls set firmly for the heart of the sun. All tracks are freely improvised, moving from slow-burning keyboard zones that combine the kinda slow-motion levitations of early Popol Vuh with an eerie/spooked nocturnal aspect that is closer to some of the European post-Industrial/minimal synth cells or Conrad Schnitzler’s colour coded run of LPs. When the drum machine kicks in the Euro guerrilla/street-fighting cyborg style comes into full effect, forsaking the kosmische stylings for the kind of dark guitar/synth avant punk of Fripp & Eno and Heldon.

 

 

OMG VINYL Blogspot

The best thing about our favorite drone artists is that they are so damn prolific. Not that Expo 70 fits squarely into the drone category; Justin’s psychedelic riffs carry enough weight to drop the bottom out of any genre bag they’re placed in. Case in point: Beguiled Entropy, an LPs worth of transcendent sounds collected from the same sessions that yielded the Hovering Resonance EP earlier this year. Pressed as 500 copies on Blackest Rainbow, 100 of which are on colored vinyl and are long gone.

 

 

MR. BUNGLE

De laatste paar jaar duikt de naam Justin Wright en zijn naam Expo ’70 steeds vaker op in muziekgenres die we simpel gezegd kunnen indelen onder de bijvoeglijke naamwoorden psychedelisch, experimenteel, analoog en kosmisch. De discografie van de in Kansas City wonende Wright uitspitten is inmiddels een heel werk, waardoor soms de kleinere (live)opnames er heruitgaven op cassette en cdr verdwijnen in de massa. Eens in de zoveel tijd verschijnt er echter een ijkpunt: een solo studio album op een wat groter label dan zijn eigen Sonic Meditations. Beguiled Entropy is er zo één.

 

Deze lp op Blackest Rainbow bevat nummers uit een twee dagen durende opnamesessie in zijn eigen – waarschijnlijk donkere – kelder, die plaatsvond nadat hij op diverse podia zijn thuisland uitvoerig had laten kennismaken met zijn spacy drones. Ruimtelijk zijn de vijf nummers zeker van opzet, en het feit dat deze in een studio zijn opgenomen biedt ook de mogelijkheid het geluid wat warmer en gevarieerder aan te kleden.

 

De openingstrack Mark Of The Rising Mantis bijvoorbeeld, heeft naast de melodische gitaartexturen een laag met analoge bliepjes en andere effecten die de aandacht probeert af te leiden, totdat een loodzware proggy riff de inleiding vormt voor het volgende nummer. De tot dikke mistige ambient uitdijende drones krijgen een behandeling met subtiel jammend gitaarspel en echoënde synthesizers, wat voor een meesterlijke trip zorgt.

 

Toch is Beguiled Entropy duidelijk opgewekter dan een hoop voorgaande releases, met meer beweging en verandering in de soundscapes. Vooral de twee nummers op kant B lijken meer om pulsatie en ritmes te draaien. Hard afgespeeld is Backmasking Deeper Than Darkness alsof er een gigantische donkerbruine modderstroom op je af komt, terwijl Pulsing Rings Of Ice zelfs een drumcomputer meebrengt, als een soort vertraagde dronetechno. Dat genre bestond vast nog niet.

 

Met zo’n vruchtbare output is het gemakkelijk kritiek leveren; drones hebben namelijk nog al eens de neiging om aan de oppervlakte allemaal hetzelfde te klinken. Hoewel ik sommige releases van Expo ’70 ook echt niet uit elkaar kan houden, hoor je mij niet klagen. Het niveau is namelijk constant hoog, waardoor albums als deze er nog meer uitspringen.

 

 

ROADBURN ALBUM OF THE DAY SEPTEMBER 14TH

 

 

AQUARIUS RECORDS

This latest cosmic missive of astral axe exploration and celestial synth trippery finds Expo 70 once again in one man band mode (after a handful of releases as a duo). For this improvised sonic excursion, it's once again just Expo 70 mainman Justin Wright, manning the controls (which in this case, means guitar, analog drum machine and synthesizers), and weaving thick droned out heaviness alongside more abstract shimmer. The opening track "mark Of The Rising Mantis", begins with a swirl of bleeps and bloops, a constant cascade of glittering electronics, hazy and spacey, when all of a sudden, the guitar comes swooping in, distorted and crumbling, the vibe thick and SUNN-like, we were prepared for some serious epic dirgery, but instead, it fades out after a few cycles, only to drift directly into "Luminous Traveler", which much more serene and meditative, a muted starfield of percolating melodies, a slow build to something much more seventies new age krautrock sounding, spidery guitars wound around thick cinematic synth swirls, a gauzy droned out alien raga that builds and builds before fading back into the ether, the sound thick and heavily layered (the tracks here created from multiple improvs), dense and dark and ominously dreamy, like other Expo jams, the soundtrack to drifting into the blackness of space.

 

After a brief bit of washed out abstract outer space ambience, chugging guitars floating in a field of flute like melodies and woozy electronic pulsars, a deepening drone, growing ever more dense, the record shifts gears a bit, with "Backmasking Deeper Than Darkness", which starts out as another bleary bit of guitarsynth drift, only to quickly gain momentum, the sound coalescing into an old school style soundtracky synth soundtracky synthscape, pulsing melodies suddenly bolstered by the appearance of the drum machine, a murky throb, that gives the track a sinister motorik momentum, that plays out like the score to some chase through the stars. Those drum machines move to the fore on the final track, the evocatively titled "Pulsing Rings Of Ice", which like the previous tracks, definitely have us imagining some strange alien world, in this case, an abandoned ice planet, where the listener is stranded alone, or ALMOST alone. Ominous and brooding, the skeletal almost-rhythm anchoring the billowing clouds of warm chordal thrum in the first few minutes, builds to a tranced out krautdrone pulse, a skittery stripped down beat that drives this sprawl of future-synth tension, super cinematic, the final chase through the icy caves beneath the surface, flickering shadows, and a terrifyingly unknowable future.

 

LIMITED TO 400 COPIES!! These are very likely the only copies we'll be able to get. Pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl, and includes a download code!!

 

 

BRAINWASHED

When I think of Justin Wright's Expo 70 project, I instantly think of two things: "improv" and "guitar." That is something I probably need to cure myself of: while Beguiled Entropy certainly contains both of those elements, it so thoroughly transcends them in places that I completely forgot about Wright's chosen methods and tools. This is an album of vision and focus that is far more evocative of nocturnal, neon-lit emptiness and menace than of a guy hunched over a battery of effects pedals. In fact, this would have been the perfect soundtrack to Drive had Nicholas Winding Refn eschewed retro kitsch for stylized bleakness, paranoia, and retro-futurism.

 

Blackest Rainbow

 

This album was originally recorded sometime last year following a recording hiatus, which somehow did not prevent Justin from churning out 13 other releases (by my count) between 2011 and now. This seems to be one of his rare "major releases" though, as most of the others were cassettes, CDrs, or collaborations. And no one would have the temerity to release a substandard or lackluster album on totally bad-ass-looking orange and blue swirled vinyl (at least, I would hope not).

 

The recurring element that holds the entire album together is a brooding, but relatively static, synth drone. That seems like such a simple idea, but it turns out to be remarkably effective here, imbuing the album with a thematic cohesion and allowing Wright plenty of space in which to languorously work. More importantly, he manages to use that relatively unvarying backbone to create five pieces that sound markedly different from one another.

 

For example, "Mark of the Rising Mantis" often sounds like a broken robot throwing a tantrum, while parts of "Luminous Traveler" could probably be mistaken for an instrumental stretch on a classic Pink Floyd album (owing mostly to its restrained, delay-heavy riffing). "Sunseekers (Out of Diminished Light)" continues that neo-prog theme, but plunges even deeper into space, largely ditching any sort of rock-based structure in favor of some trippy, psyched-out synth burbling and distorted, reverb-heavy guitar soloing.

 

In general, however, I would say that Wright is most compelling when his songs are a bit more rigidly constructed and (comparatively) propulsive. The first hint of this appears on the fourth piece, "Backmasking Deeper than Darkness," which continues the faux-Floyd, space rockism of its two predecessors, but escalates in intensity to a throbbing, hissing crescendo. Justin's drum machine makes an even more prominent and welcome appearance in the album's wonderful closer, "Pulsing Rings of Ice." Again, a deceptively simple idea is employed to powerful effect, as the relentlessly thumping beat feels like a jolt of late-album adrenaline after so much drifting psychedelia.

 

It also highlights something important, as it is the album's best and most memorable piece, but Wright's playing is extremely subdued. With a simple beat around to do most of the heavy lifting, all Justin needs to do to make a piece work is establish a consistent and appealing mood. I am not advocating laziness or anything, but it definitely seems like adding a strong rhythmic component goes a lot further in making a song immediate and memorable than hazy, psychedelic guitar improvisations (however good they are).

 

My sole issue with Beguiled Entropy is that there is still too much guitar soloing for my taste, but that is a pretty goddamn subjective problem to have, given that Wright's whole aesthetic is based primarily upon guitar improv. Still, it sometimes feels like he is merely meandering or filling space rather than going somewhere purposeful. In all other respects, however, this is quite an evocative and impressive album. I was especially struck by how coherent and intelligently sequenced it all is, as these five pieces clearly belong together and cohere into a satisfying dynamic arc.

 

The pacing also works extremely well, as the few parts that tend to drag a bit are not nearly as irksome when experienced in the context of the entire album. For example, some of the earlier pieces seem to lean a bit too heavily upon guitar solos when heard on their own, but perform a valuable function in the larger scheme of things (allowing the ominous mood to simmer for a while before ratcheting up the intensity). While I would love for Justin to expand his musical palette a bit more, Beguiled Entropy is a remarkably absorbing and composed-sounding album for an unrepentant improvisor armed with little more than a synth and a guitar.

 

 

RANDOM SONGS

Il m’a fallu quelques temps pour me détendre, pour oublier ce qui occupait mes pensées. Le type qui sort de la jungle a un regard complétement perdu, halluciné. Le film est un peu usé. Les disques sont correctement rangés dans les bacs. Une toile pour projeter des images est installée au milieu de la pièce. L’immense amplificateur est allumé, un léger bruit bourdonne dans nos oreilles. La bande du film saute. Clac, clac. L’équipement est analogique, vintage, fabriqué dans les années soixante-dix, collectionné avec ferveur depuis quelques temps. Je crois que la vue de ces objets issus d’une autre époque nous procure une sorte de nostalgie qui exprimerait la sensation d’un monde perdu depuis longtemps.

 

Il m’a fallu quelques temps pour me détendre, pour oublier ce qui occupait mes pensées. Les livres sont rangés dans la bibliothèque. Il y a de nombreux câbles qui trainent par terre. Il y a ceux des micros, mais aussi les jacks pour la dizaine de pédales d’effets. Sur le côté, on peut voir une vieille drum-machine, où il faut déclencher les patterns rythmiques en enfonçant quelques vieux boutons. La guitare est posée au milieu, bien droite, devant l’immense ampli. C’est une copie de la Gibson SG, fabriquée par la marque Ibanez, un instrument rare, donc. Le rack de pédales d’effet est posé sur un tapis noir et blanc avec des motifs zébrés. Je crois que j’éprouve une étrange fascination pour les vieux instruments.

 

Il m’a fallu quelques temps pour me détendre, pour oublier ce qui occupait mes pensées. Le film de Werner Herzog démarre, on n’entend pas la bande-son, il n’y a que des images qui défilent devant nous. On reste là, le regard halluciné. Le bourdonnement se fait de plus en plus fort, et on se dit qu’il suffit juste de monter le volume de la guitare pour créer un long drone psychédélique. Je crois que j’ai besoin de cette musique ambiante pour retrouver cette impression de lenteur.

 

Il m’a fallu quelques temps pour me détendre, pour oublier ce qui occupait mes pensées. Il arrive, il prend sa guitare et se met à genou. Il joue un accord, ça résonne de partout, la distorsion et le delay font leurs effets. Il tourne plusieurs boutons sur les pédales d’effets. L’audience est complétement dedans. On pense à Popol Vuh. Plus tard, il faudra quitter le disquaire et retourner tranquillement chez soi, la tête pleine de drones bourdonnants, de riffs de guitare psychédéliques, samplés les uns sur les autres, accompagnés de rythmiques minimalistes. Je crois que je regrette d’avoir loupé le passage d’Expo ’70 au Souffle Continu

 

 

SONIC MASALA Blogspot

Let’s start with the album, Beguiled Entropy (out through Blackest Rainbow). My pick of the bunch, these five track perfectly encapsulating the different sonic currents Wright tends to traverse, extrapolate and wrap in on itself, and as such is a true genre definer. From the aqueous drift and bleeps of ‘Mark of the Rising Mantis’, the soaring space spectre of ‘Luminous Traveler’ and the apocryphal drone of ‘Sunseekers (Out Of Diminished Light)' to the flipside and the warped odyssey of ‘Backmasking Deeper Than Darkness’ coming on like an aural 70s mindfuck film score – headphone orgasm alert – and the throbbing crawler ‘Pulsing Rings Of Ice’. It’s always hard to properly describe a good analogue drone record from the repetitive or the dreck – the line is infinitesimal, its all in the nuance of the atmospherics – yet Wright nary puts a foot wrong here.

expo70beguiled