||White Ohms CS (2009)
Mantra in White Ohms
Land of Light
Limited to 200 copies
From list No. 313
This is one of those releases that we would normally get maybe 100 copies of, maybe more, but this baby was strictly limited to 200, of which we got about a quarter of the pressing, but hell this is Expo '70, one of, if not our very favorite purveyor of heavy blissed out droney space kraut doom drift, AND this particular release, cassette only, is a sort of addendum to the Black Ohms cd (featuring outtakes from the Black Ohms sessions) which we made Record Of The Week a while back. And of which we sold crazy amounts. So apologies for the folks who don't manage to snag one of these. We always try to get as many copies of things as we can, but it seems that no matter how many we get, it's never enough, and often labels don't want to give so much of the pressing to just one place. But we do try, every time, to get enough for everybody, so again apologies for the fact that these will probably be gone in a heartbeat.
BUT, for the 25 of you who do managed to snag one of these, you will be in total kraut drone space out bliss rock heaven. From rumbling sludgey doom drift, to looped psych shimmer, to pulsing slow burning swells, to smoldering slabs of white hot buzz, more of what we freaked out about on the Black Ohms disc. Dark, dolorous, heavy, hypnotic, even the outtakes are mindblowing.
Beautifully packaged too, full color printed sleeves, the tape and sleeve wrapped in a printed vellum obi INSIDE the case, each one hand numbered. And LIMITED TO 200 COPIES! We have 25. Sorry.
PSYCHATRONE PHONEDAKK Blog
So, Justin/EXPO 70 has a load of sounds emanating from his digs and one recent collection of note was entitled Black Ohms,....being a two-fold type of guy (who knows his "yin" from his "yang"), well, now a very limited cassette can be found by the name WHITE OHMS! While Black Ohms was endowed with dark artwork,...of course White Ohms has a lighter looking cover (although some bludgeoned, bleached ,white skulls can be seen on it too...so it ain't all unicorns and faeries son!). But like the afore mentioned "yin& yang" thingy, this has out-takes from the Black album. "Mantra in White Ohms" is the first thing here and is 15 minutes of high-level amp hum made to set the stage you will lift off from. "Land of Light" comes after that behemoth and has a lighter tone than it's predecessor in an Eno Music For Films type of mode...like fog with guitar, I'd say. Calm and yet spooked-out. "Empyreal Totem" is the last on side A here,...and really is a favorite of mine. This track sets-up an internal rhythm that flows like a dark river with glimpses of something swimming under it's surface (like glimmers of light)!
Side B of White Ohms features "White Rift", another favorite of mine,... as a slowly chugging riff loop is bludgeoned (like those skulls?) with a large doom-type open chord , all sorts of sounds curl like snakes around the mass of writhing structure! Powerful and impressive,...this is something only Expo70 could provide as far as I know. A signature sound for him. "Tonal Elation" is back to that foggy Eno sound again....this reminds me of "Sparrowfall" from that "Music For Films" album of Eno's. But this is of a good length ,time-wise and does the old "suspension" thing I mentioned before ....very nice suspended time stuff! Finally "Serenity" comes and lives up to it's title,...here you will be treated to the very best of floating notes and drone-space for twelve minutes of "headphone bliss" (just like his MySpace page advertises!). Oh, and by the way, this all has hardly a note of Synth on it,...yes, that's right, Justin and his Expo 70 is mostly guitar based sounds! One of the nice differences comes from that fact....but....
SMOOTH ASSAILING Blog
Since former living science foundation member Justin Wright (currently located in Kansas City) started up Expo '70 in 2003, it's devolved from a group effort into solo improvised guitar jams.
Four out of the six tracks on this cassette are outtakes from the sessions which bore the Black Ohms cd (on Beta-lactam Ring).
This gets off to a deceptive start with the fifteen minutes of Mantra in White Ohms. there's a couple of layers of low, monotonous droning as well as the minimal buzz of distorted guitar and a general feeling of this could go on forever. a thudding strum (i presume) will come in every eight seconds or so, furthering the notion that we're just listening to an endless loop, but the affected guitar that's buried deep under the fray does present a little variation. if you're listening close enough.
As far as repetitive droning is concerned, Mantra was great, but the tape gets a whole lot better from the second track (Land of Light) on.
Justin will pan a simple, repeating, strum in each channel, offset them and, finally, allow them to culminate into drones, before starting the cycle anew. LOL will go on to incorporate pensively played (and exquisitely delayed) guitar, alternating between lovely chords and nuanced noise from the instrument's strings.
Empyreal Totem wastes no time in establishing a good melodic loop. Wright also supplies a loop of drone as he starts to delay that central melody. the only thing left to do after that is bring in another layer of slow, atmospheric guitar, with celestial affections. he'll let this combination lull us until the final minute, when he brings his guitar back down to earth, somewhat, infusing his playing with a semblance of structure.
The repetitious loop of chords that usher in White Rift are rather up tempo. when they're paired with (and soon usurped by) loud, distorted noise and random riffs, one might expect Justin to thrash his way out of it. Not quite. instead, another layer of atmospheric guitar (the sonic opposite of the noisy droning) will step out of the shadows. that ambiance will soon turn into slow soloing which sounds much sweeter when it's clawing for breath through the distorted crunch and rhythmic loop.
Tonal Elation goes back to droning, essentially relying on the same basic pattern that totem utilized. The key addition is the delayed guitar noise that ends in a crescendo of trembling feedback. the moment that he stops being textural with that noise and loops it into a pattern is the exact time that i fall in love with this track. Fucking brilliant! Wright will also add a drifting wave of ambiance to that. During the last few minutes, he'll submerge and (further) manipulate that main loop, almost beyond recognition, to great effect, as he shifts back into serene chord work. Tonal elation, indeed.
Lastly is the only other piece over ten minutes long, Serenity (it's twelve). The first two thirds of it revolve primarily around bountiful ambient waves, a high-pitched (but subdued) whine and soft, free-form guitar. after four minutes he'll loop a short segment of that dynamic guitar, and build off of that with a more prominent layer of, basically, the same thing, but now it's set to a rhythmic foundation. Once he manages to break into a wonderful melody (after eight minutes), he'll play around with it for a little while, and then turn that into a loop. Again, he'll layer that with even more sparse guitar. I'm glad that it only occurs in the early stages of the new loop, because it's too good to obscure behind a less compelling layer of sound.
out·take (out't?k') n.
b) a complete version, as of a recording, that is dropped in favor of another version.
The only newly recorded tracks on this were Empyreal Totem and Land of Light. To think that the other four were somehow deemed unfit to appear on the cd boggles my mind. so, don't let the word outtakes make you think that this is somehow less worthy than other Expo '70 releases, this tape fucking rules. One thing's for sure, I need to check out Black Ohms and listen to what actually ended up on the disc. My interest is quite piqued right now.
Written by Anthony D'Amico
Sunday, 12 April 2009
The thought of solo electric guitar improv generally fills me with a mixture of extreme apprehension, apathy, and an overwhelming urge to be elsewhere, but Justin Wright seems to have found a very compelling little glacial niche for himself. White Ohms is a surprisingly hypnotic and unique album.
White Ohms is a companion piece to 2008's Black Ohms and is composed of outtakes from those sessions. All of the tracks are made up of a single electric guitar being looped, but unlike many other experimental guitarists, Wright eschews electronic manipulation: his guitar sounds like a guitar. There are several easily identifiable influences here, such as krautrock, minimalism, Eno, and Earth, but Expo '70 manages to forge a unique sound rooted in endless mantra-like repetition, clarity, and seemingly inhuman patience.
The opening track, "Mantra in White Ohms," initially left me scratching my head, as it is composed almost entirely of a single sustained power chord that slowly ebbs and flows in volume. A soft looped pop approximates a very slow bass drum pulse but literally nothing else is added to the steadily droning wash of sound except for an occasional click or two (until the spectacularly subtle climax of a heavily-delayed random guitar noise). I am actually quite fond of it, as it is improbably mesmerizing, but I was not sure what to expect from the rest of the album after hearing a single chord drawn out for 15 minutes. Amusingly, the second track, "Land of Light," is built upon even less (a single repeated plucked note), taking minimalism to still more perverse extremes. Unlike "Mantra," however, "Land of Light" is augmented by some excellent spectral and spacey improvisation, which Wright is quite adept at. "Empyreal Totem," the final track on the side, continues the trend of incorporating new elements with each successive track, as it has an actual multi-note riff as its foundation. Of course, it is still soothing and languid, but it is a riff nonetheless. Again, the lead guitar is often brilliant. While it becomes somewhat conventional by the end of the track, the first half features a teasingly sparse trickle of near-perfect droplets of glistening sound.
The second side kicks off in somewhat workmanlike fashion with "White Rift," which was disappointing after the consistently enjoyable and surprising first side. Paradoxically, it fails because there is too much going on. The central riff is a bit busy sounding and the repeating distorted sustained power chord is both unsubtle and uninteresting. While it is not necessarily bad, it sounds like it could have come from any number of forgettable krautrock records. Fortunately, the absolutely brilliant "Tonal Elation" follows and delivers beautifully on the promise displayed on the first half of the album. While it is superficially very similar to "Land of Light," there are subtle differences that elevate it to an almost perfect oasis of blissful, droning, spaced-out psychedelia: textural hums, echoey scrapes, drowsy throbs, and even some subtle melodic movement near the end. "Serenity" then finishes the album with twelve languid and sublime minutes of sustained shimmering ambiance.
White Ohms has made me an enthusiastic Expo '70 fan: Justin Wright has an mastery of space and simplicity that has me in awe (as well as a knack for bad-ass seventies-inspired cover art). I imagine this cassette will sell out quickly, as it is a limited edition of 200, but he is a pretty prolific guy so more releases should be on the way. Besides, if the session outtakes are this impressive, I imagine the actual Black Ohms album must be one hell of a record (and it is somewhat less limited).
It has become almost impossible not to take note of Expo 70’s constant flow of releases. Having covered the cdr circuit extensively, Justin Wright (aka Expo 70) is now seeing his music get the well-deserved vinyl treatment all over the place. The “White Ohms” tape is advertised as a collection of outtakes of last year’s “Black Ohms” cd (on Beta-Lactam Ring) and it..s an appetizer for the “Psychosis” lp due out on Peasant Magik as well. But while “White Ohms” is much more than a mere appetizer and can hold its own ground, I do differ from other reviewers in maintaining that some of the six tracks on this tape do indeed sound a bit like outtakes. Outtakes, however, that would have been included in the releases of about 95 per cent of psych/drone outfits going.
Showing different levels of minimalism and depth, “White Ohms” is characterized by the opening tracks on each side. “Mantra In White Ohms” gloriously exploits a single guitar chord over what must be more than ten minutes. The following tracks, “Land of Light” and “Empyreal Totem”, add a wider variety of sounds, including proper riffs and atmospheric improvisation. I, for one, feel that these tracks are somewhat unfocused.
The opener to the b-side, “White Rift”, sees Wright in full distortion mode. It’s also the track that relies most heavily on conventional riffing, which I prefer over the throbbing ambience of “Tonal Elation”, which is up next but fails to engage me. Limited to 200, which is quite a lot for a tape but I guess if you want one you’ll have to be quick anyway. 7/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (30 April, 2009)
EXPRESSWAY TO MY SKULL BLOG
One of a slew of new releases by this one-man guitar drone overlord, White Ohms is another advancement of the man's sound. Not quite as bleak as "Black Ohms" but still immobilizing and works as great companion piece. Though their influence is deep and their name gets tossed around a little too often, the Sunn O))) vibe is strong here. But, rather than the weigh of the recordings focusing on the deep tone of the guitars, Expo 70's approach, particularly on a few tracks here and elsewhere, is more about the volume of the buzz his guitar can conjure. Though the entire cassette here isn't strictly amplifier worship, there are a few moments of deep canyon guitar echoes and donging guitar ambience to bring some balance.
Not sure if there are copies left, but Expo 70' has just dropped an excellent LP on Fedora Corpse. Also worth investigating is the Evenings LP on the same label, another artist plunging the bottomless depths for dark ambience. Check an Evenings sample here. There is also a new LP to look forward to, which will also be released by Peasant Magik. You can pre-order that sucker here and even get the "White Ohms" cassette tossed in there.
terapija.net reviews White Ohms (Croatian)
Iza ovog imena nalazi se prakti?ki oneman band kojeg predvodi Justin Wright, neko? ?lan skupine Living Science Foundation iz Los Agelesa. Nakon razlaza, Justin odlazi u Kansas City (Missouri, USA) i 2003. pokre?e vlastiti solo projekt kome se tek za potrebe ?ivih nastupa pridru?uju Paul Kneeje, Bryan Levine, McKinley Jones, Nate Lewis, Aaron Osbourne i Matt Hill, glazbenici koji su radili ili jo? uvijek rade u cijelom nizu bandova poput The Pope, The Manifolds, White Suits/ Brown Boots, Bipolar Bear, Cantus Firmus/ Breathing Flowers... U po?etku diskografski rad 'sastava' se svodio na brojna d.i.y. izdanja (oko 20-tak komada) me?u kojima ima live snimaka i split albuma, sve dok im 2007. nije Kill Shaman Records objavio prvi zvani?ni album "Animism", svojevrsni minimalisti?ki spoj kraut-rocka, psihodelije i space - ambijentalne drone glazbe. Na albumu su se jasno ogledavali utjecaji Brian Enoa, Sun O))), Earth, Ash Ra Tempel i A.R.& Machines, dok je drugi album "Black Ohms" (2008, Beta-lactam Ring Records) donio ve?u zastupljenost organske psycho-elektronike poput ranih Tangerine Dream, uspavljuju?ih drone melodija i mno?tvo dugih i laganih gitarskih improvizacija.
Nakon potpune promijene ?lanova me?u kojima je ostao samo Matt Hill, stru?njak za loopove bas linija i starinske analogne ritam ma?ine koje koristi u posve razlivenom zvu?nom okru?ju na na?in drone-electro ambijentalaca, Justin Wright s novom postavom u kojoj su jo? David Williams i Ashley Miller kre?e u novo poglavlje. Prije svega, ovaj tre?i album "White Ohms" je donekle nastavak trome atmosfere prethodnog 'crnog' albuma s konotacijama instrumentalne subsoni?ne lijene Pink Floyd psihoti?ne hipnoze. Tako se u prvom, 15 minuta duga?kom broju "Mantra in white ohms" (sve su instrumentali) hipnoticki ponavljaju jedni te isti tonovi (bas loop, synth) koji uvode u naoko mirnu, ali posve tromu globalnu su?tinu albuma. Uz efekte minimalisti?kog bas loopa i valjaju?e brumove (poput ?umova starinske magnetofonske trake) koji su sastavni dio cijele pri?e, tek u drugom komadu "Land of light" pojavljuje se Wright na gitari koja je posve potisnuta u opskurno maglovitu atmosferu. S vrlo malo gitarskih, hipnoti?ki repetativnih gradacijskih tonova u delayu i efektnim naslagama jo? dvije solo gitare, nekako najkompaktniji dio albuma doima se vrlo prozra?na psycho-ambient tema "Empyreal totem", a svoje rock/blues korijene Wright otkriva u minimalisti?ki nagla?enom "White rift" uz potporu jo? dvije, vrlo impresivne gitare u obilatoj reverb distorziji. Kao podsjetnik na nesumnjivo velike utjecaje Brian Enoa, pojavljuje se skladba "Tonal elation" koja ?e, one s malo dubljim underground poznavanjem, djelomi?no podsjetiti na "Sparrowfall" teme sa albuma "Music For Films". Zavr?na kompozicija "Serenity" je jo? jedan duga?ak komad (12 i pol minuta) sa vode?im 'Tangerine Dream' lajt-motivima syntha i vrlo snenih, pritajenih naslaga ambijentalnih melodija gitara.
Sve skupa, ovo nije ni?ta novo, produkcijski je ?ak i vrlo lo?e ispolirano, te usput valja napomenuti da u ovom fahu, ovozemni Ivan ?konjevi? iz Subotice radi daleko kvalitetnije materijale. Stoga nije niti ?udno da je album objavljen u ograni?enom tira?u od samo 200 komada. No, kako god, "White Ohms" je uz sve svoje tehni?ke boljke relaksiraju?i ambijentalno - psihodeli?an i vrlo miran album kojeg valja poslu?ati.
Naslovi: 1.Mantra in white ohms, 2.Land of light, 3.Empyreal totem, 4.White rift, 5.Tonal elation, 6.Serenity
ocjena albuma [1-10]: 6
horvi // 16/06/2009
MY RECORD COLLECTION DOT ORG
Featuring outtakes from 2008's Black Ohms sessions, this cassette (which was released one year later) feels as if we are peering through the looking glass of it's sister album. Whereas Black Ohms felt like a cosmic deep space trip with tons of meditative pulses, subharmonic drones and Ash Ra Tempel-like freak outs (minus the crescendos), White Ohms is a trip towards the innermost layers of Hell. Some of these tracks are so fucking heavy and slow it's like getting crushed between two tectonic plates for thousands of years. Even the most peaceful tracks like Empyreal Totem or Tonal Elation have a devastatingly domineering quality to them. You'll feel as if the sky were falling. Only the closing Serenity will leave you a small amount of breathing space to relax and meditate. Black Ohms was great, but White Ohms is simply arresting; so act fast as this one is strictly limited to 200 copies and they're disappearing fast. Might is Wright!
THE WIRE MAGAZINE Issue No.306
Size Matters by Bryon Coley
Ostensibly a set of outtakes from the Beta-lactam Ring Black Ohms, the solo work of Kansas City's Justin Wright remains quite massive on it's own merits. Amp noise and guitar riff are combined in ways that recall everybody from SunnO))) to various German types - Reichel, Göttsching, Fricke - in different spots.This is maximal huzz no matter how you slice it, but for my ears the best parts are the ones most like sleeping bags full of slowly buzzing bees.