TTW#41 - drcarlsonalbion - Edward Kelley’s Blues
Edition #1: cassette only – limited edition of 400 copies
SOLD OUT AT SOURCE
Edition #2: the “Obsidian Mirror” edition – a special edition of 200 copies made for friends across the pond. This cassette could be none more black and is NOT available from the TouchShop!
A: Edward Kelley’s Blues
B: Drunk On Angelspeech
Illustration – SavX.
Dylan Carlson has been the guitarist in Earth for 22 years. Founding member, main songwriter. He is working on a solo album exploring interests in the folklore and history of cunning-folk of the British Isles and Scottish and English fairy faith.
A-side consists of field recordings made in/around Waterloo station and along the Thames river bed at Southbank, November 2011. Guitar and vocals added by drcarlson, December 2011. Recorded and mastered by Robert Roth, December 2011, Tulalip, WA.
B-side consists of guitar and vocals by drcarlson and mellotron by Robert Roth. Recorded and mastered by Robert Roth, Tulalip, WA. Produced by drcarlsonalbion/Robert Roth.
For those interested, Waterloo station is a site of personal occult experience for drcarlson - see drcarlsonalbion.wordpress.com for further details. B-side vocals consist of Enochian version of lyrics from A side.
Drcarlsonalbion is the anglophilic handle for an incredibly rare solo outing for Earth's Dylan Carlson. After clutching his axe at the helm of Earth for 22 years he obviously felt the need to indulge other passions, with ‘Edward Kelley's Blues’ divulging his interests in “folklore and history of cunning folk of the British Isles and Scottish and English fairy faith”. These manifest themselves as two murky tracts composed from his own field recordings and guitar drones, plus vocals and mellotron provided by his pal, Robert Roth. A-side ‘Edward Kelley’s Blues’ features field recordings made in/around Waterloo station and along the Thames river at Southbank, November, 2011, infused with expressive feedback manipulations and eyrie incantations. On the B-side Robert Roth adds hallucinatory mellotron apparitions, while Carlson recites the lyrics again in “Enochian” language; a magickal, angelical grammar of shadowy, antediluvian provenance. Act fast if you want one…
The Wire (UK):
The great beast speaks! Earth guitarist Dylan Carlson’s new tape comprises two sides of drones and field recordings over which he intones magickal lyricks in the flat, nasal chanting style of Crowley’s “Calls Of The Aethyr”. On side A he declaims in English; on the reverse he speaks the same words translated into Enochian, the language that John Dee used to talk to the angels and that Crowley co-opted (the tape takes its name from Dee’s assistant, the seer Edward Kelley). How much you get out of it depends largely on your capacity to keep a straight face through these earnest incantations.
But the tape also represents a return to the Earth sound of yore, albeit in more meagre form. Carlson lets his guitar drone in a way that he hasn’t since the early 1990s. His tone has none of the bottom that “Earth 2” had, but the upper overtones and rattling epiphenomena of that record – the harmonic richness that linked Metal, improbably, into the mystic minimalism of La Monte Young and Pandit Pran Nath – are compensated for here by Carlson’s field recordings. The grey pulsing of track noise snatched from London’s Waterloo Station makes up for beat notes, the screech of trains does the same for partials. This effect goes some way to vindicating Carlson’s magickal posing.
The sonic phenomena that Young and Pran Nath were interested in often do seem like voices from another plane: you play one set of notes for long enough and hear another very different set calling back at you from the beyond. The spectral soundtrack that Carlson has caught on his tape recorder is similar, made up of contingent effects of activity – feedback – rather than the sounds of action itself. [Nick Richardson]
Aquarius Records (US):
We almost weren’t able to review this one at all, as the first pressing sold out in a heartbeat in the UK. Thankfully the lovely folks at The Tapeworm label, made a whole second special pressing just for all of us over on this side of the Atlantic, a special “obsidian mirror” edition, in which the cover and the tape are white on black, instead of the more recognizable black on white of most Tapeworm releases. But what’s all the hubbub about then? Well, in case you hadn’t figured it out, Drcarlsonalbion is in fact Dylan Carlson, he of twang flecked desert drifters and former sludgelords Earth, who on this, his first proper solo release, explores his occult interests in capturing the sounds on the A side at the Waterloo station and along the Thames river, both apparently sites “of personal occult experience”, the sounds themselves though are lovely, a gorgeous gristly drone, blurred sheets of static, and deep moaning tones, softly undulating, sort of like a crackling electrical field slowed waaaaay down. Carlson’s added some guitars and vocals, but blended those seamlessly into the smeared ambience. The vibe is very Philip Jeck or Tim Hecker, hazy and gauzy, washed out and dreamy, darkly meditative and hauntingly abstract, really in fact quite beautiful.
The flipside is guitar, vocals and mellotron, the lyrics according to the liner notes, are Enochian versions of those found on the A side! Those vocals are delivered like some strange sermon, the words nearly lost in the gorgeous swirling maelstrom of distorted guitars and swirling feedback, it’s like some ancient ritual, some Druidic rite performed on some ancient stone plinth, on a windswept mountain top, one that just so happened to feature mounds of amplifiers and rows of distortion pedals. Meditative and psychedelic, blackened and blissed out. Sort of like old Earth blurred into something more like Sunroof!, with Carlson the mysterious wild eyed shaman, his cloaked visage nearly obscure in the cloud of buzz and thrum and whir and howl. Awesome.