18 December 2017


child of microtones 2017, cd edition of 99
flower room 2017, deluxe lp edition of 50, cassette edition of 50

"ASH & HERB is a unit to challenge the boundaries of duo exchanges within free dankazoid jam fiction. written by one of the medium's most innovative and prophetic voices (matt lajWAH from the mighty herbcraft), he is now found thrice as potent with astral goddess ASH 'sister anubis' joining him in sonic rapture, tone and float perfectly realized on a joyous alternative earth. the dual vocal attack reminds me of a look i love & recognize, while the reality of time & death are totally displaced into a homegrown dimension i haven't seen in what seems like an aeon but now is finally here. transportation, extrapolation, whack, zonk machine, action, art, plot, jam, focus... a truly superior work of free folk. COM brought you samara lubelski's first record as well as the debut from willie lane -> now we offer you ASH & HERB -> dig!" - MATT VALENTINE, CHILD OF MICROTONES

MATT LAJOIE, ever forward on multiple fronts, numerous trajectories - a new project, hell a new -album- reveals a new direction, however tactical or strategic, always tangential, but never straying too far - i can't -not- hear HERBCRAFT in any given LAJOIE work - not that his other sonic pathways are tributaries - on the contrary, i see them all as independent flows equally originating from his singular source, and while HERBCRAFT is perhaps the main line, ASH & HERB is making one hell of a charge right out of the gate

LAJOIE's music always has embedded propulsion - where MV taps into a supremely cool vibe and just drifts along with it, LAJOIE channels it, charges it - that said, LAJOIE takes a(nother) cue from MV, lets the good times roll a little for their own sake on "keep off the grass" and intensified variation "club colors" which are like MV & EE blazin through ecstatic VANISHING POINT style revival tent mashups of EARLY STEPPENWOLF, VELVETS' "what goes on" and BO DIDDLEY's "who do you love" in spectrasound

but don't let the coolest golden jams not written by MV & EE fool you, this is deep end stuff, echoing HERBCRAFT's maiden (?) voyage BITTER WATERS OF AGARTHA and nth degree points between then and now, with heady heroine ASH BROOKS infusing her own potent energy and talent, dovetailing parameters set by folk goddess ERIKA ELDER and outsider DAWN AQUARIUS aka ZETA ONE, distantly echoing UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vocalist DOROTHY MOSKOWITZ's peculiar elegance - NORTHERN LIGHTS is no doubt the product of an ideal form-AND-function collaboration, but IN NOW TIME VOL. 1 -deluxe edition complimentary live cassette- does an even better job of displaying how purely and perfectly symbiotic this duo is, boldly stepping out into a drool worthy shamanistic kosmische space like KLAUS SCHULZE by way of NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS, man i hope there's a lot more where that came from

contemporary comparisons - ILYAS AHMED, GREG ASHLEY, SIX ORGANS, TOPAZ RAGS - i'm not sure it matters, this is one half HERBCRAFT, fully endorsed -let alone physically released- by MV, surely you don't have to take -my- word for it, but, if you say "i only have twenty-four minutes to listen" then please start with side two (or track six for COM cd folks), get a blast of their cut-loose revival stomp, an epic penultimate title track meditation (thee prime directive of FLOWER ROOM) and "cap & stem" which is my favorite song-with-words of 2017, good lord, get on board or get well out of the way

flower room 2017, edition of 40

"FIRST EDITION (ltd. 40) includes full-moon-charged citrine gemstone // home-dubbed, music-grade Type-I c30 // orange shell // hand-painted and inked label // og wraparound paste-on-polybox cover" - FLOWER ROOM

returning to "thee prime directive of FLOWER ROOM"... their bandcamp says it is "A record of services and offerings from the Flower Room // Virtual rurality experiences, sonic sage cleansing and Upfull hymns to manifest a more harmonious YOU-WE-ALL // WELCOME" - now -that- is a mission statement, a label that sounds like it was custom tailored to my telepathic specifications, and, most crucially, it actually -sounds- that way -- for me, FLOWER ROOM is a righteous boon, it's like i hit the jackpot - welcome to my new home

i recently mentioned SPECTRUM RESEARCH INSTITUTE concerning CANADA EFFERVESCENT's stellar tapes this year --perhaps STEVEN HALPERN's STARBORN SUITE played a role in this project's name-- consider SRI's mission - "the healthful application of sound" as defined by SRI - i must say that BROOKS and LAJOIE, in a single year -their first year- have already bullseye'd that same target, in an exhilarating same-yet-entirely-different way - i would not describe STARBIRTHED as new age or at least not entirely so, as i think there's something old -ancient- about it, dawn ritualism and dusk mysticism blended with some new age mechanics

CITRINE DREAMS strikes a naturally elevated balance between experimental minimalism as pursued by labels like ENO's OBSCURE and GLASS's CHATHAM SQUARE -thinkin JON GIBSON's opus TWO SOLO PIECES side one zen drone "cycles" but perhaps some indirect inspiration from side two's untitled improvisation- and the spiritualized kosmische approach of RANDALL MCCLELLAN's THE HEALING MUSIC OF RANA, arriving at that "healthful application of sound to manifest a more harmonious you-we-all" meditative center from both ends, in the zone with favored contemporary works by JEFFREY ALEXANDER, KYLE LANDSTRA and DEREK ROGERS

unfortunately sold out, hopefully "first edition" implies a second - but you can stream/dl and there are other tapes available - a nice guided meditation entitled CHAKRA FOUR ("first in a series of seven") and a far out improvisational droner DEEPER THAN THE SEA, HIGHER THAN THE SKY that provides another third eye outlet for BROOKS and LAJOIE, "longform minimalist automatic compositions for violin and loosely-tuned antique tack piano, tidal waves of chord-cluster, ambient clouds of tone-form, gently pulsing harmonics stimulate the mind, unmoor the body to unexplored vistas" - i mean, i'd like to go on about that tape too --it's fantastic, particularly side two, get it while you can-- but i think i've gone on long enough as it is and i have other stuff i'd like to get out via proper recommendation before year's end, if i can