Thursday, 10 February 2011

Review: Gkfoes Vjgoaf - The Joy of Awakening / River Spirit Dragon - C45

Here is a joint post about two new deep and out there psych-folk releases on the recently formed label Inner Islands. Their first release was a Stag Hare / WYLD WYZRDZ split 7" last summer and now this lp and cassette make it three releases in total. The label's emphasis is "on a connection to nature and the inner journey", which is lushly manifest in these releases so far.  Their release schedule for the year looks pretty tasty, and goes a little something like this:

WYLD WYZRDZ - Free Magick 12"LP (March)
Stag Hare - Spirit Canoes 12"LP (Spring)
Gkfoes Vjgoaf - Nature Eternal Striving 2xLP (Summer)
Nearone (another project from Sean Gkfoes)- Presents c44 (Summer)

Download releases from the label's BANDCAMP or order the physical copies from the WEBSITE

Are you ready to trip? Here we go.

Gkfoes Vjgoaf
The Joy of Awakening

Last year's Light Weaving from the California-based Sean Conrad made number 18 in my top 50 of the year, so no surprise that my third eye lit up when The Joy of Awakening dropped into my inbox.  A series of seven spontaneously recorded episodes riffing on different senses and peaks in the fluctuations of energy, this album sounds quite different to the tape of last year which was a more contemplative beast, slumbering gently, rousing slowly across it course. On Joy of Awakening there's a slightly more restless spirit at work, the album moves in a slightly more searching direction, less instinctively driven; as Conrad puts it the arc of this celestial voyage is like "being taken by an unseeable tribe of spirits that are trying to help you see the true nature of things", so it is perhaps symptomatic of both being led, and being led into the new.  There's are still acres of beautiful space shimmering across the album, spiking into heavy rolling folk with rattling, chugging and chiming acoustic guitars pulling shapes out of the misty climbes, mostly backing up the surroundign tones with an earthy core, but on Samantha some full Appalachian picking takes the fore backed by twittering birds and rays of sun on the face. Elsewhere there is some wonderfully dense Animal Collective echoic vocal-loop harmonising buried within the sheets of vibrating drone, and across the whole thing, your passage is kept within the constant presence of a layering of fauna calling out from somewhere within the mix.  Singularly the embodiment of the label's ethos, and possibly only from California.

River Spirit Dragon

The third release from the label is the debut album from River Spirit Dragon on cassette. It's a collaborative channeling from Stag Hare, Gkfoes Vjgoaf, and WYLD WYZRDZ. Fully improvised and recorded in thrall to the moment of time in which it was captured; Two tracks, taking up a side each of contemplative, slow moving, communicative, meditative percussive trance and long spacious loops of beautiful drone, always involving, evolving, building towards a renewed moment of communion, reaching one peak, grounding themselves within it then reaching up and out to the next, exploring with each other and expanding to within sight of that higher state these three astral navigators hope to achieve. The artwork is an fine indicator of where things are at here - glowing.

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