Some songs you know are going to be wonderful from the moment they start, and if you’re lucky enough, the Artist behind it will have taken the time to instill that sense on the whole damn record. Most of the time, you might pick up something with a few gems, something to put on your mixtape for the summer. I always get into records you can put on and just roll with them throughout, the one that has the up and downs to shift with your bendy mid-afternoon mood swings, especially with the refreshments are out, and you have to make the semi weird trip to the store(not me). I think that’s why I love this whole tape culture thing, and of course the 50 cent bin LPs at my local. Those forms implore you to be patient and appreciate what people like Stephen Farris AKA Cosmic Sound was trying to do in 2010 when this shining piece originally came out. On Crash Symbols reissue of VHS Vision I will gladly make a run to any store, just so I can listen to this bad ass puppy on tape in my car, we gots the 10′ sub under the passenger, so the full range of DOPE won’t be in question. If my window on driver side would roll down, I would gladly share with the rest of these early day, thrill seekers. They enjoy sitting porch side in my neighborhood, similar to our early mornings. And there’s my point, I can take this album anywhere, and play it anytime. Just last week I heard it playing in my head while floating on a giant pink noodle in an empty cove somewhere. Round and Round the album swoops you up and gives you this circus-circus, cool water breeze, with enough vivid color imagery to build your own fruit house, somewhere off in the woods. I wouldn’t say VHS Vision is an original album, you’ve heard this kind of thing before, but probably not done as well, not even close. Well Campfire Headphase is probably the standard for part of this type of record, but it has to start with someone, and I imagine Farris is heavily influenced by Boards of Canada, hell who isn’t?
Regardless, the amount of style you’ll find here is addictive, so you’re in good hands with this one. Hug a bunny, put on a straw hat, and sip something tubular. The tape is available for a five-spot (best option), and the digital is only four bucks through Crash Symbols here, who continually keeps raising the bar. You can find out the haps on Farris through his ridiculously cheap and glitched out other magical joints via his bandcamp.
~ Ryan Boos
These are the real pictures, beaming through some imaginary desert radio you yearn to see, but can’t, even though you drop synthetics to try. If you see them, you’ll find Stuart Thomas’s Mountain Range. I met him like everyone I meet lately, through Soundcloud. The first time I heard Mountain Range I stopped everything I was doing and just let it fade me out, and then I yelled “Holly, you have to hear this!” We both sat still in appreciation for him.
On his first EP, A Heart Upon, there’s nothing but beauty, and these amazingly liquid silhouettes, running rapid through the arms of mother nature. The way in which the sounds are arranged deliver a great sense of ease. Thomas feels what he’s doing, and he’s taking us to some unforgettable places in the process. Nothing could be more true than the flying painted glass on “Evelyn(e).” A remarkably produced track that will have you lost in the hazy acres for days, “when in Rome” fits here I think.
I have never written about music without sounding like a total cheese ball. This album, this artist, make me feel like the first time I fell in love, and I don’t care to express that to you. Laugh for a second, then remember what that feels like. The warm feeling in your stomach, and the relief when you see them in the hall. The shy pattern you get into b/c your afraid to be yourself. And the shield that protects you from all the fake ass hoops people put us through. Society is a monster, if not entirely a piece of shit. Mountain Range’s sound gives me hope, and not the empty kind. The one that makes it easier to be “upside down in the void.”
Lets take the opening track “With Skates.” You think you’re on some slow motion escapade, through the flutters of rainbows and man-made interruptions you can’t avoid, i.e. telephone poles shadowing your favorite city parks.
The ride breaks off, and you get into this whole new realm just after the 4 minute mark. It’s as if Thomas hits hyperactive and says out loud to the trees “we want more, and you know how to give it to us.” There are hints of Aphex Twin if you shed the creepy element of course, and like any good music maker in this niche, you hear some Boards Of Canada. But Mountain Range is his own entity. And there’s endless proof on his giant statement of a first album.
The year is early, but this is on the top of my list for best albums thus far. Head over to his Bandcamp page and hook him up with a few coins.
~ Ryan Boos