We're happy to announce that The Eremite's Dream by Sagas is available now from Digitalis in an edition of 50 cassettes with superb artwork by Brad Rose. Recorded in summer 2011, these six tracks are the last thing I recorded in Pittsburgh before relocating to the west coast... again. Here's what Digitalis had to say about it:
Matt McDowell is a conjurer. Wielding his guitar, he can make cobras dance and spirits rise toward the smoke-filled heavens. On The Eremite’s Dream, his latest manifesto, there’s an overwhelming grittiness that permeates everything. Inside the subtle grooves of “Fractal Dunes,” McDowell is at his peak. Eastern-tinged scales rise and fall in succession like the bones of a once great empire find its way to relevance once again. This is music that’s soaked in red dust. But the thing that makes Sagas so potent and McDowell so damn good is not just his range, but his ability to put together a sequence that flows cohesively and finds narratives inside those disparate elements. “Parallels” mixes in keyboard elements (by his wife, Jackie) for something pastoral and saccharine. B-Side opener “Mammal Brain” is a fuzzed-out romp through dystopian wastelands, complete with buried, minimal rhythms and dueling solo action. It’s this mix of tones and themes that make The Eremite’s Dream so great.
Hey folks, anyone in the Portland area is encouraged to come out to Little Axe Records this Thursday, the 8th to check out Lost Creek Ramblers (Dewey Mahood and myself) along with a rare Portland appearance of MV & EE! Five bones, starts at 7... Gonna be a good one!
Brand new (and quite lovely) Gloomfolk gave the new Sagas tape Sojourner's Lament a listen and penned some really thoughtful words about it:
Staggering on the edge of indecency, these three uniform sound mantras slip in between plucked cacophonies of tunneling noise and beautiful, delicately sloshed fingerpicked lines. Distortion plays a healthy role in this collection of sounds, riding a line between muffled feedback and defined wails of intricate strings. The first track (all are untitled*) bleeds into a screaming haze of harsh electronics and plastered frequencies, making the comedown all that much more unbearable. It’s said that noise music is highly metaphysical, its practitioners never truly concerning themselves with direction or balance. This, however, is usually why the blend of guitar acoustics and deafening electronic soundscapes work so well in conjunction, lending the other a hand where its organic structures may not flow so evenly. Track two is a heavenly slip into unseen plains with uncaring eyes and a mind to fit. Lounging lap steel is reverberated and bled into the background, providing a comfortable blanket between the lands of mellow ambiance and demonic winds. The track, while always retaining its soft, Southern glow, does at times find itself wrenching through bitter fields of sound. The final sidelong track on the flipside grandfathers in elements of the A side, kicking off with an Eastern twist to spacial dismissal. Whispers of stretched electronics slide effortlessly in & around a quiet, distant rhythm of call & return flutes and bowls. Voices appear to be calling out through an immensity of widening nothingness, and one couldn’t be faulted for falling under the hypnotic charm. Obscure references to Walter Carlos’ Clockwork Orange rear their wondrous heads, found inside the mouths of frequency-based beasts and animalistic cries from unknown sources. The searing, psychedelic electronic guitar found throughout the second half of track one reappears to impart some newfound knowledge, recalling a sense of favouritism due to Ross Major‘s early 2012 LP Horatio Hymns. The familiar fiend crawls up & down nostalgic scales, never quite delivering the final blow, carrying with it a sense of endearing & frustrating suspense. Finally finding its footing, the guitar ascends to an elevated plateau, replete with distorted swells and hymnal rhythms. Packaged in a blue/green forest collage, this cassette features a nice, thick glossy front side and cardstock back with album text printed in black. Limited to 50 handnumbered copies. Released Septembre 27th 2012 by Lighten Up Sounds Purchase from the label: Lighten Up Sounds Stream in full from the artist’s Bandcamp: Biological Radio (*with track titles!)
But hey, our releases honestly wouldn't be possible if our family wasn't supported by a strong union job. You might even say that without the union, Biological Radio would have a tough time existing at all. We support unions, especially the BLET, and we think they do a lot of good for this country's tradesmen and tradeswomen and their families, including our own. There is only one presidential candidate this year who promises to protect union brothers and sisters. We want him to stick around.
So we're voting in this year's election, and we encourage you to, too!
The new (and very first) issue of Dublin-based Wooks music/art zine is out now and comes with a CD-R compilation insert that includes an unreleased Inez Lightfoot folk-drone number, "Communion at Dawn." If you're interested in supporting the Wooks family by gripping a copy of their excellent publication and accompanying tunes, visit Northern Twilights!
We're happy to share the news that Sojourner's Lament is available now at Lighten Up Sounds!
Wailing feedback morphs into delicate fingerpicking and sweeping tides of
lap-steel shimmer. Sagas is the solo project of Matt McDowell (of Dire Wolves,
WaterFinder). Lovely and real,"Sojourner's Lament" presents three focused
improvisations for lap steel, guitar and electronics, each with its own
respective sense of deep spacial awareness and an uneasy sense of doom hovering
just beneath the surface. Lighten Up is proud to offer up these two new sessions
for your personal deep listening and metaphysical mind travel. Clear shell
cassette comes packaged with full color double sided J-card featuring original
collage artwork by M.H. with matching full color labels in a clear Norelco case.
Aqua-lung beauty for barren cornfields.
Summer is officially over, the huckleberries are in the freezer, and we're scrambling to get the garlic and onions in the ground. Most importantly, though: it's Steelers season! Just teasin'. Or are we? You never know around here. But seriously, folks... here's some good news we'd like to share on this crisp equinox:
// the excellent new Sagas album, Sojourner's Lament, is scheduled for cassette release this fall from the stellar Minnesota-based label Lighten Up Sounds — look for it! // a nice-lookin' CD-R compilation in the September/October issue of Northern Twilights will include an unreleased Inez Lightfoot droner recorded this past spring // Matt will be playing a live set at an experimental music micro-fest in St. Johns (Portland) in October... more details on that fine event coming soon // the first Inez Lightfoot LP, Familiars, has been pushed back but is definitely still on the way from the hard-working folks at Digitalis, so keep an eye out! // we're in the process of cleaning out the neglected Biological Radio storage box and will be having a sale of some older releases in October... so check back if interested!
We're extremely proud to present this latest collection from Inez Lightfoot, who has turned in what may be her best album yet. Here she delves further into the more song-oriented territory hinted at on her excellent track from the Discriminate bonus cassingle, "Apogee and Perigee." Using a slew of stringed instruments along with chord organ, percussion, field recordings, and, of course, her voice, the ten songs she's cooked up here call to mind Flaming Tunes filtered through Appalachian folk music, but with her own dirgeful edge to them. Her mission statement is made clear from the get-go, leading the album off with "Black Dogs," where her dulcimer blinds you like a glint of sun reflected off an Elven blade. And that's just the beginning... This c45 comes in an edition of 33, housed in recycled chipboard boxes with original artwork by JM.
No better way to celebrate 33 years on this Earth than with this little ramshackle collection, which also happens to mark the 50th release that I've played on. We at Biological Radio couldn't be happier that it happened right here at home. Four tales of forlorn hope across 36 minutes, running the gamut from the desert blues-psych of "Sevcn Smokes" to the joyous incantations of "Banjo Tune for Don," the primitivist folk meanderings of "Breath and Soil" to the full on Kraut/psych heaviosity of "Beacons at the Confluence," featuring none other than the Foxfire Band (Ian Bonnet of Dire Wolves on bass and Jackie, aka Edie Shredgwick, on vocal wail). This edition of 33 comes beautifully housed in recycled chipboard boxes from Stumptown Printers, with antique Antioch bookplates culled from the collection of my grandmother, to whom this album is dedicated. Out of stock! Digital version available here.
If you're interested in the roots of art rock and post-punk, or even just generally weird and beautiful music, you've gotta take a few minutes to check out this top-notch recent Foxy Digitalis feature written by BR's own Matt McDowell, called "A Modern Lesson": Art Rock in the Thatcher Era. Incredibly comprehensive, this invaluable primer on MM's favorite genre of music is not only a compellingly sharp read, it also contains some dazzling bonus gems including a handful of super-rare photos and a crackerjack digital mixtape featuring 20 key tracks from the era. Put it in your head, fall in love, get inspired!
// The Eremite's Dream, the next full-length Sagas release, is slated for upcoming cassette release on Digitalis
// Sun Cycles will be part of this year's Dronography digital comp with an unreleased track recorded recently at a live show
// And finally, two new compilations will include unreleased Inez Lightfoot tracks, one on the Shadow Colors and Maybe Insects comp on Watery Starve, and the other on a cd-r insert in the fall issue of the Dublin-based print 'zine Northern Twilights
. . . Cheers and stay cool! As always, thanks for visiting.
Matt and his lap steel at NoFest. It was really great to see so many good folks come out to support an evening of amazing tunes from friends new and old.
Also, the Sun Cycles / Inez Lightfoot split on DDL is sold out at the source but we now have just a few artist copies for anyone who's interested while they last. Email email@example.com if you like.
For our 14th release, we have a special split C36 between long-distance friends Mohawk Park and Sun Cycles. Mohawk Park is the duo of Brad Rose and Dylan Aycock. In addition to running Scissor Tail Tapes, Dylan's been killing it as Talk West (in particular, check out his release on No Kings if you can find one!). Mr. Rose's work probably needs no introduction to many of you. This is one of many collaborations between he and the Biological Radio team. From Concessionaires to doing Sagas artwork to his ever-growing list of releases for Inez Lightfoot, Brad has slowly become like a member of our extended family.
For this release, Mohawk Park turn in "The Great Raft Race", a lulling side-long cut that's reminiscent of soundtrack musicians smoking out and jamming to a John Hughes film. Or imagine "Chariots of Fire" drifting out of a broken speaker lost in the post-industrial rubble, with live drums creeping lethargically behind burbling synths, all captured with a nice live-room ambiance akin to Cabaret Voltaire's Pressure Company LP. Well done, boys.
The Sun Cycles side was recorded one night in an old packer's cabin high on a mountaintop in the Siskiyou National Forest. Acoustic guitar, vocals and dulcimer combine with the surrounding forest sounds and our crackling wood stove for "Siskiyou Holies", a set of clattering free-folk improvisations that are as much a celebration of life as they are a lament of the recent loss of a loved one.
Hand-packaged by Jackie in recycled paperboard boxes from Stumptown Printers with a custom front cover watercolor by Bay Area renaissance man Brian Lucas, these babies are limited to 30 copies.
Some upcoming releases that we're excited about...
// Sagas - Signal Refracted - cassette release of lap steel improv on Avant Archive // Sun Cycles - Siskiyou Holies - cabin recordings on a limited edition split cassette tape with our Oklahoman comrades Mohawk Park right here on Biological Radio featuring custom artwork by the amazing Brian Lucas // Inez Lightfoot - Live in Pittsburgh and Portland - two live shows coming out on tape thanks to newly-revived Dial Square Tapes // Sagas - Arcane Pathways - limited edition cassette album featuring banjo, lap steel, and heavy psych guitar jams on Biological Radio with special cover art by MM hisself // Inez Lightfoot - Familiars - full-length vinyl LP (!) coming from Digitalis this summer featuring cover artwork by friend and colleague Tate Hudson
Available now at sweet new trans-continental microlabel Dumpster Diving Lab, a new split tape of recent live recordings. Packed onto this lovely tape (with artwork by Keith Rankin) are four live pieces by Sun Cycles and Inez Lightfoot, recorded over the span of two shows in spring 2012 at Townshend's Tea in Portland, Oregon. "Splendid psychedelic sound accurately hidden inside of a cassette." Thanks, DDL!
"Not quite sure how a tape can sound so hazy and warm, and yet still be so clear and refreshing. Riverbottom Nightmare from Inez Lightfoot on Biological Radio continues in a line of recordings exploring what I perceive as nature, natural surroundings, and naturalistic emotion. Inez treads across mountains of melodic progression, brushed with subtle hints of varied instrumentation and an increased vocal presence. It all seems alive and breathing with a spontaneous unrehearsed quality. Sounds like waking up from a dream, standing at the edge of a lake, staring at your own reflection. "
Thank you to GMLT for their thoughtful listening!
Discriminate is sold out of this one, but you can get a digital copy here (with a bonus track).
Well, the Concessionaires Artificial Interface LP finally made its way to us and boy did it turn out GREAT! Last summer Pete and Brad sent me hours of raw recordings, which I then proceeded to whip into shape, editing and arranging, adding an overdub here and there. They then sent it off to up-and-coming heavyweights Under the Spire, who produced this fantastic vinyl edition. Like ritual music for alien altars, I imagine it as a soundtrack to some forgotten sci-fi classic. Get one while you can. Also keep an eye out for a Sagas 3" cdr later this year on UTS!
Cloud Shepherd are our friends from the Bay Area, an incredible free improv/drone/jazz/unclassifiable quartet that you've got to experience. On their excellent recent live recordings you'll hear wind instruments, theremin, waterphone, bass, voice, percussion, and myriad other esoterically generated sounds that spark the imagination and blend music and myth. This show is definitely not to be missed! Joining them will be locals Eureka (who just released a stellar new cassette on Avant Archive), Sagas, and Inez Lightfoot. See you on the mountain.
This Sunday at Townshend's Tea in Portland, an eclectic show with friends and family. Matt & Dewey are joining forces for a highly-anticipated performance... longtime friends, new collaboration! Inez Lightfoot's gonna spin some yarn, too, and will have a few copies of Riverbottom Nightmare on hand. Also playing are White Leopards and Dracula Spacecraft, both on tour from Los Angeles with their "analog synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines." Eight o'clock kickoff.
The queen of mountain magic returns with what might be her most-powerful collection yet. Recorded at home over the last few months, Riverbottom Nightmare finds Inez in a highly-focused state, imaginatively tilling the forlorn landscape of underwater cities into fertile earth where the kelp forests thrive on their journey toward the sun. Wielding some new sounds, most notably mountain dulcimer and zither, she carefully crafts a fantasy world into which one can escape the trappings and pressures of our modern society, finding solace in the sound itself. Simply put, these six pieces are hauntingly beautiful and definitely not to be missed. Each tape comes housed in environmentally friendly boxes made from 100% recycled paperboard from local printworkers' collective, Stumptown Printers, with individual handmade artwork by I.L.
Well, spring is almost here and after hunkering down for what turned out to be a pretty mild winter we have a few things on tap to share.
First off, The Songlines, the new tape by Riviere Amur, is available NOW from Hooker Vision. Word on the street is that these things are going fast, so get one while you can! Expect another one from these ladies later this year on No Kings.
Secondly, if you're in the Portland area on Sunday March 25th, come out to Townshend's Teahouse for a very special show featuring Inez Lightfoot and the debut of an as-yet-unnamed collaboration between old friends Sagas and Plankton Wat. Flyer to come soon!
On the release front, look for cassettes by both Inez Lightfoot and Sagas here on BR in the coming months as well as something from Sagas on Avant Archive. Later in the year Digitalis will be releasing a Sagas cassette and an Inez LP! Speaking of Digitalis, I recently mixed and added some additional sounds to Brad Rose and Pete Fosco's Concessionaires LP, entitled Artificial Interface. It's currently available for pre-order from Under the Spire.
That's all we've got for now. Thanks for staying tuned!
In honor of the four-year anniversary of our very first date (it was a fine dinner of pizza and beers!), we've decided to put up a free download for friends and fellow music lovers. Sun Cycles is our own new family collaboration, and our very first tape, Home, was a secret Biological Radio release that we sent to a handful of friends in January 2012, a release that is no longer secret nor available in its original cassette format. The album is made up of seven tracks that we wrote together in a new territory where modal forest jams meet electrical currents at sunrise. All songs recorded by Matt & Jackie around the hearth.
Sun Cycles is Matt (lap steel, guitar, bass, piano, percussion) and Jackie (mountain dulcimer, voice, keyboard, tapes, guitar, percussion).