Joel Vandroogenbroek / Komodo Haunts
Aguirre has cached two unusually interesting telecommunications in their latest batch of releases, the first being a 1970s reissue from Joel Vandroogenbroeck, and the second an album from Komodo Haunts, making an observation on 90s shoegaze tied to hyperaccelerated lethargy transduction potentials.
It’s a riveting listen through the two albums, and as with the last Aguirre capsule by me, every statement is marked with a lack of absconding caustics, thoughts traded in whispers; fluttering heart trodden in sand; an obscure demand in the statement; not always what was planned. This is particularly evident in Vandroogenbroeck’s release, the LP having a solid back story from his involvement in 1970s Swedish psychedelia and doomcore bands before the term became another cool wannabe avenue. Littered with references to its era, the proto-Eno-ambient, incidental music is rife with ruination of schemes and structures.
Although sometimes difficult, the album succeeds because it is whirled into a cream pie of transcendental introspections in terms of the overall sequencing. So you’ll hear blurpy synth ominously trail into melancholic whisper, factory presets mangled with earlier forming felled chasms later on. These crisscrossing storylines are aurally satisfying, and when the discordant piano enters on track seven, the game is raised to the level of John Cage and early downtown free jazz. Never edging into too chaotic a cataclysm, the octaves rumble and tumble with an insatiable abandon. A paradox it may be, and a paradox in music it also becomes. At 35 minutes, Joel has created an incident of himself in the age of longer LPs and digital mega-archives, and the record possesses a character of its original time and place as a result.
The Komodo Haunts release is no less enthralling, but for different reasons altogether. A fairly soft-bellied guitar undertows the recordings with drone logic and sentimental emotionality. As a collection of tracks the point is missed; as an evolving soundscape the full piece veers over the threshold into a woody green, complete with dreamy panpipes painting swelling wholes on the second track. Percussion is used to propel, but doesn’t decisively mitigate the incidentality of the circumstances. Force is sparingly applied. The ruminants of shoegaze and punk criss-crossing are laid bare, and the hazy spectograph counts as rewarding listening for any fans of Grouper, PJE and Sonic Youth. A rare set of comparisons aligned together is something worth paying money for deaf on its own sometimes, but this music HAS to be heard to be felt.