Two long years after the release of the first out of four "Green Corridor" Vinyl 12"s on Altin Village & Mine Records, the second part brings together two undoubted musical geniuses. Right on time for the european tours of Jamie Stewart aka Xiu Xiu and Chad VanGaalen, this little treasure will be displayed on the merch tables. In the end all four parts of this vinyl series will add up to one piece of art, musically and graphically. Chad provides 9 (!) exclusive tracks, recorded at his own studio in Calgary, which perfectly present the uniqueness and complexity of his music. The unpretentious giant's songwriting skills leave behind the genres, and is it that "I Want You Back" is his best song after all? Xiu Xiu's tireless output now culminate in a collage, in which he explores the medium's boundaries, by integrating the listener into his art. The listener's supposed to read a question, to then put the needle onto the vinyl which provides the respective answer. One question is "Is it okay to scratch up this record?", and we can assure you: It's not!
When two artists share a split release, there's usually an immediately apparent reason for it, a close stylistic correspondence, or a specific creative contrast within the context of a broader similarity. Punk and hardcore bands often release splits together, as do sludge and stoner metal acts. So when two halves of a split release seem, on the face of it, to pursue radically divergent artistic agendas, it seems an invitation to consider each in the light of the other. The established practice of the split release almost compels the listener to read the two sets of sounds striking their cochlea as equivalent in some way; to square the circle, in the case of The Green Corridor # 02, of two apparently incompatible modes of signification.
Chad VanGaalen contributes nine songs in a style that is primarily indebted to 1960s psychedelic pop-rock. They are recorded in a sort of mid-fi register that persuasively invokes the sonic language of the era, while the writing bridges psych-garage freakout ('Nothing Is Impossible'), fey avant-folk ('Evening Sun'), West coast guitar-pop ('Kiss, Kiss, Kiss') and other points on an eclectic whistle stop tour of the territories of flower-child subversion. The short closer, 'Portal Stretching', is a warm kaleidoscope of formless analogue synth noise, which is the only point at which the music seems overtly experimental; elsewhere, the song form is treated with respect, not as a means to an end, but as a field of endeavour in its own right, and VanGaalen is careful to craft his songs in terms clearly comprehensible to native speakers of psychedelic pop-rock. He's not asking us to reassess the terms of songcraft, or its frame of reference, but perhaps he is asking us to reassess where that particular formal practice sits in culture as a whole. Closer to sound art than you may think, might be the intended answer, because these songs share a release with a twenty minute essay in sound art conceptualism, one that de-aestheticises the sonic object, and asks us to engage with it in an active, variable way. I use the term 'conceptualism' advisedly, because there are distinct parallels between the way this piece operates and a work such as Art & Language's Index 01 (1972), a set of filing cabinets in which the viewer was invited to browse; the important distinction seems to me to be that Xiu Xiu does not provide any content as such, just a context for the listener's own meanings. Xiu Xiu's side of the LP consists of a single track in which a neutral (North American) male voice repeats the words 'yes', 'no', 'perhaps' and 'maybe' at intervals, in variable groupings. the intention is that the listener will interrogate the record, by asking a question, and then dropping the stylus more or less at random onto the moving vinyl. A wittily ironic and utterly modern use of language, then, but also an act of augury or divination; through the random, to the will of the great whatever. Of course it is also possible to listen to this recording straight through (as I have, in the interests of science), but I think that's missing the point somewhat. VanGaalen's contributions are eminently listenable, demonstrating a good deal of musicianship, and creative self-awareness, while Xiu Xiu's are clearly extremely odd if approached in the same way, so one thing that this release calls into question is the grounds of the listener's sense of the aesthetic. But if you play the same game with the songs that you are explicitly invited to play with the yes-no-perhaps-yes-no-maybes, you'd be likely to get some similarly comprehensible responses. In this light, the release as a whole seems to consider the nature of the sorts of meaning that we find in songs, and in other aestheticised musical objects. We like to believe, as listeners, that we hear connections between the author's experience and our own, resonances in the experience of listening, but it is an important possibility that we read those resonances into the work, rather than hearing them out of it. Personally, I've committed myself in virtual print to the position that experiential truth can be heard in the gap between the idiomatic and the generic, that the artist's own truth is an important element in artistic value; but a text is a text, and everything about it is contingent, a floating frame of variable geometry through which we see an unresolvable fragment of a world in flux too rapid and profound to manifest any objective 'essential qualities'. However you choose to think about the world, art and the relationship between the two (if such a dualistic 'field-figure' analysis is even viable), Chad VanGaalen and Xiu Xiu should certainly get you thinking!
Written by oliverarditi.com
Chad VanGaalen's Diaper Island instantly earned a place on my list of favorite releases of 2011. Prior to that I was a fan of his work as producer/engineer of Flemish Eye labelmates Women. His brand of rambling, echoed, jangly folk/rock is unique and infectious and perhaps somewhat of an acquired taste. His voice trembles and his guitar playing has all the sloppiness of punk rock, but, for me at least, it's that fiercely unique sound-representative, no doubt, of his equally fierce independence - that draws me in closer. Apparently Mr. VanGaalen doesn't stop creating. Ever. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I more or less accidentally happened upon this 10-track split EP with the über-arty Xiu Xiu, but I definitely was. Coming across this was a welcome surprise. I'm not exactly sure how to get a physical copy of it, though the Altin Village & Mine website is a good place to start. The 9 VanGaalen tracks are plenty to keep any fan satisfied for some time. From the straight ahead stomp of "I Want You Back" the strangely poppy scratch and jangle of "Kiss Kiss Kiss" the buzzsaw thrash of "Nothing is Impossible" and the lazy country drawl of "Weighed Sin" this isn't a set of 9 throw away tracks haphazardly tossed off for some strange release, this is a collection of songs that showcases VanGaalen's dynamic, unique and wide ranging sound. Release of the split EP is set for March 17, and grab "Weighed Sin".
Written by quartertonality.com
The excitement of 9 new Chad VanGaalen tracks landing in my inbox is a little bit overwhelming, especially when it's delivered with news of a split 12″ with the ever evolving and extremely weird Xiu Xiu. The 12" is the second release in a series of amazing collaborations being pedalled by German label The Altin Village & Mine Records. The first release came in March 2010, featuring the primal drone of Oneida and the swooping vocal melodies of Pterodactyl. Chad VanGaalen's contribution displays the eerie brilliance of a modern musical chameleon, whose work continues to evolve and mature. His songs have a confidence that's been missing from his past two records, sounding less fragile and more astutely balanced. There's moments of self-indulgence and reflection, but his storytelling is more defined, revealing and romantic. Opener 'Your Own Mind Ends' tells off a bitter dispute between loved ones, before jumping into the Simon & Garfunkel-esque 'Evening Sun', full of paisley strings and wooing vocal melodies. 'I Want You Back' tries hard to be the record's highlight; a brash reminder that he is not just a folk musician, thrashing out a lively grunge inspired number similar to 'Freedom For A Policeman', off his mesmerising second album Diaper Island. 'Nothing Is Impossible' continues the assault in classic Jay Reatard style - a speedy guitar-driven punk song repeating the title lyrics. And then proving nothing is off limits, he gently slides into a beautiful folk ballad titled 'Weighed Sin', with harmonica and acoustic guitar folding into one another. Xiu Xiu, or more specifically Jamie Stewart's contribution requires it's own lengthy explanation. His side of the 12" is a spoken word piece that requires the physical record to properly engage with it's complex (or simplistic, depending on how you view it) lack of musical formality. The record will come with lift out liner notes containing a set of questions. The listener is required to read a question aloud and then to drop the needle anywhere on the record to hear the answer. Stewart has aptly titled his side of the 12", 'Fortune Teller'. The record label currently has no distributor in New Zealand but with any luck you should be able to pick up a copy via the many world-wide distributors listed on the Soundcloud link. The 12" is officially on sale from March 17.
Written by einsteinmusicjournal.co.nz
Altin Village & Mine return with the second instalment of their 'The Green Corridor' series, this time enlisting the skills of Calgary's gentle giant Chad Vangaalen and power-emo synth-pop guru Jamie Stewart a.k.a. Xiu Xiu to fill each side of wax. Chad's stuff is pretty much always worth a listen and these nine exclusive tracks are no exception. The production is a little rough and ready by comparison to his Sub Pop efforts but the songwriting quality is right up there. The man can do no wrong! Totally blown away by 'Ripped Islands' and 'Your Own Minds End' on first listen and I'll look forward to getting this bad boy home for further listening pleasure. Of course, this means I'm finally going to have to have to get to grips with the Xiu Xiu style. Greg Saunier of Deerhoof has been interacting with Stewart for a while which pricked my interest but I've struggled with his records so far. Here he uses a side of vinyl to repeat to words 'yes', 'no' and 'perhaps' many times over. There's no music here. It probably means something but I've got a real job with responsibilities and don't have the time or patience to figure out this nonsense. So yeah, nine new Chad Vangaalen tracks.
Written by Norman Records
Über Altin Village & Mine Records veröffentlichen Chad VanGaalen und Xiu Xiu eine 12" Split Vinyl. Dabei liefert Chad VanGaalen den hauptsächlichen musikalischen Part, während das Stück von Xiu Xiu einen eher poetisch experimentellen Part darstellt. Das Vinyl erscheint in der sogenannten The green corridor-Reihe und ist nach der Oneida / Pterodactyl Split Platte der zweite Teil. Ab dem 17. März wird The green corridor II erhältlich sein. Hat man das Vinyl in den Händen, so erklärt sich auch der einzige Xiu Xiu Track Fortune teller. Der Fragenkatalog liegt nämlich bei ;). Also eintauchen in dieses skurril wirkende Kunstobjekt. Aufmerksamkeit erlangte The green corridor II allerdings durch de fabelhaften Songs von Chad VanGaalen. Mit Your own minds end, I want you back und Cross trainer entpuppen sich die kalten Tage, zu herzlich warmen im Innern. In den ersten Frühlingstagen dann auch für Jedermann zu hören. Mit der Verschrobenheit und Eigenbroseligkeit eines Daniel Johnston rauschen die lakonisch, musikalisch enthaltsamen Songs über den Äther. Kiss, kiss, kiss und Nothing is impossible wirken dabei sogar leicht 70er punklastig. Ich bin begeistert.
Written by abbreviateddaylight.blogspot.de
Gerade ist das tolle "Diaper Island"-Album verklungen, da fährt der einzigartige Songwriter schon weiteres Material an. 9 Songs finden sich auf der A-Seite, alle so infektiös, wie man es von ihm kennt. Zum Teil akustischer jangeliger Folk, zum Teil großartiger Indierock mit einer gewinnbringenden Mischung aus Schrabbeligkeit und Schnodderigkeit gepaart mit pastoralem Charakter und Pop-Hookline wie bei "I want you back" oder etwas verhuschter und sehnsüchtiger wie beim großartigen "Ripped Islands". Und Chad´s Stimme passt sich immer perfekt ein, ob sauber oder dreckig. Großartig, wie unterschwellig immer auch US-Punkrock mitschimmert. Jamie Stewart aka Xiu Xiu auf der B-Seite mit der Spoken Words-Performance "Fortune teller", ohne Musik, nur Wiederholungen von 3 Worten mit unterschiedlichen Betonungen: "Yes", "Perhaps" und "No".
Written by Flight 13
A l'initiative du label allemand Altin Village, les Green Corridor Series sont des split EP censés réunir des génies musicaux contemporains pour former une oeuvre finale en quatre parties, à la fois sonore et graphique. Le premier volume était sorti il y a deux ans avec Oneida et Pterodactil et le second réunissant Chad VanGaalen et Xiu Xiu sortira le 17 mars. L'intégralité du EP est en écoute ici. Il y a 9 inédits de Chadou, soit un nouvel album balancé comme ça en douce l'air de rien, enregistré dans sa cave à Calgary. Le titre Weighed Sin, en écoute plus bas, nous a tellement mis la chialerie que nous étions au bord de la fugue irraisonnée vers les grandes plaines pour vivre de chasse et de pêche. Mais le titre de Xiu Xiu nous a tellement interloqué qu'on a laissé tomber la location du camping-car. Fortune Teller est ce qui semblerait être l'oeuvre musicale la moins musicale de l'histoire de la musique. Une piste de plus de 20 minutes dans laquelle Jamie Stewart implique directement l'auditeur dans son travail par un principe simple : Posez une question à voix haute et ensuite posez l'aiguille à n'importe quel endroit du vinyle pour avoir une réponse de l'artiste. A la manière d'une Magic 8 Ball, Jamie répondra Oui, Non, Peut-être, à chacune de vos questions existentielles. Je l'ai testée moi même en posant la question : "Le label a-t-il eu le sentiment de s'être fait enfler en écoutant ton morceau?". Xiu Xiu m'a dit "Peut-être".
Written by the-drone.com