Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fantastic Magic - Witch Choir

1 Fox Wedding
2 Flowerbeds
3 Wizard Earthsea
4 Balloons
5 I've Covered The Halls, With Glitter And Awe
6 Gazi Tiger
7 Etains Whirlwind
8 Moat Island
9 Gospel Of The Witches
10 Jam & Yima

Lilting in the haziest of ways, and filled with trilling falsetto vocals, lightly plucked guitar and the shimmering of exotic percussion, this brief (25 minute) clear purple cassette from San Diego trio Fantastic Magic captures both the shamanistic vibes of free-folk, while keeping the delirious bliss quotient pushed to the max. However, a subdued creeping menace lurks throughout the tape, almost unexplainably, but perhaps best understood as that eerie mood music occasionally found in horror movies meant to both soothe and terrorize. Oh boy.

Just to get this out of the way, people are going to think this sounds like Devendra Banhart. No doubt about it. Well at least when for him it was music before his outr?-photogenic image (if that time ever existed). But with the message machine lo-fidelity recording style, the approximations of melody, and at least one extremity planted in the spirit world, they?ve done themselves no favors (or maybe they have, who knows?). But, let?s attempt to get past that. First of all, layers abound as the album progresses. By the time ?I?ve Covered The Halls, With Glitter and Awe? surfaces, hugging the end of the A-side, trumpets, mariachi jangle and nylon-string guitar coalesce into one seriously ragged funeral procession. Here the freak masterfully becomes the genuinely macabre as if the seemingly amateur proceedings were only some sort of musician?s joke. Outstanding.

For those that stick to it, things only get better on the flipside. ?Gazi Tiger? offers dosed throwaway Beach Boys (in my world, that?s the best kind)?meandering slide guitar and molasses bizarre vocal harmonies. That nagging D.B. ghost appears again on ?Moat Island,? but at least in that refracted-old-world, pre-electric vein, all a-twitter with simple folk strumming and positively demonic double caterwauling. ?Jam & Yima? proves they save their surefire stunners for side-closers, tempos slow as a disarming guitar progression plays host to gentle refrains of ?goodbye? and a twinkling



    thanks to NashvilleHarper

  2. holy shit this hurts my ears like flaming hipster sweat.

    don't get me wrong, the music sounds very promising. but the quality is pure rubbish. shite.