David CW Briggs' homemade CDR label Folk Archive returns with several more albums, from David himself and other artists. David CW Briggs' The White Cliffs of Your Eyes includes a representative mixture of his main influences, from bedroom pop to psychedelic to blues to folk. The title track is off-centre DIY pop overlaid with meandering psychedelic blues guitar and bursts of vintage organ. There are a couple of instrumentals, the woozy, lilting Lull, and the eerie Submergence which features a lopsided concertina melody over laid-back psychedelia. Ex Libris Blues is an epic 14 minute DIY psychedelic blues piece taking in hypnotic repetition, guitar riffage with shades of 1970s electric folk, and wailing harmonica. The Magpie Song is quirky Syd Barrett-esque psych-pop with a dash of late-80s indiepop jangle.
The Quiet Corner by David CW Briggs continues his homemade explorations around the world of psychedelia and beyond. Beginning with an inventive Intro that combines Indian-style music with a surfy twang, the album also gives us Suggestions, slightly off-centre indiepop wrapped in shimmering psychedelic effects; the minimal, hushed psych-folk of Birdwatching for Melancholics; and the hazy, meandering psych instrumental title track. The punnily titled Wear a Reincarnation in Your Buttonhole is kaleidoscopic psych-pop swathed in swirling atmospheric noise, really great stuff that I'd recommend to fans of much of the output of psych-pop label Hypnotic Bridge Records. The songs are punctuated by brief experiments like the noise burst of ? and the vintage sci-fi inspired Soon, Soon, then the album closes with another epic, this one over 11 minutes long; Cheerful Skulls, which begins as psych-pop with a melody that hints at The Beatles' Norwegian Wood, then segues into a heady psychedelic jam.
Next from David CW Briggs is Glass Ayes, with more of the musical eclecticism we've come to expect from this artist. There's The Only Image, darkly hypnotic and shot through with a cinematic sense of tension; Silhouettes, perhaps the eeriest sitar music you'll ever hear; and All Alone Is All, off-kilter pop with a punky snarl, set to a wah-wah-fuelled psych-out. Missing Pieces is centred around a hard-edged mod style somewhere between The Eyes and The Who, but as it's not at all like DCWB to stick to a formula, the piece also incorporates a wild psychedelic instrumental section and fades out with an elongated ambient drone. Bruno Schulz is an excellent psych-folk-pop instrumental, in which chiming guitar, a touch of sitar and a smidgen of Mellotron are all wrapped up in a shimmering psychedelic haze.
The most recent solo album I have from DCWB is Where To Now Comrade?, which consists mainly of bedroom psych-pop songs including the off-kilter Scrapbook which comes across as part Syd Barrett and part mandolin-driven folk; Signal Song which combines a strong melody with the spirit of punk; and the slowed-down melancholia of It's Too Easy To Lose Someone Nowadays. Between the songs, the album is peppered with woozy, filmic interludes like Ghost Track, Thought Bubble, and Ringstone Round. There's also the haunted psych-folk of Night Black Day. David CW Briggs is a highly underrated artist and one of the best of the currently active homemade music makers.
Out on the Folk Archive Electronics arm of the label is Corridor Music by Regional Idents featuring David CW Briggs, which combines the electronica of Regional Idents with DCWB's vocals and electric and acoustic instruments. There's the pulsing electronic minimalism of Entrance, followed by the bleak electronic post-punk of Domestic/Industrial, combining shades of early New Order with something more overtly gothic. Black Corridor is an oddly engaging experimental piece with swirling noise and hushed distorted vocals over a pulsing bass line. 14+ minute closing track Exit is a cinematic ambient soundscape based around ethereal washes of sound and eerie percussive knocks. Sweeping, brooding, almost neoclassical at times, the piece creates a gentle, calming atmosphere despite its dark undertones.
Planet Hopper is a new project of Gavin John Baker (Billy Mahonie, Jet Johnson, The Baker Boys, Höglin Baker etc) and Christian Børke. Their self-titled album on Folk Archive can be broadly described as experimental spacerock. The opening track, also called Planet Hopper, is a long psychedelic jam almost 23 minutes in length, bringing together hypnotic repetition, touches of 60s action movie soundtrack, wailing guitar improvisation, and spacey experimental moments. Alpha Colony features vintage synth music with a big epic sound like something from a classic sci-fi movie, transported into a semi-improvisational psych-rock setting. The Ruins of Mars sees disorientingly woozy spacey weirdness colliding with heavy improv-rock. My favourite track here has to be Alien Flower Pollen. This opens with a riff suggestive of electric folk, then morphs into something altogether more psychedelic, with evocative use of echoey and backwards effects and the perfect balance of melody and mind-altering atmosphere. Whilst the improvisational aspect that characterises the rest of the album is present here, it also has a strong sense of melody, with tuneful sections that stay in the head.
Next is Dragnet by Jeff Unfortunately, the recording name of US hometaper Jeff Gallagher. The album opens with Death's Long Black Overcoat, 10 minutes of off-kilter, dissonant songwriting with stream of consciousness lyrics delivered in a lazily meandering vocal style over minimal acoustic guitar. Reminds me of stuff that 1990s tape labels like Shrimper were putting out. Tomorrow is a Long Time has a raw US folk feel, while 96 Solutions is a sort of twisted DIY blues instrumental that cuts off abruptly at the end, as do some of the tracks that follow it. BxDx is a raucous electric guitar piece concealing a tune amidst all the chaos. Death by Pumpkin Spice is surreal experimental noisemaking with a psychedelic undercurrent that makes it strangely engaging. Non Fans is bass keyboard plink-plonking that subverts its own rhythmic structure with experimental randomness. Guess This is Dating at 34 sets heavily distorted vocals to noise bursts and bedroom electronics. This is the ultimate in lo-fi outsider music, the kind of sounds that were heard frequently in the 1990s DIY tapes scene but have seemingly since become a rare breed indeed. Completely lacking in professional polish (and that's the whole point!), the music will sound jarring to those unaccustomed to music this lo-fi, though it's clear that this music is a labour of love and a way of life for this artist.
All CDRs are very limited, ranging from 16 to 33 copies, but for those who have missed out, downloads are available. Visit davidcwbriggs.bandcamp.com.
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