Quarterly Review: Sergio Ch., Dool, Return to Worm Mountain, Dopelord, Ancestro, Hellhookah, Daisychain, The Burning Brain Band, Slump, Canyon

Posted in Reviews on July 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

I don’t imagine I need to tell you it’s been a hell of a quarter, existentially speaking. It’s like the world decided to play ’52 card pickup’ but with tragedy. Still, music marches on, and so the Quarterly Review marches on. For what it’s worth, I’m particularly looking forward to reviewing the upcoming batch of 50 records. As I stare at the list for each day, all of them have records that I’ve legitimately been looking forward to diving into, and today is a great example of that, front to back.

Will I still feel the same way on Friday? Maybe, maybe not. If past is prologue, I’ll be tired, but it’s always satisfying to do this and cover so much stuff in one go. Accordingly, let’s not delay any further. I hope you enjoy the week’s worth of writeups.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sergio Ch., From Skulls Born Beyond

Sergio Ch From Skulls Born Beyond

Intertwining by sharing a few songs with the debut album from his trio 2d Shapes Homework Help - work with our writers to receive the excellent review following the requirements Stop getting unsatisfactory marks with these Soldati, All worried students looking for Best Writing Service Research Paper are at right place; Thank God, I found dissertationstore.co.uk, Doom Nacional (review here), the latest solo endeavor from former Academic Writing Service & Custom Resume Writing Services Gippsland. Get term paper, essay writing help, dissertation writing and all kind of academic writing Los Natas/ Academized are proud to present the best Best Homework Helper. We write papers at any level: high school, college and university Ė all the way up Ararat frontman Dissertation Acknowledgments - Entrust your essay to us and we will do our best for you Use from our inexpensive custom dissertation writing service and benefit from Sergio Ch. continues his path of experimentalist drone folk, blending acoustic and electric elements, guitar and voice, in increasingly confident and broad fashion. The heart of a piece like “Sombra Keda” near the middle of the album is still the strum of the acoustic guitar, but the arrangement of electric and effects/synth surrounding, as well as the vocal echo, give a sense of space to the entirety of Place a "write my essay" order and get online academic help from cheap Help Writing A Paper On Critical Thinking. 24/7 Non-plagiarized essay writer help from /paper From Skulls Born Beyond that demonstrates to the listener just how much range Need follow links? Browse profiles and reviews of top rated application essay editors and have your application essay professionally Sergio Ch.‘s work has come to encompass. For highlights, one might check out the extended title-track and the closer “Solar Tse,” which bring in waves of distorted noise to add to the experimentalist feel, but there’s something to be said too for the comparatively minimal (vocal layering aside) “My Isis,” as well as for the fact that they all fit so well on the same record.

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South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

 

DOOL, Summerland

Dool Summerland

The follow-up to Good service to Chemistry Help Videoss. Perfect format, outstanding quality, and affordable prices. Any deadlines and a number of disciplines. DOOL‘s 2017 debut, We offer affordable Columbia Dissertation Office with proven results. Let our professional business plan writers to Create a full-circle business plan Here Now There Then (review here), does no less than to see the Netherlands-based outfit led by singer Poems by Carolyn creates personalized poems, http://www.edutheque.fr/?essay-writing-service-australia Services. Carolyn has helped thousands of celebrations come to life. Ryanne van Dorst answer the potential of that album while pushing forward the particular vision of Dutch heavy progressive rock that emerged in the wake of StudyMooseô is the largest database in 2018 with thousands of free http://www.orizzontionlus.it/ghostwriter-dorama/ for college and high schools Find essays by subject & topics Inspire The Devil’s Blood, acknowledging that past — EssayOnTime.com.au: Can I Help Writing Graduate Essay in Australia? Read further to find the answer and really smart solution to academic problems and Farida Lemouchi (now of Our world religions homework help enhance our client's probability of winning through development of compliant, convincing and compelling proposals. Molassess) stops by for a guest spot — while presenting an immersive and richly arranged 54-minute sprawl of highly individualized craft. Issued through I am a leading US writing consultant. http://lta.fsaa.ulaval.ca/?personal-statement-mba by a professional ghostwriter, author Jerry Payne, is expert in personal memoir writing service. Prophecy Productions, it brings cuts like the memorable opener “Sulphur and Starlight” and the dynamic “A Glass Forest” as well as the classic metal chug of “Be Your Sins” and the reaches of its title-cut and acoustic-inclusive finale “Dust and Shadow.” Write My Papersin Canada - dissertation spss helps Louisiana State University, Georgia State University DOOL are a band brazen enough to directly refuse genre, and it is to their benefit and the audience’s that they pull off doing so with such bravado and quality of output. For however long they go, they will not stop progressing. You can hear it.

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Prophecy Productions website

 

Return to Worm Mountain, Therianthropy

return to worm mountain Therianthropy

By the time Durban, South Africa’s Return to Worm Mountain are done with 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Gh?l” from their second album, Therianthropy, the multi-instrumentalist duo of Duncan Park (vocal, guitar, bass, banjo, jaw harp) and Cam Lofstrand (vocals, drums, synth, guitar, bass, percussion) have gone from High on Fire-meets-Entombed crunch to psychedelic Americana to bare-essential acoustic guitar, and unsurprisingly, the scope doesn’t stop there. “Mothman’s Lament” is folksy sweetness and it leads right into the semi-industrial grind of “Mongolian Death Worm” before “Olgoi-Khorkoi” sludge-lumbers into Echoplex oblivion — or at very least the unrepentantly pretty plucked strings of “Tatzelwurm.” The title refers to a human ability to become an animal — think werewolf — and if that’s a metaphor for the controlled chaos Return to Worm Mountain are letting loose here, one can hardly argue it doesn’t fit. Too strange to be anything but progressive, Therianthropy‘s avant garde feel will alienate as many as it delights, and that’s surely the point of the entire endeavor.

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Return to Worm Mountain on Bandcamp

 

Dopelord, Sign of the Devil

dopelord sign of the devil

Primo weedian stoner sludge doom of precisely the proportion-of-riff one would expect from Polish bashers Dopelord, which is to say plenty huge and plenty grooving. “The Witching Hour Bell” sets the tone on Sign of the Devil, which is the fourth full-length from the Warsaw-based four-piece. They lumber, they plod, they crash, and yes, yes, yes, they riff, putting it all on the line with “Hail Satan” with synth flourish at the end before “Heathen” and the ultimately-more-aggro “Doom Bastards” reinforce the mission statement. You might know what you’re getting going into it, but that doesn’t make the delivery any less satisfying as Dopelord plod into “World Beneath Us” like a cross between Electric Wizard and Slomatics and of course stick-click in on a quick four-count for the 94-second punk blaster “Headless Decapitator” to cap the 36-minute vinyl-ready run. How could they not? Sure, Sign of the Devil preaches to the choir, but hell’s bells it makes one happy to have joined the choir in the first place.

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Dopelord on Bandcamp

 

Ancestro, Ancestro

ancestro self titled

Numbered instrumental progressions comprise this third and self-titled offering from Peruvian trio Ancestro (issued through Necio Records and Forbidden Place Records), and the effect of the album being arranged in such a fashion is that it plays through as one long piece, the cascading volume changes of “II” feeding back into the outset count-in of the speedier “III” and so on. Each piece of the whole has its own intention, and it seems plain enough that the band composed the sections individually, but they’ve been placed so as to highlight the full-album flow, and as Ancestro move from “IV” into “V” and “VI,” with songs getting longer as they go en route to that engrossing and proggy 13-minute closer, their success draws from their ability to harness the precision and maybe even a little of the aggression of heavy metal and incorporate it as part of an execution both thoughtful and no less able to be patient when called for by a given piece. Hard-hitting psychedelia is tough to pull off, but Ancestro‘s Ancestro is no less spacious than terrestrial.

Ancestro on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Hellhookah, The Curse

hellhookah the curse

In 2016, Lithuanian two-piece Hellhookah made it no challenge whatsoever to get into the traditionalist doom of their debut album, Endless Serpents (review here), and the seven songs of The Curse make for a welcome follow-up, with an uptick in production value and the fullness of the mix and a decided affinity for underground ’80s metal in cuts like “Supremacy” and “Dreams and Passions” to coincide with the Dio-era-Sabbath vibes of centerpiece “Flashes” and the nodding finisher “Greed and Power,” which follows and contrasts “Dreams and Passions” in a manner that feels multi-tiered in its purpose. Departing from some of the Vitus-ness of the first full-length, The Curse adopts a more complex tack across its 38 minutes, but its heart and its loyalties are still of doom, by doom, and for the doomed, and that suits them just fine. Crucially, their lack of pretense carries over, and their love of all things doomed translates into every riff and every stretch on offer. If you’d ask more than that of them, well, why?

Hellhookah on Thee Facebooks

Hellhookah on Bandcamp

 

Daisychain, Daisychain EP

Daisychain Daisychain EP

Bluesy in opener “Demons,” grunge-tinged in “Lily” and fuzz-folk-into-’70s-soul-rock on “How Can I Love You,” Daisychain‘s self-titled debut EP wants little for ambition from the start, but the Chicago-based four-piece bring a confidence to their dually-vocalized approach that unites the material across whatever stylistic lines it treads, be it in the harmonies of the midtempo rocker “Are You Satisfied” or the righteously languid “Fake Flowers,” which follows. With six songs and 21 minutes, the self-released outing is but a quick glimpse at what Daisychain might have in store going forward, but the potential is writ large from the classic feel of “Demons” to the barroom spirit of closer “The Wrong Thing,” which reminds that rock and roll doesn’t have to sacrifice efficiency in order to make a statement of its own force. There’s plenty of attitude to be found in these songs, but beneath that — or maybe alongside it — there’s a sense of an emergent songwriting process that is only going to continue to flourish. What they do with the momentum they build here will be interesting to see/hear, but more than that, they’re developing a perspective and persona of their own, and that speaks to a longer term ideal. To put another way, they don’t sound like they’re half-assing it.

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Daisychain on Bandcamp

 

The Burning Brain Band, The Burning Brain Band

The Burning Brain Band The Burning Brain Band

Capping with a slide-tinged take on the traditional “Parchman Farm” (see also: Blue Cheer, Cactus, etc.), Ohio’s The Burning Brain Band‘s self-titled debut casts a wide net in terms of influences, centering the penultimate “The Dreamer” around 12-string acoustic guitar on an eight-minute run that’s neither hurried nor staid, but all the more surprising after the electronica-minded “Interlude (Still Running),” which, at four minutes is of greater substance than one might expect of an interlude just as the seven-and-a-half-minute warm-up “Launch Sequence” is considerably broader than one generally considers an intro to an album. There isn’t necessarily a foundational basis from which the material emanates — though “Brain Food” is an effective desert-ish rocker, it moves into the decidedly proggier “Bolero/Floating Away” — but “Launch Sequence” is immersive and the four-piece bring a performance cohesion and a clarity of mindset to the proceedings of this debut that may not unite the songs, but carries the listener through with a sure hand just the same. Who ever said everything on a record had to sound alike? For sure not The Burning Brain Band, who translate the mania of their moniker into effective sonic variety.

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The Burning Brain Band on Bandcamp

 

Slump, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country

Slump Flashbacks from Black Dust Country

Count Slump in a freakout psych renaissance, all punk-out-the-airlock and ’90s-noise thisandthat. Delivered through Feel It Records, the Richmond, Virginia, outfit’s debut, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country indeed touches ground every now and again, as on “Desire Death Drifter,” but even there, the vocals are so soaked wet with echo that I’m pretty sure they fucked up my speakers, and as much as “Tension Trance” tries, it almost can’t help but be acid grunge. In an age of nihilism, Slump aren’t so much unbridled as they are a reminder of the artistry behind the slacker lean, and in the thrust of “(Do The) Sonic Sprawl” and the far-out twist of “Throbbing Reverberation,” they affirm that only those with expanded minds will survive to see the new age and all the many spectral horrors it might unfurl. Can it be a coincidence that the album starts “No Utopia?” Hardly. I’m not ready to call these cats prophets, but they’ve got their collective ear to the ground and their boogie is molten-core accordingly. Tell two friends and tell them to tell two friends.

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Feel It Records on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, EP III

canyon ep iii

It’s a ripper, inciting Larry David-style “prettay good” nods and all that sort of approval whatnot. If you want to think of Canyon as Philly’s answer to Memphis’ Dirty Streets, go ahead — and yes, by that I mean they’re dirtier. EP III boasts just three tracks in “No Home,” “Tent Preacher” and “Mountain Haze,” but with it the classic-style trio backs up the power they showed on 2018’s Mk II (review here), tapping ’70s blues rock swagger for the first two tracks and then blowing it out in a dreamy Zeppelin/Rainbow jam that’s trippy and righteous and right on and just plain right. Maybe even right-handed, I don’t know. What I do know is that these guys should’ve been picked up by some duly salivating label like last week already and they should be putting together a full-length on the quick. They’ve followed-up EP III with a stonerly take on The Beatles‘ “Day Tripper,” and that’s fun, but really, it’s time for this band to make an album.

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Canyon on Bandcamp

 

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Sergio Ch. Posts “La Familia y las Guerras” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sergio ch

At the time it came out four years ago in 2015,¬†Sergio Ch.‘s first solo album,¬†1974¬†(review here), seemed to take shape directly from out of the third offering from his band¬†Ararat,¬†2014’s¬†Cabalgata Hacia la Luz (review here). The two shared several tracks, among them “La Familia y las Guerras,” and both had an overarching purpose in introspection, an intimate feel that manifested in experimentalist-tinged folk in one and brash heavy punk/rock in the other. Still, they were linked, and with¬†Sergio Chotsourian‘s songwriting at the epicenter, they held a consistency that went beyond whatever sonic disparities there may have been. Different appeal, same level of quality between them.

Chotsourian has since gone on to form the trio¬†Soldati and begin to dole out singles and other short releases ahead of an eventual full-length, and he’s also put out the second acoustic-ish album, 2017’s Aurora (review here), as well as several collaborative efforts of various stripes, but I still break out¬†1974 on occasion, and songs like “La Familia y las Guerras” are a big part of why. Arrangement-wise, there’s nothing outlandish about it, and it’s not as drone even as some of the material on the subsequent full-length would be, but it carries a nonetheless open feel and is spacious thanks to a bit of echo while still staying intimate in a close-up-to-the-mic vocal-style from¬†Chotsourian, who if he didn’t record it live certainly gives a convincing facsimile of having done so.

As to why now would be a time to make a video for a song on a record that was released so long ago, I’d only ask the obvious question: “Who cares?” In addition to the aforementioned and long-bandied¬†Soldati long-player, there’s been word that Chotsourian will do another solo offering under his own name, and that will be something to look forward to, but in the meantime, why not shut up and take what one can get? If that’s going for a backwards walk in some hot-looking desert space, then so be it. One could, of course, do a lot worse, both in the video and in life generally.

I’ve also included the full¬†1974¬†stream below, in case it’s been a while.

Enjoy:

Sergio Ch., “La Familia y las Guerras” official video

VIDEO OFICIAL DEL DISCO DE SERGIO CH. – “1974”
PRODUCIDO POR SERGIO CH.
VIDEO REALIZADO POR MILAGROS ARROM Y LUCAS MARTINEZ

OUI OUI RECORDS
SOUTH AMERICAN SLUDGE RECORDS

Sergio Ch., 1974 (2015)

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South American Sludge website

South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

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Sergio Ch. Premieres “La Heroina” Video; New Album Coming Soon

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sergio ch

Since he has a new solo album currently being mastered — the title will reportedly by From Skulls Born Beyond — it’s tempting to think of¬†Sergio Ch.‘s — n√© Chotsourian — new video for “La Heroina” perhaps as a way of saying goodbye to 2016’s Aurora (review here), but the truth is that even after that record came out, he was still putting together clips for 2015’s¬†1974¬†(review here), so it’s not exactly like he’s following an album cycle-style promotional model. More like he’s doing whatever the hell he wants, which is probably how it should be for the former¬†Los Natas¬†frontman who’s also at the helm of¬†South American Sludge Records and who fronts¬†Soldati and the somewhat-MIA¬†Ararat. His whims have a pretty good track record, as far as that kind of thing goes.

And while¬†From Skulls Born Beyond promises further refinement of his drone-laced folk approach, “La Heroina” serves as an example of how well that worked across¬†Aurora as well. It’s at least the fourth video that the Buenos Aires-based¬†Chotsourian has issued for the six-song offering, and with direction from¬†Milagros Arrom, it’s a returning partnership that once again serves to highlight the track’s experimentalist and, in this case, particularly trance-inducing edge. Centered around echoing strums of acoustic guitar, there’s nonetheless a psychedelic feel gleaned from the effects on¬†the vocals and the intermittent bursts of harmonica, and the naturalist swirl evokes acid folk atmospherics without any lysergic posturing. It’s not the most experimentalist piece on¬†Aurora — that would be “Aurora II,” still awaiting its video last I checked — but it finds a balance between traditional songcraft and an out-there anti-structure that suits it well, throwing kind of a loop in the second half when all of a sudden it just kind of starts over. Pay attention and it’ll still catch you off guard.

Soldati were slated to have an album in progress as well, and they may indeed have one in the works or done, but it’s good news that a new¬†Sergio Ch. offering will be out before 2019’s done as well, as his solo material has proven to be an exploration all its own, distinct from his work in full bands despite inherent ties in songwriting and performance.

Enjoy “La Heroina” below:

Sergio Ch., “La Heroina” official video premiere

VIDEO OFICIAL DEL DISCO DE SERGIO CH. – “AURORA”
PRODUCIDO POR SERGIO CH.
VIDEO REALIZADO POR MILAGROS ARROM

PIRAMIDE RECORDS
SOUTH AMERICAN SLUDGE RECORDS

Sergio Ch., Aurora (2016)

South American Sludge Records on Thee Facebooks

South American Sludge website

South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

Pir√°mide Records on Bandcamp

Pir√°mide Records on Thee Facebooks

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Sergio Ch. Premieres “Los Barcos” Video from 1974

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

SERGIO CH AT PIANO

Over the last couple years as former Los Natas and current Soldati frontman Sergio Chotsourian — also of Ararat, whose status is somewhat up in the air at this point — has developed his multifaceted solo persona Sergio Ch., experimenting with South American folk traditions, psychedelia and drone fluidity, as well as developed various one-offs and side-projects, I’ve posted any number of videos corresponding to whatever he’s got going at the time. Some are premieres, like the one for “Los Barcos” below, and some are just put out there as quickly as I can catch up to their actual release. But he’s been a regular around these parts for a while now, and that’s not without reason.

The basic fact of the matter is I believe what Chotsourian is doing now is important. His status in Argentinian and South American heavy in general — fostered not only through Los Natas‘ enduring influence, but through his South American Sludge Records label as well — is unquestionable, but in listening to his two solo records, 2016’s 1974 (review here) and 2017’s Aurora (review here), it’s abundantly clear his interest lies not in rehashing past glories, but continuing to push into new areas of sound and style. Despite this, his approach is consistently organic and his voice resonant with emotion. There’s always genuine expression happening, regardless of the context in which it appears.

So if you’re wondering, I guess that’s why I try and post about his work as much as possible, and that’s why I’m going to continue to do so. I suppose you could say I’m a fan.

“Los Barcos” originally appeared on 1974, and if you’re wondering why there’d be a video for it now, note the violin guest spot from Milagros Arrom, who also did the camerawork for the clip.

Please enjoy:

Sergio Ch., “Los Barcos” official video premiere

VIDEO OFICIAL DEL DISCO DE SERGIO CH. – “1974”
PRODUCIDO POR SERGIO CH.
CAMARA POR MILAGROS ARROM
VIDEO REALIZADO POR LUCAS MARTINEZ

OUI OUI RECORDS
SOUTH AMERICAN SLUDGE RECORDS

South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

South American Sludge Records on Thee Facebooks

Sergio Ch. on YouTube

Oui Oui Records website

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Sergio Ch. Premieres “El Herrero” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sergio ch

By my count, this is the third video¬†Sergio Chotsourian¬†has produced from his 2016 sophomore solo release,¬†Aurora (review here). Released through his own¬†South American Sludge Records under his¬†Sergio Ch.¬†moniker, it was an offering marked by its two consuming, extended and experimentalist title-pieces — “Aurora” (18:54) and “Aurora II” (15:16) — and despite any perceived budget and attention span constraints together, indeed one of the clips the Buenos Aires-based former¬†Los Natas and current¬†Soldati frontman was for “Aurora” (posted here), if a shortened version, while the other was for the more folkish “El La√ļd” (posted here). Over the course of the last year,¬†Chotsourian has also offered visuals for “La Historia de Hanuman” (posted here) from his 2015 solo debut,¬†1974 (review here) and for a raw, demo-style take on new song “El Latigo y las Riendas” (posted here), as well as for¬†Soldati‘s “El Electricidad del Arbol Caido” (premiered here).

Clearly the lesson of all this as¬†Chotsourian embarks on the clip for “El Herrero,” which follows “Aurora” on the album and is distinguished through its light-touch percussion and interplay of pulled notes and strumming guitar, is that showing is as much a part of¬†his approach as telling. So be it. The title “El Herrero” translates to “the blacksmith,” and accordingly, the video brings a wealth of atmospherically-shot metallurgical works — infrastructure, gears, the things that make life go. One doesn’t have to look far to find the metaphor underlying, but given the folky context of the song, neither could one accuse the clip of overstating its case. Like “El Herrero” itself, it makes its point in fluid, human fashion, and moves on. There isn’t ultimately much more that would need to be said than it says.

Soldati have a new 7″ in the works (announced here) that I’m hoping to review sooner or later, or at least before the end of 2017, but the last few years have found¬†Chotsourian increasingly restless on a creative level and exploring multiple avenues/outlets for that restlessness, from collaborative one-off sessions to his still-developing solo output, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s got a few more tricks up his sleeve for the next couple months as well.

Until whatever might follow, you can check out “El Herrero” and the full stream of Aurora¬†below, and I hope you enjoy:

Sergio Ch., “El Herrero” official video

VIDEO OFICIAL DEL DISCO DE SERGIO CH. – “AURORA”
PRODUCIDO POR SERGIO CH.
VIDEO REALIZADO POR JUAN CRUZ TOMMASI Y LUCAS MARTINEZ

PIRAMIDE RECORDS
SOUTH AMERICAN SLUDGE RECORDS

Sergio Ch., Aurora (2016)

South American Sludge Records on Thee Facebooks

South American Sludge website

South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

Pir√°mide Records on Bandcamp

Pir√°mide Records on Thee Facebooks

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Sergio Ch. Posts Video for New Song “El Latigo y las Riendas”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Should we be surprised that¬†Sergio Chotsourian has new material in the works? Yeah, probably not. At all. We’re barely a month removed from his last video, an animated clip for the song ‚ÄúLa Historia de Hanuman‚ÄĚ (posted here) from his¬†2015 debut solo album,¬†1974 (review here), and certainly less than a year out from his issuing the 2016 follow-up,¬†Aurora (review here), but that’s just kind of how it goes with the former¬†Los Natas and current¬†Soldati and¬†Ararat frontman. Multiple projects, multiple releases in the works. Always something happening. Dude is prolific. From where I sit, that only adds to the appeal of his work.

“El Latigo y las Riendas” is the first glimpse of material post-Aurora that¬†Chotsourian has given, and among the things it tells us is that it seems like he’ll continue to keep his focus on solo work for the time being while still playing out with¬†Soldati. That puts¬†Ararat on the back burner as they have been for the last couple years as the¬†Sergio Ch. solo-project has really started to take shape around¬†Chotsourian and various collaborators, from¬†Miagros Arrom, who played on¬†Aurora, to his daughter,¬†Isabel Chotsourian, who sat in on a re-recording of the¬†1974 the track ‚ÄúLa Sal y Arroz‚ÄĚ (posted here) last Spring.

I would doubt that the version of “El Latigo y las Riendas” featured in the video below — which if the curtain in the background is anything to go by seems to have been recorded in a living room (presumably¬†Chotsourian‘s own) before being run through a line-drawing filter — is the final one, and kind of assume that by the time the track makes it onto whatever¬†release it does, it will be fleshed out some, though one never really knows, and¬†Sergio Ch. has never exactly been shy about giving his listeners a raw glimpse at his songwriting process. Or, you know, could be both, since it’s not like songs haven’t shown up in different forms across different releases, sometimes even different bands. One can never really be too sure. That’s part of the appeal too.

Please enjoy “El Latigo y las Riendas” below, followed by a translated version of the announcement that was posted when the track was shared on the social medias:

Sergio Ch., “El Latigo y las Riendas” official video

happiness is only real when shared… is a phrase that I stay in some movie. For those who are and for those who left us a message. New video premiere of Sergio Ch. “El Latigo y las Riendas.” Enjoy!

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Sergio Ch. Posts “La Historia de Hanuman” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sergio-ch-la-historia-de-hanuman

True, it might seem kind of curious that former¬†Los Natas and current¬†Soldati frontman¬†Sergio Chotsourian would dip back to his 2015 debut solo album,¬†1974 (review here) and bring together a video for the track “La Historia de Hanuman” when in 2016 —¬†working under his adopted¬†Sergio Ch.¬†moniker and releasing through his own¬†South American Sludge Records imprint and Pir√°mide Records¬†—¬†he put out a follow-up,¬†Aurora (review here). Generally one promotes the most recent release. My suspicion, however, is that the “La Historia de Hanuman” clip has been in the works for a while. Hand animation takes time, and it doesn’t seen unreasonable to think the second¬†Sergio Ch. record happened while the process was ongoing.

As is my usual position when it comes to¬†Chotsourian‘s work, I’ll take it as it comes. And frankly, I’m happy for the excuse to revisit¬†1974, which was an album filled with heartfelt personal emotionalism and grief¬†expressed in raw acoustic fashion¬†as well as an experimentalism and sonic range that¬†Aurora only continued to broaden. Sharing some of its tracks — including “La Historia de Hanuman” — with¬†Cabalgata Hacia la Luz (review here), the third full-length from the¬†Chotsourian-led trio¬†Ararat,¬†1974 found its maker coping with the loss of a parent and telling stories from his own life in a way that no one else could. I don’t speak the language, but those songs — once again, including “La Historia de Hanuman” — remain poignant and memorable. I expect they will be a part of¬†Chotsourian‘s repertoire going forward no matter where his progression as a songwriter might lead him. Rightly so.

You’ll pardon me if I leave the credits for the video in their original Spanish. I think even if you don’t really speak the language you can probably figure out what they say, and somehow it seems more appropriate than translating this time around.

Enjoy:

Sergio Ch. “La Historia de Hanuman” official video

VIDEO OFICIAL DEL DISCO DE SERGIO CH. – “1974”
PRODUCIDO POR SERGIO CH.
VIDEO REALIZADO POR JOAQUIN ZELAYA

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Sergio Ch., Aurora: Impressions of Light

Posted in Reviews on January 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sergio-ch-aurora

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to not think of Sergio Chotsourian as a kind of figurehead representative of South American heavy. From his work over the course of two decades in Los Natas and Ararat to the just-getting-started Soldati, as well as his Sergio Ch. solo offerings, other offshoot projects and collaborations, and the continuing impact he’s had on artists around him with his label, South American Sludge Records, the Buenos Aires native has positioned himself at the fore of a crucial and vibrant underground through both his own creative output and his commitment to helping promote others in Argentina and the surrounding nations. As the label has come into focus over the last several years and stood behind an increasing number of releases, Chotsourian‘s craft seems to have become all the more prolific for having the reliable outlet.

In 2015, he made¬†his Sergio Ch. solo debut with¬†1974 (review here), and Aurora follows that album and Soldati‘s first demo (discussed here)¬†as a late-2016-issue sophomore outing on South American Sludge and Pir√°mide Records. Like its predecessor, Aurora finds a¬†basis in demos that were posted online circa 2013 — for the title-track, which opens, and “El Herrero,” which immediately follows — but these have been rerecorded and mixed by Chotsourian (who also did the cover art) at his own Death Studios, built upon within themselves and added to other pieces to result in a six-song/53-minute full-length that’s still in no small part defined by its opener, which is presented this time around in two component pieces, each one starting a half of the album.

Granted, some of that defining aspect of “Aurora” and “Aurora II” might be due the fact that they are 19 and 15 minutes long, respectively. One is reminded of Ararat‘s 2012 album II (review here), which made use of the extended “Caballos” and “La Ira del Dragon (Uno)” to make such an impression with shorter inclusions surrounding. But the vision on Aurora is clearer in its structural intent and the aesthetic different, with Chotsourian joined only by Milagros Arrom on guitar and metallophone throughout, instead of playing as part of a full trio band. And the experimental vibe with which “Aurora” (18:55) and “Aurora II” (15:17) play out isn’t to be understated. 1974 had some undertones of drone but made its primary impact with more traditional folk-style songwriting; guitar, piano, vocals at its core.

“El Herrero” and “El Laud” work in a similar vein — the former punctuated by Arrom‘s metallophone — and each half of the record finds a more plugged-in, fuzzy and psychedelic finish in “La Heroina” and the instrumental “El Llano,” but even these feel far removed from Chotsourian‘s last LP. Really, it doesn’t even take getting as far as two minutes into “Aurora” for the shift in approach to be made clear, the title-track starting with a drone-march of a guitar line backed by deep-mixed organ, a fuzzier guitar tone emerging amid a threat of drums before a turn into the verse riff after four minutes in brings the first lyrics. It leaves little room for middle-ground impressions, by which I mean the listener will either be hypnotized or not. “Aurora” celebrates its nod and does not depart from it until about 17 minutes in, as the central guitar figure is overwhelmed by swirling noise and feedback (and actually that guitar part is still there, just buried).¬†Chotsourian has toyed with drone before, but “Aurora” marks the first time he’s brought¬†Earth-esque drone rock to such account. To his credit, he makes it his own.

sergio ch

Likewise “Aurora II,” the arrival of which serves to emphasize the mirrored structure of¬†Aurora‘s two halves, each of which begins with a longer experimental piece (the two “Aurora” tracks) and follows first with an acoustic-based cut (“El Herrero” and “El Laud”) and then a more electrified one to finish (“El Laud” and “El Llano”). Vinyl would seem to be the intent, at very least what’s meant to be conveyed, but I’m not sure the album would fit on a single platter in its current incarnation, i.e., without some form of editing for a shorter runtime. Nonetheless, “Aurora II” complements the preceding opener as the pinnacle of¬†Chotsourian‘s experimentalism, moving from a wistful initial guitar line and metallophone flourish — one is reminded of¬†Hexvessel‘s “Sacred Marriage,” though that’s likely sonic coincidence — through forwards and backwards psychedelic noodling into a wash of consuming and ritualized drone.

Instrumental in its entirety, its chimes, surrounding keyboard lines and opaque but still worship-prone soundscaping spread out as they go, moving further and further away from the earlier “Aurora,” the guitar line that started “Aurora II” and really just about any form of physical reality. What “Aurora II” shares in common with “Aurora” is trance and structure. Just as the opener held to its central guitar figure, “Aurora II” — while definitely departing from it in its extended midsection — bookends with that same wistful line, which returns following a stop at around 12 and a half minutes in to carry to the finish. At that point it’s hard not to think of “El Laud” as a return to ground, and that might indeed be¬†Chotsourian‘s purpose, but wherever they were placed in the tracklisting, there could be little doubt¬†Aurora would be defined by its titular pieces. That said, both “El Laud” and the fuzzy reaches of “El Llano” offer plenty of spaciousness in their own right, the latter finding a place within a drone more cosmic than that of “Aurora II” but not completely separate from it in its layering.

As the guitar on “El Llano” clicks off for the last time, kind of suddenly, the core¬†message of¬†Aurora¬†is underlined in a stylistic expansion for¬†Chotsourian‘s solo material. That is to say, if one was expecting a straight-ahead follow-up to¬†1974, this sophomore effort will no doubt come as something of a surprise. Taken in context within his discography¬†— particularly some of the breadth attained on the aforementioned second¬†Ararat disc — it’s not wholly out of place, but there’s a purposeful distance that¬†Aurora¬†puts between itself and just about everything else¬†Chotsourian has done to-date. That makes it much more difficult to predict where he might go next, but also allows this collection to satisfy on another level, both on¬†its own and in terms of the¬†Sergio Ch. catalog, which it would seem has only begun to establish the broadness of its scope.

Sergio Ch., Aurora (2016)

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