Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Black Smoke Rising

"Atlantic Woman" by Miles Devens 

I was standing around, stage left, at O’Grady’s on College St., Toronto, still fucking dazed from the Vodka Soap set of mystified tape-loops, glistening keys and shattered sub-melodies. We were having trouble finding the dreaded cash change for the cassette I just had to have for the collection, when thee man Spencer – he being Vodka Soap, half of drone-mountain-worshipping duo Skaters – did happen to let fall a CD-r from his cosmik satchel. He tried not to mention it, shy, sparing guy he seemed, but I had to ask, “What’s that?” because he hadn’t had it out on the merch table like his own cassette.
He told me it was “ATLANTIC WOMAN” by MILES DEVENS (a.k.a. IGNATZ), the first release for his PACIFIC CITY SOUNDS VISIONS micro-label that wasn’t a Skaters-related project. I was sold, I had that intense feeling this was going to be worth all $7 and then some, but I did not yet know it would be the single release that would most mystify, entrance and enlighten all mine damaged eyes for 2008.
Want a comparative triptych of touchstones for the lone island where this hefty little tome lay? For the more full-bodied spells, imagine Ashtray Navigations, Ben Chasny and Irene Moon all going for it with that transcendental feeling of ease intact, and really pulling out their finest unearthed jewels for the jams, too. The more isolated singer-songwriter prayers emit kinships with Boots/C.C./Snake & Remus, Simon Finn, Dave Bixby and other heavy spirits, rising up under clouds of blackest smokes. This album has everything sly dogs who’ve heard it all need to get them further out—psychedelic pilgrimages to the suns, warmest blankets of lo-fi-as-all-fuck recording, tender instrumental laments, trans-mutated organ accompaniment, barely contained feedback zones, moaning bowl-scrape folk séances… This is damaged stuff that’s truly riveting in its fazed beauty.
No track or contact information to speak of, only an insert written in Dutch, which begins, “DE TRANSISTIONS VAN HALLUCINATORISCHE KNIKKEN…” What else do you need to know? Google around, search for this mystic grail, seize it any way you can, and please harass your local underground label dude to slap this on wax.


  1. Miles Devens is Ignatz. But I don't know if you know it, because you compare them? Or maybe I do not understand? Or who cares?

  2. No, I didn't put the two together, though I recognized a sonic kinship... I found this out the other night from a friend, and I was pretty embarrassed. Thanks, tho, JB! I guess Sir Devens isn't so obscuro as I thought...