Saturday, 6 June 2009


Black Petal / Pseudoarcana

New Zealand is the land where droning guitars seem to burgeon better than anywhere else in the world, as demonstrated by overlords such as Peter Wright and Rosy Parlane. Another man from that country – Anthony Milton, curator of Pseudoarcana – confirms his advanced position in this sector thanks to this artefact realized in 2005 with fellow guitarist Anthony Guerra (from Australia – the air currents are the same) under the Paper Wings logo. The material was “recorded in a small room on a winter’s day”, yet it launches blazing darts of long-reverb howling distortion with which the men in question inflame and exasperate the notion of nearly motionless wailing, titillating disjointed chords and barely conceivable overtones until they’re transformed in divine violins played with a chainsaw.

If one listens to the record via headphones, the sharp richness deriving from the conflicting upper partials (also enhanced by a slight detuning of some of the strings, supposedly deliberate) will be probably lost, not to mention your hearing. This is music that necessitates to be enjoyed with considerable help from the walls and corners of a large space in order to let tonal butterflies spotted with hundreds of strange colours start fluttering around, overdriven feedback or not. The temperament of the album is informed by a feel of reclusive shyness, in turn symbolized by its harmonic content: saturation a go-go, cleaner arpeggios, nervous strumming, everything Guerra and Milton decide to utilize expresses moods placed halfway through desperate helplessness and celestial providence. It takes a while to acknowledge the unpolished beauty of Ash Field, but once you get to the point it offers plenty of affecting exhalations.