Thursday, December 6, 2007

Azusa Plane - Lou, Nico, Sterling, John and Maureen

(Burnt Hair, 1997)

Two lovely and entertainingly-titled guitar instrumentals from Jason DiEmilio’s Azusa Plane. The excellent A-side has a dreamy, rainy-day sound that is broken in places by a smooth sheet of distorted guitar static; it’s part Landing, part Flying Saucer Attack. “This is Not Spacerock” feels a bit more freeform and unsettling, its shimmering, effects-heavy notes – wrapped in a layer of lo-fi fuzz – crawling along in a druggy haze before quickening nightmarishly at the end. Good stuff!

Thinking it silly that a “drone guy” would select the 7” as a primary way to release his music, I used to chuckle at the never-ending stream of 45s that came out of the Azusa Plane; seemed like he was in a race with Randall Nieman to see who could crank out the most split singles (and yes, the inevitable Azusa Plane / Fuxa split does exist). But there is something to be said for what DiEmilio was doing. It’s easy for such an act to get lazy on CD or LP, stretching everything out to 10+ minutes and needing to care little about flab or self-editing. The Azusa Plane consciously chose to release a great deal of material on a format where the time constraints are relatively rigid, and applying that necessary discipline to the drone-rock genre made for some tightly-constructed records where no moment was wasted… these are often, incredibly, actual singles in the classic sense, just filtered through an ultra-psychedelic non-pop sensibility. Smart dude. Needless to say, it would be fantastic to have all of these songs – and there are a lot of them — compiled in one convenient place.

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