Agitated Atmosphere: Roy Montgomery, Hakobune, Boobs of Doom

Agitated Atmosphere
11/18/2016
Justin Spicer

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound locally, regionally and globally.It's nearing the end of a rather sullen, disappointing year. Which is why we need these releases more than ever. Seriously, read below and feel better about the end with Roy Montgomery, Hakobune, and Boobs of Doom.

Roy Montgomery - RMHQ(Grapefruit; 4xLP/4xCD)

It’s been 10 years since a batch of original Roy Montgomery music, so leave it to the Christchurch disciple to unleash four albums’ worth of material. There are hints toward what RMHQ is in the one-offs and teasers Montgomery has littered in the forms of soundtracks and splits, but nothing quite prepares for the wealth of spectacularly awesome moments packed within this box set. R – Tropic of Anodyne isn’t too far removed from Montgomery’s Liverpoolian sounds, morphing the 80s rock of the British city into a loosely formed view of industrialization and change in his now-native New Zealand. M – Darkmotif Dancehall is where a new, more grim Montgomery seems to emerge. The earthquakes that turned parts of his beloved Christchurch to rubble clearly has left a void that only Montgomery’s music can speak for him. And now after nearly recovering, the city once again must face the prospect of picking up and moving on. Darkmotif Dancehall realizes its naming potential, with a jagged edge cutting the vinyl apart with each spin, and yet the ebon repetition does produce a sort of slo-mo dance that gets one to move against their wallflower-ed will. It now serves as the soundtrack to another new version of Christchurch.

The tenor gets a bit lighter during the last two albums, though the hue remains similar. Montgomery has always balanced the tightrope between hope and despair, and the whole of RMHQ is no different. Montgomery is looking at a Christchurch changed; admonishing what was lost and admiring what has come in its stead. It also happens when Montgomery has something to say – with his guitar as well as his words – it’s worth the listen.

Hakobune - Impalpable Ashes(Ghost Organics; CS/DL)

Hakobune - In Arboreal Whispering(Constellation Tatsu; CS/DL)

Two new cassettes from Takahiro Yorifuji’s Hakobune project and two more chances to be uplifted. Sonically, the cassettes share a few similarities, but both stand as testaments to just how delicate Yorifuji is with his drone craft. Look no further than each cassette’s opener: “Airworthiness” (from Impalpable Ashes) and “Airworthy” (from In Arboreal Whispering). Both share naming similarities, but “Airworthiness” does approach its weighty music from a metaphysical standpoint. What makes a vessel worthy of flight? Why does air work in the way in which it does? The light, airy breeze of its dense drone flows over and under wings with such elegance, why dare ask such complicated questions that only beg rhetorical answers. Whereas “Airworthy” is far more factorial. It’s the daily grind of creating the body of a plane. It’s more mechanical in its delivery, but both share a commonality in finding the beauty in the everyday. One may be more philosophical against the other’s blue collar approach, but neither suffers from some grunt work or academic strain. This is what largely separates Impalpable Ashes from In Arboreal Whispering. Impalpable is far gentler and more elegant, sitting in a parlor discussing why something comes to pass; Arboreal is in the fields and on the line making it happen. These are the dichotomies of Yorifuji’s work, and despite his prolific career up until this point, this nearly simultaneous drop of his two dominant sides finally sheds light on the balance between the importance of creation and the inherent beauty therein. An airplane may serve a purpose, but that sturdy frame and scientific curves are also a work of art, just as Hakobune has come to be.

Boobs of Doom - (((WHITE NOISE)))(Self-Released; DL)

Getting handle on duo Boobs of Doom (who should totally come stateside and tour with #tits, yeah?) is a tough row. Blending thunderous drone, ascendant trip-hop, and dirty grunge, the melodies inflicted upon the aptly titled (((WHITE NOISE))) are tough to nail down to one genre or ideology. Boobs of Doom dare not stay in one sound for too long, for fear of beating it into a bloody pulp. Instead, they bob and weave through the dark muck of each noise they tackle, more often than not staying longer than intended to explore every crevice and pore of the victim. What begins as a friendly fight – where you can assume a safe distance as a spectator – quickly devolves into an all-out brawl where it’s every person for themselves. When all is said and done, your hands are just as battered and clinched as Boobs of Doom. It’s been a long battle, but you’re a little thicker, a lot tougher, and more able to take a few jabs to the jaw.

Justin Spicer is the editor of Cerberus at Tiny Mix Tapes and contributes to global online and print publications. You can follow him and his work via Twitter.

Related News & Reviews

Agitated Atmosphere Album Reviews

Agitated Atmosphere: Best of the Hoosier State

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmo...


Read More
Music That Matters

Music that Matters: Everybody Wants To Love You

Check out some of the KEXP DJ’s favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world on-the-go. KEXP’s Music That Matters weekly podcast brings you an exclusive mix of new music from the world’s best independent artists.


Read More
Local Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day: Golden Gardens - Extrasolar Heartbeat

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Af...


Read More
Agitated Atmosphere Album Reviews

Agitated Atmosphere: The Dead C, Loren Connors & Tom Carter, Blackrune, SKY H1, The Robert Bensick Band

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmo...


Read More
Click anywhere to return to the site