Coming up to the end of the year, it occurs to me that there are a few records that have been kicking around my desk and home for a while now, getting a fair bit of play and love, but not much attention here.

Coming up to the end of the year, it occurs to me that there are a few records that have been kicking around my desk and home for a while now, getting a fair bit of play and love, but not much attention here.



A quick round-up today, then, beginning with the self-titled album by Zomes on the customarily excellent Holy Mountain label. It’s a solo album by Asa Osbourne from Lungfish and, like another Lungfish alumnus Daniel Higgs, there’s something a little arcane and mystical about the short, invocatory tracks here called things like “Sentient Beings”, “Crowning Orbs”, “Black Magic Band”, “Membranous Planes”, “Immanent Songs”, “Petroglyphs” and so on.

So far, so everyday psych underground. The Zomes project is quite different, though, in that it comes across as a sort of trancey, lo-fi devotional minimalism, with Osbourne constructing mantric, dirt-encrusted loops out of tiny organ, guitar and fx fragments. It’s a very subtle, degraded-sounding record, but one which has an odd and beguiling quality to it; imagine, maybe, Lou Barlow’s earliest Folk Implosion experiments taking on something of a meditative, Kraut-affiliated quality. Very good record, with similarities to the amazing Sun Araw stuff I must write about properly soon. Holy Mountain alleges, incidentally, that Osbourne plays guitar using Keith Levene’s tooth as a pick.

Max Ochs’ “Hooray For Another Day” has certain meditative qualities, too, though somewhat differently pitched. Ochs is the latest guitarist from the Takoma School to be rehabilitated by the mighty Tompkins Square imprint – it was he who originally composed their de facto theme tune, “Imaginational Anthem”.

Ochs is also Phil Ochs’ cousin, and he includes a ropey if touching poem in his honour among these elegant folk ragas and pensive guitar studies. According to the Tompkins Square site, he went to school with John Fahey and Robbie Basho, and the best things here – especially the tabla-spattered title track – wouldn’t sound out of place in their company.