by Cosmo Lee

Like a scooped EQ, the market for CD’s is dropping, while markets for vinyl and MP3’s are holding steady or increasing. Steve Austin’s SuperNova label isn’t the only one going the “just vinyl and MP3’s” route. For at least one release, drone/doom/noise imprint Sounds of Battle and Souvenir Collecting has gone all-vinyl, with free MP3’s included. (alien8 is also bundling free MP3’s with physical media.) And it’s a doozy. “Drone/doom/etc.” – tune in, zone out, right? Wrong. I’ve heard The Crowned Heads of Europe‘s Witnesseth many times as background, and it’s pleasant as such. But hearing a record is different from listening to what it has to say. After closer inspection, I was amazed at how much I’d missed. Each track is distinct. “Vena Amoris” is a subtly pulsing feedback sculpture. “Broken Belfry” circles vultures around a distant timpani. “Sifting Sleep” builds to a big electric climax. “The Baker’s Sorrow” is fuzzy, warbling, and devastatingly plaintive. These aren’t just drones that were jammed on for a while, then commodified onto wax. They’re proper constructions, with layers and directions. They reward close listening. And they come with proper presentation. First pressing of 100, 50 with a “psychedelic foil insert.” (Click above to enlarge.) Vinyl isn’t cheap to press, so this is a labor of love from a small label with good product: in their own words, “Your Favorite Twisted Sound Boutique.”

Sifting Sleep
Timeslip in Colour

Sounds of Battle and Souvenir Collecting