Friday, August 30, 2019

Record Review //
Sontag Shogun
"It Billows Up"
(Youngbloods)


$20 //
https://sontagshogun.bandcamp.com/album/it-billows-up-lp //

A sound of water running, like we are filling up the bathtub is how this record starts.   Quietly it purrs now and you can feel like you're outside as a motorbike speeds by in sound only.    I definitely feel like I hear traffic as angelic tones come in and create a solemn and sad mood now.    It's a piano and it makes it feel like electronic post rock.    Very serious, a very grave situation and you can hear a voice in the background such as a child.    Cars continue to pass by. 

Words are spoken like an audio clip and beeps come through like Wall-E.    There is some singing mixed in with this now and it reminds me of Blue October.    An angelic, uplifting piece of music is playing right now, somewhat droning but always rising to the occasion.    The pace builds and it's a gallop now.  We're riding this horse and we might not know exactly where we're headed but that's okay.

Notes like a guitar are coming through now as this has the feeling of being somewhere crowded.    It has a certain feel to it which could be somewhere between a Japanese restaurant or a banjo being played.   Voices are manipulated and it feels more like somewhere in Japan than the swampland but I might be partial to one style over the other, one culture in a sense, and you might hear something else but it does get these higher pitched frequencies as well, which will likely upset dogs.

The words are talking about an ice age now and it feels like we're changing stations on the radio as those high pitched tones not-friendly to dogs come through with the static.    A crowd cheers and the beeps come in solo now, mostly by themselves. 

"Song No. 5" is actually in the fourth spot and it begins with this beautiful piano movement.    Singing comes in, but without words- more like chanting- and this is just so calm and relaxing.    It takes me back to that sound I heard earlier and compared with Blue October, as there are few artists to otherwise compare this music with.    I also believe the earlier part I thought was Japanese could be because this is called "Sontag Shogun" even though in my mind I sometimes read the artist name as "Sontag Shotgun".

Ringing, glowing hues start things off on the titular track.   Pianos return as do the vocals without words.    As it builds, climbs, so do the vocals.   It all ascends at the same time, lifting your spirits.   Whooshing and whirring, this one has built up to where it's almost in this industrial plane and it just feels like it's gone from this small idea, like a fleck of dirt on your computer screen and now it has become the entire screen.    Words like an audio clip are chopped at first but then come through in full.

People are talking now as there are whistles and it has this feeling somewhere between birds, insects and the swings on a playground.   They're talking about modern technology and you can hear the cars pass by.   The middle class doesn't have all the answers, only God does.   And now the person who was talking is singing and laughing.   He's listing off wars when the song comes to an end.

Words are spoken over a loudspeaker and this always makes me think we're in an airport.   Dramatic tones come in with other speaking roles and then this piano part which just makes it feel like we've boarded the plane and are about to take off.    There is singing now and I feel like there are words this time.    It feels somewhere between a chant and classic rock though.   Underneath it all, if you really listen, there is a folk sense to it.    The piano moves and waves crash.   The drumming really picks up now and the singing is without words but it is the focal point in many ways.

As it reaches its end, there is an audio clip of someone speaking and it sounds like an audio book which also happens to be instructional.  It's not in English, but I imagine it as some book teaching someone how to count, for example, and then it stops like a cassette which has reached the end, makes the rewind sound and stops again which is my favorite way for anything to end (automatic rewind!) but also leaves me slightly confused.









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