Without looking at the name on the record cover, it would’ve been easy to mistake this for a lost Nurse With Wound album. “Flight of the Solstice Queens” is a record that contains little bit of everything – ambient, krautrock, noise and it all holds together very well, but the truth is…Stapleton had nothing to do with it.
BSI is a project of one Chester Hawkins, a Washington DC native who started it way back in 1986. His arsenal of instruments include standard items like harmonica, Moog, bass as well as more exotic things like lightbulb guitar and bulbul tarang.
As for this album, its worth repeating that its a good slice of psychedelia/musique concrete/ambient/krautrock. It starts out with a kitschy, sample-heavy “Gezundheit” and ends with a long ambient track (which is the only disappointing part about this record, since it goes on for more than 10 minutes without much development).
Depending on a particular point of view, the fact that this album sounds so much like NWW may or may not be a good thing, but an experience that Mr. Hawkins provides on this flight/trip is well worth the price of admission.
Note: Listen to audio samples from the album and buy it here.
The Black And The Blues – Brain Science / Leftovers
Industrial/noise/punk crossover with barking vocals (and James White & The Contortions reference, I assume?).
Brain Science – Unfortunately, this another proof of the fact that simply tearing through a song isn’t enough – there’s got to be some variation in dynamics and whatnot. Plus, the vocals are fairly weak – indeed, the whole hardcore/punk genre is not exactly known for producing future opera stars, but this type of barking/screaming gets old very fast.
That’s not to say that there’s absolutely no value to this – there’s certainly a desire to rock and destroy hidden in there somewhere, but without certain ingredients to make it more interesting/cohesive it simply falls apart.
Leftovers – A collection of odds’n’ends that works better than “Brain Science”. Mostly its due to the fact that there are plenty of instrumental tracks on this one and when vocals are present they’re treated in all sorts ways, so its a lot more varied/dynamic than its predecessor.
Vanguard Villains – S/T
New York band that plays their own brand of atmospheric indie rock (with an occasional loud moment here and there). It’s one of those rare cases where neither vocals, nor the music seem to be mismatched and this is not an easy feat to pull off, by any means.
My personal favorite out of all the tracks is “I Could Save The Day” – its just got that grainy/lo-fi quality to it, almost like a sonic analog of an old photo. In general, however, most of the songs on the album are very catchy and I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard them on the radio.
If there’s one downside to it all – its that a lot of those songs are very emotional (not to confuse with emo) and sometimes it may sound like too much of a good thing. Still, as far as pop/rock/indie goes, this is definitely done with enough care to separate it from the rest of the pack.
VV are: Neil Matharoo: Vocals, Guitars / Steve Faller: Drums / Marissa Arciola: Bass
Further Points of Interest: MySpace Page
Note: Download/listen to album here.