Thing of the Day


December 7th 2010 

Combineharvester SINGLE: COMBINEHARVESTER – Some Ditty, A Mountain II (A Tree In A Field) - The threshing starts about sixteen or so minutes in, and we’ve been slowly building up to that subtly dramatic shift in gear for the first quarter of an hour of this lean and focused thirty-one minute single. They’re pounding away now, indeed not a field away from the rhythmical delight of some organic farm machinery that’s nervously aware of a sudden unease in the air, you better watch out, there may be dogs about…   All rhythmically dramatic and building and building in a manner that goes almost unnoticed until you suddenly find yourself caught up in the subtle rush of it all – “Cor! This is good!”.

Combineharvester are a throbbing two piece, based in Basel (Switzerland), original birthed in London, or at least Marlon McNeil, half of the outfit and a man who has collaborated, guested with or been involved in such fine bands as Trencher, Acid Mother’s Temple, Storm and Stress, Speck and quite a few more. Brooklyn, New York, is where the other fifty percent of the outfit originates from – jazz drummer and child of the 70’s Kevin Shea. Some Ditty is a half hour one track single released this month of their own label A Tree In A Field. Hang on, twenty eight minutes in and we’ve had a dramatic halting of the rhythmic pace for a whole new slant of ritualistic drama. The piece it appears was originally written for a memorial gig from San Fadyl (friend of the duo and drummer with Brooklyn-based Ladybug Transistor). The track has evolved since then, evolved from a fifteen piece solely for guitar to an “epical” thirty minute piece for guitars, vocals and drums. Apparently recorded using very few overdubs and sound pretty much live, “the idea was to create a non-drone. A drone, yet with a rhythm that again dissolves within itself”, and that is what the two of them have more than achieved in a very (very) powerful way. 

The piece starts off in a rather quiet, minimal, unassuming way and slowly slowly builds in some kind of tribally mechanical, organically natural, ritualistically hypnotic, epically mesmerical manner that demands you allow yourself to be sucked in and moved around with it all. A slowly coiling dervish of a tune, a droning non-drone, an eerie engulfing delight that takes your whole body with it on a half hour magical tribal trance…  hey look, dancing around architecture once more, mere words to try and explain the power of a piece of stunning music. Go grab it, clear your decks of all distractions for that first play of all thirty one minutes and go lose yourself in a very powerful piece of musical creativity… The track is out on two sides of a 12” single (won’t fit on one side) or it can be downloaded via the Tree In A Field website as one uninterrupted full track.tree in a field records

A Tree In A Field is a label run by Marlon McNeil, he’s been doing it since 2001, on his own in the beginning, currently “with friends and fellow musicians…”

Also out on A Tree this month:

SINGLE: FAI BABA – Love Sikk (A Tree In A Field) - Out this month as both a twelve inch vinyl e.p or a digital download, Fai Baba are an experimental blues based band from Zurich Switzerland. Actually they sound more like a psyched-out slow moving Sonic Youth heading for the swamplands of the deep South of the United States than the snow, triangular chocolate and the cuckoo clocks of central Europe. There’s three of them in the band and this five tracker is a slow moving set of atmospheric echoes and grooves - hang on, those sounds could be mountain echo daydreams (or nightmares) and maybe they do sound like they’re from the mountains of Switzerland after all? No, hang on, the banjo and the lo-fi bluegrass feel has definitely taken us South now – they have a rather fine sound, they enjoy the space and the time to breath, their blues are full of colour, their details are experimental, when they add electric they do it with glowing style. The press release tells us they’re three males, the sound of those vocals are a little feminine at times (but then so was Robert Plant, there are touches of swampy Zeppelin here). Damn fine three tracker we have here.

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