REVIEW: Lower Level Bureau – Innerworld (2015)

Released on the Italian label Vollmer Industries in 2015, Innerworld is the 2015 debut album by the Eunice, Louisiana-based recording project Lower Level Bureau.

Recorded at Reverb Studio in Cuneo, TX, Innerworld kicks off with the massive 10+ minute track Rose’s Theme. Taking its Badalamenti influence straight, Lower Level Bureau otherwise connect the ominous link between Doom Jazz and Southern Gothic. This instrumental album is incredibly cinematic, with an impressive faux-natural drum machine sound, thick layers of synth strings, and audio samples serving as an effectively haunting human element.

Innerworld more or less exists as a Lynchian representation of the JFK-conspiracy within music. The album artwork and opening track Rose’s Theme refer to Rose Cheramie, a somewhat tangential character in the mythology surrounding the John F. Kennedy assassination. The music across the album is scattered with samples of the event’s news coverage.

A younger me, deeply into anything remotely spooky and arguably ‘real’ (unlike, say, creepypasta), would have fawned over Innerworld without hesitation. But now our societal climate lacks any practical social cohesion.

Since the album’s release in 2015 we’ve seen first hand the political manipulation, the tearing of societal fabric, and its devastating toll that have become the real world baggage to an interest in conspiracy theories, something that years ago could have been considered the interest of the gumshoe’s hubris, oddity nuts (such as myself), or just plain old weirdos.

Speaking of Twin Peak’s influence and conspiracy theories, does anyone remember X-Files?

All of this said, the JFK assassination and its mythology are, to put grimly, as American as apple pie. Perhaps Innerworld is a last call for our more playful collective interest in such topics. It’s a beautiful album, and one that expands upon both Noir and Southern Gothic themes within music. Maybe one day we’ll come to find it ‘fun’ again.

For fans of: The Killmanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, Angelo Badalamenti, Dale Cooper Quartet

Like Lower Level Bureau? Give these a listen: Malakas, Iosu Vakerizzo, Music For Sleep

REVIEW: Unseeing – Funeral for A Friend (2021)

Funeral for A Friend is the 2021 EP release by Belarusian Dark Ambient and Doom Jazz project Unseeing. Funeral for A Friend is an incredibly dreary and visceral album, “[a] story to tell in the dark” as described on the album’s Bandcamp page.

Not for the squeamish, Funeral for A Friend’s opening track My Suicide is an incredibly gory audio play of final moments and self-inflicted death by knife. Accompanied by light and clean Post-Rock guitars, My Suicide is foley straight out of a horror film. The track’s minor dialogue may push My Suicide’s imagery a step too close to cheesy, but ultimately remains the visceral opener this album needs.

The band’s use of sound design is reminiscent of Krypto Grotesk’s Post Urban Exotica, exploring the man-made’s relationship to the human. A notable example is third track Death Coming, which incorporates distant sirens (an ominous warning peaking our biological nature) and hospital monitoring sounds as transitioning fills in the track.

Enacting a Post-Rock approach to Doom Jazz’s solemn sound, Unseeing substitutes Doom Jazz’s more sleazy qualities for pure romantic-nihilism. The jazz aesthetics integral to Doom Jazz are subdued. Lightly brushed drums and MIDI ‘standup’ bass are only a light skeletal structure which Unseeing builds off of with lush synth strings and Post-Rock guitar tones. It’s a sonic distinction from the Doom Jazz milieu which sets the band apart and allows Unseeing to achieve their compositions’ greatest potential on the album.

For fans of: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mount Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, Nortt

Like Unseeing? Give these a listen: Krypto Grotesk, Slow Blink, Mogwai

REVIEW: Smoke – Smoke EP (2018)

Smoke is a doom jazz duo hailing from Toulouse, France. Their self-titled EP was released on November 19th, 2018 and as of now remains their only public release.

While the trappings of doom jazz are certainly there, the duo approach the emotional and cinematic palette of doom jazz from a very different angle. There is an almost industrial feel to Smoke’s use of synthesizers. Stripped of the doom metal elements of doom jazz, its mid-tempo swagger is fairly fast for the genre. Layers of droning organ and harmonica crawl out from under each other, gliding along side shuffling drums and musique concrète texture samplings.

At times, the album comes across as more triphop or post-rock. Cinematic mystique is achieved first and foremost with textural sampling; trickling rain, distant trains, and the creaking and squeaking of traffic all play parts as important as the meandering Moog synthesizers and haunting saxophones snippets.

While it might not be the crème de la crème of the doom jazz genre, I don’t believe it is trying to be. Smoke is a creature of its own nature, and in doing so they help expand the boundaries of the small circle we call doom jazz.

For fans of: Dale Cooper Quartet, Mogwai, Bohren & der Club of Gore

Enjoy Smoke? Give these a listen: Luna Honey, Lower Level Bureau, Côte Déserte

5 Twin Peaks Inspired Albums Worth Your Time

Twin Peaks inspired music is everywhere. By now, you’re probably well familiar with David Lynch’s 1990’s cult-classic turned pop-culture phenom. Whether searching for classic shows or just minding your damn business, Twin Peaks iconography is everywhere. Composer Angelo Badalamenti’s score would go on to influence the creation of doom jazz, inspired parody and thousands of musicians. Much like David Lynch, Resident Sound doesn’t like to be too obvious. So while you won’t see Xiu Xiu’s tribute album or the doom jazz stalwarts Dale Cooper Quartet here, get ready to strap in and hear 5 Twin Peaks inspired albums worth your time.

If you’re looking for a refresher, or better yet for someone to explain the entirety of Twin Peaks’ meta-narrative, well, Youtube channel Twin Perfect has you covered:

Now with that out of the way, here’s 5 Twin Peaks Inspired Albums Worth Your Time

1: Messer Chups – Twin Peaks Twist

Saint Petersburg, Russia’s Messer Chups are the campy horror surf scene’s crown jewel. Often interchangeable with Messer für Frau Müller, the band they originally spun-off from, Messer Chups’ Twin Peaks Twist is a 4 song EP of campy surf tracks. Starting with a slow then fast, off-and-on reworking of the Twin Peaks theme, the EP culminates on Eduard Artemyev’s theme from the 1974 Soviet Russian epic Siberiade.

2: Liquid Rainbow – The Blue Rose Sessions

In reference to Lil in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Blue Rose Sessions are a synth-heavy, spaced-out, post-rock extravaganza. Outside of just being Twin Peaks related (and tolerable), the album blends strange elements in a masterful way. Track Morning Joe mixes heavy vocoder-esque synths, jazzy drums and guitar, organ and banjo in such a way as to make itself almost as distinct as Angelo Badalamenti’s original iconic score. Pulled from the album’s listing on Bandcamp, “This album is inspired by the Art and visionary Genious of David Lynch and Mark Frost… …We’ll keep on dreaming and scrutinizing the Mysteries.”

3: Côte Déserte – Dale Cooper’s Case

Having more in common with its doom jazz predecessors, Dale Cooper’s Case is a piano heavy noir triumph. The half Saint Petersburg, half Moscow based duo Côte Déserte originally released Dale Cooper’s Case in 2011, and followed up the album with Strange To Look At Her. It Seems That… in 2014. Like the best (and all the rest) of doom jazz, the Côte Déserte Bandcamp page has remained more or less abandoned since 2014.

4: Silencio – She’s Bad

It says it right there on the tin, folks: “more music inspired by the works of David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti.” But all you need to do is press play and the influence is immediate. She’s Bad is part Portishead, part April March, part Messur Chups, part… um… huh… Actually, the album is stylistically all over the place, and if there is any one thing it can be called it’s Twin Peaks-y. Get ready for some twangy guitar.

5: El Sonida De Reposa – Pink Room / Just You

To pick a Twin Peaks song so notoriously hated and farcical and then decide to to record and press it to vinyl as a single has to be one of the more interesting choices within Twin Peaks inspired music circles. But what else is there to say? It’s a good record. If you ever wanted to hear a version of Just You that didn’t include Twin Peaks most-hated character James Hurley’s high-pitched awkwardness, well, this record is for you.

Honorable Mention: Black Market – Welcome To Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks reggae dub, anyone…?

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy Resident Sound’s Guide To The Fast Paced, Lighthearted World of DOOM JAZZ

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