Dark Sunny Land-KON TAAN KOR CD (Gulcher)
Funny that I'd latch onto this platter of solo avant garde guitar musings while right in the middle of wading through some Loren Mazzacane Connors burns that Robert Forward has, er, forwarded my way. Y'see, this Dark Sunny Land/Steve Painter guy is (more/less) doing the same thing that Mr. Connors has on a number of now probably op. albums you can't get no matter how hard to try to download all of those free files. Now, I think that Mr. Connors has recorded a few interesting things and of the very little of his material I've heard some of it can actually be downright exhilarating, but frankly I've been having difficulty "appreciating" those platters that were burned for me. They're just too brittle and abstract which is nothing bad per se, and I was more on the lookout for some of his less caustic musings which seemed to be born from the middle of some idyllic late-summer's dream (yes, I too can get gooey when I want in order to impress the old-time singer/songwriter ROLLING STONE-bred critic types!). Surprisingly enough this Dark Sunny Land disque is just about everything I was hoping to hear in Connors' solo guitar work...shifting electronic sounds with beautiful atonal melodies that contain a tasteful air of controlled chaos making this a whole lot more satisfying than most "musique concrete" I've encountered as of late. Yes, all of that without the horrid stain of trash art smarm and general underground elitism, and how much of that do you get these sickening days, eh?
I used to get really annoyed by this type of post-music decadence back in the late-eighties and throughout the nineties (even into the otz!), but I gotta hand it to Painter for tackling the medium of avant guitar w/o succumbing to the cliches in front of or behind the mic. This Bostonian, formerly of 12-Cent Donkey (I'm gonna hafta give a re-listen to those old Slippytown discs of theirs hiding in my collection!) doesn't look like your typical chic underground music star with his thinning top (an inspiration to people like me whose tops have thinned ad infinitum!), round spectacles and longish fringe, but aging longhair aspiration looks aside KON TAAN KOR sounds as if it's at loggerheads with what is "expected" to be haute cusine for the listener with ears wide open which I can only take as a sign of better things to come somewhere down the line!
The less lucid side of me might be tempted to remark that perhaps Painter is in reality Wayne McGuire and that Dark Sunny Land might in fact be that Intermedia-inspired "Shadows of Ecstasy" project he mentioned in his 1970 writings, but that's stretching things way too out of proportion even for this blog even if it does sound engrossing. Painter does have the ideals behind him that would fool the unsuspecting into thinking that McGuire might in fact is making a "comeback" of sorts...Painter's influences range from the likes of John Fahey to the Velvet Underground and Stooges, which are retty hefty Boston credentials if you ask me. If you readers are primed for the more avant moments of all these acts (and more...Painter also has an affinity for the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Blondie, DNA, Mazzacane Connors natch and Talking Heads!) you'll probably be more than "in gear" with what KON TAAN KOR has in store.
Some of it does recall Fahey during his more experimental moments with the outer space bend of Sun Ra and Bruce Anderson's solo heavy metal excursions tossed in. But don't you go thinking this is more of that torture music that's been in vogue with the more masochistic amongst us. Even at its most cacophanous KON TAAN KOR sounds euphoric, and the electro/acoustic mix and match can even offer up images of Heaven during some of its more Hellish moments. It is a music that is really hard to "tag" but it is fun trying as you can see from this review.
If you wanna learn more about Painter/Sunny Dark Land why don't you just skedaddle over to his myspace page and maybe even contact him in person to learn more about the whys and wherefores of his music. I did just that myself (went to his myspace page, not contacted him!) even though sometimes learning too much about the music at hand turns everything into Biology class and takes the fun outta it just like learning more about music in school almost made me appreciate it all the less. Whatever, this outta left field release just might be one to really stick to my ribs and become a top contender for best new release of the year...really, last night while I was reading the new BOMP book (review forthcoming) I spun KON TAAN KOR two times in a row and I don't ever do that unless I'm really impressed with a release, feeling masochistic or just too lazy to find another platter to play! The last time I did that was when FUNHOUSE played on and on a few months back, so we're talking heavy duty pleasure here and even you hardcore rock & rollers might be due for a little change of pace, eh?
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