Sun Angle

Sun Angle is an avant-garde rock outfit from Portland, Oregon in the USA, comprised of Charlie Salas-Humara (vocals/guitar), Marius Libman (bass) and DavidPapi” Fimbres (drums).  

Sun Angle - Dream rock from the USA

Sun Angle – photo © Todd Walberg

Charlie Salas-Humara you are thinking – yes he was reviewed as a solo artist, also by Robbie earlier today.

Released on May 7th, the trio’s debut album Diamond Junk is a fusion of styles and experimentalism while still managing to remain cohesive and enjoyable.

The opening track Raspberry is a marvellous mixture of fast-paced drumming, psychedelic guitar work and convoluted vocal melodies. A wonderful start to an album, Raspberry also features a glorious video which contains memorable and hideous scenes from movies played out in a line-art style, which works well with the music to deliver a creepy experience not to be missed.

Thankfully the album doesn’t let up on the quality and craftsmanship afforded by the first track, and each one really is strong and unique in its own right. The slinky bass-lines and frenetic percussion of title track Diamond Junk are soon joined by jagged, dissonant and playful guitar runs, daring the listener to delve deeper into the sonic vistas of Sun Angle. At the end of the album lurks Vague Light, a track which comes across as the dreamy love-child of Tame Impala and a vintage tape delay machine, before ending on a frantic crescendo of guitar and synth.

I recommend Diamond Junk to anyone with a taste for experimental rock which gets to the point and doesn’t stray too far up its own arse. Each track is a tight composition with its own character, and the production is very crisp.

This band is something of a “supergroup” of artists local to the Portland area, as all three are well known within the locale: Salas-Humara is recognised for various projects including Panther, Grapefruit and The Planet The; While Libman is the man behind electro-pop outfit Copy and Fimbres is better known for the experimental electronica he produces under the name Paper/Upper/Cuts. I hope to hear more from Sun Angle soon and perhaps see them perform if they cross the pond to the UK… Or I find myself with a ticket to the US!

website

Diamond Junk – Sun Angle is available on iTunes*

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Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a solo project from highly motivated musician Charlie Salas-Humara. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, in the USA, Salas-Humara is also known for his dance/math hybrid The Planet The, chaotic pop creation Panthers, the experimental Regular Music and hyperactive trio Sun Angle. There is an EP and three albums on the artist’s Bandcamp page, all under the Grapefruit moniker for the exception of one – Pinks Quieter, a name which functions both as an artist and album title. Salas-Humara explains this distinction is due to the Pinks Quieter material being so different from Grapefruit, which it most definitely is. Anyway, enough of the boring stuff – let’s get down to business.

Grapefruit - dream rock from the USA

Grapefruit

Thanks again to Robbie for the review –

Experimental, infectious, dark and dreamy; these are the first four words that come to mind when describing 2012’s Pinks Quieter, the first album from Salas-Humara available on Bandcamp.


From its exciting sampled drumming and meandering melodies, there’s definitely something special about this release, which manages to be both beautiful and twisted in equal measure. Each song is distinct in its own right, requiring just a few seconds before they work their way into your soul. The percussion in the album is reportedly ripped from YouTube videos, and relate to a genre of music known as “go-go”, which is essentially a highly syncopated form which originated in Washington DC during the mid-1960s.

This material comes across to me as somewhat dub-influenced, and reminds me of De Facto’s hypnotic blend of dub and psychedelia. Equal parts psychedelic, ambient and wistful, Pinks Quieter manages to sound fresh yet somehow familiar. Of note is the opening track Zero Zero, which features psyche guitar licks (at least I think it’s a guitar) and a lovely off-kilter drum beat before layers of droned vocals brings things to a close.

Next up is Twin Reflections, released a mere two months later than the last. Continuing with the electronic vibe but dropping the sampled go-go percussion, the album is not as immediately striking as the last but stands on its own as a quest into the joys of electronica. Synth is the order of the day here; from fluttering melodies and repeating arpeggios there are enough layers here to happily float away to on a warm Summer’s day. At times the music is reminiscent of a soundtrack, with Being and Nothingness giving off that feeling of epic discovery which would go perfectly with a videogame or sci-fi TV series.

There is a lot of emotional depth present in these pieces, with On Her Majesty suggesting an air of loneliness and melancholy with a touch of the futuristic about it, a strangely satisfying combination for me at least.

Finally there’s Escaper, which was released June 2013 and once more eschews the samples of Pinks Quieter in favour of purely electronic escapades. In certain tracks there are more percussive elements as can be witnessed in the  eponymous opening track and Colour of Water, the latter of which features a tribal beat which works well with the overlaid dreamy synths.

Both Twin Reflections and Escaper feel like two halves of the same whole, enjoyable though for me not as distinctive and gritty as Pinks Quieter.

I would recommend Grapefruit to anyone with an interest in dreamy electronic music, this is definitely the kind of material you want to melt away in the background while you write essays or do the washing up. And there’s no excuse for not checking it out as all of the material listed is available for free online. Have fun!

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