Thursday, July 08, 2010

Out of the Dungeon XXI

Welcome to Out of the Dungeon, a many part series detailing a decade of NSFTM noise, hip hop, 'n' adventures from top No Sunlite for the Media scholars, historians, fans, 'n' collaborators. Medians share their thoughts on the absolute values of various NSFTM rekkerds, while we provide free audio streaming 'n' hi-quality file purchase of all the albums at our bandcamp page.

Out of the Dungeon XXI: Dead Dungeon Scrolls
The a-side of Psalms From a Dungeon
Discussions from Uncle Trip
[Psalms From a Dungeon was released on black vinyl
in a 100 limited run, accompanied by various inserts. A few
are still stocked in the dungeon if you want a physical copy.
Otherwise you can download the sound files here.]

Despite being one of the No Sunlite records that I had nothing to do with the making of, Psalms From a Dungeon is increasingly becoming the one that I would choose to share with the world as the most representative of NSFTM. Or maybe it’s not a coincidence that my favorite NSFTM records are the ones made when I am thousands of miles away. Writing about No Sunlite can be frustrating because it feels like I’m saying the same thing over and over. If that’s not a testimony to the presence of a singular, continuous artistic vision, then I don’t know what is.

Overtly religious and intensely spiritual, Psalms manages to tie those themes in with the everyday and ultimately educate the listener on a multitude of topics not limited to psalms. That being said, the first side of the album, Sideburn, is indeed made of renditions of traditional psalms and prayers. Truthfully, this is the side I have listened to more. These tracks contain NSFTM at their most pretty, in-tune, and on beat, while somehow sacrificing none of the noise, the lo-fi, or the honesty. These are the sounds of communion with God. Lastly, the compositions are coherent, yet uniquely structured.
<a href="">Laudes Divinae by No Sunlite for the Media</a>
"Laudes Divinae" is the solemn, yet expressive opener, containing Monica’s finest vocals put to record. She truly shines on this track and throughout the record. "Christus Dominus" on the other hand is anything but solemn. Here No Sunlite demonstrate the art of letting loose on the mic and not worrying about goofiness. What may come across as disrespect or mocking within this context is in fact just a more pure expression. Ignoring self-consciousness or insecurity frees the voice that much more. The track is also the first held together by steady drumming, lead by vocals, and completely riddled with pupples of all kinds, a tradition to be repeated throughout the album.
<a href="">Ecce Nunc Benedicte Dominum by No Sunlite for the Media</a>
"Ecce Nunc Benedicte Dominum", though, is held together by the piano, played with much sustain, rippled with pupples of its own, and topped yet again with unrestrained and moving vocals from James. In comes the classic NSFTM interlude in 5/4, “lift-up-your-hands-toward-the-sanc-tu-ar-y”, which leans to metal with the ominous instrumentation and distorted vocals, yet shifts into joyous indie rock with “bless the LORD” and then floats with the vocal-driven and exuberant “may the LORD who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion.” This section reminded me of Velour 100. Note that it ends with vocalizations of “meow” (like a kitty cat), reiterating the unrestrained expression.

Enter "Salve Regina", containing break beats, Zappa keyboards, and a choir sample, of course layered with pups n scrups - pure NSFTM. "Ave Maria" leads the listener through the traditional Christian prayer in 5 stages, some meandering and layered with noise, some with live drums at the center, all with layers of the No Sunlite crew singing with the utmost honesty. The string of psalms making up Sideburn is truly one of my favorite No Sunlite for the Media pieces.

-Uncle Trip
Somewhere between Virginia and Peru
July 2k10
Burning and Kicking Sides:

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