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RV PAINTINGS - Samoa Highway

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: Helen Scarsdale Agency HMS019
Release Year: 2010
Note: second album for this Canadian Psych-Ambient duo (feat. one member of STARVING WEIRDOS), vast atmospheric "magic moment"- dream drones for fans of LABRADFORD or STARS OF THE LID, etc. ; lim. 500 incl. download code
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.50

More Info

"RV Paintings were born in California. Humboldt County, to be exact. It is nearly impossible to imagine their origins being elsewhere since the brothers Brian and Jon Pyle, who currently pilot RV Paintings, constantly mine the metaphysical properties of their homeland through a heavy-lidded psychedelia. The redwood trees that majestically rise from the rugged terrain may have been one of the endemic objects that inspired RV Paintings to "jam nature;" but Humboldt County's other major cash crop -- marijuana -- cannot be far behind. As much as the Pyle brothers channel a psychotropic animism through sound, their diaphanous drones and foggy ambient tangles spring from a schematic intelligence that belies any method acting of getting stoned and jamming in a room.

Samoa Highway is the second full album for RV Paintings, following the nature jam transmissions of Trinity Rivers published by Root Strata in 2007 and a well-suited split LP with Taiga Remains from Blackest Rainbow. Just as the debut payed homage to the rugged river system that cuts through forests and mountains of the region, Samoa Highway refers to the lengthy bridge that runs between two coastal communities in Humboldt County, one of which houses a municipal airport. A swarm of drone guitars announces the opening of the record on "Millions," with a shoegaze wash collapsing into rarified tone purity and bulging through a metallic buzz. Field recordings of airplane take-off and firework explosions punctuate the undulating bleary smear of the Pyle brothers' guitars. The result is one of levitation, even as RV Paintings seem to be plugging their guitars and electronics directly into the moss, soil, and mycelia of the Humboldt forest. Echo-soaked flutes, maudlin strings, scabrous noises unearthed from the bottom of the Pacific, and a cinematic arcs of guitar shimmer complete the beautiful and haunted miasma of Samoa Highway that falls somewhere between Taj Mahal Travellers, Organum, and The Caretaker.

Brian Pyle may be best known as one of the founders of the Starving Weirdos and records his solo work as Ensemble Economique. Samoa Highway stands the first piece of vinyl published by Helen Scarsdale Agency and includes a code for a digital download. Pressed in an edition of 500 copies." [label info]


"Two brothers, Brian and Jon Pyle are behind RV Paintings and hail from Hunbold County, California, home of redwood trees and marijuana. Bryan Pyle is also a member of Starving Weirdos and solo known as Ensemble Economique. The brothers jam about about to start with and then edit these out into fixed compositions. They use guitars and effects, I believe, and if I am to believe the press text, also flutes and strings. The recording quality doesn't seem to be something that they care about that much, or perhaps its just the pressing that is not that great? It moves into slight distortion which doesn't justify the music. Unlike many of the previous releases by The Helen Scarsdale Agency, this is drone music of a somewhat different branding. More improvised, more loosely played also, these drone based textures are a bit crude and bending the idea of static drone music, with its metallic scraping and reverb effects in the background. A bit like a toned down 'In Extremis' by Organum, with the addition of field recordings, buzzing effects and other obscured sonic debris. A bit more raw than is usual, and that surely marks a fine difference. Because its not top perfect, all the more nice." [FdW/Vital Weekly]

"Two brothers from Humboldt County are RV Paintings - one is Brian Pyle, whose name should probably strike a chord as one of the principals in Starving Weirdos and recently has been generating some impressive work under his solo Ensemble Economique moniker; the other is Jon Pyle, who occasionally makes a guest appearance in the Weirdos but also operates in Nudge with Honey Owens, Paul Dickow, and Brian Foote. For all of the method acting from the brothers Pyle in getting stoned and jamming, they have been remarkably consistent and consistently good in all of their ruminations, with RV Paintings probably the best that they've mustered. The RV Paintings debut on Root Strata is three years out but is still a timeless, gorgeous dronesmear of bowed metals and elongated guitar; this was followed by a well-suited split with Taiga Remains on Blackest Rainbow, and now, they've got this stunner on Helen Scarsdale.
RV Paintings speak about, to, and from their own immediate surroundings: the moss, mushrooms, and mycelium of the awe-inspiring redwood forests, the heavy fog that hangs at the coast and from their bongs, and the weightiness of the Pacific Ocean just off to the west. The title Samoa Highway gives the impression that the two brothers were on their own trip during a cold, wintery day, gazing off to the southwest and pondering the warmer climate of American Samoa. But no, the Samoa Highway is located in Humboldt County, connecting Eureka with the small community of Samoa on the other side of the bay which was thought to resemble that of Pago Pago in the mid-19th Century. It's also the bridge that would get you to the Arcata/Eureka Airport.
So, the album begins with field recordings of airplanes lifting off on the jawdropping track "Millions," as sitar-like harmonics and ghostly, levitating drones emanate from the distance. It's a perfectly narcotized smear of echo and drift, hanging in space as the remnants of a particularly lucid dream or the foggy headspace from an afternoon of smoking pot and staring at the sun. This is a track that could spiral onward forever. So nice! Samoa Highway continues with "Mirrors" driven by melancholy looped melody from a cello that dissolves into a flurry of shimmered guitar fuzz, whose shoegazed mantra has been submerged under centuries of felled trees and lichens. Cyclical patterns of samples from dark yet pastoral orchestral passages rounds out the album. If it weren't for the delicate freeform clamor of the drumkit, tracks such as this wouldn't be that far removed from the 'pop ambient' cuts by Gas. Citations of Taj Mahal Travellers, Organum, Grouper, Barn Owl, and The Caretaker certainly hit the mark. Music for airports? More like Music for California airports! Fuck yeah!
And a download coupon is tucked within the sleeve as well!" [Aquarius Records]