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Sweet Heavenly Angel Of Death

Magic Arrows
Sweet Heavenly Angel Of Death

As the roomate of Erik Kowalski (Casino Verus Japan), Scott Beschta banged out a slew of material in a short time and started the Wobblyhead label with him. Then, he up and left on rather short-lived trips to New York and the west coast before finally coming back to crash in their home state of Wisconsin. Wherever he was living (whether it be crashing on the couch of a friend or sleeping at a bus station), it seems his mind was always coming up with different ideas for music, and in the past seven years or so has supposedly recorded hundreds of different songs onto cassette.

Sweet Heavenly Angel Of Death is the first official release from Magic Arrows (aka Beschta) and it's a dense wall of lo-fi beat loops and hazy guitar washes that sound like what you might get if you crossed old-school Slabco releases like Buckminster Fuzeboard or Land Of The Loops with a My Bloody Valentine aesthetic. The release is a heady brew of twelve tracks that run over an hour in length, and while each particular track doesn't really have that many parts to it, the release is surprisingly intoxicating at times.

It's also said that Beschta takes samples from sometimes the most obvious of places and uses them for his own devices, and there's a familiarity to his tracks that makes that seem very likely. The album opener "Uptown Devils" lopes along with rumbling bass and a steady thumping beat while a ghostly chorus and all kinds of dark waves of guitar unfurl. "Judy's Theme" follows with a somewhat similar structure as another heavy bassline growls away as boombox beats chug away in the background while more washes of guitars and keyboards waft out across it all.

There are a couple places where the album breaks from that sort of a template, but tracks like the subway-buskerish "Stand By Me" just don't fair as well as naked vocals and guitars stick out on the release next to the more heavily-treated tracks. Interestingly, the album is at its strongest when treading in the most ambient territory, as tracks like "Buzz" and "Nervous" warble with dense clouds of feedback touched on by lo-fi goodness. As with some of the aforementioned Slabco releases, the major weakness of the release is that too often tracks just seem to get stuck in repeated loops without progressing much of anywhere. The eight-minute "One Thousand Dances" is a perfect example, repeating the same droning melody and rumbling drum machine beat for what seems like forever. In the end, there's still plenty of swaths to enjoy from Magic Arrows, but hopefully the next installment from the prolific artist will be even more judicious.

Rating: 6.5