(VxPxC)- Drapery Dept.

 

Recorded in a deserted movie lot office, this ghostly document shows the threesome in full family mode, with a guest in town.  The expansive six-member line-up rages distantly at the single microphone and fills the hollow air with a thick sonic fog.  "Ballad of the Empty Room" sounds as if you were sitting in the corner of the room and listening to three different bands play in rooms around you.  It is the sound of a Titan's lullaby, a massive drift of ice and earth across a sea.

 

CD-R edition of 123.

 

2006.   002.        OUT OF PRINT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kind words:

 

Terrascope Online:

 

Housing a CD in a square of rough sacking material reminiscent of British prisoner-sewn mailbags of the 1950s and 60s is probably one of the more unusual packaging concepts that has come my way in a good long while. Those responsible go by the vowel-unfriendly name of VxPxC and are a shadowy free sound unit who are based in Los Angeles comprising of Justin McInteer, Grant Capes and Tim Goodwillie.  However, for ‘Drapery Dept’, their debut CDR on the House of Alchemy label, their number was bolstered by numerous other willing hands including, if I’m not mistaken, the vocal presence of a pre-schooler, well worth his or her weight in rusks when the question of payment arises. Choosing to record in a deserted movie lot office on a “one mic – one take” basis, their sound contains few “real” instruments -  bass guitar and percussion rub edges with whirled hosepipes and audio generators - and from the very first instance, a feeling of nervousness and foreboding is evident in their scuttling and antsy approach. In fact, their titles, such as ‘Ballad of the Empty Room’, ‘In The Walls Tonight’ (with its monk-like chants) and ‘Caged Echoing Footfalls’ are pretty much self-explanatory, and could easily work as an instant audio storyboard for a prospective screenwriter raised on ‘The Innocents’ and ‘The Haunting of Hill House’. This should jolt the spending arm of anyone into the wild talents of Pengo, P.S.I. or that solitary A Band album on Siltbreeze. (Rumbles. June 2007)

 

Foxy Digitalis:

If one is to defer to stereotypes, a band hailing from Los Angeles should be creating music that reflects hard living: hard liquor, hard drugs and hard bodies (Note: I’m unsure of that last item; I must investigate further). (VxPxC) – both as a music-creating entity and as a collection of individuals – is proof that stereotypes are for suckers. The city in which Grant E. Capes, Tim Goodwillie, and Justin McInteer reside is a creation of their own. It’s a carefully constructed patchwork of people, places and things that simply happen to be geographically located in the same place as the City of Angels. Listening to the intensely atmospheric sounds they create, I imagine that the world of (VxPxC) exists outside of the trappings typically associated with LA. These guys live well, not hard.

“Drapery Dept.” is probably the group’s one hundredth release, give or take a couple of dozen. It’s also the second release from the promising new House of Alchemy imprint, which hails from Buffalo, NY. The disc is sheathed in a stunning hand-sewn and stamped burlap sleeve, a real treat for the packaging-obsessed (House of Alchemy is becoming well-known for their creative hand-made packages). The line-up for this recording was expanded to feature six members, including Tim Goodwillie’s young daughter Cat on SuperGirl vocals and good vibes.

Since the entirety of the source material for “Drapery Dept.” was recorded in a deserted movie lot office into a single microphone, the resulting songs are drenched in a natural reverb that lends the performance an incredible depth. (VxPxC) play the room as if it were an instrument to be manipulated – the reverberations are essential to the recording. On “Wailing Drones,” sleigh bells flutes and vocal moans set up what becomes a gorgeous opalescent drone, the perfect accompaniment for aimless nocturnal wandering. “Ballad of the Empty Room” channels Slowdive, but leaves enough room for a glockenspiel melody to infect the song with a saccharine charm. “No Bop Bop Bop” provides relief from the drone (just to change things up a bit – we still love the drone), featuring some Eastern-inflected high-register string plucking, minimal percussion and howling courtesy of Cat.

“In the Walls Tonight” sounds like it might be the work of three guitarists: one acoustic guitar providing percussive accents, and two electric guitars improvising around a simple three-note melody. Spectral, wordless vocals and a spidery guitar melody augmented by that natural reverb help “Phantom Dressing Room” evoke a sinister mood. Spectres dance around the hollow room to the sombre arrangements provided by (VxPxC). Lifting our spirits is the sprightly “Slow Breath for a New Morning,” which is constructed of intertwined guitar and piano melodies.

The music of (VxPxC) is emotionally charged, but in such a way as to evoke a variety of moods. It’s menacing yet comforting and solemn yet blissful. These gentlemen thoughtfully utilize a seemingly endless array of instrumentation to create songs that run the gamut of the human psyche. It’s definitely an experience not to be missed. 9/10 -- Bryon Hayes

 

 

Animal Psi:

 

Packaging! This one comes in a hand-sewn, stamped burlap sleeve, stamped CDr, and a handsome full color insert (plus the vellum!). (VxPxC) has been around the block, this last year releasing one million releases on two million labels - yet embarrassingly enough (I haven’t hear any of them). From what I’ve read, they are a collective of somewhere between three and six members, which may explain their prolificacy, and certainly explains the expansive and variegated compositions they present on this disc. “Wailing Drones” is actually far more than that, with a variety of voices conversing with a treasure chest of instruments - stringed and otherwise - over gentle crests of live drones. Xylophone stars in the gorgeous “Ballad of the Empty Rooms”, resonating next to where a child tap-dances as her family plays woodwinds in the adjoining room. “Hole Removal Plans” shimmers like a Labradford song in less of a hurry (if you can imagine), until “No Bop Bop Bop” breaks in with the exotic discord of Eastern strings, groans and tones in unrest, and under the conduction of a mischievous child. “In the Walls Tonight”, perhaps the best track on the album, features a simple theme played out through a thick organ tune, accompanied by a weary voice and spacey guitar. Synthesizing the album, this track conjures a swaying, lofty reverie over the rich textures of activity in the acoustic space, again reminiscent Labradford or a less danceable Polmo Polpo. Almost all the tracks meld together nicely, as when “Caged Echoing Footfalls” rises up, adding booming percussion and a near beat to the ethereal spirit carried on from the last. “Phantom Dressing Room” is a dark relapse into the creepy imagery of horror movie tones and swampy moans, leading into the final emergence of the “band” behind it all; “Slow Breath for a New Morning” sees primary elements (piano, guitar, xylophone) coalesce into a focused waltz which dances from the room. Recorded in an old, empty movie lot office, this album has absorbed years of echoes captured in the worn wooden floors and plastered brick. ‘Drapery Dept.’ is an impressive accomplishment for such an active band, and an early victory for the young label. Limited to 123 copies.

www.animalpsi.com
 

Smooth Assailing:

 

(vxpxc) are an experimental three-piece (though, sometimes they have more members, for this particular release the line-up doubled in size) who hail from southern california. the core members, judging by their myspace page, are justin mcinteer, grant capes and tim goodwillie. tim's little girl cat also lends her vocal talents to drapery dept.

the disc opens up with the excellent, and appopriately named, wailing drones, which is just that. well not just that, but you get me. this ten minute long track is firmly centered around warm guitar drones, but there's also the vocal wails in the background (they don't persist throughout the entire song), the sound of jingling bells and other inoffensive noises. occasionally, there's some shouting and talking from cat, which isn't as bothersome as it might be, and i don't like kids, so that's saying something. (vxpxc) don't change up the sound a great deal during wailing drones, but they do add more instrumentation to it as it progresses. the general feel here is a pleasingly blissful one. they continue the bliss-out with the following track, ballad of the empty room, begging you to harkens back to the heydey of shoegaze, minus the reverb soaked singing. this song rides a memorable synth line and does a terrific job combining catchier bits of music with more abstract concepts. no bop bop bop breaks out of the dronier territory and edges into psych-folk. there's some stringed instrumentation (pretty sure that's not a standard guitar) over swirling background noise and affected guitar as well. again, there's some more vocal work from cat, she's on probably half of the songs, but she's used sparingly and, on some of the tracks, including the opener, makes a pleasant addition. she brings about an innocent nature that can only improve upon the warm feel on some of tracks. in the walls tonight is hands down my favorite piece of music on here. there's some subdued vocals, mainly in the beginning, atmospheric guitar noise, harmonica and some very nice synthesized sounds making it the catchiest track on the album, without actually striving to be poppy. the next song, caged echoing footfalls, is pretty rhythmic too with its metal percussion and other pounding sounds. one of the things that i like best about this album is how well the songs transition into each other. it seemed like all of the tracks carried some element into the next one. for caged echoing footfalls, it was the synth sound from in the walls tonight. elsewhere, it was metal percussion. they're keen sense for segueing was a nice addition.

drapery dept. is the first full album i'd heard from (vxpxc), after downloading a ton of free mp3s from their previous albums off of their old website, and i was heading into this with the notion that it would be more rooted in psychedelic folk, not the case. there's a few forays in that direction, but it's more of an atmospheric album that you can put on and just zone out to, but there are plenty of moments here where (vxpxc) grabs your attention, preventing the album from merely becoming pleasant background music.


http://smoothassailing.blogspot.com/2006/10/vxpxc.html