At long last, the Visitations thread

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So discussion can flow freely from the various rolling psych/drone/freak threads. And also because they have enough releases now to warrant some further attention.

Anyway, a touch of background -- as little as is known. Visitations are a band from Portland, Maine, where the labels that have released their work so far are based. They're a trio, with at least one guy (Brendan, owner or co-owner of the Strange Maine store) and one woman -- all sing and, presumably, perform -- and perform they have, at various shows opening for other touring acts, but only every so often and by no means regularly. (Most often they appear as part of the running series of Strange Maine events, as the schedule of past and upcoming shows demonstrates.) There are no further credits at all on their releases so far -- no songtitles, no names, nothing. I've talked to Nemo at Time-Lag and he says that they're by no means recluses, but they are extremely wary about talking about their art and so far have not. This may stay this way for the immediate future, at least. They have no webpage, no MySpace profile, nothing providing any info on their label pages, and apparently no interviews have ever been done. It's just them and what they choose to put out, which by default makes this very thread the closest thing to a webpage they have, yet.

There have been three full-length releases, each titled after the band, one single and one spin-off album so far to my knowledge, and so here we go:

The first, self-released CDR, from 2004:

Self-released but distributed by Time-Lag -- Nemo said something in a mailout that summer about how he had a stash of these, and I forget his exact wording but was intrigued, not to mention taken by a nice low price, admittedly. There are apparently multiple covers possible with this thing, possibly each unique -- you can see another one via the only major review I've noticed on-line for any Visitations release, Steve Rybicki's take in Fake Jazz from October 2004. As the review breaks down the album almost completely I'll refer you to that for more information, but I'll just add that this is a lovely listen, some kinda combination of acid folk, uplifting country gospel, rough-hewn rambles and just alien enough shades and tones to intrigue for every new hearing.

The second CDR, released via Time-Lag, 2005:

I wish the scan could show it better, but the paper sleeve has an embossed 'Visitations' just below the drawing, which is actually printed directly on the enclosed plastic sleeve, while there's an owl on the disc and a small piece of paper showing a human figure (or two?) and the beautifully scrawled line "I wish we could look into the future" (presumably the album title but I've never found actual confirmation of this) along with the band name.

Again, Steve Rybicki steps to the fore with a detailed review on Foxy Digitalis. It is indeed definitely more serene in comparison to the sudden jumps back and forth on the first album, but is no less compelling for that, not to mention nicely ragged around the edges.

The third CDR, released via Kraag/Mang-Disc in 2006:

A flying squirrel at night on the front, a gravestone on the back, and a slip of paper about Kraag on the inside. As simple as that:

To quote Nemo:

three well placed boglins uttering vision and prophecy in the pines whilst staring out into the new england woods wishing each wind blown tree were actually some perverse, drooling cryptic come to deliver an important message, wishing each irregularly twinkling star in the night sky be their inevitable ufo taxi come to take them to their proper home in the cosmos. irregular stomp and bumpkin guitar strum twangs with futuristic laser blast, dinosaur scream, apoclyptic swirl, weaving in and out of song and space, and sprinkled atop are cracked voice sermons and echoy space girl softs and shrieks... killer new releases by our fave local mind-melters. untitled, with no info, as always. features guest id m theft able. nice totally handmade packaging.

id m theft able is in fact the feller what runs Kraag, where the Strange Maine site is hosted, so the alliance makes perfect sense.

The single was a very limited edition run in a lathe-cut 78 RPM format on Time-Lag in 2005, and I've no information about it beyond that.

Finally there's the side project from Brendan, under the name Garm, The Acid Skull 205:

To again quote Nemo:

sweet dose of ultra-cracked acid folk from b.r. garm of visitations. supremely warped, totally overblown home recorded lo-fi song gush strait from tongue to tape. riding with ease the fine line between irony and revelation... makes most of the new folk weirdos sound pretty damn strait, so you know its hot enough to melt yr face right off... packaged in a color paste-on fold-out poster cover, with one-of-a-kind ink damaged orange cdrs. also includes the tread-bound, 24 page comic book ‘the life and times of the seven seas’ which is the perfect fried counterpoint to the sonic goo. it all makes perfect sense somehow...garm recommends listening with the speakers pressed to yr skull for maximum effect.

Unlike the Visitations albums, this does have a little more information, namely some song titles (and yes, the "Symptom of the Universe" performed on here is indeed that very one, and a brilliant version it is). Handily there's an extensive review of it over at Kid Shirt which I commend to yer attention, while there's a shorter review over at the Unbroken Circle, quick but thoughtful.

Availability of all these is sold out or (in the case of the Kraag disc) close to it. Alas...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 24 February 2006 06:47 (eleven years ago) Permalink

you've piqued my interest, ysi their best album?

skca, Friday, 24 February 2006 07:55 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I have no real idea what they think about their stuff being circulated via file sharing, though obviously it happens. I'll ask Nemo and maybe post some individual tracks later...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 24 February 2006 15:05 (eleven years ago) Permalink

if they don't want it shared they should make more copies.

i really didn't dig their first release at all - should i be checking out the later ones?

baby, disco is fuck (yournullfame), Friday, 24 February 2006 21:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'd think so, but admittedly I R biased. Nemo is checking with the group to see if they mind my uploading a couple of tracks from each to provide samples, so hopefully you'll be able to judge directly soon! He's also confirmed that there will be a further album this year plus a 2 LP reissue of the original 2004 CDR.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 24 February 2006 21:46 (eleven years ago) Permalink

(Also, yet further word of a new spinoff band, Prisma, which is the woman in Visitations plus Sparrow from MV/EE -- nothing released yet, though.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 24 February 2006 21:52 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Okay, as approved by the band themselves (really!), here's some YSI mp3s to share, so grab them now as you can!

From the 2004 self-released CDR:

Track 2

Track 5

Track 8

From the 2005 Time-Lag CDR:

Track 3

From the 2006 Mang/Kraag CDR:

Track 3

Track 5

And from the Garm CDR:

Symptom of the Universe


So enjoy! Remember, you've got a week or until however many people download these things...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 10 March 2006 03:47 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i like track 2, funny stuff

o -- (eman), Friday, 10 March 2006 04:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I like it when they do that as well. Twee that isn't twee, if you will.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 10 March 2006 05:41 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i've listened to the tracks from the later cdrs and they still don't do it for me. maybe it's just that i'm sick of rattly, ramshackle folk-noise thing in general, but they don't really seem that special.

garm cover of "symptom"... uh... no.

baby, disco is fuck (yournullfame), Friday, 10 March 2006 08:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm very curious at the antipathy the "Symptom" cover is getting; I really like it myself! What exactly doesn't work?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 10 March 2006 13:34 (eleven years ago) Permalink

SOTU is one of the greatest songs EVER, so he's probably already working at a handicap when it comes to my tastes. trying to turn it into a shuffling, lo-fi version just doesn't really add anything of interest to my ears. it's kind of neat, but for me it only gets really interesting towards the end. i don't know, me no use words good, but i guess i was expecting a little more.

baby, disco is fuck (yournullfame), Friday, 10 March 2006 13:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Sorry, but this sucks the big one

Lecherous Erick, Friday, 10 March 2006 14:55 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I agree re: greatest songs EVER so that perhaps is why I like this cover so much -- it's interesting to me to hear how the song can be used so differently. (Keep in mind I also think black metal covers of Nick Drake are a fine idea, though I've yet to know if any exist, unless you count Jarboe.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 10 March 2006 15:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I *love* the MO of the Garm stuff. It's like the "poppier, acoustic" Dead C. The Sabbath cover works fine for me, it's a chilling song made even more eerie.

Visitations is good too, though. The shambolic clatter is a little faceless but I'm definitely enjoying. Too bad this shit is all impossible to get. I'm never first. Thanks for posting AND getting permission to post, what a concept!

mcd (mcd), Friday, 10 March 2006 20:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Hehehe. I figured it would be the right thing to do.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 10 March 2006 20:24 (eleven years ago) Permalink

This is not the same Visitations as has a track on US Pop Life Vol. 10 - Athens Experimental, is it?

mcd (mcd), Friday, 10 March 2006 20:36 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Nope, totally different.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 10 March 2006 20:37 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

My initial post is all ugly now for whatever reason -- probably something to do with the server switch -- but anyway, new Visitations album released via Time-Lag:

well, here you have it. maine's cosmic mystery trio captured in vinyl for eternity, just for you... while everyone & their mother seems to have some sort of bedroom folk/psych project going these days, you'd be hard pressed to find another unit as pure in spirit & process as these here bodies/buddies. one of those rare vortexes of creation existing totally apart from all hype, pressure or pretense; in other words, timeless. always balanced on that fine and beautiful line between cosmic joke & aching depth. a simple & unadorned unfurling of strummed & fingered instruments, heartaching female vocals, woodland creatures, earthy male vocals, contrasting half written & totally spontaneous songs, twisting lyrics, haunted melancholy, lysergic joy, and a heavy dose of spooked new england lore. in a way, the recording scene itself is an almost perfect parallel to the sounds & vibes captured here: three shadowy figures laugh & sing around a dim campfire. no ones slept in days. they're nestled amidst ancient stone buildings, creeping foliage, and mounds of exotic flowers. the sun is setting over the mountains. but its all frozen in time. the clouds aren't moving. and that campfire, it's a microphone, isn't it? and all those flowers: plastic. the stone: paint. is it all fake? well, it is an ancient stone church. and those three really are making some very sweet sounds. in fact, its almost hyper real. almost impossibly so... is that reel-to-reel rolling? yes, it sure is... exquisitely packaged with a fold out double thick duotone art paper cover. outside is white paper with edge to edge antique letterpress printed eyeball melting hyper detailed art by the band. inside is black paper with red/orange screen printing. 180gm virgin vinyl. numbered edition of 500 copies. zero info of course, but take a peak at the cover in total darkness for a special surprise!

very special art edition that's the same music & artwork but with totally insane deluxe packaging. this version is a custom uni-pak cover made from four thick layers of paper stitched together on a antique sailboat sail sewing machine. inside screen printing is multi-color. includes a bonus cd version in a special alternate hand stamped & screen printed cover. numbered edition of 88 copies.

digital version with the same music as the lp. packaged in a slightly altered mini version of the lp cover, complete with letter press & screen printed art, tri-fold duotone art paper covers, woven japanese inner sleeves, and a special surprise in total darkness. two cover variations, limited to 400 each, for a total cd edition of 800 copies.

~ we're still putting these deluxe lps together, but everything should be shipping by the start of next week at the latest... also, if you can believe it, there will be a CASSETTE version of the album available in very limited numbers soon, so you tape junkies stay tuned...

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 4 July 2007 23:20 (ten years ago) Permalink

Oh how I want that 78 rpm.

Mr. Snrub, Thursday, 5 July 2007 03:22 (ten years ago) Permalink

i picked up a visitations cd by the athens band. crappy in that special "this is REALLY WEIRD according to our friends" way.

GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ, Thursday, 5 July 2007 09:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

Somehow I'm not surprised to hear that!

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 5 July 2007 12:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

i finally got my hands on their first cd-r! i thought i would never get to hear it. it isn't my favorite by any means, but i am grateful to get it.

they are truly one of my favorite bands currently... and have been for the last 3-4 years.

t0dd swiss, Thursday, 23 July 2009 01:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

I haven't been fully keeping up with recent releases, if there have been any! Where are we at with those?

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 23 July 2009 01:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

To the best of my knowledge, they haven't released anything since the 2x LP on time-lag (catalog 037), but there is another one in the works according to time-lag's "future" page... self-titled as always.

That cd-r from 2005 might be my favorite from them, but it was also the first thing i heard.

t0dd swiss, Thursday, 23 July 2009 03:03 (eight years ago) Permalink

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