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Serious Frosting Batch 2: Drops, Ripples, Waves

by Lost Chocolate Lab



Companion album "Embrace/ Depths of Creation (Sunrise Chocolate)" available via Space Anemone: spaceanemone.bandcamp.com/album/embrace-depths-of-creation-sunrise-chocolate

Seattle guitarist Lost Chocolate Lab (aka Damian Kastbauer) hears eternity in a grain of sound. His music evokes the infinitesimal as naturally as it does the infinite.

Anyone following underground music realizes that the world's overflowing with lone-wolf guitarists creating “soundscapes,” imaginary film scores, and wafting ambience. So, it can be daunting trying to discern the essential players from the inconsequential hobbyists. Kastbauer decidedly belongs in the former camp, as his burgeoning discography proves. The American post-rock group Labradford had a lyric in their 1993 song “Accelerating On A Smoother Road” that went, “freeze time and take me back,” and that's what Kastbauer does with his instrument and effects.

Like more than a few Seattle-area musicians, Kastbauer toils in the game audio industry. He's currently project manager at Audiokinetic, and has worked on several popular titles. In addition, he's logged location-based VR experience with the renowned director of Revenant, Alejandro Iñárritu—specifically, facilitating sound design for Carne y Arena, a project about the harsh reality of immigrants at the Mexican-US border crossing. So, technology is at the core of what Kastbauer does, as his routing rig with 5.0 speakers attest. But even if the thought of gaming soundtracks give you hives, don't panic: Kastbauer's music as Lost Chocolate Lab is more about long-form transformations of headspace than it is the brief snippets common to gaming sound design.

You can hear Kastbauer's creativity bloom on two new, interconnected albums, Serious Frosting Batch 2: Drops, Ripples, Waves, and Embrace/Depths Of Creation (Sunrise Chocolate) released by Space Anemone, which were recorded and engineered by Scott Colburn at his Gravelvoice Studios over two weekends in the winter of 2018. Kastbauer sent a rough mix of the improvised "Drops, Ripples, Waves" recording to Anj (aka Sunrise Transparence founder of Space Anemone), who worked their own spontaneous magic with sackbut, organ, and synth in response to the source material. Further processing and mixing by both musicians resulted in a disciplined efflorescence of cosmic audio-sculpting.

Averaging over 14 minutes in duration, these pieces have time to evolve and accrue a majesty of canyon-esque dimensions. Despite the vast expanses Lost Chocolate Lab conjures, though, he and Anj are essentially minimalists. A track such as “Drops, Ripples, Waves/ Embrace (Chocolate Transparence Mix)” finds them wringing profound feelings out of a few well-chosen elements—a forlorn, fog-horny melody and a desolate, gently wavering drone; the result is like Fourth World Music trumpeter Jon Hassell in deep tranquility. This tendency toward building grand monuments from sparse materials is one hallmark of true sonic alchemists.

The guitar, of course, long has been a catalyst and signifier for rock showmanship, but Kastbauer here is part of a lineage of six-string specialists—Robert Fripp, Earth's Dylan Carlson, Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom and Jason Pierce, Flying Saucer Attack's Dave Pearce, to name a handful—who find transcendence in going vertical rather than linear, who liberate the instrument from its riff-mongering and hook-generating traditions in order to billow toward the constellations, where peace of mind gradually triumphs among the turbulence.

These two albums engineer a beneficial environment for meditation and/or existential pondering. As you listen to them, time seems to dilate and space seems to expand as your mind shivers to Kastbauer and Anj's ebbing and flowing tides of sublime tones. The grandiose pathos of “Drops, Ripples, Waves (Guitars, Knobs, Landscapes Mix)” resolves into a threnody for the slow-motion calamity that is human existence. By contrast, “Embrace/Drops, Ripples, Waves (Isolated Transparence Chocolate Mix)” conjures some of the purest, tabula-rasa'd tone-weaving you're likely to hear this year—a hymn to spiritual clarity. Throughout these two LPs, Kastbauer can't help making you think of his guitar and its effects as simulacra of clouds and oceans of sound, each source reflecting back on each other in an infinite hall of mirrors, all feeding back on and into each other in ever-regenerating cycles. It's music as solace for sensitive souls." -Dave Segal


released January 21, 2021

Damian Kastbauer plays guitars and effects & mixes on all tracks except "(cétieu's Rework)"

Sunrise Transparence plays sackbut, organ, keyboards, pedals on tracks 2,3,6,7

"cétieu's rework" re-interprets guitars from Drops, Ripples, Waves and mixed by cétieu

Guitars Engineered by Scott W. Colburn

Mastered by Nathan Moody at Obsidian Sound


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Lost Chocolate Lab Seattle, Washington

Guitarist Damian Kastbauer anchors LCL in its various incarnations. Currently operating as solo instrumental improvisations ranging from: heavily effected, strikingly minimal, and nakedly electric guitar. Past releases encompass: extreme noise, meditative ambient flute w/ Julie Kastbauer, and full-on space jazz working as a trio with Minneapolis drummer JP Hauer.

Ambient Music for Active Minds
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