SDM Records Announces the New Album Is Land from The Vardaman Ensemble
SDM Records and The Vardaman Ensemble are thrilled to announce the release of the project’s second full length album and first cassette release, Is Land, available everywhere on March 1, 2018.
Is Land is an instrumental, tightly rhythmic, guitar and horn driven post rock concept album heavily influenced by krautrock, avant jazz, experimental soundscapes,
to be released by SDM Records on March 1, 2018 at The Know in Portland, OR with Young Hunter & Sea Moss. – https://www.facebook.com/events/156267268466432
The Vardaman Ensemble came together around the beginning of 2015 to play instrumental music after tiring of the need for communication via the slippery notion of words. The members have been playing around Portland for the last decade. Their music is based on the maxim “fusion in relation to doom, distortion in relation to breath, and spazz in relation to prog.”
The Vardaman Ensemble has released two albums independently. Is Land is being released in cooperation with SDM Records from Portland, OR. The individuals who make up the band are HL, Shampton, Eric, and the newly added Zen. Is Land is an album based around a future documentary Badvugum: Everything’s Imagined Here (released in 2028 and directed by Martin Denny) which explores the historical narrative of Badvugum’s main island, Lahrir, and the island’s inhabitants living in a world imagined into existence.
The Vardaman Ensemble do this without words winding through post rock, krautrock, stoner metal, prog rock, minimalism, noise, and fusion while featuring heavy start-stop guitar riffs, sax, french horn, strange noises, and incredibly precise percussive work. Could this ambitious musical concept and narrative possibly sound something like Can, Boris, Boredoms, and Franco Battiato? SDM Records says “Yes, of course!”
From the documentary Badvugum: Everything’s Imagined Here (directed by Martin Denny [2028; Cambridge MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Documentary Lab], DVD):
Lahrir, as well as the other islands of Badvugum, was discovered in 2023 by scientists at both MIT and ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) working together on the existence of alternate realities via quantum mechanical algorithms. What they discovered is that through the act of imagining an alternate reality, society had created a very real place consisting of various islands that harden and disintegrate based on the amount of energy expelled to imagine them. Badvugum is an actual place of pure imagination. However, because our imaginations are colored by what we actually know, places like Lahrir are made up of the culture, science, geography, etc. of Earth and its inhabitants. [The inhabitants of Lahrir] have told us of their history, of the everyday actions on the island, of the quality of its atmosphere and geography, of the flora and fauna, and of the dreams and nightmares of the population. In most ways, Lahrir is simply a mirror image of our own world, albeit an image that is refracted and then viewed with all of the images of our world mixed up and recombined without our individual prisms of both conscience and consciousness.
SDM Records (short for SadoDaMascus Records) was born out of a collective of Portland, OR based producers and artists collaborating under the moniker and eventual company Sonic Debris Multimedia. The label officially launched in the summer of 2012 with a string of compilation releases focusing primarily on artists from the Pacific Northwest (almost entirely from a tight knit group of friends and peers) with common unifying elements in the artists’ music including (but not limited to) the use of digital and analog electronics, a penchant for experimentation, a lack of reliance on traditional song structures, free-form or improvisational approaches, an appreciation of the absurd, a tendency towards the surreal, open ears, boundless will, and adventurous attitudes.
To date, SDM Records has released 43 album, of which 25 are cassettes, 11 on CD, and 7 being strictly digital and has spearhead several themed release series including: the seasonal , twice yearly Copulation Series, a 9 part compilation and show event highlighting Portland artists both established and up-and-coming), the Hotel Series which focused on limited cassette/video live recordings of town artists performing in Portland, and the DEC15EMBER Series, a five part limited cassette showcase inspired by Warp Records’ Artificial Intelligence Albums that presented local electronic music throughout December of 2015 with in the context of a connected visual and release format.
Recent additions to our deep, varied, and ever evolving catalog include cassettes from Dr. Burtrum, Electro-Kraken, FAXES, Body Shame, Eaton Flowers, Halfbird, and, of course, The Vardaman Ensemble. 2018 will feature Gooo’s second full length tape release, a cassette debut from ex-Big Nasty Bill & the Deans member, DEAN, Ras Mix’s third full length cassette, and a planned leap into the world of vinyl LPs!
The Vardaman Ensemble’s Past Releases: