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Dark Sunny Land Reviews

Roger Miller [Mission of Burma, Alloy Orchestra, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic]. Oct. 29, 2008. I-294 out of Chicago.

Guitars, mostly. Abstracted, then reconstructed. Prepared, unprepared. The purpose is sound, not chord progressions and scales; but there is organic movement in every track. There are grooves, but nothing you would tap your feet to; time dissolving rather than time insistent. The results evoke environments familiar but alien: a hint of blues behind sheets of distant sound.
Ambient? Yes, but no new age. Psychedelic? Sure, but not 60s style. Industrial? It's there, but it's not bone-crushing.
You can hear the research as it happens, and its workings are intriguing.

Blog2Comm review of Kon Taan Kor

Funny that I'd latch onto this platter of solo avant garde guitar musings while right in the middle of wading through some Loren Mazzacane Connors burns that Robert Forward has, er, forwarded my way. Y'see, this Dark Sunny Land/Steve Painter guy is (more/less) doing the same thing that Mr. Connors has on a number of now probably op. albums you can't get no matter how hard to try to download all of those free files. Now, I think that Mr. Connors has recorded a few interesting things and of the very little of his material I've heard some of it can actually be downright exhilarating, but frankly I've been having difficulty "appreciating" those platters that were burned for me. They're just too brittle and abstract which is nothing bad per se, and I was more on the lookout for some of his less caustic musings which seemed to be born from the middle of some idyllic late-summer's dream (yes, I too can get gooey when I want in order to impress the old-time singer/songwriter ROLLING STONE-bred critic types!). Surprisingly enough this Dark Sunny Land disque is just about everything I was hoping to hear in Connors' solo guitar work...shifting electronic sounds with beautiful atonal melodies that contain a tasteful air of controlled chaos making this a whole lot more satisfying than most "musique concrete" I've encountered as of late. Yes, all of that without the horrid stain of trash art smarm and general underground elitism, and how much of that do you get these sickening days, eh? I used to get really annoyed by this type of post-music decadence back in the late-eighties and throughout the nineties (even into the otz!), but I gotta hand it to Painter for tackling the medium of avant guitar w/o succumbing to the cliches in front of or behind the mic. This Bostonian, formerly of 12-Cent Donkey (I'm gonna hafta give a re-listen to those old Slippytown discs of theirs hiding in my collection!) doesn't look like your typical chic underground music star with his thinning top (an inspiration to people like me whose tops have thinned ad infinitum!), round spectacles and longish fringe, but aging longhair aspiration looks aside KON TAAN KOR sounds as if it's at loggerheads with what is "expected" to be haute cusine for the listener with ears wide open which I can only take as a sign of better things to come somewhere down the line! The less lucid side of me might be tempted to remark that perhaps Painter is in reality Wayne McGuire and that Dark Sunny Land might in fact be that Intermedia-inspired "Shadows of Ecstasy" project he mentioned in his 1970 writings, but that's stretching things way too out of proportion even for this blog even if it does sound engrossing. Painter does have the ideals behind him that would fool the unsuspecting into thinking that McGuire might in fact is making a "comeback" of sorts...Painter's influences range from the likes of John Fahey to the Velvet Underground and Stooges, which are retty hefty Boston credentials if you ask me. If you readers are primed for the more avant moments of all these acts (and more...Painter also has an affinity for the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Blondie, DNA, Mazzacane Connors natch and Talking Heads!) you'll probably be more than "in gear" with what KON TAAN KOR has in store. Some of it does recall Fahey during his more experimental moments with the outer space bend of Sun Ra and Bruce Anderson's solo heavy metal excursions tossed in. But don't you go thinking this is more of that torture music that's been in vogue with the more masochistic amongst us. Even at its most cacophanous KON TAAN KOR sounds euphoric, and the electro/acoustic mix and match can even offer up images of Heaven during some of its more Hellish moments. It is a music that is really hard to "tag" but it is fun trying as you can see from this review. If you wanna learn more about Painter/Sunny Dark Land why don't you just skedaddle over to his myspace page and maybe even contact him in person to learn more about the whys and wherefores of his music. I did just that myself (went to his myspace page, not contacted him!) even though sometimes learning too much about the music at hand turns everything into Biology class and takes the fun outta it just like learning more about music in school almost made me appreciate it all the less. Whatever, this outta left field release just might be one to really stick to my ribs and become a top contender for best new release of the year...really, last night while I was reading the new BOMP book (review forthcoming) I spun KON TAAN KOR two times in a row and I don't ever do that unless I'm really impressed with a release, feeling masochistic or just too lazy to find another platter to play! The last time I did that was when FUNHOUSE played on and on a few months back, so we're talking heavy duty pleasure here and even you hardcore rock & rollers might be due for a little change of pace, eh?

Jersey Beat

DARK SUNNY LAND is the name Boston-based Steve Painter has adapted for his musical exhibition, and “Kon Taan Kor ” (gulcher.gemm.com) is the release. At first, I had it backwards. Using various objects (including instruments), Painter –- er – paints a soundscape that is not ambient in the classic notation, but it is rather harmonic sounds that contain a notion of melody without being linear about it. It’s sort of like walking in a jungle of sound. Each piece is an average of over seven minutes, which gives the noise enough time to envelop the listener, and to make some semblance of sense. Interesting to put on as a mood background when doing art.

Rocktober Magazine Monday, June 7, 2010

Gulcher) If you were in a movie and you heard this super freaky, atmospheric, blues guitar-gone-ambient nightmare music in the background...you will not be alive in the next scene. hope you got residuals.

The Big Takeover

The sole member of DSL is Boston experimentalist Steve Painter, who also moonlights in 12 Cent Donkey and JAS (Painter is also, in fact, a painter). Here he takes both acoustic and electric guitars, as well as anything else he can find around his apartment, and wheedles from them haunting, sinister sounds through a combination of odd tunings, effects and feedback. Tracks such as "The Coming," with its eerie guitar plucking, or "Shaky Spoon Blues," which sounds like a malfunctioning underwater sonar device, could easily be imagined as the soundtrack music to a dark, psychological science fiction thriller. But Painter's dissonant, yet never too loud compositions also have a strange hypnotic and meditative effect—perfect headphone music for stressed-out city dwellers who need an escape from reality. (gulcher.gemm.com)

From Blog2Comm – Best of 2009 Listing

ALBUM OF THE YEAR! Believe-it-or-not but there were a few good releases this year one would think I would have automatically chosen to top the list this year, Lou Rone's and that Meercaz 'un amongst 'em. However, if I hadda point out just one album that I would consider a favorite at least judging from pre-bedtime spins and whatnot it would be the DARK SUNNY LAND KON TAN KOOR Cee-Dee which I must give additional brownie points for since it managed to keep my attention with its amorphous creeping bent sound for quite a few many nights in a row. It was so good that it gave me the same teenage tingly feeling I got when I was about 18 and a good portion of the amorphous avant garde bent of the previous fifty years was making up the soundtrack to my ever budding phony-intellectualism!