"Jeffrey Alexander – Meditations for Beowulf (Feeding Tube)
Feeding Tube continues to champion some of the greatest underground weirdos around. Case-in-point, Jeffrey Alexander, lead of Dire Wolves, and a man with a long legacy in the DIY music scene since the 90s. The Dire Wolves crew has been busy this year. Their Grow Towards the Light stands out as a highlight of their prolific output. The jams found on that album are definitely tempered on this solo excursion from Jeffrey Alexander. Plethora of instrumentation including string bells, bamboo saxophone, singing bowl, fife and a talking book phonograph (!) fill out a trippy album of psychedelic meanderings. This truly is “celestial navigation music”. - Philosophy Of The World, Best-Albums-Of-2019 !

"I feel Jeffrey Alexander’s music has only tangentially graced our shores…we heard one compilation by The Iditarod, and have a little passing familiarity with Black Forest / Black Sea, but everyone says that Dire Wolves from San Francisco are really the thing to investigate. Alexander is also a mover-and-shaker for doing useful things like organising festivals and gigs and running the labels Secret Eye Records and Pome Pome Tones. He’s here today with Meditations For Beowulf (FEEDING TUBE RECORDS FTR470), which turns out to be a surprisingly varied, compelling, and gently trippy record of tunes, instrumentals and songs. A lot to savour in his very natural approach to picking up instruments and making noises in the recording studio, such that you soon forget this is a solo album – I mean it sparkles with life, warmth, and ideas, and is not mired in introspective threads or cobwebs.
Fave piece is probably the long track ‘Iridescent Clouds’, which might use keyboards and guitars or other stellar means to create a beautifully de-centred and muzzy drone-field of highly cosmic dimensions. Especially like the way this one sidesteps, or just plain avoids, anything resembling the hint of a melody. Elsewhere ‘Tranquility 1’ has the compelling mood of a 1970s Eno LP track, but he can’t help lapsing into picking out a sketchy tune on one of the many instruments that swirl in this pot of fudge. ‘New Magic’ seems best to fit the theme of Beowulf (if indeed one was intended) as it resembles krumhorns from a lost medieval past come to visit today’s uncertain climes, with a message we can’t begin to comprehend. The two actual songs, ‘Beowulf’s Trip’ and ‘Sunsplash Your Mind’ are the least convincing moments for me somehow, in spite of their well-crafted Red Krayola vibe; the singing voice just a shade too weak, the tunes under-nourished. Even so, this is a real charmer. From 27 June 2019." - The Sound Projector, UK

"Its already been a pretty impressive year from Jeffrey Alexander. The recently released Dire Wolves album is fresh in RSTB’s best of the year and he’s got a solo jaunt on the way from Feeding Tube. This time the maelstrom that marked Grow Towards The Light is tempered. Instead, the album explores solo sojourns through the dark, favoring instrumentals that scrape at the corner debris of psychedelia and churn the subconscious a turn or two while they’re at it. Alexander’s pieces creep through the echo, delicate and dewy with hope in some spots (“Rewinding”) but more often creeping with eerie unease. There’s a dusting of crackle and hiss, not unlike The Caretaker’s most recent explorations into the trauma and trials of dementia, only here the forlorn linger of jazz halls is replaced with a lost echo of bittersweet psych-folk. The memories crumble on like a found hurdy gurdy left to rot in the woods, revived by the ghosts of an intangible past.
Wedged between these pieces, Alexander also places two top-shelf psych stunners that don’t go the instrumental route. Traveling down a bit of the Golden Road, he divines the midnight, pre-dawn shivers that would wear well on any release on Child of Microtones. Both songs are haunted and hushed, driven by firelight and solitude. Its a nice companion for recent releases by Ash & Herb and Wet Tuna, among others – a mountain pass primer of nocturnal psychedelic bliss. As usual, both Alexander and Feeding Tube don’t disappoint." - Raven Sings The Blues

"On his latest offering, Water Meditations, Jeffrey explores churning swirls of shruti box drones, chord-organ moods, the noisy spices of a cracklebox and synthesizer, and some light acoustical accents from a marimba and psaltery. Each instrument equally contributes for a truly transformative performance, placing the listener’s mind in the clouds, and their soul in the streams." - Tiny Mix Tapes
- Byron Coley, The Wire 

"ASTRAL TRAVELER - the title alone reeled me in, and then the artwork - dissipating contrails, cirrus clouds and lens flare forming an ever gazing galactic eye of sorts - well that pretty much finished me off before i even hit play, then the music proceeded to obliterate my thin veil of consciousness like NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS' DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS otherworldly longform drone on side one with a huge warbly tone swirling around a faint reverberating keyboard motif, then side kicks back with a BADFOOT BROWN / ALICE COLTRANE / PHAROAH SANDERS smoked out late night cosmic drone jazz improv session laced with some cool in-and-out avant guitar stuff - how is this just one dude?" - Psi Lab

"Jeffrey Alexander's new one, Wayfinding Beacons From Planet To Planet (Pome Pome Tones LP), is pretty dang upfront about its proclivities in both titling and first-noting. This is space-soaked synth/gtr junk from a former Providence dude (Iditarod, Black Forest/Black Sea) who apparently knows his way deep into the prog brush. Parts are like sitting inside an amp that's blasting slow wah-wah chords, other bits remind me of that Okko's Sitar & Electronics LP. Very German at times, but great breath-paced listening." - Bryon Coley & Thurston Moore, Bull Tongue Review

"That sense of discovery is perfectly logical given Jeffrey Alexander’s recent exploits. Alexander, who has performed in The Iditarod, Dire Wolves, Black Forest/Black Sea, and JOMF (pronounced “jawmf” – just kidding, it’s an abbreviation for Jackie O Motherfucker), continues the psychedelic/drone/sound collage experimentation he’s perfected with those groups, and thrusts it to the far reaches of the known universe. His compositions inspire awe at the star stuff flitting through my mind right now (if I had a telescope to pair with my imagination, I’d be peering through it for the full effect), the patterns and transmissions penetrating constellations and nebulae in their attempt to communicate with what’s out there." - Critical Masses

"Jeffrey Alexander has a long, meandering career in the subterranean depths of the New Weird America, where free/freak folk, post-rock, and experimental electronics intersect. From The Iditarod (who quietly released a posthumous odds and ends compilation on Morc last year) to his recent Dire Wolves project and his shepherding of the now defunct Secret Eye label, Alexander has remained a stalwart practitioner on the outer fringes. For his latest project, and the first major release under his given name, Alexander has produced Floating Lights. “Flutter” is the second track-- a standout session of softly undulating synth and echo that never takes off, but happily orbits in zero-G just on the edge of perception." - Ad Hoc

"Jeffrey Alexander, of Black Forest/Black Sea and Jackie-O Motherfucker, brought some minimal gear to this solo set, seated at a table with what looked like a plastic toolbox, a couple pedals and ribbon synth. He used the gear to map out a spot somewhere between science kit oscillator drones and ambient prog. This piece leans towards the latter — Alexander asked the crowd, "does anyone feel like a third-stage Guild navigator?" after it wound down." - review of Toronto, Canada live performance in Mechanical Forest Sound

"Maybe it’s really not a surprise at all that I’m viewing “Approach Lights Three,” the new video from Jeffrey Alexander from his forthcoming Wayfinding Beacons from Planet to Planet, and wondering whether or not I’m tripping actual balls. Alexander – best known as a key player in experimental West Coast acid folk bands, having cut his teeth in the Iditarod (not the race), and going on to perform in scene heavyweights Black Forest/Black Sea and Jackie O Motherfucker – knows his way around luminous guitar and electronics freakouts, and so, watching his video (directed by Caitlin Denny), with its VHS-quality stream of abstract images and seizure-inducing visual oscillation, and paired with this sound, it’s no wonder I’m checking Earl Grey for peyote sign. As if you can even do that!  ... That’s the experience in a nutshell – close your eyes and whatever it is that plays on the back of your eyelids is what you’ve got going on in this video. And that’s kind of the fun of it – Alexander’s music, for this and also Floating Lights, the free EP he recently dropped in advance of the album, is perfect for that sort of planetarium experience. The freeform ambient guitar excursions are next-level transportative, both for the mind and probably for the body – if of course you’re able to evolve to the point where you can fire yourself through space and time." - Critical Masses

"Imagine being in a geodesic dome, stripped of of your sense of sight and groping your way through a maze while this...THIS! is playing over the loudspeakers as you wander like some kind of modern Jonah inside the cavernous belly of a whale. Alexander, who doubles as a member of Jackie O'Motherfucker and freak-folk revivalist has produced one of the best videos I've had the pleasure to share on this site. The wandering, manipulated analog media scores perfectly the wandering, equally manipulated, zoned guitar/drone passages of Alexander's exploratory improvisation" - Tome To The Weather Machine

"We’re honoured to be able to share with you today the video you can find above by ambient experimental folk / electronic Jeffrey Alexander. The track, Approach Lights Three, is off his new album “Wayfinding Beacons From Planet To Planet”. Before you carry on heed this warning: we recommend that you devote all your attention to the video, because it deserves it. No clicking play and reading on this time – click play and stop. You can, as they say, thank us later, when you’ll no doubt be a lot more relaxed after swimming in the therapeutic waters of Approach Lights Three. Jeffrey Alexander is best known for his deep ties to the evolving experimental folk scene since the 1990s; from the acid-folk revival his group The Iditarod helped usher in, to the lavish press attention Black Forest / Black Sea received to his current role on electronics & guitar in Jackie O Motherfucker. The track above is a beautiful, multi-layered, piece of ambient drone – something to lose yourself in and maybe even to find yourself in. There is, in fact, something otherworldly about it and it seems that’s the point as both his newest pieces of work (his solo LP, ‘Wayfinding Beacons From Planet To Planet’ and a free online EP entitled ‘Floating Lights’ released concurrently) will be showcased at a very special Exploratorium event on May 7th in the Tactile Dome (a pitch-black maze experience), where his “celestial navigation music” will be experienced under ideal circumstances." - Louder Than War (UK)

"Jeffrey Alexander (Iditarod) has become, quite recently, a member of Jackie-O Motherfucker and surely brought something from Black Forest/Black Sea (his previous band) in this historical project, but there was already affinity between the two acts. Impro-destructured-rock, with 'folkie' influences, an intelligent use of sax and liquid waves from analog synths. This cd consists in two long jams and a 'brief' (!) track of about 8 minutes.. It's a trip that could be very interesting for people with a free spirit.."  - Sudden Art Music Magazine (Italy)

"Providence-based duo Black Forest/Black Sea have spent the past five or so years hovering on the fringes of a psych scene that has seen its popularity expand exponentially. Fronted by Jeffrey Alexander and Miriam Goldberg - they run the free-folk gathering ground Secret Eye Records - the group has seemed content to hone its sound from the sidelines. Goldberg and Alexander got their start plucking strings in the Iditarod, one of the first bands to mine the field of post-Tom Rapp folk balladry that eventually kick-started the freak folk scene - and provides most of the inspiration for the Secret Eye catalogue. When the Iditarod fizzled prior to the release of the excellent 2xCD Yuletide, Goldberg and Alexander started recording as Black Forest/Black Sea... Once again, Black Forest/Black Sea have pushed themselves deeper into their craft and in the process produced something fantastic and wholly other." - Ethan Covey, Dusted

"It’s been just over twenty years since Tom Greenwood founded Jackie O Motherfucker, making it a band name almost old enough to drink legally in its native America. (It’s long since been swearing in public.) From Portland to France, Montreal to Baltimore and now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Greenwood and a rotating collective of accomplished performers continue to write, record and perform as the mood strikes. Currently featuring musicians from bands such as Sapat and Black Forest/Black Sea, earlier incarnations of the group have toured widely, played a huge number of festivals and appeared as a featured cover artist on The Wire in 2002. In a recent issue of that magazine, Byron Coley said their newest release “reminds me of one of those 'lost' German things that has surfaced over the last decade. Same sorta post-fusion/get-groovy feel to this. Which is cool.” But it’s not the only thing that they do by any means, and from the early nineties to now, Jackie O Motherfucker remain dedicated to the idea of improvisation and spontaneous creativity."   -- Ned Raggett, 2014

"The Jackie-O side is a side-long track called "House of Rain" which begins plaintively with funereal horns, bass, synth, and clattering percussion airing out in a slow build. Mournful mumbling vocals intone through a collage of interweaving sounds, broken guitar strums, hallucinogenic claptrap, and propulsive dirgery that coalesce into a momentous free-jazz memorial send-off for some seemingly heroic figure's burial at sea. Flutes, drums and horns buzzingly flock together into an epic whirring cloud of noise that battles it out among the stratosphere before slowly dying out."  - Aquarius

"Sextet version of this long lived West Coast organization (basically Tom Greenwood plus whoever) returns with two longish tracks of proggy float and clutter. There's flute on one side, clarinet on the other, and the whole thing reminds me of one of those 'lost' German things that has surfaced over the last decade. Same sorta post-fusion/get-groovy feel to this. Which is cool."   - Byron Coley, The Wire

"A joyous caress of ghostly melodies from what must be a pan flute being played through an angel’s anus. More synth than I remember, with a core of percussive grit that slyly sustains the entire compositions with its random interjections. Also: clarinet, improv-style, and so much more I won’t spoil it for you. “Bumblebee” bursts with the ripeness, also without introducing too many elements into the mix. Sax, synth, guitar, more of those temperamental drum flare-ups that punch like that beefneck’d, dress shirt-wearing, red-faced guy at the bar who thinks I picked up his beer." - Tiny Mix Tapes

"On their debut, Providence-based Black Forest/Black Sea offer seven chilly field recordings placed within a half-improvised framework of guitar, cello and sundry accented glitches. After piecing together a magnificent patchwork tent of bark, calico fabric, twisted vines, and fallen stars, the duo-- featuring ex-members of experimental folk troupe Iditarod-- sets up an austere camp in the enchanted psych-folk glen also inhabited by Ghost, Charalambides, Six Organs of Admittance, Fursaxa, and the Jewelled Antler Collective. In addition to Jeffrey Alexander's guitar (finger-picked and bowed) and Miriam Goldberg's cello (pitch-shifted and ring modulated), Black Forest/Black Sea incorporate hissing short-wave radio, omnichord, haunting vocal melodies, saxophone, rusty percussion, 8-rpm phonograph, reel-to-reel noise, drone, feedback, fireside crackles, and some general knob turning... Especially impressive as a debut, at this point Black Forest/Black Sea offers a gorgeous snapshot of the free psych underground, one of the purest spaces of otherworldly terrain in the current musical landscape. I look forward to future incantations."  - Brandon Stosuy, Pitchfork

"Black Forest/Black Sea is primarily Jeffrey Alexander and Miriam Goldberg, an unusual folk styled duo who sound straightforward enough on first hearing, until something unexpected turns the simply plucked banjo song they are playing upside down. Backwards backwoods playing, electronic effects, a shortwave radio and some knob twiddling are all incorporated into their sound, which twists from traditional folk Americana to beatbox Improv and back again. Nothing, however, is quite what it seems, and this constant sound shifting gives Alexander and Goldberg's musically metamorphic contribution to the New Weird America cult an edge over the competition. For BF/BS are genuinely strange." - David Keenan, The Wire

"Guitar, electronics and various small rackety sounds collect themselves into a haze of infinite possibilities. At certain points there's a sparseness to their approach recalling Charalambides' quiet explosions; at others there's a weird and wooly organic depth closer to some of the contemporary giants of the Finnish underground."  - Byron Coley, Harp

'The time-frozen feel of their slow processionals are further heightened by the subtle use of chimes, tamboura, singing bowl, viola and banjo, which cast little shadows beneath Jeffrey Alexander's guitar picking.  Vocalist Carin Wagner sings in a half-monotone as if lost in reverie.  She's joined for two tracks by the German folk duo Fit & Limo who play bouzouki, dulcimer, organ and glockenspiel as well as providing vocals.  The Iditarod's reading of "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" closely monitors Pentangle's recorded version, while their take on a droning lament "Unfortunate Lass" - the set's highlight - echoes Steeleye Span's masterful "When I Was On Horseback".'  - David Keenan, The Wire