Saturday, November 14, 2015

Cider: WILDCIDE Hard Cider

A most excellent cider

As the cider market explodes in America, many craft breweries are getting in on the action, and that’s a good thing. More variety means more experimentation, and this new brew from Gordon Biersch (under their new Aurum Cider imprint) has something unique going for it. Using nature as it’s inspiration, WIldcide is flash-pasteurized, meaning there’s no sulfites added to preserve the product. This is a more natural cider without chemical additives. Ingredients? Apples. Period. How cool is that?

I was lucky enough to be able to taste this fine cider for you, dear readers, and here’s my review, done as I review any craft beer.

Appearance: Pours from the bottle a pale clear-yellow in color, with very little retention or lacing on my pint glass. I attribute the watery look to a lack of artificial coloring that may be present in some of the more mainstream ciders. Good on Wildcide.

Aroma: Fresh, juicy apples, pure and simple. Can’t argue with that.

Taste: Clean and smooth, and clearly more mellow than the competitors. This is a combination of 4 kinds of apples (Fuji, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious), and maybe that (along with the lack of harsh preservatives) makes this one so much cleaner and satisfying. The finish is dry and certainly not too sweet, either. Wildcide is all about balance, and for that I give this one high marks.

A premium cider that’s, in my eyes, a better cider in just about every way. Prost to Aurum Cider Co. and to Colin Baugh/Emblem for getting this cider to my belly!

“Salad Days: A Decade Of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)” DVD (director: Scott Crawford)

The quintessential DC punk document

A welcomed and superb full-length documentary on the DC punk scene by longtime scene journalist Scott Crawford, “Salad Days” is as comprehensive as they come. Just about every major scene player is interviewed here, including Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, Thurston Moore, Dave Grohl, J. Robbins, Craig Wedren, Kevin Seconds, and tons more.  

As well, there’s an abundance of great live footage of all the bands, Dischord-based and otherwise (Positive Force and the straight-edge movements are discussed here, of course, too), including Minor Threat, Fugazi, Marginal Man, Embrace, Egghunt, Government Issue, Dag Nasty, Gray Matter, Beefeater, Holy Rollers, Soulside, and more. Detailing the beginnings and endings of the whole scene, from the earliest teenage days to the alternative explosion of the early 90s, “Salad Days” highlights the reverence and relevance that the punk scene had and continues to have today. It’s a loving portrait of the misfits and freaks behind the scenes making a difference and changing attitudes in a city where bureaucracy and corporate interests undermine basic humanity. For anyone with even a passing interest in classic punk rock and the idealism it embodies, this is a must-see. Superb!

Zero Ohms - “Process Of Being” CD

Quiet, minimalist ambience

Veteran ambient composer Richard Roberts is Zero Ohms, and his catalog goes back nearly 20 years with a deep selection of work both solo and in collaboration. “Process Of Being” examines Roberts’ realization that “Being is not a static state, It is not ‘becoming’ anything. It is a process, through which we each exist”. That in mind, the album begins with the ultra-hushed drones of “The Present Perfect Tense Of Being” — 14 minutes of barely-perceptible drones that set up this contemplative and subtle release of gentle, receding ambient music.

“Glimpsing The Eternal” brings flutes and a semblance of structure to the proceedings, though it’s still a minimal and fragile exercise in restraint and elegance. “The Dream Dreaming You” is another flute-led piece of fragility, with a singular string drone floating just overhead. 

On this album, Zero Ohms produce a very gradual and quiet set of evolving sound-sketches, echoing the ever-so-subtle motion in which we exist from moment-to-moment, second-to-second. As a concept, it’s fascinating, and as a recording, this is a fine work.

Zero Ohms Bandcamp