Wednesday, May 25, 2011

it's been pointed out that i've not done one for ages

bit busy at the mo as you can imagine so substantive comment is beyond me

but these are they that have been tickling the eardrums these past... well, it's several months isn't it... half a year, almost!


Emeralds-man McGuire's miscellany on Mego, plus first two releases from other-Emeralds-dude's via-Mego imprint Spectrum Spools. Particularly like the Bee Mask (although a good friend who knows a thing or too about synths sez this kinda analog-whizzjizz can be reeled out by the yard... i take his point, very well --there's a real post-Onehotrix-flood-- but i do think there's enough "compositional" structuration type stuff going on here to withstand a concentrated listen)

"i can hear everything... it's everything time" say Gang Gang Dance via a (sampled?) intermediary at the start of Eye Contact--and yet, not to take away the 5th worldist digi-pertinence, but surely it's been "everything time" in music for a goodly while? definitely since the 90s (transglobal ethnotechno blather a-go-go)... but also since the 80s (when 4th World was coined by Hassell)... but also, really, since the 70s (the period in which Hassell was formed, in a context of fusion, Don Cherry, Miles, "One World" music, Can)... all that's changed, digi-wise, is that is so much easier, it takes less effort and expense to "fill your head with culture". good album though!

(apropros of nothing i was rather surprised to find myself really enjoying M.I.A.'s last album when i finally got around to hearing it, and in particular loving one track, which reminded vaguely of my fave track on Saint Dymphna, "Dust".

i blow hot and cold on 2562, which tends to = "lukewarm", but this one, based entirely on shards taken from a single disco track if i recall right, has really grabbed me

Wiley's had the most bizarre career--how does one go from having a Top 3 hit to being back in the undie-hop zone? 100% Publishing sees him return to the Big Dada fold after what wsa apparently an unhappy stint at Asylum/Warner circa "Rolex" and See Clear Now (which he later "disowned"). The beats are hard and weird ("I Just Woke Up" is the standout, a mad full-tilt percussion only stampede), except when they're wistful and reflective... the lyrics demystify grime's means of production and the problematic cash-flows of DIY music-making in a broadband era... and Wiley is Wiley. Long may he zig-zag.

not only is this all a good lark, and wonderfully well put together presentation-wise, but it's a good listen too. as per Ghost Box et al, it's that haunto-strategy of, if the future is blocked, then call for escape routes by just stepping sideways through the past, into counterfactual zones... create pockets of lebensraum for the imagination through fictional yester-eras.. pasts that should have been, or could have been...

read more about Endless House here and here

(the next project from this lot apparently involves the concept of musical obituaries! can't wait... )

Talking of pseudo-history, the perpetrator of Electronic Music in the Classroom is being a busy-bee in 2011, with two more releases from Cafe Kaput before the mid-year point is even reached:

both good but Carnacki is the stone killer i think, superb musique-concrete/electro-acoustica. Dieter Rams is made entirely from the sounds generated by an alarm clock, which is conceptually pleasing for sure. Buy 'em both here

And more dispatches from the spectral soundzones:

Grant Beran, The Another Ones

made in 2008, hauntology from down under: corroded zones adjacent to Jeck and Kirby but with a tone of their own - hear here

and speak of the devil, the new offering from James Leyland Kirby

Intrigue & Stuff

is excellent. Looking forward to An Empty Bliss Beyond This World

And do these fine fellows fit here? well I rather think they do:

Sort of 'charity shop Coil'... Ruddy excellent is it too. Manifesto here,

edging from haunty to hypnagoggy, my favorite of the recent NNF batch (they're slinging the stuff out at the mo) and among my favourites of the year

Tallinn At Dawn: le mot juste, i do believe, is woozy. Marvellously woozy, even.

"A Little Lonely" starts slinky and frisky then gets eerie and vacant ... and reminds me of "Find Yourself" that FloraPurim-laced Enforcers gem by Jamie Myerson -- compare the two for yourself... there's another track on this Noble Savage EP that is more abstract still and excellent--"Hagasuxxzzavol"

The 100% Silk stuff is an odd propostion because it's a bunch of underground post-indie types most of whom--as far as i can see--have minimal background in clubbing or raving, and ho've fallen on this zone of the past much as they might do with new age or yacht rock or kosmiche analog synth epics or _____, i.e. bygone stuff to play with. So they've made "dance tracks" that wouldn't really cut it on any contemporary dancefloor. Like maybe, some of the Ital tunes would cut it on a 91 bleep dancefloor... listening the first time I found myself wondering how FACT magazine would assess this stuff-- like,they are all up on this area (Olde English Spelling Bee as Label of 2010, love for Hype Williams, Ariel P, et al) yet they are plugged into various contemporary dancefloors. 100% Silk stuff is fine by one particular metric (an Altered Zones-y one) but falls short by another metric. (In the same way that Ariel Pink, much as we'd like to imagine it jostling next to Hall & Oates and Asia and Alan Parsons Project, wouldn't have fit into the 80s AOR mainstream, because it's a wilfully defective version)

never quite got with Amon Tobin's stuff, seemed to be of the same milieu-mindset/era as FSOL and the later Coldcut, plus various IDM-ers who picked up on aspects of e.g. Parallel Universe while losing the thing that kept it, in essence, jungle still. So there's rather a lot of that scrofulous-with-invention keyhole-surgery-style digi-programming on ISAM /Control Over Nature (a deluxe package, the CD encased in a booklet of photos of insect-and-plants dioramas created by installation artist by Tessa Farmer) but there's also remarkable pieces like "Night Swim", a musique concrete-y mood-scape as exquisite and deadly as a venus flytrap

I once described Oliver Chesler as my favourite American singer/songwriter, and while i meant it it was also a jibe--i've completely forgotten what crit-beloved hairy-faced alternative nation James Taylor was its target in 1999 or 2000 (which is as it should be)--but in the age of Bon Iver and Gillette-averse navel-gazers the jibe has renewed salience, and hey right on cue here's the Horrorist with a new and excellent album, as sick and heavy as his best stuff


Creel Pone slyly reactivates (I thought - I'd been more or less told -- that #99 was where the series ends - but no, apparently). A mixed batch actually, but, you know, all nice to have: Bernard Parmegiani / Joseph-Maria Mestres-Quadreny “espaces sonores nº1” is for Parmegiani completists but cool; gilbert trythall's luxikon/echospace is an entertaining 80s curio; paul boisselet’s 1965 “le robot” is charming retrofuturism and does indeed, as the website sez, have the best record cover of all time... but it's the double-CD set of Danish composer Knud Viktor's private press from 1972 images / ambiances that ranks with the creme of Creel 01>>>99

Annette Peacock's I'm the One was quietly released some months ago -- there should have been a lot more noise about this ... get it here

heard tracks from this on KCRW repeatedly and each time they blew me away -- but when I thought about it, realised there was something odd about it: in so far as this another example of the trend of reissue labels moving into the pasts of foreign countries and finding there a kind of narcissistic mirror image of Western pop and rock, a mirror-image that's slightly askew. but only very slightly. so Those Shocking, Shaking Days is really hot, fiercely played early 70s hard 'n' heavy rock with a bluesy groove funk energy (the kind of stuff Woebot might dice into chunklets for recycling) but betrays zero traces of gamelan or much else Indonesian... so it's like we're going abroad but all we're discovering is another facet of ourselves, our own cultural hegemony... the sleevenotes are interesting in a Carmody-esque light in so far as they reveal that all this longhaired Western-style Indonesian rock was promoted by the capitalist-friendly, Westward-looking and Western-investment-seeking government led by General Suharto that in 1968 took over from Sukarno's more socialistic/nationalistic government, which had supported indigenous traditional musics and viewed Western pop as a corrupting and decadent influence.

first one reviewed here


Hype Williams, One Nation
opaquer-than-thou, with more than a faint whiff of the emperors-new-clothes about them... sensibility so diffuse and centreless it's virtually impossible to pinpoint (i've yet to even see anybody really try, let alone succeed)... a music, seductive in its vaporousness, that seems to be a place where signifiers go to die, become insubstantialized. Their best yet!

tUnE-YarDs, w h o k i l l
the antithesis to Hype Williams... engaged, passionate, lively, open-hearted... an American Micachu, in so many ways... like it a lot, even when it reminds me of... Sublime (who i've actually grown to really like through LA radio exposure... it's a sound that just fits the climate here)

Nicolas Jaar, Space Is Only Noise
premium dollop of what Woebot calls "audio trickle", ie microfinessed quasidance made on and for computers

Blow Your Head Vol 1: Dave Nada presents Moombahton (Mad Decent)
perfect antidote to the former, a megadose of MACROHAUS, banging and pumping like nobody's business

The Deeep, Life Light (Not Not Fun)

Tri Angle's new bits: Holy Other's With U EP and Clams Casino Rainforest EP