Thursday, May 16, 2024

Futuromania chat

Had a great in-depth chat with Melbourne's Charlie Miller for his 3RRR FM show Frantic Items, which airs later today (meaning Sunday, since Australia is already in the future - 6pm local time)

Update: the show is archived here


Had a really good chat with Günseli Yalcinkaya for Dazed magazine addressing "the anti-humanist tone" versus the quirky all-too-human individuals and desires that animate machine music, and much  much more besides. 

A kind of rehearsal for our conversation at Rough Trade East on Sunday June 23 (6pm)

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

remorseless writing machine (and it don't stop)

Kieran Press-Reynolds churns out some more: 

piece  on the "influencer horror videogame" Content Warning for New York Times

interview with Justice for GQ

an overview of a new genre of ambient rap for Nina 

tasters for the latter:

"iokera helped define the scene’s sound by emphasizing naturalistic elements (“rhythmic foliage”) like bug noises and ASMR sounds.... Listening to iokera’s track “vines”... it feels like you’re lying down in a butterfly vivarium, being gently nibbled by sweet insects."

"cutspace is obsessed with writing systems, from engravings and graffiti across New York to Cuneiform and ancient scripts. Online, he presents himself as something like a fried academic, writing about his work recovering “long-decommissioned audio munitions” and describing his page as a research institute dedicated to asemics, or language that doesn’t have a meaning"

A mix that juxtaposes tracks from the scene with precursors and influences

New York-based DJ & producer umru invites New York-based researcher .cutspace to present his latest findings following extensive investigations into the lurid glyphics emerging across the city, using on-the-ground fieldwork and an assessment of the existing and relevant research matter to achieve a better understanding of what’s going on. Sources referenced include Steve Reich, A. G. Cook & Moh Baretta.

.cutspace & viznode — ID

Steve Reich — It’s Gonna Rain

Alexander Panos — ID

.cutspace & umru — ID

Fatshaudi — Emptyo Heart You Love

Keith Rowe — The Room (Extract)

margo proxy — Agor; loaves

MOH BARETTA — ID (prod. .cutspace)

alva noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto — reverso

heoliene — i11: deep storage

.cutspace — ID

kindohn — DELETE malone

xang — wit my homie (prod. felix + .cutspace)

Tiago Benzinho — El Sueño Americano | Wild Swans Shall Never Be Conquered

Young Thug — RiRi

Steve Reich — Drumming, Pt. 1

Tim Hecker — The Work of Art in the Age of Cultural Overproduction

Brian Eno — By This River

Bb Trickz — Llorando en la prada

Nosaj Thing & Jacques Greene — Too Close (feat. Ouri)

Speaker Knockerz — Dap You Up

A. G. Cook — Britpop

umru & .cutspace — ID

umru & Empress Of — ID

Life Without Buildings — The Leanover (A. G. Cook edit)

bloody shield — allofasudden (500 edit)

umru — ID

blankfac3 — # _Pai (prod. o0o & umru) 

Jewelssea — _Destination Unknown

umru & .cutspace — ID

Shabjdeed — Nasheed

RealYungPhil — Can’t Hack It (Gud)

LUCY (Cooper B. Handy) — FRIDAY (umru dirge)

Sunday, May 12, 2024

mixing it up with Matos

I had a ton of fun talking with Michaelangelo Matos for his substack Beat Connection - about Futuromania, electronic music, radio, my other books - with  the chat structured around five deejay mixes,  as that is Beat Connection's focus. The selection was bookended by two Radio One classics: John Peel's legendary Punk Special from December '76, Rustie's Essential Mix of April 2012. From back-to-barebones rock 'n'roll  to maxed-out neo-prog digi-dance. 

Along the way, I got reintroduced to these old favorites: UK garage from before either "speed" or  "2step" kicked in, which I first heard via another of Matos's selections: Tuff Jam's Underground Frequencies Volume One

Matos noticed that one of Basement Jaxx had some involvement in that gorgeous, gorgeous Mutiny track. 

Thursday, May 09, 2024

No Tags

I had a great chat with Chal Ravens and Tom Lea for their new-ish podcast No Tags - talking about Futuromania and touching on topics including science fiction, the rhetorics of temporality, smart drinks, the manifesto mode, speeding up and slowing down music,  "the cartoon continuum", amapiano, my next book, and a favorite film. 

Check out their archive which includes conversations with vibes-ologist Dr Robin James, rap critic Jeff Weiss, and dancehall expert Marvin Sparks talking about Vybz Cartel. 

Sunday, May 05, 2024

"Tis no man - tis a remorseless writing machine" (1-3)

Mvuent, who blogs as Aloysius, returns - after a long silence - to his "audio animation" series Esoteric Experiences At Home and abruptly finishes it with a flurry of posts, topped by a "retrospective" on the entire series in the form of colloquy with fellow Dissensian Luke Davis

That conversation nods to the tradition of endings to books like More Brilliant Than The Sun and Neon Screams - instead of a conclusion, the author clarifies their thoughts via a more colloquial exchange with a sympathetic interlocutor (although it may actually be an imaginary exchange, a disguised auto-interview - Luke insists that he never spoke with Kit Mackintosh for their "dialogue"). 

Although the end of the blog series, this might actually be the best starting point: read the scintillating after-thoughts, then go back to the beginning and gird up thy brain for the epic series, which ranges across a vast span of music, from composers like Francois Bayle, Michel Redolfi and Laurie Spiegel to producers like Eon, Luke Slater, Trevor Horn, Sacred Tapestry, Autechre, and The Caretaker. 

It is a commitment, but one absolutely worth making - indeed it's essential reading for anyone interested in electronic music, synesthetic listening, and how to write about sound-shapes in motion rigorously, but without reduction or getting lost in technicalities. Hopefully a down payment on a book, it's a flashback to the golden age of  blog series and macro-essays by such as K-punk and Rouge's Foam. It teems with arresting images and suggestive concepts ("the sound character" -a quasi-living entity that inhabits a soundworld; "fog of war"; "a consilience of imagination").

Here are some tasters: I have separated the imagery from the pieces of music they evoke, so that you can enjoy them as pure language.  

"Passage through an area guarded by 'stone bees', whose undulating buzz reverberates eerily through the caverns"

"It's as though the bells have sunk beneath dark underground waters."

"Subtle fluctuations of volume heighten the euphoric feeling that you’re not just hearing but actually moving through them, like an airplane caressed by clouds"

"The central sound character cycles through all sorts of tactility transformations, melting, smoldering, and brightening at various stages of the journey. By the final minute, it’s charged to a triumphant energy apex."

"...  a parallel world in the uppermost frequency range. Sound characters heard in the main dimension can be faintly heard passing through the upper world. About halfway through, a rapture occurs. Every sound character shoots up one by one. After a moment of lower-world silence... the miracle is reversed: characters can be heard swooping down from the heavens." 

"It's as though the seas and birds have turned into gold"

"A kind of harpsichord machine gun is being fired off to adjust ozone conditions."

"The sounds of ballroom performance transform into gust front wind and a cacophony of unvoices"

"... reimagines its weathered materials so vividly that they're transfigured into poetic sound climates"

".... you finally set foot in this landscape of inner sublime"

For sure, there's an "ear of the beholder" aspect here, as there is with any verbal evocation of sound. But the balance of precision and poetic puts me in mind of Gaston Bachelard's inventories of  imagination and taxonomies of tropes  -  the same heightened attentiveness to movement, space, and light,  applied not to literature but to electronic mindscapes. 


A playlist for the second half of the series (i.e. the April posts) - designed as a resource for readers rather than a continuous listen. 


Another Dissensian - who may or not wish to be identified by the forum alias or  real-world name -  has launched a promising new blog: L.S. Trackhead


Finally, truly a remorseless pitching machine, Kieran Press-Reynolds drops new pieces (with more to come in the weeks to come)

At the New York Times, a piece on the "influencer horror videogame" Content Warning

Talking about shitpostmodernism with Emilie Friedlander + Andrea Domanick at The Culture Journalist 

Bladee's Cold Visions as Pitchfork's Best New Music

A survey for The Face of internet rap's underground genre sprawl

A No Bells celebration of the return of Bushwick club Rash, which had been razed by an arsonist with probable hate-crime intent

Nia Archives debut album, appraised for Pitchfork.