Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I have a vivid memory of Dec. 26, 2000. It was a slow day at the record store so I decided to dig through a bin of $3 used cd's. The three I ended up taking home were life altering: Jim O'rourke's 'Bad Timing', Morton Feldman's 'Rothko Chapel' and Robert Ashley's 'Superior Seven/Tract'. The latter two I picked simply with a gut feeling due to the covers. I didn't expect that I would go home and listen to new favorite composers.
Robert Ashley was an American experimental composer. He reinvented opera and theatre by fusing electronics into the work. He was also a pioneer in audio synthesizer technology itself. He leaves behind quite a legacy with eleven operas and numerous films. Fans of modern minimal composition take note, especially you youngins' who dig Oneohtrix Point Never. You'll find that Daniel Lopatin is a big fan.
I urge you to investigate this vast and wonderful body of work. My favorites are below:
Friday, February 28, 2014
One of the most relevant groups of the past decade, the collective GNOD was formed in Manchester around 2006. The rotating cast makes predominantly live music, recording in single takes with raw production techniques. A meaningful improvisational aspect is rarely successful these days, and is a large part of their appeal. They are extremely prolific, releasing many singles, albums, cdr's and splits.
Given the need to label a project, I'd have to put them in the Krautrock category. However, this label is very limiting due to their experimental creative apparatus. The two volumes of Chaudeland in particular, run a gamut of styles. Dark and sludgy, metallic and driving kraut rhythms give way to acid-drenched neo-folk with the ramblings of a guru / madman / asthete. The essential process of meditation follows soon afterward, with a real introspection reminiscent of a Jodorowsky presentation. Droning through to the other side , GNOD is a serious and believable operation. Nothing feels like trickery.
I'm growing more and more irritated with all the upstarts being labeled psychedelic these days. I think such misnomer is growing tiresome to many. You want a contemporary band that takes you places? Here ya go. If music is still capable of expanding your mind, this crew is your best bet.
I'm going to go ahead and say, shamelessly, that if you are attending Austin Psych Fest 2014, DO NOT MISS the most relevant band there this year.
Below are youtube clips of the full Chaudeland sessions:
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Bob Casale, an original member of Devo has passed away of heart failure at the age of 61. Words can't express what a surprise and loss this is. They were contemplating more shows soon. His work has left an indelible mark on most people I know and much of the world. So sad.
Recently I've been obsessed with Reggae that was produced at the beginning of the digital age. Enamored with those Casio beats, I've been researching many different riddims. In 1984, while working with King Jammy, Wayne Smith stumbled across a pattern in a Casio MT-40 home keyboard. In their capable hands, the pattern became 'Under Mi Sleng Teng', and wasa huge hit across Jamaican soundsystems, thus launching the digital dancehall revolution.
Today, Wayne Smith has passed away. His manipulation of the artistic 'accident' will not be forgotten. I can't get enough of it. This late 80's sound just continues to blow my mind. For the unfamiliar, I've cited some examples below:
Here's a latter version of the riddim by Cocoa Tea that happens to be my favorite:
And a killer 45 / 12" dj mix of digital riddims recently performed by Raime:
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Winter got you down? Need a little pick me up? Maybe some dub music for cats will soothe you. Yes, a record of dub entirely dedicated to and about cats. The most ridiculous part of this is the artists who made it. It's the brainchild of the Kranky Records hazy blazey dance droner Adam Forkner (White Rainbow, All things pizza-related), alongside the lovely Honey Owens (Valet) and Eva Salens (Inca Ore).
I'm not gonna lie...its not good. Generic tape delay, misplaced samples of air horns, random samples of some guy saying "rastafari", and off kilter edits... ok, yeah, its just bad, but guaranteed to make you laugh. With lyrics like "I like cats that can slam dunk" and song titles like "Ruff-a-lution Dub", it's no doubt tongue in cheek. Plus, it bombed.
I applaud you if you can make it through the whole recording. This is not purrfect dub but I enjoy the fact that they got high enough to sit around and jam on this. Then they thought it was an even better idea to let others hear it. Wow.