SONOIO - Blue (2010)


electronic release by alessandro cortini, who had a short tenure with nine inch nails. on the darker side of the spectrum, blue is pretty interesting in its employment of casual songwriting techniques towards electronic musical craftsmanship. fun.

Kevin Drumm - Sheer Hellish Miasma (2002)



There have been a ton of great noise releases lately, and they inspired me to come back to this monolith of an album. This was the first noise record I ever listened to, and I remember thinking it was ridiculous. "Who can enjoy this shit?" But alas, I found myself coming back to it over and over. The engrossing drones, the meticulous arrangement of sound. Nothing feels wasted, and every moment is a world unto itself. A classic, and one of the masterpieces of the "genre."


Joan Torres's All Is Fused - Before (2012)



if your holidays went anything like mine, you were probably searching for some chill shit to throw on while the fam was around. this sneaky good record, for which Joan Torres recruited a who's who of Puerto Rican session jazz players, fit the bill nicely.

while i suppose this is nominally fusion jazz, the rock-based elements are downplayed quite a bit - there are few huge riffs to be found, little of the claustrophobia i tend to associate with modern albums in the genre. literally, though, it's hard to shake the fusion label, as most of the compositions incorporate a wide swath of styles, latin and tropicalia stuff most obviously, into what basically amount to bop/post-bop structures and sensibilities. as such, the ballads ("Disbelief," "Tragic End")are really smooth and spacey, and the players have a bit more time to stretch out and shape their their verses. But the real highlights come in the more mid/up-tempo tracks, where i hear subtle similarities to Idris Muhammad and maybe Jaco, too. certainly not an earth-shattering record, but what it does it does well, and i've been putting it to good use this past week for sure.

bandido

Delaney - Delnay (2004)


folk-pop from french singer christelle delany. really laconic singing, very reminiscent of nico with some serge gainsbourgsnian mystique. very well crafted pop music.

sorrychristellebutitsoundsabitlikenico

(new samples [including this] new mix ->)

Rain Parade - Emergency Third Rail Power Trip (1983)


80s paisley under band rain parade's most lauded work. really good psych folk-rock/pop in the vein of the zombies, beatles, olivia tremor control etc with a bit of a dismal sound sometimes reminiscent of joy division, blank dogs et al.

Roomful of Teeth - Roomful of Teeth (2012)



An album from a vocal octet that sounds utterly original? Yep. The singers of Roomful of Teeth go from making guttural noises to singing heartbrakingly beautiful melodies and back again so quickly you won't even know what's happening, but it would be hard not to notice that what they're doing is amazing. Consistently powerful and moving, this debut is a wonder, and a strong album of the year contender.



Sample in mix to the right ->

Belles Will Ring - Crystal Theater (2011)


belles will ring is a modern pastoral psychedelic baroque rock/pop act. rich with harmonies, very fleet foxes like - but it's more like if fleet foxes were the beatles then belles will ring is the rolling stones. really damn good, fantastic production. and look at that cover.


Narwhal Decimation - DØD SNØ GOD JUL (2010)

Fuck Christmas music, right?


Grindcore / electro / whatever-core group Narwhal Decimation hits all the right notes in this blasphemous Christmas album.

"Frøsty Da Snømang" is a bouncy, 808-driven techno piece, and "Silent Night" is anything but, with chugging power chords. "White Kwanzaa" (lolwut) is more in the black metal vein, and a couple tracks ("S▲lem Cl▲us Is Coming to Town", for instance) are downright witch-housey.

You need this.

Here it is:

DJ Rum - Mountains EP (2011)



Showcasing a mastery of bass rumble making, sample manipulation, and driving rhythms, DJ Rum presents an altogether danceable (and enjoyingly listenable) mini collection of tracks. boomboomboomboom



AHEE - Xhals (2012)



best of 2012 time! been meaning to post this album since it dropped last month - i've all but worn it out on my tape deck in the meantime. it's a breakthrough release from AHEE, who crafts his records using only found/homemade samples without the use of electronics and synths.

side A is a cheeky mash of random sounds featuring glitched out breaks and earworm-y melodies reminiscent of Gaslamp Killer's neck-snapping live stuff. and while it's fun to play spot-the-sample with the lip-smacks of "daiyatoma" or the multi-ethnic strings and lawn sprinklers of "ulklld," what really takes this release over the top is the fucking brutal side B. the tension mounts as the samples get more abrasive/aggressive until finally going supernova during "slyvlrs" and on through the climax of the predictably caustic "dentist." it's maybe the most compelling and evil bit of audio wizardry i've heard in 2012 - quite the feat in what was, generally speaking, a solid year for new music.

that cover art looks like a manatee on steroids

also, i'd recommend springing for the cassette which comes with a neat-o insert where AHEE breaks down how each track was constructed. Xmas gift ideas, yo!

Seekae - PlusDome (2011)


experimental sequenced indie pop. i don't usually like what people do with what these guys used to make their album, but i like this a lot. the production is top notch and the songs are so fkin smooth man jazz for your soul.


(btw, samples for things posted here will start becoming available in the mixes to the right, stay tuned ->)

Laurie Spiegel - The Expanding Universe (1980)



Recently re-issued with a slew of new material, this brilliant debut from the composer and programmer is a trip to outer space through the technicolor goggles of a gleeful child. The joy of looking at the stars and imagining swimming though them is a naive but beautiful one, and Spiegel captures this wonderfully. Utilizing a slew of analogue synthesizers and various interactive automated music programs, her vision would reach long into the future, sounding dated at first but revealing itself to be all too fresh. The original release featured Patchwork, Old Wave, Pentachrome, and the Expanding Universe, and this remastered version includes an additional 15 tracks.


Stones Throw: Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton


i don't particularly give a shit about about kickstarter, or any label in specific, but i do like me some stones throw documentary (charizma, peanut butter wolf, madlib, j dilla, beatjunkies, m.e.d., funkaho, madvillain, quasimoto, et al.). so you can imagine that it was pretty cool to find out they are making one. but if the shitstarter campaign fails, the movie doesn't get made, and that would suck. just sharing for those who might not have seen it. FUNDED.



Greg Haines - Moments Eluding (2012)


A wonderful little discreet album full of simple but effective piano pieces. Split between ambient excursions, featuring eggshell cords bookmarked by stretches of silence; and repetitive arpeggios, striking in their execution (and somewhat reminiscent of Glass), there is nothing shockingly original, but there is the undeniable melancholic prettiness oozing from the keyboard. Recommended for a nice little cry or evening tea.

Try: Slip Away...

Buy: Vinyl/CD

Robbie Basho - Venus In Cancer (1969)


robbie basho was a guitarist with a peculiar technique, developed in part by him studying under ali akbar khan. his virtuosity in the steel 6 and 12 string is evident and the music communicates fire. get it.

Byetone - SyMeta (2011)


Icy and bleak, SyMeta is a record basically impossible to connect with emotionally. Gritty and droning synths and clean, sharp percussion create an altogether desolate atmosphere, very similar to the cover itself. While this may be a deal breaker for some, there's still so much to the record. Impeccable production, interesting rhythms (some even danceable), and efficient minimalism abound throughout, making for an altogether interesting and satisfying listen.


Dead Fader - Work It, No (2012)


To use a phrase that I hoped I never would, this is some absolutely filthy shit. These roaring and searing bass lines and screeching synths are enough to drill a hole in your head. Well, maybe only if you have a soft head. 

Hella - Hold Your Horse Is (2002)


Consisting of some dude on guitar and Zach Hill (1/3 of Death Grips) on drums, comes a non-stop onslaught of spastic drumming and barely tonal guitar. The technical proficiency is impressive, and every so often something genuinely catchy comes in just to screw with you. Really great stuff.

Various Artists - Copulatin' Blues (1996)



I'm back and got something saucy for you. Collection of really racy, either thinly-veiled or blatant blues recordings about sex. Was revisiting this essay earlier today, and was reminded how important this collection is. These songs, and others like them, are products of an environment where oppressed black communities were openly discussing sexual enjoyment and power, arguably for the first time (at least in such a public, disseminated format), which is huge for intellectual independence and representational freedom.

I think there's a lot that can be taken from this. I also acknowledge that it's hugely problematic in a lot of ways. Let's discuss in the comments... but without further adieu:

part one
part deux

macintosh plus - floral shoppe (2011)


What's vaporwave? It's like found audio stuff. You take familiar music and 'screw' it. Think: James Ferraro, hi-def capitalism, all things skymall, digital smoke, 3D, dubai, Mediafire, customer service, the internet, Chuck Person, elevator music, 4D, Fatima Al Qadiri, Angelfire, cassettes, Last.fm, Oneohtrix Point Never, hypnagogic pop, Chinese and Japanese lettering, lo fi; that type of stuff. It's like pop music, but not really. Crystal simulacra.

今やそのたわごとをダウンロード

alt. cover


Sam Hatzaras - 2007 - 2012 (2012)

Consisting of two long playing tracks (side A and B of the cassette), this release takes a couple of genres and runs with them so far that they are stretched beyond the breaking point, and they snap and the pieces fall together to form this wonderful and occasionally confusing collage of ideas. There are pretty clear divisions between the many short form songs, even though they are lumped together as just two tracks. Snippets of hip hop, musique concrète, bass music, ambient, etc. jump in and out without warning but manage to all contribute to the same atmosphere and attitude, with nothing feeling too out of place or unnecessary. Effect-laden samples and synths are the main focus for the majority of the play time. Overall, this is strikingly well done (slightly reminiscent of Dean Blunt) and worthy of repeated listens.

Download, listen, judge, repeat

Wylie Vasquez Cable - 10,000 Hours (2011)



some extraordinary experimental beat shit from Wylie Vasquez Cable, HNIC at the promising newly-minted LA/SF-based specialty cassette label Dome of Doom. there's some pretty hype shit here, like the spastic tripcore of "Bumblebear," the fucked 8-bit of "Lemons," and the manic "Midnight Special"... but i prefer the slower, spacier tracks where Wylie's propulsive beat/bass-heavy instrumentation meets random blissed-out samples and converge in a delicious midtempo melange of sound that is absolutely captivating. check out the Jon-Brion-on-acid "Horses" and the twisted tropicalia of "Black Orpheus" and you'll hear what i'm talking about. the way he smoothly dubs out the blues sample on "Oakland Birds" is some serious next level shit. if you like no holds barred Brainfeeder-ish shit, then this is for you.

damn, yo

Wylie's got a new record out in November on Dome of Doom, so be on the lookout for that shit, too.

Emeralds - The Overlook (2009)

Released only as a run of 75 cassettes sold on tour, The Overlook is a surprising but welcome dive into the world of Emeralds. Warm and unobtrusive washes of sound, along with some more recognizable melodies, flit back and forth, creating a psychedelic canvas to gaze at lovingly. A few themes are present throughout the entirety of each piece, slowly morphing into a new but still recognizable synth line or chord change. This is best experienced as the title would suggest, or similarly, from afar. Looking too closely into something repetitive can be maddening (e.g. Reich, Glass), but allowing your mind to wander with this playing is both wonderful and refreshing for the "ear palette."

Neat Beats - Comic Surgery (2011)


This guy's recording name is pretty representative of his music. Sampling and layering in the spirit of DJ Shadow and whoever else does this kind of stuff,  Neat Beats crafts some beautiful, even uplifting stuff (without being too corny). Crackly drums, chopped and looped strings and vocals, the whole shebang. The hip hop influenced percussion serves as a backbone for melodic and organic noodlings, but focused noodlings, nothing superfluous or pretentious. Just some damn good songs.

That looped piano at the end of the album comes straight out of a happy memory.

Ether Island - Season of Risk (2012)


Another great find from Not Not Fun, probably my favorite label right now. A raw and loud venture to the darker reaches of pop music, Season of Risk is a drone-y delight. Distorted and reverbed chords occupy most of the volume, while guitars occasionally rise above the tumult with a sparse melody or two and the vocalist howls and moans about something that evidently pissed her off. This is some good, angry stuff, check it out.

Ghibli - Rare Pleasures (2012)



Aw shit, y'all, this album is awesome. I found it this morning, when I woke up with a hangover and a downloads folder full of weird house and techno music.

thug life.

anyhow.

The music's structure fits pretty well into the disco / house idiom, but is both full of unexpected warps and twists that keep things interesting. All of the samples are from youtube videos, giving the music a grainy sound that at times reminds me of tape-hiss more than anything else.

enjoy.

Kreng - Secret Thirteen Mix 038 (2012)

Kreng - Secret Thirteen Mix 038 (2012)



Haven't posted here for quite a while...
This is a 38-minute long mix of avant-garde sounds. John Cage, Aphex Twin, Colin Stetson, Anthony Braxton, etc., etc., etc., all make appearances.

This mix impresses me in that it never feels forced, or artificial. I'm often frustrated with the use of avant-garde as a descriptor of music, since it doesn't say much about the sounds themselves, referring instead to their larger historical context. But Pepijn Caudron, the mixer, has created a cohesive work that puts numerous musical ideas together in a way that makes for a compelling listen.

My favorite moment might be Colin Stetson's ominous saxophone rumblings swelling over Philip Glasses "Metamorphosis".

Tigrova Mast - Tigrova Mast (2007)


croatian tigrova mast (roughly translates to fat tigers [thx google]) was a widly inventive avant-psych-math-rock sound ala le silo. from the same guys responsible for black om rising. good good good


A Decent Man - Life Is Meaningless | Clouds Are Beautiful (2012)



beautiful and well-crafted 5 song release from NYC via Westport, CT's A Decent Man. the bookends are delicate, Air-ish soundscapes with stately melodies; but the meat of the EP is 3 tracks of sunny, lush, and richly textured synth-washed tunes bolstered by multi-layered percussion that manage to be both thumpy and skittery without losing their intimacy. i say intimacy, but there's also a sense of... grandeur, i guess is the word. all in all, just a really fresh listen if you're craving some elegant and unpretentious music to relax with.

get it here

Soil Creep - Small Death (2012)


from the guy who brought you porn on vinyl comes soil creep. this one is more of a mix of his hipster youth project and the melodic quality of pov, really good stuff. similar to skeleton lipstik and teen daze, amongst other acts. 


Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - Lovelyville (1991)


experimental ind1e rock by the fellers. one of their best releases. these guys don't get enough props, they're on the ranks of sun city girls when it comes to idiosyncratic yet fun music.

Rare Earth - Get Ready (1969)


rare earth was a phenomenal psychedelic blues rock band that specialized in long intricate jams that are as rich musically as they are texturally. very santana in execution, a slightly doorsy organ with proficient musicianship, this is a strong record from this bands discography. good shit

The Music Tapes - Mary's Voice (2012)


one of the best releases this year, the music tapes follow up tornadoes with this masterpiece. the usual culprits are here; saws, sweet melodies, and a hazy vintage production, but what makes this special is how much of a leap this album is from the last in terms of songpower (also there is some sweet classic e6 distorted bass, sounds fantastic). the vocals are affecting in the best of ways and the orchestration is superb. very the glow pt.2 esque in some regions, but that only adds to the magic. props to julian, ian and robbie. also john - the violin was def him.

Skeleton Lipstick - Glows Then Melts (2012)


take the bubble-gum synth aesthetic of black moth super rainbow, the playfulness of teen daze, and the assertive song writing of the likes of panda bear, and you get this. apologies to skeleton for describing his sound through comparisons, but i had to. the album is too good not to.

DJ Qbert - Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Musik - A Preskool Breakmix (1994)



the first solo release (non-compilation) by dj qbert. this was recorded live with the usual 2 turntable pair as far as i know, but either way, this has some rocking breaks. totally old school scratching and turntablism with  premium record selection and pure scratching techniques. 

MinuteFlag - MinuteFlag (1985)



4-song, only-spoken-about-in-hushed-tones joint venture between The Minutemen and Black Flag. my homie described it to me as being "fruity," which is hilariously apt. i like it because it's silly and not very serious and there was obviously booze and weed involved, and because it's blissfully abstract in a way that only poorly conceived and executed music can be.

not exactly a ringing endorsement i know, but c'mon it's Pedro's finest

also, anybody want to rec me some 2guitars/bass/drums-type music? that shit is a dead scene to me and i'd love for someone to prove me wrong