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.


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.


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.