Over the course of just a handful of solo releases, Gabriel Saloman has declared a very specific intent to make beautiful, low key music. The former half of Yellow Swans has been dedicating the majority of his post-YS efforts to scoring dance, with his records presenting the sounds as an artifact devoid of the bodily movement which theoretically makes the work complete. Regardless, Saloman's newest LP, Movement Building Vol. 1, reinforces that Saloman is a light-handed and remarkably expressive composer. Shelter Press will be releasing this LP and its sequal as the Movement Building series. Saloman's work is just about always discussed in relation to his former bandmate Pete Swanson's, perhaps because of the vital contrast between the two at this stage in the game. Both have cultured their visions, maturing as artists, to equal extents and vastly different ends. The Yellow Swans hive mind produced one artist who skews soft, and one who goes hard. But conversation should always focus on the fact that Saloman is not just an interesting case in relation to his old band or former bandmate, but incresingly crucial as a composer that negotiates contemporary classical music and the underground zone-o-sphere.
Movement Building Vol. 1 is out October 17 on Shelter Press.
Lil Jabba is far from a native of Chicago, the epicenter of footwork. The Brooklyn-via-Australian producer paid a visit to Sirr Tmo and DJ Earl in Chicago’s South Side and told FACT that “it was kind of scary out there.” Nonetheless, Lil Jabba’s cassette tape releases and his 2013 LP Scales made waves in the footwork community on merit of their lo-fi take on the frenetic brand of house music. Lil Jabba returns with Gully, a new EP that finds the producer stretching his wings in cleaner, wandering tracks that hail more from electronica and hip-hop territory than from Chicagoland. Things really get moving on “Flexin,” a manic track sprinkled with chopped up vocal samples which makes for the highlight on an EP that pulls listeners in all manner of directions.
Gully is out now on True Panther.
“It is said that the gods of the dead demand you ritualistically commit to each intensely hot beat of the ceremonial drum,” goes the press release of noise pioneer William Bennett’s new single under his Cut Hands moniker. The track thrusts the exuberance of the voodoo drums onto the ribbed, synthetic yawn of its bass line in a staunchly two-headed arrangement. With Cut Hands, Bennett has pinpointed his focus on impenetrable, overpowering percussion. He has talked about how these drums reflect his all-encompassing fascination with the actual ritual of vaudou music of Haiti. “The Claw” follows a structure centered on a long alternate drum break midway into the song, which in a vaudou ceremony is called a kasé, a chance for the drummer to recognize symptoms of oncoming spiritual possession in the other worshippers and bring them to fruition through the hypnotic power of rhythm. Though Bennett’s swerved away from the razorblade abrasion of “Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel,” his newfound refinement is perhaps just as subversive as his Whitehouse output. His cosmopolitan palette hasn’t stopped using the bombardment of our senses as a conduit to our souls.
Festival Of The Dead is out October 13th on Blackest Ever Black.
San Francisco-based producer Al Lover has made the melding of beat music with vintage and contemporary psychedelic rock his calling card. "Super Strength (Power Plants)," the first single from his upcoming debut LP, Sacred Drugs, continutes on this path. The track is a hazy, droning march-- combining faintly heard samples of bluesy guitar with g-funk synth tones. Morgan Delt, a prominent psychsman himself, provides burnt out, almost unintelligible vocals which help accentuate the song's lurching wooziness.
Sacred Drugs is due out October 1 on vinyl and cassette via Psych Army and Crash Symbols.
Maybe you’ve heard of CT metalcore band Icepick before. Well this article isn’t about that Icepick so forget about them for a sec. The Icepick we’re talking about here is a new project from prolific jazz musicians Nate Wooley (trumpet), Chris Corsano (drums), and Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten (bass). Their upcoming cassette Hexane is not only their first release as a trio but also the first ever release by Astral Spirits, an offshoot label of the Austin-based Monofonus Press. Major jazz critic Clifford Allen, in his liner notes for the album, says the three ever-exciting performers are able to merge “Milesian pathos” and “explosive, post-Albert Ayler energy”. The Ayler reference is kind of obvious but the one about the school of pre-Socratic philosophy exemplified by Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes of Miletus hits pretty close to home. Comparisons of these two trios aside, isn’t Anaximander’s coming-from-nothingness theory of apeiron (“infinite”/“indefinite”) kind of what free and experimental jazz are all about? The sample of “Pentane” they’ve released gives credence to this interpretation, as the track simmers right on top of the primordial chaos of jazz history.
Hexane will be out on cassette September 9th via Astral Spirits, and will also be available as a digital download.
Lawrence English-- the beyond prolific Australian multimedia artist, responsible not only for a confounding amount of artistic work but quite admirable curatorial projects as well-- released his most recent full-length album, Wilderness of Mirrors, earlier this summer. Now, album openers “The Liquid Casket” and the title track receive the 16mm treatment from Paul Clipson who buffets and disorients fragments of the real world via superimposition, a fitting illustration for the two songs. "Liquid Casket" moves like a slow-motion hurricane. Gusts of noise amass and envelop the spine of the piece-- a nervous trill buried deep in the mix. “Wilderness of Mirrors” is the uneasy exhale following the storm. The pieces are best understood through feeling, which jibes with English’s own claim that he wants to induce the listener’s “inner ear,” that sensation of whole body listening that accompanies total sonic overload.
Wilderness of Mirrors is out now on Room40.
Like all self-respecting (and ancestor-respecting) synthesizer visionaries, Forma’s Mark Dwinell browses the vast catalogue of electronic pioneers and minimalistic experimentors, employing hypnotic, repeating patterns and had a very liberal take on harmonies. “Ascend”, from Mark’s upcoming release Golden Ratio is one of the documents of his just-intonation organ era (2007-2008), which carries some heavy Terry Riley overtones. Wonderfully detuned with an extremely wavy background, ecstatic Teutonic solos are played over the track's skeleton, sprawling across the analog landscape like a rainbow through curved air, ascending into the shimmering, progressive electronic bliss.
Golden Ratio is out October 21 on Amish Records as a part of its Required Wreckers series.
The tarot deck and its iconic imagery have long been used as a divination tool for spiritual seekers. The tarot was also the inspiration for Zeljko McMullen and Severiano Martinez's new film, We Are Fools, which uses the archetypes from the 22 cards of the Major Arcana as the basis for meditations on ordinary life. The film-- released by the Greenpoint imprint Perfect Wave-- was created over the course of seven years in collaboration with over 40 artists. We Are Fools also includes the work of several musicians, including MV Carbon, Thomas Arsenault (Mas Ysa), and Laurel Halo, who soundtracked the High Priestess scene, which can be previewed below.
We Are Fools was released last April via a limited-edition DVD. Perfect Wave and the Body Actualized Center's movie club are co-hosting the DVD and digital-renting release screening of the film on September 2, and tarot card readings will be offered. More info about the screening can be found here.
This is the second in a series of essays chronicling the intersection of humor and music.
Napster was great for an elementary school kid. I could download all of the Eminem and Limp Bizkit songs that my parents wouldn't buy for me on CD, and finally get to hear this song they mentioned in Wayne's World called “Stairway to Heaven.” But also, Napster was bad. As the first notable, pervasive peer-to-peer file sharing network, Napster acted as ground zero for an epidemic which presaged one of the truest plagues of the internet age. Somehow our society, one fully entrenched in and dependent on the internet, has yet to learn how to negotiate a hard lesson that we should have learned from Napster a decade and a half ago.
Misinformation then, just as today, dies hard. When you downloaded “Kiss From A Rose” it could be attribted to R. Kelly. Harvey Danger's “Flagpole Sitta” would often show up as “Green Day – I'm Not Sick But I'm Not Well.” A version of that song I heard about in Wayne's World may be attributed to Led Zeppelin, but the audio itself may be an awful cover version. These tracks would get downloaded over and over, making sure that there were always peers to seed these dubiously labeled files. Misinformation has the tendency to multiply like a splitting amoeba. Remember when we thought Beijing was televising a sunset because the real thing was blocked by smog, or that Ciara was born with a dick?
One artist was on the truest business end of Napster's most brutal collective cataloging errors, a man who has reemerged in the public consciousness this summer, years after decades of success with America's preteens. As one such preteen, I was thirsty for any and all things “Weird” Al Yankovic, and Napster offered a litany of gems which didn't appear on any of the albums my parents would buy me. On Napster you could find, “Livin' La Vida Yoda,” “My Fart Will Go On,” “The Devil Went Down To Jamaica.” As a kid who craved parodies of all stripes-- lamenting the fact that Dr. Demento's show wasn't syndicated on any radio stations in the New York metro area-- Napster allowed me much-needed access to serious deep cuts. Even better, these were songs that I could sing along to with friends during lunch. All of my friends might own different Weird Al CDs, but we could all download “Elmo's Got A Gun.”
It seems many of the bands currently active that identify their music as punk use the term to justify creative stagnation or the lazy, over-petting of their idols. Luckily for us, Whatever Brains describe their music with the same term, but for opposite reasons. The band, hailing from Raleigh, NC, embrace genuine irreverence in order to create music too audacious to be confined to a particular genre or aimed at a particular audience. They are currently prepping to release a double 12”next month. “Conficker”, their new track, is further evidence of their unwillingness to fall under the tutelage of a singular, immediately perceivable influence. The song features industrial clattering, pop melodies, and a deranged outburst towards the end. The result is a bizarre whirlwind. Prepare yourself for this caustic carnival.
The double 12” will be out next month via Sorry State Records