Vancouver-based rapper Young Braised kicks off his upcoming 1080p release, Northern Reflections, with an advertisement for the Canadian women's clothing retailer of the same name. The ad features a narrator voicing the importance of color, not only in Canada but "all over the world." The insistence, right off the bat, on color of course clashes with not only the album's colorless artwork (see above) but also Young Braised's new tracks. The music in the tongue-in-cheek introduction-- jaunty, radio-commercial pop-- combines with its script to complicate what follows, which is neither wholly serious nor wholly humorous, neither wholly colorful nor wholly colorless. Northern Reflections is murky, clouded, ambiguous-- an amalgamation of different rap subgenres, all cloaked in fog, both in terms of sound and intention. Braised comes off, in his vocal delivery and variety of outre beat choices, a bit like fellow Pacific Northwesterners Shabazz Palaces, albeit tailored more to the post-internet set.
Northern Reflections is out on Christmas (December 25) via 1080p.
The majesty of Loren Connors has often been the silence. The force of anticipation upon his minimal approach is just as weighty as the blackened notes snatched from guitar strings. This power is no more prevalent in his work than it is on 1999’s Airs. A moving, interlocking dance between organic sound and synthetic music, Connors’s ability to mine atmospheric wisps is only natural for its own album concept. Though the album’s title leans on the baroque compositional style, it’s not hard to hear to gaps between each "Air" as a breath. The tapestry of Airs is created by the mixing fabrics of Connors’s hardened hands and the lightness of the ozone which surrounds him. And yet “Airs 5” is a slightly different animal than a prototypical Connors piece. Those corpulent hands strum just a bit lighter. His surroundings waft; silence isn’t a standstill but a constant flow of ideas between strings and zephyr. It’s as if he’s trying to catch the wind in a butterfly net of guitar strings. It’s a gleeful, childlike remembrance of composition. The air is filled with the last turns of a slowing music box; the faint flickers of lightning bugs in a jar. Though sophisticated in its compositional purpose, turns out “Airs 5” is a kid at heart. Connors’ hands, gently waving in the downforce as the car window is rolled down and the sun sinks below the horizon. On the way to collecting more fireflies. More nature. More air.
Airs is being reissued February 3 by Recital.
Albany's Eric Hardiman, or Rambutan, is intimidatingly prolific, his output spread en masse along the fringes of the known territory of avant-drone and psychedelia. His discography of 30+ CDs, tapes, and records comprises an impressively realized catalogue of styles, consistent only in its deft evocation of druggy and liminal states. “Magnetic Poles,” from his upcoming split with Derek Rogers, finds Hardiman in decidedly sparse form, random procedural scribbles of bleeps and bloops inducing a woozy kindergarten-on-shrooms atmosphere. The track drifts along the intersection between the psychedelic and infantile in a similar fashion to some choice cuts on Ricky Eat Acid’s Three Love Songs. Get your free ambient bloopy-core fix below.
The Derek Rogers/Rambutan split is out now on Tape Drift.
Few people put out as much incredible music this year and got as ignored on year-end lists as Jason Lescalleet. This year for example saw The Abyss with Kevin Drumm, Conversations with Greg Kelley, Lescalleet’s solo LP Much To My Demise (his first since 2006), and the revamped Glistening Examples series THIS IS WHAT I DO, which has been expanded into a monthly subscription series. As of this week, 2014 marks the third year in a row of Lescalleet’s collaborating with Aaron Dilloway, after 2012’s Grapes and Snakes LP/cassette and 2013’s Building A Nest cassette. Their new LP Popeth (which I think is a Middle English verb meaning “to pope”), is available in a limited edition of 400, 100 of which are on multi-color vinyl (already sold out). Listen to “Western Nest” for a surprisingly beat-driven track which of course still features all the dark modular synths and tape loops you know and love.
Popeth is out now via Glistening Examples.
Shams is the kind of producer who'll throw something out into the world, let it gestate for just the right amount of time, and then send it back to the chopping block where it can be broken apart and reassembled again. It's kind of a touchy process, but it's one that that sustains his output as he continues to swerve right out of his noise background and further into house and techno. "Nest" is no exception, a brooding little number that up ends his sunshine-tinted Piano Cloud release on 100% last year and flips his sound from day to night. Quite literally, in fact, with this visual treatment, a low-budget pastiche of fire and driving montages, leaving vocalist Murphy Maxwell just a hair's breadth of being swallowed whole.
"Nest" is out now on HOSS.
SHAMS-NEST from SHAMS on Vimeo.
Sam Hillmer (Zs, The Oracle DJs) describes his DIAMOND TERRIFIER project as an exploration of "the potential positive qualities of destruction as mediated by noise/drone sheets of sound music." The usual result: dense drones woven from Hillmer's brutal saxophone contortions. On "CASTLES," however, Hillmer forgoes formal drone to travel the more "psycho tropical" climate he mapped for FADER earlier this year. His saxophone yelps and screeches, as usual, but over a rippling synth sequence provided by M. Beharie. Vocalist Eartheater, of Guardian Alien, appears on the track as a digital deity, one who "dictate[s] the bitrate... create[s] the update." Several transcendental practices emerge simultaneously: free jazz, trance music, chanting, surfing the Internet.
"CASTLES" can be streamed via DIAMOND TERRIFIER's SoundCloud.
This is the intro to AdHoc Issue 3. Buy the issue for a dollar or subscribe.
This year was one of the musically richest in recent memory-- with daring, excellent releases from seemingly every corner-- yet one of cultural and societal tumult. In turn, AdHoc Issue 3 takes on 2014 in a plural, roundabout manner: it covers DIY entropy in Brooklyn, this year’s offerings in Americana and left field dance music, and more.
Of course, the musical wealth of 2014 must be leveraged against one of its great tragedies, the untimely passing of DJ Rashad. When AdHoc spoke to DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn in September 2013, Rashad remarked on Chicago’s dwindling number of dance parties. “Nowadays they don’t want you to do shit in Chicago... They’re shutting everything down.” But Spinn added, “We tryna change that. We don’t wanna brood on the sad parts right now. We try to make music that escapes that shit.”
2014 has been an interesting, confusing year for those involved with “underground” music, and the fact that it seems absurd to not put that word in quotes speaks volumes. The terms “underground” and “DIY” have been used and abused to the point that they ring hollow. Yet, they refuse to disappear from the music-cultural lexicon, implying that, maybe, we still respect ideas inherent in them. People around the world continue to work towards that utopian creative community even when change and uncertainty make it seem like every avenue to modest success has been pissed on, deemed illegal, or proven futile.
The “doing” part of DIY has a higher purpose. In the most concrete sense, doing will entail (as it always has) helping to form a scene and demonstrating that people care about cultivating culture on their own terms, for one another.
The musical language of Baltimore’s Horse Lords is more subversive than their rock music signifiers might at first let on. Their songs twist rock’s repetitive impulse into long-form instrumental structures, packing them to the gills with restlessly evolving parts, the guitar and bass typically turning over one chord for the extent of a song. Like that of many of their NNA label-mates-- Guerilla Toss or Blanche Blanche Blanche Blanche, for example-- Horse Lords’ output challenges the limits of Western music of the last 50 years. But they do this in a more controlled form, pushing from a revisionist reflection on rock music. Their musical language is as in tune with a lineage of disparate of regional techniques ranging from Mississippi blues to Ugandan polyrhythms, as it is with an academic awareness of the methodical movements of twentieth century minimalist composition. This exposure to lesser known, traditional forms of music opens the group’s musical lexicon up to a kaleidoscope of techniques that have little precedent in contemporary Western music.
Unwashed and probably rude, Sediment Club are a brash Providence-based "rhythm and noise" band. Drawing from no wave, Amphetamine Reptile-style noise rock, and even a little Captain Beefheart, the band makes misanthropy sound like blast. "Rotten Roll," the first single from the band's new cassette with NNA Tapes, jerks nonlinearly between stuttering bass grooves, dirgy marches, and inscrutuable hysteria in just over two minutes. The song is exhiliratingly disorienting-- a mess of thumping bass and bright caustic guitars-- kept just barely cohesive by the band's infectious energy.
30 Seconds Too Late is out today on NNA Tapes.
Brian Blomerth is known for making adult dogface comics, brutal noise collages (as Narwhalz of Sound), and participating in what was perhaps the greatest Judge Judy episode of all time. Needless to say, the last several years of exploring his output have proven to be an unpredictable experience. Always, though, a quality of craft belies his deranged subject matter. The one real constant in Blomerth's work is dogs-- lots of ‘em, though none more beloved than his own pomeranian Slippy.
Slippy is now the mascot and namesake for Blomerth’s latest project: a craft vapor company named Slippy Syrup that he runs along with Kate Levitt (another key player in the infamous Judge Judy prank). The company, based in Far Rockaway, NY (specifically at house venue and noise zone Red Light District) launched this past summer, spurring an accompanying 40-page comic by Blomerth entitled Understanding Nicotine, “the first comic ever made about alternative nicotine intake theory,” focusing on injection. The comic was a collaboration with Dr. Ispib Osnotkitchi (Japan M.D.), perhaps the only human being that has ever actually injected nicotine. What the fuck.
Dr. Osnotkitchi recently starred in a new Slippy Syrup informercial scored by Shawn Kemp (an alternate producer alias for Lil’ Ugly Mane, who also has his own Slippy Syrup flavor, Lil’ Ugly Mane’s Courtroom). You can stream the informercial below, and check out the Slippy Syrup website here. Video by Max Eilbacher of Horse Lords.