experimental

Vessel destroyed my brain in the best way last Thursday.

Without friends, life would tend to be…well, different, and honestly, probably pretty lame.  In no way shape or form can I imagine not having the incredible and massive group of friends that I have been fortunate enough to amass over the years.  Where am I going with this?  Well with the assistance of my old friend and co-worker Jefferson last Thursday, I wouldn’t have known about the fact that Vessel was playing later that night.  Thanks to Jefferson and social networking however, I was able to catch this show at Kremwerk last Thursday.

Vessel is part of the ever growing list of awesomeness that Tri Angle Records has been politely pumping over the last four and a half years.  I first came across Vessel back in 2013 at (duh) Decibel Festival.  Having heard of Holy Other and Evian Christ, I decided to bounce up to Chop Suey (which is sadly closing soon if it hasn’t already) for the Tri Angle Records Showcase.  Suffice to say, the showcase completely blew me away and I became an instant follower of all things Tri Angle.

Tri Angle was formed in 2010 by Robin Carolan split between London and New York City.  Since then they have done an excellent job formulating a sound that they are now known for, and sticking to it, something that we don’t see as much from labels in this day and age.  Ten to twenty years ago when you found an electronic label, you would more than likely be able to hunt down anything else on the label and probably be pretty stoked about it because it would encompass a lot of the same sounds and/or mood.  Labels these days tend to be putting out so many releases from so many different artists that the art of label differentiation has unfortunately been a bit lost.  This is one of the reasons why Tri Angle is special to me.  You know what you’re getting yourself into when you listen to another Tri Angle Records artists: it’s going to be moody, dark, emotive, bass heavy, industrial, all complete with hidden elements of pop buried between all those other layers.

With that said, Vessel (Sebastian Gainsborough), released his first LP through Tri Angle in 2012.  Entitled Order of Noise, this debut LP saw the Bristol based artist sprinkle his own brand of synth heavy noise across platforms such as techno, industrial, and broken apart dubstep.  Here’s a favorite of mine off the album:

Definitely making an imprint on those who listened, the news of a new LP from Sebastian in 2014 was excellent news.  Released on September 15, 2014 Punish, Honey saw Vessel returning to a fair amount of noise oriented tunes, yet this time a bit more carefully constructed.  Oriented more towards a techno style 4-In-The-Floor beat, this fairly non-dancey, but head swaying styled noisey techno can easily be eaten up by any noise and industrial fan.  It’s slow, it’s sluggish, it’s dark and dreary.  Often sounding like you’re in the middle of some sort of heavy mechanical shop filled with multiple kinds of machines all working at once, Punish, Honey will definitely put you into a certain space, and keep you there whether you like it or not.  Personally, I love it.  Here’s one of my favorites off the new LP:

Fast forward a few years to last Thursday, and a random Google+ post from Jefferson mentioning Vessel in town for $10 got my ears perking heavy.  I hit up Jefferson immediately to get the complete details, and told him I’d meet him down there later.  After a delicious dinner and toasty bowl of sativa with another old friend in Fremont, I bounced down to Kremwerk around 11.30pm.

Container was currently on the decks spinning an eclectic mix of odd IDM infused bass music.  Surprisingly the tiny little space of Kremwerk was fairly full towards the stage, with lots of room to move around towards the bar area.  You never know who is going to be out at a low publicised show in Seattle, but that said, apparently Vessel has his followers.  Vessel stepped up to his table of equipment right around 12 Midnight and began what would end up being a full on journey.

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Beginning with some deep exploratory noise like his LP’s and EP’s, Vessel brought us all into his space through a full static sound bath to get things going.  The next 65 or so minutes were then filled to the brim with all things noise oriented, swimming around in slow industrial based techno beats, hints of Bristol dubstep, random sounds of gabber at 160bpm, and of course, more thick and heavy distorted synth patches.  Beyond the sounds, watching Sebastian have just as much fun up there pushing boundaries was also part of the show.  His stage presence is as such that you know he is fully in it, completely enjoying what he is doing, making, and experimenting with – just as much as we were all completely enjoying the sonic onslaught he provided for our ears.  Kremwerk’s tiny but punctual soundsystem did well handling the raw signal he was sending, as there was definitely no laptop to be seen anywhere on stage that evening.  Here’s some video I took from the night (you may want to turn your speakers down before playing as these are raw and LOUD):

By the end of the 65 minutes, I was already begging for more.  It is truly show like this that keep me interested in electronic music, shows where you know you’re witnessing something different, something cutting edge.  If you’re into any sounds that tend to be a bit darker and more edgy, I highly recommend checking out Vessel and Tri Angle Records.  Their whole catalog is worthy of the snobbiest of ears.

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A First Listen: Brand. New. Aphex Twin. Syro.

With just over a months official warning, we all of a sudden have a new Aphex Twin album.  It’s been TWELVE YEARS and some change since his last album Drukqs.  (Yes, I know technically speaking he released music under the AFX, Analord, and The Tuss monikers, but we’re not talking about that right now.)  You know where I was twelve years ago?  Drinking my face off in college.  The iPod hadn’t been released yet.  Dubstep hadn’t been invented yet.  EDM (I shudder every time I hear that term) wasn’t a genre of electronic music.  Hell, Skrillex was still screaming his face off in From First To Last.  Suffice to say the world has changed quite a bit, even further more, the world of music has changed drastically.

Apparently Richard D. James is still Richard D. James – but he’s grown up.  He’s apparently moved to rural Scotland (hey they’re voting for Independence today actually), got married, has a few kids, and takes the random small or gigantic Dj gig from times to time.  We heard the beginning of a rumor in 2009 about the possibilities of a new album.  Then an interview surfaced with Richard himself in 2010 about his ‘six unreleased albums he’s sitting on’.  Flash forward four more years and out of no where there’s a slimy green blimp with the Aphex logo on it flying over an Elephant & Castle in England and Aphex logos spray-painted in front of NYC’s Radio City Music Hall.  Something is happening.

Then BOOM – the next day, Aphex’s Twitter account (which has been active for years) posts it’s 9th Tweet ever: a random scrambled URL that is only accessible via the deep web.  If you’re a smart enough cookie to figure that out, you then got launched to a Website with track titles, an album name, and a whole slew of other seemingly useless information.  Later that day Warp Records confirmed – a new Aphex Twin album release is just over a month away.

aphex-twin-blimp

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This is a very different style review than I usually do.  It’s a ‘First Listen’ meaning I’ve just scribbled some notes down for each song as I heard it for the first time last night.  This is not the well written heady review you’re looking for.  Straight first impressions here:

Minipops 67 – The actual ‘single’ from the album.  A tame Aphex style breakbeat with warm glow from his many synths starts this ride out.  Heavily vocoded with many voices, almost R&Bish to an extent.  So good to hear his sounds again!!
XMAS_EVET10 (Thanaton3 Mix) – Stranger, murkier, slower, video garish at points, and thick with deep acid lines weaving in and out and on top of each other.  You don’t realize it’s been ten and a half minutes when it ends.  Hauntingly beautiful.
Produk 29 – Starts fairly gangster as far as Richard goes beat wise, sinks right into Aphex synth with subtle acid lines.  Jazzy to a point.  Then it gets swampy.  Very accessible while being completely full and layered.  Fucking whore!!
4 bit 9d api+e+6 – If I was to choose a ‘single’ off the album, this would be it – it’s Windowlickery to an extent.  Really.  Just massively toned down and not necessarily trying to tickle your brain in ways some might not appreciate.
180db_ – Out of no where a four in the floor groove.  Synth heavy and breakish at points.  Flat.  Doesn’t really seem like a completely finished thought, and doesn’t really fit the rest of the album so far.
CIRCLONT6A (Syrobonkus Mix) – Now we’re back in some far off land that’s close to Drukqs, but much more mature.  Drenched in all sorts of sounds flying at you…never what I’d call overwhelming like points on Drukqs, but still testing limits.  Complex.  Incredible piece of electronica.
Fz pseudotimestretch+e+3 – LoL.  If you ever owned an older organ you’ll totally appreciate the one.  Great segue.
CIRCLONT14 (Shrymoming Mix) – Back to that land near Drukqs.  More modern Aphex mastery.  It’s acid drenched, half timing, and super bouncy.  Yes please!
Syro u473t8+3 (Piezoluminescence Mix) – Possible ‘title track’?  If so I can see why.  Fairly forward acid backbone, dark and grimey throughout.  Drum heavy older Aphex sounding.  A well mastered construction of so many things Richard does so well.
PAPAT4 (Pineal Mix) – Lovers of the Amen Break will bask in the beauty of this one.  Light and fluffy, like laying on pillows, but driven in mellow drum&bass.
S950tx16wasr10 (Earth Portal Mix) – Jungle!!  He brought out the jungle!  Hints of grime on top, not so acidy as a lot of the album until the finish – absolutely love the second half of this track!
Aisatsana – A beautiful birdsong piano played nightcap to a lovely dream inside Richard’s head.  Gorgeousness at it’s finest.

Well, I’m completely sold.  Over all there isn’t as much going on as far as throwing new sounds at you consistently while changing beat patterns every 8 bars like some of his previous works.  This album is not set out to change the face of music like Richard has done countless times before – this album is about Richard doing what Richard does best – being Richard.  Nothing still sounds like Aphex, but Aphex.

Do not think to hardly when listening to this album.  It’s like when Boards of Canada released their first album after eight years last year…way too many people getting caught up in the hype expecting something so over the top, when in fact BoC did what they do best – being BoC.  Don’t go into Syro expecting anything and you’ll come out on top with a shit eating Aphexy grin as much as before.

Thank you Richard for coming back!

SYRO

Music for the Ear…as of late. The Third.

August 15th, 2012

What what.  Seems I can’t keep up with myself on these.  Ah well, been busy!  In the headphones and on the Mackie’s…noise, psych-rock, some steppin’ thing called chillstep…it’s all over the place As of Late.

: Speck :
: Harmonia : Echotourist : 2012
:
~ ambient, drone, noise, experimental, modern.classical ~

Over the top excitement on this one!  I’m currently on some sort of third or fourth listen of this new album from who seems to be a fairly new artist, Speck.  I am utterly floored.  Inside of ‘Find Me, Find Me’ I am completely lost, yet drifting in a sense of my own dismay, and enjoying it!  The distortion on the guitars throughout this album is not for the faint of heart – Speck requires all of your attention and will to hold on.  Moments of intensity almost unbearable at times will float right into pockets of beauty, often lead by a grand piano, or maybe a harp.  Breathtaking.  Very remniscent of Christian Fennesz’s various works, yet even drier on the noise sections of the pieces.  I am taken aback by how well put together this entire 41 minutes are.  The two ‘Harmonia (Hymn)’s are particularly standout, although the length of the album really runs together as one piece quite smoothly.  Through the pieces lush riffs of melancholy vibrations lurk in the foreground, while pieces of what may be Speck’s life come twirling out at you in random patterns, making for a very disorienting ride…ride the waves of static, if you will.  I’d never heard of the new Echotourist label before, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them.  If you’re a fan of noise, drone, field recordings, or of course, all three – this is not to be missed.

Catch free downloads from Echotourist at their Bandcamp page: http://echotourist.bandcamp.com/

: The Black Angels :
: Passover / Directions To See A Ghost : Light In The Attic : 2006 / 2008
:
~ psychedelic.rock, garage.rock ~

What can be said about The Black Angels?  They are by far one of my favorite active bands of the time.  I was introduced to them through a friend and was instantaneously sucked into their swirling tribal spiral.  The on-point repetitive drumming through many of the tracks add an element of hypnosis, pulling you in even deeper to the realm of the late 60’s and early 70’s guitar heavy era.  Groovy at times, if you will.  Guitarist Christian Bland’s guitar lines are wet with pedals as can be, continuously.  Flange, distortion, echo, and more…classic elements sounding fresh and inviting to your ears.  Alex Maas’s vocals are soothing to the ears, pulling feelings of Morrison through your brain again.  I had the pleasure of seeing them live (finally) this year in their hometown of Austin, Texas during their annual festival the Austin Psych Fest.  Four days of 8-10 hours of non-stop rock music bliss.  Their set was definitely a highlight out of the 50+ bands.  While the group now has three full length’s, the first two are just enough in a different direction to really hold them in a special place in my heart.  I will continue to follow this incredible project until they quit or disband, and know I will listen to these albums over and over for years to come!

: Stumbleine :
~ chillstep, chillwave, lo.fi, electronic, shoegaze ~

Alright, think of taking a bit of Burial, Baths, My Bloody Valentine, Boards of Canada, Shigeto, and maybe even a bit of newer BT, smashing them all together seamlessly, and rather politely.  That is the best way formulated to describe the sound heard from this project.  Almost 40 tracks I’ve gone through from Stumbleine now and I’m sucked in every time.  This could easily the closest sounding to what may be true chillstep.  Lush fields of nostalgia and new found love right after you lost a love are all around you.  Bask in it, if you will.  ‘Glacier’ from The Night Before is quite possibly the most listened to selection at the current moment.  The soft echoing vocal calls you into the state of mind being spoken to you throughout this uplifting three minutes and forty four seconds of pure joy.  Catchy popped riffs elegantly executed on top of the triple-clapped, crunched, and extremely wet snares; a style that has been becoming more and more of a standard within certain brands of subgenres of dubstep.  Not much information has come out so far about Stumbleine.  I honestly couldn’t find much intel out there in the good old World Wide Web besides the facts that the project is from the UK, joined Crackbook on 12/14/2010, and has a ton of music on their Soundcloud for you to fall in love with.

: Sensiva :
: Giosun : Sensotech : 2005 :
~ downtempo, idm, ambient, pre-glitch ~

This has to be one of the most amazing albums of it’s kind.  Every time I listen to it, which is somehow not more often, I am taken aback by mesmerizing beauty unfolding in my ears.  Each track is carefully gliding right through your senses, filling them with another land, not far off, but just within reach over the horizon.  The weather is beautiful, if you will.  Being the only release on Sensotech, Russian Artem Galukhin (Артём Галухин) delivers a true masterpiece, one even the brothers of Boards of Canada, whom it seems to be partially inspired by, would appreciate.  The pieces are synth haunting heavy throughout, yet always reminding you at all times how beautiful life actually can be (and is).  Multi-layered drum sections allow you to gently ride the river down this immense drone filled cavern.  Unfortunately Sensiva hasn’t been heard from in years at this point, but one can always hope that more material may surface someday.  Definitely can sense this one being a favorite for many many years to come.

Phish
~ rock, jam.band, folk, space jazz ~

This may surprise some of you to read this.  Well, be surprised, be very surprised.  I absolutely LOVE Phish.  My first girlfriend ever introduced them to me through the “A Live One” live CD on Elektra back in 1996 or so.  Since then I’ve had my waves of going in and out of listening to them non-stop, and this summer has been one of those IN times.  Massively addicted with no end in sight, if you will.  Along with the incredible collection of live shows that what.CD has to offer, and working outside (Phish goes great with the outside, don’t ya know?), there has been “way too much” Phish going on around the property according to my roomie.  Beyond that I will say nothing, but I will list off a few of the selections I’m listening to on repeat lately:

Hampton Comes Alive – Wading In The Velvet Sea, Sabotage (Beastie Boys), Mike’s Song
“A Live One”: Gumbo, The Squirming Coil
2012/07/01, East Troy, WI: Gotta Jibboo, No Quarter (Led Zeppelin), Farmhouse, Happiness Is A Warm Gun (The Beatles)
2012/07/08, Saratoga Springs, NY: Foam, David Bowie, You Enjoy Myself
July 4th, 2010, Alpharetta, GA: This set is over the top!  Bowie, Jibboo, Ghost>Waste, and a Mike’s Groove with Mike’s Song>Tela>Harpua>KILLING IN THE NAME OF (Rage Against The Machine)>Harpua>Weekapaug Groove.  Encore with First Tube.  Incredible show!!
Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, July 31, 1999 – Niigata, Japan: 2001

Wen
: Unreleased/Soundcloud :
~ post.dubstep, minimal, 130bpm, bass.music ~

Glorious.  Stumbled across this thickness through a good old friend of mine who knows more about the true sounds of dubstep as a whole more than anyone I know.  He sent me over to his Soundcloud page, and the evening I decided to check it out, I ended listening to everything he has posted up, possibly multiple times.  Extremely minimal, lush, subtle, cleanly dirty, and at a different than normal speed than most songs in what’s subgenre.  Some of the best dubstep I’ve really…ever heard!  Reminiscent of Kryptic Minds’s extremely clean yet spacious sounds, yet bringing in more of a light tough of Eastern influence instead of locking you away in the basement the whole time.  Completely blown away.  Wen has no official releases yet, but the mind’s behind Dusk + Blackdown seem to be keen on the youngster, with rumors of some output on their Keysound Recordings.  We can only hope.  Until then I will continue to soak in whatever he puts up on Soundcloud, which by the way is at this link: http://soundcloud.com/w3n/tracks  Excited to see what the future hold’s for this newcomer!

Badaboom.  ‘Till next time.

~S~

Music for the Ear…as of late. The Second.

June 29th, 2012

Music, music, music, Life, music, music, MUSIC!  It doesn’t stop.  Overload the ears, but be nice to them with a safe listening volume.  Brain swell.  Incredible.  Little mix of old and new on the ear drum As Of Late:

: Meshuggah :
: Catch Thirtythree : Nuclear Blast : 2005
:
~ metal, progressive.rock, doom 

Pure, unfiltered, and in your face.  Sweden’s Meshuggah step up their game quite a bit here with the experimental 47 minute opus “Catch Thirtythree“.  The band’s 5th album, and only piece of this nature to this date, has always been quite the difficult listen – but can be extremely rewarding beneath the heavy and more often than not darker undertones of the piece.  Stepping into a more texturous flow inside themselves, layers and layers of guitars come whirling out at you, with electronically sequenced samples of the drummer (in place of the drummer physically playing the kit) for the first time in the band’s career.  Jazz elements present themselves at times.  The album is lyrically said to float through specific paradoxes, hence the title “Catch Thirtythree (as in the phrase ‘catch twenty-two‘).  Complete with an intermission or sorts during ‘In Death – Is Death’, this is the one space on the album where everything isn’t driving at full speed metal ahead.  After death or course is an awakening, and you’ll definitely find one if you’re able to push through this opus.

: BT :
: If The Stars Are Eternal So Are You And I : Laptop Symphony : 2012 :
~ ambient, glitch, experimental, modern.classical ~

BT.  The man has simply been all over the place with his music, and all over the world because of it.  I used to see him back at NAF Studios, full on rave status Dj, blowing up trance like there would never be an end to that style of synth line (is there yet??).  He’s made dance music, soundtracked, and he’s also put out some extremely beautiful experimental works.  2006 brought the first of these more experimental works, “This Binary Universe“.  I’d never listened to BT‘s music on the regular until that point, but that album, along with the incredible video work from LA’s Scott Pagano, one of my favorite visual artist’s, had me as a quick convert.  “ITSAESAYAI” is said to be the follow up to the beginning of a new direction for BT.  ITSAESAYAI” provides you once again with beauty from all ends of the spectrum.  With seven tracks ranging from the 7 – 14 minute range, the journey  had me sucked in the entire time the first listen (which proceeded to be three full listens the day I got it – something that very rarely happens around here).  The disc is mainly comprised of gorgeous waves of ambient pads fluttering with organic instrumentation, glitch of the most precise nature, and every once in a while, bassy beat driven sections spanning from dubstep, to chilled out techno, to glitched out breaks.  I can definitely see this being on my ‘Top 10 of the Year’ already.  Even though I believe the whole album is incredible, ‘Our Dark Garden’ has been standing out quite a bit – one of the more vocal driven tracks on the album, it brings you to a place of pure bliss if you let it, gliding through a land of harmony…with loads of fluffy clouds to lay on.  A masterpiece of an album…highly recommend checking this one out.

: Broken Social Scene :
: You Forgot It In People : Arts & Crafts International : 2002 :
~ indie.rock, experimental.punk, art.rock, ambient, post.rock ~

Broken Social Scene’s second album witness’ the band changing up a few aspects quite heavily – one being adding numerous members to the group, and two being to start pumping out forward rock jams, a drastic change from their mainly post-rock ambient styled first album “Feel Good Lost“.  One might think this could get quite messy.  Well, they pull it off, and it’s done so well that it’s still my favorite album of theirs!  Starting off where “Feel Good Lost left off, the album starts off with a post-rock ambient piece, and then leads directly into where the sound has grown up – rock based grooves with plenty of experimental noise of all sorts going on underneath.  Horn sections, waves of ambience, static based noise, tons of guitar distortion, and epic amounts of screaming through plenty of filters of many types.  This almost sums up the album, except you end up with pieces like the widely known ‘Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl‘, ‘Pacific Theme’, and ‘Looks Just Like The Sun’, hitting elements of ambient based indie folk tunes, making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  ‘Anthems’ specifically has a special feel to it – they’re not joking around with that title – you feel like a seventeen year old girl hanging out in her room starting at the mirror and wondering about her emotional state.  ‘Pacific Theme’ takes you on a drive on Highway 101 through Northern California and Southern Oregon, exploding in on itself in one of the grooviest grooves ever right around the 4:10 mark.  The album consists of segments of similar sounds, usually three to four songs at a time, which makes the whole journey feel extremely conducive.  All in all, absolutely spectacular album, and now a for sure classic for the books!  Have to toss out another shout out to my old friend Steve Salisbury for turning me on to these guys (and this album) way back when!

: True Dream :
: The Night Again : 4×4 Records : 2011
:
~ pop.rock, doo-wop, folk, indie.rock, ambient ~

Seattle based Danny VanHollebeke comes marching out of the ether with his first full length LP under the alias True Dream.  The layers of which this pop masterpiece consist of make it easy to tell that nothing but the utmost consideration, concentration, and careful attention to detail have been placed into this work. Having spent seven years putting the album together with all it’s finishing touches, a story is woven here, a story of life, feelings, and consciousness at it’s level of striving for love.  The album presents itself to you in the form of pop, but boasts elements of waltz, ambient, metal, 60’s, 80’s, dream pop, doo-wop, and indie rock – all enveloped by a layer of light experimentalism to infuse it all together.  As Todd Hamm of the Seattle Weekly said, “think doom-wop”.  Even deeper we find out that all aspects of the music, including the vocals, are played and made by VanHollebeke.  At only 32 minutes, the piece will quickly bring you from happiness glee to reverent melancholy, keeping a fairly moving undertone throughout.  Personal favorites?  The whole thing!!  From the moment the title track reached my ear, and all the way through to the Brian Eno inspired ambient ‘Decomposition‘, Danny’s album has me captivated and invested, repeatedly.  I purchased the finished product sometime last year, it has been through constant rotation on all my players – at home base, and on the road.  You can find True Dream’s The Night Again on iTunes here:  |— CLICK —|  Fantastic work Danny!

: Demdike Stare :
: Elemental : Modern Love : 2012 :
~ dark.ambient, industrial, drone, techno, witch.house, experimental ~

Since 2009, the illusive Lancastrian outfit known as Demdike Stare have been birthing into the Universe some of the world’s most unusual and forward thinking sounds inside of the dark ambient/drone, witch house, and experimental realms.  Really though, their music is flat out at times, indescribable.  Hinting on elements of tribalism, folk, and neo-paganism, it seems as though Sean Cantry and Miles Whittaker are attempting to call back in the witches who were once running around rampant in the area the group comes from, especially with the “Demdike” name hailing from Elizabeth Southern, the supposed leader of the Pendle Witches.  After their three part release in 2010, I knew never to miss anything from the duo again.  Released as four parts on colored vinyl, with a full double-disc CD release in 2012, this new collection of works leaves you feeling as though some sort of ancient underworld Earthen being has gobbled up your thought processes, and spit them out into a dark new reality that makes you feel…haunted!  Even as OCD in describing genres as I love to be, this disc leaves me so floored that it’s hard to put into words.  Take the track “Mnemosyne” for instance – their is a backbone of some stripped down 135bpm dubstep styled beat in there, but beneath that, you feel as though you’re in the middle of a longhouse in the 1600’s and the coven you belong to is about to sacrifice some sort of lamb or goat or small furry animal – AND it’s a joyous occasion.  Elements of dark drone plaster the album, taking over sections of otherwise beat oriented music, out of no where.  Little nods to Aphex Twin’s more twisted and disturbing sound experiment works come out of the woodwork at times, making me think back to a track off 2001’s “Drukqs“, ‘Gwarek2‘, by far one of the more perverse 6 minutes of sound my mind can really think of.  All in all I could sit here and try and describe “Elemental” to you all day, but really you just need to bust out your best pair of speakers, turn off all the lights, sit next to a fire (inside or outside), and let yourself immerse into another world.  Genius work!

 : Scuba :
: DJ-Kicks : !K7 Records : 2011 :
~ 2-step, dubstep, techno, bass.music, ambient, glitch ~

If you haven’t heard of Paul Rose’s Scuba at this point, you’ve definitely been hiding under some sort of rock underneath the top layer of soil of the Earth for the past…oh, five years or so.  Probably more.  The official headmaster of one of the most forefront running labels out there today, Hotflush Recordings, Rose has been helping advance the sound of 2-step and dubstep alike now for over 10 YEARS – amazing really!  Everything this man touches that I have found, I have been into (minus maybe two or three songs on his latest LP, “Personality“).  This edition of the DJ-Kicks series is absolutely no exception.  Starting off with a lovely deep ambient piece to set the mood, from Hotflush’s Sigha, the mix begins with a churning of techno cross bred with 2-step influences and does nothing but pick up and get groovier from there.  Sitting around 132bpm for the length of the mix allows the blend between the crossover of styles to mesh flawlessly .  Track selection, programming, mixing – PERFECT.  You’ll notice that each song tracked out lasts for just over a minute to just under three minutes (with a few exceptions) – proof of the generous amount of layering going on between selected tracks for the majority of the journey.  Notable tracks to dig for on their own: Peverlist’s Sun Dance‘, Trevino’s Shorty‘, Boddika’s ‘Acid Battery‘, Scuba’s M.A.R.S.‘ (made specifically for the mix), Jichael Mackson’s Gedons‘, and Sepalcure’s gorgeous ‘Inside‘, which provides the mixes outro and end point.  This is how it’s done properly people – Know This!

Injoy.  See ya hopefully sooner than later this next time.  I’m going to attempt to do this once a week at this point, as well as randomly posting interesting bits of all sorts of finds from the net and beyond into this Blog, so, stay tuned!

Music for the Ear…as of late. The First.

June 9th, 2012

In getting my what.CD account activated again, the new barrage of music has started to flow heavily once again after taking a break while traveling.  Going a bit overboard, the flood has been a bit sporadic in nature, spanning a large field of genres.  Here’s what’s been getting scooped up by my ears As of Late:

: The Mars Volta :
: De-Loused In The Comatorium : Universal Records : 2003 :
~ rock, psychedelic, progressive rock, latin, jazz, electronica ~

The Volta’s first record.  I remember a friend of Flando and I’s came over, dropping this album on us.  I’d never heard anything like it.  One large moving -flow of pleasure waves, hitting all points of your emotional psyche.  Ecstatic rhythms seldom stay in one time signature for all that long – random movements of tripped out electronic synths – Led Zeppelin style vocals completely take attention of your head, screaming down your spine…  Digging into the album a bit we find that Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is on bass in songs throughout the album, most notably on the final track, “Take The Veil Cerpen Taxt“.  Digging deeper we find Mr. Rick Rubin co-producing the record (w/ the Volta’s musical genius frontman Omar Rodriguez-Lopez) in an abandoned and supposedly haunted old house, where a studio lives in the basement.  A full on concept album, the short story was written by lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and sound manipulation artist Jeremy Michael Ward, the album is an hour-long tale of Cerpin Taxt; a man who enters a week-long coma after overdosing on a mixture of morphine and rat poison. The story of Cerpin Taxt alludes to the death of El Paso, Texas artist — and Bixler-Zavala’s friend — Julio Venegas (1972–1996).’ (1)  If you are at into hearing some of the past decade’s most forward thinking psychedelic progressive rock, you’ll definitely want to check this out.  I’d dare to say this is one of my favorite albums, period.

(1) Wikipedia.org

: Blamstrain :
: Ensi :  Merck Records : 2003 :
~ idm, ambient, downtempo, experimental ~

Another first in 2003!  Finnish artist Juho Hietala, who goes by the ever so odd name of ‘Blamstrain‘, drops an instant Merck Records classic with his career’s first LP.  Beeps, clicks, pops, hidden futuristic vocals, heavy basslines, and full swooping pads politely fit together throughout this entire record.  A range of styles of drum patterns continue to make the album seem like a constant journey in a deep black to blue to gray cave, once in a while finding a tiny hole to the outside, then most certainly seeing the light.  The personal standout track is “Alive In Arms“.  I found this on track on wax years ago, had no idea it was a 45 and played on 33 repeatedly.  Opening it up heavily made the joyful nature of the track expand upon itself in the greatest way.  Fantastic record!!

: D-Bridge :
: The Gemini Principle : Exit Records : 2008 :
~ drum&bass, ambient, tech-step ~

D-Bridge’s only and Exit’s first full length in 2008 is a drum & bass masterpiece.  Taking a minor step away from the dance floor style, ambience moves most of the background of the album with gorgeous washes of lushness.  Though many songs seem to feed off of the 85 side of the bpm, the album sits right around the 170bpm mark consistently throughout the work, racing drums kick out at you, programmed in a complex way, but that’s easy to deal with.  Calibre makes an appearance on ‘Ponderosa‘, churning out a liquid grooved beauty.  Sensual vocals ride the basslines at times.  Your d&b crunchy synth is softly used all over, adding flavor, but never taking over.  There’s even a bassy LFO experiment included in the rest of the drum & bass perfection that is this album.

  

: Truth :
: Insanity/Skitzo EP : Boka Records : 2012 :
: Dreams/Last Time : Tempa : 2012 :
~ dubstep, half-step, UK, bass music ~

Truth has been quite active so far here in 2012.  These two EPs show the two showcase different sides of the project, and both sides are equally as well thought out as the other.  The second record for Boka Records comes out swinging with an incredibly groovy bass cavern styled hard hitter.  On the B-Side, the LFO takes over, carrying the track as it morphs all over the place.  Great hi-hat work on the ‘Skitzo‘ tune!  The A-Side on Truth’s first on Tempa provides a trippier, less dance-floor friendly look into the style, with a hypnotic vocal & pad combo that ends you up lost in your own head.  The flip brings it up a notch and gets bouncy into a swingin’ minimal half-stepper.  Both tracks end up being keepers, and both records are great pieces for the crate at the moment.

: Sigur Rós :
: Valtari : Parlaphone, EMI, XL : 2012
:
~ ambient, post-rock, folk, experimental, modern classical ~

Valtari” is the band’s first original work since a break starting in 2008, and frontman Jón Þór Birgisson‘s first completely solo side project.  Taking an even more ambient direction that previous works, the album is mostly movements of modern classical post-rock bliss, done only like Sigur Rós can.  Gorgeously full pieces are layered with distorted bowed guitar, fluttering strings, and melancholy piano, and of course, always backed by Birgisson’s falsetto and sometimes very haunting voice.  It definitely takes the right mood to set into the vibe they are thickly laying down within these pieces.  ‘Varúð‘ is one of the standout selections for me on this record.  The bursting fleets of pure happiness speckled across the dotted regions of joy produce such a rush that you can feel the physical side effects from the music.  Climactic a bit?!  Absolutely.  If you’re lucky enough, they’ll be coming to your area on their US tour this summer.  They provided me with two of my favorite live act shows that I’ve seen in my life, luckily, inside Benoroya Hall.  Highly recommend!

: The Smashing Pumpkins :
: Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness :
: Virgin, Hut Recordings : 1995:
~ alternative rock, 1990’s ~

Need I say anything here?  Not really.  I don’t know why exactly I started listening to this again, but it had been YEARS, and I’m stoked I did.  From the classical and subtly inviting beginning at Dawn, this double disc LP holds it’s test of time here in 2012.  Absolute Classic.

~S~

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