music

Going to Symbiosis Re:Union?! Here’s a crash course for the Lineup this year.

Planning on hitting Symbiosis 10 Year Anniversary this September?!  You’ve absolutely made the right decision.  After almost 16 years of events under my belt in the realm of the electronic music festival world here on the Left Coast, I have constantly said now for years that Symbiosis is by far, THE BEST, hands down, no questions asked.  The venues they choose, the attention to detail in production, the crowd they draw, the incredibley diverse lineup, and more make this your one festival to never miss when they actually decide to throw one.  It’s usually once every two years with a one back to back occurrence in 2012/2013.

Due to the fact that their lineups are so massive and diverse, you may not know who or what it is you’re looking at exactly when it comes to these artists.  That is why I am here today.  Here is my Official Crash Course to the Symbiosis 2015 Lineup:

:: ABSOLUTELY NOT TO BE MISSED ::

Nicolas Jaar (DJ Set)
http://www.nicolasjaar.net/

If you don’t know who Nicolas Jaar is at this point, you’ve obviously been on another planet for the past few years.  Since about 2011 Nico has made an incredible dent in the more mature and jazz influenced side of electronica.  Literally everything he touches is gold, and thankfully, he just started his own imprint, Other People, to further the exploration into the world of his tastes.  On Other People you can also find artists like Valentin StipDarkside, and other classy acts.  His live show I saw a few years back was nothing short of amazing, and as much as I’m not usually into DJ Sets from prolific producers, Nico should bring it proper as this year’s main headliner.

CocoRosie
http://cocorosiemusic.com/
https://soundcloud.com/larealcocorosie

Ahhh yes, the two beautiful lovely ladies that make up the Indie Folktronica group CocoRosie.  I was turned onto these lovelies around 2009 and dabbled a bit into their music with a girlfriend at the time.  They ended up passing through Seattle and I bought us tickets to go.  Suffice to say, that show made me a firm believer.  What really caught me was how incredibly unique and avant-garde their whole performance was – I’d never seen or heard anything like it.  They had a whole table with an array of children’s toys, plastic music boxes, and more that were implemented into almost every song played.  These beauties are not to be missed!

Tipper
http://tippermusic.net/
https://soundcloud.com/tippermusic

Dave Tipper.  The man who is almost solely responsible for the squelching Left Coast bass music sound.  A god amongst music producers.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have watched Dave play back in his humble beginnings right after he moved to Seattle in 2003 or so.  From the moment I saw him scratching with a CDJ over his own live beats, I knew something special had just landed on the West Coast.  Over the past 15 years now Tipper has released countless EP’s, a few LP’s, a surround sound masterpiece, and most recently kicked a heart bypass surgery in the ass!  Thank the gods Dave is still with us.  If you want to see this man in his absolute element, do not miss EITHER of his sets here at Symbiosis this year.  His downtempoish set during the eclipse at the 2012 Pyramid Lake Symbiosis was and still is in my Top 10 dance-at-a-festival moments EVER.

Four Tet
http://www.fourtet.net/

Kieren Hebden is one of my favorite musicians.  Ever.  The man has attributed to some of my very favorite songs, that have been on repeat now for fifteen years!  We’ve seen Kieren’s Four Tet moniker go from 99’s ‘Dialogue‘ minimal electronic jazzfest to 2005’s quirky downtempo IDM filled ‘Everything Ecstatic‘ to teaming up with Burial in 2009 for some of the sexiest slow techno ever to 2010’s gorgeous slow house love fest on ‘There Is Love In You‘ only to end up here in 2015 where he just released ‘Morning/Evening‘, two twenty minute long Hindu chanting micro-house ambient opuses.  Oh yah, in 2011 he did some work with Thom Yorke as well.  Basically the man is a genius, and makes amazing music.  Constantly.  I’ve seen Four Tet now a handful of times, and depending on what style of set he’s booked for (Live vs DJ), the level of awesome can vary.  That said, you’ll still more than likely see me in front of the stage when he plays!

Sylvan Esso
http://www.sylvanesso.com/

I was just recently turned onto Sylvan Esso through my What.CD geekings.  They’re straight up in this whole new wave of Hipster Folktronica, and I absolutely love it.  Don’t know too much else about them except that their LP debut from last year is a must hear.  Be careful, it may be on repeat in your room soon!

Ibeyi
http://www.ibeyi.fr/

So I just looked up these 19 year old twin beauties today.  Instantly fell in love.  If you liked the Sylvan Esso vibe above, you’ll definitely dig Ibeyi’s Afro-Cuban take on Hipster Folktronica.  I’ll definitely be trying to catch these ladies at Symbi.

The Acid
http://wearetheacid.com/

https://soundcloud.com/the-acid-sounds

Like the past few projects mentioned here, The Acid I just recently discovered.  Leaning on the Hipstertronic side of things, they are in that same vibe minus the Folk aspects.  You could almost call it ambient lyrical moody house/techno…or something.  Regardless, I just listened to their first LP ‘Liminal’ and totally dug it.  I’ll definitely want to check this live electronic trio out this year!

Pantha Du Prince
http://www.panthaduprince.com/
https://soundcloud.com/panthaduprince

Normally you would only see Pantha at something like Decibel Festival (Seattle) or Mutek (Montreal), and not at some hippie styled festival here in Cali.  This is an absolutely perfect example of why I consider Symbiosis to be the best Left Coast festival – booking artists of this nature.  Pantha separates himself from the usual techno world with his ever so sleepy beats making you feel like you’re floating through the falling snow of some Norse country in the dead heart of winter.  By infusing all sorts of bell and glass instrumentation, the music while thick underneath, sounds heavenly and full of light.  I was fortunate enough to stage manage for Pantha at Decibel a few years back, and was astounded when he set up his rig – a computer, a midi controller, and sixteen different pieces of glassware – all randomly filled with different amounts of water – that were then mic’d and played throughout his live performance.  While I don’t expect this to happen out at Symbi, I do know he’ll deliver one incredible set for us all OUTSIDE.  Don’t miss it!

edIT & Ooah Present: Crying Over Pros & Of Porcelain
https://soundcloud.com/edit
https://soundcloud.com/ooah
http://www.theglitchmob.com/

I first caught wind of Ooah back in 2005 when I spent four months on Maui with my girlfriend at the time and a whole posse of hippies.  EPIC times those were.  Ooah, Random Rab, and the late Rodman had come out during those four months as well, and were basically playing every or every other party during the whole time I was there.  It was awesome.  Ooah’s quirky, but hard hitting breaks to hip-hop sets were something to lust for over and over.  Rab’s gear hadn’t been stolen yet and he was not playing via laptops.  Then by the next time I saw Ooah, The Glitch Mob had happened.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  For one it was nothing like I was used to with Ooah.  Two, edIT, this random name in IDM who I’d heard of from his mind blowing glitch quest entitled ‘Crying Over Pros For No Reason on Planet Mu in 2004, was up there on stage with Ooah and Boretta and a whole slew of other folk churning out this psycho glitch glam hop that made me (personally) want to run away screaming.  Regardless, the Mob’s (and Bassnectar’s) sound literally took over the Cali music scene for a good four years from 2006-2010.  During that time however, Ooah self-released his own answer to edIT’s glitch quest, titled ‘Of Porcelain‘.  Both of these emotive downtempo styled glitch fests are two of the boys best works, and possibly will be for a long time to come.  To see this performed dually and live at Symbi will be a real treat that honestly will probably never happen again.  Be there.

Max Cooper
http://maxcooper.net/
https://soundcloud.com/max-cooper

I first caught wind of Mr. Cooper like many artists – through catching him deliver an over the top excellent set at Decibel Fest a few years back.  From then on he was on my radar.  Then he was booked at the Juke Shack at Symbi 2013 – again another excellent set of diverse techno, blended perfectly for the time and slot given at the fest.  That dancefloor was raging!!!  Since 2013, the world has seen Max diversify his sound incredibly from mostly techno into the world of expansive IDM sounding downtempo electronica and more.  2014 saw the release of his debut LP ‘Human‘, which is an instant classic in it’s own right.  2014 also saw Max stepping up his game even further by launching his own Live A/V (Audio/Visual) tour called ‘EMERGENCE‘, which thankfully he debuted at Decibel Fest.  This live set brings forth everything about Max that you love already, while placing sharp and crisp visuals programmed by the man himself behind it all to fully encapsulate your brain, heart, and body.  If ‘EMERGENCE‘ comes to your town – do not miss it.  I know Max will fully deliver another epic dance set at Symbi this year – I’ll see you on the dancefloor!

Bob Moses
https://soundcloud.com/the-bob-moses

Thanks to the brilliant brain of the one and only KDJ aKa Kadeejah Streets aKa Dirty Ice do I get turned onto many incredible musicians I may have not found on my own.  Bob Moses is yet another perfect example of KDJ playing something for my ears, and instantaneously am I finding myself addicted.  (I probably wouldn’t have started spinning dubstep if it wasn’t for addictions like this, but that’s another story for another time.)  This time it was through Bob Moses’ ‘Inner City Odyssey mix from about eight months ago.  I think I played it out something like 10-12 times the first week I got my hands on it (and it is still available for download via the link above, FYI).  The mix is a heartfelt and laid back sunny day house set, with beautiful vocal melodies swimming around your head throughout most of it’s hour long play time.  While I don’t know much about Bob Moses, I do know they’re relatively new to the house music scene, and so far have done nothing but turn heads wherever they play or their music is played.  I’d fair to say this may be the one biggest dance set I’m lusting after at this year’s Symbi – I can only hope they get scheduled at that perfect moment!

Thugfucker
http://www.thugfucker.org/
https://soundcloud.com/thugfucker

Thugfucker.  Say it again with me: THUG-FUCKER.  What does not come to mind when you say this brilliant moniker is a tech-house duo.  What does come to mind might be Master P or Dr. Dre’s new protege or something of the sort.  Regardless, the Fucking of Thugs is definitely oriented towards house and is one of those odd projects that has randomly released some tunes here or there for the past 10+ years, has never released a full LP, and really only plays out every so often (from what I can tell).  Honestly due to the name I’d skipped seeing them at a few previous festivals until I caught the tail end of their set over a Funktion One soundsystem at Symbi 2012.  My love of house had full on returned at that point and I dug what I heard.  It wasn’t until Symbiosis 2013 that I was fully converted into Thugfucking.  That year from 5am-7am the duo laid down what has now been deemed the ‘Fogrise Set of a Lifetime’ by our whole crew who had been camped out at the Juke Shack for close to eight hours already.  The music being DJ’d matched the time and setting so well that I was finding myself nearly brought to tears multiple times.  Melodic, emotive, dance-forward tech-house perfectly mixed for two hours.  Pure bliss.  I can only hope they get a similar timeslot this year.

Thriftworks
https://soundcloud.com/thriftworks

In a land that is overly saturated with immature bass music for days, comes the mature answer to that sound: Thriftworks.  Introduced to me through The Jess a few years back, I’d heard the name a few times, but had dismissed it due to my jaded mindset on most Cali bass music.  Then I pulled my head out of my ass and discovered Thriftworks’ not overly produced, not overly squelched, and not overly repetitive bass heavy goodness.  The man has releases for days.  They start to sound a bit similar if you go on a binge, but they really do all stand apart in their own ways.  My personal LP favorite is ‘Terry-D‘.  The title track alone gets my brain bouncing and laughing so hard at the same time, that I am only hoping he drops this one on large sound this year!

TRUTH
http://www.truthdubstep.com/
https://soundcloud.com/truthdubstep

I discovered TRUTH when I was full on binging in my new lust for the dark, minimal, and grimey sounds of halfstep dubstep a few years back.  Side Note: Remember folks – real dubstep is at 140bpm.  Just because there’s annoying squelching sounds and lots of bass DOES NOT MAKE IT DUBSTEP.  In fact it probably isn’t.  Okay, that said, TRUTH was one of the few heavy hitters not from the UK that caught my ears.  The duo has released a fair amount of tunes through most big name dubstep labels at this point including Deep Medi Musik, Black Box, and Tempa.  While it definitely takes a bit of sifting through their catalog to find the gems, once you find those gems, you’re stoked.  This was a bit of an odd booking to me for this year’s Symbi, as there is literally almost nothing like it on the lineup besides them.  Regardless I’m curious to see what these guys pull off on large sound, and I just hope that it’s some form of a live set!

Carbon Based Lifeforms
http://www.carbonbasedlifeforms.net/
https://soundcloud.com/carbonbasedlifeforms

Another fairly out there but fantastic booking is the Swedish ambient/downtempo psydub project Carbon Based Lifeforms.  Having been around now since 1998, they are veterans to the chillout scene and all things trippy.  I’d heard of these two off and on for the past ten or so years, and always in positive discussion.  A few friends are truly avid fans, so I downloaded a few albums a while back and turned out to really enjoy the music.  It’s very relaxed, calm, and has many moments of weightless ambience throughout the songs and in between.  Just like TRUTH mentioned above, these guys are kind of in their own world out at this year’s Symbiosis.  I’d imagine an early morning sunrise set would be perfect!

:: IF YOU’RE NOT BUSY WITH THE ABOVE LIST, CHECK OUT ::

Justin Martin Dirtybird Bassline Techno
Christian Martin  Dirtybird Bassline Techno
Extrawelt – German Techno
KMLN – Cali Techno Dj Duo
Mumdance – Tripped Out British Bass Music
Filastine – Epic Political Hip-Hop
Random Rab – Warm & Fuzzy Downtempo (Especially if it’s a sunrise set!)
Tara Brooks – Super Fun Dancey House Music
Treavor Moontribe – PsyTechno
World’s Finest – Americana Dub Grass from PDX

If you have some free time to kill while you’re not dancing your ass of to any of the DO NOT MISS list, then I highly recommend you check out any or all of the above artists.  They’re solid performers, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to enjoy the show!

:: IF YOU GO TO FESTIVALS TO SEE THE SAME SHIT EVERY TIME, CHECK OUT ::

Shpongle (DJ Set by Raja Ram)
Emancipator Ensemble
The Polish Ambassador
EOTO
EPROM
Perfect Stranger
Desert Dwellers
Kalya Scintilla
The Human Experience
An-Ten-Nae
Kaminanda
Liberation Movement

Uhhhh, yah.  The Festie All-Stars.  They play every fest during the summer and some of you love it.  Not really my thing, but if it floats your boat – go sailing!  I’d personally recommend checking out some of the other music this massive lineup has to offer.

:: IF YOU’RE SUPER SPIRITUAL, CHECK OUT ::

Dub Kirtan Allstars
Fanna Fi Allah
Hamsa Lila

I actually really enjoy the above bands.  What I don’t enjoy is the excessively elevated and holier than thou vibes some of their fans bring with them.  That said, if you’re into kirtan and chanting and what not, these groups are definitely for you.

Well that’s about that.  Hopefully this has been informative, helpful, and fun.  I definitely hope you discovered something new in the music world you’re now into.  I’ll be at this year’s Symbi from Thurs-Mon, and would love to see any and all of you.  I’ll be camped in the Seattle Camp, which hopefully will be pleasantly situated by the Lake once again.  Have fun this year, and remember to DRINK WATER.


~SS~

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

BvKfZIrCAAEle_k.jpg-large

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

RūdElgin Drops A New Heavy Hitter: RūdE Moods Vol 2

Well well well…it’s been way too long since any info has been pushed through this blogspace…once again.  On that note, here’s a quick lick of information regarding so BASS.  And some heavy BASS at that.

The old homie Elgin Hakala just dropped a new heavy hitting dubstep mix of the most excellent kind.  Deep, dark, agressive, and airy, completely with not a lick of cheesey Americanized falsestep whatsoever.  Having not heard a mix from Elgin in a while, I was extremely excited to see him toss out a mix of the exact same type of true grimey dubstep that I’ve been into for the past couple years.

With an incredible tracklist mixed to keep your body in the groove, this one will be loved by anyone into the deeper side of the step…fans of Kryptic Minds, Biome, DJ Madd, Truth, Versa & Rowl, Osiris Music, Deep Heads, etc will absolutely love this business.  GET IT.

Lights down, heads up, this one’s a percy and it’s for download at Elgin’s Soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/rudelgin/rudemoodsvol2

Excellent News: A New Machinedrum LP On NINJA TUNE Is On The Way.

STOKE.  Checked my What.CD Top10 List before bed, and what did I see?  A new Machinedrum single?!  Well that’s about as good as it gets these days in the more progressive side of bass music as far as I’m concerned.  After “Room(s)“, his last major output in 2011 for Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu, I become completely infatuated with Travis Stewart’s Machinedrum moniker all over again (as I had once before in the Merck Records days).  “Room(s)” took a look at current bass music rooting itself in juke, and spashed elements of breakbeat, jungle, drum&bass, house, and dubstep all over itself.  There’s even a gorgeous pure ambient track to finish the album out – I’d honestly never heard anything like it!  The album got me into the whole juke/footwork sound, along with expanding my palate as a whole, surrounding my intellect with just where bass music was and could be headed at that point in time.

Back on track – so to see this new single pop up, and listed as being released on Ninja Tune (only one of the best labels of the past twenty years), you could pretty much say I had a minor freak out.  Downloaded it right quick, popped my Sennheiser’s on, and let myself bask in more glory.

Immediately something is different comparatively speaking against “Room(s)“.  The tempo is all the way up at 172bpm!  We could be looking at a drum&bass track here, but no, as the track unfolds, pitch-shifted vocal edits (most likely Travis himself as on “Room(s)“), and a very broken kick drum open the track up.  About two-plus minutes in, it fully let’s itself go into a whirling drum&bass backed juke oriented head bobber.  The drum work is excellent, of course.  Politely layered and spaced well, hi-hats and snare rolls float on top of the jukey kick drum.  The new speed doesn’t muck up at all where he has been on the last album.  After a solid minute of getting hit hard, the track breaks down into a beautiful and spacious forty seconds of bliss before dropping the broken juke oriented kick drum all over your ears again.  These broken parts I can see dancefloors having an interesting time with, but when he really lets the track go, it really is clearly made for some serious breakbeat style dancing – whatever your pleasure.

Suffice to say, I am extremely excited for this release – “Room(s)” was in my Top 3 of 2011, and I could place a safe bet that this may make that same list for 2013.  Here’s the track on Youtube for ya:

A coherent transmission from the Realm of Boards of Canada…FINALLY, as it’s only been eight years!

Well, well, well.  Looks like all the tricks in the past few months have finally, and truly, led up to something!  This evening on BBC Radio, the first ‘single’ (funny saying that about something BoC releated) off of the new Boards of Canada album was officially released over the air.  This subsequently spawned a load of Tweets and Blogging from anyone and everyone paying attention including, but not limited to: XLR8R, Helios, Warp Records (duh), Richard Devine, Tycho, Bleep (duh), Detroit Underground, AND even Boards of Canada themselves (who all of a sudden have a Twitter account with around 16,000 followers and growing, which you can find that account here: https://twitter.com/boctransmission.

Along with the announcement comes the ability to purchase the single digitally from Bleep, which can be done here: https://bleep.com/release/44127-boards-of-canada-reach-for-the-dead .  NOTE:  If you pre-order the album in either format (Vinyl or CD) you will instantaneously get a download of an MP3 of ‘Reach For The Dead’.

Even further, and more exciting, was the drop of an HD video of your usual nostalgic visuals to accompany the new track on BoC’s official webpage: http://boardsofcanada.com/.

Though, since I love you all, here is the video, embedded, so you don’t even have to think about clicking away from TravelsAndTuness:

The track itself…how is it?!  It’s Boards of Canada.  I mean, I’ve only heard it a few times now, so I’m not going to spout out some random nonsense of an opinion after hearing this so recently.  Something I’ve had to learn over and over with new music I’m excited about is simply to not expect anything!  Let it flow over you, and form an opinion later!  That said, the track is very moody (surprise?!), has a bit more crispness to it on the drums then many BoC tracks I’ve heard, and is full on deep in synth (surprise?!), riding throughout almost the entire five minutes.  It’s fantastic.  It’s Boards of Canada.  There’s a whole album coming out we can all process and think too much about very soon…in about two weeks!

This is where I would normally say: WINNING!

Four Tet Randomly Drops New LP of Old Material!

Four Tet Randomly Drops New LP of Old Material!

WOW.  If you’re a music lover in the electronica or jazz world and don’t know Four Tet already, then, this is a great place to start!  For everyone else that hasn’t been hiding under a rock for the past 20 years or so, THERE IS A NEW FOUR TET RELEASE!

Apparently this is all material written from 1997 – 2001 or so, meaning – more tunes that sound like ‘Rounds’ (which is hands down, one of the best pieces of contemporary music to date)!

It’s currently available for a FREE DOWNLOAD on his Soundcloud ( https://soundcloud.com/four-tet/0181-1 ), so get on over to it and soak in the bliss!

Injoy!

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 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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