This treepunk shit is chaining itself up, ain’t it? I mean, totally in a good way. It’s super jovial and serious-mustache-face all at once. Like how T-buggs blends cute pop with grime. Are Alphabets leading a new craze? Hopefully not. Hopefully they can solely make it they’s own thing. For awhile now, I’ve had this idea that modern literature is defined in and of itself. Thus, something is only considered literature if it has to be adapted into another form of art, opposed to just copy and pasting. Maybe. But this applies to music too. Lil B got his corner of hip-hop. Lieven is poppin’ off his own style of field recording. Alex be drippin’ them mixes. Alphabets, please keep it leafy and punky in a fashion that nobody will dare try repeating, please.
• Alphabets: http://alphabets.bandcamp.com
Astro Nautico, the label responsible for putting out solid releases by howse, Time Wharp, Kuhn, Obey City, and Paul Jones, recently dropped Atlantics: Vol. 2, a beastly (and free) 41-track compilation of bass-heavy dance tracks, suffocated hip-hop, and ethereal bathdub constructions. Each morning this week, I’ll pick one of my favorite tracks, so you can start your day off astronautically.
My first pick? Time Wharp’s “Busy G.” I love this song with a passion. Hell, I love Time Wharp with a passion. It’s pretty much all sunshine here with “Busy G,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not without the kind of rhythmic complexity that’ll permanently damage the brains of kids aged 0-6 . Listen to it. Think about it. Do something to it.
I love that Markus Popp, a.k.a. Oval, is making music again. After a lengthy hiatus, Popp returned a couple years ago and has already released well over a hundred songs, spread across two full-lengths (O, OvalDNA) and two EPs (Oh!, Oval/Liturgy split). His latest release is called Sophioko, a four-track EP that continues his meticulous, stuttering electronic explorations, made available for free this morning via SoundCloud. No embed, but you can stream the entire EP here.
“She” / “Part of Solution”
The Beijing trio Snapline formed in 2005, when they were studying science and engineering at the city’s most elite universities. They initially grouped themselves with Carsick Cars, The Gar, and White into the “No Beijing” movement, cribbing the influential New York no-wave LP title for a 2CD compilation and short tour that year. While their peers went on to buff the most abrasive elements of their sound into more or less palatable forms of noise rock and post-punk, Snapline earned a reputation for uncompromising, often alienating live shows. Their 2007 debut, Party Is Over, Pornostar, showcases a brazen mix of minor-chord melodies, industrial fuzz waves, motorik drum machine propulsion and percussive guitar shreds, all backgrounded by vocalist Chen Xi’s surreal lyrics ontologically probing the bleak postmodern Beijing landscape.
Snapline recorded a follow-up LP with PiL drummer Martin Atkins, who became enamored with the band during a 2006 trip to Beijing. Dissatisfied with the result, the band re-recorded the songs from scratch with a much more minimal approach in mind. The finished effort, Phenomena, is a study in musical economy: a single synth provides bassline, beat, and stripped-down melody; a single guitar yields rhythm and lead. Chen Xi’s vocals straddle the sound like some kind of dystopic computer-brain commandant (in fact, he has a degree in Nuclear Energy and is a senior Microsoft engineer).
Two tracks from the yet-unreleased album have snaked their way online, accompanying “unofficial” video collages from Beijing-based videographer and frequent band collaborator S. Dummy. Dummy’s re-appropriation of retro-futuristic classics Metropolis and Solaris suits Snapline’s soundtrack perfectly. Check out “She” above and “Part of Solution” here:
Phenomena will be released on June 2 from Maybe Mars Records.
“Grandfather Paradox Part II” [excerpt]
In 1989, Alexander Ross, a painter living in New York, released a cassette called Grandfather Paradox. No one I know has ever heard of it, and I’ve asked everyone I’ve been in contact with (including this Radio Shack clerk, who I fucking hate). Well, apparently Finnish experimental musician Jan Anderzén, a.k.a. Kemialliset Ystävät, has heard the release, because his label, Vauva, is set to reissue it in a couple weeks on vinyl. Check out an excerpt of the second song off the two-track album here:
Cellular Chaos [EP stream]
New-York no-wavers Cellular Chaos have made their latest, self-titled studio EP available for streaming! Featuring the wily, writhing instrumentation of multi-instrumentalist Weasel Walter, bassist Ceci Moss, and free-jazz drummer Marc Edwards, alongside the animated vocals of Admiral Grey, the EP is a loopy, livid production that draws from punk, jazz, and probably even theater classes (some of Grey’ intonations remind me of the expressive exercises I was subjected to at theater school). It also includes a blistering cover of Roxy Music’s “Re-Make/Re-Model,” the opening track of the group’s eponymous debut album. Most and best of all: it’s loud, and considering how the EP costs only $3, that’s a lot of boom for your buck.
• Cellular Chaos: http://weaselwalter.blogspot.com/