Half Measures [mixtape]
Historically speaking, Armand Hammer was a wealthy industrialist and art collector who chaired Occidental Petroleum, pissed off his PR agent, and rubbed shoulders with numerous Soviet and American politicians, surely hatching many a nefarious self-serving scheme in the process; conspiracy theorists be damned.
Today and from here on out, Armand Hammer is a Brooklyn rap duo consisting of billy woods and Elucid, who — between Dour Candy and For Madmen Only — are already individually responsible for two of 2013’s best albums.
Today, I will repeatedly stream their debut mixtape Half Measures, wondering if the title comes from that Breaking Bad episode. It must, right?
Tomorrow, I will continue eagerly anticipating their debut album Race Music, coming October 22 on Backwoodz.
Shut the fuck up, Danny Brown! JK JK JK. But doesn’t it seem like we’re posting about another new Danny Brown track or collaboration every week? But hey, it’s cool. It’s not like Danny’s long-awaited follow-up, Old, is out yet or anything. So, in the meantime, we have a video for album track “Dip,” produced by his partner in crime and Bruiser Brigade associate Skywlkr (“the white guy at all the Danny Brown shows”). And, of course, it all sounds very Skywlkr. So Skywlkr in fact that it sorta kinda lovingly regurgitates the frenetic beats from “Witit” and reconstitutes them into a club-friendly party jam.
Old is out on September 30 via Spotify. It’ll hit stores on October 8.
Nine Inch Nails
“Find My Way (Oneohtrix Point Never Remix)”
Nine Inch Nails, who released Hesitation Marks earlier this month, tapped Oneohtrix Point Never for a remix of “Find My Way,” and, predictably enough, the result is fantastic. Instead of abstracting the song, Daniel Lopatin remixes the track in a way that further accentuates the melody and articulates the chord progressions, replacing the crunchy drum programming with an adventurous set of sounds that alternate between pointillistic synth pulses and beautiful organ washes, heightening the drama considerably by the remix’s midpoint. The latter half, however, inverts the original by stripping away the noise that otherwise obscures the vocals and again emphasizes Reznor’s lyrics, letting the song finish peacefully and spiritually. Check it out here:
“Even When The Time Comes”
Lemme run down the gist of “Even When The Time Comes” by drawing upon the most typical TMT writer thing to do, and that’s with a QUOTE:
“Composed of a rotating live performance and recording ensemble directed and produced by Brandon Locher, The Meets’ ensemble consists of nearly two dozen musicians playing and sampling acoustic and electronic instruments over an electronically created sound collage. According to Locher, “80% of the sounds on the album are organic, taken from field-recordings that I made - a drum circle that happened in the streets, recording friends playing orchestral instruments, etc, to build this created ensemble with everyone being credited.” - Brandon Locher
What I’m digging:
- Xylophone, considering it’s the best sound ANYONE can EVER hear.
- The total Lickets feel.
- It Happens Outside, home to “Even When The Time Comes,” has AMAZING album art.
- Brandon Locher lives through the music on this one and isn’t in the naked.
- It’s popping out the vinyl/digital womb on October 1 (even though it can be pre-ordered here).
Jason Lescalleet / Kevin Drumm
The Invisible Curse
One of the most fascinating aspects of Kevin Drumm’s and Jason Lescalleet’s respective discographies can be found in their constant shifts in style. The first disc of Lescalleet’s Songs About Nothing alone is a great example of his ability to work with everything from brain-melting psychoacoustics to chopped-and-screwed hip-hop beats to nearly imperceptible field recordings. Drumm’s work tends to be more stylistically focused from album to album, but he’s produced everything from haunting synth-based ambient music to some of the harshest digital noise imaginable. Both musicians, however, have an uncanny knack for collaboration. Drumm’s ultra-restrained work with Taku Sugimoto and Lescalleet’s sensitive processing work with Graham Lambkin are prime examples of how these two artists are able to adapt their aesthetics to context.
All of this begs the question: what would a Lescalleet/Drumm collaboration sound like? Whose voice and what style will take the lead in a collaborative situation, where both artists are capable of adapting to any compositional circumstance? The answer presented in the release of the duo’s two-track “digital 7-inch” The Invisible Curse is actually quite surprising.
Of course, there is a handful of the duo’s hallmark sonics (slowed-down looped tapes, cutting frequencies, etc.), but the overall soundworld presented here is not only quite unlike anything in either artists’ catalog, but it’s also very often pretty. “Invisible” begins and ends with a lovely loop that gets destroyed about midway through, only to be rebuilt with all of the elements of its destruction present; while on “The Curse,” an almost Nuno Canavarro-esque opening gives way to a Macintosh Plus-esque sample that Drumm/Lescalleet ride for the rest of the piece.
Then again, perhaps it’s not surprising that they’ve taken on a new approach. Even though The Invisible Curse may not be what one might imagine, Drumm and Lescalleet have proven themselves to be especially permeable in collaborative situations, making their careers out of subverting their very own styles if required. And on The Invisible Curse, they warp their own sounds into something new entirely.
You can stream and/or download The Invisible Curse below, and be sure to check out Jason Lescalleet at one of his many shows in the next week (including one on 9/24 at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill and one on 9/25 at Neptune’s in Raleigh).
“Zip A Dee Doo Dah”
The living six- or five- or three-string deity Bill Orcutt — formerly of Harry Pussy, current purveyor of face-melting ballistic affronts to your perception and physical well being in the form of solo acoustic guitar performance, sometimes in tandem with Chris Corsano, usually of the beard and moustache and jeans and a plain tee folk — selected a bunch of classic tunes from the American canon for his next eMego barnburner A History of Everyone, and it seems like he’s/they’re tryna infer that these songs constitute the elemental lifeblood of our nation and have swirled around us and permeated our brains in so many commercials and ceremonies and campfire moments that they kinda tell our history at this point. Cool, yeah, okay, I perceive and acknowledge this idea; let’s scroll down to this SoundCloud zone and just press pl—
“YEAH!!! Uhnnnnn Billlllllll!!”
“Zip A Dee Doo Dah” is a pick striking strings harder than they should be able to withstand, fingers drilling into a thick wooden bridge, some chords that are chords, and some that are more like husks of what could be chords, the moans, Bill Orcutt’s language drowning out all other signifiers.
A History of Everyone is due September 30. You can pre-order it now.