Transcendation Activation: The Love Amplification Channel [album stream]
By far, the weirdest shit for which I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession this year is music by a dude named Jesse Rakusin, who lives in L.A. and records and performs under the moniker “Awaken!” (exclamation point absolutely included). I can’t even tell you how amazing it is to me that this stuff exists, but then again, maybe the blues are making some kind of a big comeback… in the form of oddly out-of-tune strumming, off-tempo drum accompaniments, over-the-top Morrison-esque baritone, and some hilariously radical guitar soloing. In all seriousness, though, Awaken! really can stray into cheek-biting territory, so prepare yourself, yeah, but hang in there. For the passion, the honesty, and the sincerity — that’d be enough to keep you coming back even without the sweet cosmic collage art that accompanies the CDs.
• Awaken!: http://awakeninadream.com
“Blue and Amber Light”
Last week, we premiered a track from Forgotten Light, a.k.a. Leonce Nelson, co-founder of new tape label Hexagon. Today, we’re premiering another Hexagon track, this time from Datavis, a.k.a. Will Burnett of INTERNET CLUB and the label’s other founder. Both tracks are certainly serene, but Datavis’ “Blue and Amber Light” has a linear, forward momentum to it, with Burnett foregoing the samples that informed his earlier work (and his work as INTERNET CLUB) and now adopting a synth/tape-deck combo. It’s 22 minutes of foggy drone, suffocated ambience, and blanketed tones evincing a slow-motion, quiet descent to nowhere in particular. Which is how it should be. Check it out here:
“Blue and Amber Light” is off Distant Space, available now on cassette through Hexagon. Be sure to also listen to Datavis’ split with Forgotten Light, also on Hexagon, and stay tuned for more music from the label, including a release by Tanning Salon (Vektroid, Macintosh Plus, 情報デスクVIRTUAL) and a split between Forgotten Light and yet another Burnett project, ECCO UNLIMITED (who already released a fantastic album this year). Exciting!
“From Fallen Eyes”
Production quality is a weird thing. Some bands use it to draw links between the music they want to make and their decades-old influences. Some bands, financially speaking, have no choice but to record at a lower fidelity. And some bands use production quality as an effect, a conscious dynamic, an instrument in itself.
The production quality in “From Fallen Eyes,” the new track from London duo Youthfall, is like the Flatten Image option in Photoshop; it flattens all of the various layers into one, unified piece — in this case, wrapping all the layers of instrumentation in the same haze and pressing it down into one cloud-covered wall of sound. That overused term “dream pop” has never sounded so fitting.
Check it out below. It’s really quite pretty.
• Youthfall: http://soundcloud.com/youthfall
“Outer blues,” huh? Down. Nashville’s Ttotals (best band name ever?) is a duo that has been killing this scene of outer bluesmen for some time now (at least since 2009, when their Myspace was created… sigh, 2009…), not that I know exactly what that means or that many have known a damn thing about it. I guess it has something to do with a live tape on No Kings and a 3-inch on Kim Dawn, probably. (Oh, and there was a self-released LP on yellow vinyl, too.) Anyway, hopefully the release of a solid 10-inch record will change things. Check out this heavy sample from the forthcoming slab of wax, Silver on Black, with its super drowsy, brooding blues, some helicopter blade guitar delay, mile-deep drum tones, and some vintage Spaceman 3 spaciousness.
• Ttotals: http://ttotals.blogspot.com
RASUNA [album stream]
One of the only things explained about TIGA BAKSO by Vlek’s website is, “Tiga Bakso grew up in former East Germany, in a concrete cube.” This succinct statement paints a stark visual that reflects his music distinctly. The electronic music that this guy makes is so cold, so empty, so dark, so hard and coarse that it seems like he must still be in that concrete cube, pumping out haunting, architectural beats.
As of right now, you can download TIGA BAKSO’s new record Rasuna for free from SoundCloud, or you can name your price for a digital copy from Vlek on the label’s Bandcamp.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
The recent collaboration between Midwestern MC Freddie Gibbs and acclaimed producer Madlib (a.k.a. Quasimoto a.k.a. the most prolific producer wunderkind in the history of the game) is one for the best-of books: Gibbs’ proficiency with the mic has drawn comparison to the guitar skills of Eddie Van Halen (hopefully that simile doesn’t extend to the ghastly Twister soundtrack that Halen contributed to), while Madlib just may be the best hip-hop producer, well, ever. Directed by Jonah Schwartz, the new clip for “Shame” plays close to the title, focusing on the emotionally-draining world of the cocaine business. Seeing as how pretty much everyone was a fan of Requiem for a Dream, you’ll probably like this video, especially because Jared Leto’s mug is nowhere to be found.