Barn Owl
“The Long Shadow”

Mssrs. Caminiti and Porras, San Francisco’s finest Creatures of the Mist, purveyors of drones of the desert-scorched and mind-altering variety, return to your turntable on April 16 when Thrill Jockey releases V, the duo’s fifth full-length album (omitting their earliest CD-Rs from discographical roman-numeration). At first, I planned on using some snappy phrase like “Barn Owl unsheathe their guitars” or “dust off their synths” or “fire up their Line6 DL-4s,” but if these two humans’ recent string of fully realized solo works and collaborations is any indicator, their gear has remained unsheathed, dust-free, and fired up for quite some time now. I imagine they’re working on their next releases, solo and together and with other loved ones, right now as I write this. Perhaps they’re standing a few feet away from each other on a bluff, their boots sunk into the mud, gazing out over the bay as the sun inches slowly upward into a plume of graying cumulonimbus. (This counts as “working on their next releases” on some level.)

“The Long Shadow,” our first taste of V, hits all the Barn Owl sweet spots: clean-toned guitars chime, reverberate, and loop back to do it again; a cloud of delay-bleached organ hangs over the mix, coming back to Earth to slip a four-chord progression into the murk; pedals click on and the guitar tone splinters into that overdriven howl we know and love. Something’s new here, though: the mix is denser than previous Owl offerings. As more synth layers accumulate and absorb the duo’s previously looped tones into one mammoth, pulsing swirl, these 5 minutes stretch into what feels like 15.

Pre-order V today from Thrill Jockey. Dust off your favorite armchair and settle in for the wait: when 40-some suns have set, the LP will be at your door.

• Barn Owl: http://electrictotem.com/barnowl
• Thrill Jockey: http://www.thrilljockey.com

ANTHM

“Nina”

On paper, ANTHM seems like the bougiest rapper ever. After graduating from Duke, Anteneh Addisu moved to Manhattan and started working on Wall Street as a trader for Citigroup. But then the northern Virginia native made a career swap bold enough to make any college career counselor wince: he ditched the suit and tie, picked up a mic, and turned a lifelong hobby into a career. The cutthroat world of the one percent, the rapper’s bio informs us, instilled in him an unstoppable drive — one that caught the attention of G-Unit producer DJ Whoo Kid, and led to opening stints for hipster-hop favorites like the Cool Kids and Hoodie Allen. Despite his white-collar cred, ANTHM’s sound is surprisingly modest, employing stripped-down, sunny production and wordplay that, while every bit as literate as to be expected from a Duke grad, somehow comes across as effortless and insightful. On his new track “Nina,” named for the famous jazz singer, the New York transplant invokes a decidedly Lupe-esque vibe, examining his unconventional rise to the top with a tone that’s as calm as it is critical.

• ANTHM: http://callmeanthm.com

Ohbliv

blk lite [EP]

I like how you can search genres on Bandcamp, but words like “experimental” and “hip-hop” aren’t nearly specific enough to dig up any consistent results. “SP-404” though? Goldmine! This Ohbliv EP, blk lite, is a perfect example. It’s like an 11-minute ascent into that really classy, poorly-lit lounge in the corner of heaven. That’s Central East Coast, man. They know how to make some beats.

Check it out.

• Ohbliv: http://ohbliv.bandcamp.com

coolmemoryz

“2 o X i i i P R E V i E W”

Six-pack of abs and ICE-heavy, the beach scene is in hi-def, the water a greenish pink. Survive for dolphins in the next level of reality. Swim alongside hidden buildings buried in code and waves of pixelated blur. Smash cut to the sound of cawing, and an island desertion becomes a dimension to itself and itself as a heightened state of euphoria. Question mark. Looking to click with eyes on the screen at a zonal distance, the graphics are as smooth to touch as is skin. Skin on skin: back to the beach party. A kung fu rig opens up on the sand, and there’s lots of blood that dries immediately. Or dissipates. Disappears. Here. Red hair? White hair? Stick with that metallic purple that turns green in the light. Flex into a shirt. Become digi in all literal and/or visual forms. Wash away in algorithms of design and random anonymity. Remember that? Remember this? Remember the sky and running through the mountaintops, thinking, “This ain’t possible” literally? …It was typed in. Everyone saw. Everyone read that, lil brahh. Someone is kicked for trolling. And it’s the beach and shit again. Thinking, “You got this. You got this.” This ain’t you. It’s “2 o X i i i P R E V i E W.” Pretty coolmemoryz.

• coolmemoryz: https://soundcloud.com/coolmemoryz

Hookworms

“In Our Time”

Dr John C Taylor’s Chronophage Clock eats time. It slows down, it speeds up. Sometimes it stops completely. It’s a huge golden disk, swirling and numberless, with a giant grasshopper sat on top. To be honest, it’s pretty fucking ugly. Yet as a physical invocation of “Relative Time” — the notion that an hour in good company flies by, but a minute of pain will seem endless — it’s almost perfect.

Hookworms are very good company, and, for a brief minute on a walk around the National Museum of Scotland last weekend, “In Our Time” mapped onto the Clock’s circling profundity with a strange precision. I know, it’s horrifically pretentious to wander around museums in headphones, trying to find odd hybrids of music and spectacle, but I can’t help enjoying it. You should try it some time.

I probably brushed sleeves with these Hookworms lads on some similar wander, back in the day, staring-out the distortion pedal section at one of Leeds’ many tiny, inexplicably terrifying, music shops. While my teenage pounds went towards the packaging labeled “METAL” and “MORE METAL,” they were eyeing each other across the shop; one testing the screeching frequencies of a battery powered mini-amp, the other asking a bewildered shop assistant for something “you know… cavernous?” Luckily, they found a rhythm section who don’t so much drive as stall, a steady call for calm in the sometimes overly frantic world of “psych,” and the internet erupted in a tide of not particularly astute Spacemen 3 comparisons.

Paired with “The Correspondent,” the band’s tune on Sonic Cathedral’s tricolour 3D compilation from Dec 2012, Psych for Sore Eyes, “In Our Time” provides an addictive force for expectation, stretching further than any SoundCloud timer: new album Pearl Mystic comes out February 25.

• Hookworms: http://hookworms.bandcamp.com
• Gringo Records: http://www.gringorecords.com

Hanetration

Nae Troth [EP]

UK-based Hanetration has three EPs on his Bandcamp page, each of which are colder than an abandoned concrete hospital on an island off the Scottish coast. Past releases have carried a heavy IDM vibe, with drums skittering anxiously over palette-knife strokes of sound. But on Nae Troth (“no loyalty”), his latest, Hanetration goes fully sterile, forgoing any sense of rhythm entirely.

When listened to in succession, it’s clear that Nae Troth uses samples from the same bank as his Torn Heat EP, stretching melody-less swaths of sound farther into the nether. At 22 minutes in length, it’s entirely plausible Hanetration just took an older track — perhaps by himself, or even Justin Bieber — and just used Paulstretch to turn it into syrupy, grainy, drone goodness. At times while listening, I tried to imagine how some passages would sound if they were sped up. Perhaps it would resemble a lonesome ballad, with a french horn providing an easily hummable melody and twinkling percussion hits where there was washes of beach waves and the muffled breath of pitched noise.

Hopefully, hopefully, Nae Troth will sound like nonsense if it’s sped up. This way I can enjoy it for what it is in its current state: a great boat, traversing the ocean in the dead of night, breaking up the reflection of the stars on the water, breaking a gossamer membrane in space that creates a black hole that gorges on matter until time creeps to a halt and groans like the same ship pulling out of port.

• Hanetration: http://hanetration.bandcamp.com

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