Ben Vida & Greg Davis
An Imagined Glimpse Into A Reunion of Ben Vida or Greg Davis’s Extended Family
The banquet hall overflows: uncles clink beers together a little too loudly, the elderly come together in the corner for some conversation at the right pace, kids hide under tables and spring out to attack cousins with forks and spoons fully loaded. An aunt approaches our hero. “What is it that you do these days? They tried to explain it to me but it went a little over my head.” Our hero hesitates. One half of him wants to lay it all out on the table: “Well Aunt Sarah, I’ve been focusing on uniting systems of modular synthesis and Max/MSP-based sound manipulation to record dynamic sessions of spontaneous composition. I’ve been collaborating closely with another musician to create dense sound environments that cycle through passages of abstracted rhythms, melodies, pulses, and sequences. Our goal is to challenge and provoke our listeners while still engaging them with each moment of our output.” But he takes the less complicated way out: “I’m a legendary warlock. I make electricity do my bidding. People love me and fear me in equal measure.” Aunt Sarah lifts her eyes from her cell phone. “Oooh, that’s nice, dear.”
If you’re still unfamiliar with the work of Greg Davis and/or Ben Vida at this point, you’ve got a lot of extremely rewarding catching up to do. Lucky for you, the two of them made an LP together called Working Models, which, to put it lightly, is a solid place to start. Check out the entire A Side right here:
Order one of only 250 vinyl copies of Working Models from Los Discos Enfantasmes, and feast your eyes on the goddamn beautiful die-cut sleeve and clear wax that’ll end up in your hands in you act fast. Inspired by the work of these two champions, take up modular synthesis and Max/MSP yourself. Never look back. When your relatives ask you what you’ve been doing with your life, just say “magic.”
Chasms sounds like The xx if The xx was a group of burly, muscular men and a girl instead of two skinny goths and a girl. Technically the group is just a duo, but the analogy works. Their music is dripping with thick bass and washes of reverb, the kind of mix that is just glorious to listen to. Full of substance, kind of like molasses. Visual work is handled by artist Diane Le Lay, who creates a visual memory through old archival footage “originally shot by Le Lay’s grandmother in the 1950s.”
The opening of “Darker Outside” stays percussion heavy, with a mechanical, industrial tinge. Entering the chorus, though, the melancholy vocals crack a sort of barrier between the sensation felt by watching a video and the sensation of listening to a song, both existing separately, until it becomes just one sensation. A barrage of decaying, emulsified footage that increases in its intensity until the mind begins to throw shapes — imagined — into what it is experiencing, and skulls, dancing pictures of death appear. The children in the original footage were full of wonder, joy, and life. Here they are fearful and alone.
“Sunday’s Best/Monday’s Worst”
Three years after dropping the Album of the Year, Black Milk is putting the finishing touches on a new record, due out this summer. Ever the overachiever, the Detroit producer/MC has presented us with two singles for the price of one: “Sunday’s Best/Monday’s Worst.” In many ways, it’s similar to another ambitious rap narrative — Kendrick Lamar’s “Sherane A.K.A. Master Splinter’s Daughter.” Both tell stories of street violence, and situate their sudden, climactic climaxes within the harsh realism of day-to-day city life. Black Milk takes us from the safe, sanctified gospel of Church on Sunday to the cold, sulky streets on a Monday morning. Vice and virtue, love and hate — the lines separating these traditionally static pairs are blurred, all before a warm, varied sample set that serves as a testament to Black Milk’s obsession for soul.
• Black Milk: http://blackmilk.biz
“86 Remix” [ft. AZ and Altrina Renee]
It looks like Raekwon’s Lost Jewelry EP somehow slipped through the Chocolate Grinder’s cracks. Those who checked it, though, might remember the original version of the aptly titled woolie “86.” The above remix doesn’t do much to the original except add on a fantastic verse from the criminally underrated AZ, who, come to think of it, has already done a fair share of classic culinary collabos going all the way back to 1996’s “Doe or Die Remix.” I for one wouldn’t mind seeing these two veterans team up for a full album.
Some would have you believe that Tjutjuna spent the three years since the release of their self-titled album navigating seismic personnel changes, woodshedding in their native Denver habitat, and building their forthcoming Westerner LP out of various ores and iridescent ethers. False: I happen to know for a fact that the band spent this time shacked up on an asteroid with their amps and drums and pedal chains stretched out across the craters, wailing on one sustained note and squinting almost forever off into the abyss. A few months into their session, a giant asteroid worm emerged from one of the caverns and they had to deal with that, so: tunnel chase -> sine-wave laser showdown -> victory and the reestablishment of space peace. They finished their long tone, packed up their gear, and made it back home. Great job.
The four piece squeezes so much psych magma into the six minutes of “Songer Dance”: a mix-swallowing wash of synth drones and bubbling polyphonic sequences; guitar skronk and savage repetition not far from the Laddio Bolocko/The Psychic Paramount school of shred; a balls-out song structure curved exponentially upward. Catching a young band utilizing just one of these attack strategies can unglaze eyes and spark heads into a slow nod, but oh whoa, great, it turns out that Tjutjuna brings us everything we want all together at once — sound enough to scrub a granite slab down to sand with the volume maxed.
Pre-order Westerner and get one of 200 vinyl copies delivered straight from Fire Talk on April 30. Also, if your mind and face are melt-proof, catch the boys on tour across America with Acid Mothers Temple (!!) this Spring.
A warning for the weak-stomached: Earl’s clip for “Woah,” the most recent single off his upcoming Doris LP (release date TBA), contains some pretty unappetizing stuff. Earl lounges on an inflatable raft in the murky, probably typhus-infested waters of a mostly-empty pool; Lucas Vercetti (a.k.a. the dude from the Odd Future Tape Volume 2 cover) smashes an ice cream cone into his face with a look of unbridled scorn; and, somewhere in the maddening expanse of this post-apocalyptic trailer park, an old, tired ballerina bounces around in a lethargic daze. Oh, and of course there’s the Jackassedry: fireworks + shopping carts = good times. “Woah” firmly embeds itself in the stomach-churning, grin-inducing cinematic canon of Odd Future — a slice of Garbage Pail Kids heaven.