A banjo is propped up against knotty pine panelling. Dawn is a beat away, but time is paralyzed. Natural light has limited access in the cabin; the banjo is in near darkness. Unexpectedly, a power strip kicks on, filling the cabin with LEDs, lasers, and backlights. Various animistic objects come into view. The lasers scan over the eclectic collection, 77 minutes of ups and downs. Black James, their owner, names each object: “MATURE NATURE KARAOKE,” “GASOLINE RODEO DISCO,” “KNOCK OUT GANG,” etc. They are cosmetic at first glance, like well-designed bottles of booze. But, once they are neatly sipped, things get spirited.
Black James’ adoration of retro gloss is genuine (not nostalgic). Her customization of the mainstream is personal (not commercial). One suspects that the seemingly neglected stringed instrument, propped up against the pine and overshadowed by the dazzling light display and color-soaked electronics, is at the root of the songwriting / ecology; it is out of focus but remains in the center of the frame. From artifice comes Earth, spitting dirt out from the tape deck. A plastic Earth with a feature-length life, mixed, as its orchestrator declares, “TIL IT SOUNDS RITE COMIN OUTTA MA BOOMBOX.”
• Black James: http://blackjamesmusic.tumblr.com
Web of Sunsets
Today is going to be just about me. I may share it with a few people. They helped me devise a list of things to do. Today we’re going to do things we’ve never done before but have always talked about doing when we run ‘em by on the way to other things.
“In a place we’re going nowhere/ In a place we think we know”
We went to the haunted house where the red weed-flowers grow in front. The front porch wraps around to the back of the house. The floor caves in there… when you pointed the flashlight at it two raccoons came rushing out of the floorboard teeth and escaped into the sunroom window before I plugged ‘em with the Daisy. There is a cone of light from a tree poking its head through the ceiling. Its eyes are branches are telescopes that blast yellow light into the sunroom and turn everything old and kill it. Kill the damn raccoons too, probably later. We aren’t going to wait around.
Before we left we lay in the lawn of red flowers (they were pink up close) and you hummed something. But I could hardly hear it.
I could hardly hear anything except a gentle strumming coming from underneath the flowers. I don’t know how long I was asleep for, but I woke up with an ball jar in one hand and the Daisy in the other, and you were long gone. Even the angelic impression you left behind had almost risen. It could’ve been years.
Gin Tapes by Web of Sunsets is out NOW via End of Time Records, so listen below and catch ‘em on tour immediately. If you missed em, you’d better catch up!
Nothing makes me want to move far away from New York as possible and start a space-jam band than Krakatau’s new video for “Riddells Creek.” Insatiably so, the scenery filmed on 2x Arriflex 16SR3 cameras (by director, editor, and producer James Tom) in Riddells Creek, VIC transports me beyond time and reason. Winter just began there. “Riddells Creek” seems perfect for the season. Krakatau is bringing it hard and LIVE here too. Got that appropriately professional credits reel, which is a nice touch. But mostly I love how there’s so much space and so little people! And that retro feel of fashion and sheen. The drums are steadily light and serving up a good “feel it” vibe. Keys go OUT there and wisp around like a lingering spirit of sound. The bass walks around like the “Riddells Creek” ground’s protector: arms crossed and flexed.
Krakatau is poppin’ off their new album Water Near a Bridge July 29 on LP via Trouble In Mind. Grip!!
• Trouble In Mind: http://troubleinmindrecs.com
Little is known about The Famous L. Renfroe, or his sole album Children (besides the album notes), so of course the intrigue factor is through the roof, but this isn’t just arrant hype; this album deserves all the praise and space it’s already been given. Imagine a gospel choir, backed by a loose funk group, headed by an impassioned soul singer, and you’d be close to what this sounds like.
Originally pressed in the late 60’s, then re-released in 2008 by Big Legal Mess Records and Fat Possum, Children is about to see the light of day once more. Fat Possum is again in the mix, handling the LP and CD duties, while Burger Records is on cassette detail. And why not put out a forgotten album on a forgotten medium? Seems like a perfect marriage. Be on the lookout for the physical copies in the near future, but in the mean time, listen to the title track below by the man known as The Flying Sweet Angel Of Joy and go ahead and add another one to the long list of reissued gold.
Divine Kannibalingus Konopeltsizmus
Мутафория Лили (Mutaforiya Liliy) is the fairy-tale moniker of Ukrainian surrealist and multi-instrumentalist Alexey Konopelko, who is just like all of us. Alexey digs “girls, most insects, surrealism, and films” and wants to “fly around the world in a balloon while playing music.”
His latest adorable-albino-praying-mantis-covered release Divine Kannibalingus Konopeltsizmus dodges chaos and harmony with grit and aggression and bliss. Alexey defines “Kannibalingus” as “the musical language does not exist and never existed” — a concept fully explained over the entire album.
Tracks like “5.Полледро 23. Симфония Швейной Машинки” crash free-hand piano (performed by Alexey himself) against this heart-pounding cat-and-mouse chase built for the darkest corner of Hanna-Barbera’s archives. Alexey does a significant amount of toying with maddening piano bits and recurring jaunts fit for Count Dracula.
Coupled with songs like “Симптом Приапа” — a bubbly piano-led dirty-techno track — and “3.Цветок Ацефала” — which sounds like something Young Buck would hop on — the whole experience of Divine Kannibalingus Konopeltsizmus is as much of a perverted dystopia as it is totally freeing.
Listen to it all. Do it for most insects.
• Mutaforiya Liliy: http://lili88.bandcamp.com
Boiler Room NYC x Dirty Tapes 002
As Sammy D’Bling once eloquently put it to me: “You know, there’s a dude and a basement and people and a table of shit.” – TMT Obligatory Quote
Virtual Flannel has not only “gone-in” on post-beat matrimony, but the speakers birthed babies bouncing off all sorts of woofers and tweekers at the Boiler Room NYC x Dirty Tapes a few Saturdays ago. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to this round, as Grams and I were getting some slices on the sly, but it was perfect soundtracking to a chill evening with the fräulein on her 97th birthday, y’all. And my boy Virtual Flannel here be smackin’ them beats up as Canadian as possible, remaining the most peaceful visitor in all of Brooklyn that afternoon while flying high on them low-hanging clouds and sundae-melting down a slick banana peel that’s been put on the infinite needle spin — the crackle is only in your mind. The samples flay. The fellah got a Moog last night. Wonk is about to skip a step in the beat on the front of Can you DuB DJ magazine, but nobody can ever find car keys when they needn’t leave in the first place.
Grind on Virtual Flannel’s Boiler Room NYC x Dirty Tapes 002 live production set, clickin’ play to keep that big beat drop.