“A Great Design”
Pop music in the 80s was really in no hurry. It makes you wonder what it says about the times. Take any pop song from the 50s and 60s and the first verse is thrown at you within the first 20 seconds. We don’t have time for your damn instrumental intros! We gotta get things moving! And then the 80s roll in like a calm ocean with their minute-and-a-half synth-layering introductions and four-plus-minute pop songs. It’s like we lost interest in what comes next. That’s probably why all of that 80s [insert word here]-wave is still being pushed and explored today. But while most bands who lean that way tend to get stuck in that same laxidasical rut, bands like Brooklyn’s Black Marble still seem to be asking, “What comes next?”
“A Great Design,” from their forthcoming Hardly Art full length, A Different Arrangement, is an archaeological dig, dusting off some of the oldest coldwave trends and realizing we still have a lot to learn from them. Listen to “A Great Design” below and pick up the CD/LP from Seattle’s Hardly Art records in October.
Heat [EP stream]
It’s been a good year for Traxman, which also means it’s been a good year for us. Back in April, Planet Mu released Da Mind of Traxman, an 18-track beast so in command, so refined, so seductive that the album effortlessly footwork’d its way onto our mid-year list of favorite albums. Traxman soon followed the album with Unreleased Trac, a compilation of over 20 equally-great odds and ends, all while making a shit-ton of edifying dance mixes, readying a release for Lit City Trax, and uploading even more unreleased tracks to his many SoundCloud accounts.
But that’s not it from this crazy Ghettoteknitian. Yesterday, the mighty Sewage Tapes released Heat, a new EP that features five more tracks to throw on the Traxman heap. It’s an unexpected but fitting collaboration, and the resulting tracks are, of course, really great. THANK YOU TRAX GOD! Listen here:
“Landscape Dissolves” [directed by Paul Clipson]
The last Paul Clipson-directed video this site premiered, Young Moon’s “Crystal Text,” was a study in dissection. The man took pieces of plants and bodies and put them side by side to underscore their associations. Now, in this womb-like meditation for Alex Cobb’s lush, intimate track “Landscape Dissolves,” Clipson dissects for the more classic purpose of dissociation. Look at all these objects that Clipson films with such invention, so intensely, that you can no longer see them plainly.
Alex Cobb’s music is one of wide-eyed wonder. These are the kinds of sounds that assist your vision in going panoramic, that soundtrack moments of astronomical scope. It’s interesting, then, that Clipson’s video chooses instead to get close up, to find feelings of the sublime in the micro. It is in turn a form of distortion; the landscape dissolves as the camera crumbles it into its infinitesimal individual parts. When light glitters against the water, the mirage becomes a robust cosmos. When Clipson films a globe of light through the abstract flicker of tree trunks, then repeats the footage, it looks like a time-lapse of twin setting suns.
The very first image, a dust-shrouded sky scraper, suggests that this video will be dark, harrowing, catastrophic. But, staying close to Cobb’s warm sounds and optimism, the video instead demonstrates a cycle, where dissolution doesn’t lead to oblivion, but ever new landscapes, again and again.
Alex Cobb’s Passage to Morning will be available from Students of Decay on August 30.
Tales From The Earth, And Beyond [album stream]
Tales From The Earth, And Beyond from French electronic musician Magnétophonique is a manifestation of nostalgia that would sound at home in both a made-for-television sci-fi soundtrack or an 80s downtown nightclub. It is documented on home dubbed cassettes courtesy of Sunup Recordings. It seems that the altar of cassettes as a medium in a digital age was originally built around secrecy; the only way to hear the contents was to purchase the tape. However, there’s been a shift of the physical artifact embrace that sheds the coyness. Tales From The Earth, And Beyond is available in its totality through Sunup’s Bandcamp site, and even with a handy Mediafire link to download if it behooves you.
• Sunup: http://sunuprecordings.bandcamp.com
“Thoughts Like Hammers”
The prog-metal wizards in Enslaved make their triumphant return on September 28 with RIITIIR. That title isn’t an alternate speller of Josh Ritter’s name, mind you — in true black metal tradition, the band is naming its latest LP after a norse word for “The Rites of Man.” “Thoughts Like Hammers,” the band’s latest taste of destruction, brims with blood-curdled fury. You’ve got your clean vocals, your dirty vocals, some downright serpentine solos, and, most importantly, dual walls of noise that threaten to blow a hole in your fancy-schmancy Beats by Dr. Dre. Oh, and those drum fills are downright murderous. If this track is any indication, RIITIIR might be shaping up to be one of the heaviest hitters in a fall release schedule full of blockbusters.
☪♀co ᴐaᴚᴃ☉ᵯᴃ / NANOBRAIN
“No Eyes No Hands”
☪♀co ᴐaᴚᴃ☉ᵯᴃ (Coco Carbomb) is the pseudonym of Carmen Incarnadine, an intoxicating visual artist/musician who has worked with a host of obscure yet notable electronic producers. Most of her collaborations are with ❚W❙IT❚C❙H❘B❚O❙Y❘ (Nikhil Singh), a South African cyberpunk producer/artist/writer/etc. who often places Coco in noisy, apocalipstick contexts (sometimes not), but she’s also worked with both \\^◊^/// of MATER SUSPIRIA VISION on a Twin Peaks tribute and with ʄ≜uxmuℭica (Zane Michael O’Brien) on a cover of Kraftwerk’s “Das Model,” a cover of Devo’s “Jocko Homo,” and on a terrifying requiem for Austrian poet/author Ingeborg Bachmann. One of my favorites is her collaboration with Velours Rose (Spf5Ø + General Reef) on this stunner of a track, which appears alongside a couple other Coco-related songs on Baku Shad-Do and Glitterhell’s †PURRSSESSIØN† compilation.
Her latest track is called “No Eyes No Hands,” a dark, cold cut of tripped-out minimalism and paranoid beats by Argentinan brothers Matias and Fernando Alonso as NANOBRAIN. The dragging production suits Coco Carbomb well, with the added space allowing her disconnected, lethargic speak-sing delivery to stretch out in a sort of subdued terror that’s not far away from the bizarre fetishim of 18+. It’s great. Check it out:
• ☪♀co ᴐaᴚᴃ☉ᵯᴃ: http://soundcloud.com/co-a
• PU$$Y POWA: http://www.mixcloud.com/coco0carbon/deutsche-carbomb-bitchzzz