Branches
Ninguém É Como Tu - Reworks

In his recent interview with Maria Minerva, Ze Pequeno divulged a justifiable inkling that Lisbon, Praça dos Restauradores in particular, is becoming the new Berlin, a continental hub of creative energy that pulls and pushes impending talent in a range of fervent, unrestrained directions. With a sudden flurry of musicians swinging by Portugal to record albums and write fresh material, combined with a blossoming collective of local practitioners crafting reputations for themselves as resolute, enterprising producers, it came as little surprise to stumble across projects such as Branches, lingering discreetly under the surface in the country’s second city, Porto.

Pedro Rios has been dropping experimental soundscapes for Solid Melts and UUU Tapes (RIP) over the course of the past six years, with his latest solo outing, Ninguém É Como Tu, hitting virtual shelves in January 2012 and consequentially landing him a spot on microphonesinthetrees’ top cassette releases of the year.

More recently, Rios uploaded Ninguém É Como Tu - reworks for free on his Bandcamp. The album features a slew of equally intriguing Portuguese artists and their interpretations of Branches’ irresistible New Age electronic jams, making this a quintessential release for coming to terms with what is happening on the Iberian peninsula right now. It seems Ze Pequeno was onto something.

• Branches: http://branchesbranches.bandcamp.com
• Solid Melts: http://www.solidmelts.com

El Guincho

“Trances”

Starting the new year right with a hectic, get-off-your-ass 25-minute mix of new material, it seems our pal Mr. Pablo Diaz-Reixa finally moved off the beach and into the city. This dude’s been pulling club beats out of his special blend of tropixotica samples since 2008’s Alegranza, only this time around he’s replaced all of those steel drums and auxiliary percussion pieces with some serious trance grooves and heavy bass beats, all the while keeping those hints of Spanish-language samples in tact. Let’s hope this is a sign of more to come this year.

Stream the mix over at the cleverly URL’d tranc.es.

• El Guincho: http://www.elguincho.com

肉人形✰MEATDOLL

“秋のシルエット『 انتہائی شدی』”

肉人形✰MEATDOLL has been periodically releasing tracks via SoundCloud for over a year now, most of which appropriate pop tunes wholesale with creepy effects added to amp up the nightmare factor. His/her latest track, “秋のシルエット『 انتہائی شدی』,” is no exception. The source material is non-Western (of course) pop, but here it’s pitched-up and effected to create an unsettling warbling effect. And the pop element doesn’t make the song go down any easier. In fact, it’s this very Lynchian juxtaposition that’s most disorienting: your ear wants to hear the song a certain way, but 肉人形✰MEATDOLL refuses to let the original do any of the talking, despite preserving most of the track. Couple the music with the highly sexual, fetishistic, violent, and disturbing imagery, and you’re left with nothing to talk about at the dinner table.

I highly recommend listening to the rest of 肉人形✰MEATDOLL’s music at his/her SoundCloud. But be warned: the imagery is NSFW.

• 肉人形✰MEATDOLL (NSFW): http://nymphoworm.tumblr.com

Toro Y Moi

“Say That”

Do you ever feel like lying down in a pile of ferns and staring off wistfully into the horizon? Do you dream of planking a redwood branch? Are your Saturdays spent standing in bucolic mountain pastures? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you probably eat way too much granola, and I’m willing to bet that you smell like patchouli and trail mix. But you’ll probably also dig Toro Y Moi’s new video for “Say That,” in which Chazwick Bundick does all of these things and more. Besides being incredibly pretty to look at, the clip is a riot from start to finish and will no doubt serve as inspiration for some of this year’s best ways to attract a mate, including: creepily staring at your object of affection from behind a tree (0:55), seductive plant-pushing (1:14), and, of course, the good ol’ shuffle (2:40, 3:54). Ah, the great outdoors.

• Toro Y Moi: http://www.toroymoi.blogspot.com
• Carpark: http://www.carparkrecords.com

Offthesky

“Through The Lines”

It’s the year 2013. Sounds weird, right? Whether you say “two-thousand-thirteen” or “twenty-thirteen,” it just doesn’t roll off the tongue like “2012.” Maybe this happens every year, but to me, 2013 doesn’t sound good.

But you know what does sound good? New music from Offthesky, released by the Paris-based SEM label. Offthesky is Denver’s experimentalist Jason Corder, and he creates some of the most lush and intriguing ambient music out there. Making Offthesky’s transcendental soundscapes even more breathtaking this time around are the visuals provided by Misha Shyukin in the video for the title track off the new release, Through The Lines: we glide over wind-blown animal hair and soar through majestic monotone valleys, while unnerving yet unimposing white lines fade in and out, creating spider legs, triangles, and bridges between floating white orbs. The combination of the dramatic tones and stark imagery is seriously beautiful; I got goosebumps the first time I watched it.

By the way, the video features a somewhat abridged version of the piece, but you can hear the entire album here.

• Offthesky: http://www.offthesky.com
• SEM Label: http://semlabel.com

Biosexual

Biosexual [EP]

After months of frothing at the mouth and countless visits to my therapist, Biosexual saved me by finally releasing an EP with three whole new songs alongside the incredible yogacore masterstroke “Sleigher,” a track that debuted on band member Michael RJ Saalman’s SoundCloud page about a year ago. Today, we can stream the debut EP from the trio, which includes Alak’s Jocelyn Noir and Zac Nelson (mad genius behind Charbroile, a sadly overlooked 2012 long player).

Biosexual sports crunchy’n’crispy electronics, spacious arrangements, confident melodies, weirdo syncopation, and an undeniable (and super tasty) 80s vibe. I’d say these tracks glow like neon, but this seems even nobler than that gas (Xenon or something?). Rumors now have these songs appearing on a full-length from Debacle Records this summer. Even if all the details aren’t entirely clear yet, several things are for certain, so let’s go over the facts:

01. Biosexual is an amazing band name.
02. There’s a song by this band called “Naked & Feeling It.”
03. This EP exists, and it is fucking great.

• Biosexual: http://biosexual.bandcamp.com

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.