C. Spencer Yeh / Okkyung Lee / Lasse Marhaug
“Throw Down the Fishcake / Anise Tongue and Durian Wet Dream (Edit)”
Ah, the sweet sounds of a few buds getting together in the SSTUDIO for an electro-acoustic improv potluck. “You bring your sound sources and I’ll bring mine,” says Lasse Marhaug, cramming his electronics and patch cables into a briefcase. “And how!” C. Spencer Yeh exclaims as he spreads out his violin, laptop, tapes, pedals, and oscillators on his bed and starts up a li’l draft process, selecting instruments as one would cherry pick chiseled athletes from a gym class mob. “Is there room for my cello in the mix?” ponders Okkyung Lee aloud, more rhetorically than anything, as if any session wouldn’t benefit from her four-string shreddery. “Looks like we’ve got everything we need.” The three musicians form a triangle and join hands: fingers interlaced. They raise their arms up above their heads in the traditional pre-recording ritual. Marhaug: “Hit it right.” Lee: “Hit it right.” Yeh: “Hit it tight.”
After logging his own collab explorations with Tim Hecker last year, label boss and modern synth messiah Daniel Lopatin continues his Software Studio Series with the prenominate trio’s album Wake Up Awesome. Our first excerpts confound the senses with squalls of hi-fi noise, manipulated fanfare samples, fried dialogue, chiming synth figures, and in-the-red scratching of bow on catgut. “Throw Down the Fishcake / Anise Tongue and Durian Wet Dream (Edit)” combines these musicians’ unique capabilities into a monstrous amalgam that defies any template of song structure, harmony, or rhythm. At 15 sessions deep, with these omnivorous improvisers in front of the mics, there’s no telling what madnesses constitute the rest of the LP.
Wake Up Awesome arrives on November 19. You can preorder the LP or CD now from Software mother-label Mexican Summer.
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement
“Black Magic Originated In Nature”
P hits me up at 1:19 AM. Monday night. After I read his message around 2 AM, I spiral into a dream portal:
I’m driving in a dimly-lit European(ish) city surrounded by street lights, cobble stone, slate roofing, and rows of store fronts; I’m on my way to a hostel. Inside, I meet Sharpest, jDav, and Gumshoe, and they are ready to split because the owner ignored “their American ways.” I give them the same look they gave the owner as I jingle keys in my pocket of the car I’d just stolen. Refusing to pay for our stay, we run out the back door, through a damp alley, and into the cramped car, which is pulled over as I try driving off.
More cops arrive after I give my ID to the one at the car window, and as he walks away, we all make a run for it. We meet up in a dingy underground laboratory. Elliott lets out a yelp and leaves us as quick as his exclamation. Joe thinks it’d be dream-logical to take a sip of the nearest jar containing goo, and Gumshoe and I wait in reluctant anticipation for him to HULK-out. Suddenly the doors burst open, light engulfs everything, my jaw locks, Gumshoe is crying about his daughter, sounds like Joe is smashing shit, and it feels as thought I’m whisked into a Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: blinded by aura and imprisoned in sludge.
This dream convinced me “Black Magic Originated In Nature,” which is also the feeling I get while listening to Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement’s track on Folklore Venom. Folklore Venom and its sibling-cassette The Plant With Many Faces have both been re-released on vinyl via Hospital Productions, so now you ain’t gotta pay a hundo-plus for this year’s originals.
• Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: http://discogs.com/artist/Rainforest+Spiritual+Enslavement
• Hospital Productions: http://hospitalproductions.net
“Poets of Rhythm Promo”
File this one under best commercial of the year. Here, a wigged Edan harks back to the rap radio promo of yesteryear, but instead of hyping up a station or DJ, he’s plugging The Poets of Rhythm Anthology 1992-2003, available October 1 on Daptone Records. “Yea The Poets so don’t even try to diss/ ‘Cause they helped initiate the funk-soul revivalist movement,” he spits, gripping the mic in one hand while the other mans the tables. For those who don’t know, Edan puts on what is quite possibly the best hip-hop show being performed today, so if ever you get the opportunity to see him live, do seize that, please. And if German-exported funk-soul revivalism is your thing, you already know what to do.
“Raindrops falling from the sky
Watch the people passing by”
Subverting the seemingly simplistic, the basic, the automatically relatable, the imagery normally associated with dreamy, quiet afternoons, to create a sense of dread and loneliness, creeping chills, using the grim weather to one’s own advantage: Tor Lundvall is adept at subdued intensity, either through his oil paintings (reminds me a little of Peter Doig) or dimly lit ambient soundscapes drenched in reverb. Last year, he released an impressionist LP titled The Shipyard that was so appropriately foggy and grey I stumbled over the corner of my bed and knocked down my bookshelf trying to open the window. “City Rain” is on Tor’s album Sleeping and Hiding, which is being re-released, along with four other of his out-of-print albums, on a 5CD remastered set called Structures and Solitude out November 5, making this his second box set released via Dais Records. The first line of “City Rain” might lead some to believe that Lundvall is cheerfully strolling through the puddles like a black and white musical, and the lyric has been quoted here for the same reason Lundvall employed it: to create a false sense of security. Have you ever woken up for a dream and momentarily mistook it for the events of the previous night? Did you question whether or not it was even a dream?
“Spinning flowers in the stream
Drowning slowly in the dream”
This new Kvelertak video hearkens back to the glory days of Newgrounds animations: that glorious age when the internet was inundated with wacky, slightly-disturbing homemade cartoons, many of them smirking in the face of cuddly ol’ Disney/Pixar (corporations which, by the way, are run by the Illuminati, bee tee dubs… LOOK IT UP). Sporting an eccentric mix of CGI and flash animation, the clip for the Norwegian rockers’ “Evig Vandrar” whisks us away to the arid home of some Jawa-type dudes, who apparently spend their time dredging up giant shadowy birds from the sand dunes and shooting plasma from their mouths. It’s a cool slice of Dune worship with a METAL twist. What more could you want?
Kvelertak’s newest album Meir is out now on Roadrunnder for your burning pleasure.
“Applause (Viceroy Remix)”
Mmm, I fucking LOVE applesauce. Grams made me some killer applesauce last week. Remember AnCo’s video for “Applesauce” that came out last year? So fucking fresh. Clearly, Lady Gaga ripped off AnCo with her cover of “Applause.” Oh shit, that’s not the same title. I should pay more attention to anti-progressive pop. Whoa, Viceroy remixed it too?! Holy shit. This music MAY be more bland than the people who listen to it, let alone REMIX it. SMASH CUT TO: my girlfriend/roommate listening to this remix while she’s cooking tonight, having not read this post, and thanking me for bringing Viceroy’s remix of Lady Gaga’s “Applause” to her attention.
Beyond that, people still believe in (and clench onto) the revolution of John Lennon’s music, claiming there is nothing that possesses that in music today [????????? @Anti-Internet]. This is something I not only blame on Lady Gaga (and related musicians), but also people who doubly churn out this nonsense via remixes. Anti-establishment. Artistic. Atypical. And the lyrics “Pop culture was in art/ Now arts in pop culture in me” from “Applause” played while Sam and I ate at Taco Bell today.