“Go to Jail”
Listening to — or at least attempting to listen to — “Go to Jail,” I can’t help but find my thoughts circling back to Rowan Savage’s review of Farrah Abraham’s disasterpiece, My Teenage Dream Ended. In that write-up, Savage challenged us to get off our high horses and peer down into Abraham’s hurricane of diapers and despair, and see it for what it really was: “a reflection and magnification of the typical issues of the teen Self,” percolated through pure, unadulterated suffering. That the album, to quote Savage, “now encompasses the world, magnified — and in that magnification, reveals the seams” doesn’t make the album any easier to handle — I swear I can feel my neurons sizzling when I listen to this thing — but it certainly lends it credence. After all, to put it in the terms of my middle-school journal: the world is an ugly place.
Like Ms. Abraham’s magnum opus, “Go To Jail” is painful to listen to. Auto-Tune-drenched and more indecipherable than the hieroglyphics from Lost, Keef’s lean-addled mumbles appear incapable of staying in time with the song’s bare-bones trap beat. He’s had no problem spitting over these types of beats for the past two years, but now, it seems that the Chicago rapper would rather let loose pitch-shifting wails and rhythmic grunts. And yet, terrible as the track may be on a superficial level, it’s still writhing with the same level of anguish that made MTDE such an unexpected stroke of genius. Just as Abraham used her franken-pop as a spastic sounding board by which to process the stresses of love, loss, and unplanned parenthood, Keef has constructed “Go To Jail” as a puzzling bit of stream-of-consciousness therapy. After spending 60 days in prison, the 17-year old is clinging to his freedom more stringently than ever, even if it means giving up on the thuggery of his earlier days: “Don’t touch my pistol/ Cuz I don’t wanna have to blow/ Cuz I don’t wanna have to go to jail.” Of course, with a canvas this muddled, the interpretations are endless: thug poseur critique, post-rap experiment, paranoid rant, or maybe just a sub-par rap song. But I’ll leave the sentencing to you.
• Chief Keef: http://www.chiefkeef.com
• 1017 Brick Squad: https://www.facebook.com/pages/1017-Brick-Squad/110722132272401
When looking at the history of notated composition, one can ultimately sum up the basic role of musical notation as conveying how to set a sound-producing action of some sort into motion. In classical terms, this can be seen through how various dynamics and articulations, in conjunction with given notes, force performers into motion with their instruments. Of course, in the 20th century and onward, this realization/reduction of the “score” led to its manipulation, and everything from graphic notation to text scores and process music developed out of a desire to play with these ideas of action and sound.
However, one particular facet of this notational aesthetic that hasn’t yet been explored enough is the potential for all things visual/literary to be interpreted as a score. Technically, almost anything could turn into a musical score when certain parameters are applied to it, and with his latest cassette, Reading Illuminations/ A Book of Palms, Mark So showcases two of his compositions that do just that.
“Reading Illuminations” takes Robert Ashley’s notion of text/speech being a form of music in and of itself and carries it to a completely new level. The piece utilizes John Ashbery’s translation of Rimbaud’s “Illuminations” as a score of sorts, combining cassette recordings of So and the always awesome Julia Holter reading the text with brief field recording snippets into a dizzying tapestry of monolithic lo-fi sound. The constant flickering of the tapes turning on and off is reminiscent of So’s Wind Measures release with Patrick Farmer, but the motion’s far more active this time around. And with Ashbery/Rimbaud’s text being used to determine duration in both reading and sound production, the work takes on an effect similar to that of Ashley’s operas.
Also on the cassette is the mesmerizing “A Book of Palms,” which uses drawings of palm trees on graph paper with note-heads as the basis for what turns out to be a very beautiful solo piano work. When taken together, the two compositions show that, despite the highly conceptual methods used to create these works, So still excels at creating beautifully spare music.
Reading Illuminations/A Book of Palms is out now via Recondite Industries. You can stream “Reading Illuminations” in its entirety below:
Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier
“The Orchid Cantata”
French visual artist Félicia Atkinson has been exploring dark drones, synth tone psalms, and other ambient journeys ever since her trailer park summer in upstate New York a few years back. Yesterday, she posted “The Orchid Cantata” under her Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier moniker, hanging a chasmal canon of delayed sing-speak above one of her deepest, dimmest clatters yet. The soundwave bears the sibylline inscription: “more infos soon.”
Listen to the track at Atkinson’s SoundCloud.
• Félicia Atkinson: http://feliciaatkinson.be
Naysayer & Gilsun
NGTV - Vol #5
I love/hate writing about music because there’s always someone suggesting something, and t’s usually more taste-driven than anything else. Not to say friendship isn’t found, just sometimes it’s hard to enjoy, cover, and frequent every thing. Well, our man Nico Callaghan (he reviewed Falling in Reverse on TMT; BIG UP!PS) sent me a link to NGTV - Vol #5 by Naysayer & Gilsun, stating, “Don’t know if you choco [peepz] are in on this duo of DJs: http://bit.ly/16dwMB8. But they are pretty fantastic. And those images were very nice while they lasted. Please continue if you get the time.” (That last bit is because I had spammed TMT writers with random Google-found pic links.) And when “Do you ever miss having someone to talk to?” is asked around the five-minute mark and beyond: shit gets real.
So, I’m dancing around my living room naked at noon. So it’s FUCK WEEKDAY. Feel that cinematic energy. We’ve all met before. Be now. With me in words on here in this mix. Hi!
• tNaysayer & Gilsun: http://vimeo.com/naygiltv
Last we heard from Jeffrey D. Witscher, he was kicking it with Oneohtrix Point Never as Rene Hell for a split on NNA Tapes, but after a brief hiatus, he’s returned to his Agents of Chaos label for a new tape by RM Francis. Titled Recycled Sleep, the cassette is inspired by Stockhausen’s “moment form” concept — most notably heard on Kontakte — with pieces “generated automatically in a probabilistic synth patch via Max/MSP” and then “run through another wave shaping patch that used the amplitude & frequency information of the recorded sound to determine the playback speed, position, and direction.” Recycled music. Get it? Hear for yourself:
RM Francis’ Recycled Sleep is now available in an edition of 100
• Agents of Chaos: http://www.salonturnkey.blogspot.com
Chocolate Grinder Mix 86
Music is full of insular types. Recently, such types have been quietly releasing music that focuses on the wonders of the mundane. Ashley Paul sounds like she recorded Line The Clouds in a creaking bedsit, while Dead Machines appear to be recording the dismantling of it. Meanwhile, Keith Rowe and Graham Lambkin have left their bedsit to inspect the broken plumbing outside.
Having said this, introversion is not always so dreary. Rale’s excessive use of silence is a soothing antidote to CAPITALIST INSANITY, while Sean MCann’s one-man orchestra provides some sonic space for contemplation.
Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.
[00:00] Ashley Paul - “Falling”
[01:50] Phillip Corner - “Concerto For Housekeeper - Strings”
[03:43] Joseph Hammer - “Philadelphia”
[07:30] Keith Rowe and Graham Lambkin - “Making A”
[10:04] Tsembla - “Hirtetty”
[12:26] Dead Machines - “Gelatin Wide Teeth”
[15:01] Jennifer Veillerobe - “luftlocher”
[16:09] Rale - “Probability A”
[18:53] Giuseppe Ielasi and Kasserl Jaeger - “Parallel”
[22:16] Sean McCann - Conclusion - “Our Days Of Generosity”