Oh, I do love it when music of the ambient and drone persuasion favors the higher frequencies over the beautiful low-end muck. It reminds me of coming to tears every time I watch 127 Hours and that Sigur Rós song plays out at the end after that guy finally escapes from the canyon and realizes he actually needs other people in his life. I mean, you could probably set “Let Go” from this band Clearing to slow motion footage of clouds rolling by and weep for days. I think it must be the sound of positive realizations.
Let Go is available now on cassette from Solid Melts.
9:44 AM, and it’s a slow-going Thursday for me; dreading the next seven hours, tryna finish my year-end top 50 blurb. I’ve gone to the bathroom three times now, and I come back to (1) in my Inbox. From our boii Samuel Diamond: “Prove Mystikal isn’t the best active rapper. [Rap Radar Link] …can’t be done.” Now I can’t stop strut-dancing in my desk chair. And Sam is totally right. I was also just chatting with Keith, who’s all up in my gorilla with Kendrick Lamar, and here I am promising I’ll try good kid, m.A.A.d city one more time, while “Hit Me” is killing it in my earbuds over and over and over again. Also, Mystikal IS the [fellah] I’ve been missing. In fact, I think it’s about time I rip Mystikal from my bother’s and my high school AM MTV music video nostalgia and prepare for his Cash Money debut album Original coming 2013. Until then, I’ll satiate my nostalgia with “Hit Me,” adding that Mystikal “Yo, I’m back, and never left” hilarity.
The way I think of Bastian Void’s Fluorescent Bells has to do with being both extremely relaxed and frigidly cold, if that is even possible. This is what penguins must listen to at the spa, jacuzzis spitting jets of air through lukewarm water or something. Sweet-smelling, chilly vapors softly effervescing from pools of synth. Or, this is yet another trip through the galaxy, synths sprawling out through the cosmos backed by a sultry bossa nova, etc. But you know what? All these descriptors do Bastian Void little justice. What I mean to say is this: Fluorescent Bells is absolutely terrific, one of Field Hymns’ finest dedications to cassette tape yet, which is saying a lot.
Calling to mind the pre-Everything’s Ecstatic subtleties of Four Tet, Keep Right, from Oregon’s Automatic Thoughts, is a reminder of what the beat music was before we started burying it alive under vinyl crackles and tape hiss. While most of this year’s beat-based music averaged somewhere under two minutes a song, Keep Right takes its time, allowing melodies and drums and samples to fade in and fade out underneath the soft hum of synthesizers. It’s soothing to hear music untouched by the pressure of Attention Deficit Disorder.
Relax, breathe, listen: It’s available for the ?? cost of name-your-price.
• Automatic Thoughts: http://automaticthoughts.bandcamp.com
Three Legged Race
A three legged race can be… awkward. Generally — as is my understanding, it’s been a while — the event entails being partnered up with someone you really don’t want to be standing next to (let alone tied to), then being forced to hang on to said partner’s torso for dear life while hobbling an ungodly distance to the finish line. If you win, you get a pie in the face or a trophy or something. “Persuasive Barrier” definitely points to a certain awkwardness, though it’s certainly not that of Robert Beatty, since he sounds completely in control over this selection from his new record. I guess it’s just me who’s the awkward one (big… surprise…), stumbling my way through this labyrinth of synth, notes trailing off in unsettling echoes and forlorn melodies foreshadowing creepy things to come. I feel like this post is deteriorating before my very eyes as I write it. I’ll be honest, I’m grasping here. Not much of this tune makes much sense to me — the clave pattern(s), the diagonal harmonies, the way the lead synth reminds me of Chick Corea’s The Leprechaun, or that one repeating chromatic line, as if slowly walking down the same staircase over and over and over. Oh yeah, and in the end, he sings. Fuck, it’s weird. Cool.
Vol 2. This Was Not Heartbreak
It’s no secret that I’m a big Tough Fuzz fan. If you browse back a little ways in the Chocolate Grinder archives, you’ll see a number of posts about this dude written by your very own Top Heavy. Most recently, I mentioned the single “LUXRY,” unveiled prior to the full release of Vol 2. This Was Not Heartbreak (the excellent follow-up to August’s Vol. 1). “LUXRY,” with its tough-guy, all-caps title and previously-mentioned Nintendo-training montage sound, is actually about as heavy as Vol. 2 gets. Beginning with the sea-sick feel of a cruise ship lounge on album opener “friend ship,” repeated in later tracks like “soft focus” and “broken beat,” the whole of Vol. 2 is decidedly softer, leaning more toward jazz than the funk-driven Vol. 1.
Check it out and look for the tape from Portland’s Ewe of Now Records this month.
• Tough Fuzz: http://toughfuzz.bandcamp.com