Dean Blunt

There’s a certain degree of guesswork involved with every new track from Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland (known live, nowadays, as Hype Williams). Last time around, I made up some bullshit narrative about their “Stalker” videos, but this time I’ve actually done my homework! What we know for sure is that the track in question, “Flaxen,” comes from The Narcissist III, presumably a forthcoming follow-up to Blunt’s brilliant The Narcissist II solo mixtape released earlier this year. We also know that it’s indeed Blunt on harp, as he played the instrument for nearly five years at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University. And on the vocals? Yep, it’s Inga Copeland, who studied voice at the Conservatoire de Paris. Because of these facts, we also know that we can safely call this High Art.

Get cultured here:

• Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland:
• Hyperdub:

Guardian Alien

“See the World Given to a One Love Entity (Part 1)”

Guardian Alien’s leader is Greg Fox, who has lent his percussive force to the likes of Teeth Mountain, Dan Deacon, and Liturgy. As diverse as those respective musical camps may be, there’s one common denominator: blast beats. Their Thrill Jockey debut, See the World Given to a One Love Entity, is described as a “forty-minute musical meditation,” in which pummeling percussion and ragga riffs transport the listener into a drone-y paradise. The sound is undeniably heavy, but some meandering Kraut tempos lend this almost ceremonial jam a strangely laidback feel — like Sunday Service at the church of Can.

• Guardian Alien:
• Thrill Jockey:

Oneohtrix Point Never

“Meet Your Creator”

Who’s up for some FLYING ROBOTS?? On June 21, the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase was held once again at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Paris, and this year’s installment saw “a troupe of 16 quadrotors (flying robots) dance to and manipulate sound and light.” The concept for the showcase was created by Jonathan Santana & Xander Smith, directed by Marshmallow Laser Feast, and designed/developed by KMel Robotics, but the coolest part? The whole shebang featured sound design by Oneohtrix… Point… Never!! [record scratch] AHHH!!!

Lopatin himself (swoon!) posted the music he made via SoundCloud, which you can listen to right here:

And check out the flying robots in action right here:

• Oneohtrix Point Never:
• Saatchi & Saatchi:
• Marshmallow Laser Feast:
• KMel Robotics:
• Cannes Lions:

Jon Shina

Breaking Up With Music [album stream]

Mashups. You guys like ‘em? I can’t decide. I thought I hated them, but I happen to really enjoy the work of Brooklyn’s Jon Shina, a guy who makes music “for the love of it, and not for anything else.” Admirable. He’s got a few releases on his Bandcamp (all of which are free for download, by the way), and for some reason I end up really grooving with them. Most of this has to do with the fact that it seems like we have similar tastes in music, or at least the tastes we had when we were both five or ten years younger. Maybe the title of the album, Breaking Up With Music, is interesting in this way: is this our last real hurrah with the music that appears in these mixes? Is it finally time to start moving on? Or have we already moved on? These are questions that Shina is proposing to me here by sending in this little record — heartbreakingly sad questions I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with. But here we are. And, of course, it’s probably not even as personal as I’m describing. I wonder if a lot of you might feel the same way after listening.

So these tracks combine music from the likes of Radiohead, The Books, The Microphones, The Rolling Stones, MF DOOM, Jaques Dutronc, Dr. Octagon, and others. Sometimes the samples are cut and warped just enough to be slightly out of neuron-recognition reach but still at the very least familiar. I know I’ve heard that piano refrain in “For Josh,” but from where? Of course, trying to figure things like this out is half the fun of making your way through Breaking Up With Music. I don’t really want to spend too much time defending why Breaking up with Music is great. It’s just great. Nostalgia and stuff. Whatever. This just feels good. It makes me miss the music that I already forgot that I missed.

• John Shina:

South South Million

“Blue Hoshanna”

Fearful symmetry. Eerie calm. In their video for “Blue Hoshanna,” Detroit ambient-electronica duo South South Million (which features two members of Zoos of Berlin) hover through a heavily fogged and coldly cluttered mise-en-scène — much of it shot in the repurposed auto-parts factory where they practice and record — drawn to an all-reflective monolith, locking in: half-face-to-half-face-to-half-face-to-half-face. Ghostly shadows feeling across frosted glass, Escher-ian hallucinations and an uneasy dawn’s gossamer glow upon curious crime scene investigations with Q-tips and elegant white gloves. Director John Anderson Beavers’ mirror theme fits the backstory for our two drifting crooners nicely; Trevor Naud and Daniel I. Clark have been collaborating musically for more than a dozen years, so it’s no surprise if their minds have melded irreversibly. (I’ve yet to encounter a singing pair whose voices fuse more audibly-indecipherable unto/into one another as these two).

South South Million’s Wind Hand Caught In The Door is out now on Triple Down.

• South South Million:
• Triple Down:

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

“Faceless Kiss”

“Alone Together #6” reads the sleeve of this, the final entry in the first series of 7-inch records put together by the intriguing and young L.A.-based label Emerald Cocoon. Each of these little slabs of wax comes packaged in some nice, consistently-themed artwork and features the words “Mastered by Pete Swanson” on them, attributes which make for an easy sell in their own right. But the music, of course, has been the real strength of these, so far including contributions from Christina Carter, Ashley Paul, Yek Koo, MHFS, and Pete Swanson. The latest entry comes via guitar/synth-swirler Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and was delayed a bit due to test pressing issues. But now that the discs have been received and are ready for shipment, there’s no better time than the present to visit the amazing video companion for “Faceless Kiss” right here on the Chocolate Grinder.

With psychedelic colors softly exploding from the serene scenery in Sabrina Ratté’s beautiful visuals, this is yet another nice example of the classic reach for that perfect synthesis of organic and electronic elements. If “Faceless Kiss” stands apart for a particular reason, it’s because of sheer volume. And I don’t even necessarily mean “loudness” here (although full-crankage seems to be the way to do this thing) as much as I do, you know, volume, as in the way JCL’s ocean of distorted bliss is such a fully immersive and all-enveloping experience. This is also the first “Alone Together” 7-inch I’ve heard in the series that has a really tangible pop connection, with its gliding melodies acting as the focal point while the ambient underbelly balloons the track out to sky-splitting potential, opening up to the heavens and beyond.

• Jefre Cantu-Ledesma:
• Emerald Cocoon:


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.