Excavacations
In Perris-Beauchamp

In a Kant-referencing tweet, How to Dress Well’s Tom Krell said that “I believe that pop w/o the avant garde is blind & the avant g w/o pop is empty.” While this tweet addresses one of the big problems I have with artists in both genres who confine themselves to a limited palette of influences/styles, I think it particularly applies to the world of contemporary indie pop. This issue of limited influence is touched upon in Alex Griffin’s recent review of Jackson Scott’s record, which is one instance among many where a hyped-up pop artist has very little new to add to a well-worn genre. In the last few years, there have been far too many indie pop bands that express no interest in doing anything outside of their narrow niche. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that unbearably boring and, to reference Krell, blind.

However, despite the occasionally vacuous nature of certain pop/experimental artists, there have been an equal number of composers who wonderfully cross-pollinate these worlds and make strikingly new works as a result. This is where Excavacations come in. As TMT has previously discussed, this band manages to exist as both a pop and drone act, and on In Perris-Beauchamp, the group continues to blur the lines between song and sound art. Much like Julia Holter’s excellent Tragedy, Excavacations present a world where songs can’t exist without noise and noise can’t exist without songs. However, unlike the musique concrète pastiche of Holter, Excavations excel at creating melodic orchestral pop that alternately dissolves into and emerges out of expertly crafted synth drones. The whole thing reminds of what might have happened if See You On The Other Side-era Mercury Rev had decided to explore the influence of their mentor Tony Conrad a bit more. In Perris-Beauchamp is a beautiful merging of influence made even prettier and more pristine by the mastering job done by synth god M. Geddes Gengras.

You can sample a four-song suite of tunes from In Perris-Beauchamp below (other tracks from the record are available via the band’s SoundCloud):

In Perris-Beauchamp is available digitally from Weird Forest via websites such as Boomkat and iTunes.

• Weird Forest www.weirdforest.com

FAMILY EVENT

Return to Koala Deep

SP-404 maestro aaronmaxwell is back with part two of his incredible side project, FAMILY EVENT, with that dude James Matthew. The artists both share an affinity for those near ear-piercing lo-fi high-end sounds explored over releases rarely breaking that 10-minute mark, so this collaboration came with a lot of excitement, but very little surprise. All 7.6 minutes of Return to Koala Deep roll out smoothly, relying very little on any excess instrumentation beyond those slick, 404 loops and without the usual amount of glitch. This may be the two collaborating artists at their most polished, which is to say, still buried in crackle and mounds of half-second drum samples.

Stream the FAMILY EVENT below and/or download it here.

• FAMILY EVENT: http://familyevent.bandcamp.com
• aaronmaxwell: http://soundcloud.com/aaronmaxwell
• James Matthew: http://soundcloud.com/jamesmatthew

Eli Keszler & So Percussion

“Archway”

For anyone who has ever been self-conscious about how progressive (or not) their tastes in music are, NPR has provided us with a very well-shot docu-exhibition-performance of percussionist and sculptor Eli Keszler. Keszler often collaborates on his many projects, which vary from long improvisations using sound sculptures to planned compositions made with traditional instruments. In this video, he is joined by the So Percussion group, who composed a piece centered around four snare drums to accompany Keszler’s latest sound installation: a group of strings that are attached to a bridge in Brooklyn, which resonate naturally and create a deep, metallic gurgle. Like all of Keszler’s work, this video portrays a vivid, dynamic artist, and for someone like me, who is not a percussionist, the attention to detail coupled with a chance to see the artists performing is a riveting experience.

• Eli Keszler: http://elikeszler.com
• So Percussion: http://sopercussion.com

Chonus

KI

Words+Dreams is BACK and freshing KI, the first solo electronic joint by Chonus (Tony Gedrich). Limited to 100 emerald green C44 tapes, this is W+D’s 12th cassette, and calling it “deep” would be too two-cents. The first track mildly grasps the mix of what’s about to happen in KI, then the bass bubbles and the density of your body changes. Like, the frequencies of sound petrifies your physical self, and moving is your last option. The music has you struck, and shifting may fuck up the planet’s alignment with whatever it’s patterned with, wherever.

But, oh! Does Chonus make you feel KI. So much so that causing a catastrophic magnetic shift in reality might be worth the risk of getting up and dancing. There’s faith here between Gedrich and the listener. It’s egoless in artistic pursuit, while enticing the audience to “let loose” their soul and submit themselves to channel all their emotions through movement. And as sculptures shape the physical, Chonus builds upon a higher form of structure, surpassing the usual routine tape you reel and putting a shine on that magnet you call a play button.

KI comes out this Saturday, and Words+Dreams is throwing Chonus a tape release party at Irene’s Capri Lounge. Bring this world into a new dimension of dance-together!

• Chonus: https://soundcloud.com/chonus-a-um
• Words+Dreams: http://www.wordsplusdrea.ms

James Ferraro

“THE PRELUDE” / Trailer #3

GETREADY2BEKILLED.COM

• James Ferraro: http://twitter.com/LIL_ICEBUNNY
• Hippos in Tanks: http://hipposintanks.net

Mike Donovan

“New Fieldhand Bop”

In case you haven’t heard, Sic Alps broke up :’( . But never fear, because frontman Mike Donovan is coming down from the Alps-aintop with his first solo LP, Wot. “New Fieldhand Bop” marks a departure from the buzzy, fuzzy Sic sound, venturing into more acoustic territory; think of it as a front-porch affair, consisting of our boy, his acoustic guitar, and little else. Clearly, he’s in a pastoral, “Wild Horses” mood this time around — then again, he’s always been somewhat of a nature boy. According to Rian Murphy, our in-house expert on all things Sic, Donovan is “still alit on allusive trips, lost in crystal canyons, turning a phrase with an acid flick of the wrist-watch.” Lost in crystal canyons? Can’t wait to hear how that turned out.

Wot’s that? You want to know when the album is dropping? Drag City will deliver the Californian troubador’s latest bundle of joy on October 15. In the weeks leading up to the LP’s release, Donovan will also be hitting the road with Ty Segall, Huxley Anne, and Sun Foot for a brief West Coast tour. If you’re living on Pacific Standard Time and are still down with the Sicness, the three-week stint will be just the thing to help you get over your post-breakup blues.

• Mike Donovan / Sic Alps(RIP): http://www.sicalps.com
• Drag City: http://www.dragcity.com

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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.


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