Ghost in the Shell; German hip-hop fans’ fetishization of Memphis occult rap; the global impact of the Low End Theory and L.A. beat scene; the recent resurgence of new jack swing; how annoying the word trend has become; and the critical importance of uniquely attractive cover art when blogs serve as the primary platform for unsigned/independent musicians: these have all come to mind over the last few weeks as I continually considered the spectral beauty of Russian producer feyorz’s latest release. That he’s managed to develop such a colorful canvas through seemingly minor tweaks and turns is made doubly impressive in light of the fact that he did much the same using drastically different sample materials on his prior effort, luvblvrs. (It took me over a week to figure out how that title’s pronounced, so don’t feel too old/dumb if you don’t get it immediately.) Spread the luv below.
So I’m on Facebook, minding my own bid-nezz, getting angular, and this well mannered and heartwarming young woman gets all virtual up in my gorilla. She all, “[Mmmdamn, boiii, hit this yuung Blackedout EP],” and I did, and it totally whisper-bumped the work-day stress right out of me. Then she called me a “bb,” and I don’t know what that means. But y’all remember this fellah Blackedout from the March 20 SPF420 event, right? That kinda TinyChat live event that’ll crash your shit if you ain’t on a MAC? IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII’m playin’. It’s all part of them gust-vaped wireless waves tapping into your mind via ears everywhere. Yeah-yeah, OH HI!!!
And yes, Blackedout EP rides a new kind of beauty, hazed in a stratosphere of moisture and “Rose”-scented highs. But, yo, “You Don’t Understand” the level of where this brother finds sound and vibes it into drips of information snapping at what you call HD but what others call hi-hats, or drums, or IRL. The “Suede” of it bathes in milked-out floating bowls tapping at each other’s inner mantra of the smallest rumbles, rippling glass in bent matter, cutting soap into foam, serenaded by your mystery woman. THE mystery woman. Bathtub grind in the slowest of motions. Riding it all out atop the “Bambi” one comes in on, Blackedout haxx his talent deep in the clearest sounds this side of the internet.
Your body will soldier sweat. He’ll make you question your definition of attraction. Find him now…
Various Artists: Chico Dub
Hy Brazil Vol 1: Fresh Electronic Music From Brazil 2013
With the utterly justifiable rejection of that most grotesque, generic pigeonhole — World Music — comes the problem of engaging with compilations, like Chico Dub’s latest, that claim to offer a representative musical slice of a really rather massive geographic area.
It doesn’t help that many of the main protagonists in our little cross-cultural musical drama happen, like Chico Dub, to have silly names. And yet, in Hy Brazil Vol 1: Fresh Electronic Music From Brazil 2013, we get such a wonderfully eclectic, high-quality selection of tunes that it’s quite easy (and reasonable) to discard such post-colonial worries, at least for a little while, and enjoy ourselves.
Highlights include Tropkillaz’s gnarly, rough-edged trap; Paze’s perfectly executed jelly mould of squelching loops, and the rusty hi-hats on Bruno Real’s dark, uneasy tech-house.
In case that all sounds a bit serious, there’s also the expected selection of techno-brega, that most silly of Rio club sounds, which literally translates as “cheesy techno” and is probably brilliant when your not sat in badly lit Edinburgh office, like me. Strausz’s particular effort ends up morphing into what could easily be a junglist remix of Os Mutantes, and as such, walks a very thin line between brilliant and atrocious.
The compilation ends with Leo Justi’s “Invasor (Baile Metal),” apparently a hint at what some of the production in the new M.I.A. album might sound like. Slayer guitar riffs? Gratuitous gun shots? Baile Funk beat boxing? Sounds about right.
Perhaps more exciting is what didn’t make it onto the compilation, as our man Chico informs us that the “next chapter is going to be dedicated to experimental music: drone, noise, dark ambient, kraut, IDM, improv, free jazz, music concrete and sound art.”
Sounds great, Chico.
• Chico Dub: http://chicodub.bandcamp.com
So, how was your weekend? Mine was good. It was pretty nice out. 70s, sunny, the first really nice weekend we’ve had of the season. Naturally, whispers of the word “camping” were brushing by my ears. I got pretty excited about it; we even BBQ’d, and I was imagining sitting out under the stars with a roaring fire in front of us the whole time. S’more’s, smiles, etc.
And then I sat down to write about Vilké, the new full-length release from veteran Portland noise-ist Daniel Menche, and started becoming terrified. “Vilké” is the word for a female wolf in Lithuanian, and Menche used the sounds of howling wolves as the core for the music found on this double LP, thereby obliterating any notion I had that sleeping outside, in the woods, in the dark, with the wildlife, in the cold, might actually be a smart, sound, and safe idea. I didn’t want to go camping any more.
I guess I should have been a little better prepared. Menche is a guy with previous album titles like GUTS and Beautiful Blood and Scattered Remains and Radiant Blood, and so themes of the flesh and animality were bound to be followed here in his audible portrait of the wolf, her environment, her plight, and of course how we as humans can exhibit all of these things within her. Menche’s dense soundscapes and keen sense of pacing and compositional suspense make this a real gripper, a quiet mix burned deep with a force to make it seem deafening, menacing in just about the most intimidating way imaginable. It’s a weird metaphysical/psychological mindfuck type of thing that happens as you make your way through this sample, especially if you check it out on, say, a full moon. Heart hammering blood through the temples, itches you didn’t know needed scratching before becoming suddenly excruciating. I think you know how this one ends.
Our first listen to the album here is also accompanied by some visuals for good measure, provided by the album’s resident artist, Faith Coloccia:
Daniel Menche’s Vilké is out May 14 on double vinyl and cassette via SIGE.
“Bookfiend” [feat. DOOM]
Now playing: “Bookfiend,” in which cricket crunk originator Clams Casino breaks us off with another symphony of whale calls, raindrops, and other samplings straight off the sleep machine soundscape. This time, however, they’re blessed to serve as background fodder for the villainous rants of metal-faced inventor, sorcerer, and world conquerer DOOM, who sounds perhaps a bit truer to form than he did on last year’s Key to the Kuffs. Overall, it’s a sick little tune, one which will likely inspire a gut reaction calling for more from this team-up, but considering the supervillain’s recent track record, it’s just as probable that this is yet another random, singular communiqué dispatched from whichever dank lare he’s currently occupying across the pond.
Run The Jewels
4-bar intro, 12 bars El-P, 12 bars Killer Mike, 4 bars El, 4 bars Mike, 4 bars El, coda. If you’re tryna hear the two dudes behind some of the best hip-hop albums of 2012 — and, you know, all those classics a decade or two back — trade breathless verses for a few minutes with no chorus in sight (other than a few bars of spammed vocal sample), here’s the “Get It” SoundCloud stream. After the track ends, something else from Fool’s Gold’s stream queues up immediately, but you know you’re just gonna hit the play button on “Get It” and dive back in again.
The duo named themselves Run The Jewels after LL Cool J’s beat-stopping command in “Cheesy Rat Blues,” aligning their output with hip-hop a few golden ages ago. “I’m stuck in a time capsule when rap was actually factual,” Killer Mike spits, and you believe him: these two might be higher above ground right now than ever before, but the vibe is still Independent As Fuck. Hear them toss off tongue-twisting internal rhymes and thread their birth names into the proceedings, as El-P’s synths spew a chromatic progression over a tight grid of echoing kicks. The stripped-down beat reminds us Mr. Producto doesn’t only deal in the blaring-siren apocalyptic death march — the man knows that a simple, utilitarian boom-bap can cut right through to the vital nerve.
Fool’s Gold promises us a “free album and limited edition items” from Run The Jewels in June, along with a tour in July. The summer can’t get here quick enough.