I’ve always wondered how a few mariachi horns would sound when warped into oblivion and back again, combined with the thumping percussion of a samba band, and tossed in with some detuned synth and a sultry vocalist. While the previous sentence is untrue, Broken Toy delivers all these unexpected elements with such bristling production values that it is likely to take you more than a bit by surprise.
fLako’s been doing the round for a few years now, churning out the wonky hip-hop we’ve come accustomed to with FlyLo and the Brainfeeder lot. On Carving Away The Clay, he very much gains his own identity, and it’s a reassuringly insane one.
Check it, this is my plea for everyone out there to listen to Hubble Linger. Especially Tiny Mix Tapes writers (since our favorite 25 of 2011 lists are due soon!). Hubble is Ben Greenberg of ZS. And if y’all know two shits about us TMTers: we love NNA Tapes, and we love ZS. It’s also totes appropriate to write ‘bout Hubble Linger months after its release. Hubble Linger is the very definition of audio hallucination. Focus in on Hubble Linger; meditate. What Greenberg considers “cyber-dread,” you may hear as white noise. Yeah, and you’ll lose focus on the track, because you should pay attention to driving, but your hearing will notice random notes. Through mild focus, you create a personalized pattern of melody alluding to other songs. Thus, Hubble Linger is the audible and instant representation of the infinite monkey theorem. As if Hubble Linger were a part of our universe already, only Earth is receiving it all now.
Also, if you don’t hear “Hubble’s Hubble” in Hubble Linger, it’s because it’s on his newest album Hubble Drums (out on Northern-Spy, who we also love) full-stream ahead via Vice. Check out the video above, which was created by Tiffany Borders of NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team.
A Schiele-esque painting, some pink plant, a blurry girl, of course, and a crooner breaking hearts along with a whole mess of plucked strings = Bronson’s video for “Promise.” Vimeo says that the album Paper Tusk, from which this song was pulled, was recorded in a cathedral up in Washington. Well, I’d say this track is too intimate to sound holy or even particularly reverent, but as its name suggests, “Purpose” is a track about life’s calling. In its private way, it does evoke high ceilings, colored light. Most impressive, I think, is that first fully-strummed chord and the breaking of voice like dawn, which transform what had previously sounded abrasive into a two-minute ode to clarity and small catharsis.
Paper Tusk is out November 29 on Solid Melts. Check out Bronson’s Bandcamp now.
Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier
Visual and sound artist Felicia Atkinson, whose drawings and compositions seem to come in the same stroke, has been making sublime waves this year with album after album of playful, transportive, improvised sound collages inspired by her worldly travels — often leaving her home in Brussels for art shows and excursions in the US with her zine-publishing partner and High Wolf associate, Bartolomé Sanson. Her new vinyl L’Enfant Savage on the Belgium label Aguirre is for all fans of female “forestdroners” and nicely rounds out a very prolific year. This sucker was mastered by good old Pete Swanson, and the first 50 orders get a free newspaper zine by the artist.
While walking through Penn Sunday, I heard a lady music-ing for scrill, and thought to myself: she probably get more listeners and $$ on the internet. Then again, because of technology, the human aspect in music is way questionable now. If you’ve found yourself at the human/technology crossroad in your current-music listening experience, look no further. Julia Holter embodies the wasteland of internet music, utilizing musique concrète as digital-void before emerging into tiny pop melodies. Think Maria Minerva, only more of that Dolphins into the Future field-found recording. And the distance she creates between music and emptiness in each track is the same grace Matthew Barney uses in the Drawing Restraint project(s). Thankfully, Leaving Records not only made Tragedy a part of my top 25 of 2011, but they repressed it for 500 copies (out yesterday). “Goddess Eyes” being the shortest, poppy-est version of her struggle between human and technology-driven art.
So, you may have noticed PAN Records just shat out a whole bunch of good shit (so to speak). Well, a piece of said shit is Steven Warwick’s new record as Heatsick, entitled Intersex. Warwick, who is one half of Birds of Delay, titled the album as a nod to “the work of German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld,” according to a press release. I will admit I had never heard of the guy, so I Googled his ass and learned he was a pioneer for sexual reform and gay rights who wrote essays and books regarding these subjects (many of which were later burned by Nazis). In the 1890s, he founded an organization called the Scientific Humanitarian Committee that aimed to repeal a German penal code that criminalized homosexuality. The committee’s motto was “Justice Through Science,” and it hoped that a better scientific understanding of homosexuality would help eliminate hostility toward homosexuals (thanks Wikipedia :p). And that was over a century ago! The world still hasn’t figured this shit out! Well, without getting too opinionated-college-thesis on yo’ ass, it is obvious this guy is important to a movement that’s still suppressed and misunderstood.
Admittedly, it’s kind of hard to hear a direct reference to the grandfather of gay rights in a recording that is essentially instrumental. When I think of music that is sexual or seductive, I think of “Let’s Get It On” and Ginuwine, not electronic music made entirely by a Casio keyboard and guitar pedals. In fact, the album starts out with a short track featuring Warwick wordlessly singing along to a familiar string melody, and it doesn’t feel sexy at all.
But as the second track creeps along a pre-programmed tango beat on the Casio, a steady bass line chugs through electronic trills, and finally an effeminate male voice emerges from the background, discussing “adventures,” “planets,” and “running around.” At this point, I realize this isn’t a sexy album in the way that Barry White gives you a wide-on; it’s more about personal fantasies, even feeling voyeuristic if you let it (the track repeats itself for 13 minutes, so there is a lot of time to think about this). “Tertiary,” the one you can enjoy for now below, is slightly shorter and just a tad sexier, with a more seductive bass line and playful vibes tickling the otherwise robotic groove.
Sex-driven or not, Intersex is a fun ride, and y’all should just tear your pants off and join in!