“The Weight Of Gold”
Forest Swords (Matthew Barnes) has always drawn from a deep sheath of patience. Lightly gripping the handle. Stroking the hilt with his pinky. Ringing metal against bamboo, gradually pulling out the blade. You can hear the sharpness. Barnes waits for the right time to implement his attack: sounds, beats, melody, samples, rhythms, vocals (!!!), etc. Planning only strategy, he both delivers and reveals the mysteries behind “The Weight Of Gold.” Carving into the heart of art, one can only distinguish the piece as a whole, not in sections; the sounds mix masterfully and fluidly. Barnes grinds feedback into tape-warp-squeezed crackles, from beat to heat, to sweltering a pace that is unending and driven from the core.
Three years after the Forest Swords’ epic Dagger Paths EP, Tri Angle Records was finally able to squeeze a debut album outta him. Engravings arrives on August 26 in CD, digital, and double-LP formats. Hi!
“The Subtle Body Wears a Shadow”
The men of ZS continue their multimedia conquest of our consciousnesses with another sublime visual offering: the video clip for the title track of Diamond Terrifier (Sam Hillmer)’s The Subtle Body Casts a Shadow LP, directed by drummer/omnipotent shredder Greg Fox. At face value, the video presents a montage of ZS tour footage, focused mostly on Milan, Torino, and the Swiss Alps, with a slice of Japan thrown in. Matched with Hillmer’s sax mantras and polyphonic self-harmonization, Fox’s manipulations of the source material elevate the piece to a different plane entirely. The word “kaleidoscopic” pops up plenty in psychedelic visual circles, but the complex fractal spirals on display here set a high kaleidoscope benchmark (the passage that begins around 3:40, for example… daaaaaaamn). When television-like distortion overtakes the video’s conclusion, a robotic voice quotes 8th-century Bodhisattva Shantideva, transplanting the lament for our subconscious pursuit of misery into a modern, technology-encumbered context.
I got in touch with Greg Fox to ask about the video’s conception. He told me:
I used that video [of Hillmer performing in Marseille] to make the Mandala, which is the floating consciousness that comes in and out throughout. I was thinking about how you go through a series of events or travels or what-have-you, and throughout, no matter what the range of experience, there is always a familiar flavor to them — and that flavor is you, the filter through which you experience life as it happens around you. How one’s sadness or happiness can both have the same familiar taste, and how you identify specifically with that, more than with the other elements that are attached to it.
When I asked Fox about the technical processes through which he abstracted the video, he replied:
The Subtle Body Wears a Shadow is available now on LP and CD from Terrible Records.
“Eternal Condition” / “Stuck 2”
“This record is about my demons just as much as its about society’s demons, I was reflecting on both through out the entirety of writing the album. at the time it was blind but I felt everything that was around me coming together inside to make the material that eventually became this album.presenting my environment / location, samples from 9/11 news coverage, surveillance camera audio, TV ads and other sources were used and all arranged together to create a surreal psychological sculpture of American decay and confusion, a map of New York’s nihilism and it’s self referential hedonism. Within this the songs are moments of clarity, times when something made sense enough to be represented with words, being kind of dark and noir. I don’t believe that I offer any pathos but an eternal condition, or a statement about my emotional Hell a statement of my surroundings and my experiences capturing the things I see: rats, metal landscape, toxic water, Junkie friends, HIV billboards, evil news, Luxury and unbound wealth, exclusivity, facelifts, romance, insane police presence, lonely people, all against the sinister vastness of Manhattan’s alienating skyline.” – James Ferraro
These songs are fantastic:
[Photo: Slyvia Kochinski]
Rice Master Yen
The Price Of Rice Vol. 19
Why hasn’t Rice Master Yen been grinded [ground?] Choco-style yet, amirite? I mean, he’s on volume 19 of The Price Of Rice series, and we haven’t even noticed. The German artist produces beats like your mama’s liver produces bile. The Price Of Rice Vol. 19 contains 20 complex yet whimsical rap beats, none of which exceed a minute and a half of your life. And they’re all named after types of cats!
You can download this and all of his huge catalog of material on a name-your-price basis on Bandcamp. So you decide the price of rice. How nice!
• Rice Master Yen: http://ricemasteryen.bandcamp.com/album/the-price-of-rice-vol-19#
“Bury Me Into the Mtn.”
Every time I return to Washington state (my home, now), I’m astonished. It’s easy to take a place — this place — for granted. It’s easy to let the land cease to impress itself upon you, to open you up. Home becomes habit, and habit no longer sees.
My initial attraction to Washington (the Pacific Northwest in general) was the music. I heard in it the reverberations of a place I wanted to be. Indeed, coming to know the place — the landscapes and regional scenes alike — I wasn’t wrong. But sometimes I stop seeing and listening.
So it’s not only with pleasure, but with a sincere gratitude, when I discover artists who remind me to inhabit the little place in which I reside — to see it, and to listen to it, again. Eleanor Murray is, undoubtedly, one such artist.
And it gives me even greater pleasure to share her work with you — to give you an indication of this place, the way in which autobiography and land profoundly intermingle, and to let you hear one of our best “unknown” musicians.
Bury Me Into the Mtn. (review forthcoming), upon which you will find this stunning little song, is being released today. You can/should listen to and order it here.
• Eleanor Murray: http://www.eleanormurray.com
I have this ongoing argument with one my friends that we will eventually begin moving away from the hyper pace of radio pop music back to something more easy-listening, slow, and repetitive. The appeal of repetition has always seemed to hold some place in beat music, riding out a repurposed loop for as long as need be, maybe making a change or two along the way. Hip-hop circa 1994 had this down to a science, hinting at the change-up through verses and choruses, finally feeding it to the listener at the exact moment when they couldn’t have waited another loop for it. It’s like the final showdown in Western films (or samurai movies to be Wu-Tang appropriate). While many beatmakers have been caught up in the maximalist-approach-made-simple via a Macbook and the right software, dudes like Ohbliv are still holding down the groove, like a nod to the head-nod rather than a step toward the dance floor. I can only imagine that if my theory on pop music is wrong, it will only cause these bedroom beatmakers to keep slowing it down and simplifying it, in the face of a music industry continuously trying to find new ways to overfill the space between the MP3s top and bottom. Here’s to ohblivion.
• Ohbliv: http://ohbliv.bandcamp.com