“미행 (그림자 : Shadow)”
South Korean girl group f(x), formed in 2009 as a mathematic derivation of CEO Lee Soo-Man’s cultural technology concept, have just dropped their solid Pink Tape album. “미행 (그림자 : Shadow)” is an eccentric highlight, mixing a jazzy discord of flats and raised sevenths with what sounds like fairies getting fumigated. Vocalists Krystal and Sulli begin by trading the lines, “Every day I secretly chase your footsteps/ I’m always careful, so you won’t notice/ No one knows it, but our date has started, our own date.” Wry stuff for teen pop.
The tune has already caught the fancy of Busan-based producer and sasaeng fan Reynah, who’s uploaded a music box arrangement that emphasizes the composition’s strange beauty.
“Become Solid” all day long. Breathe in the song’s melodies and gently stretch your lungs. Find yourself found in the center of melt. Waste away into the grains of time falling from glass to glass to glass. Easy now. Light in and light out. Lunch, maybe. Crisp in beer. Water on tap. It can give you breast and brain cancer. Looking up. With a yellow face washed in death. Witnessing the cloth covering matter to matter. Matter of straining and sighing and letting all your blood flow — no — TIDE toward your mind, and you see nothing but darkness. Your eyes swelling in darkness. Repeat this verbally, now. As best as you can.
There you “Become Solid.” In a matter of keeping it together. Keeping it together. Fuck. Manic. Fear. Paranoia. Oh,,,, shit all this all day: “Become Solid.” Stiffening sorrow. To stone from once you came, ghasts the gaze of Medusa upon the mortal being bread gone moldy. It’s the last thing you have to live off. It’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. It’s upon the two punctured dots sunk into your leg, dragging a trail of void. Red. This is not your home anymore. It slithers away. To “Become Solid.” To keep it together. To Russian Tsarlag for the tears. Don’t get wet, but 100 times more, yes. Or, forever, please.
When looking at the history of notated composition, one can ultimately sum up the basic role of musical notation as conveying how to set a sound-producing action of some sort into motion. In classical terms, this can be seen through how various dynamics and articulations, in conjunction with given notes, force performers into motion with their instruments. Of course, in the 20th century and onward, this realization/reduction of the “score” led to its manipulation, and everything from graphic notation to text scores and process music developed out of a desire to play with these ideas of action and sound.
However, one particular facet of this notational aesthetic that hasn’t yet been explored enough is the potential for all things visual/literary to be interpreted as a score. Technically, almost anything could turn into a musical score when certain parameters are applied to it, and with his latest cassette, Reading Illuminations/ A Book of Palms, Mark So showcases two of his compositions that do just that.
“Reading Illuminations” takes Robert Ashley’s notion of text/speech being a form of music in and of itself and carries it to a completely new level. The piece utilizes John Ashbery’s translation of Rimbaud’s “Illuminations” as a score of sorts, combining cassette recordings of So and the always awesome Julia Holter reading the text with brief field recording snippets into a dizzying tapestry of monolithic lo-fi sound. The constant flickering of the tapes turning on and off is reminiscent of So’s Wind Measures release with Patrick Farmer, but the motion’s far more active this time around. And with Ashbery/Rimbaud’s text being used to determine duration in both reading and sound production, the work takes on an effect similar to that of Ashley’s operas.
Also on the cassette is the mesmerizing “A Book of Palms,” which uses drawings of palm trees on graph paper with note-heads as the basis for what turns out to be a very beautiful solo piano work. When taken together, the two compositions show that, despite the highly conceptual methods used to create these works, So still excels at creating beautifully spare music.
Reading Illuminations/A Book of Palms is out now via Recondite Industries. You can stream “Reading Illuminations” in its entirety below:
Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier
“The Orchid Cantata”
French visual artist Félicia Atkinson has been exploring dark drones, synth tone psalms, and other ambient journeys ever since her trailer park summer in upstate New York a few years back. Yesterday, she posted “The Orchid Cantata” under her Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier moniker, hanging a chasmal canon of delayed sing-speak above one of her deepest, dimmest clatters yet. The soundwave bears the sibylline inscription: “more infos soon.”
Listen to the track at Atkinson’s SoundCloud.
• Félicia Atkinson: http://feliciaatkinson.be
Naysayer & Gilsun
NGTV - Vol #5
I love/hate writing about music because there’s always someone suggesting something, and t’s usually more taste-driven than anything else. Not to say friendship isn’t found, just sometimes it’s hard to enjoy, cover, and frequent every thing. Well, our man Nico Callaghan (he reviewed Falling in Reverse on TMT; BIG UP!PS) sent me a link to NGTV - Vol #5 by Naysayer & Gilsun, stating, “Don’t know if you choco [peepz] are in on this duo of DJs: http://bit.ly/16dwMB8. But they are pretty fantastic. And those images were very nice while they lasted. Please continue if you get the time.” (That last bit is because I had spammed TMT writers with random Google-found pic links.) And when “Do you ever miss having someone to talk to?” is asked around the five-minute mark and beyond: shit gets real.
So, I’m dancing around my living room naked at noon. So it’s FUCK WEEKDAY. Feel that cinematic energy. We’ve all met before. Be now. With me in words on here in this mix. Hi!
• tNaysayer & Gilsun: http://vimeo.com/naygiltv
Last we heard from Jeffrey D. Witscher, he was kicking it with Oneohtrix Point Never as Rene Hell for a split on NNA Tapes, but after a brief hiatus, he’s returned to his Agents of Chaos label for a new tape by RM Francis. Titled Recycled Sleep, the cassette is inspired by Stockhausen’s “moment form” concept — most notably heard on Kontakte — with pieces “generated automatically in a probabilistic synth patch via Max/MSP” and then “run through another wave shaping patch that used the amplitude & frequency information of the recorded sound to determine the playback speed, position, and direction.” Recycled music. Get it? Hear for yourself:
RM Francis’ Recycled Sleep is now available in an edition of 100
• Agents of Chaos: http://www.salonturnkey.blogspot.com