Dead Leaves Crumble [album preview]
If the stereo wasn’t turned up so loud right now, you could hear me kinda chucklin’ at the idea of an “album preview” of Hakobune material. At this point, we know what to expect from Takahiro Yorifuji — it’s safe to assume that the upcoming Dead Leaves Crumble tape, despite its ominous title, will contain 32 minutes of pretty much exactly what this preview shows us: hauntingly lovely ambient guitar; the purest embodiment of the word “drift” I can think of. When the preview ends, I’m gonna go upstairs and grab some more Hakobune tapes so this drift session can keep on drifting — I’m not tryna stop now. I’ll also try to scope out an order link for this tape, which stellar Russian label Dronarivm is releasing in a tiny edition of 32. If I’m not one of these 32 lucky humans, there’s no telling what will happen. Or, no, Discogs will happen. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. One sec, lemme check.
No, no order link yet. “July 2013,” they say, and I say, “July when? Like, which day?”
Tings & Savage
1080p, a new cassette label by Richard MacFarlane (Rose Quartz, ex-TMTer), debuted mid-June, but it already has three solid releases to its name. While the label’s first release, Heartbeat(s)’ Home Remedies, was a full-on dance hybrid of Detroit techno and 90s-flavored Chicago house, it was soon followed up with Brain Foam, an oblique dance release whose rhythmic pulses serve as a foundation upon which artists Roland Tings (a.k.a. Rohan Newman) and his bud Nathan Savage pile an array of competing yet fluid textures.
Melbourne-based producer Roland Tings is no stranger to the beat, having already released music through Not Not Fun and 100% Silk, but on “Shiver,” the thud is replaced by an indifferent click, a strategy that allows Tings & Savage’s raw, frenzied improvisations to shine, with hissing amps and wild delays threatening to overtake the track. Eventually, the clicking unceremoniously disappears, but you don’t notice, because here, it’s about the subsumption of implied rhythms under a roomy impressionism that registers on an entirely different head space.
Brain Foam is out now on 1080p. We’re grindin’ the label’s following release, by M/M, so look for that soon.
“Pale Mare (Ginseng RMX)”
TRY and stop Dylan Ettinger. Having transplanted himself from the West Coast (Not Not Fun) to the Midwest (Night People) label-wise, this Bloomingtonian is continuously bringing his game and always trying to switch it up. Since his Crucify Your Love tape on Night People, Ettinger has since released a 7-inch split with Iowa City-based Goldendust on DKA Records, and this track here is the (Ginseng RMX) to “Pale Mare.” Lotta that classic Ettinger synth-isms and dread-voxx, but remixed with a slew of swirling chants and elongated snare melts. It’s supreme.
Words from The Ettinger himself: “All is chill. My Iowa City brothers did this remix. Just give it a listen, embrace the darkness, zone out. Enjoy.”
• Dylan Ettinger: http://www.dylanettinger.com
Ant’lrd is sunroom music, not bedroom music.
Sunroom music = Evocative, beautiful tones full of glorious white space and picturesque chords, reminiscent of those rooms — everybody knows at least one; maybe your grandparents’ house or your uncle’s lake house — where at one wonderful time in the day, the sun pours in, filtered through heavy frosted glass windows in the ceiling, allowing you to float in just the right amount of warmth and to listen to the sounds of the forest pour in from the Earth’s speakers (a.k.a nature).
Bedroom music = You know, that cringe-inducing, condescending category of music created so blogs can remind everyone that the tapes and Bandcamp pages they spend hours pouring over are really the work of teenage amateurs taking advantage of the new-to-the-decade portability and quality of recording that can be achieved with minimal moolah. The problem with the term “bedroom music” is that it insinuates a lack of skill and that, therefore, it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Of course, it is entirely possible for literally anybody with half a brain to record music and throw it on Bandcamp. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Seriously; somebody could just make a bunch of shit, upload it in 45 minutes, and all it takes is one blog to label it “bedroom noise” and people are misconstruing it as “good.” There are also solo projects and monikers that have been labeled as “bedroom” that are actually amazing. Full of depth, creativity, and promise. It shouldn’t really matter whether or not it’s lo-fi, glow-fi, day-glo, fire-fly, or lite-brite; the quality of the music comes from the interpretations that can be made while listening to it, as well as the emotions and memories that can be chained together by a pleasant combination of sounds.
Ant’lrd is the work of one Colin Blanton, whose latest tape, extra domicile, fits in perfectly with loose, taiga forest vibes of Watery Starve, who released the tape. There are moments of concise sampling, where nostalgic loops collide with obscure percussive noises, driving the track sideways through time into alternate visions of a single instance. In some cases, this instance is a melody slowly unfolding under layers of nature-esque delay. Other times it takes the form of a single loop seamlessly melding with another, one that perhaps may fit at an earlier point in the album. Way out there, in the boundless fleeting instances in between notes, there is a galaxy of disorientating sound expanding like a Mandelbrot set. It makes me feel at home to be there.
I recently re-read this brilliant bio from Hype Williams (Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland) from their first full-length on De Stijl Records three years ago, and it’s all I can think about when listening to this new release, OneWorld 開発 from L.A.’s Teams.
Anyway, the reason I’m called Hype Williams — aside from the fact it makes everyone actually pay attention to my emails for the first time in my life — is that I’m big into taking commercial hip-hop from the 90s and deconstructing it by feeding it through some default Fruity Loops patches. It’s a recent-past nostalgia thing? Like what Burial did with UK garage, except that silly mug spent literally hours on the stuff! Me? I do all mine on my DS while I’m waiting to sign on (the dole). Think of it as sorta like in 2007, when teenagers used to run around telling each other they “only listened to 90s R&B” for weird kudos points. Anyway, the business plan I drafted in Powerpoint posits the following: Those teenagers have grown up. They are at the early-20s anxiety pinch-point, slap-bang in the demand-saddle. They need aural comfort food, a recent past to idealize. They are, in other words, nostalgic for 2007, when they used to go around telling each other they were nostalgic for 90s R&B. Ergo, Hype Williams is their collective attempt to relive 1998 via 2007. Weird, or what? Anyway, projected net income: $4 million.
OneWorld 開発 feels like reliving 1998 via 2007 via 2010 in 2025… or something like that. Teams constructs rich, futuristic beat-scapes on a familiar foundation of techno and R&B, but elaborates on these structures with such dark, digital, alien textures that it almost feels like being nostalgic for a time that never happened, or a genre that doesn’t exist yet… at least until now.
“Knocking on the Ground (Live Version)”
The dressed and also naked guy up there is called Brandon Locher. He’s the one who so skillfully constructed conversations from prank phone calls (which we loved, more than once), and, as it so happens, he’s also a guy who makes actual music with instruments, harmonies, melodies, rhythms, things like that. I guess arguments can be made that those Conversations works were musical in their own unique and specific way, but I’ll be honest, I’m partial to what’s going on with his project The Meets here and the kinked circuitry that frames this live improv session Locher orchestrated. If there’s really “an electronically created bed of sound collage tapestry” beneath the mix, as he so describes on the SoundCloud source page, then that bed serves as a nice springboard for things like fluttering piano lines, honking saxophones, and bass-heavy beats to bounce on top of, like kindergartners refusing to pick up their damn rooms. Locher’s sly sense of humor and meticulous attention to detail (as represented in his visual art) are at the forefront of “Knocking on the Ground,” contributing to a thrilling and wholly fun preview of the greatness to come on a new LP from The Meets, which is due out later this year.
Stream “Knocking on the Ground” below, and be sure to visit Locher’s various links for a further peek into the world of a talented and versatile multimedia artist.
[Photo: Devon Dill]