Hartmut Geerken
“Bandura #1”

If I were you, I’d be extremely wary of lending anything to Hartmut Geerken. In Egypt in 1971, Sun Ra left his Sun Harp with Hartmut before returning back to the United States. Its status at the time was legendary: a construction of strings and wood bearing resemblance to the Ukrainian Bandura, an instrument that looks something like this and is played something like this.

Sure, it was given as a deposit to guarantee a loan that was never repaid — the onus was most certainly on Sun Ra to retrieve the item. But even so, Hartmut is pushing the boundaries of respect as he feverishly claws at his museum piece in a way that makes this guy seem fairly horizontal. Having said this, I’d much rather it was in his wild hands than behind glass, man.

• Hartmut Geerken: http://www.hartmutgeerken.de
• Holidays Records: http://www.holidaysrecords.it

$amhill

The Preface

The minimalist style recently embraced by New York rappers/producers Roc Marciano and Ka yielded at least two of the best hip-hop albums of 2012 (namely Roc’s Reloaded and Ka’s Grief Pedigree, which I covered here). Another rapper/producer who’s put his own spin on this no-frills, back-to-basics approach is South Bronx-based rapper/producer $amhill, whose debut music video, “Poetic Justice,” directed by none other than Ralph McDaniels, premiered just over a year ago. Last week, The Almighty $amhill finally dropped his first solo release via Unkut.com. With seven songs and not a minute of wasted space, The Preface does exactly what an EP is supposed to, giving us just enough material to simultaneously satisfy our hunger for now while whetting our appetite for more.

Download The Preface here.

• $amhill; http://www.myspace.com/samhillthealmighty

Rick Ross

“Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” (freestyle)

“I may be drunk on the couch, but I’m raising the bar.” Yikes. That type of line didn’t work well when Eminem did it in 2010, and hearing Rick Ross reprise it three years later hasn’t made it sound any better. But, oh well, the dude’s had a pretty hard time lately, what with allegedly almost dying and everything. Ross’ take on Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” has the same chilled-out cadence of the original, but the lyrics are more intimate than we’ve heard recently from Mr. Maybach Music (speaking of Maybach: I love how the Maybach Music shout-out is thrown in to EVERY Rick Ross song, regardless of whether or not it fits: pretty sure I laughed at its seemingly last-place insertion in this track). Did you know that Rick Ross battled dyslexia? Me neither.

• Rick Ross: http://www.rickrossdeeperthanrap.com

My Bloody Valentine

“she found now”

Twenty-two years since their classic Loveless and only two cover songs to tide fans over, My Bloody Valentine’s long-awaited third album m b v finally squeezed its way out of Kevin Shields’ perfectionist clutches last night. After breaking the internet with the lust of blitzing fans, the band’s newly inaugurated website is back up and selling m b v as a download, with CD and vinyl options. Hearing new My Bloody Valentine material is pretty shocking for someone who has been persistently betrayed by Shields’ promises, and it’s tempting to dismiss m b v and its artwork as a mere successor to Loveless, feeding off of its extended afterglow. But what at first seems to be a more straightforward follow-up, bereft of the loopy abstraction of the band’s most experimental wash, eventually delivers on the ecstatic bliss of peaking tracks such as “Soon” and “Swallow” with an ending so messed up that it evokes Royal Trux and To Live and Shave in L.A. at their most demented. Loveless was a grower, and m b v is already getting better with every listen.

Buy m b v at My Bloody Valentine’s official website, and stream the official upload of opening track “she found now” here:

The rest of the tracks have been uploaded by MBV here: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOfficialMBV?feature=watch

• My Bloody Valentine: http://www.mybloodyvalentine.org

Chocolate Grinder Mix 71

Logitech HD Webcam C270, 720p Widescreen Video Calling and Recording (960-000694)

Delve deep enough in the world of SoundCloud and you’re bound to discover some truly innovative musicians, artists who seem to either have low ambitions for their music or simply don’t care about getting widely distributed. This mentality can result in the wildest, risk-free experiments on and off the internet, and while not every artist on this mix approaches music this way (maybe none of them do), the majority have precisely this quality of uninhibited adventurousness that exaggerates or goes beyond the confines of the genres by which they were clearly influenced (grindcore, noise, hip-hop, new age, vaporwave, musique concrete, etc.). From the pseudo-collage approach of VHS Logos and Shortcake Collage Tape, to the mallfuck plundering of Happens and 骨架的 (now known as 骷, FYI), to the 21st-century beats of 食品まつり a.k.a foodman and Rebuilder, to the unclassifiable warpings of 肉人形✰MEATDOLL and ICFC, to the solemn modernism of Dirty Beaches, and finally to the post-lolicore horrow show that is BillmaZter, this mix isn’t for the faint of heart.

Fetishization and obsession mix here with a 21-century technological future that’s stretched so aesthetically and ideologically thin that it’s already starting to vanish before even starting to materialize, where what’s lost in translation is not meaning, but coherence.

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:00] VHS Logos - “PARALELO30”
[00:53] Happens - “romantica (temporary blood pt. 1)“
[03:57] Shortcake Collage Tape - “日本では2次元のTV視聴体験の真夜中「あなたは私のために私のズボンを選ぶのですか♪」“
[05:19] 肉人形✰MEATDOLL - “秋のシルエット『 انتہائی شدی』”
[08:55] 食品まつり a.k.a foodman - “Awa buro”
[12:16] Rebuilder - “Synergic Elevation”
[14:01] BillmaZter - “LoliZ are Driving me CraZy”
[21:09] Dirty Beaches - “Love Is The Devil”
[25:14] ICFC - “Crycvcv”
[27:10] 骨架的 - “Feel”

Brokeback

“The Wire, the Rag and the Payoff”

For Brokeback and the Black Rock, the first new Brokeback release in about 10 years, Douglas McCombs (of Tortoise fame) hired an entirely new squad to coalesce a more traditional rock configuration, where his penchant for dusty, Morricone-esque melodies could thrive. The style’s a far cry from the band’s earlier jazzy chamber-compositions of a decade ago, but some might argue that this is indeed the natural setting for McCombs’ pliable, whammy-bar tones. And “The Wire, the Rag and the Payoff” makes a strong case, especially as filtered through John McEntire’s sparkling production via the legendary Soma studio. The video for the track, however goofy, finds the band in true-to-form performance mode on a stage in front of wide open and expansive vista sceneries, furthering the Western thematic content the full record is already rife with. Thrill Jockey tells us the video was inspired by a Glen Campbell performance on the Smothers Brothers’ show (this one?). I guess I can see it, but that doesn’t really explain those mittens. Someone is going to have to explain the mittens to me. Guys… what’s the deal with the mittens?

Brokeback and the Black Rock is out now on Thrill Jockey.

• Thrill Jockey: http://thrilljockey.com

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.