This is the first post I’ve written for Chocolate Grinder since moving to Edinburgh, Scotland from the US. I know this means nothing to anybody reading this — most of you internet entities out there probably don’t even know what Chocolate Grinder is (it’s the media section for the nerd website Tiny Mix Tapes, for future reference) — but the theme of today’s lesson is the yearning for familiarity one often feels when they are in a new home, but it isn’t quite home yet.
primer is an anthology of ilkae tracks from 1998-2002, many of which are tracks of stoic, scientific beats and empty-airport melodies. Now just the work of Aaron Munsen, at the time of their conception, ilkae worked as a duo, including Krystian Lubiszewski. “1121” is a fantastic opener (the video for it is equally gorgeous), atmospheric and subdued, although a little misleading — farther into the album, breakbeats become more pronounced, reminding me of Vorpal, whose 16-minute track “The End” possesses the same melancholy energy of songs like “Snowflake,” where ilkae dances furiously around airy keyboards and white space. Practically dissonance free, primer is a collection of lullabies and bedtime stories. If there was an equivalent author though, it would be Maurice Sendak, and not Aesop or Grimm, because the stories are told through vignettes that begin with quiet sadness and end in the same place. Chord progressions do not stray far from the root. Don’t be too quick to say the music is monotonous either; a childlike curiosity for sound is one of ilkae’s biggest strengths.
Not interested in creating climactic explosions of emotion, ilkae instead subdue their feelings underneath the intense internal disassociation one feels in a home away from their true home. A deep longing for simplicity. The impossible pursuit of order in a chaotic universe. “Blue Caps,” “Alkee,” and “kk” are thick with groove, and sometimes the livelier songs stray a little longer than the more ambient, loop-based compositions. Like many collections, the amount of music on primer can be a little daunting, especially with no clear “single” to set the tone, so to speak. I recommend finding a quiet spot, beginning with “1121,” and getting a little lost.
• ilkae: http://ilkae.bandcamp.com
After donning and releasing a handful of beats under his TONY FERRARI guise, aaronmaxwell is back with a new one, the Desktop EP. In true aaronmaxwell form, its eight tracks slides in at just under 16 minutes. However, the drums throughout the entire EP have a cleanness to them, almost entirely unheard of from aaronmaxwell, who typically buries everything beneath tape-fi quality mixing. Check it out. This kid can’t make bad music, no matter what name he’s using to do it.
• aaronmaxwell: http://aaronmaxwell.bandcamp.com
And it’s only at night you become entirely restless because of the punishing thick heat. Chances are you dreaming of that being again. Standing there with an aura of hallucination encapsulating a pulsed mirage around legs and arms, shoulders, neck and head. Trying to understand what you’re looking at and why. Giving yourself reason to squirm and stain your sheets a hit of sweat yellow. Waterbed motions. Wakes of wonder. A perspiration immersed in shakes and shamans. Quills of natural mystery poke at your dream function. D/P/I infiltrates your psyche. “FRUSTRATION” has more than set in and is trickling into a mind’s eye that has yet blinked/opened.
You still reading/watching? Alex Gray as D/P/I birthed a new CD entitled Fresh Roses on his label Deep Tapes yesterday, the follow-up to Espresso Digital. Where the fuck were you? GRIP ASAP for MAX sleep-loss delite! Worth the trip.
• D/P/I: http://chanceimag.es
Wholesale lot. Baby shoes and LOLs. Slamming as hard as you can twist it. Nights are cheaper immersed in water. Fishing for something final or sedentary might blow the whole operation. Like mud in the basement during a flood: if you stir it frequently enough, it won’t build up and linger longer than you’d like. Like. Like Jeff in Paris. Breaking nine lives on a gorilla’s back. Your only protection is a sharded bottle.
‘Cause it’s all about that young honesty. Take it everywhere with two hands tied to two feet, and they’re all of different people. Growing up around women. You become a woman. What’s a woman? Slow point. Modest make-believe. A dangling rope out a high-rise window. Calls at the office. Calls on your desk phone. Stripped to staples and scraps of paper. Babies and cracked skulls. Danny post-cancer. Lifting 150 lbs. Next-day delivery. Shoes ain’t cheap. Struggle, child.
Monument of Decay
If Sutekh Hexen continues their (1) A: [quest] B: [onslaught] C: [ritualistic crawl] through the (2) A: [noise] B: [black metal] C: [avant-garde] underground at this pace, they stand to build a legacy of restless experimentalism along the lines of (3) A: [Ulver] B: [Coil] C: [sunn 0)))]. Since 2010, the evolving Bay Area project has issued a stream of (4) A: [tapes] B: [discs] C: [baroque limited edition packages] documenting the aural and visual aesthetics of Kevin Gan Yuen, A.C. Way, and their collaborators. In less capable hands, such a busy release schedule runs the risk of diluting a catalog, but the SH camp remains consistent in their (5) A: [evisceration tactics] B: [rigorous studio documentation] C: [TONES] to the point that every burst of new or reissued material warrants deep listening.
Monument of Decay, the project’s fourth object of 2013, comprises four five-minute tracks, each of which twists and mangles signifiers of any number of “extreme musics” into a compressed narrative arc. On the screen in front of you, my adjective-laden description of the band’s (6) A: [guttural demonic howling] B: [overwhelming bass frequencies] C: [blown-out tremolo-picked guitar] can kinda hint at the intensity of this experience. In real life, with the stereo cranked and all infants or skittish adults either carted off wholesale or politely asked to consider leaving the room, shit gets serious. Prepare yourself for the (7) A: [widescreen terror] B: [dark ambient meditation] C: [shred] about to reach you in the stream below:
Monument of Decay ships this month in limited 12-inch pressings via Black Horizons and a lavish two-cassette edition (23 of which come with “two vials containing human blood and bone dust”) via Beläten.
Diary of a Trap God
In case you haven’t been following Radric “Gucci Mane” Davis’ career lately (shame on you, seriously), allow me catch you up to speed. Within weeks of releasing a three-part mixtape chock-full of 1017 Bricksquad features, the artist briefly known as Guwop publicly disbanded his crew via Twitter, then used the social networking platform to launch a two-day tirade targeting not only his past associates, but also basically everybody in the world. A war ensued — a world war, one might say. (Read: Gucci claimed to have had sex with a bunch of famous pop stars and in turn was told he needed to go to rehab.) Unfortunately, Gucci’s Twitter account did not survive the melee. However, with its dying breaths, the rapper-cum-actor managed to…
“Claim his account had been hacked?”
“Apologize for his rant?”
“Describe Nicki Minaj’s plastic posterior one last time?”
“Well, what then?!”
He announced the release of yet another mixtape, this one titled Diary of a Trap God. That’s right: Gucci Mane isn’t just a mane. Gucci is God (how’s that for a t-shirt?!) and he kept a diary (so who needs Twitter anyway?!).
• Gucci Mane: 1
• Terrorism: 0