Oh man, remember when you couldn’t fucking wait for Microsoft Train Simulator 2?! Yeah, me neither, but I bet it would have been sick! Train Simulator 2 is one example of what the computer industry calls vaporware — software, hardware, and games that were announced and anticipated, but were never actually released to the public. In 2012, we music nerds have a similar word, vaporwave, but it means something different entirely. This digital, sample-driven, cheese-laden, cyber-pop seems to come out of nowhere, with zero hype whatsoever. Maybe I’m just not paying close enough attention, but to me, this music seems to be made by completely anonymous individuals on some Sim island at the surreal midpoint between Los Angeles and Tokyo, who record 2-3 albums a day, and release them on the internet for free every other month or so. Whoever/wherever/wheneverthefuck this shit is coming from, I’m not sick of vaporwave yet. And now that we’re getting deep into fall, the waves are getting smaller and the vapor billows in thick like the autumn mist at dawn.
Infinity Frequencies is one of these mysterious producers, who has released several full-length records in the past few months and has just posted a new one called Sunset Limited. With some familiar samples, creamy sax solos, and extra cheese, Sunset Limited makes for the perfect record to cruise through the drizzle with the heater blasting and the windows down.
Monopoly Child Star Searchers
The Garnet Toucan
Coming down from his prior 2012 release Inner Tube with Mark McGuire, Spencer Clark fills all our Living Room Visions with star-searching on the highest astral planes, thanks to Underwater Peoples. The Garnet Toucan, Clark’s new album, beholds the final work of his “Romance Audio Trilogy,” succeeding Bamboo for Two and Make Mine Macaw.
I’m heavily influenced as a thinker by Spencer’s creative music and writing. I read The Garnet Toucan poem by Clark in a free zine called Linda (co-curated by me!), which originally came in an order from Tomentosa in April. Actually, ALL the releases I own by Spencer has some form of literature in them. As a companion to his musical works, his writing is spot on and presents the most neolithic science fiction creativity known to Earth. Here’s what he had to say about his “Romance Audio Trilogy”:
The intention in these works lies in finding a symbolic, exotic, animal to unleash a psychoactive environment expression that leads one to an elaborate meeting with the natural world. The Garnet Toucan completes the trilogy by uncovering the symbolic animal’s transfiguration into the outerzone of infinite space. The Parrot or Toucan is thought of as a mediator between human and nature…
And listen to The Garnet Toucan here:
The Garnet Toucan is out tomorrow, November 20, on Underwater Peoples. I’ll be conducting an interview with Spencer Clark in January, so keep your eyes peeled or hit me up with questions to ask!
“Diamonds (Rihanna Cover)”
Zola Jesus is largely indebted to 80s icons like Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins, but she’s recently come out with a cover of Rihanna’s recent (and sort of underwhelming) single, “Diamonds.” Her throaty wails have a lot more heft than those on Ri’s original take, while the instrumentation and effects are decidedly trippier, draping the mid-tempo anthem in gauzy atmospherics. As usual, one of the most intriguing aspects of ZJ’s vocal is how it manages to be so rough around the edges — and at times, even slightly out-of-tune — but also so potent and affecting. Those looking for a spot-on rendition of the more polished original might not like this goth-ier cover, but they’re missing out — the New York chanteuse continues to intrigue.
Out now on Night People is the fresh new Featureless Ghost’s album, Personality Matrix, here poppin’ off they’s video for “Flash” (directed by Fantastic Lands). And vibes is rattling in the most snot-dead form of dance-floor gaze. Not only is the entire LP as catchy as this song, but it also feels like that steamy drive home from the city-sway club in negative-colored anticipation of sleep or sex. Maybe the track is contemplating how long these moments happen, but when the situation occurs (whether it’s sex, sleep, or making it home or even to the car), it’s just as fast as recalling it as a memory. Personally, the “Flash” is referring to itself as a track that demands to be put on repeat since it’s only 2:48 in length. Yet, it is poised and self-sustaining, constructed around subtle snare and hi-hat drumming dissonant from that deep, heart-pounding beat. Harkening vocals that demand attention through catchy anti-harmonized grace and mope brawn. Them pensive scale-changing-key melodies. Mmm. Scope out Featureless Ghost’s Personality Matrix on Night People ASAP. There’s a sale involved too, so hurry before they gone!
Chocolate Grinder Mix 67
I had a hard time figuring out what to call my mix this time around, but I’m going with “Amazing Maze.” The “maze” theme works two-fold, first named for the wonderful artwork Mr. Brandon Locher so graciously donated to these sounds and to this post, an entry from his new series of intricately meandering line drawings called “Mazes to the Motherlode” (which should be online at the end of the month). But it also works because the music found within these 31+ minutes is of the generally puzzling, lost-journey variety. This music represents the real nomads out there, the explorers of groove and texture. Structures are all but out the door for this one, with many of these cuts excerpts of even longer voyages, endless twists and turns you think are going somewhere definite, but may in fact lead you right back where you started. And like going through an especially tough maze, you’ll have to be patient, the longer sections lining out an overall trajectory that’s still fixed on the end goal, which in this case is MV & EE’s brutally real blues to close out the mix, “Shit’s Creek.” Because we’re all always there in the first place aren’t we? It can be quite difficult to find your way out of a good maze. But then again, why would you want to leave?
Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.
[00:00] Jason Urick - “Don’t Digital” [excerpt]
[05:43] The Weird Weeds - “Side 1 Track 4”
[09:04] Michum - “Mai”
[11:57] David Daniell & Douglas McCombs - “Ley Lines” [excerpt]
[19:00] BEAK> - “Yatton”
[23:40] Venn Rain - “Pussy Willow” [excerpt]
[27:00] Apollo Vermouth - “Orange Cream Dream” [excerpt]
[28:50] MV & EE - “Shit’s Creek”
“Sand Into Rain”
Portland-based psych quintet Eternal Tapestry are one prolific, exploratory bunch, having released music on Not Not Fun, Digitalis, Three Lobed, Night People, and several other labels since 2007. Last year, they signed with Thrill Jockey and have already released three full-length albums and a collaboration with Sun Araw. Their latest is called A World Out of Time, the follow-up to the vinyl-only Dawn In 2 Dimensions, and it’s easily their most accessible. Which also makes it an anomaly in their discography: while previous releases saw the band scraping albums together from hours of various jam sessions, their new joint results from a deliberate recording session that sees a refinement in their Meek retro-futurism aesthetic filtered through psych-/Kraut-/prog rock from Cale and Riley’s Church of Anthrax.
“Sand Into Rain,” A World Out of Time’s closer, is perhaps their oddest (read: most normal) track yet, a psych-folk stumbler that for the first time foregrounds the vocals/lyrics that the group so sparingly employs (no other track on this album has vocals). Like their psychedelic video for “Apocalypse Troll,” the accompanying video for “Sand Into Rain” — directed once again by guitarist Nick Bindeman — is one for heightening the senses, but it also seems to have somewhat of a narrative, one that is welcomingly absurd and surreal. Check it out here:
A World Out of Time is out now on Thrill Jockey.
• Eternal Tapestry: https://facebook.com/pages/Eternal-Tapestry/130663863669064
• Thrill Jockey: http://thrilljockey.com