JD Emmanuel
“Journey Into Infinity”

From a journal found in a sealed cabinet in the subbasement of a Dutch meat casing factory, dated 1637:

The traveler came over the ridge at the moment the wind picked up. Indeed, it seemed like he had acute control of the elements — and, despite the cold, wore only a thin overcoat, its sleeves shortened, adorned with images of vibrant fauna. By the time he entered the courtyard, I knew this man was clearly a wizard, and a high ranking one at that. I dared not address him as he swung a giant sack down from his back and began setting up his magical implements of untold power: a series of thick boards flecked with colored dots above keys smoother and brighter than those on the harpsichord I had seen played at court on a few occasions. These were instruments, I realized. Without a word, the wizard activated them.

His hands traced a pattern and a series of tones hit the air, rounded and light, repeating, building in intensity, repeating, repeating. I covered my ears, for the sound was too much, but the traveler’s melody burst out above the repeating tones, thick, inhuman, like a future beast made of wood or stone or something sleeker howling along with the wind. I closed my eyes and let the wizard overwhelm me. I don’t know how much time had passed by the time the notes died. I had retreated fully into myself. When I looked up, the wizard was gone.

Lucky for us, JD Emmanuel is back in our century, purveying a new batch of electronic meditations as deep and time-swallowing as his classic output from the mid-80s. Time Traveler, his first full-length album of original material in over a decade, is available now on 2xLP from Belgium’s Aguirre Records.

• JD Emmanuel: http://jdemmanuel.com
• Aguirre: http://www.aguirrecords.com

Bonglestar Galactabong

“Dank Feelings”

The chances of my NOT posting something by an artist with the name “Bonglestar Galactabong” are pretty small. So it’s lucky I guess that this “Dank Feelings” jam is smooth enough to warrant this post. Also a tweet, a share, whatever anybody has to do to let the world know that they’re hip to these warm waves and how they’ll wash your soul inside and out. Feel those frequencies filtering through your synapses, the twinkling synth in the background and that pitch-shifted voice telling all the bad things to go the hell away. More interstellar drifts to be found on Bonglestar’s SoundCloud page, and this cut can be downloaded with a lot of other future-hop tracks, recently compiled by Cincinnatti’s Boy Fruit for Terrordome Vol. 3.

• Bonglestar Galactabong: https://soundcloud.com/bonglestargalactabong

Laurel Halo / Julia Holter / Daniel Wohl / Transit

Live at the Ecstatic Music Festival


Guys, combining classical music, electronic experimentation, and pop is dangerous business. If you don’t do it tastefully, you can quickly wind up with a hammy goof of a piece like this. However, if you follow these easy steps, you too can make a texturally rich composition that blurs genre lines:

STEP 1: Be Laurel Halo, Julia Holter, or Daniel Wohl.

STEP 2: Clearly understand how your live electronics can seamlessly and gorgeously blend with your ensemble of choice.

STEP 3: Exhibit some knowledge that the Lovely Music Ltd. gang really knew what was up with regards to this whole cross-pollination thing. Robert Ashley, in particular, is a great model for text setting.

STEP 4: Allow for improvisation/different levels of compositional control within the ensemble. This will result in a product that bears some musical similarities to your collective past but ultimately becomes something else entirely.

STEP 5: Avoid relying on those polyrhythmic Philip Glass-ian arpeggios. I get it. They sound cool. They’re all tonal chords and work great in a pop song. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this, but there are all different types of minimalism out there. Maybe try some of the Wandelweisser variety. Space and drones are a good thing.

STEP 6: Don’t be afraid to channel your inner Burt Bacharach.

If at any point you need a concrete example of what to do, please refer to Julia Holter, Laurel Halo, and Daniel Wohl’s recent live collaboration with new music quintet Transit, which is streaming in its entirety via WQXR below. It’s a truly forward-looking example of the intersections of experimental music, pop, and classical composition that excellently illustrates how to put the above principles into action.

• Laurel Halo: http://www.laurelhalo.com
• Julia Holter: http://www.juliashammasholter.com
• Daniel Wohl: http://www.danielwohlmusic.com
• Transit: http://www.transitnewmusic.com

Barn Owl

“The Long Shadow”

Mssrs. Caminiti and Porras, San Francisco’s finest Creatures of the Mist, purveyors of drones of the desert-scorched and mind-altering variety, return to your turntable on April 16 when Thrill Jockey releases V, the duo’s fifth full-length album (omitting their earliest CD-Rs from discographical roman-numeration). At first, I planned on using some snappy phrase like “Barn Owl unsheathe their guitars” or “dust off their synths” or “fire up their Line6 DL-4s,” but if these two humans’ recent string of fully realized solo works and collaborations is any indicator, their gear has remained unsheathed, dust-free, and fired up for quite some time now. I imagine they’re working on their next releases, solo and together and with other loved ones, right now as I write this. Perhaps they’re standing a few feet away from each other on a bluff, their boots sunk into the mud, gazing out over the bay as the sun inches slowly upward into a plume of graying cumulonimbus. (This counts as “working on their next releases” on some level.)

“The Long Shadow,” our first taste of V, hits all the Barn Owl sweet spots: clean-toned guitars chime, reverberate, and loop back to do it again; a cloud of delay-bleached organ hangs over the mix, coming back to Earth to slip a four-chord progression into the murk; pedals click on and the guitar tone splinters into that overdriven howl we know and love. Something’s new here, though: the mix is denser than previous Owl offerings. As more synth layers accumulate and absorb the duo’s previously looped tones into one mammoth, pulsing swirl, these 5 minutes stretch into what feels like 15.

Pre-order V today from Thrill Jockey. Dust off your favorite armchair and settle in for the wait: when 40-some suns have set, the LP will be at your door.

• Barn Owl: http://electrictotem.com/barnowl
• Thrill Jockey: http://www.thrilljockey.com

Pete Swanson

“Grounds For Arrest”

Cut and shifted into what you think is thought of as music is really an intentional ploy for attention. Watching you. Him watching you. Grain is his digital. Your pores are his pleasure. He wraps his mouth around the eye piece of the camera. He watches you enjoy. Enjoy this night. He reveals her as him/herself. To nobody. To the interior of sweatpants. In a club. The club you’re in now. Invited to now. Be bare and driven by beat and dance. Ice tings flutter your throat from Bombay Sapphire when you yell at the DJ. And he can see you. Hand in the air. Hands in the air. Light in red on purple and blue; yellow becomes all one in green as grey and black. Sooooo exhausted. Your body dwindles. His stiffens. No gender. There’s so much footage. So much to edit and make. Whole entity. Sacrifice age and culture. Asexuality. Properly. Ego froze. Anticipation bare. Prepare for the worst in every situation, and yeah, your keys can’t help you turning down any alley. Especially this one. Digital smear. “Grounds For Arrest.” Laying down Punk Authority March 12.

• Pete Swanson: https://twitter.com/pete_swans
• Software: http://softwarelabel.net



On paper, ANTHM seems like the bougiest rapper ever. After graduating from Duke, Anteneh Addisu moved to Manhattan and started working on Wall Street as a trader for Citigroup. But then the northern Virginia native made a career swap bold enough to make any college career counselor wince: he ditched the suit and tie, picked up a mic, and turned a lifelong hobby into a career. The cutthroat world of the one percent, the rapper’s bio informs us, instilled in him an unstoppable drive — one that caught the attention of G-Unit producer DJ Whoo Kid, and led to opening stints for hipster-hop favorites like the Cool Kids and Hoodie Allen. Despite his white-collar cred, ANTHM’s sound is surprisingly modest, employing stripped-down, sunny production and wordplay that, while every bit as literate as to be expected from a Duke grad, somehow comes across as effortless and insightful. On his new track “Nina,” named for the famous jazz singer, the New York transplant invokes a decidedly Lupe-esque vibe, examining his unconventional rise to the top with a tone that’s as calm as it is critical.

• ANTHM: http://callmeanthm.com



  • Recent
  • Popular

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.