“Open Eye Signal”
Jon Hopkins’ career has sure been interesting. The dude has been a sideman and collaborator for a myriad of artists, including Coldplay, Brian Eno, and King Cresote, but he’s also a classically trained former child prodigy. These may initially read as red flags for Hopkins’ solo endeavors to some uninitiated listeners, but the man’s personal compositions have proven to be beautifully minimal slices of electronica. “Open Eye Signal,” from Hopkins’ upcoming album Immunity, is a perfect example of his collaborative work coalescing into something much different from the sum of its parts. Sure, the track is content to ride a singular beat into the ground, but unlike many of his modern IDM peers, Hopkins doesn’t bury or destroy his groove with glitches or drops. Instead, Hopkins creates a delicately shifting stasis around his beats through the use of alternately ethereal and buzzing synths. This restraint also seems reflective of Hopkins’ classical background: trained classical musicians know that performing slow minimal pieces is often more difficult than executing technical flights of fancy, because the material must be played delicately and in a non-virtuosic manner to achieve the best musical results. Similarly, other electronic artists may have crescendo’d into oblivion with the same material, but in the vein of likeminded contemporaries such as Andy Stott or Kieran Hebden, Hopkins realizes that sometimes the static is the most powerful and interesting material of all.
Immunity is out June 3 via Domino. You can listen to “Open Eye Signal” below:
Guest Mix: TAIGA Records
ripped from the groove for you
No matter what the release or when it’s being released, Minneapolis-based label TAIGA Records puts an incredible amount of care into its vinyl-only products. From the reissue of Lotus Eaters’ Wurmwulv and House of Low Culture’s Poisoned Soil to Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening Band project and Rafael Toral’s incredible Space Elements series, each release features audiophile-quality vinyl and essays housed within beautifully hand-bound, letterpressed, and exceptionally designed jackets. These small-run art objects signify not only an extension of the aesthetics found within the grooves, but also a special degree of thought that’s not easily, or even usually, translated into the digital world.
Because TAIGA’s proprietor Andrew Lange won’t be pressing a mix onto vinyl anytime soon, we’re ecstatic about the digital mix he made last year for us. Rather than showcasing TAIGA’s formidable roster, Lange made a mix of Danish new wave, Swedish punk, Minneapolis black metal, powerviolence, hardcore, and more — all ripped, appropriately enough, from his personal vinyl collection. Here’s what Lange had to say about his mix:
For those familiar with the Taiga Records catalog most of this mix may come as a surprise. Although the label focuses on ambient, drone and jazz I listen to a wide variety of music, a small sector of which is found here. Made for TMT in August 2012 with a lot of the music I was listening to at that time, it’s mainly comprised of bands from Sweden, Denmark and Minneapolis with some others thrown in for good measure.
Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.
[00:00] OFF! - “No Reason to Complain” (Sugar Daddy Live Split Series #3 12”; Amphetamine Reptile, 2012)
[01:14] Knugen Faller - “Inte Som Ni” (Inte Som Ni 7”; Cage Match Federation/Ny Våg, 2005)
[03:15] Masshysteri - “Låt Dom Hata Oss” (Masshysteri; Feral Ward, 2010)
[05:43] Vånna Inget - “Spotta I Motvind” (Jag Ska Fly Tills Jag Hittar Hem 7”; Heptown, 2012)
[08:26] Bombettes - “Reaction, Take Action” (Get Out of My Trailer, Sailor!; Ny Våg, 2010)
[10:45] Terrible Feelings - “Impending Doom” (Impending Doom 7”;Deranged, 2011)
[13:38] Gorilla Angreb - “Timen Er Kommet” (Bedre Tider 12”; Feral Ward, 2006)
[16:42] Cola Freaks - “Sten” & “Sniper” (Cola Freaks; Douchemaster, 2011)
[20:47] Iceage - “Broken Bone” (New Brigade; Dais, 2011)
[23:18] Sexdrome - “Moriah” (Grown Younger 12”; Youth Attack, 2010)
[25:35] False - “In the Key of Passive Suffering” (False; Gilead Media/Howling Mine, 2011)
[38:07] Varix - “Problems” (Varix 7”; Discos Basura, 2011)
[39:48] Scaphe - “Rogue Consciousness” (split 7” w/ Cokskar; Insides Music, 2010)
[41:18] Condominium - “Life is Amazing” (Warm Home 12”; self-released, 2011)
[43:27] Melvins - “Flex With You” (Gluey Porch Treatments; Alchemy, 1986)
[45:10] Corrupted - “Rato Triste” (Se Hace Por Los Suenos Asesinos; HG Fact, 2004)
[55:53] KTL - “Phill 1” [excerpt with end fade] (V; Editions Mego, 2012)
• TAIGA: http://www.taigarecords.com
“Spit in My Life”
Volcom Entertainment (yep, Volcom as in the skate brand sported by pretty much every upper-middle-class rapscallion in the country) is gearing up for another exciting summer of Vinyl Club releases! To kick it off, they’re releasing a split 7-inch, featuring some previously unheard cuts by two rowdy Californian crews: The Shrine and Zig Zags. The Shrine’s contribution, “Spit in My Life,” continues the surly streak that we first saw on last summer’s Primitive Blast. Over a bluesy groove that sounds cherry-picked from a dusty crate of Deep Purple B-sides, sawtoothed guitars churn and lead singer Josh Landau yowls some ornery oaths: “Spit in my life/ Stab me in the back/ One of these days, I’m gonna make you cry.” Accenting the anger further is the song’s opening, ripped from the Gospel according to the Q-Man:“We’re gonna lead ten thousand skateboarders through the street,” he warns, “and you get in our way, and we’ll be goose-steppin’.”
These damn weirdos and their clever band names disguised within the names of famous people. Philip Grass. Jeans Wilder. Dil Withers. That Run DMT dude is now going by Salvia Plath. The list is surprisingly long, and they all do their origins justice. This new one, “Onit,” from Portland, OR’s Philip Grass sputters through about four different beats like classical movements, compressing it all into four minutes of pulsing walls of short-circuited vocal samples and FM radio synth blats, spinning just shallow enough to avoid any kind of “the club” comparisons. The track is part of six featured on Gem Drops Three, the first vinyl release from the Pacific Northwest’s Dropping Gems label, and the other songs are just as great.
Listen to “Onit” below and follow these blue words over to the Dropping Gems SoundCloud page to hear the other five tracks.
“Cake” / “Cardiocleptomania” [18+ remix]
Virtual animations slowed down to a crawl, voyeurism aestheticized, fetishistic lyrics, obsession, sexuality, violence: I FUCKING LOVE 18+. Seriously, watch this. Then watch this. And then watch this! Really, it’s worth watching all of their videos. The group, a “Boy”/”Sis” duo from L.A., have released two mixtapes so far (M1XTAPE and MIXTA2E), and their output hasn’t really slowed down. Within the last couple weeks, 18+ has released two new videos: one for new song “Cake,” which you can view above, and one for a remix of “Cardiocleptomania” by LOGO, which you watch here:
18+ are currently on a European tour, so catch them if you can.
“Undone (The Sweater Song)”
This cover of a Weezer classic comes courtesy of Canadian multi-instrumentalist (and verified dreamboat) Mac Demarco. Last year, the glazy-eyed crooner hit it big with two solid full-lengths: the flange-heavy Rock and Roll Night Club and the flange-heavier 2, the latter of which contained the best musical cigarette endorsement in recent memory. The A.V. Club approached Mr. Demarco to take part in A.V. Undercover — an online series where bands pick covers from a list of songs (a program that has resulted in such delightful oddities as a Clientele cover of M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” and a rendition of Kansas’ “Carry on My Wayward Son” performed by GWAR).
So what’s behind the choice? “I remember looking at the list and I said, ‘Oh, there’s a Weezer song. Very chill. Probably easier than covering another song.’ We were able to learn it in the car.” The slacker ambition paid off. While the chorus is every bit as crunchy as the original, DeMarco adds many an idiosyncratic spin: playing the song’s classic, spindly riff slightly out of tune and mumbling over his bandmates during the infamous inter-versal banter. It would have been really cool to hear a Canadian’s impression of the whole “hey brah!” bit, but alas, DeMarco slyly opts for gibberish. And in that sense, that’s what makes the cover so great — it’s titularly, well, undone. Rivers Cuomo would be proud.