“Even Bears”

So, here’s a great idea: take seven artists from Brooklyn label Astro Nautico’s roster and have them each build a track using samples from Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, and then get a Japanese-based label, let’s say… INNIT for example, to do the same thing, except switch the movie to our Westernized version of the same film, The Magnificent Seven, and then release a cassette of the 14 songs for the entire world to enjoy.

Whoa! That sounds incredible!

Thanks, but it wasn’t my idea. I thought of it last night and woke up this morning to find that Astro Nautico and INNIT were already on top of it. I guess that’s why I’m the one doing the writing and they’re the ones selling tapes. Oh well.

Check out the first track released from the tape, “Even Bears,” by label Astro Nautico’s Kuhn below; buy the tape over at Astro Nautico (for US dollars) or Day Tripper Records (for yen); and then cross your fingers that the Wu-Tang Clan get a hold of this and decide to do a collaboration.

• Kuhn: http://kuhn.bandcamp.com
• Astro Nautico: http://astronautico.com
• INNIT: http://innitmusic.com
• Day Tripper Records: http://daytripperrecords.com

Big K.R.I.T.

“What U Mean” [ft. Ludacris]

Some people are going to watch the new Big K.R.I.T. video and cry, “sell out!” They’ll turn up their noses at the gyrating females, shiny chrome, and fat cigars, and when Ludacris shows his mug around the 2:45 mark, they’ll probably rage-quit on the spot. But for all the rap clichés that may or may not be in this clip (What is it with video vixens and ice cream cones? How many of those do they have to go through in a shoot?) there’s plenty of positives. A tower of boomboxes! Girls doing football touchdown dances! And best of all, K.R.I.T. looks fierce spitting some trap rap game dressed in a spiffy cardigan and glasses like those sported by Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor. I smell a collaboration!

• Big K.R.I.T.: http://bigkrit.com
• Island Def Jam: http://www.islanddefjam.com

Young Moon

“Crystal Text” [directed by Paul Clipson]

At first blush, it appears that Paul Clipson, the director of Young Moon’s “Crystal Text,” has a veritable fetish for light. He notably uses real film — Super 8mm, at that — and this video’s effects are the prize of work done within the camera itself, sans digital sorcery.

An extra viewing or two, however, slyly suggests that Clipson’s true fetish might be a bit more traditional: that is to say, he’s fixated on flesh. Maybe not flesh in the veins of whoopee and lace, as more lascivious filmmakers might choose to feature, but flesh all the same. Eye flesh. Hand flesh. Tree flesh. Pond flesh. Is there a single shot in “Crystal Text” that doesn’t somehow feature skin or at least demand some skin-centric metaphor? That initial sequence, of peeling crimson petals, is like the flailing of cardiac valves. Appropriate, as here is where the beat works itself out. How happily weird, the way that that human hand later frisks the zombie-esque pallor of bark. I once saw a photograph of an old oak in Sicily, gnarly, tumorous, and so much like dermis that the trees lining Central Park infected me with abjection for months.

But of course, Clipson’s connections don’t frighten — they entrap. “Crystal Text” is a mass dissection and intermingling of tissues, human and plant alike. Which is all to say it fits the simple song well: The single notes of the guitar line peck along, as if drawing the audio equivalent of a dotted line — cut here. But the music, of course, remains diligently tender. It is, to me, about the direct and colossus connection that eventually makes it hard to determine whose body belongs to whom. It’s not about the separation of people, but of their similarities.

But, all said, do be sure your tree consents.

Young Moon’s Navigated Like the Swan was recently released by Western Vinyl. See more of Paul Clipson’s film work here.

• Young Moon: http://youngmoonyoung.com
• Paul Clipson: http://www.withinmirrors.org
• Western Vinyl: http://westernvinyl.com

High Counsel

High Counsel [album stream/download]

While it’s still hot out (don’t know about you guys, but where I am, it is INCREDIBLY hot), it might behoove you fine readers to get hip to this amazing EP by Salt Lake City-bred, currently Berlin-based producer Jordan Badger now, as these 10 tracks are hereby dubbed “Strauss’ official summa jamz.” That’s high honors, kittens. World rhythms — nay — universe rhythms, pleasant major keys, bubbly optimism, lots of marimba (*mwuah!*), and, of course, what would High Counsel be without that vocoder? Not much, I’d wager. It just adds the exact right flavor to what the music is about, sweetening things up tenfold as the voice is cut and pasted into perfectly patch-worked melodies.

While I’m sure this’ll sound just as great come September, the timing really is quite right this very instant. So crack that clicking-finger’s knuckle and dig:

• High Counsel: http://highcounsel.bandcamp.com

Mykki Blanco

“Head is a Stone”

Yo, that’s my boi Bobbi-B with the gold hair there on the roof. Holy shit, he been try’na get a gig for a lifetime (26 years) and he finally mad… wait — shit. No, that’s just Michael Quattlebaum stripped from Mykki Blanco. But it makes sense for this “Head Is A Stone” video. It’s raw in an “IIIIIIIIIIIIIII’ve seen’t this kinda stuff before” way. And though most of her music has been more hype-hop creeps, here she’s, as I had said, getting raw. Actually, it’s one of those moments where you see it as raw, but the lyrics on this track are way more tame than her norm. On top of that, this video portrays more than what the song does, which is neat to me since she is a drag performer, thus we need the whole package to understand the aesthetic. Even though she transitions between self and drag-self. Mmm, I love a rule break. So nutritious. Be on the lookout for her new EP Mykki Blanco & The Mutant Angels on UNO NYC and on my mix coming this FriFri. #plug #plug #plug #lawlz #plug

• Mykki Blanco: http://soundcloud.com/mykkiblanco
• UNO NYC: http://www.unonyc.com

Stellar OM Source

Image Over Image [EP preview]

Just as Innercity had presented us with a summer dance-ditty on NNA tapes last year, Stellar OM Source does the same 2012-style, but more with that neo-noir electro feel (and five more inches). Kind of like, if you start spinning the Image Over Image 12-inch, there’d better be lazers of some sort adorning your living room: smoke/rave, plumes/guns, fog/holograms, etc. Ain’t this whole culture of dance built around “fuck it, let’s dance”? Well, don’t let Stellar OM Source’s past throw you off; check these tracks now, and pop that needle on Image Over Image September 15.

The Image Over Image EP is due September 15 on Rush Hour.

• Stellar OM Source: http://stellaromsource.com
• Rush Hour: http://www.rushhour.nl


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.