“The Roar Ceasing”
In my previous post on Lawrence English, I noted how his music feels like a slice of the micro world slowed down and forced into a huge macro space. I keep coming back to the word “lumbering” because the sounds seem to have a physical mass, which makes sense – according to English, The Peregrine is largely about nature, about landscape and minute details juxtaposed against their overwhelming surroundings. More specifically, the album is a homage to a book by J.A. Baker, also titled The Peregrine, which chronicles a year of the author’s obsessive observations of two peregrine falcons in the wild. Such focus on birds performing instinctively in their natural habitat inevitably contrasts our own identities against the indifferent functionality of nature, until the viewer or author begins to disappear. The same concealing of authorship and ego can also be seen in this ‘ambient’ or drone music, which often focuses on minute details – as distinguishing factors – set against a larger shared landscape. English has this to say about the loss of ‘humanness’ in J.A. Baker’s text, which I think is offered as a parallel to the Peregrine’s music as well:
At no point does the idea of humanness come to dominate – in fact human kind merely appears as haunting images that, as Baker summarizes, ‘stink of death’. Elegantly misanthropic. Even the author remains oddly mute – we never discover anything about him, not what he does, how he lives or even where he sleep or eats. He is merely a conduit through which land is rendered.
Richard Youngs, who’s so prolific that not even he owns everything he’s recorded, added to his vast catalog last month with Amplifying Host, an incredibly beautiful yet peculiar album that got us so excited we had to scream EUREKA. In our review, TMTer Ian Latta wrote how the album sounds “broken” (sounds, not is), a particularly interesting descriptor, given how fluidly and seamlessly the music flows. But Latta’s completely right. In an interview with The Quietus, Youngs explains how both the album’s chord progressions and tempos were randomly determined to “bypass any decision-making.” Indeed, there is nothing fixed about this album; it’s all ellipses, movement, instability.
This is all visually reflected in the video for “Furrows Again,” the first track off Amplifying Host. Directed by Naomi Yang (of Damon & Naomi), the video’s momentum is derived from a sense of aimlessness and transition, an unsettling feeling for listeners who expect their caterpillars to turn into butterflies. But those who are willing to submerge themselves in less predictable experiences from a musician whose compositional practices are anything but routine will find much to enjoy here.
Stare Case (John Olson and Nate Young)
“Days like Faces”
On September 13, Stare Case will release Lose Today, a new full-length on the venerable De Stijl label. The album features two boys you probably hold close to your heart: Wolf Eyes members John Olson and Nate Young. Listen to Young’s thumping bass as Olson works the woodwinds on “Days Like Faces.” It sounds like a mutated rendition of Throbbing Gristle’s “Persuasion.”
[Photo: Experimental Club]
• De Stijl: http://destijlrecs.com
Bon Iver and James Blake
“Fall Creek Boys Choir”
Once upon a time, two white dudes named James Blake (TMT Review) and Bon Iver (TMT Review) wrote some tunes that set the world on fire. We don’t know if it was fate or what, but James Blake and Bon Iver became buds at SXSW and have since leveraged their power as people with white skin to create a new track, “Fall Creek Boys Choir” — via email no less! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really digging this video’s minimalism:
Tripper [full album]
A sudden trend has developed on the web thingy for kids with their gadgets and gizmos: breaking street date with early online releases of new music. I remember not long ago witnessing a riot on Facebook as friends were scrambling with anxiety to download that new Radiohead record. Their previous plans to wait by the computer till midnight had been foiled, and they feared being only the second or third to hear Thom’s new jams. The joke was on them, huh? And to add insult to injury, the album was The King of Limbs. All that trouble for nothing.
Yesterday, abiding by this trend, Hella whispered into a few ears, “Pssst! We already have Tripper on Bandcamp! Teehee!” Upon hearing the news, kids were cutting school, adults were quitting their jobs, and then an earthquake occurred. Now, I’m not saying Hella is responsible for that devastating natural disaster that shook a cup off of my table, but I’m just saying.
The Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt
“I’m Working at NASA on Acid”
A month ago, The Flaming Lips and The Lightning Bolts (JK, I know their name!) released a trippy video for their collaborative track, “I Wanna Get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage.” It was great, but it only left us wanting a video for “I’m Working at NASA on Acid,” too. A petition to get a video for the track started circulating around the TMT offices, and last I looked, we collected at least 18 signatures. I’m assuming someone sent it to Wayne Coyne, because the cuties at Consequence of Sound have tipped us off to the new, equally trippy video. Now how should we go about getting Lightning Bolt to cover Soft Bulletin in its entirety?