LEWIS CARROL & THE ACADEMY
LEWIS CARROL & THE ACADEMY (who might actually be Warm Thighs/Susan Balmar/0000-A70U-0075/SLF Tapes curator/_lip/Perry Trollope/etc.) has a new one called ECUMENOPOLIS, and it’s sooooo tasty. Things start off all pillow-over-the-face, with muted noises and suffocated beats, until around 3:35, when some crisp yet drunken percussion stumbles its way through the muck, bright-eyed samples slung over its shoulder. The rest of the two-(maybe three-?)track tape continues this battle over fidelity, with obfuscated beats fighting for clarity while a plethora of samples combine to make no sense whatsoever: illogical sound play, musical nonsense, The Hunting of the Snark. I LOVE IT.
ECUMENOPOLIS is out now digitally (name your price) and on cassette, the latter of which comes with unique hand-drawn j-cards by LC&TA himself. By the way, this is all live on an SP-404 sampler. Think what he could do with an SP-555!
“Strictly 4 My Jeeps” [prod. by Harry Fraud]
This is faaaaaaantastic! How American is this video? Man, I’ve had a BBW fetish forever, so this video makes me sweat around all sorts of folds and spandex wet marks. All that weight Action pumping and breaking into his body. Enormous Jeep on course. Lyrics as messy as Candy Land vomit. Dogs as friendly as kittens, looking meaner than them Jeep headlights. Flowers and sucking. Cropped-out female bodies in the passenger seat post-hot-tub soaking. Gold swimsuits as flashy as the metal itself. Getting lost in flesh. Classic Action cooking. La Musica de Harry Fraud (without the vocal reference to his name). Oh my gawwwd, it’s RiFF RaFF!! Chillin freezes all. “It’s me” ….Action Bronson’s beard is really the focal point of the video, and keeps it modest by not overdoing shots of it. Legit: if “Strictly 4 My Jeeps” hasn’t been your crank jam on the radio these past few weeks, let it ride out your summer, straight to freedom!
Action Bronson and Harry Fraud’s Saab Stories is out June 11.
I’m not sure why I’ve never paid much attention to music videos, but this DSTVV video for “Crusher,” the first single from their upcoming EP, is a sure good reason to start. Eight seconds in, some dude in a huge Minotaur mask is taking animal-masked humans on a psychedelic walk through flatlands, and then one second later, a huge party breaks out, surely celebrating nothing less than the end of the world, with fireworks blowing up and the entire dance floor descending into hell. And why not? While everyone else is being all quiet and nostalgic in their bedrooms, San Francisco’s DSTVV is ripping out full-distortion party anthems in the wake of all of that revived 80s hopelessness. It makes sense; if any apocalyptic catastrophe is going to hit the United States, California is probably going to be the first to go. You might as well get over being sad about it now.
Check out the video above, and look for the new DSTVV EP on WORMHOLE Records at the end of this month.
Boards Of Canada
Tomorrow’s Harvest [May 22nd Preview @Tokyo Shibuya Crossing]
Holy shit, y’all. Check out this smoking hot video from brand-new music group Boards of Canada. Their amateurish style of footage here really brings a grit to their calm embrace of electronic ambiance. Oh, wait, fuck. This has something to do with a special project, which was filmed by Tokyo’s very own video concrète voyeur Darren Willis. Okay, so like washed-out nature and shit. Damn, how’d these newccomers Boards of Canada get so hyped for their upcoming album Tomorrow’s Harvest? And mmmmdamn, it’s a double LP on Warp Records? Where’d this group come from? What secrets have they been hiding from listeners all these years? Sounds like y’all have to scope out their new 2xLP on Warp this June 10 for more sounds.
Regression (Nate Young)
“When Nothing Works”
“The sounds that most interest me are the ones that have some sort of depth, or sounds that have ‘the spook.’”
– Nate Young, 2011
“I know how to write good… songs and music theory has done nothing but make the process more efficient.”
– Nate Young, 2013
Taken together, the above quotes pretty accurately define Nate Young’s musical output throughout the last few years. As Young’s career has progressed, it’s become clear that capturing “the spook” has been a major guiding force behind all of his projects. It’s undeniable that the common thread between the aesthetics of Young’s seminal work with Wolf Eyes, his lo-fi blues deconstructions with Stare Case, and the synth ooze of his Regression experiments is the underlying layer of delightful creepiness that he manages to create in each context.
But other major elements that have gained increased importance in Young’s work is form and structure. He’s mentioned this on various occasions, and the classification of his work as “songs” in the latter quote shows that Young’s records are truly “composed” works as opposed to the free improvisation that often dominates the noise world. This attention to structure is quite possibly one of the reasons that all of Young’s various projects have set critical high water marks recently. By finding ways to understand and control “the spook” in various mediums, Young has managed to create a distinctive voice that cuts through regardless of genre and/or production.
It should therefore be no surprise that Blinding Confusion, his upcoming Regression LP for NNA Tapes, is another excellent formal study of “the spook.” As a matter of fact, Blinding Confusion manages to pace and structure Young’s minimal materials so well that it may be his best Regression material to date. Take the excellent “When Nothing Works,” for example. It’s full of Young’s beloved spook but can be divided into a clear A and B section (nearly like a singular verse/chorus), with Young subtly shifting the hierarchy of his sonic materials throughout. In this sense, Young’s composition is near classical in nature, but the resulting sounds are pure overtone-drenched synth spook.
“You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me”
You’ve seen Simon Fowler’s drawings on record sleeves, walls, and particularly badass torsos, representing the cream of the contemporary doom/drone metal crop: sunn 0))), Earth, Boris. JR Robinson, composer/leader of Chicago-based ensemble Wrekmeister Harmonies, recruited Fowler for the drawings that accompany the forthcoming You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me LP — both on the sleeve itself and the video you see above. In an exercise of time-lapse tension-building, Fowler’s hands flit around the frame with a fast-forward stutter, detailing a flowing geologic mass somewhere between a cloud of vapor and a chunk of the Earth’s mantle striking through the crust. Watch cross-cut shots of the black and white image burgeon into finely shaded complexity as Robinson’s sounds swell from silence into severity.
Robinson demonstrates mastery above all in conceiving an ambitious composition and uniting a cast of collaborators — Fowler included — to realize it. The labyrinthine structure of the one-track album You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me juxtaposes passages of atmospheric electro-acoustic drift with bursts of doom metal that maximize the talents of some of Chicago’s extreme music luminaries (Wrest, Sanford Parker, Bruce Lamont, Mark Solotroff, Mind Over Mirrors, etc.). The 11 minutes excerpted for this video begin in an elegiac haze of oscillator drone and ritualistic chanting, but then progress into a bruising segment of down-tuned guitar sludge, demonic howls, and drum battery — all of which interweave with the violin and cello phrases floating in the high end of the mix. It’s difficult to discern which collaborator plays what here on record, but it’s easy to imagine Robinson’s grey-bearded visage overseeing the proceedings from atop the crag sketched out before us, his hands stretching down through the layer of mist to align the tones pouring from his cast into one cohesive statement.
Thrill Jockey releases You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me in a vinyl-only edition on June 11. You can preorder it now. Meanwhile, JR Robinson will reunite many of the album’s musicians for a performance in Chicago’s Bohemian National Cemetery on June 22.