Virtuosi, man. What to do with ‘em? Sit open-mouthed a few feet away as fingers move faster than the naked eye can register? Allude to “wankery,” in some form, as if instrumental prowess is little more than glamorized musical masturbation? Sure, a number of shredders apply their dexterity in bouts of hilarious self-service. Some, though, work to unlock otherwise unavailable harmonies or rhythms with their legendary digits, fitting their speed and precision into wider compositional frameworks. Lubomyr Melnyk’s style of “continuous music,” which finds the Ukranian composer exploring the piano’s keys at maximum velocity across improbable stretches of time, channels his virtuosity into post-minimalist compositions of extraordinary beauty and elegance. Although more than 60 years old, the man who once set world records for piano performance (19.5 notes per second per hand [!]; 93,650 individual notes in one hour [!!!]) has not yet slowed his roll, and a recent slew of new releases, collaborations, and reissues has earned him more love from listeners than ever before.
In 2013, Melnyk has performed as a duo with fellow mega-shredder James Blackshaw for Important Records, and released the Corollaries LP with UK contemporary classical/avant-garde hub Erased Tapes. Melnyk’s next album Three Solo Pieces continues his relationship with Unseen Worlds, who reissued his style-defining 1978 opus KMH: Piano Music in the Continuous Mode on CD in 2007. “Marginal Invitation,” one of the Three Solo Pieces, demands close listening of the macro- and micro- varieties. Measure by measure, Melnyk’s playing astounds: individual notes reach us with infinitesimal separations between them; left and right hands lay out a shifting rhythmic grid that slides into new chordal configurations after each phrase lives in the mix for its own moment. Zoom out, and whole measures of consistent 1/32 notes fuse into discrete chunks, yielding phantom melodies and overtones that float above Melnyk’s handiwork as a rarefied layer of slo-mo harmonies.
Three Solo Pieces arrives in November. You can preorder the album on LP or CD now.
Magik Markers have released the first single from their forthcoming album, Surrender to the Fantasy, the group’s first in four years, which makes you, what, a senior in high school now? Shit, you’re cool! And so is this: “Bonfire,” a track that sees Elisa Ambrogio, Pete Nolan, and new member John Shaw wailing, thrashing, shredding, flailing, hollering, grinding, ripping, and roaring through two and a half minutes of trash-humping fun.
Surrender to the Fantasy is out November 19 on Drag City. Read our interview with them here.
Look, some people just go through bad breakups. Sometimes there’s baggage beyond the physical. On occasion, shit’s left behind. In the case of now defunct Hype Williams, Dean Blunt is just having a hard time letting go of samples (potentially) made by Inga Copeland (now copeland). Actually, this whole track comes at listeners in a misleading way. Who knows, the sample could even be Joanne Robertson.
The SoundCloud is under the name cplnd. Under the cplnd profile is a link, including the description, “[I’ve] fancied Nick for several years and am looking to meet someone with the same type of look . So if you would like to rescue an attractive late 30s lady from a reclusive existence let me know.” Furthermore, the brilliance of it all is if Blunt keeps referring to relationships in all his songs, he and Copeland will always remain insidiously together, in posts like this one you’re reading. Harmoniously hyperlinked throughout. But without a doubt, he’ll find something else to brilliantly tackle. Eventually. Maybe.
Bottom line: new track “HENNESSY” has Dean Blunt crooning atop a looped female vocal, and the man is THIRSTY.
• Dean Blunt: http://www.youtube.com/user/pollyjacobsen
Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1 [mixtape]
1. Cameron Giles a.k.a. Cam’ron a.k.a. Killa Cam a.k.a. Flea a.k.a The Rap-Game Larry David is back again. Seriously though, somebody get this man an HBO sitcom stat.
2. That cover art is career-defining.
3. Killa is the only artist in the world, other than Timmy of Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld, who can put out multiple great songs in which the chorus and/or beat consist(s) almost entirely of his name. He’s at it again with “Me Killa.”
4. Cam also got a couple producer credits on here with “My Life” and “Come And Talk To Me.” They’re basic loops, but definite highlights nonetheless.
5. Plenty of peons think Mr. Giles fell off with Killa Season and Crime Pays; I don’t, but after one listen, I’m already willing to concede this is probably better than those on the whole.
• Cam’ron: https://twitter.com/Mr_Camron
Yeah, you play left field. No, don’t pick the grass. Do your job. Get paid in green. Make a mess for creativity’s sake. Saké is good warm, sucker. Don’t be sippin’ ya rice wine cold. Be a part of separation. Micromanaging the weeds becomes two hours worth of iPhone fuckery. If only bandwidth could be physically set on fire. Captain. Commander. Rosé? Rozay? It’s a bolder outta control. Russia is into it. Flexibility trumps perfection, yo. The dynamics of life involves activity without direction. Focus yourself in the way of imagination and relativity. Ignorance is bliss says [ _ // _ /__]. Challenge twice a thought; double your mind’s capabilities. Capture everything literally. Engage with what you feel should be done. Yank a chain. Identify. Feel the bliss of Rick Ross (a.k.a. Kyle Logan). Barack Odama cassette is available for pre-order soon on Number4Door. Discovery: hi!
C. Spencer Yeh / Okkyung Lee / Lasse Marhaug
“Throw Down the Fishcake / Anise Tongue and Durian Wet Dream (Edit)”
Ah, the sweet sounds of a few buds getting together in the SSTUDIO for an electro-acoustic improv potluck. “You bring your sound sources and I’ll bring mine,” says Lasse Marhaug, cramming his electronics and patch cables into a briefcase. “And how!” C. Spencer Yeh exclaims as he spreads out his violin, laptop, tapes, pedals, and oscillators on his bed and starts up a li’l draft process, selecting instruments as one would cherry pick chiseled athletes from a gym class mob. “Is there room for my cello in the mix?” ponders Okkyung Lee aloud, more rhetorically than anything, as if any session wouldn’t benefit from her four-string shreddery. “Looks like we’ve got everything we need.” The three musicians form a triangle and join hands: fingers interlaced. They raise their arms up above their heads in the traditional pre-recording ritual. Marhaug: “Hit it right.” Lee: “Hit it right.” Yeh: “Hit it tight.”
After logging his own collab explorations with Tim Hecker last year, label boss and modern synth messiah Daniel Lopatin continues his Software Studio Series with the prenominate trio’s album Wake Up Awesome. Our first excerpts confound the senses with squalls of hi-fi noise, manipulated fanfare samples, fried dialogue, chiming synth figures, and in-the-red scratching of bow on catgut. “Throw Down the Fishcake / Anise Tongue and Durian Wet Dream (Edit)” combines these musicians’ unique capabilities into a monstrous amalgam that defies any template of song structure, harmony, or rhythm. At 15 sessions deep, with these omnivorous improvisers in front of the mics, there’s no telling what madnesses constitute the rest of the LP.
Wake Up Awesome arrives on November 19. You can preorder the LP or CD now from Software mother-label Mexican Summer.