“The Notion” / “Spirits Touch”
Brian Jacobs: once half the songwriting duo behind Call Florence Pow (teenage prog-pop perfection) and Apes & Androids (the much-missed best live spectacle in New York), now the solitary mastermind of Majestyy. Less the analog synth collection and mixing expertise of former band buddy Chrome Canyon, every bit of these first two songs were homespun by Jacobs. The brooding “Spirits Touch” sounds like a vocal-adorned take on the best of Chrome Canyon’s recent Elemental Themes, while “The Notion” finds Jacobs relishing in his most unabashedly pop-sweet song to date. Fans of French touch, synth-pop, and 80s electro won’t find much unfamiliar here — and they won’t be complaining, either.
• Majestyy: http://majestyy.com
“IT KNOWS IT’S GONNA DIE”
The death of disco is on the horizon, and 2013 may just hustle stab it into bleed-out submission. Consider DJ/PURPLE/IMAGE (Alex “Muh-Fuckin” Gray) as one of these beat horsemen, layering concrete samples and swelling you can only hear via VIA and VIA. Not to call out the demise of beloved 1-2-3-step-point-1-2—-, but “IT KNOWS IT’S GONNA DIE” is just the beginning. Prepare for the vinyl reissue of HEAD TEAR OF THE DRUNKEN SUN on Healing Power Records sometime soon. Also, I heard he’s coming into the NYC area soon. Maybe he’ll be lending his musical fingers in something special. Again and again, in the mean time, pop your ears with “IT KNOWS IT’S GONNA DIE” until your head can’t nod no more!
• DJ/PURPLE/IMAGE: http://djpurpleimage.tumblr.com
“Murder” [feat. Kendrick Lamar & Scarface]
“Murder” may not have made the final tracklisting on Game’s new album Jesus Piece, but it should have. It’s a distinctly West Coast contemplation on death, murder, and the type of musings you have about death and murder when you’re sitting on the couch and smoking as much weed as Bob Marley did the day he died. Elvis, Whitney, Michael — their names are all invoked in a kind of G-funk clairvoyance, muddled in the haze of muzak-y piano and lush 70s flute samples. Game recruits Kendrick Lamar for the chorus, while Geto Boy Scarface promises to leave his enemies bleeding “on the Stairway to Heaven.” Music and murder, intertwined.
What better way to inaugurate the first post-apocalyptic year than a brand new track from Vektroid, the shadowy, sphinxlike entity behind New Dreams Ltd. (responsible for numbers 29 and 6 on our Favorite Albums of 2012 as 情報デスクVIRTUAL and Macintosh Plus)? Vektroid didn’t invent vaporwave, but Vektroid perfected vaporwave; and having done so, Vektroid is now pointing the way towards one of many possible afterlives for vaporwave. “Enemy” is a 10-minute slow jam that takes vapor techniques to a new and unmistakably advanced level, producing an epic, atmospheric data dream that visualizes an intensive paranoid fantasy of blissful corporate mind control.
Even as it settles into a gentle, infectious groove, “Enemy” reminds us that our dreams and desires are not our own. They are alien, predicated on the control, redirection, and delimitation of informational streams, flows of capital, and allocation of resources by vast corporate-government entities that are opaque in their machinations. Even our reflexes have been entrained by video games that double as war simulations, produced by private corporations in tandem with an all-encompassing military-entertainment complex. “Enemy” reproduces those machines of control on a fetishistic wavelength, all gleaming surfaces and crystal clear tones, beckoning us toward an uncertain future defined not by dissent and revolution, but by mastery of the simulation.
• Vektroid: http://vektroid.tumblr.com
Total Orgasm 2 [mixtape]
The original Total Orgasm mixtape was my third favorite album of 2012. I’ll listen to that album until it digitally deteriorates on my computer/phone/thumb-drive/etc. But Total Orgasm 2 is kind of like that hungover morning after 12/31: nobody is really THAT interested; Mickey may have turned over night; and there’s the argument on the table whether or not Kool Keith wrote all the parts for his eight (or so) featured musicians. I don’t think he did. They’re too rhyme-y for Kool Keith’s blue-blood flow. It’s kind of like when R. Kelly stooped down to Rick Ross’ level on “Speeding” with “Sitting in my living room watching the Grammys; wishing that was me that was on the Grammys.” I mean, like, if Kool Keith were to stoop to the level of all the people featured on his mix, which he doesn’t REALLY, it would definitely take away from it when you got too much repetitive meter on a Kool Keith joint. Or, it’s like going from Rich Forever to God Forgives and I Don’t. Anyhow, I’m hoping this year is way better in hip-hop than it has thus far presented, though I imagine our fool Samuel Diamond would say differently. Maybe Mystikal will blow us up??
• Kool Keith: http://totalorgasm.bandcamp.com
Purity Ring’s new video for “Lofticries” is kind of a doozy, but here are the plot scraps your faithful critic can ascertain from a few confused viewings. The entire thing is sort of like one of those types of plays where, 15 minutes into a given scene, someone claps their hands and the action shifts suddenly and drastically. We’re presented with four situations — ranging from a strange bit of supernatural voyeurism in a garage, to a kid’s half-assed attempts to fish out a dead body from a pool of sludge — only to see them drift in and out of each other, like some ephemeral fever dream. It might be a meditation on inaction in times of crisis or, judging by the clip’s ending, something far more sinister. Even if it’s really, really confusing, “Lofticries” is super fun to watch: the fantasticality of the video is a perfect match for the song’s cloudy intangibility, and it’s fun to watch these parallel universes collapse and re-build before our eyes.