“In Search of the Miraculous”
Guitarist/composer/loop god Mark McGuire has released enough music alone and in collaboration since the mid aughts to fill a whole shelf of your collection, but we haven’t had a proper solo album from him since 2011’s Get Lost. In the wake of Emeralds’ last album and subsequent dissolution, McGuire took time to flesh out his DJ Road Chief moniker, offering us remixes of Zapp and Dawn Richard that served as compelling looks into his soul/R&B fixations and developing studio practices. With upcoming full-length album Along the Way, it seems like McG fans can expect material more in line with his deep canon of guitar-driven work — though with some notable additions. Synths and electronic beats popped up in the little heralded, excellent pair of EPs he self-released in late 2012 — Nightshade and Surrogate Channels — but the recently surfaced “The Instinct (Extended 12” Version)” pushed his expanded palette out of the Zone and into a dance-floor friendly territory of 80s electro/arena-rock worship. If that track exploited multi-instrumental overdubs in pursuit of a maxed-out, nocturnal euphoria, “In Search of The Miraculous” finds McGuire utilizing the same tactics in a more focused, intimate session. He coaxes a wide array of tones out of his expanded rig: a bed of chiming guitar loops, koto-like pentatonic plucks, gurgling synth sequences, and low-end pads to fill out the backdrop. McGuire has sung on record before, but his vocalizations here feel more natural than ever, owing, perhaps, to their placement in the mix as a melodic buffer behind other developing leads (catalog highlight “Dream Team” features similar vocal strategies).
McGuire’s strongest suit — aside from his infinite capacity for cosmic shreddery — has always been his attention to structure and pacing. As in his most memorable compositions, elements fall into place here in such a satisfying sequence; hear, for example, the overlapping distorted leads that hit halfway in, pushing everything up into the realm of the sublime. By the end of the track, the accumulated tones breathe together with a bright, consonant energy, and I’m left here hoping that the album sees the light of day real soon, maybe even before summer hits.
Wire & Air
From Chicago’s abstract ambient trio Zelienople, multi-instrumentalist Brian Harding has released some rich and delicate music under the name Ill Professor. Wire & Air is a collection of acoustic recordings that floats into a thick electric atmosphere of echo and sustain. It gently soars through air and wires, alongside birds and moons and jellyfish and whales to finally reach a destination that isn’t far from home. Book your trip with Constellation Tatsu Airlines today.
“Rite de la chair”
Trudging within the castle pit, Tombeau paces through the filth, trapped by no jailor, but by location and curse. Swarming his body is a glowing aura comprised of flashing fragments he molds to the muck sticking to his sagging skin. Méphistophallique combines itself in a Tour de Garde with Tombeau’s flesh and begins ripping at his molecules. Bulging the veins in his neck is the last form of pain relief he can resort to as they pop from the rushing blood, while fusion between fragmented energy and human reaches its max. The pit is ablaze as he rises in a melt of glorious ember, dwarfed and crackling at the corners. Blackened in putrid sludge, dripping from crust-blasted skin, charred with thick ash now breaking from transformation, and then it’s darkness in a plume of dust. Everything slowly drips from the ceiling. “Rite de la chair” is complete. A glistening formation beams pins through the cloud of ash, and a pristine, diamond amalgamation/abomination emerges, shining crystal red and purple light.
• Tour de Garde: http://www.t-d-g.net
“Open Eye Signal”
Jon Hopkins’ career has sure been interesting. The dude has been a sideman and collaborator for a myriad of artists, including Coldplay, Brian Eno, and King Cresote, but he’s also a classically trained former child prodigy. These may initially read as red flags for Hopkins’ solo endeavors to some uninitiated listeners, but the man’s personal compositions have proven to be beautifully minimal slices of electronica. “Open Eye Signal,” from Hopkins’ upcoming album Immunity, is a perfect example of his collaborative work coalescing into something much different from the sum of its parts. Sure, the track is content to ride a singular beat into the ground, but unlike many of his modern IDM peers, Hopkins doesn’t bury or destroy his groove with glitches or drops. Instead, Hopkins creates a delicately shifting stasis around his beats through the use of alternately ethereal and buzzing synths. This restraint also seems reflective of Hopkins’ classical background: trained classical musicians know that performing slow minimal pieces is often more difficult than executing technical flights of fancy, because the material must be played delicately and in a non-virtuosic manner to achieve the best musical results. Similarly, other electronic artists may have crescendo’d into oblivion with the same material, but in the vein of likeminded contemporaries such as Andy Stott or Kieran Hebden, Hopkins realizes that sometimes the static is the most powerful and interesting material of all.
Immunity is out June 3 via Domino. You can listen to “Open Eye Signal” below:
Guest Mix: TAIGA Records
ripped from the groove for you
No matter what the release or when it’s being released, Minneapolis-based label TAIGA Records puts an incredible amount of care into its vinyl-only products. From the reissue of Lotus Eaters’ Wurmwulv and House of Low Culture’s Poisoned Soil to Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening Band project and Rafael Toral’s incredible Space Elements series, each release features audiophile-quality vinyl and essays housed within beautifully hand-bound, letterpressed, and exceptionally designed jackets. These small-run art objects signify not only an extension of the aesthetics found within the grooves, but also a special degree of thought that’s not easily, or even usually, translated into the digital world.
Because TAIGA’s proprietor Andrew Lange won’t be pressing a mix onto vinyl anytime soon, we’re ecstatic about the digital mix he made last year for us. Rather than showcasing TAIGA’s formidable roster, Lange made a mix of Danish new wave, Swedish punk, Minneapolis black metal, powerviolence, hardcore, and more — all ripped, appropriately enough, from his personal vinyl collection. Here’s what Lange had to say about his mix:
For those familiar with the Taiga Records catalog most of this mix may come as a surprise. Although the label focuses on ambient, drone and jazz I listen to a wide variety of music, a small sector of which is found here. Made for TMT in August 2012 with a lot of the music I was listening to at that time, it’s mainly comprised of bands from Sweden, Denmark and Minneapolis with some others thrown in for good measure.
Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.
[00:00] OFF! - “No Reason to Complain” (Sugar Daddy Live Split Series #3 12”; Amphetamine Reptile, 2012)
[01:14] Knugen Faller - “Inte Som Ni” (Inte Som Ni 7”; Cage Match Federation/Ny Våg, 2005)
[03:15] Masshysteri - “Låt Dom Hata Oss” (Masshysteri; Feral Ward, 2010)
[05:43] Vånna Inget - “Spotta I Motvind” (Jag Ska Fly Tills Jag Hittar Hem 7”; Heptown, 2012)
[08:26] Bombettes - “Reaction, Take Action” (Get Out of My Trailer, Sailor!; Ny Våg, 2010)
[10:45] Terrible Feelings - “Impending Doom” (Impending Doom 7”;Deranged, 2011)
[13:38] Gorilla Angreb - “Timen Er Kommet” (Bedre Tider 12”; Feral Ward, 2006)
[16:42] Cola Freaks - “Sten” & “Sniper” (Cola Freaks; Douchemaster, 2011)
[20:47] Iceage - “Broken Bone” (New Brigade; Dais, 2011)
[23:18] Sexdrome - “Moriah” (Grown Younger 12”; Youth Attack, 2010)
[25:35] False - “In the Key of Passive Suffering” (False; Gilead Media/Howling Mine, 2011)
[38:07] Varix - “Problems” (Varix 7”; Discos Basura, 2011)
[39:48] Scaphe - “Rogue Consciousness” (split 7” w/ Cokskar; Insides Music, 2010)
[41:18] Condominium - “Life is Amazing” (Warm Home 12”; self-released, 2011)
[43:27] Melvins - “Flex With You” (Gluey Porch Treatments; Alchemy, 1986)
[45:10] Corrupted - “Rato Triste” (Se Hace Por Los Suenos Asesinos; HG Fact, 2004)
[55:53] KTL - “Phill 1” [excerpt with end fade] (V; Editions Mego, 2012)
• TAIGA: http://www.taigarecords.com
“Spit in My Life”
Volcom Entertainment (yep, Volcom as in the skate brand sported by pretty much every upper-middle-class rapscallion in the country) is gearing up for another exciting summer of Vinyl Club releases! To kick it off, they’re releasing a split 7-inch, featuring some previously unheard cuts by two rowdy Californian crews: The Shrine and Zig Zags. The Shrine’s contribution, “Spit in My Life,” continues the surly streak that we first saw on last summer’s Primitive Blast. Over a bluesy groove that sounds cherry-picked from a dusty crate of Deep Purple B-sides, sawtoothed guitars churn and lead singer Josh Landau yowls some ornery oaths: “Spit in my life/ Stab me in the back/ One of these days, I’m gonna make you cry.” Accenting the anger further is the song’s opening, ripped from the Gospel according to the Q-Man:“We’re gonna lead ten thousand skateboarders through the street,” he warns, “and you get in our way, and we’ll be goose-steppin’.”