“Under the Clouded Sky”

Sacrifice comes at an unusual spiritual cost, don’t it? Walk that sheep up to the mount “Under the Clouded Sky.” Sweat out all fear and terror and Micromelancolie. The crying effect comes in shouts and howls rather than tears, and drinking from the creek is less purifying than how it should feel. Hydration sets in and piss clears, as the sheep urinates beside you. The sheathed knife digs into your side, and a bruise has to have formed by way of black-and-blue pain ‘long your hip and waist. As the sheep eats grass before it, your mind rages in heavy confusion between your innocence and its innocence. Marching on through the woodland hills now, closer, yet far from the top, screams in the distant plane fill your ears, and you continue to forge on through the pathless terrain. The bell around the sheep’s neck rings out, and you’ve arrived at the bloodied and chipped slab of stone built for Quiet Listening.

Hitting the sheep turns it completely around, and it hind-kicks three of your front teeth from your skull and bolts back down the mount. Running and jumping, grabbing at its bloodied hind legs, your hands slip from the wet fur, and you’re getting up, as the sheep runs a few more feet of distance from you. Then the sheep disappears as you wipe your brow. Closer to where it left your vision, you see a cliff, assume exactly what happened, and the sheep is burst open below you, half gone, fallen into the abyss. But it won’t work without a carcass. Climbing down proves to be easy; the sheep weighs obviously less than before, and slinging it over your shoulder, onto the clifftop, you bend in a way that unsheathes your knife and punctures your gut, spilling out waves of blood after removing the knife. Forgetting the sheep, you get back to the sacrifice slab, and look at the rest of your life. You then place your knife back into the wound, tare it straight across your gut, and spill out everything you feared to see in something else.

• Rocket Machine Tapes: http://rocketmachinetapes.blogspot.com


“How I Hate You”

Early on in the Aughties, Eternal Tapestry guitarist Nicholas Binderman decided to take periodic breaks from his psych-rock wizardry and venture into the darkness (or darkwave, take your pick). Influenced by the shadowy sounds of early electronica — Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, good ol’ Gary Numan — Tunnels offers up a chillier palette than that of Binderman’s guitar-driven work, laced with just enough pop appeal to get the hips shaking. Tunnels’ most recent effort was 2011’s The Blackout, which sold out quickly upon release; two years later, the fine folks at Thrill Jockey are planning to reissue the album once more, on July 23 (and on white vinyl *insert oohs and aahs here*).

In anticipation of this victory lap, Thrill Jockey has given us a little audio-visual amuse-bouche to share with you, affectionately titled “How I Hate You.” Glitchy visuals and grainy VHS samples combine to raise some tantalizing questions: Are the two combatants at the 1:26 mark wrestling, making out, or both? What hidden scenes are lurking behind the pulsating 8-bit firestorm? Are there any subliminal messages lurking? Binderman directed the clip, so only he knows the answers. In the meantime, enjoy the video!

Pre-orders of The Blackout are available at Thrill Jockey’s website. The reissue ships July 23.

• Tunnels: http://www.thrilljockey.com/thrill/Tunnels/The-Blackout
• Thrill Jockey: http://www.thrilljockey.com/splash.html

Tropic Of Cancer

“More Alone”

“I think that there is just as much fucking going on then as now, only now it has a more perverted quality to it, now it has no love whatsoever included.”
Henry Miller

I’m sat at the side of the school Disco, stinking of the black nail varnish I’d hastily applied a few minutes earlier, headphones firmly on, blaring a Joy Division best-of CD, my lips stinging with Salt and Vinegar crisps. My classmates dance in front of me, a perfectly synchronized Macarena. Every so often, the beat of the song, my song, will synchronize with their orchestrated moves. One of them will catch my eye, looking suitably disgusted. I can’t decide whether I want to fuck them or fight them.

From “I Feel Nothing” to “More Alone,” Tropic Of Cancer’s synthetic groans take on a pneumatic edge for this new 7-inch, less broodingly minimal. This might have something to do with Karl O’Connor, a.k.a. Regis, moving from simply releasing Tropic Of Cancer records via his Downwards Records imprint — a key home for that particular industrial, bleak techno style that gets called “The Birmingham Sound” — to producing them; while Camella Lobo has otherwise taken full reign, her former musical partner Silent Servant apparently no longer involved.

And though Mr. Miller above seems to miss those ways in which perversion and love can so often blur, “More Alone” has enough enamored synths swelling beneath its mechanistic propulsion to remind us of this fact.

As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll have to wait till September for the full album, while this single for “More Alone” comes out in August, just in time for Summer’s end.

• Tropic Of Cancer: http://tropicofcancer.bandcamp.com
• Blackest Ever Black: http://blackesteverblack.blogspot.co.uk

Chocolate Grinder Mix 85

Deconstructed Unity

Recently, I’ve realized that a lot of my favorite music involves the melding of experimental practices with traditional song craft and/or tonality. While I love both pop and experimental music on their own, their co-mingling can yield some of the most fascinating results and seems like the most logical move for both genres. As a result, songs often become formally deconstructed and/or through-composed, while experimental compositions become more formal and, in certain cases, tonally centered.

In recent decades, the cross pollination of these genres has really become much more readily apparent, and 2013 seems to be a particularly good year for music of this nature. When compiling these tracks, I realized that one could make a truly massive mix tape of tunes that exhibit these characteristics from this year alone. The tracks presented here are some of my personal favorites that tend to fall in the middle ground between the two genres, but a few lean slightly more toward the experimental (Wakesleep) and some toward the pop (Ashley Eriksson). Additionally, the mix was organized so that there’d be tonal and/or timbral relationships between each track.

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:00] Ashley Paul - “Soak the Ocean”
[04:20] Bill Baird - “Spring Break of the Soul”
[11:59] Ashley Eriksson - “Mother Nature’s Promise”
[13:30] Howe Gelb - “Man on a String”
[18:32] Lee Noble - “Remind Me”
[24:50] Ryan Power - “Well on Your Way”
[31:41] Wakesleep - “Web Ice2”
[34:51] Baptist Generals - “Floating”



It’s been 207 days since we last posted about Ahnnu (for our Favorite 50 Albums of 2013 feature). But while he has been relatively quiet release-wise compared to last year — so far, he’s released a remix for a naps 7-inch and previewed a track from his footwork project Cakedog — he has a slew of new music coming soon, including projects/releases with Nerftoss, Wanda Group, Andrew Pekler, and Leaving Records. (❤❤❤!) In the meantime, Ahnnu took to SoundCloud to release “Kazu,” a new track that hints at the sonic territory he’s currently exploring. It’s still of the fuzzy, sample-based variety, but it’s concerned less with opulent beat tape head-nodders and textural fuckery, and more with repetition and the inconsistent intervals that throw the reliability of repetition into question. Have a listen:

Cassettes coming soon!

• Ahnnu: http://www.dogtropic.net

Ariel Pink featuring Jorge Elbrecht

“Hang on to Life”

Ariel Pink and Jorge Elbrecht (of Violens/Lansing-Drieden) double team this jam, the A side from a collaborative 7-inch released on Mexican Summer. The lyrics, which implore us to “hang on to your life” and tell us that we’ve “screwed the pooch, now face it,” are what one imagines a person saying to himself/herself in the mirror at particularly bleak moments in life. Ariel on the phone with Jorge mid-song asking “She did what?” It’s a rhetorical question, of course, the answer either the cause or a contributing factor leading to this situation. Not quite the summer jam you were looking for from these guys? Stay indoors, out of the heat, and cry or something. And hang in there, Ariel; it’s gonna be a’ight. There’s other fish in the sea or something.

• Ariel Pink: http://4ad.com/artists/arielpinkshauntedgraffiti
• Jorge Elbrecht: https://twitter.com/jorgeelbrecht
• Mexican Summer: http://www.mexicansummer.com


CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.