Fullerton Avenue Rhythm Arranger [album stream]
The word drone, in its many forms, always seems to imply a sort of subterranean feel — an existence just outside of immediate consciousness. Take drone strikes, for example. They happen from a nearly undetectable mechanical force that seems to come from nowhere and disappear as quickly as they came. A military force with no visible military presence. The idea is the same when referring to worker drones. Employees capable of doing the work on a nearly unconscious level, their minds wandering elsewhere in order to retain sanity.
Drone, as a music style/genre, works the same way: a tuning out that exists below our surface consciousness, accented only by little spikes that attack from nowhere and decay as quickly or slowly as they came. The way artists incorporate these peaks above the surface is what seems to differentiate most drone music; it’s the way the song pulls you from the quicksand that all drone often spends the first minutes dragging you into.
The new tape from Miracle Blues, Fullerton Avenue Rhythm Arranger, on Lillerne Tapes is a perfect example of this format. The first minutes are spent pulling you down into a pool of synth waves, just shallow (as in not deep) enough to be seen and, therefore, mesmerizing. And just before you are entirely submerged, little spikes of gurgling drum noises begin to bubble up from the surface, followed by a detuned spike of noise to snap you out of your trance. It’s patient and subtle and paced in such a way that it doesn’t allow you to tune out. This one demands your attention at the very moments you are ready to give it up.
Take the plunge below, and buy the entire thing over at Lillerne Tapes.
• Lillerne Tapes: http://www.lillernetapes.com
Lonely House [album stream]
More insanely good music from the highly (and criminally) unknown jazz cassette label Galtta Media, this tape finds honcho David Lackner releasing a beautiful collection of classical- and folk-leaning balladry from the otherwise moderately well-known jazz bassist Mark Przybylowski. The house, grey skies, and bare tree branches on the cover have me longing for the cool winds of winter, though outside temperatures refuse to clock in anything lower than 90° (#FML). Still, the overall feel of the cassette does help to cool things off, at least mentally.
Musically, Przybylowski evokes notions of impressionism with the pastel compositional strokes of masters like Erik Satie. Recorded with a single mic in an empty house over the course of a year, Lonely House features skeletal acoustic guitar, singing cellos, double bass, and the occasional vocal inflection. Ultimately, the tape is sold on its ability to break the heart with such an astoundingly soft touch, the airy quality of the tape imagining an armchair’s lulling rock, the withered, paper-soft skin of a grandmother’s brittle fingers, or the last leaf ever-threatening to fly headlong with the chilling winds. An old, sepia-toned photograph. A trembling memory. A devastating sadness. A warm, comforting blanket of beauty. Yeah, all that and probably a lot no writer could even attempt to describe properly. Find your adjectives:
• Galtta Media: http://galttamedia.com
IM FUCKIN YOU TONIGHT VOL. II [mixtape]
/// / “Heat Wave over. This is the beginning of the new chapter,” says Alex Gray, king of everything vibing your ears (Deep Magic/Tapes, Dreamcolour, DJ/PURPLE/IMAGE… his mainstays). Well, help me tell Thursday back the fuck up by collectively listening to DJ/PURPLE/IMAGE’s IM FUCKIN YOU TONIGHT VOL. II. On the real, VOL. I (TMT Review), released under his Heat Wave moniker, was the only CD I bought this year — well, in many years. VOL. II fronts that same magic, with editions like Drake, Kool Keith, and (of course) 70s pro-no jams all mixed by your warp master DJ/PURPLE/IMAGE. My definition of SWAG is more visual than anything, but hear IM FUCKIN YOU TONIGHT VOL. II and recognize Gray got that hard audio lean. So pop off your lean-on immediately, blast this mix at max, and get wet:
So, here’s a great idea: take seven artists from Brooklyn label Astro Nautico’s roster and have them each build a track using samples from Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, and then get a Japanese-based label, let’s say… INNIT for example, to do the same thing, except switch the movie to our Westernized version of the same film, The Magnificent Seven, and then release a cassette of the 14 songs for the entire world to enjoy.
Whoa! That sounds incredible!
Thanks, but it wasn’t my idea. I thought of it last night and woke up this morning to find that Astro Nautico and INNIT were already on top of it. I guess that’s why I’m the one doing the writing and they’re the ones selling tapes. Oh well.
Check out the first track released from the tape, “Even Bears,” by label Astro Nautico’s Kuhn below; buy the tape over at Astro Nautico (for US dollars) or Day Tripper Records (for yen); and then cross your fingers that the Wu-Tang Clan get a hold of this and decide to do a collaboration.
“What U Mean” [ft. Ludacris]
Some people are going to watch the new Big K.R.I.T. video and cry, “sell out!” They’ll turn up their noses at the gyrating females, shiny chrome, and fat cigars, and when Ludacris shows his mug around the 2:45 mark, they’ll probably rage-quit on the spot. But for all the rap clichés that may or may not be in this clip (What is it with video vixens and ice cream cones? How many of those do they have to go through in a shoot?) there’s plenty of positives. A tower of boomboxes! Girls doing football touchdown dances! And best of all, K.R.I.T. looks fierce spitting some trap rap game dressed in a spiffy cardigan and glasses like those sported by Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor. I smell a collaboration!
“Crystal Text” [directed by Paul Clipson]
At first blush, it appears that Paul Clipson, the director of Young Moon’s “Crystal Text,” has a veritable fetish for light. He notably uses real film — Super 8mm, at that — and this video’s effects are the prize of work done within the camera itself, sans digital sorcery.
An extra viewing or two, however, slyly suggests that Clipson’s true fetish might be a bit more traditional: that is to say, he’s fixated on flesh. Maybe not flesh in the veins of whoopee and lace, as more lascivious filmmakers might choose to feature, but flesh all the same. Eye flesh. Hand flesh. Tree flesh. Pond flesh. Is there a single shot in “Crystal Text” that doesn’t somehow feature skin or at least demand some skin-centric metaphor? That initial sequence, of peeling crimson petals, is like the flailing of cardiac valves. Appropriate, as here is where the beat works itself out. How happily weird, the way that that human hand later frisks the zombie-esque pallor of bark. I once saw a photograph of an old oak in Sicily, gnarly, tumorous, and so much like dermis that the trees lining Central Park infected me with abjection for months.
But of course, Clipson’s connections don’t frighten — they entrap. “Crystal Text” is a mass dissection and intermingling of tissues, human and plant alike. Which is all to say it fits the simple song well: The single notes of the guitar line peck along, as if drawing the audio equivalent of a dotted line — cut here. But the music, of course, remains diligently tender. It is, to me, about the direct and colossus connection that eventually makes it hard to determine whose body belongs to whom. It’s not about the separation of people, but of their similarities.
But, all said, do be sure your tree consents.
Young Moon’s Navigated Like the Swan was recently released by Western Vinyl. See more of Paul Clipson’s film work here.