“two to your right, five to your left”
Okkyung Lee occupies a spot in the “young royalty” stratum of the noise avant-garde, the omni-capable improvisers/composers who honed their styles over a stream of physical releases and collaborations through the 90s and early 00s, and have since reached new levels of acclaim and influence (see also: Dilloway, O’Malley, Yeh, Fernow, Wiese). As throngs of half-naked warriors clash chrome against chrome down in the pit of the noise gladiator colosseum, Lee and her contemporaries set up workshops in the Academy and sketch out the most squalling, damaged permutation of modern “classical” “music.” If Lee, more than most, grapples with academic precedents and preconceptions by virtue of her primary means of expression — the cello — her visceral performances blur the line between the balcony observers squinting into binoculars and the pit surging below.
On Ghil, Lee’s full-length due June 24 on Ideologic Organ, she and producer/fellow noise royal Lasse Marhaug erase that line completely, recording her virtuosic cello improvisations onto a used tape recorder in incidental Scandinavian locales: “a back alley in Oslo center; a cabin in the forest on the Nesodden peninsula; and a former hydroelectric powerplant in the mountains outside Rjukan.” Hear “two to your right, five to your left,” one of Ghil’s nine sessions, below (note: every time I do, I’m like “Yeah!!! Whaaaaat???”). Lee’s extended technique shred tactics alone could easily max out this take, but Marhaug’s lo-fi decisions of medium and mic placement result in a master recording of even thicker glorious abrasion.
As a companion to a new LP called Umwelt, Not Waving has released a fat wad of fresh videos on YouTube. There is a video for every single track on the new record, making Umwelt a truly audiovisual piece of art.
From a kung-fu hippie lady dancing to kosmische electro grooves (“Kneecap Ridge”) to rainbow acid-washed footage of oak trees and kickdrums (“Mansfield Underhill”), the optical accompaniment to the record intensifies its psychedelic potency greatly. My favorite part is the transition between the guy who interprets the fuck out of synth jam “Carrizo Plains” and the other guy with paint all over him who interprets the fuck out of post-rock-esque “Nemrut Dagi.”
Buy Umwelt from Ecstatic Records.
• Not Waving: http://notwavingmusic.blogspot.co.uk/
• Ecstatic Records: http://boomkat.com/search?fields%5B%5D=label&q=Ecstatic
Consider yourself seen: the “Evil Eye” has cast its gaze upon you, and sears your soul in decadence. Black pulsates throughout your skull and fills your sockets with darkness. “Evil Eye” has absorbed everything you’ve considered good in this world and sweat it out your forehead. Standing and shaking from your core on out, the “Evil Eye” rips through your being and tarnishes all hopes and dreams, being guided by the light of Lantern. Wherever Lantern is leading you — away or toward the center of the “Evil Eye” — is beheld in the wisdom of axe-slaying, siren shouts, brooding bass, and blood-rushing rhythms. The answers await your ears on Lantern’s newest incantation Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach, out July 9 on Sophomore Lounge Records. Prepare to transplant your mind and bear witness to the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll’s finest.
“Katy and the Popcats”
Hey, I’m on the internet. Know what else is on the internet? Cats, cats, c a t s, CATS, C A T S!!! Big cats, little cats, white cats, black cats, spotty cats…. and especially F A T C A T S? I’m looking at cat pics, and you know what else I like to do when I’m looking at cat pics? Eat chips. It’s only logical. Snacks in general, really. They’ve got these ones with bubbles all in ‘em called “Popchips.” According to a friend of mine, “Popchips won’t make you less fat, only tapeworms and water will do that.” Don’t tell Katy Perry though. She’s here too I guess….. More importantly, these cats have lazers and maybe they’ve been to a rave?? Some of them drive cars. You know another cat that loves to drive? Toonces. Also I think Riff Raff from Heathcliff; pretty sure he drove a Caddy.
We underlings here at TMT are currently lobbying Mr P to replace all of our McDonald’s ads with Popchips ads. I haven’t seen any free fries yet. Popchips, the ball is in your court.
Prodigy x Alchemist
We here at TMT love a good quote. Just check out our Music Reviews section. I don’t write many reviews, but I do enjoy a quality quotation as much as the next person who takes what another person says or writes, wraps it in punctuation, and bases an article on it.
“The older you get, the more you mature musically and conceptually.”
– Jazz drummer Willie Jones III
For one reason or another, despite it being around for almost four decades and regardless (or perhaps, in some cases, because) of the sincerest efforts of its elder statesmen, hip-hop music is still seen as a young man’s art form, as if even its greatest contributors are somehow exempt from the above quote’s claim. Well, I for one don’t believe it. I refuse to accept that once an MC reaches the age of 35, he suddenly becomes incapable of recording an album as strong as or stronger than his previous work. And as further evidence of this disgruntled-old-man claim (in this case, coming to you from a disgruntled young man’s mind/keyboard), I submit to you, dear listener, the latest from Mobb Deep’s Prodigy and his longtime collaborator, Alchemist.
If this album’s 16 tracks show us anything, it’s that both artists, well into their 30s, are continuing to mature musically and conceptually, and that Alchemist’s current prolificacy just might go down in history as the type of run rap fans can tell their grandkids about. As if to hammer the latter point home, Albert Einstein features Action Bronson and Domo Genesis — with whom Al released 2012’s Rare Chandeliers and No Idols respectively — and Roc Marciano, with whom he’s “working on a project,” according to a recent interview.
Roc also says, “I bang the billionaire heiress on the terrace/ I’m from Terrace [Ave.] where sellers twist vanillas, switch bellas,” and that, I figure, is as good a quote as any to end this post.
• Prodigy: http://themostinfamous.com
A bionic agent known as T(erminato)(rolle)r sets out from the contemporary drone / avant scene to wormhole back to the early 80s and kill John C(onno)(arpente)r before he can spearhead the human uprising. Blessed with a supernatural capacity for drum machine communication, an internal ADSR interface, and a mainframe filled with decades of structural blueprints, the machine-human arrives in the past and discovers it exactly to its liking. “I can dig this,” it beeps, propping its feet up on an oil drum. It aborts the mission, nestles into an abandoned warehouse, and sets up its gear. If it can’t bring the head of the human messiah back to its robotic overlords, at least it can make them some dope tracks.
Austin’s Troller have repressed their self-titled debut in a fresh edition — available now on vinyl via Holodeck Records and CD via Handmade Birds. If you haven’t stepped into their reverb-drenched, beat-abused factory yet, do it now. Hear human howls and synth howls cohere across the stereo spread and drag us across the threshold into an alternate timeline where “pop music” caught the industrial mutagen early on and evolved accordingly. Turn off the lights and let the ambient interludes creep across your home. Turn up the volume when the synths burgeon and the rhythms complicate. Turn over the record when Side A ends. Turn over the record when Side B ends. Repeat until *the future* gets here.