The Deconstruction Tone
It helps to use five or six alarms to wake me up every morning. But between 7:15 and 7:30 AM, I feel stuck in this haze of, “When is my alarm going to ring? What’s on my list before I leave? How’s will work be today? Why am I stressing out and not sleeping?” And as I deconstructed my sleep this morning, I awoke to the crooked smile that is “D.W. Sir” off Rob Magill’s newest joint The Deconstruction Tone. So heavy in its short burst of joyful repetition, it took me more effort to lift my eyes than my body from bed. Yet, the rest of the album is pretty much that same “almost awake enough to open my eyes” mood, in a variety of ways. Below is (less a description and more of) a mini-mythos of The Deconstruction Tone sent to me from Rob himself.
The Deconstruction Tone was recorded in Ojai, Calif. “The Piano Held Your Hand” was recorded at Ted McCormick’s house on his family piano while his grandmother was getting a foot massage in the next room. Dan Masiel recorded it on his two track tape recorder, in one afternoon. “The Fail to Feel You” was recorded at my grandmother’s house at 1 a.m. Dan Masiel also recorded it and playing second guitar. “The Monks are in The Blinds,” “Love is Fine,” “In The Sake of Freedom also know as Loneliness,” and “The World Touches Too Hard” were all recorded in one session. “The Stones of the Night” was recorded outside in one Ojai day at noon all in one take by Nick Ali, and his wife Fanny Penny sang.
• Rob McGill: http://rob-magill.bandcamp.com
“Her Female Breath” (Vanilla Hammer remix)
“Vanilla Hammer” is slang for a certain part of the male anatomy. It is also a kung-fu move. Vanilla Hammer is also an alcoholic drink popular in Indonesia and other surrounding island states. It consists of a moonshine that is derived from sugar cane that’s been fermented in coconut halves harvested from the island volcano Batu Tara. Mangosteen fruit are then soaked in the liquor for days, until the sweet taste has fully saturated the alcohol. The drink is imbibed and then the moonshine-soaked fruit is eaten (presumably for the “hammer” effect).
What is interesting about Vanilla Hammer’s remix of Zac Nelson’s “Her Female Breath,” off of his recent LP for Debacle — Charbroille — is that it plays like a continuation of the song instead of a recreation. Nelson ended his track with a female voice, and Vanilla Hammer starts his remix off with the same voice, a capella, before diving straight into the heart of the sun. Like any good remix, “Her Female Breath” is newly engaging for different reasons than before, and Nelson’s dynamic, aggressive drumming is blanketed in sheets of noise instead of pushing along the beat.
“ROAD 2 REDEMPTION”
Don’t fucking talk about it. Don’t even look at it in the eyes. This ain’t on The Redeemer. This that “ROAD 2 REDEMPTION.” Take it in strides. Take in long/deep breathes. Have it out for everything you want to say. Have it around next Wednesday. Thanks to Hippos in Tanks. Thanks to wealthy metaphors. I want it all! I want it right now. Two times I repeat the first word of every sentence. Two times I gotta look at these words to be careful. You been careful? You ever feel anxious? Trust in your gut instinct. Trust that Dean Blunt will never stop making music you’ll love. Keep it around. Keep praying. It’s about the art. It’s collapsing in on me. Next time we’ll get it all. Next Wednesday Redeemer is coming out on Hippos in Tanks. So I’m buying all the copies. So you can only hear it digitally. Hi. Hi!!!
Deeper Than Trax
One of my favorite things about footwork/juke is that it’s based primarily around dancing. So, because of that, we get a lot of crossover trax and “covers” of either a style of dance or just a way dancers have adopted moves to a certain song. This draws the battle a step away from the foot-floor, and more-so into a battle between producers. For example, Paisley Parks ([slash] greatest thing that has happened to 2013 so far) honorably faced DJ Rashad’s “Ghost” with their own trolled out version. And here on Deeper Than Trax, DJ Diamond tries for the same with “Itz Not Rite,” which falls a little flatter than Rashad’s 12-inch version. Yet, I really dig the stand up bass on DJ Diamond’s take. As well, the title Deeper Than Trax stares Traxman straight in the face, in a crooked alley with lots of sharp corners and slick pavement.
Listening further into Deeper Than Trax, I was distracted at first and disappointed I heard no Rick Ross reference (considering the title). But I found it (DUHHH) in “Whip It.” And I’m into how “Digital Junkie” begins with that slick trap-work. “Tear It Up” also proves DJ Diamond’s still on his sample-slicing game too. But “Randomness” is as tossed off as its title. “Kill Switch” hardly goes anywhere. “Make Her Say” starts to get deep, but then it’s like no. That “Crazy SH*_*T,” however, is trolling supreme! And then so is this remix of “Harlem Shake,” but…. no thanks. So DJ Diamond made a real incline of a release. :^//
• DJ Diamond: https://soundcloud.com/dj-diamond-flight-muzik
“Who You Mad At? Me Or Yourself?”
A greater portion of Funk Master Flex’s career has consisted of crusades. Sometimes these crusades are directed against so-called “bubblegum” rap (*ahem*), and sometimes they take aims at rival DJs. In either case, music websites tend to use the same “You Mad?” photo. And fittingly enough, “You Mad?” plays an active role in FMF’s latest call to arms, the intro to Who You Mad At? Me or Yourself, a massive, 55-song monster of a mixtape.
Fellow real talker Loopy Blogger tells it hows he sees it, calling out fat guys who give their girlfriends liposuction, rappers who depend on fluff, and audiences that prefer dumbed-down pop to real dopeness (he also squeezes in a plug for Flex’s new smartphone app, available NOW!!). To back up his arguments, Flex has recruited a veritable brigade of big names that’s way too long to post here. But let me just say that I don’t think you’re going to be able to find a tape containing Cam’ron/Lil Wayne collabs, Smoke DZA chillouts, and Action Bronson cookouts anywhere else on the web. The notorious “Funk Master Flex” soundbite will be burned into your brain by the end of this, but you won’t notice, thanks to the varied offerings and the oddball banter — like the jokey growls that start off J Cole’s “Maine on Fire” (a track which, despite the title, is not all about arson in the Pine Tree State.) There’s a lot of trolling going on, but it’s rooted in a desire for hip-hop truth. Just keepin’ it real.
• Funkmaster Flex: http://www.inflexwetrust.com
Various Artists: Astro Nautico
Atlantics Vol. 3
Although I neglected to include it in my year-end list back in December, Brooklyn label Astro Nautico’s Atlantics Vol. 2 compilation was one of my favorite albums of 2012. There are over 40 tracks on it and every single goddamn one is incredibly dope. I’m sure the “Most Played” filter on my iPod would show at least seven of the top ten occupied by Atlantics tracks. The release of Vol. 2 sort of triggered a personal phase of being obsessed with minimal instrumental hip-hop, footwork, and vaporwave, which is something that I am still going through. So when I heard Vol. 3 was coming out on 4/20, I got pretty stoked.
When I first sat down to listen to the whole thing (32 tracks clocking in at just under two hours), I was so excited to hear each track that I don’t think I got through the entirety of any of them. Damn Bandcamp with all those little play buttons just staring at you. That’s why you gotta just download it — for free! I’ve now listened to all of it, and it’s even richer and more diverse than Vol. 2. Like Astro Nautico says, “There’s sure to be something for everyone.” Okay, maybe not for your Bieber-fevered cousin or your neighbor with the stick in his ass, but there is truly stuff from all across the beat-oriented board.
Some randomly generated highlights: juicy jazzy hip-hop beats from Italian producer Morpheground, downtempo R&B reworkings by Rimar, ghetto minimal tracks from Tom Richman and Kon, abstract noise grooves from htrspltn and Lotide. Oh man, and that first track by Morgan Hislop is sooo good. Feels a bit like Merriweather Post Pavilion at the start there, no?
• Astro Nautico: http://astronautico.com