Shimmering in billboards, tiles, and pop-ups: SAINT PEPSI. Bling defined by the pearliest of whites. Dancing shoes flashing across the floor in steps that blend beyond visual smear, and stroke an image of streak on streak in sync with each beat. Beat after dime after dollar hailing into an infinity of currency from what? What is being sold here? Bring on the Empire Building. Hi: this here. Attention: products and people. AD: this is an advert about an advertisement. If there were bad press about it, SAINT PEPSI would come out on top. Like hitting a wall and gaining speed. And glasses as glaring as the color of oil in water. So, you take that, yeah? You bought it and it’ll be insignificant in months. WEEKS! Wait. You wait. Is Empire Building enough for you? Oh. Who am I talking to? What are they selling? Life. Background. A world? Let SAINT PEPSI sell you the world through Empire Building. You’ll find it has been there all along.
If you’ve ever dicked around on an old Wurlitzer organ at an antique store, or practiced your sixth-grade piano recital on your neighbor’s shitty electric keyboard, or been to this website, then you’ve probably used drum beat presets.
To some of us, these drum presets (when they are in a keyboard instrument) exist so we can play Pachabel’s Canon in D in a bunch of funny rhythms and try to impress drunken friends. To others, they serve as the groundwork to build cutesy twee tunes. For Dutch musician Rutger Zuydervelt (a.k.a. Machinefabriek), built-in presets on a musical instrument are just another everyday noise, sounds of our planet that should be recorded as if they were a babbling brook or a tribal rain dance.
On his newest release, Vergezichten, Machinefabriek weaves in a whirly organ preset rhythm through layers of hovering ambience and rumbling bass tones, as if it were a rare field recording of a spontaneous, unique moment in time. Zuydervelt’s like bajillionth release is a 10-inch record out on March 15 from Alien Transistor, and comes with (as always) impeccably designed artwork.
“Fuck a Rap Song”
Dahlia Black is the sinister nom de plume for a new hip-hop project born from the twisted minds of two progressive beat makers. Blue Daisy, one of London’s most forward-thinking dubstep producers, has teamed up with South African d’n’b jockey Hey!Zeus for a sinister, bass-heavy banger that sounds like the type of thing Lucifer would bump in his Camaro. “Fuck a Rap Song” draws from both artists’ pitch-black palettes, thudding snare hits, squelchy bass blasts, and all. The video, meanwhile, is a trippy, cartoon-y take on the performance clip; Daisy and Zeus’ faces are covered with scribbled war-paint, and the lyrics flash across the screen in a frenzied shorthand. In just under four minutes, Dahlia Black hits the Manson-y sweet spot that most horrorcore rappers spend years trying to reach (remember when Game tried that?), and with considerably less effort, too. I guess creepin’ comes naturally to them.
• Dahlia Black: http://dahliablackgang.tumblr.com
Giuseppe Ielasi injects a bit of soul into complex electroacoustic algorithmic architectonic sound design. He has successfully transformed cement mixers into a sensual sound palette. He has turned sandwich protection into a rhythmic medley. He has manipulated bells and cymbals into an underwater symphony. But what he hasn’t done is compose an untitled piece for l’audible festival in Paris utilizing material from previous releases and with sleeves printed by Ben Owen. Until now.
• Senufo Editions: http://www.senufoeditions.com
Ben Billington gets around. I mean this not only in terms of the numerous physical media bearing his name that sit on shelves or in tape decks out there. I mean he literally moves his body around Chicago and engages in The Scene, Man. Pay attention and you’ll probably catch him at The Empty Bottle or the Burlington or any number of relatively “underground” zones this week. Maybe he’s playing a solo set under his Quicksails moniker; maybe he’s splitting heads open on drums in Tiger Hatchery or more recently in Circuit Des Yeux’s live ensemble; maybe he’s just around, checking out whoever happens to be playing, living his life like a normal-ass human being. Next time you see him, say hi. Tell him how much you dig Pandava. He’ll probably give you a high five.
The newest Quicksails material lands in the big, knob-twisting hands of John Elliott, who gives Mayville Dream the lush LP treatment we’ve come to expect from his Spectrum Spools imprint. The textures of “Institute’s Innards” fit in right alongside the technicolor offerings of Bee Mask or Three Legged Race, fellow Solo Humans Ably Recording Dense Synth-y Music on Spectrum Spools (SHARDSMoSS, for short). But Billington approaches his compositions from a percussionist’s perspective: the squiggles and pentatonic leads spread out over a grid of beats and sequences, resulting in something slightly more song-ular than the average SHARDSMoSS experience.
Mayville Dream arrives on April 15th. Preorder the LP from Spectrum Spools. Keep Billington’s art alive. Support your local SHARDSMoSS.
“La Corne Des Lunes”
Stekri and his comrades at the French label Dezordr Records have been quietly breaking genre boundaries with their Session Compilation series for something like five years now. And although they’ve gone mostly unnoticed this side of the pond, their dub-heavy, ethereal, cinematic takes on trip-hop (or instrumental hip-hop or whichever half-baked genre label you prefer) have subtly set the stage for legions of unknowing imitators. A self-proclaimed “ciseleur de boucan,” Stekri is now set to unveil his first full-scale statue, Terres Noires, available February 28 via digital and vinyl. Actually, if the title is any indication (and Google Translate isn’t losing something), then this “muck” might end up being more of an attempt to deconstruct the sculpture in order to reveal the organic materials at its core… or it could just be that filth. Either way, I’m in.
Watch the album trailer for some more not-so-random abstract imagery colored post-apocalyptic by engines, blips, and such.
• Dezordr Records http://www.dezordr.com