SelfSays
“BDA (Ball Dropper’s Anthem)”

This is really just a taste, a preview, the opening rounds. Hey, look over here. Listen up. Detroit-based emcee SelfSays is psyching himself up, upping his stats and getting “motivized” with a time-is-now-type rap over a hail of hearty funk-march beats and warm soulful organ hooks (compliments of NY-producer Blockhead with dazzling reggae-ish fx on the vox by Ann Arbor-producer Buffay).

Having just past the age of 30, SelfSays (a.k.a. Charles Vann) is getting into the game a little bit later than some, but he’s kicking all that self-doubt aside with heart-on-the-sleeve, swiftly cadenced quips of no-time-like-the-present. Indeed, with the rise of Danny Brown, there’s potential that many other eyes are peeking through Detroit’s hip-hop hotbed and they’d be wise to keen in on SelfSays, backed by a range of eclectic and esteemed producers on an EP released last month to commemorate a springtime tour through Europe with Michigan-based electronica composer Shigeto. Consider it a primer, though, because he’s got yet another release (a 7-inch split) coming out in the last week of September: Not Another Video Game Song / They Shootin’ is his debut on iNsect Records. Level up.

• SelfSays: http://selfsays.com
• iNsect Records: http://insectrecords.org

coolmemoryz

“TOKYO_DAYS,” / “真夜中のJAZZ滑らかな心”

A couple weeks ago, I posted a mix of appropriation music called ║█║▌║█║▌│║▌║▌█║. I had finished the mix earlier that week, but on the day of publishing, that Friday morning, I heard this amazing song by transmat思 い 出 (a.k.a. coolmemoryz), an eccojam so heartwrenchingly beautiful I decided to redo the entire mix in order to fit it in.

Since then, the artist, now going by coolmemoryz, has released a handful of tracks, all with a vaporwave/eccojam vibe. They’re all so good that I had a hard time choosing which to write about, so I’m writing about two of them. The first is titled “TOKYO_DAYS,” a six-and-a-half-minute track that reflects a kind of pseudo-globalism with its effected Japanese voice clips, shuffling beats, and New Age synth washes. It’s all spa- and lounge-like for most of its duration, but it crawls, bloody and near-lifeless, to an unexpected demise toward the end. You have to hear the song to understand why.

The second track, “真夜中のJAZZ滑らかな心,” (roughly, “Smooth Jazz Heart of Midnight”) is less narrative, but equally enthralling. This is chopping and screwing at its finest, sounds that are pitch-shifted, looped, and tempo-fucked until you’ve all but lost any sense of center. What’s often highlighted here is not the cheesiness of the music, but the in-between moments during the decay and just before the attack. Sure, the notes and rhythms are stretched (and can be transcribed as such), but the moods are made decidedly anew.

• coolmemoryz: http://coolmemoryz.tumblr.com

Rene Hell

“Meta Concrete”

I can’t really imagine a greater combination than that of Rene Hell and Oneohtrix Point Never (in terms of split LPs, of course, because we all know chocolate and peanut butter is the greatest of all combinations). The two artists may seem to be very similar in the big picture of music as a whole, but when zoomed in, the musicians may be seen as perfect opposites — sort of the yin-yang of current experimental electronic music. While OPN might represent some of the most interesting cutting-edge, sample-driven, slightly-beat-oriented-but-not-really-dance-music side of things, we can see Rene Hell at the other side as part of a more classical, musique-concrète, compositional school of electronic music. However, by the end of the record, you may not even know what music is at all.

Speaking of concrete, you can hear “Meta Concrete,” the first part of Hell’s side titled In 1980 I Was A Blue Square. It will be released on September 18 by NNA Tapes.

• NNA: http://nnatapes.com/available-releases/oneohtrix-point-never-rene-hell-s…

Lawrence English

“Entoloma abortivum” [a re-staging of John Cage’s One11]

John Cage was born 100 years ago today on September 5, 1912. He passed 10 years ago, but our father Abraham of avant-garde composition has many sons that continue to foment the ideas of experimental music. One who is well aware of his own lineage, Lawrence English, commemorates Cage with his new album For/Not For John Cage. For: an homage — a body of work inspired by pieces written by Cage. Not For: a Cageian idea itself, perhaps, to dismiss responsibility of co-opting a legacy and an umbrella for the recordings that were organically tangential during the recording sessions.

The video for “Entoloma abortivum,” a collaboration between English and video artist Scott Morrison, is a re-staging of Cage’s film One11. English speaks to the process and how the scope went beyond aesthetic: “Part way through the process of composing music for One11 (refocused), it became clear that a body of sound work was forming (beyond the music created for the One11 (refocused) soundtrack) that drew heavily on some of Cage’s passions — specifically his interests in Zen Buddhism (and the space for contemplation this philosophy opens) and also that of chance operations.” Check it out here:

Pre-orders for Lawrence English’s For/Not For John Cage start today, with the album officially out September 18. It’s limited to only 500, so do what you have to do.

• Lawrence English: http://lawrenceenglish.com
• LINE: http://www.lineimprint.com

2 Chainz

“Birthday Song”

All right, I’ll admit it. Even if Based on a T.R.U. Story was a largely underwhelming piece of work, the music video for “Birthday Song” is pretty great. It’s like Where’s Waldo, except instead of looking for a dude in the middle of a crowd full of people doing ridiculous things, you have to try and spot 2 Chainz amid a crazy, sort of unsettling birthday party with people doing drugs on a scantily-clad woman’s back, lap dances right by the grill in the backyard, and a birthday cake shaped like a woman’s rear end. Oh, and Kanye West rides in a chariot festooned with mammaries. So yeah, this is pretty redemptive and damn fun to watch.

• 2 Chainz: http://www.2chainz.com/birthdaysong
• Def Jam: http://www.defjam.com

Dan Melchior

“All The Clocks”

Punky British folkster Dan Melchior is going through some tough stuff right now: his wife was diagnosed with cancer in late 2010, so profits from his forthcoming album The Backward Path will go toward their battle. It’s not particularly surprising, then, that the album is a decidedly more somber effort, with plenty of lyrical contemplation and a stripped-down sound. The track below, “All The Clocks,” is a hushed, intimate ballad, with modest melodies and promises of fidelity during the tough times. This is a very thoughtful change of pace for Melchior, and although it’s a step into new territory, it’s clear a lot of care went into this LP. Listen to the song here:

• Dan Melchior: http://northern-spy.com/artists/dan-melchior
• Northern Spy: http://northern-spy.com/info/about

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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.


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