Catching Fire, the latest installment of the Battle Royale
rip-off highly successful science fiction franchise, is set to hit theaters in only a few short weeks, and as expected, anticipation has reached feverish highs. Seriously, I’m pretty sure every last Subway restaurant in the New York metropolitan area has a life-size cardboard cutout of Jennifer Lawrence leering at me while I wait for my Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki®.
Anyway, “Elastic Heart” is the crown jewel of the film’s forthcoming soundtrack • which also includes cuts from Antony and the Johnsons, The National, and somewhat incredulously, Patti Smith. Brandishing her massive vocals with a battle-cry, Sia delivers a worthy theme for tough-as-nails heroine Katniss, all “thick skin and an elastic heart.” The Weeknd stops in from Kiss Land (TMT Review) to deliver a voice, his puppy-dog whimpers melting on the spot, kind of like my Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki®
when it hits my tongue. Revisiting the icy palette that worked so well on Usher’s “Climax,” Diplo takes the productional helm, offering up some steely, staccato production to weave all the feels together. “Elastic Heart” is as moody as Hunger Games fanfiction, and yet it proves an irresistible listen. Like the stare of cardboard Jennifer Lawrence, it creeps into your head, never flinching once.
Fatima Al Qadiri
“Knight Fare (post-war Dub)”
Get our of your search box and join the fight, coward.
“A theory of sonic warfare is particularly fascinated by [the] turbulent boundary layer between dance and violence.”
I’m late for the Grime Wars, but so is Fatima Al Qadiri. We’ll cruise the littered battlefield in our luminescent hovercraft, spraying tinny bullets, revving the Mario Kart engine, never upended by the synth-pad hillocks.
It’s a nice irony that nobody really knows who said “History Is Written by the Victors,” not even Jeeves. So we’ll plunge any old flag into the bleeding ground, and not write a thing.
• Fatima Al Qadiri: http://fatimaalqadiri.com
Wanna feel LAX while also getting your spacy on this Friday? As always, NNA Tapes is here to the rescue, reeling a SoundCloud stream for one of their three new tapes, Battered Sphinx by Ahnnu. And, “as always” seems to be a phrase catching up with the prophet Ahnnu these days.
However, today is Ahnnu day! See what I did there? ‘Cause Ahnnu does that consistently with sound. Thus, Battered Sphinx is no different from his other works in terms of subtly charming listeners. Sounds seep into your ears, warmly harness your brains, and gently deflate all swollen nodes.
Be good to your mind immediately. Enjoy a fresh mental cleanse. Listen to the digital of Ahnnu’s new Battered Sphinx cassette on NNA Tapes below:
Harmonie du soir [Excerpts]
Do0oO0dz and doOo0odettezz!! Rhys Chatham is such an underrated shredder, right? I know we all often place him next to Glenn Branca because Branca shreds equally hard and writes similarly minded minimalist guitar music, but it’s important we remember Chatham as a unique shredd-tastic shredder, and what a better way to do that than with a new album of pure unadulterated shred? And trust me, the three pieces on Chatham’s new record,Harmonie du soir shred.
The opening title piece is one of the most beautifully recorded examples of Chatham’s shred yet, with the guitars’ harmonics shimmering and resonating with more prominence than ever before. The second piece explores another side of Chatham’s shred with a beautiful slow burning work for brass ensemble and percussion, showing how effective Chatham’s large group writing techniques can be when applied to any number of instruments. Finally, the record closes with an awesomely rearranged Chatham shred classic. Look, you guys,Harmonie du soir shreds in a way that is distinctively Chatham, and it firmly reestablishes his position as a modern master of compositional and instrumental shred.
Various Artists: Project Mooncircle
“A wild stallion fights its way up from the dirt and tries to receive recognition by separating itself from the herd. Breaking through the anonymity of the group to the freedom of running through endless land- and soundscapes into horizons of new sonic worlds.”
These sentences, used by Berlin label Project Mooncircle to introduce the Uprising Compilation, had me spending two hours looking for an interview in which Werner Herzog declares that he doesn’t believe the rogue penguin from Encounters at the End of the World to be insane. Herzog further offers that if he had to spend every day sitting monotonously with the same collective, he too would eventually say, “To hell with it,” and head off into the mountains on his own.
Alas, I cannot find this interview, so I leave it to you to fill in the thematic and conceptual blanks. [Writer’s note: here it is. Fast-forward to 24:05.]
Speaking of themes and concepts and all that good-good, Project Mooncircle, a driving force in international beat culture for the better part of a decade, has been killing it on the compilation front for just as long, specifically by bringing together artists from different parts of the world to make stories of soundscapes. One standout project of theirs, The Moon Comes Closer served as sonic representation of a dream journey to… you guessed it, the moon. While embracing the premise of “instrumental compilation as concept album” might demand a slight stretch of the imagination, simply enjoying the tunes therein is much easier.
Stream the Uprising Compilation below, and if it suits you, order the 3xLP vinyl version complete with silk-screen artwork here.
• Project Mooncircle: http://projectmooncircle.com
“The West Wind”
Ryley Walker can kick it pretty much anywhere. Perched on a log in the woods, one leg crossed over the other, fingerpicking a solo ballad under the low hanging branches: alright. Cruising down the interstate to the next gig in a four-door sedan with Moth Cock, windows down, switching between fading FM stations to find a signal: for sure. Leave your front door unlocked for a few hours and the 24-year-old guitarist/songwriter could very well be lamping on your couch when you come back in from the yard work, boots up on the coffee table, munching on the trail mix with impunity. “But I ain’t mad atcha,” you tell him. He sets down the bag to give you two thumbs up and a smile. You think of all the stage areas, all the green rooms, all the DIY basement spots through which that smile has flashed and you wonder, as he moves on to the banana bread, “Doesn’t this guy have some new tunes coming out soon?”
Yeah. Though Walker’s debut full-length LP on the inimitable Tompkins Square doesn’t drop until April 2014, the label squeezes out a three-song EP on November 29 to tide us over. If much of his previous work, solo and in tandem with fellow six-string prodigy Daniel Bachman, fell on the minimal American Primitive side of the acoustic spectrum, “The West Wind” arrives as five minutes of prog- and jazz-inflected folk à la Pentangle or first-two-albums-era Nick Drake. The ornate arrangement lays Walker’s busy, open-tuned progression against a string section, piano, and brisk drums — all of which propel the song through crescendos and harmonic-laced interludes on the way to a surging coda. Walker’s voice sets the atmosphere early on, dropping couplets throughout verses in a weary baritone with plenty of room for the strings to breathe and swell in their complementary bittersweetness. Sounds like someone’s been both *hitting the studio* and *putting in serious work* and I, for one, am stoked to check out the rest of this pup come springtime.
Walker is on tour now in Europe with Daniel Bachman. Scope out the dates here, and keep an ear out for more of his solo material before the year’s end.