The voice of postmodern Shanghai is Stalin Gardens, and it’s fuckin weird. Helmed by precocious high-school harsh noise enthusiast Achmed (birth name: Julien), they take the China-brand no-wave/post-punk thing started by bands like P.K.14 and 8 Eye Spy and shove it down a deep k-hole into the grimiest parts of the Shanghai metropolitan subconscious, and all in time to get home before curfew. I saw them play once. Half their set was Achmed strumming disembodied riffs from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Stairway to Heaven” or something while repeatedly saying “This is experimental rock” and telling the audience to shut up in between songs. (The audience was five people.)
Anyway, SG just dropped a nine-song LP called Shanghai Void. In terms of hard-left-field music, Shanghai is pretty damn empty. So it’s good we have Stalin Gardens to send this plodding slow-burner — which moves from an opening Nas reference to songs about post-national consumerism and bone cancer — screaming into said void.
Stream the full album below, download it for free on their SoundCloud, and find some other odds & ends on their douban. (That’s the equivalent of Myspace/Facebook for Chinese bands. You’re not on douban? Get on douban.)
• Stalin Gardens: http://site.douban.com/sg
After a deep chapter of #-track recording bass-fused w33p-pop, Diva Dompé [slash] DIVA now brings softer shades and roaring fashion-pits — roaring from currently being in the L.A. BABES output, and softness possibly developed while joining Pocahaunted’s swan song. But in this video, directed by the extraordinary Miko Revereza, the colorlessness, singularly framed DIVA , draby clothing, and minimal accessories all develop an encompassing simplicity to her lyrics and lush high-scale DIY production value.
DIVA’s Moon Moods album is out on CD and LP formats via Critical Heights and can be streamed via the ever-commercial FADER. But if simplicity is your ting and paying in £s is not, Leaving Records is releasing a limited number of cassettes starting TODAY.
Chocolate Grinder Mix 62
Slumber Midget Fire Sandwich
Preheat the mood with anticipation of abstract Venezuelan hip-hop sanity excursions. Cut wickedly tasty free releases into quarters and slice each one lengthways. Spread a bountiful helping of bathdub and cyberfuck across the length of the mix before layering it with some sumptuously fuzzy R&B, lo-fi phlegmatic dub, and spooky 2-step. Lightly coat the wonderfully outré electronic muddle with vinyl surface crackle and skewer the filling with under-reported, vox-heavy ambient punk. Season with Cantonese abstraction and serve diagonally across a playback device of your choosing.
Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.
[00:00] Arca - “Dignity”
[03:52] aaronmaxwell - “it’s like that”
[04:50] i/o - “I’d Be Lying”
[07:35] Friendzone - “Follow Me”
[09:39] HEAT WAVE - “WATCH YR BACK”
[11:25] SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL - “InVoiceDub”
[15:44] Triad God - “Top Level Club Prostitute”
[19:02] Charcuterie - “Caravan Caravas”
[22:59] Moist Ghost - “Keeping Tabs”
[25:38] Arca - “Manners”
Oren Ambarchi & Robin Fox
Oo the ‘ardest working experimental artist of 2012? Maybe it’s Oren Ambarchi [and friends]. Let’s say he the krankiest. And he’s giving y’all that Fri-/work-day suspense, along with pal Robin Fox, the modern man. MAYBE. Tension is right up there with “Standing Mandala,” boring souls in your mind’s core and pulsating into eye-flickering euphoria. Oren was definitely my jam shit while sleeping back some day prior to this one. Like, and I’d totally hit him up still if I hadn’t a bedfellow. Don’t think that’s an option at this point, but maybe. Mm, and new album on Kranky. October 22. Scare someone with the LP this Halloween holiday season. #allthatbeef
Christian Richer is one busy dude with several musical guises to his name (check his excellent collaboration with Norm Chambers a.k.a. Panabrite as Soft Mirage) and running the recently minted Kinnta Records, who co-released a fabulous 1960s psych-tinged compilation earlier this year. Now he’s already elevating the label to new heights with a vinyl offering, the debut LP from his own project, The Haiduks. 1968 makes for the perfect follow-up to The Lemon Tape, a set of tie-dye janglers that run the gamut from sun-streaked to overcast, bringing all the greats to mind without ever sounding like a knockoff of anything specific. Replete with full arrangements (including some nice sections of woodwinds), this is simply an excellent debut, finally 100% grip-able in the vinyl format after months of preparation.
Over its 12-year lifespan, Richard Chartier’s LINE imprint has documented the outer fringes of extreme sonic minimalism. Chartier treats us to the tonal ambience of a room, to rough-textured “convolution processes,” and on one occasion to the sound of on old 1960s East German advert music synth. His curation is clear and his musical contribution uniquely original.
Yet listening to Chartier’s forthcoming album, Recurrence, on laptop speakers, iPod headphones, or this is unbearably dull. Only with a pair of bulging headphones or bass-heavy speakers does this microsonic piece develop its tense and arresting magic. The bass weight drags in a bizarre, ear-popping way, and the phone-off-the-hook ringing hangs eerily in dead air. Chartier has captured quietness in a disturbingly controlled way. Listen to Recurrence’s first track here:
Recurrence is out in November on LINE.