Living Room Visions Winter 2014
Where do I even begin? That’s the problem with writing about compilations. Especially when they are 50-tracks deep. I could go through the list of artists and mention the ones I’ve heard like luxury elite, Giant Claw, SAINT PEPSI, lockbox, and AyGeeTee, but then, for brevity’s sake, I’d be leaving out a bunch of the names I’ve heard of like Metallic Ghosts, Wakesleep, and Infinity Ghost. And that’s not to mention the other 41 names I’d be omitting like baseball cap, Cats in the Basement, and MEGA MASTER, among others. Every time I start to think I’m finally starting to catch up, batch releases, collaborations, or compilations like this happen, and I realize there is no end. The more you know, the less you realize you know. When internet storage space reaches infinity, I suppose that Faustian desire for unlimited knowledge will be at our fingertips, if only we had the time to eternally scour its depths.
Let’s see. Which track to embed here? I’m going to have to give it to Adderall Canyonly, based almost entirely on the name. I hope you didn’t have anything else you were planning on listening to today.
• SUNUP Recordings: http://sunuprecordings.bandcamp.com
The ever-illustrious Princess Nokia, formerly Wavy Spice, has declared her prominence in the NYC music scene through a tenaciously pompous swagger, exuding allure not only through her persona, but through a casually manifested musical adeptness. Her latest effort “Dragons,” exemplifies her unique artistic dexterity and exuberance by transitioning from her wonted (yet diamond) rapping abilities, instead employing a refreshing patience and care through her singing. Terrifically produced by NYC’s OWWWLS, “Dragons” begins with a quick drum and bass break beat, swiftly expanding while remaining primed for Nokia’s vocals to gently lay. The tasty combination is only complimented by its’ video which combines anime images from Dragon Ball to Winx Club with lovable footage of Princess Nokia and her sweetheart Wiki (of the very ill New York rap trio Ratking). Directed by Milah Libin and Arvid Logan, the video ends in a steamy, 40 oz shower scene; a bold cherry-on-top encapsulating the simple beauty of love, in its’ entirety. Definitely something to vibe to.
• Princess Nokia: https://soundcloud.com/wavy-spice
CDX, the fifth physical release by Les Cousins Dangereux (born Tim Thornton) invites you into a hermeneutic chamber of throwback acid techno — all strictly analog, all recorded live to cassette — and seals the pod bay doors behind you. In your tabula rasa world, newly bereft of historical context, Aphex Twin never made music, video games never existed, and Arrested Development never aired. Feeling liberated (✿◠‿◠), you load the tape into the chamber’s deck. Synth melodies, complex rhythmic grids, and propulsive song structures fly at you faster than you can process them. The tape airs its collage of hypnotizing major-key leads, slamming break beats, and noise-blasted effect manipulations as you sit cross-legged in the pod’s circular atrium. When one side ends, you flip the tape. When that side ends, you flip the tape. When that side ends, you flip the tape. Many moons pass.
Starved, desperate for sunlight, you crack through the pod’s glass and escape back into the world of 2014, still clutching CDX. Flooded again with memories of Analogue Bubblebath, Mega Man X, and the forbidden relationship between George Michael and Maebe, the tape in your hand makes less sense than it did before. You imagine its creator surrounded by synthesizers and drum machines, programming the album’s components in a basement studio somewhere near Cleveland. With the elements in place, he performs his compositions in bursts of extreme multi-tasking. You put the tape back in your deck at home and let it loop again, thinking fondly of your days in the pod.
CDX is physically available now from Thornton himself via his Bandcamp page. His remarkable music as Tiger Village, the exploratory synth / drone project that runs parallel to Les Cousins Dangereux, also demands your attention.
• Les Cousins Dangereux: https://soundcloud.com/lescousinsdangereux
Peering out the wilderness of Canada, ‘xela pops off at lounge-pace relaxation from the minds of Tigerwing x Barnaby Bennett. Which is opposite of what the teaser trailer made listeners think, however, it looks like the two took everything from ‘xela and smashed it into one entire one-minute bit:
In ‘xela, Tigerwing x Barnaby Bennett paint sound with colors used from the unknown, drawing upon vocal technique and collaged melodies to transgress both MC hoarding and mixer mania. There’s a LOT going down in ‘xela, but contrary to how that reads, Tigerwing x Barnaby Bennett stabilize their functions to please listener’s to ears. Most importantly, their plethora of sounds together do not sound like a struggle. Seamless doesn’t even correctly pinpoint their initiative here in collaboration. Though, the intent of this being a collaborative project is all the more valuable to their work together, considering the sheer amount of solo musicians who never reach out to jam with others; ‘xela is the shining example of why working together in music changes/progresses art.
So grip on this major rip ‘xela by Tigerwing x Barnaby Bennett below, and become relaxed as part of the journey unfolding:
“I Love You More” / “Whirlpool Girl”
A record that I’ve been pretty obsessed with recently is Rollin Hunt’s The Phoney (TMT Review). On that album, Hunt beautifully focuses on the minutia of everyday life and often renders it darkly humorous with lush arrangements that powerfully punctuate his wry observations. Even though Hunt’s songs on The Phoney are often subtly strange and sarcastic, the songwriter’s two new singles, “I Love You More” and “Whirlpool Girl” fully embrace these elements of his sound.
“I Love You More” is musically similar to the expansive arrangements on The Phoney, but Hunt’s manic vocal performance pushes the song into glorious Ween meets Mercury Rev territory as he croons and yelps the track’s alternately absurd/touching lyrics with equal parts sincerity and silliness.
Meanwhile, “Whirlpool Girl” (a collaboration with Aimee Goguen) is a delightfully goofy slice of bizarro synth pop that builds until it eventually collapses into hyper synth arpeggios. Where The Phoney often found ridiculousness in delicate moments, these two digital singles do the opposite and further illustrate the breadth of Hunt’s singular brand of pop.
• Rollin Hunt http://www.rollinhunt.com
“JAPAN 20 MIN WORKOUT”
As reported by the man himself, a 20 minute DJ Rashad mix from Japan has allegedly leaked. Though it’s totally unclear where, when, and why this heater of a mix comes from, its qualification as a “Japan Mix” is no wonder given the Teklife god’s heroic prominence there. The 20-minute mix seems to be part of a larger set of sorts, relishing any thirst for footwork divinity in a surefire means of body juicing. Followers of Rashad should recognize a few prime cuts popping up in the mix’s progression, though if your not keen on his juke wave, it’s never too late to get your feet wet, and ultimately vibrate uncontrollably. If you’re nice enough, you can catch DJ Rashad on the rest of his glorious international campaign here. Be sure to bring some clean Adidas. Stream DJ Rashad’s “JAPAN 20 MIN WORKOUT” mix below: