Talibam! with Yasunao Tone and Sam Kulik
Launch Pad #5 (Kanye West’s Yeezus)

Regardless of your feelings about Yeezus, one thing that’s objectively apparent about the record is that the whole album (and especially its first half) is mastered and mixed well into the red, with an emphasis on amplifying both the high and the low ends in the mix. Such mixing tactics, from a purely physiological level, make Kanye West’s music abrasive when played at high volumes or listened to for a long period of time. Even though Yeezus finds West experimenting with musically noisier textures as well, this relationship to the psychoacoustic effects of frequency and timbre is explored even further with episode 5 of Talibam’s Launch Pad series; here, the noisier aspects of West’s music are pushed to their disgustingly logical extremes by Talibam!, Sam Kulik and legendary Japanese Fluxus artist Yasunao Tone.

The trio use the first third of Yeezus as the catalyst for their collaboration, and the results present a magical alternate universe where the implicit use of frequency and volume in West’s music become explicit. Opener “Bon Zaite!” (oh yeah, puns abound with these titles) is perhaps the most overtly bombastic illustration of this, with Kulik’s absolutely guttural trombone and Tone’s piercing glitches threatening to swallow the track whole. However, the duo still leave room for West’s verses to cut through, which nicely draws a direct line to the source material. “I AM A SCROD” is another major highlight that nearly approaches prettiness while also thoroughly deconstructing “I Am A God’s” production. The idea of deconstruction is key to this material; listen to the original Yeezus tracks after listening to the Talibam! session, and it becomes apparent that these artists picked certain sonic elements of the original tracks and chose to highlight them by distorting them. The attention to frequency on “Bon Zaite!” mimics and warps the synthesizers on the original track; the rhythmic glitches on “FRACK S{PIN BREAD” subverts the pounding drums of “Black Skinhead;” and similarly the debased kalimba(?) and electronics of “I AM A SCROD” beautifully perverts the sounds of “I Am A God.” Umm, time for a full-album remix, guys?

You can listen to the Launch Pad session below:

• Talibam: http://www.talibam.bandcamp.com
• Sam Kulik: http://www.samkulik.com

Chocolate Grinder

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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