ultraviolet / somethingness
Japanese bedroom savant ventla is back at it, having released two free new albums in the past week: somethingness and ultraviolet. These are the 24th and 25th installments of a planned 100 that began in July 2011, incrementally advancing ventla’s ongoing “fuck you” to the distractibility of big-mouthed woulda-beens like Sufjan Stevens. Welcome to the bleeding edge of today’s serialized pop, everybody. (“Fuck you” implicit, and dubiously inferred.)
Often associated with vaporware by sheer dint of his fantastic fansubbed last words, ventla has little to do with those sample-wholesale sounds: a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and master of analog home recording, he explores a creative process more akin to an R. Stevie Moore, a Chris Knox, or an Ariel Pink of yore.
ultraviolet is perhaps the more robust offering, but my favorite track of the crop stems from somethingness. Like many of ventla’s songs, “ushihama” borrows its name from one of the suburban train stations in his fair city Tokyo. And indeed, the quaint marimba melody, sunstroked guitar, and low drums sound like an old 16-bit master composing a podunk theme between swigs of Francis Bebey or some other Ghanain homebrew from the 70s.
• ventla: http://ventla.tumblr.com
Night Beats are back with Sonic Boom, their first full-length LP since dropping their self-titled debut two years ago. Judging from the sound of “Outta Mind,” it’s business as usual for the Seattle trio — sun-drenched grooves that sizzle like the summer of 69. It couldn’t be more obvious that these guys love their Nuggets box sets: the dense, reverb-soaked riffs and echoey vocals recall the likes of Love and the Quicksilver Messenger Service. And yet, for all its throwback appeal, “Outta Mind” doesn’t feel like a cheap knock-off, but rather, a modern mash-up of grunge, garage, and soul, topped off with a drone-y varnish. If you find the extended freakouts of Thee Oh Sees to be a bit taxing, this two-and-a-half-minute scuzz storm should be just the thing: cacophonous and concise. Oh, and just in case you psych snobs need more convincing: Sonic Boom is being released by the Reverberation Appreciation Society (best known as the Austin Psych Fest’s record label), in conjunction with good ol’ Burger Records. Can’t wait to hear the finished product come September.
Sonic Boom hits shelves September 24 on vinyl, CD, digital download, and cassette.
There’s so much going on in FKA twigs’ Arca-produced “Water Me.” That’s someone biting an apple there, I swear it. And the glitch-shit is really feeling the weight of these lyrics too. It’s officially already being whistled by me to the bathroom. But everyone everywhere is talking about this track, right? The FADER gives you all the buy-buy-marketing-buy. Pitchfork claims it. But all I’m saying is just enjoy the track. Nobody reads about music. They listen to “Water Me” by FKA twigs. So get that shit wrapped around your mind grapes.
EP2 is out September 9 on Young Turks.
Plankton Wat / Expo '70
“Faded Postcards” b/w “Subtle Afterthoughts”
The Split: That Holy Thing, That Moment that would not have happened, would not have existed, had a label not realized that it could be That Holy Thing, or had the artists themselves not capitalized on such an opportunity and seized That Holy Thing by the scruff of its neck and droned the fuck out of it to pump out A Classic. It’s like a collaboration, but it’s really more than that. Two sides of a disc, separated by miles of geography and united by telepathic proximity. Yes, this is just a record, and yes these are two different people doing two different pieces of music, divided from one another — but that was before. “Split” describes a previous, past separation, but now, this is One. And so The Split, we realize, is actually not entirely split. It is The One. And perhaps it is better described as both — in terms of disparate styles, takes, approaches, and also as The Singularity, The Goal, The Ends that it most certainly is. This is The Split.
This example between Plankton Wat’s Dewey Mahood and Expo ‘70’s Justin Wright in particular plays into the paradoxical simultaneity of The Split better than others I’ve encountered of late. A glowing warmth / A frigid chill — environment. A crawl / A glide — movement. A collective ensemble / A solitary confinement — performance. “Faded Photographs” / “Subtle Afterthoughts” — an image. Mahood playing into an arranged band format with the lazy lope of drums and bass, long strides and deep breaths. It is a night drive, sadly serenaded by sharp electric guitar, trudging its way around a minor mode. Expo ‘70, Justin Wright, extending a drone out into the air like a limb or tree branch, a dead harmony discovering its life, softly breathing in and out, generating its own heat for survival against surrounding cold, as the bells of a clock tower chime the passing hours.
The two are brought together in sound and vision by Debacle Records’ Sam Melancon for what must be a wholly enveloping 12-inch experience, an experience that may be pre-ordered directly from the label as of today.
• Plankton Wat: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Plankton-Wat/147779105282709
• Expo ‘70: http://www.exposeventy.com
• Debacle Records: http://debaclerecords.com
I’m so happy for all of the noisiness permeating the otherwise approachable walls of beat music of all sorts. Some of the specific subgenres were only created because of this intrusion, but something like Yeezus? Where did that come from? And then there is this new Heartbeat(s) track, “Somewhere Between,” which slaps on every nondescript tag from “house” to “techno” to simply “bass” and yet has this strange, dark, and distorted center to it, which only rears its head when everything recognizable about the track drops. House tracks always make me picture where it would be played, from grimy basement clubs to rooftop dance parties, but this track falls somewhere between the two, maybe in the middle of the labyrinth of alleyways where no one can ever get to, but instead must settle for the reverberations of bass bouncing between the wet walls and the minimal vocals that are too clouded to comprehend by the time they climb their way up the alley walls and through the layers of low-hanging smog.
Heartbeat(s)’s Home Remedies is available now from 1080p and will hopefully show up again near the end of the year when everyone begins compiling their 2013 lists. Don’t miss it.
Slow roll from out his mouth and into your ears, Jeremiah Jae getting you high off them wooze-bob vibes. Too cute for experimentalism. Too much mind-muck to scoop out on the radio. Jeremiah Jae presents the appropriately named Bad Jokes. There’s some of that wet money roll. Blasted out woofer beats. Fuck you jazz flute. He’ll strangle you blue in the face with rhymes and “Nahh.”
Boi been poppin’ and hoppin’ since 2009, but went hard last year, with two guest vox and production works on Duality, a mixtape with Azizi Gibson, and debut album Raw Money Raps. It’s all that post-haze/-cloud rap stuff, so fair warning to haters. But he’s definitely your A.M. sobriety’s fix until 5:30 rolls about and you’re sitting in smoke. Enjoy Bad Jokes by Jeremiah Jae and ride the mind-lick.
• Jeremiah Jae: https://soundcloud.com/jeremiahjae