Chocolate Grinder Mix 55
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My last Chocolate Grinder mix contained only songs that had the sound of a gun being cocked. I had fun making it, but it was horribly timed: the mix was published on the same day of the Dark Knight Rises shooting in Colorado. So, for this mix, I stayed away from overt violence and focused on something much simpler but no less thought-provoking: music whose aesthetic relies almost solely on Δpp®øp®¡▲†I☺Й.

One glance at the tracklist and you might already understand where this mix is coming from. With their satirical, copy-pasted names and song titles, many of these artists seem more concerned with reproducing over producing, sampling over composing, triggering over performing — or, at the very least, blurring these distinctions over reifying them. From VΞRACOM to spf5Ø and マイケル·ジョーダンLINCKOLN to ☯ARPEGGI8☯, these artists evoke a feeling of much-needed transience, an approach to music-making that has very little to do with pop art and more to do with an extra-sensorial plundering of the already-commodified and already-expired, released in small-batches and fleeting SoundCloud streams, a way to both extract from and add value to the past while also reviving the present-future — in other words, a way of destroying temporal constructions and foregrounding perception. Over time, all that’ll be left are a bunch of weird symbols rendered incorrectly by operating systems and weird music ready to be re-appropriated.

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:00] 情報デスクVIRTUAL - “(from Sacred Tapestry)”
[03:23] ☯ARPEGGI8☯ - “☾ ℳOONLIT ℬAY ☾”
[07:11] VΞRACOM - “Virtual Realm ID Number 4 Sunset-Bay”
[09:51] transmat思 い 出 - “私はあなたが時々私を覚えていることを願って”
[12:45] マイケル·ジョーダンLINCKOLN - “科学呼吸離婚”
[16:21] Macintosh Plus - “ブート”
[19:43] DJ/PURPLE/IMAGE - “THA MACK IS BACK”
[24:17] Oneohtrix Point Never - “I Only Have Eyes for You”
[31:26] Mediafired - “Cinderella’s Big Score”
[36:09] spf5Ø - “†ΞΞNΛ9Ξ D2ΞΛM”

Awaken!

Transcendation Activation: The Love Amplification Channel [album stream]

By far, the weirdest shit for which I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession this year is music by a dude named Jesse Rakusin, who lives in L.A. and records and performs under the moniker “Awaken!” (exclamation point absolutely included). I can’t even tell you how amazing it is to me that this stuff exists, but then again, maybe the blues are making some kind of a big comeback… in the form of oddly out-of-tune strumming, off-tempo drum accompaniments, over-the-top Morrison-esque baritone, and some hilariously radical guitar soloing. In all seriousness, though, Awaken! really can stray into cheek-biting territory, so prepare yourself, yeah, but hang in there. For the passion, the honesty, and the sincerity — that’d be enough to keep you coming back even without the sweet cosmic collage art that accompanies the CDs.

• Awaken!: http://awakeninadream.com

Datavis

“Blue and Amber Light”

Last week, we premiered a track from Forgotten Light, a.k.a. Leonce Nelson, co-founder of new tape label Hexagon. Today, we’re premiering another Hexagon track, this time from Datavis, a.k.a. Will Burnett of INTERNET CLUB and the label’s other founder. Both tracks are certainly serene, but Datavis’ “Blue and Amber Light” has a linear, forward momentum to it, with Burnett foregoing the samples that informed his earlier work (and his work as INTERNET CLUB) and now adopting a synth/tape-deck combo. It’s 22 minutes of foggy drone, suffocated ambience, and blanketed tones evincing a slow-motion, quiet descent to nowhere in particular. Which is how it should be. Check it out here:

“Blue and Amber Light” is off Distant Space, available now on cassette through Hexagon. Be sure to also listen to Datavis’ split with Forgotten Light, also on Hexagon, and stay tuned for more music from the label, including a release by Tanning Salon (Vektroid, Macintosh Plus, 情報デスクVIRTUAL) and a split between Forgotten Light and yet another Burnett project, ECCO UNLIMITED (who already released a fantastic album this year). Exciting!

• Datavis: http://datavis.bandcamp.com
• Hexagon: http://hexagonlabel.com
• INTERNET CLUB: http://internetclubdotcom.angelfire.com

Youthfall

“From Fallen Eyes”

Production quality is a weird thing. Some bands use it to draw links between the music they want to make and their decades-old influences. Some bands, financially speaking, have no choice but to record at a lower fidelity. And some bands use production quality as an effect, a conscious dynamic, an instrument in itself.

The production quality in “From Fallen Eyes,” the new track from London duo Youthfall, is like the Flatten Image option in Photoshop; it flattens all of the various layers into one, unified piece — in this case, wrapping all the layers of instrumentation in the same haze and pressing it down into one cloud-covered wall of sound. That overused term “dream pop” has never sounded so fitting.

Check it out below. It’s really quite pretty.

• Youthfall: http://soundcloud.com/youthfall

Ttotals

“Special A”

“Outer blues,” huh? Down. Nashville’s Ttotals (best band name ever?) is a duo that has been killing this scene of outer bluesmen for some time now (at least since 2009, when their Myspace was created… sigh, 2009…), not that I know exactly what that means or that many have known a damn thing about it. I guess it has something to do with a live tape on No Kings and a 3-inch on Kim Dawn, probably. (Oh, and there was a self-released LP on yellow vinyl, too.) Anyway, hopefully the release of a solid 10-inch record will change things. Check out this heavy sample from the forthcoming slab of wax, Silver on Black, with its super drowsy, brooding blues, some helicopter blade guitar delay, mile-deep drum tones, and some vintage Spaceman 3 spaciousness.

• Ttotals: http://ttotals.blogspot.com

TIGA BAKSO

RASUNA [album stream]

One of the only things explained about TIGA BAKSO by Vlek’s website is, “Tiga Bakso grew up in former East Germany, in a concrete cube.” This succinct statement paints a stark visual that reflects his music distinctly. The electronic music that this guy makes is so cold, so empty, so dark, so hard and coarse that it seems like he must still be in that concrete cube, pumping out haunting, architectural beats.

As of right now, you can download TIGA BAKSO’s new record Rasuna for free from SoundCloud, or you can name your price for a digital copy from Vlek on the label’s Bandcamp.

• TIGA BAKSO: http://soundcloud.com/vlek/sets/vlekd11-tiga-bakso-rasuna
• Vlek: http://vlek.tumblr.com/post/28692284812/vlekd11-tiga-bakso-rasuna

  

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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.