“Mother Nature’s Promise”
To the uninitiated, Ashley Eriksson might be best known as the composer/voice behind Adventure Time’s gloriously ramshackle theme song (a.k.a “Christmas Island” by her other band LAKE). Despite the fragmented context that “Christmas Island” appears in during Adventure Time’s credits, the song is able to instantly create a distinct mood of alternately wistful nostalgia and joyfully innocent exuberance.
Eriksson’s ability to instantly evoke mood is prominently on display throughout her excellent forthcoming album Colours. It’s a delightful record of lo-fi chamber pop; the arrangements are inventive yet understated; and that magic K Records sheen permeates the production aesthetic. Throughout the album, Eriksson’s lyrics and vocals manage to maintain a similar sense of reassurance and melancholy that her most well-known song captures so well.
One of Colours’ many highlights is the the track “Mother Nature’s Promise,” which sounds a lot like something right off of Arthur Russell’s Calling Out of Context on record. However, in her new video series,”Ashley Eriksson’s Colours Olympia” (where Eriksson performs her songs on various pianos around Olympia, WA), Eriksson reduces this tune to a simple voice/piano number, and it proves to be just as effective as the recorded version. Like the appropriation of “Christmas Island” in Adventure Time, this reduction/reinterpretation of Eriksson’s music proves that her songs can immediately conjure mood and emotion regardless of their context and/or arrangement. Check out the video for “Mother Nature’s Promise” here:
Colours is out on July 16, but you can purchase a copy now via K Records.
100% Percent Gutta
All off the top of my head: I’m losing hair faster than Lil B is putting out mixtapes these days. But this one be 100% Percent Gutta, lil bruhh. And let Lil B give you food for thought: “I know. Okay. You feel me?” Now, has Lil B reached the point of meta-identity crisis? To quote him again, “Whodie cumin up: SKI MASK UP.” I mean, it’s not like he covering himself or nothing, because BasedGod shines through errything. Just, maybe he’s beginning to lack more in humor during his verses, saving the best lines for the chorus. I remember repeating his random lines over and over because of their rarity and hilarity, but these days, I feel like I’m repeating verse lines that are either like “Shouts out to….” or “Ima tell ya bout….,” where I now feel like the most repeatable humor in his music is strictly his lyrics. What I’m trying to say is that the humor of Lil B is what everyone enjoys about him and tries to transcend, but when he’s all ate up… HAH - “Live Thru Me” …thank YOU!
OMG NO!! @”4 Me” Holy shitttt. Fucking GAME CHANGER. B’s still at his best with ear-bleeding beats like “RIP My Dreahead” or “Fuck My Bitch,” but maybe his next mixtape should be either all cover tracks or spoken word with some fucked-out beats backing him up. Or soundscapes maybe? Lil B had been away for awhile, and I was thinking there would be some heavy reinvention, but there isn’t as much as I was anticipating. I think he’s gotta build up an entirely new lore for himself. Tiny shirt, Bitch Mob, pink bandanna is all jood, but it seems like something should replace them. He’s got the blueprint; just switch it up. All I’m saying is this rumored White Flame 2.0 better bring an entirely reformed BasedGod to the plate. The original White Flame brought an entirely new nature of Lil B’s humor and avant-garde ways and “weird” to his schtick, and I’m STARVING for that again. In the meantime, scour 100% Percent Gutta for the Lil B funnies, and ignore everything that comprises Yeezus. Like, immediately.
The Trap's Jaw
“this is all i want”
In the cut-throat industry of music criticism, “two hours of randomly generated music” is often used as a euphemism for “ginormous wad of nauseating sonic bile.” However, Michelle Arf has defied this narrow mindedness to produce two hours of randomly generated music that glimmers with airy piano and long Bieber drones (thanks to the indefatigable paul stretch). This surprisingly listenable experiment manages to sound poignant while avoiding the trap of boring old futility, like William Basinski but without all that pesky repetition.
• The Trap’s Jaw: http://contain.bandcamp.com/music
Oh, Yoko (Celer + Rie Mitsutake)
Will Long, the ambient wellspring behind Celer’s many gentle streams of consciousness, is forming a fresh estuary with Japanese vocalist Rie Mitsutake. Placid as can be, their single “Seashore” marks the debut of a duo they’re calling Oh, Yoko. The A-side mix sounds like Ai Aso’s gorgeous Land album meeting Julia Holter and Tomoyoshi Date in a cozy, creaky room. The instrumental “version two” on the flip provides an even warmer reiteration, while DJ Sprinkles’ “Ambient Ballroom” remix adds a little techno to the ambiance (and, somewhat inscrutably, a dubbed-out sample of young Gil Scott-Heron’s controversial “The Subject Was Faggots”). A viable fount for contemplation, all around.
“Kinfolk” (Prod. by Tynethys)
Cloud rap, meet electronica. Main Attrakionz, the Oakland duo that almost single-handedly proved cloud rap was a “thing,” is preparing to release a collaborative album with Sacramento producer Tynethys this summer. The two Californians’ respective styles mesh well, judging from the sound of “Kinfolk,” the first single from the as-yet untitled LP. Ominous piano and operatic vocal samples give heft to a clacking beat, while rappers Mondre M.A.N. and Squadda B. deliver their typical stoner spitting. The video’s faded lavender tones (or is it sepia? I don’t know, you should ask Sherman Williams to double check that), coupled with its layered editing approach, combine to create a hazy ambience that helps to make up for the fact that this is, by all other standards, a standard performance video. Next time, I’d like to see them playing mini golf — and keep the filter.
Diamond Black Hearted Boy
Father, Protect Me
OMFG, I finally just finished season three of Game of Thrones! Holy moly, guys, I mean, I almost cried. Even though my second-favorite character is dead, at least I can click all those spoiler alert posts on Reddit! This Diamond Black Hearted Boy release kinda reminds me of GoT. Maybe it’s the baller king garb he’s sporting on the cover, or maybe it’s the fact that whenever you get comfortable with any particular theme or character, it dies horribly and is replaced by a bewildering new plotline or villainous element. The music itself is like a mix between early Hype Williams’ improv aesthetic and Arca’s dark, abstract take on rap, but any possible influences here may just as well be coincidental: this music is aggressively original and quite different from anything you’ve ever heard before.
Buy this blindingly different release from Steak Au Zoo