Diamond Terrifier & Kirin J Callinan

As a musical tool, extended technique is intended to alter people’s perceptions of what certain instruments can do. While the exploitation of various instruments’ structural anomalies has produced highly idiomatic and innovative works such as Penderecki’s ubiquitous Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, these techniques have started to become slightly clichéd and almost commonplace in many branches of the experimental music world. At this point, it seems that the “true” vanguard of instrumental performance/writing largely comes from the performer’s/composer’s ability to combine extended technique with a healthy does of electronics and non-“academic” musical language in order to create something truly new.

Luckily, Diamond Terrifier (a.k.a Sam Hillmer of ZS) is just such a performer. More so than any of his fellow virtuosic sax-wielding peers, Hillmer is capable of turning his instrument of choice into something truly unrecognizable. Hillmer recently collaborated at CMJ with goth-pop crooner Kirin J. Callinan and the two produced some instrument-/genre-defying results in the process. At first, Callinan might seem to be a bit of an odd choice as a collaborator for Hillmer, but the way he subverts his usual style acts a foil to Hillmer’s subversion of his instrument. As a result, they manage to seamlessly meld their sounds together in an improvisation that delights not only in sheer blasts of noise, but also in the the melodies and hidden similarities within that noise.

Stay tuned for news about Diamond Terrifier’s new solo album The Subtle Body Wears A Shadow, and check out this collaboration between him and Kirin J. Callinan (who are playing together tomorrow at The Bowery Electric), courtesy of Terrible Records:

• Diamond Terrifier: http://www.diamondterrifier.com
• Kirin J. Callinan: http://www.kirinjcallinan.bandcamp.com
• Terrible Records: http://www.terriblerecordsus.com


“T.U.” (feat. Audio Push, Problem, Hit-Boy, & Juicy J)

Hit-Boy’s latest track is further proof that the California producer/rapper is incapable of unleashing anything less than Sarlacc-sized earworms. Then again, seeing as how this is the dude behind “Niggas in Paris,” “Goldie,” and “Backstreet Freestyle,” you wouldn’t expect anything less. At first, with its barebone beat and four-note groove, “T.U.” sounds like the cockier cousin of an artifact from the days of snap music (Side note: What are D4L doing with their lives now? Did “Laffy Taffy” ever get them any royalties from Willy Wonka?). But, as usual, Hit-Boy refreshes the model: occasional bursts of brass liven up the minimal landscape, eventually overshadowed by the frightening, blood-curdling screams that comprise the central hook. Guests Audio Push, Problem, and Juicy J all show up to pay their respects to Bacchus, epitomized in a dope(y) refrain (“I’m fuck as drunk/ Wait, I’m drunk as fuck”) that will soon, inevitably, be heard in frat parties across the country. It may not have the goofy grandeur of his greatest hits, but with its array of featured guests and quirky samples, “T.U.” manages to impress nonetheless.

• Hit-Boy: http://houseofhit.com

Palm Highway Chase

“Desert Driver”

Some of the more interesting aspects of hypnagogic pop are the questions that the artists implicitly ask with their music. In many cases, these questions take the form of “what if” statements that ask what would happen if a particular musical fad or style was carried to its logical extreme and modernized. For example, the new single “Desert Driver” by Palm Highway Chase seems to be asking “What if the 80s film soundtracks of Vangelis, John Carpenter, and other like-minded composers were written for a film that only existed in the listener’s head?” Given the band’s history for penning soundtracks to imaginary Rocky films, the question isn’t too far off. Couple this with the Escape From New York-referencing artwork on the track’s SoundCloud page and things get interesting.

When listening to “Desert Driver,” I’m reminded of Olivia Tremor Control’s Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle; not in sound, but in intention. With this work, Palm Highway Chase take the “what if” notions that underlie their aesthetic and force the listener to participate in filling out the “unrealized film script” of their personal Escape From New York. Of course, their direct references to existent works highlight the oft-discussed role of memory in hypnagogic pop, which results in the end musical product being “new collective memories that incorporate parts of the old model but at the same time [shaped] into an entirely new creature.

Palm Highway Chase’s debut record will be out sometime in the coming months via Spectrum Spools. Listen to “Desert Driver” below:

• Palm Highway Chase: http://www.palmhighwaychase.bandcamp.com
• Spectrum Spools: http://www.editionsmego.com/releases/spectrum-spools

Cory Allen

The Great Order

Every time I hear one of Cory Allen’s releases, I’m always amazed that he’s not more of a household name among drone/electronica lovers. For years, he’s been releasing wonderful drone-based works on his excellentQuiet Design label, and like many of the more well-known artists that his label’s released (among them Duane Pitre, Sebastien Roux, and Alvin Lucier), his releases have frequently struck an admirable balance between academic technique and emotional resonance. His newest release, The Great Order, follows in this tradition with the unique exception of being Allen’s first release to feature exclusively acoustic instruments (all recorded live in the studio, no less). Allen created a self-organizing structure/set of rules to guide these two side-long pieces in order to achieve a near homogeneous deep-listening-esque soundworld with his ensemble. The results are pretty gorgeous and vaguely reminiscent of Duane Pitre’s latest work with its seamlessly staggered entrances and robust harmonies seemingly based off of the harmonic series. It’s an impressively ambitious composition that shows off a whole new side of Allen’s aesthetic and will hopefully nudge him further into the vocabulary of drone lovers everywhere.

The Great Order is out now via Quiet Design and you can stream excerpts of the album below.

• Cory Allen: http://www.cory-allen.com
• Quiet Design: http://www.quietdesign.us

Feast of Violet

Platform [EP]

There is some serious Black Dice noise swells underneath these beats, but it’s like Black Dice if you want to fall asleep instead of violently melt everything you see. And it has some real crunch to it for sounding so big. Like tape music breaking through its own decibel barriers, out into that wide open mist of slow-moving synths and soft drums. It’s weird to say judging by the airiness of the beat, but I think those drums might be the only thing holding this thing down to Earth.

Feast of Violet is the project of Lotus Plaza keyboardist Allen Taylor, and it really follows in the trend of Atlanta bands sounding much bigger than the sum of its parts.

Listen to the Platform EP below, or buy it for however much you damn well please over at the Bandcamp page.

• Feast of Violet: http://http://feastofviolet.bandcamp.com/

Jerusalem in My Heart

“Koll lil-mali7ati fi al-khimar al-aswadi”

Raising up the basket to outstretched arms in a crowd within a crowd, the newborn is cast out covered in blankets, as hands gently take and pass along the vessel of comfort. Anointed with glee, the baby laughs as it rocks along, heading toward a continuous crowd. Tears of joy drench the hands passing along the basket, and marks of fingers and palms adorn its sides. Children and smaller participants within the crowed fling handfuls of Nymphaea petals into the air, raining down white upon part of the crowd carrying the infant, some landing in the basket, which are handled by tiny, fat, wrinkled hands. The baby caresses its nose unknowingly with a petal and giggles louder, followed by shouts and cries of joy within the crowd.

Twenty feet between one part of the crowd and the other is a flowing river in which hands gracefully place this basket in to cast it off. Drips of water lightly mist, spray, and splash upon the infant, and its laughing face quickly scrunches into crying. The crowd of crowds in crowds becomes breathtakingly silent, echoing cries and running water. Before reaching the other side, the basket stretches itself over a hump of water and dips vertically down and out of sight. The crowds gasp in sync. And as quickly as the newborn was stricken from vision, the basket launches itself out of the water and into the hands of the crowd on the other side in furious yells and cheers of joy. The baby composes itself and folds the blanket over its body with one hand and sucks the thumb of the other, drifting to sleep in a sea of Nymphaea petals that continuously rain down.

Jerusalem in My Heart’s Mo7it Al-Mo7it is out March 19 on Constellation Records.

• Jerusalem in My Heart: http://jerusaleminmyheart.com
• Constellation Records: http://cstrecords.com


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.