Keith Fullerton Whitman
“Automatic Drums with Melody”
Last we heard from Keith Fullerton Whitman (known to Google as Keith Fullertom Whitman), he posted 12 hours of his Greatest Hits for free on SoundCloud, a massive proto-vaporwave/-eccojam experiment to combat insomnia through “time-/gain-based processes.” However, his latest release, a split 12-inch with Belgian artist Floris Vanhoof, sees KFW wielding an analog synth for a more accessible, beat-driven approach.
Electronic dance isn’t completely unprecedented for KFW, but the sort of wide-eyed, linear exploration on “Automatic Drums with Melody” has a more compressed range that’s not exactly suited for the dance floor, a reflection of both his gear and his minimalist approach to this split. And, in contrast to some of his more aggressive or subdued pieces, it’s also tonally light-hearted, dealing less with timbre and more with rhythm. It’s not until toward the end of the track when noise slowly creeps into the mix, overtaking the rhythmic trajectory and pushing the track into a less temporally-dependent field. The moment is brief, and is best thought of as a way to extinguish the pulse rather than enact its own narrative purpose, but it’s an area in which KFW is clearly comfortable with his synthetic experiments.
You can hear the rest of KFW’s split with Floris Vanhoof on June 1, courtesy of Shelter Press (one of C Monster’s favorite labels!), a Paris-/Brussels-based publishing company founded in 2011 by graphic designer/publisher Bartolomé Sanson and TMT favorite Felicia Atkinson/Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier. The 38-minute, 5-track split will be pressed onto 180g vinyl with silkscreened artwork by Hannah Giese, in an edition of 400. Get on it.
Enter a post-apocalyptic world where shred is the only currency. Gangs of 15-27 year-olds in tattered black tees prowl the ruins seeking entertainment, and only displays of two-hand tapping or intricate 32nd-note riffery can appease them. Colin Marston, Neo New York’s chancellor of shred (which puts him on the shortlist for the chancellorship worldwide), stands atop a fortress cobbled together from fretboard wood and scrap metal in the center of Queens, gazing upon all that is his. His acolytes mosh reverently beneath him, awaiting the next event on the nightly performance schedule. 9PM: Dysrhythmia. 10PM: Gorguts. 11PM: Mick Barr solo set. Midnight: the Krallice ritual. At 2AM, Weasel Walter emerges from the fortress and the marauders Behold… The Arctopus. The mob eventually disperses, but Marston can’t stop. His tremolo picking alone maintains this society. What was once the Warr Guitar has become the War Guitar. He who was once the Mastering Engineer has become the Master.
As if Colin Marston’s four bands and production duties at his Menegroth The Thousand Caves studio can’t keep him busy enough, he casually dropped the second album by his solo project Indricothere just recently. II finds Marston cramming his blackened prog-/death-/omni-metal compositions with interlocking riffs and programmed drums fast enough to follow his light-speed leads. Stream it on Bandcamp, and keep an eye out for the vinyl edition on Gilead Media sometime soon.
• Gilead Media: http://www.gileadmedia.net
Sunday School 2
So, that TREE mixtape I’ve been hyping up finally dropped today. How is it? I tried to get Mr P to let me declare an official one-week moratorium on rap music. As in, no more hip-hop in the Chocolate Grinder section until May 22. He won’t let me do it, OFFICIALLY. That being said, I don’t care if Detox drops tomorrow — I won’t be listening to anything but Sunday School II for at least a week. A formal review will follow this informal moratorium.
Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk
The first single from the upcoming Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk full-length is called “Saturday,” but I’ve been enjoying it as a kind of after-work-on-Tuesday anthem. After the high-toned swells of their incredible 2008 album, Eek Shriek Beak, the band slowly slid into the lower end of towering noise with a handful of cassette releases and their second full-length effort, Skeletor & Me, released on Brooklyn’s Fire Talk in 2010. With “Saturday” from their upcoming second effort on Fire Talk, BBDDM has settled on a kind of middle ground between the substantially different sounds of those first two albums. The guitar and drum structure of their earlier material lie the groundwork from which the towering wall of effected noise from recent material can swell, and yet the space between the two different BBDDM eras is seamless. Only BBDDM can make such grandiose noise sound so calm and beautiful. It’s the sound of years and years of experience and experimentation in house-show basements throughout America reaching an answer.
Listen to “Saturday” below and look for the upcoming full-length, Think Tone, on Fire Talk on July 9 — although, you may want to get on top of the pre-order now, because only 300 copies are being released between vinyl and cassette.
“Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”
This nonsense is outta hand. I can’t take it. Maybe “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” is the first time I hate song-title allegorical ties to the popularity of a track. Insanely enough, I want to kill Kendrick Lamar’s vibe, just because it’s s’ohhhh October 22 of last year. Like when people were still listening to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy that next summer, but it only reminded everyone of the fall that year before, and it was just fucked and weird. And now that same depressive ghost lives through Lamar. It feels dense and unavoidable. Like flipping through the stations and it’s on three of them; two playing exactly at the same time, the other playing the Jay-Z cash-out remix version. Sometimes C likes to pee alone.
zcamp, kill my vibe:
Okay, okay. I know Kendrick Lamar’s videos have a tendency towards the melodramatic. That free-fall in the “Swimming Pools” video was pretty over-the-top (although the Dumbo-esque ear jiggling helped to break the tension a bit). And although there’s something dark to be enjoyed in the Romeo + Juliet theatrics of “Poetic Justice,” you can’t help but wish that the guy could cut off the smoke machines for a while. Thankfully, there are no smoke machines in the “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” video, no wistful glances offscreen, no high-strung histrionics. The proceedings may revolve around a funeral, but what a -FUN-eral it is! The self-referential jokes, the over-saturated palette, the exaggerated limousine party scenes: it all marks a goofy digression from Lamar’s typical sensibilities, one that almost appears too good to be true. But then we get that twist at the end, and you can’t help but feel unsettled, that all of the smiles and optimism were little more than an MDMA mask, covering the painful truth. And in that sense, “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” works — a “gotcha” game lurking beneath the appealing aesthetics.