“18+ for 89+”
After cracking the top 10 of our Favorite 50 Albums of 2013 list with MIXTAP3, 18+ are kicking off 2014 with a new/awesome promotional video. The video is titled “18+ for 89+” and features an excerpt of a new track, with Boy and Sis (shown at the beginning of the video) singing atop a minimal, start-stop beat sequence and jagged samples. And, of course, it’s incredible.
Not sure what the song’s called, but the video’s title refers to the duo’s upcoming performance at an event by 89plus, an international project designed to showcase emerging artists, musicians, activists, and writers born during or after 1989. Its latest event is called 89plus Americas Marathon and will be hosted by Zona Maco, Mexico City’s annual contemporary art fair. Apparently, the whole event, taking place on Saturday, will be streaming live, so please consider sitting at your computer from 11 AM - 11 PM (EST) as you await 18+’s performance.
• 18+: http://eighteenpl.us
E+E, a.k.a. Elijah Paul Crampton, has just unveiled a new track, “Moth,” the first since his recently released, fantastic debut, THE LIGHT THAT YOU GAVE ME TO SEE YOU. The song, a voluptuous three-minute track of dramatic swells and heart-wrenching harmonies, features Crampton-penned lyrics spoken by Money Allah. As usual with E+E’s work, the song is ridiculously over-the-top, adopting a sort of big-box aesthetic designed to manipulate feelings and uncomfortably stir emotions. But it doesn’t matter: this is a reflection of our own histories, suffocated yet simultaneously opened wide by harmony’s totalizing, hegemonic nature.
The result? A clown, hunched over, tired of his own act.
“Moth” is a demo for a new work called Shenandoah, expected to be released sometime this year.
• E+E: https://soundcloud.com/eande
Prince Metropolis Known
“Popular (Thank You Kool Keith)”
The direct homage to one’s influences seems to be emerging as a trend in hip-hop of late. Of course, MCs have always given proper respect and acknowledgement to their forebearers — this is nothing new — but what is new is the practice of dedicating an entire song to said forebearer, and even mentioning him by name in the tribute track title. It popped off recently, albeit in a roundabout kind of way, when J. Cole put out “Let Nas Down.” Ironically, Nas may have actually started the practice back in 2004 with “The Unauthorized Biography of Rakim." Regardless of whether Nas, J. Cole, or pure coincidence is to blame, this week alone, I received e-mails about two new tribute tracks: "RZA" by Tha Connection’s Hus Kingpin and this “Popular (Thank You Kool Keith)” by frequent Keith collaborator Prince Metropolis Unknown a.k.a. Metropolis.
It doesn’t take more than a bar or two to hear the influence of Keith Thornton on Metropolis, and in case you didn’t know, this song’s title and chorus both reference the Ultramagnetic MCs’ 1992 classic “Poppa Large.” What really appeals to me about Metropolis here and elsewhere is how much he sounds like Diddy at times, not in lyrical content of course, but in tone and delivery. Thus, when I listen to Metropolis, I get to picture Sean Combs spitting lines like, “I’m with your mother eating Wheaties/ Reading about Tuskegee in Tahiti” or “I might ask to eat your children/ I thrive on stillborns,” which makes lines like these all the more absurd.
If you’re into that sort of thing, stream “Popular (Thank You Kool Keith)” below and look out for Prince Metropolis Known’s War Against Music mixtape, dropping today.
Chic, subaquatic, butter, diving; a few emergent themes floating around the atmosphere of Gaza Tech’s Transparency. As I swim around the nearly 10-minute turquoise dream, it seems I have no need for breathing. Reality is irrelevant, a fading characterization of an otherwise seamless transcendence bubbling upwards to surface. Above, plankton shimmering in the sunlight remind me that I’m losing opacity. It’s a nice feeling.
Transparency is fathoms deep. Gaza Strip’s SoundCloud page says he’s from Brooklyn. His name also seems to be Jiovanni Nadal. That’s all you really need to know. Press play and you’ll figure out the rest:
• Gaza Tech: https://soundcloud.com/jiovanni-nadal
Black Dirt Oak
The needle lands on the vinyl surface of Wawayanda Patent, and the room appears in your mind’s eye. Black Dirt Studio sits empty, the sunlight still caught in the west-facing window, while an array of strings, drums, bells, and wooden bodies waits in expectant silence. In time-lapse, each performer appears in the space before your eyes, channeling the experience of unnumbered past collaborations into a new chimera: heart of Pelt, head of Gunn, neck of NNCK, legs of Rhyton, wings of Pigeons. To enumerate the personnel is to miss the point. Ensembles cohere within the crowded roster to carry out one-to-eight-minute missions, overlapping their expertise into dense exercises of American Primitive/folk/psych/rock/drone improvisation. One collective intuition pours tones, ideas, and traditions into the board, and Black Dirt honcho Jason Meagher documents the resultant sessions for infinite porches and bonfires of grinning posterity.
The nine tracks of Wawayanda Patent share strategies: pick a key, populate the posse, and head into the room with high expectations. There’s enough time and space here to accommodate more sounds than seemingly possible. “Demon Directive” slinks across the forest floor to the sounds of bass, slapped polyrhythms, and sax skronk. “From The Jaguar Priest” ropes every tendril it can into a wreath of banjo, synth, and funereal vocalization. Album closer “Crowning the Bard” blurs the plucking of strings into a textured hum that airs its crystalline facets as other players cast their lines into the haze. Who calls the sessions to an end? No one does; they don’t end. Evidence still lingers of the whistled voices that filled the space — etched into the studio’s wood deeper than wax grooves.
Stream the entirety of Wawayanda Patent below. You can order one of the 500 physical copies or the digital files from MIE Music below:
One of my favorite things about Carla Bozulich is her ability to so beautifully deconstruct and then reassemble various strains of roots music into something that feels both completely alien and inextricably connected to the work from which it draws influence. Her previous solo albums, Red Headed Stranger and Evangelista, were prime examples of this, with the former modernizing Willie Nelson’s classic work, and the latter reducing the minimal harmonic movement of blues/gospel songs into haunting drones augmented by Bozulich’s fervent vocals. Bozulich’s more recent albums with her band Evangelista still explored the art of deconstruction, but that project often seemed more focused on delightfully cathartic eclecticism in comparison to the focus of her solo work.
Bozulich’s forthcoming album, Boy, is another excellent foray into the realm of the deconstructed song, but where Evangelista focused on creating drone-based soundscapes out of the remnants of song forms, Boy focuses on generating hypnotic grooves that subtly allow melodies to drift off into weirder territories at any moment. “Lazy Crossbones” is a particularly great example of Boy’s aesthetic. The track is reminiscent of the more rhythmic moments on Talk Talk’s later records, and like those albums, “Lazy Crossbones” embeds its formal deconstruction into the song structure itself. On the surface, “Lazy Crossbones” may seem fairly straightforward, but listen closely and you can hear Bozulich’s consistently incredible voice being used as a catalyst for the song to be taken into new sonic territories. It’s a great example of how Bozulich’s ability to re-contextualize has grown even more streamlined and synthesized with her recent work.
Boy will be out March 4 via Constellation. Listen to “Lazy Crossbones” below: