I’m on the train as I write this. I look down on the neighborhoods I pass over, which shift from yuppie-ish to middle-class to really not great, and I think that I’m not scared of any of these places, right? This is all part of my “home” or something, right? Like, in the big picture I mean. But I’m thinking now that maybe I’d be in deep over my head out there alone at night trying to find my way around in some places of the city, cutting through zones at once close to home and entirely foreign in the darkness, following the train tracks above my head or at my feet or waiting one more hour for a bus in the doorway of a closed church. It’s not about the people, in this case. It’s the character and atmosphere of the city itself. In a moment of vulnerability, I wonder if it’ll offer me its blessing or continue to obstruct my way home.
San Francisco residents Barn Owl (Jon Porras and Evan Caminiti) have tuned into the terror in the city landscape. In collaboration with filmmaker and projectionist Paul Clipson, they offer us six minutes of prismatic urban claustrophobia with their video for “Void Redux,” a track from their forthcoming album V (due April 16 from Thrill Jockey). A fixture of the San Francisco scene, Clipson has crafted stunning film accompaniments for some of the West Coast’s experimental elite, including Grouper, Gregg Kowalsky, Golden Retriever, and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. In “Void Redux,” he presents a kinetic montage of overlapping Super 8 footage filmed in Zagreb, Geneva, and Berlin. Clipson’s kaleidoscopic abstractions develop and multiply alongside Barn Owl’s layers of processed synths, guitars, and percussion until we turn left into the most glistening type of hallucination and rush dizzy down a series of more and more alien avenues.
18+ ft. Victor Tricard
Such hesitation comes in so small a subject. Finely on the surface as soft. Rough where the voice crackles in tone. The moment before it all starts was so long ago. Just as the tower tumbles, you catch eyes. “Ode Crébillon,” you whisper, and it’s falling. Faster than earning crébillon in monetary value. But the memory comes in as if it’s happening and you’re not there. Yet it is. The ground beneath you loses faith in your feet. Guts in your lungs and the feeling of fleeting. Her hands are in your hands and then they’re not. Like a dream, you’re floating. As a kiss tastes like what you make it. Speed and time is of the mind now. And precious and rare and freak moments as these last only as long as they last. The sensation cannot replicate. You see everything and you see her. Nostalgia is riding over bumps in a station wagon. Love is fitting. It’s all hesitant, and hair gets in your mouth. Her eyelashes have peeled back with the lids. Tears blur every last moment until.
“Hare Tarot Lies”
“Dude, No Joy is the best band ever. Two hot blonde girls just shredding away. Sooooo amazing.” So tweeted Best Coast’s Bethany Consentino waaaay back in 2010. In the years that have since followed, the Montreal dream poppers have shared their swooning shoegaze stage show with not only Ms. Consentino, but also Surfer Blood, Wire, and Clinic, with the last of whom they’re currently on tour. The outfit is gearing up to release Wait to Pleasure on April 22, and judging from “Hare Tarot Lies” and the earlier-released “Lunar Phobia,” it appears that they’re determined to rally against the monotonous drone created by their guitars. The background roar here is very Loveless, but the additional touches feel fresh — the piano creeping along underneath the din, the soothing harmonies circling above it, the sun-washed guitar fractals continuing throughout. Not sure if No Joy is the best band ever, but this new material from Wait to Pleasure definitely merits a listen. It’s shoegaze with more space to breathe, and here, a little wiggle room goes a long way.
It’s not inaccurate to say that “ÁlæifR” sounds similar to other synth-driven cassettes Not Not Fun has produced in the past few years. I won’t bore you with my experience listening to the label or how much I do or don’t enjoy this track, but if you’re looking for similar music of theirs in the release pile, Moon Wheel just may be right there with ya. What kinda feel does this have compared to other Not Not Fun releases? For starters, it has more of that hidden underground retro-futurism feel. Example: a laboratory miles under 1950s Earth, walls consisting of wires and plugs and mainframes, cots for the cult of scientists living there, led by their chief, sleep standing up, farm vegetables. They were trying to harness inner-world energy to create everlasting life. And the project was called “ÁlæifR.” Fed through tubes and filters, this everlasting substance absorbs bits of heat and shattered light within its proximity, so the lab is constantly below freezing and dark. There’s a side-paneled room for absorption testing, but nobody has ever walked out everlasting and alive. So they continued, lost beneath the Earth’s surface. Evolving their vision and hearing. Now, humans have a piece of what was “ÁlæifR” via Moon Wheel’s newest self-titled cassette on Not Not Fun. Out as of yesterday: GET IT!! Nope, I bought em all… maybe.
“Compliments 2 The Chef”
Action Bronson and Harry Fraud are head chefs on this new cut off Peter Rosenberg’s upcoming New York Renaissance mixtape, a showcase of the city’s finest talent. The amuse-bouche is a light one: Fraud lays down a chilly R&B beat pilfered straight from the grocery store muzak aisle, and Lauriana Mae’s crackling hook floats atop it, setting a laid-back, Sunday supper vibe. Once again, Bronson gets us mouthwatering with the food descriptions: on the menu tonight is “baby lamb,” “stuffed zucchini flowers/mixed ricotta with the egg” and, for all you haters, his own “bubble tea tapioca.” Aside from his foodie lexicon, Bronson’s also got a penchant for stream-of-consciousness associations that always keep you on your toes. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it,” philosophizes Bronson, “2 in the pink, one in the stink.” It’s crazy, a little bit of horse ebooks zen, but all great chefs are mad.
Buff as Fuck
First of all, kudos for Transept for absolutely wrecking the album-title universe with their latest album Buff as Fuck. The title of their first release, TRSPT001, left a lot to be desired. But at the same time, it represented an effort by a group who knew where they were going but weren’t there yet. The songs wandered a little, despite the beauty found in the upper-atmosphere melodies in “The Demands of Levitating Heavy Stones” and “Leopard Slug Love Song,” and the mixing leaned a little light, but any worries one might have about their sophomore LP is eliminated within seconds of hearing the pre-release stream.
Opening track “Happysburgh” is especially significant, because it comprises one-third of the LP and provides a perfectly executed juxtaposition to the rest of the album. It’s also really heavy. Not the kind of heavy, like, “teenagers wearing eyeliner and moshing” heavy; it’s more akin to a bathtub full of ground beef, and you’re pushing your fists down into the meat trying to reach the bottom of the tub but you keep going down further and further. Or imagine you wake up and you’re covered in modeling clay that slowly hardens as you eat your Cheerios. Your progress is not impeded, only your acceleration, and you begin to find that the lethargy increases exponentially, taking you months to brush your teeth and years to walk across your yard. “Muscle Beach” is another standout on the album, combining a crushed military snare with a triumphant melody that reverse-decays into ambient decadence.
Listen to Buff as Fuck here
• Transept: http://trspt.net