Charlatan Meets the North Sea
“Emerald Eyes”

This Clarice Saliby video for “Emerald Eyes,” a “collaboration” between Charlatan and The North Sea (both helmed by Digitalis head Brad Rose) is like watching 2001: A Space Odyssey through a lava lamp. Everything moves a mile an hour. The only suddenness comes from the four or five cut shots moving from one frame of bubbling, galactic psychedelia to another. Balls of light shine through the dark, morphing canvas as synth washes and distant drum-like clips splatter themselves across the cavern wall ambiance that establishes the astral boundaries between which the entire audible range of sound waves folds itself into the ultraviolet spectrum. And when it all fades to black at the end, and you are sitting there staring at your own reflection in the computer screen, you realize by gazing upward toward the night sky in wonder, you are really looking inside yourself, and all that emptiness and negative space is just a part of the whole. Charlatan, I’m glad you met The North Sea. I think it could be the start of something beautiful.

Watch it unfold above, and buy the cassette from Portland’s Field Hymns.

• The North Sea:
• Field Hymns:

The Exhalers

“Pearls and Shells”

João Costa Gonçalves, the precocious mind responsible for Mediafired and JCCG, has just dropped a coaxing new track with The Exhalers. This peachy addition to the ultra-tight handles he has attached himself to of late sprinkles cardinal flecks of fluorescence on the direction that this innovative artist from Coimbra, Portugal is taking us in. What lies in store, especially for those who have been following the artistic ripples of like-minded practitioners throughout the year, is a revealing and consistently gratifying audio journey that has already surpassed critical expectations over the illustrious tide of vaporwave and through the perplexing realm of eccojams.

The Exhalers sees Gonçalves crossing new currents, particularly on “Pearls and Shells,” which bears witness to tranquil frequency processing and aquatic-ambient textures that come complete with an extra helping of warm Mondego flows and crisp feedback. Check out this gorgeous little number below and keep your ears open for more echolocation and splendor from The Exhalers on the Exo Tapes SoundCloud.

• The Exhalers:
• Exo Tapes:

[Images: Gil]

Aaron Dilloway / Jason Lescalleet

“Burning Nest”

Something wicked this way comes. It’s like the ambient noise that plays behind the creature cam shots in Evil Dead falling out of your television in slow motion. And coming from two artists praised so highly for their ability to create these atmospheres within a live setting, it makes sense to consider “Burning Nest” from a visual point of view, rather than one formed by opinions. I’m talking about actually seeing the “wall of sound”: a black mass flooding from the speakers like blood from the elevator in The Shining. The way screams sound from inside the gelatinous ooze of The Blob as it slowly approaches all those dumb enough to walk, rather than run, from it.

It makes sense alongside these horror film descriptions because, in a sense, this is horrifying stuff. Its tension rises slowly, as screams and cries echo outward and fall, allowing us only brief moments to hear our own frantic breathing under the shadow of approaching dread. And this is just an excerpt. Can’t wait for the sequel.

Listen to “Burning Nest” below, and buy the full Grapes and Snakes collaboration album from noisemakers Aaron Dilloway and Jason Lescalleet over at PAN.

• PAN:


“BDA (Ball Dropper’s Anthem)”

This is really just a taste, a preview, the opening rounds. Hey, look over here. Listen up. Detroit-based emcee SelfSays is psyching himself up, upping his stats and getting “motivized” with a time-is-now-type rap over a hail of hearty funk-march beats and warm soulful organ hooks (compliments of NY-producer Blockhead with dazzling reggae-ish fx on the vox by Ann Arbor-producer Buffay).

Having just past the age of 30, SelfSays (a.k.a. Charles Vann) is getting into the game a little bit later than some, but he’s kicking all that self-doubt aside with heart-on-the-sleeve, swiftly cadenced quips of no-time-like-the-present. Indeed, with the rise of Danny Brown, there’s potential that many other eyes are peeking through Detroit’s hip-hop hotbed and they’d be wise to keen in on SelfSays, backed by a range of eclectic and esteemed producers on an EP released last month to commemorate a springtime tour through Europe with Michigan-based electronica composer Shigeto. Consider it a primer, though, because he’s got yet another release (a 7-inch split) coming out in the last week of September: Not Another Video Game Song / They Shootin’ is his debut on iNsect Records. Level up.

• SelfSays:
• iNsect Records:


“Charlie D”

I’ve gotten a bunch of e-mails in 2012 from a guy in the Netherlands (Eindhoven, to be exact) named Joep van Son who make lots and lots and lots of music both solo and with tons and tons and tons of bands. I get the impression they’re all basically the same thing, but my favorite so far was the incredibly energetic and ballistic self-titled Nikoo album. That came out in 2010, so since it was older and I couldn’t really share it properly here on the Chocolate Grinder (we do have rules, you know), I’ve been biding my time, waiting patiently for the next one that really struck my fancy.

Enter: This new “lo-fi song in a day, once every six weeks” (until…. ___?) series that Joep apparently started, like, 18 weeks ago under his solo moniker [V]. He steps into the studio, right back out, gets his buddy Bas to make a little artwork and BAM! Release for me, and release for you. And this one (like the others) is pretty great — Joep’s biggest strength is his ability to write a terrific chorus, and “Charlie D” is no exception with its super-catchy hook that lasts but just a moment before the verse sinks its pearly whites back into your neck. Acoustic guitar as the backbone, melody does all the work; the track reminds me most of Blur’s “You’re So Great,” but maybe with a bit more bite. It’s over in the blink of an eye, leaving you with the sweet aftertaste of an even sweeter tune.

• [V]:


“TOKYO_DAYS,” / “真夜中のJAZZ滑らかな心”

A couple weeks ago, I posted a mix of appropriation music called ║█║▌║█║▌│║▌║▌█║. I had finished the mix earlier that week, but on the day of publishing, that Friday morning, I heard this amazing song by transmat思 い 出 (a.k.a. coolmemoryz), an eccojam so heartwrenchingly beautiful I decided to redo the entire mix in order to fit it in.

Since then, the artist, now going by coolmemoryz, has released a handful of tracks, all with a vaporwave/eccojam vibe. They’re all so good that I had a hard time choosing which to write about, so I’m writing about two of them. The first is titled “TOKYO_DAYS,” a six-and-a-half-minute track that reflects a kind of pseudo-globalism with its effected Japanese voice clips, shuffling beats, and New Age synth washes. It’s all spa- and lounge-like for most of its duration, but it crawls, bloody and near-lifeless, to an unexpected demise toward the end. You have to hear the song to understand why.

The second track, “真夜中のJAZZ滑らかな心,” (roughly, “Smooth Jazz Heart of Midnight”) is less narrative, but equally enthralling. This is chopping and screwing at its finest, sounds that are pitch-shifted, looped, and tempo-fucked until you’ve all but lost any sense of center. What’s often highlighted here is not the cheesiness of the music, but the in-between moments during the decay and just before the attack. Sure, the notes and rhythms are stretched (and can be transcribed as such), but the moods are made decidedly anew.

• coolmemoryz:


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.