Derek Rogers
“Linear Truths”

Ladies and gentlemen, Derek Rogers, since 2008:

Cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, CDr, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, CDr, CDr, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, 3-inch CDr (ooooOOOOooo!), CDr, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, CDr, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette. And now, as of Wendesday June 13th, 2012, we have vinyl.

Yes, the list of tapes and CDs above is massive (that’s no less than 40 releases in less than four years), and many including myself have only had the chance to listen to but a fraction of Rogers’ output thus far. Still, the move to wax marks a very grand occasion for this particular purveyor of drone, and this video preview for Saturations (magnificently put together by TMT’s own Lee Noble) ushers in the Greenup Industries release with humbling aplomb, announcing the vinyl as especially important somehow.

The music features waves of shimmering, trembling ambience beneath a seance of singing strings (generously bowed by collaborator Petra Kelly). The visuals really add to the piece’s overall impact with the camera’s slight unsteadiness and woozy, dream-like qualities making for a nice match to the music’s shy, transcendental beauty. Also, word on the street is that the video has the mausoleum from the 1979 flick PHANTASM in it. (Anybody…? Okay, I haven’t seen it, but that detail seemed important enough to mention.) Anyway, Rogers and Noble give the lifeless so much life here, taking on stationary objectivity and packing it with the emotive locomotion of a million love-of-your-life breakups happening simultaneously, all the while staying ingeniously subtle.

Have I reviewed this yet? Here’s the review: “Linear Truths” is gorgeous.

• Derek Rogers: http://derekrogers.bandcamp.com
• Greenup Industries: http://greenupindustries.com

Joey Bada$$

1999 [mixtape]

1999 was a rough year for East Coast rap: Bad Boy Records floundered in the wake of Puff Daddy’s dud of a second album, Ma$e retired from the game unexpectedly early to follow a Christian calling, and talented Big L was murdered just blocks from his home. Now, 13 years later, we’re back in 1999 — only this time, it’s the debut mixtape from Joey Bada$$, a 17-year old rapper from Brooklyn who steeps his sound in the hearty, break-heavy beats of the 90s. Bada$$ may still be in high school (“Fuck trigonometry!” he sneers on FromdaTomb$), but his flow is startlingly mature, recalling A1 or perhaps even a young Nas. The top-notch production from DOOM and Freddie Joachim provides the perfect canvas for the MC to show his skills — deft syllabic switcheroos, hazy stoner pontifications, and plenty of nostalgia.

• Joey Bada$$ - http://badassjoey.tumblr.com

Cosmic Sound

VHS Vision [album stream]

Crash Symbols have been on an interesting tangent lately: full-on 90s-style beat-making, digital Dreamcast thumping, padded house music, more synth squabbling, a wild mashup of low and high fidelity. Actually, I’m just describing Cosmic Sound’s VHS Vision, the somewhat schizo-project of producer Stephen Ferris (which was actually released in 2010, but is now finding a proper new home). Like I said, the mix of more vintage sounds with a digital sheen creates an interesting effect, kind of like when movies put a quiet sad song over a huge action scene — you know what I’m talking about. Maybe that technique can only be used so much before it becomes a total cliché, but the musical equivalent is still working wonders. As a result, a lot of VHS Vision feels like a sound collage, even though it might not be. I’m into not knowing.

• Cosmic Sound: http://crashsymbols.bandcamp.com/album/vhs-vision
• Crash Symbols: http://crashsymbols.tumblr.com

Lucky Dragons

Existers [album stream]

Do you remember elementary school music class? I was taught melody, timing, and harmonies by doing exercises like splitting the class into three sections to sing “Row, row, row your boat” all starting at different times, or having different parts of the room make rain noises by stomping their feet or rubbing their hands together. The music teacher signaled the start and end of each part, and it all kind of degenerated into noise in the middle, only to have it kind of come together at the end. What is the adult version of that? A bunch of people sitting around in a circle, pressing play at designated times on their laptops or smartphones? It would be like a “Kumbaya” for the digital era. Why would I clap my hands together when I can press a button that makes the noise for me?

Never forget Existers. And you won’t, because Lucky Dragons are timeless. The album’s title track is a singalong campfire song, except the campfire is one of those electric fireplaces and everyone is wearing neon colors and sitting “Indian-style.” How did those uncoordinated kids turn into this? From drowning in pixels.

• Lucky Dragons: http://luckydragons.org

Chocolate Grinder Mix 47

Slower Combing Eggs

Chris Corsano is on some crazy shit. Maybe I just made this cause I wanted to start a mix off with a drum solo? It’s weird, though, because White Suns come in right after “Famously Short Arms” stops, but their metal chug almost sounds like it could be from the same band. Maybe all music is more or less the same, at least to alien ears. That is, if aliens were landing on earth. They’d demand to hear native humanoid music, and we’d show them Francis Bebey and Dean Blunt (because it’s the future, and that shit has become legendary), and they’d be like “What is this primitive timbre-based waveform? All humans are equally stupid.” Then they would blow our minds open with pure psychic projections that render our concepts of music obsolete. Until then, we can keep banging on drums and playing “slap bass” and “synth shit.”

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:00] Chris Corsano - “Famously Short Arms”
[04:19] White Suns - “Footprints Filled”
[08:46] Starring - “The Best”
[13:58] Colin Webster & Mark Holub - “The Claw”
[15:58] Dean Blunt & Igna Copeland - “12”
[18:32] Blanche Blanche Blanche - “Jason’s List”
[21:37] Paborsk - “The Nest”
[25:28] Francis Bebey - “Savanah Georgia”
[28:53] Axxess - “Slow Combing Eggs”
[31:20] Suzanne Ciani - “Eighth Wave”
[34:35] Tyme. x Tujiko - “world 世界”

Yyu

“your hands/ moo .3”

Yyu, fronted by a guy named Ben from California, has released a bizarre yet cozy little album, TIMETIMETIME&TIME. The release sees Yyu mashing samples sourced from both himself and presumably not-himself, fucking with their temporal logic, and then cut-and-pasting it all together in a sample-/loop-based record that sounds satisfyingly warm, playful, and performative. Beats jerk around and discontinuities abound, sure, but there’s a well-defined, honed-in aesthetic that sounds at once incredibly disciplined and incredibly out of control: one moment you’re gently nudged forward with a delicate buzz of guitar strings, the next you’re trapped in a loop going nowhere but in circles.

Listen to the album’s first track, “your hands/ moo .3,” here:

Meanwhile, give the full album a stream here, courtesy of Beer On The Rug (a label that I’m growing to truly ♥), and don’t forget about Yyu’s free EP from earlier this year, Ghost Toast.

• Yyu: http://soundcloud.com/yyu
• Beer on the Rug: http://beerontherug.com

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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.


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