“River Runs Like Jewels”
“Sanguine,” as in Sanguine Futures, the title of High aura’d’s sublime new album on Bathetic Records, means “optimistic.” I think that’s nice. Especially as I’m watching the sangria-soaked video for “River Runs Like Jewels” off the album, the title just works perfectly. Omar Mashaal’s visuals offer a glimpse of the future here in the old lady and her crimson bejeweled dress, and it shouldn’t be the prettiest picture; wrinkled skin, gnarled knuckles, hands shaking in arthritic pain. But those guitars gently moan, soothing like aloe on an emotional burn, and the camera’s soft focus blurs the imagery into something serene, warm, and comforting. Bah, I’m trying too hard, and this video is too gorgeous, so I’ll quit while I’m behind and let this one give your brain the rubdown it so desperately needs on a Monday.
“Numb,” the lead off track of Andy Stott’s new album Luxury Problems, takes all of those ghostly vocal samples from artists like Burial or Kid Smpl, removes nearly everything that resembles drums, and highlights why those artists are praised for soundtracking rainy, midnight cityscapes. However, “Numb” seems to also remind us of all the creepy stuff that happens in those broken city streets after everyone has fallen asleep. It’s like being followed by a whispering presence that you can’t see while your heart begins to race. Perhaps it’s appropriate that Luxury Problems is being released so close to Halloween.
You’ve probably already heard “Numb” by now, but re-listen to it below, and look for Luxury Problems this week from Modern Love.
• Andy Stott: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andy-Stott/262174253793725
• Modern Love: http://www.modern-love.co.uk
Chocolate Grinder Mix 65
Dead Man’s Party
“Waiting for an invitation to arrive,
Going to a party where no one’s still alive”
– Danny Elfman, “Dead Man’s Party”
“This is the greatest song in the history of mankind,”
– My dad when he first introduced me to Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party”
For some reason, whenever I think about Halloween, I think about Oingo Boingo. Maybe it’s because Danny Elfman (frontman of Oingo Boingo) created the score to Nightmare Before Christmas (and just about every Burton film), which is the ultimate Halloween soundtrack. Or maybe it’s because Oingo Boingo’s arguably most famous cut, “Dead Man’s Party,” is all about death and skeletons and stuff, and can sometimes even be heard on classic rock stations around the haunted holiday. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. What also doesn’t matter is that I love Oingo Boingo. When I was in sixth grade or so, my dad got me a best-of Oingo Boingo CD, which joined Astrolounge to begin my beloved collection of recorded music. While Boingo may serve as the gateway to an embarrassingly serious ska phase back in eighth grade, they were one of the first bands to make me listen to music meticulously; I would listen to Only A Lad, Dead Man’s Party, and Good For Your Soul repeatedly, challenging myself to listen to single instruments throughout the entire song. Oingo Boingo’s extensive instrumentation and top-notch musicianship blew my little preteen mind. Now I write about obscure electronic music and Oingo Boingo kinda sounds annoying as fuck, but I just wanted to express my appreciation for Danny Elfman and his weirdo big-band in honor of the upcoming holiday.
Don’t worry, there is no Boingo in the mix. In fact, the mix isn’t even all that Halloween-y sounding, until I added some sounds from Ultimate Scary Songs and Sounds for your Halloween Bash!!! *maniacal laughter* That’s right! You better watch your back; I think I hear footsteps. *spooky ghost noises*
Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.
[00:00] Ultimate Scary Sounds and Songs for Your Halloween Bash
[00:22] Kane Ikin - “Ebbing”
[01:54] bittertv - “zen-racing (ritual teaser)”
[04:00] Mood Tattooed - “Honey Shade”
[04:56] WARM THIGHS - “VODKA 8”
[06:39] Altar Eagle - “Fledgling”
[10:45] Infinity Frequencies - “Those Eyes”
[12:08] INTERNET CLUB - “(魔术)”
[13:53] YYU - “MOVE(know)”
[15:29] Afrika Pseudobrutisimus - “2013”
[17:53] Hanetration - “Jurassic”
[21:09] DJ TRIBAL SHITSHOW - “FRIENDS & LOVERS”
[24:52] Amun Dragoon - “FANTASY BREEZE”
[25:41] Greeen Linez - “Fantasy Glide”
[28:40] cakedog - “fuk da game”
[30:35] Diskette Romances - “Champagne in Hong Kong”
[31:55] Karriem Riggins - “Ooooooooaaaaaaa”
[32:33] Martin Eden - “Vlad”
Under his moniker Prayer, Joe Houpert has released the follow-up to First Species, which was released just last May — and guess what? It’s called Second Species. Out on the stellar Constellation Tatsu label, Second Species is evolved and still evolving. Here, Prayer loops phrases over and over, slightly modifying them here and there and letting the natural effects of decay and echo slowly manipulate the music — like evolution… or God. Let us pray and listen to the moving electronic liturgy from the higher power that is Prayer.
Reflections / Lost Memories / Liquid Fantasy / Illegal Antenna
While there’s relative anonymity with the current crop of (some-retired) vaporwave musicians — mostly talking about New Dreams Ltd. (Macintosh Plus, 情報デスクVIRTUAL, Sacred Tapestry, etc.) and INTERNET CLUB (Datavis, ECCO UNLIMITED, ░▒▓新しいデラックスライフ▓▒░, etc.) — some of the originators of the sound (setting aside old man Daniel Lopatin’s Chuck Person/Sunset Corp project) remain entirely anonymous. For example, no one quite knows who’s behind Computer Dreams, an entity that also goes by Midnight Television and who had several releases in 2011, only to seemingly vanish from the internet (all links leading to any “official” page/account are long dead).
But before Computer Dreams existed an even more anonymous artist named 骨架的, who picked up where Chuck Person left/looped off back in 2010 with two full-length releases, Skeleton and Holograms. But is Computer Dreams maybe the same person as 骨架的? Are Computer Dreams and 骨架的 possibly friends? Or do they really have no idea who each other are? In the context of vaporwave and its aims to anonymously appropriate anonymous music (or to at least make pop feel in part more anonymous), it doesn’t really matter. And, to be honest, I don’t really feel like seeking out the answer via label Beer On The Rug or anyone else. But what’s particularly exciting is that, after over a year of silence, 骨架的 is suddenly back and releasing a shit-ton of music.
The first, Reflections, came in September, featuring a mix of chopped, screwed, and looped boardroom eccojams, shitty R&B/jazz/soft/soundtrack pop, and (in)disposable nostalgia tunes, plus a nearly eight-minute track, “Long Ride,” that I wish could play on forever. And already this month, 骨架的 has released three more full-length albums: Lost Memories (10/9), Liquid Fantasy (10/24), and Illegal Antenna (10/25), all of them recorded in 2011 and all of them available for whatever price you want.
I’ve made my way through each album straight through, and I recommend you do the same if you have the time/energy/interest/ears. But it’s a lot of material to tackle, so I’ve picked out my favorite track from each release to ease you in if you need it:
From Lost Memories:
From Liquid Fantasy:
From Illegal Antenna:
Anyone sick of vaporwave yet? Too bad. We expect plenty more releases from 骨架的 soon.
• 骨架的: http://soundcpu.bandcamp.com
Aim Low & Les Beyond
What is more thrilling than a high-speed boat chase? Answer: Rob Feulner creating a video for this collaboration between Montreal’s Aim Low & Les Beyond, featuring a high-speed boat chase (crosscut with some ducks). Seriously goosebump-raising greatness going on with these nine minutes; every single shot of this video is not only interesting and cool to look at, but also downright gripping. It’s the colors, the textures, how the natural composition of the shots in the source VHS videos are so vibrantly (and, to a degree, violently) accented with Feulner’s wax paper-layering style. But the music, yeah, the music is what’s got me clawing the arms of my easy chair like a nervous kitty here — rip-roaring guitars that swell and swell and swell as the action rises and the plot thickens, creeping with intimidating inertia, getting all up in the listener’s/watcher’s business while also psyching out the psyche in more subtle, subconscious ways at the same time.
Feulner’s They Live We Sleep Cassettes imprint is notorious for having rad releases thrown out in ridiculously short runs (like the measly 25 copies he printed of Acheron’s excellent debut tape last year). This Aim Low & Les Beyond tape carries a run of 32, so depending how quickly you can gather up your jaw once you’re through the video, you might want to get on this sucker quick.