In anticipation of her new LP Aerotropolis, Ikonika is taking us all to gamers’ paradise. With its strippers, sports cars, and subtropics, “Mr Cake” screams Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, except with one major difference: GRRRL POWER. Instead of skulking around in a Hawaiian shirt like Tommy Vercetti, our leading lady is off flipping emojis and taking names. Watch as she slips on some shades, cruises down the mean streets of Generic City That Is Not Named Miami (For Legal Reasons), USA, pickpockets a rich dude at the strip club, and steals his jet, all the while racking up a killer high score. Of course, if you’d rather just take in all of the uncanny-valley-girl visuals, that’s all well and good too. But don’t blame me if you get creeped out by the overeager — and underanimated — club patrons at the 2:40 mark. Between this and “Black Skinhead”, I think it’s safe to call this the “Second Life Summer” as far as music videos are concerned.
Aerotropolis comes out July 29 on Hyperdub.
Following his programming credits on the thicker, fleshier hunk of Yeezus, Arca delivers his fullest-bodied work yet with &&&&&. The 25-minute (freely downloadable, 320 kbps) “mix” contains nothing but the NYC artist’s own latest productions, true to his longstanding policy. The 14 fragments frequently call to mind Burial’s Truant in form and function (with a juke approach to vocal samples), revealing new depths of beauty in Arca’s discography. There is still room for a Snoop stem or two therein.
11. DM True
13. Pure Anna
E+E, truly one of the most interesting and promising acts that resides primarily on SoundCloud, has just posted a stunning track called “Saint Omega.” If you’re too numb to feel anything for the orchestra’s swelling romanticism or the sentimental cover of John Mayer’s already overly sentimental “When You’re Dreaming with a Broken Heart,” then perhaps the jarring interruptions of gunfire, explosions, and various other violent, aggressive sounds here will get your heart racing. One might assume that E+E, a.k.a. Elijah Crampton, is merely evoking a pseudo-spirituality here for critical purposes — and this could very well be the case — but Crampton himself is a spiritual being, someone who prays that he “might create something beyond [himself], somehow answer to a will beyond [his] own within [his] work.”
One of his friends described his music as “romantic comedy.” I agree. This is the sound of an angelic choir in the bathroom.
• E+E: https://soundcloud.com/eande
“How to Burn a CD”
“A goop of commercial radio pop, corporate surrealism, noise-tronica, and new jack swing designed to make you fist-pump so hard you explode into a ball of light…”
Welcome to the world of Honnda, folks. Amnon Friedlin — renowned for his work with ZS, Mouthguard88, and Normal Love (of which he is a founding member) — has been hard at work dredging the backwaters of pop’s most remote watersheds for the rudiments of one screwed-up slurry. Britney Spears, Test Department, G-funk, New Jack Swing, the soothing voices of customer service representatives: these are but a few of the identifiable aural relics in the post-apocalyptic landscape known as Fantasy Remover, where summer never ends, the ice cream never melts, and the townies are all sporting Dorito sunburns.
No, seriously — that’s the best way to describe the mutants in Friedlin’s latest tutorial-cum-music-video, entitled “How to Burn a CD.” It’s as though the members of Die Antwoord fell into a vat of molten Doritos (after eating too many carrots, of course) and emerged even more sinister and sillier than before. As for the pedagogy, well, it’s every bit as pyrotechnic as you’d expect, and you will walk away from this video premiere knowing how to burn a disc.
Besides providing us with a fun way to put all our blank CD-Rs to use (or copies of Yeezus, take your pick), “How to Burn a CD” also serves as a tantalizing taste of Fantasy Remover’s scrambled pop palette. And, TMTers, it’s your lucky day, because Friedlin is hooking us all up with a FREE download of the new album, over at the recently-created Honnda Bandcamp. It’s also available on cassette, via Public Eyesore. Check it out, and feel your fist bumps carry you into the light.
One thing I know about Jenks Miller: he contains multitudes. With his Horseback project, the multi-instrumentalist (and member of Mount Moriah) fuses tropes from black metal, US roots music, psych rock, and dark ambient into original compositions that overflow with ideas and juxtapositions. If his synthesis of croaked Xasthur via Tom Waits vocals and near Nashville-core studio lushness was his only contribution to contemporary music, he’d still deserve some kind of zoner blue ribbon — but the man’s catalog is already deep with killer collabs, three full-length LPs, and a handful of way-sold-out tapes and 7-inches and stuff. If you’re not on his level, which is to say inside a secret mausoleum chamber at least 12 feet underground at the center of a sacred and super-haunted animal burial ground untouched by other humans for generations, you should probably try to get there now.
His upcoming solo “solo” (solo) album Spirit Signal seems like both a solid entry point for a Miller neophyte and a welcome change of pace for a well-versed head. The album’s six loose, improvised sessions showcase Miller’s guitar upfront, accompanied by detailed drone voices and a whole lot of open space. In some moments, his playing fits into the post-Dead Man drifting Morricone vibe mastered by Dylan Carlson in his more recent output; but in others, like the title track below, his playing escalates into a tightly controlled twang closer to the melodic comping of Bill Frisell or Marc Ribot (Miller’s labelmate on Northern Spy). Coming from a man who can proficiently record anything, the restraint Miller displays in these beautifully dry mixes attests to his sense for extreme dynamics on both sides of the spectrum.
Pre-order Spirit Signals from Northern Spy, and it’ll ship around its September 3 release date.
The Night’s Gambit
After Ka released sophomore album Grief Pedigree to widespread acclaim in 2012, the DIY emcee/producer/cover artist/music video director gave a number of interviews in which he stated that he works very slowly, dedicating meticulous attention to each aspect of every project. In one especially revealing interview, he proclaims his desire to be “the hip-hop version of Sade” before going on to state, “I craft my music, it takes a long time. I do it and I think it aint right and do it again, and again. I’m looking for perfect rhymes.” Indeed, there’d been four years in between Iron Works and its follow-up, so it came as quite the shock when Ka announced a few months ago via Twitter that his third album, The Night’s Gambit, would arrive July 13, 2013.
One week after the release date, anybody who’s half as serious about listening to music as Ka is about making it still isn’t quite ready to deliver any definitive remarks about the album other than the obvious: the rhymes are ill, and the beats, also ill, evince that Ka’s sample palate has developed along with his skills and confidence as a producer. One still-forming idea I’ll bring early to the discussion relates to the album title itself and the entire chess concept, which runs throughout via dialogue lifted from Searching for Bobby Fischer and Fresh. It could be that this concept is not a concept at all, that it is merely a device tacked on at the last minute to add a final sense of cohesion to the completed work, but knowing how Ka operates, that is not likely the case.
Consider that chess imagery was previously employed by The Wu-Tang Clan, particularly GZA, who dedicated an entire album to the topic with 2005’s Grandmasters and owns the distinction of being the first universally respected MC to publicly cosign Ka, having featured him on “Firehouse” off 2008’s Pro-Tools. On that very track, Ka spits, “Fuck that queen, I’ll show you what a knight and a rook would do.” It seems he’s now making good on that promise.
• Ka: http://brownsvilleka.com