Nicolas Jaar

The opening seconds of Space is Only Noise (TMT Review), Nicolas Jaar’s very good 2010 LP, is an achievement in scene setting. Before any music kicks in, we’re treated to over a minute of sea sounds and deep-voiced soliloquy. The effect is an invocation of a beach so calm it must be overcast, a body in the waves, and a gray minimalism that feels related to the black and white pallet of Italian neo-realist film, or something of the like.

For these reasons, this video for “Materials,” a track from the special edition of SION, is a little glossier than one might expect. That’s not to say the video’s aesthetic is clean, per se, or that it bucks Jaar’s now signature minimalism, but rather to point out that the nondescript location, the blank white brick walls, the cement floor, the squalid clowns, are presented through a filter with more sheen and less grit than fans might naturally associate with the music. Even so, “Materials” certainly establishes its own flavor, which might be described (with only half a smirk and with full pleasure) as saccharine Cirque du Solei reformed back to its more raw and uncanny roots. The dropped apple stands out as a visual highlight, as does the fleeting image of the little girl presenting her contorted tongue sideways as a bubblegum-colored shred.

“Materials” was directed by Pondr, a partnership between TJ O’Grady-Peyton and David Magnier. As Jaar’s music continues to draw attention and collaborations, the potential for his newly established Clown and Sunset Aesthetics project looks more and more colossal and increasingly promising. [via Fact]

• Nicolas Jaar:
• Pondr:
• Clown and Sunset:

Veli-Matti O Äijälä

“Anna kuoleman tulla”

It is with great pleasure that I copy/paste artist name Veli-Matti O Äijälä. (And hey, while I’m at it, Äijälä also goes by Läjä Äijälä, Äijälä, Läjä, V-M Äijälä, V-M. Äijälä, and Veli-Matti Äijälä.) Check out “Anna kuoleman tulla” from Äijälä’s one-sided LP “Raskas Taakka,” which was just released on Finnish labels Joteskii Groteskii and Vauva. It’s suffocating and fidgety and that’s how I like it.

• Vauva:

Cruise Family

We’re In Heaven [excerpt]

Can’t stop your feet? Well, look no further: the release of Cruise Family’s We’re In Heaven is just around the corner. Wait, a “corner” constitutes one full day? Yes, for now, because their new LP on Not Not Fun is launching tomorrow, February 7. Make up some new dance routines for Stefan’s post-rave extravaganza; put them feet to good work. Mm — and this video is a trip to travel, indeed. Meet me there, won’t you? Cause it’s Monday, and excitement is upon the horizon, y’all. Don’t let this “[excerpt]” tease you too long. Also, I think this is Cruise Family’s first LP, aside from stacks-on-stacks-on-stacks of cassettes. ++<3++

• Cruise Family:
• Not Not Fun:



Whaaaaaat the fuck is up February? Month #2 of hot new 2012 music is “whaaaaaat.” And what’s all this about cyberfuck, bathdub, poo-smur, and infra-pop? I don’t know EITHER, but a sub-genre of mixtaping is on the up-and-up, and Ahnnu is right there with it. Examples: Heat Wave, BEBETUNE$$$, Ferrari Jackson, Mathewdavid, Ohbliv, KWJAZ. Let’s mix this shit up further. Since Culture Dealer and Leaving Records seem to be heading this parade, how’s bout y’all start featuring rappers? Davis did it before their time. Just get rappers on “actual” mixtapes, and bump this scene a little more. Or maybe the lounge/warped vibe is enough — I don’t know. I ain’t got a label. I don’t make music, or produce it. Just suggesting. And here, I’m suggesting this new mixtape sub-genre — as it soars past hypnagogic-fiddle-faddle — should be a staple of 2012. Feel me? #virtuality

• Ahnnu:
• Culture Dealer:

This Will Destroy You

“Black Dunes”

Did Ingmar Bergman remake The Ring? For the first three and a half minutes of “Black Dunes,” it seems that way. The new video from This Will Destroy You, apocalyptic Texan band, was even conceived in Bergman’s burg (a.k.a. Sweden), according to director Malcom Elijah in Spin’s premiere of the video. And in terms of Ring-y-ness, “Black Dunes” has got febrile, wan girls with dangling dark hair, shivering static on the screen, and a notable lack of color. But all an all, “Black Dunes” is weirder than it is terrifying, featuring a caboshed lion’s head as perhaps the girl’s house cat, all kinds of super-imposed visuals, plus “lo-fi” distortion. It would be easy to float some conceptual reading atop the short film and say it’s the poor gal’s loss of mind or descent into loneliness, but who cares about a narrative like that. The aesthetic alone is more interesting than obtuse symbolism and exploitation of a girl’s darkish looks.

In fact, a little over 200 seconds in, when the song finally makes its heavy dive, “Black Dunes” employs some of the most jarring and hypnotic visual effects seen in recent memory. Despite Black Swan having made it disastrously cliché to use ballerina imagery in connection with crazy girls, the dancer who appears at 3:40 is viciously effective, though mostly for the insane effects she’s filtered through. Everything siphoned through this visual warp looks like it’s rising from an ocean of oil — thus, the black dunes — and the danseuse in particular appears at first to be a sea monster.

So enjoy the full 8:21 of the track and video. This Will Destroy You kicked off a winter tour on January 28. Strangely, even if you don’t know their name, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard the band, as their track “The Mighty Rio Grande” is featured in Brad Pitt’s current Oscar-crusade, Moneyball. “Black Dunes” comes from the band’s second album, Tunnel Blanket, released on Suicide Squeeze Records last May.

• This Will Destroy You:
• Suicide Squeeze Records:

Ryan Power

“I Don’t Want to Die”

Tiny Mix Tapes went cray over NNA Tapes last year. I mean, NNA deserved it. And they continue to: Ryan Power, brahh. Not only do his melodies sound like nursery rhymes, or a kids show, but his voice is smooth and his lyrics are raww. “I Don’t Want to Die” is probably my least favorite track on his new album, but OK; it’s only because the chorus has been in my head since Toby (NNA co-owner) sent me the [digital-]LP. *breathe* My girlfriend said something about Dirty Projectors upon first listen. I think he’s more Elliot Smith in his vocal melodies. But he’s all over, and that seems right at home with the NNA creative-mission. Scope NNA Tapes April 3 to find Ryan Power’s I Don’t Want to Die. #avant-pop-FTW

• Ryan Power:
• NNA Tapes:


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.