Oneohtrix Point Never
“Still Life” [excerpt]
The video for Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Still Life” in many ways mirrors the aesthetic that Daniel Lopatin employed on his new album, R Plus Seven. Like the video, the album is implicitly structured, but there is no cohesion, no resolution. Instead, the music suggests form, but rarely commits to any clear shape, often leaving tracks in a suspended, disembodied state while still relying on semiotic convention for tone. The resulting moods, then, feel disconnected yet assuring, synthetic yet transcendent. And on “Still Life” — one of the darker tracks on the album — we get an eerie desolation, a state that’s underscored in Nate Boyce’s fantastic video by the confrontation between a futurist sublime and the rooted aetheticization of branding, the liquidity of its imagery offset by a fetishistic, staid consumerism. And keep in mind this is just an excerpt! (The original track length is 4:55, and it doesn’t actually start in this video until 1:13.)
Oneohtrix Point Never’s R Plus Seven is out October 1 on Warp.
Dismembered Cattle Fireworks
All God’s Children are Terrible
As grindcore songs are often shorter than the :02 silence that typically separates tracks on a CD, grindcore albums are often made or broken by their sequencing. Sometimes the tracks are so short they sound like fragments of a larger movement, to the point where, done correctly, an entire grindcore album plays like one violenty spastic song. Recognizing this, the most astute grinders assemble their works accordingly, sequencing songs not only by length and sonic buildup, but also by title and theme. Case in point: All God’s Children are Terrible by Dismembered Cattle Fireworks, one of the latest from Grindcore Karaoke.
This 40-song assault clocks in at 15:16. Its longest tracks run 1:37 and 1:35, its shortest 0:01 and less than 0:01 (Bandcamp lists track 11 as 0:00). Thus, it actually takes longer to say the title of the shortest song, “Churches are the real faggots,” than it does to listen to said song. Expectedly, churches are targeted again on songs 23 and 24, “I was going to burn down a church (but then I got high)” and “I got drunk and now that church is on fire,” and once more with the album’s final sequence of holy book burners, but they are not the only victims of DCF’s wrath; others include PETA, Dave Mustaine, Varg Vikirnes, and just about every other human being living or deceased. All this is accomplished in less than 16 minutes by parsing the album into 7 mini-movements, each bookended by a harsh noise interlude or “CULL” playfully titled by the subject at hand, be it “Religion” or “Humanity” or “Food.”
Stream All God’s Children are Terrible below or buy it on cassette for $3 from Neural Discord Recordings.
• Neural Discord Recordings: http://www.neuraldiscordrecordings.com
Has there ever been a pop band with the word mountain in its name? The word always implies something bigger. On Strange Mountain’s Slow Midnight, you don’t hear the recording techniques or the studio in the music: you hear something else entirely, and it’s the size of the universe. And as such, no individual sound can be grounded or minimized into something our brain interprets as an instrument or note or melody. These soundscapes are all movement without time. And by the end of these five tracks, you will have been both everywhere else and exactly where you started.
Slow Midnight is out now on Chicago’s always excellent Lillerne Tapes.
“Felony / Stalker 7”
What a weiiiiird state of music here. Not only is a pal of mine going through exactly what Dean Blunt is singing about on “Felony,” but it’s deep on an enjoyment level. I think I listened to the first minute of “Felony” three times before hearing the rest of the song. Dean just gets his money hard. Stares straight in the eyes without making a move and you bleeding. The music and video both reach out and grab you by the face, eyes, and ears. Look what you’ve done to him. Facing the opposite direction of a blind turn while walking backward: reckless. Dark hat, shirt, pants, shoes… taped up bumper. The fellah rides low-light. Lays it out raw. Keep doing this to him. His music is kind of needed in a lot of people’s lives. I also heard from no reliable source at all that James Ferraro shot this video. Oh, and “Stalker 7” is the narration of my life following Dean Blunt’s works. It’s the picture of this post. The lingering Nike or Livestrong slogans. This man IS a mission. Visions striping his eyes. Fury bubbling/sizzling cross his brain. This is Dean Blunt.
• Dean Blunt: http://www.youtube.com/user/pollyjacobsen
In spastic paced motion, Sun Araw teases you to just reach out and get a “GRIP.” Reality is awaiting your special impromptu touch. Seep into visions of the unseen, wash yourself of all sin, and fan out the gills you’ve grown to swim in the waves of thought. Relax the core breadths of all chemical fission within your mind’s eye, and follow the light you find brightest. The thickness of life eventually sheds weight, and peace will stir between the linings of your most pleasurable sphere and sit among collective matter. Entry of cells. Flotation jet pathways. Super 8 film. Flickers of what you consider a soul. Retreat back to The Inner Treaty. Find out your beginnings. Videoed through the deep eyes of Daniel Brantley. BAKE!
• Sun Araw: http://www.sunaraw.com
Some of my favorite music is the result of experimental musicians deciding to explore pop songwriting. There’s something irresistible about the combination of traditional song craft filtered through the minds of more “forward-looking” composers. This music often subverts tonality/structure while rendering the abstract accessible when framed within a new context. It’s for this reason that I constantly return to the works of Jim O’Rourke, C.S. Yeh, John Cale, Blue “Gene” Tyranny,” Julia Holter, Richard Youngs, and other like-minded artists who recognize the potential for both pop and experimental music to grow with tasteful cross-genre pollination.
In recent months, Joseph Raglani has posted several tracks to his SoundCloud that clearly show his craft moving further into a pop territory while still incorporating or acknowledging his status as a synth guru on Editions Mego. Of course, Raglani is no stranger to dabbling in pop music, given tracks like his slice of robo-pop bliss “The Exploded View” (from last year’s Real Colors of the Physical World) and the frequent song-like structures that even his most sprawling works take. However, these newer tunes have progressed into full on forays into folk/pop music. First, there was Raglani’s gloriously fractured electronics and voice take on Big Star’s “I’m in Love with a Girl,” then the Richard Youngs-esque “I Can Only See Your Face,” and then the spare folk tune “Three Days A Week.” With each one of these tracks, there’s been less and less reliance on the electronic elements that permeate the composer’s most well-known works, but there’s always been an element that’s indicative of his world in some form or another.
“Start Over” is Raglani’s self-proclaimed attempt at “a Leonard Cohen thing,” and while there’s an element of that present, the tune is more reminiscent of fellow Cohen disciple Simon Joyner’s more recent work and the similarly pop/experimental mixing Leafcutter John. At first, “Start Over” may seem like a far cry from Raglani’s electronic world, with its gorgeous multi-tracked vocals, layered violas, and looping guitar figures, but listen closely and it becomes apparent that Raglani is using these elements the same way he uses synths. The arpeggiated guitar figures could just as easily be burbling synths; the violas could take the form of lush electronic pads; and “Start Over’s” chord progression is just as modal and beautiful as the harmonic language of Raglani’s experimentally-minded works. It’s always exciting to see artists transmogrify the structural/technical aspects of their craft into something that’s stylistically new, and Raglani’s forays into the folk/pop world have whet my appetite for a full-length of this stuff.
Listen to “Start Over” here:
• Raglani: http://www.soundcloud.com/raglani