Open Mike Eagle
“Password (official unprotected file)”
We live in an age in which the modern (wo)man is simultaneously prefixed on protecting her/his privacy and convinced that (s)he deserves to be a full-fledged A-list celebrity, if not a social media icon turned reality TV star turned Fox News contributor turned snuff flick casualty.
…OK, so maybe I added that last stage for effect, but my point stands: we claim to desire privacy, but do everything within our power to broadcast our identities. We celebrate Anonymous and repudiate anonymity. (A recent South Park episode titled “Let Go, Let Gov” summed this up much better than I can.) The question then becomes, “How can we reconcile this apparent polarity?”
Or, noch besser, “Do we have to at all?” Perhaps the only reason we cheer Edward Snowden and jeer the NSA is that the former has used technology to make a name for himself offline while the latter can see through the digital identities we’ve so painstakingly created for ourselves. One defends our sense of self-importance; the other stands as an affront to it.
If the government really wants to placate its citizens, maybe it should forget about reforming its data collection policies and simply make all of the video, audio, and text it gathers available to we the people appearing and/or communicating therein. Then we could recapture all the drunken freestyles, shower solos, and other debauch we thought lived on only as fractured memories, edit these recordings to fit our preferred media, and live out our dreams as rappers turned singers turned porno impersonators.
The music video for harmonically gifted rapper Open Mike Eagle’s “Password (official unprotected file)” directed, shot and edited by David Maxime, explores some of the above ideas. Watch it!
“WORKOUT (SANCTUARY MIX)”
It’s 2014 and I still don’t love going to the gym. I never have, and I probably never will. Popping my headphones in and breaking a sweat to a grimy new track from Dreams, however, makes me feel like I just finished mad reps on the bench press – or whatever. Aptly named, Dream’s recent effort “Workout (Sanctuary Mix)” is a massive heater, duly manifesting the LA producer’s gradual stylistic relocation to a home-base in the club. With two tracks featured on a recent Bok Bok b2b Neana mix, Dream’s techno/grime explorations have shown hefty merit. “Workout (Sanctuary Mix)” is particularly powerful, with a slow rise exploding into a polarized mix of gigantic blistering bass, high end stabs, and vocal breaths that I can’t help but associate with marching orcs from LOTR. In addition to transforming clubs into saunas, Dreams also curates his own label, Private Selection. Loose weight purely by listening to “Workout (Sanctuary Mix)” streaming below:
• Dreams: https://soundcloud.com/dreamstrax
Despite all noble efforts to keep up with the new music of a given year, it often seems the records that completely consume my listening world are the ones that I don’t hear until early in the proceeding year. For 2013/14, Jib Kidder’s (real name: Sean Schuster-Craig)IV is undeniably that record.
Like many of TMT’s favorite albums of 2013 and Schuster-Craig’s other work, IV relies heavily on the re-contextualizing power of sampling. There are elements of both Andrew Pekler’s artful deconstruction and Dean Blunt’s ad hoc appropriation in Schuster-Craig’s approach, but the music that he creates with these techniques bears little resemblance to either of those artists. Instead, Schuster-Craig repurposes indistinguishable bits of rock music as the accompaniment for his own infectious power pop. Part of what makes IV so remarkable is how seamlessly Schuster-Craig’s organic instrumentation and songwriting is used in conjunction with his sampling.
Like Dean Blunt’s The Redeemer, it’s possible to ignore the sampling element altogether because of the structural integrity of both artists’ songwriting, but closer inspection of tracks like “Coincidence,” “Living in U,” and “New Crimes” reveal the hidden mutant aspects of Schuster-Craig’s pop. “Coincidence’s” drums are clearly culled entirely from some drum solo breakdown and as a result sound totally fucked when focused on. Similarly, “Living in U” plays with the odd metrical possibilities of a re-articulated drum loop in the context of Americana tinged pop while “New Crimes” blurs the lines between the acoustic space of a sampled loop and live instrumentation with it’s reverberant shoegaze. All of these moments are handled with the utmost subtlety and Schuster-Craig’s ability to imperceptibly create bedroom pop out of the forgotten moments in others’ songs illustrates the depth of his sampling prowess. It may be too late for IV to be your favorite record of 2013, but now seems like the perfect time for it to dominate your 2014 listening habits.
I saw this dude White Rainbow play at an awesome-warehouse-venue-turned-dance-club and he might have been kind of [not sober], because he kept turning the music down really low at peak tension-building moments in the mix, and would insist loudly into the microphone, “I’m not here to entertain you. If you want to be entertained, go watch Netflix on your laptop at home.”
Checking this new “Batman Palace” track out now at home on my laptop, I don’t much feel like cutting the rug, but then again my living room is about the furthest thing from a dance club. So, if I’m not entertained, what does it leave me? Call it mystified.
White Rainbow is releasing his first physical album in five years on February 11th entitled THRU.U. Vinyl pre-orders are available here. Stream the single “Batman Palace” below and be mystified:
• White Rainbow: http://whiterainbowpizza.bandcamp.com
Hot off their lost offerings CS EP on Moon Glyph last year, clipd beaks continues on (!!!!!), and this time they wielding a “black vacuum.” Get sucked into the sheer UV-gaze vocals as the visitor emerges through camera lens’d sun-spots. What dimension does this visitor appear from? Why does it wear such a magnificent helmet? Visitor holography? “Yo, you’re a trip, pal! Want to chill with me here and feel out this ‘black vacuum’ I’ve been reeling?” you ask agreeing with the steady drum beat, and the visitor is totally down with the idea.
Yet, as you’re listening together, worlds and dimensional lines seem to melt and blend with lingering guitar: textures, colors, shapes; YOUR shape; the VISITOR’s shape. The visitor’s gaze gives you a chill state of being, though. Vibrancy can’t even explain the feelings your experiencing while madness washes over you and out into calm. Be within. Be together. Belong!
A little bummed I missed Beat Detectives and Jonas Reinhardt game with clipd beaks at The Body Actualized Center last month. It’s all good, though. I figure clipd beaks will be popping something fresh super soon, and I’ll catch em on that flip. Scope their newest video for “black vacuum” below:
Some cover versions are a blurry photocopy of last year’s bare arse from the Christmas party, cashed in and pinned up, embarrassing for everyone involved: progenitor, distributor, ‘interpreter,’ No such debauchery with Laura Groves, formally Blue Roses, originally Laura Groves in the first place. This is a photo of a photo, developed in its own light. Video director Laura Coulson bears this in mind with her beautiful single shot dark-room portrait; allowing Groves’ to play with each of McCartney’s potentially cloying words, clearly deeply appreciative of the song, yet sometimes allowing a coy smile at its occasionally baffling lyrical oddities (“Some big friendly polar bear might want to take you home” – see original video for wonderful green screen fireworks display with said polar bear). She render’s his smooth Rhodes bed into something all encompassing, almost claustrophobic, finding the core of a ballad where TLC found an anthem.
Groves looks and sounds happily in control of her frankly remarkable voice, which we’ll no doubt hear more of soon, following last year’s Thinking About Thinking EP.