Oxykitten is back (!), and this video is shocking for a simple reason: you may find that it makes much more sense than it has any right to. Watching “Rat Priest,” understanding it will force you to doubt your foundational logic systems; it’ll compel you to consult a neurosurgeon to examine your spine. Who knew that your best lesson today in How Narrative Works would come from such a wonderfully twisted place.
Every element of “Rat Priest” relies on your familiarity with cultural phenomena. Yes, of course, Basic Instinct belongs at Blockbuster and nowhere else. Yes, of course, lasers make those sounds. Yes, of course, as our protagonist scrolls along his/her two-dimensional cosmic space, a slew of hostile sprites will come wave after wave to attack. Sonic and Mario led us down the rabbit hole and, behold, Oxykitten has met us on the other side. Ladies and Gentlemen, you have just witnessed a new breed of rationality born.
100 limited-edition, pro-dubbed, and imprinted cassettes of Oxykitten’s Octogonal Wax are available now from Field Hymns.
I first heard Japanese producer Kent Alexander’s solo music on a compilation by label Pan Pacific Playa. His track, “Hot Girl,” stuck out like a sore thumb, an awesome tar-footed number that barely made it to the end of its nearly four-minute drag. The track wasn’t very indicative of Kent’s modus operandi, precisely because his modus operandi is so ill-defined to begin with: when he’s not producing with the Paisley Parks crew, he’s jumping from club to crunkcore to moombahton to chill without skipping a beat (unless it’s intentional), to sometimes mixed results.
But “羅生門学園” (“Rashomon School”) is something different altogether. It’s playful, hyperactive, and cutting like the rest of his tracks, but here Kent is continually screwing with the beats, the tempo, the flow, the samples, flipping shit every handful of measures — a je ne sais quoi obscured and in perpetual flux. Check it out here:
“I love Cambodian pop, Korean folk artists such as Kim Doo Soo, Sufi trance, opera, Bollywood, drone, field recordings of frogs, hypnagogic records, dub reggae, underground and internet hip-hop (I guess I’m referring to Lil B here) and it seems anything Finnish,” says Lynn Fister of Aloonaluna in a recent interview. A lot of the stuff listed in that quote slithers into “Duck Goose” one way or another, but I would also add rainbows, shower caps, ghost stories, snapdragons, and children’s folklore. Whatever it is that goes into the gurgling cauldron wherein Aloonaluna concocts her mystical potions, the results are equal parts eerie and fun. This track is featured on the new tape Diadem or Halo?, which is the second solo cassette Fister has issued as Aloonaluna for the Hooker Vision imprint in 2012.
A little news to accompany the most-joyous occasion of this track premiere: Aloonaluna is also currently on tour across the US. Check out her tour promo video here, scope the upcoming dates throughout June with RoamerX at the RSVP page, and hit a show so you can score yourself a copy of this fine strip of magnetic witchcraft from Fister herself.
irr. app. (ext.)
“Not Your Melted Silver Crayon”
irr. app. (ext.), the nom de plume of Matthew Waldron, has been mightily prolific since the late 90s; when he’s not churning out releases on labels like Beta-lactam Ring, Gnarled Forest, Nihilist, and his own Errata In Excelsis imprint, he’s recording/performing/collaborating with Nurse With Wound’s Steven Stapleton, making surrealist art au service de la révolution, or apparently getting all internet social with Bandcamp, SoundCloud, MySpace, Facebook, and Last.fm.
His latest track is called “Not Your Melted Silver Crayon.” Read what he had to say about it and then listen below:
This palpitating wedge of curdled soundwaves is the result of some new strategies concerning instigating sounds from other living things. Under the pretense of wanting her advice on some visual projects I was working on, I invited my sister over and then forced her to play the guitar for me — something she had never done before in her life. Amongst the different sources I provided for her as a rhythm track was a recording I had made by using her pet Pomeranian as a percussion instrument; that recording is also used in this particular mix. The dog’s thick fur created an effect that reminds me a little of brushes on a drumkit. Most of the sound here is derived from different takes of my sister playing the electric guitar and bass for the first time, but some related sources have been added: the same Pomeranian going into a berserker frenzy to protect its grungy little plush cow toy, the neighbourhood geese having their yearly jamboree, one of my sister’s cats on a liquid binge, and even a short interlude in the middle of myself playing a delicate prepared cantata on my sister’s out-of-tune piano.
• irr. app. (ext.): http://irrappext.com
Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk
A little over a month ago, Chicago’s Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk played a show in the chapel on the Reed College campus in Portland, Oregon. The old, rarely used chapel by night seems a perfect venue for “Little George,” the eerie opening track to BBDDM’s new Lillerne’s Tapes cassette, Soda. “Little George” begins with a stab of indiscernible noise, which quickly fades into a bed of heavenly-light-through-rain-clouds-style ambiance and chanting. It’s ritualistic. I expect to hear this from rows of hooded monks, not a few Midwest dudes thrashing on guitars and keyboards run through mountains of pedals. What amazes me is how appropriate this one can feel billowing out from behind an altar in some chapel, while still managing to fit the setting of a poorly lit, concrete floor basement.
Listen to “Little George” below, and buy the cassette over at Lillerne Tapes.
“Gmaj7 (Miracle Chord)”
Chord. Indeed. This is one of those.
Defined (via Webster’s): noun \ˈkȯrd\ three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously
Oof, that makes it sound pretty boring. Here’s how Chord the band, which features members of Pelican, X-Bax, and Sacred Cities, explain their performance of the Gmaj7 chord:
This G rooted non-dominant seventh chord presents itself as a major/minor seventh consisting of root (G), major third (B), perfect fifth (D), and major seventh (F#). The appearance of movement is created here by emphasizing different diads present in various voicings of the chord, yet the chord itself is always used harmonically rather than melodically.
But however arranged, however it works, many may not be able to fully comprehend the theoretical conditions set up that make this chord so wholly absorbing. “Gmaj7 (Miracle Chord)” features many tones. There are tones inside the tones, and outside of them, too. These simultaneous tones last for nearly 40 minutes, and not a second feels wasted. But one thing bothers me: the meager applause at the end. This thing should have drawn an earthquaking howl. Where ambient plows its way into the arena of rock, that’s where we find this chord. This chord — guitars, drums, searing feedback, and all — could fill the Super Dome. And all the spaces between the thousands of slack-jawed onlookers, too. Up their nostrils, under their nails, between hair follicles.
Certainly, a chord is more than just a chord. And with “Gmaj7 (Miracle Chord),” it’s even more than just Chord (the band, note the capital “C”). For this performance, Chord were joined by Miracle Condition, supplementing the already-super group into a kind of mutant super-super group called Miracle Chord. Both this track and another lengthy live version by Chord alone can be found on an album called Gmaj7 (Empty Bottle 11/20/10), which is available for purchase on its own or as a bonus download for buying the LP edition of Chord’s new studio album, Gmaj7. All versions are available here starting today.