Sky Needle
“End Games”

Man, oh man, it’s been a great few weeks for videos. First came Oneohtrix Point Never’s amazing (and sadly temporarily non-existent) collaborative techno-erotic exploration with Jon Rafman. Next came Tim Hecker’s exquisitely warped and washed-out gothic video for “Black Refraction,” a track from his forthcoming album Virgins. Now, viewers are presented with this little bit of genius from Brisbane’s Sky Needle.

So simple and yet so totally intense and absolutely effective, like some sort of primitive psychedelia, build, build, building to its demented Dionysian climax.

ME AH BOY THE STAR OF THE HEAD BORN A STAR YOU THAT STYLE THE FLOOR FLAWED WE ARE VILE THE GASSED OF DOOR PLAN BORED IS BY THE WAR RYE KNOW EYE WE ARE BY THE GUEST OF THE HEAD BORE A PIE THE BOAR HIGH RISE HORSE BEER OR MILES THROUGH OUT THE N I G H T BUY BILE STARTS SKY ONE WHY WHALES BE BEE OUT SIDE WALK THE…

And what are these words now but squawks of sound and passion: phlegm, lungs, loud, wind, whine, throat, thrust?

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) WE ARE SO HOT SO SOLAR…

In promotion of their latest album, Debased Shapes (out NOW on Bruit Direct Disques), Sky Needle just finished a European tour alongside Melbourne skuzz-rock act Mad Nanna. If you dig Debased Shapes, make sure you check out 2012’s Rave Cave. It’s similarly fucked up, but in the best possible way, of course.

• Sky Needle: http://www.skyneedle.org
• Bruit Direct Disques: http://bruit-direct.org

Patrick Farmer & David Lacey

Pictures Of Men. [excerpt]

One may not immediately associate emotional noise music with the unaltered sounds of pigs and geese, but the first five and a half minutes of Patrick Farmer and David Lacey’s Pictures Of Men. does a lot to make that connection much more apparent. The unaffected agricultural recordings that open the album are among the more gutturally moving musical moments I’ve heard this year. There’s something about the unidentified squawking and oinking that immediately registers as “pained,” in the same manner that a black metal vocalist’s yelps signify despair despite the incomprehensibility of their words. However, with the case of black metal, a listener can always look at the lyric sheet and see the source of the singer’s pain. Pictures Of Men. requires close listens to reveal the origins of certain sounds.

Throughout these opening minutes, it’s easy to hear some kind of industrial clangor that could be the source of the animals’ distress, and it’s pretty much a given that the producer of that clangor must be human. In that case, it seems that Farmer and Lacey use the opening material to establish a subtle dichotomy between man and nature that continues throughout the duration of the 45-minute composition.

As Pictures Of Men. progresses, this dichotomy between the natural-sound world and the man-made world is explored through the juxtaposition of field recording and EAI performance. It’s often difficult to tell what’s a natural sonic occurrence and what’s the result of the duo’s extended percussion technique. As the timbral textures eventually move from farmland to factory, it becomes clear that the album’s opening material presents an unedited relationship between human technology and nature that informs the rest of work. As a result, Pictures Of Men. is an amazingly thorough composition that raises interesting questions about sound source while managing to warp its own sounds into an arresting piece of music.

Pictures Of Men. is out now via Copy For Your Records. You can stream an [excerpt] of the work below:

• Patrick Farmer: http://www.patrickfarmer.org
• David Lacey: http://www.discogs.com/artist/David+Lacey
• Copy For Your Records: http://www.cfyre.co

Lil B

“Hadouken” (ft. Keke The Adopted Tabby Cat)

Lil B has released three mixtapes this year — 100% Percent Gutta, Pink Flame, and P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thug) — and a shit-ton of music videos lately, many of them hyping up his long-delayed mixtape, 05 Fuck Em (which is said to have grown to 70 songs across 5 “discs”). Today, however, we’re treated to something different: a weird (of course!) new BASED FREESTYLE track called “Hadouken,” a dedication of sorts to Ryu and Ken’s fireball projectile in the Street Fighter video game. The best part? The track features Keke “The Adopted Tabby Cat,” who had us all doing some BASED MEOWING last year with this genuinely bizarre song.

But wait, that’s not the best part at all. According to the video, Keke “The Adopted Tabby Cat” will soon be releasing a whole album, produced by Lil B himself. I really hope that’s not a joke.

• Lil B: http://www.basedworld.com

Patrick Higgins

“Envelopment” / “Melting”

Last Mother’s Day, my family and I were heading to Carmine’s in the heart of NYC. A few blocks away, my mom points to the InterContinental Hotel and says, “That place is famous.” As we approach the hotel, there’s a mob of people everywhere, so naturally we muscle our way through. My fiancée trailed within our wake and yells, “Monster, I think you just shoved a celebrity!” Looking back, my first thought as I see Drake glaring at me was that part from Degrassi, but I only squeaked out, “Hi.” Had it been composer and ZS guitarist Patrick Higgins, I’d have geeked out, even though we‘ve met on several occasions.

But check it out: Higgins is poppin’ out a deluxe double LP this year, and it consists of work he wrote for Mivos Quartet, titled String Quartet No.2 (a group he’s very familiar working with), and a “remix” of his work called Glacia — LPs I’ve been waiting to spin since day one (for me). The album comes at listeners as a joint effort between Words+Dreams and new label Ex Cathedra Records, distributed exclusively by Redeye Distribution and available November 12 on CD, digital, and (of course) double tri-color splattered vinyls limited to 300 copies.

Can’t wait that long? You’re in LUCK! If you’re livin’ in NYC travel distance, Le Poisson Rouge will present a special album release concert on October 4 with Mivos Quartet, Buke + Gase, and Higgins’ quadraphonic surround-sound set beginning at 6 PM. Tickets are available here AND advance copies of the record will be available at the show!!!!!!!!!!!

Stream Patrick Higgins’ “Envelopment” from String Quartet No.2 and “Melting” from Glacia below:

• Patrick Higgins: http://www.patrickhigginsmusic.com
• Words+Dreams: http://www.wordsplusdrea.ms
• Ex Cathedra Records: http://www.patrickhigginsmusic.com/excathedra

Danny Brown

Old

Let’s get something straight: XXX was a great album, a complicated album, a psychedelic meditation on survival and excess, at turns (and sometimes simultaneously) a celebration and a lamentation. It was followed by a long string of strictly celebratory interviews, EPs, and guest verses — a blatant brand-building exercise that succeeded more in caricaturization than characterization.

Asian.

Old is the follow up that XXX deserved. A dichotomization and a hybridization, it’s anything but a boring sequel and far stronger than its first singles “Dip” and “Kush Coma” would have you believe.

Flomax (stream Old) below via Spotify, pre-order on iTunes, or if you yourself are an old person, you can wait until October 8 for the physical copies, assuming of course you don’t die first.

• Danny Brown: http://xdannyxbrownx.com
• Fool’s Gold: http://www.foolsgoldrecs.com

Lubomyr Melnyk

“Marginal Invitation”

Virtuosi, man. What to do with ‘em? Sit open-mouthed a few feet away as fingers move faster than the naked eye can register? Allude to “wankery,” in some form, as if instrumental prowess is little more than glamorized musical masturbation? Sure, a number of shredders apply their dexterity in bouts of hilarious self-service. Some, though, work to unlock otherwise unavailable harmonies or rhythms with their legendary digits, fitting their speed and precision into wider compositional frameworks. Lubomyr Melnyk’s style of “continuous music,” which finds the Ukranian composer exploring the piano’s keys at maximum velocity across improbable stretches of time, channels his virtuosity into post-minimalist compositions of extraordinary beauty and elegance. Although more than 60 years old, the man who once set world records for piano performance (19.5 notes per second per hand [!]; 93,650 individual notes in one hour [!!!]) has not yet slowed his roll, and a recent slew of new releases, collaborations, and reissues has earned him more love from listeners than ever before.

In 2013, Melnyk has performed as a duo with fellow mega-shredder James Blackshaw for Important Records, and released the Corollaries LP with UK contemporary classical/avant-garde hub Erased Tapes. Melnyk’s next album Three Solo Pieces continues his relationship with Unseen Worlds, who reissued his style-defining 1978 opus KMH: Piano Music in the Continuous Mode on CD in 2007. “Marginal Invitation,” one of the Three Solo Pieces, demands close listening of the macro- and micro- varieties. Measure by measure, Melnyk’s playing astounds: individual notes reach us with infinitesimal separations between them; left and right hands lay out a shifting rhythmic grid that slides into new chordal configurations after each phrase lives in the mix for its own moment. Zoom out, and whole measures of consistent 1/32 notes fuse into discrete chunks, yielding phantom melodies and overtones that float above Melnyk’s handiwork as a rarefied layer of slo-mo harmonies.

Three Solo Pieces arrives in November. You can preorder the album on LP or CD now.

• Lubomyr Melnyk: http://www.lubomyr.com/index.html
• Unseen Worlds: http://www.unseenworlds.net

  

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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.