Spaz / Baghdad BrooK / Hagfish / Poet Lounge / Hieroglyph Thesaurus / Sam Hillmer
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Recently, I Q&A’d Sam Hillmer (ZS, Diamond Terrifier) about his imprint Representing NYC and a video he made with some local Brooklyn fellahs, who are playing some of Sam’s weekly Practice! events at Secret Project Robot (one of which is tonight). Read on:
Who are the fellahs vocalizing in this cipher video?
First is Spaz, a dude who lives down the street from me, whom I met through some friends because he was recording at a studio next door to me: deep cat. Then there is Baghdad BrooK. Some of the other fellas in the cipher put me on to him and just invited him impromptu to the session. Next is Hagfish, who also lives down the way from me, and I met him at the same time that I met Spaz; they are in the same crew, same with the next dude Poet Lounge. Hagfish and Poet Lounge are separate MCs, but also sort of work as a pair and have a lot of really deep music out there, and the shit is fierce. Finally, the last three dudes are from the group Hieroglyph Thesaurus: P-Dot, Riddic.C, and Shasty (a.k.a. King Shas). I’ve been working with these cats for like five years now (they were in Nine 11 Thesaurus).
Who’s making the beats?
All of the beats are by Dutty Artz Producers, a lot by Matt Shadetek. Chief Boima, who runs Dutty Artz now, is spinning and some of the production is his as well. I think one of the tracks is from one of their newer releases by Rafi El, which is really heavy; you can grip it on the Dutty Bandcamp or SoundCloud. Dutty Artz will be helping to push out the new RNYC recordings.
What’s the scoop behind Representing NYC?
I run an imprint called Representing NYC. We push out recordings for MCs and producers who are local here in Bushwick and Bedstuy where I live. We link the MCs we work with up with producers and other musicians from the Brooklyn band scene. It’s a way for them to get totally original beats rather than them going off industry instrumentals. We’ve done two full-length records for the Fly Girlz and Nine 11 Thesaurus and put on countless events, showcases, etc. We’ve done records with True Panther Sounds, The Social Registry, and now we are working with DJ Rupture’s Beyond Digital and Dutty Artz not for profit and label respectively. We will be dropping a new track and a new artist feature once a week. As artists drop more tracks with us, we’ll build toward EP releases. When we’ve built to an EP we’ll push it out and hopefully rock tons of shows and hook up tours etc… but for now, check the blog! HA!
There are a ton of DIY venues in Bushwick and the Stuy, and they are surrounded by projects that are almost exclusively people of color and are largely low income households. Yet the DIY scene is almost exclusively trafficked by upper middle-class white people. This is a reality that is affront to the espoused values of punk and DIY communities, which are all about inclusivity and are by definition anti-racist and anti-classist. Yet here we are in the middle of the hood surrounded by white college graduates. It’s a little creepy, and I want to be part of doing something to change that.
Dead Leaves Crumble [album preview]
If the stereo wasn’t turned up so loud right now, you could hear me kinda chucklin’ at the idea of an “album preview” of Hakobune material. At this point, we know what to expect from Takahiro Yorifuji — it’s safe to assume that the upcoming Dead Leaves Crumble tape, despite its ominous title, will contain 32 minutes of pretty much exactly what this preview shows us: hauntingly lovely ambient guitar; the purest embodiment of the word “drift” I can think of. When the preview ends, I’m gonna go upstairs and grab some more Hakobune tapes so this drift session can keep on drifting — I’m not tryna stop now. I’ll also try to scope out an order link for this tape, which stellar Russian label Dronarivm is releasing in a tiny edition of 32. If I’m not one of these 32 lucky humans, there’s no telling what will happen. Or, no, Discogs will happen. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. One sec, lemme check.
No, no order link yet. “July 2013,” they say, and I say, “July when? Like, which day?”
SUMMER DEATH [EP]
Ohhh, readers. How shitty was going to work/school/responsibility this morning? I for real almost cried last night. More so, it was getting dark. Not like the dark in Mad Men season 6, but because it was nighttime. So I sat outside, looking for something to complement the feeling, and then came across Paisley Parks’ SUMMER DEATH EP. As if it was some type of shaman medicine, I went from sadness to shaking. I was jitter-buggin-OUT by the 23-second mark of “Loco Playa,” and the feeling didn’t stop. “Float On Da Hoes” had me laughing hard (didn’t throw up, but it was a good release). Once “Summer Death” began banging, I focused in on the flute and drifted in and out. “10minutes” was a nice and cocky reminder that I had only really been listening to SUMMER DEATH EP for that long by the end of the track, yet it felt like an hour. My girlfriend came out during “Motha Fuckin’ Dick” and told me it was too loud (@reefer). “I Don’t Know How to Luv Her” was way more Morse code to me than pondering something important, and that was zone-central. But “Windy Windy Wind” brought that gust of open air, leaving a whimsical vibe in my mind, as I went to sleep and thought, “Yeah, Monday ain’t too bad.”
Listen below to find out how to cure them dull-day blues with Paisley Parks’ SUMMER DEATH EP:
• Paisley Parks: http://ghost045.bandcamp.com
Tings & Savage
1080p, a new cassette label by Richard MacFarlane (Rose Quartz, ex-TMTer), debuted mid-June, but it already has three solid releases to its name. While the label’s first release, Heartbeat(s)’ Home Remedies, was a full-on dance hybrid of Detroit techno and 90s-flavored Chicago house, it was soon followed up with Brain Foam, an oblique dance release whose rhythmic pulses serve as a foundation upon which artists Roland Tings (a.k.a. Rohan Newman) and his bud Nathan Savage pile an array of competing yet fluid textures.
Melbourne-based producer Roland Tings is no stranger to the beat, having already released music through Not Not Fun and 100% Silk, but on “Shiver,” the thud is replaced by an indifferent click, a strategy that allows Tings & Savage’s raw, frenzied improvisations to shine, with hissing amps and wild delays threatening to overtake the track. Eventually, the clicking unceremoniously disappears, but you don’t notice, because here, it’s about the subsumption of implied rhythms under a roomy impressionism that registers on an entirely different head space.
Brain Foam is out now on 1080p. We’re grindin’ the label’s following release, by M/M, so look for that soon.
“Pale Mare (Ginseng RMX)”
TRY and stop Dylan Ettinger. Having transplanted himself from the West Coast (Not Not Fun) to the Midwest (Night People) label-wise, this Bloomingtonian is continuously bringing his game and always trying to switch it up. Since his Crucify Your Love tape on Night People, Ettinger has since released a 7-inch split with Iowa City-based Goldendust on DKA Records, and this track here is the (Ginseng RMX) to “Pale Mare.” Lotta that classic Ettinger synth-isms and dread-voxx, but remixed with a slew of swirling chants and elongated snare melts. It’s supreme.
Words from The Ettinger himself: “All is chill. My Iowa City brothers did this remix. Just give it a listen, embrace the darkness, zone out. Enjoy.”
• Dylan Ettinger: http://www.dylanettinger.com
Ant’lrd is sunroom music, not bedroom music.
Sunroom music = Evocative, beautiful tones full of glorious white space and picturesque chords, reminiscent of those rooms — everybody knows at least one; maybe your grandparents’ house or your uncle’s lake house — where at one wonderful time in the day, the sun pours in, filtered through heavy frosted glass windows in the ceiling, allowing you to float in just the right amount of warmth and to listen to the sounds of the forest pour in from the Earth’s speakers (a.k.a nature).
Bedroom music = You know, that cringe-inducing, condescending category of music created so blogs can remind everyone that the tapes and Bandcamp pages they spend hours pouring over are really the work of teenage amateurs taking advantage of the new-to-the-decade portability and quality of recording that can be achieved with minimal moolah. The problem with the term “bedroom music” is that it insinuates a lack of skill and that, therefore, it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Of course, it is entirely possible for literally anybody with half a brain to record music and throw it on Bandcamp. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Seriously; somebody could just make a bunch of shit, upload it in 45 minutes, and all it takes is one blog to label it “bedroom noise” and people are misconstruing it as “good.” There are also solo projects and monikers that have been labeled as “bedroom” that are actually amazing. Full of depth, creativity, and promise. It shouldn’t really matter whether or not it’s lo-fi, glow-fi, day-glo, fire-fly, or lite-brite; the quality of the music comes from the interpretations that can be made while listening to it, as well as the emotions and memories that can be chained together by a pleasant combination of sounds.
Ant’lrd is the work of one Colin Blanton, whose latest tape, extra domicile, fits in perfectly with loose, taiga forest vibes of Watery Starve, who released the tape. There are moments of concise sampling, where nostalgic loops collide with obscure percussive noises, driving the track sideways through time into alternate visions of a single instance. In some cases, this instance is a melody slowly unfolding under layers of nature-esque delay. Other times it takes the form of a single loop seamlessly melding with another, one that perhaps may fit at an earlier point in the album. Way out there, in the boundless fleeting instances in between notes, there is a galaxy of disorientating sound expanding like a Mandelbrot set. It makes me feel at home to be there.