I listened to Constellation Botsu’s new tape after midnight while walking across the city, and let me tell you: the experience was a Frankie Teardrop challenge for the digital age. The enigmatic Japanese producer’s squalling industrial noise fields blasted into my headphone space by way of panning static, gargled human voices, and corrupted drum patterns — and the Milwaukee Avenue that I tread on the reg morphed into a miles-long ghost clubhouse, replete with spirits seething out of doorjambs and wraiths poking their shrouded heads and tentacles out of alleyways. I welcomed them. I was smiling the entire time, and the wraiths smiled back, dripping spectral mucous from mouth-like cavities into the slits of expectant manholes. Cigarette butts on the ground elongated under the pressure of Constellation Botsu’s aural hallucinogens into humanoid digits. Numbers on storefronts mutated into kanji I hadn’t even learned yet: “屍,” “臭,” “輝.” I don’t remember seeing anyone else on the street, but someone had to have crossed my path. I imagine them squinting into the grin plastered onto my face, observing my head’s slow bobbing, and moving a few steps closer to the curb.
I listen to 萎びてられっか and I thrill in every detail. At face value, it offers a journey into the depths of hell. Take one mental leap past its “noise” trappings, however, and the album unfolds as a series of playful exercises in sonic desensitization and audience bewilderment — a succession of miniature DAW chimeras, stitched together on a screen out of loops and vocal samples and set loose into the world, branded with a serial number in the Botsu catalog. Tracks like “Botsu177” dip into chiming ambient vibes that toy with our expectations, before surging back into the voice + beats + static mania we crave. “Botsu156” and “Botsu182” skirt closer than any of his previous material to the post-juke/footwork high-BPM brain-melters pounded out by fellow Digitalis affiliate Foodman, possessing a similar disregard for rhythmic cohesion in favor of an everything-at-once burst of experimental textures. As Foodman explained in a recent profile in Japan Times, “Juke itself doesn’t really have a set structure. […] There’s this laid-back attitude that, as long as you’re adhering to 160 bpm, you can do whatever you want.” If Constellation Botsu’s music can be considered “juke” on any level, he represents one of the farthest outliers on the spectrum, content to entirely upend established norms of song structure or tone, eager to sink deeper into the alleyways and sewers bubbling beneath the city we see.
As of now, cassette copies of 萎びてられっか are still available on the Digitalis bandcamp page.
“Just a Minute”
I’d like to take “Just a Minute” to say Happy Birthday to my lil bro, Bodd, who’s turning 28 today, damn. Thanks to A-ko, “Just a Minute” is the prefect introductory to anything. Shit, this should be the new Jeopardy theme. It’s like, there’s only one answer, y’all: GET TO IT! Or maybe during your Grams’ holiday speeches, flip on “Just a Minute,” and A-ko helped you GET ON with that holiday. Fuck, maybe “Just a Minute” is intended for a quick poke-smoke. NOBODY KNOWS! Just enjoy and keep up on this beat-em-up dazzler A-ko as he walks on clouds of the lightest and darkest regions of sample collections. Also, A-ko will be featured in a Chocolate Grinder mix later today!!
• A-ko: https://soundcloud.com/a-ko
Blacksea Não Maya
One of my favorite things to do when I go back to my home-town in Ohio, I enjoy floating down the Little Miami river with my wastoid pal, Nick (a.k.a. Shit Ass, a.k.a. Captain George, a.k.a. Porridge). As I don’t really know much about Blacksea Não Maya (other than their B.N.M. P.D.D.G. release, but even then…), it’d be neat to drift along listening to the wild beats in “Chéé Troopaa” during our time of relaxation. Get hyper stoned and feel that beat in a typically not-so typical location for me to be in on the daily/monthly/yearly, so the music matches perfectly outta sync. Just for juxtaposition’s sake. Shit, maybe we’ll name the trip “Chéé Troopaa.”
If you DO want more information, just wait until The Fader cashes in on a big Principe Discos feature (than some diddly DJ NIGGA FOX post), ‘cause they’ll milk Blacksea Não Maya for every dollar –er, I mean bit of information. HAHAH HAHAHAH AHHHH – The Fader isn’t about the money, no…………………………….. O_O >_< O_O
Anyhow, Principe Discos keeps feeding my faux-three-friend Facebook feed, and I can’t read their language, but I can DEFINITELY click play. And boy, is it always a treat. Fuck information. Just listen. Blacksea Não Maya is all about the fun, and this video for “Chéé Troopaa” brings exactly that. Enjoy at any time!
Scott Goodwin (Polonaise, Operative, and Bonus), a Portland, OR, based producer, has been a recurring guest at various events hosted by Seattle’s Debacle Records and its offshoot imprint, MOTOR. Now that he’s been brought in as a member of the latter collective, MOTOR is set to release Goodwin’s debut under that name. The Ramparts EP, out July 22, continues the MOTOR vinyl series with a quartet of taut grooves. The title track (streaming below), starts off with a low-hanging bass that is paired with a wonky synth solo about 3/4 of the way through. It’s a dizzying open to the EP, which showcases the talent Goodwin has been bringing to his live sets throughout this past year. Ramparts is out on the 22nd, and you can pre-order the vinyl here. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest in the next two weeks, Goodwin is playing a few shows in anticipation of the release (dates below).
07.11.14 - Seattle, WA - Lo-Fi
07.19.14 - Portland, OR - S1
“Slot Machine Music (Side A)”
C’mon big money, big money. I don’t feel comfortable in the casino environment. Somehow I don’t know I don’t think so c’mon babe big money. I walk into a casino and promise myself that I will only spend (waste) $20 dollars on whatever, usually slots, and I keep my promise. My max bet comes up 45 cents. It’s not even a matter of “resisting temptation.” It’s a war. All I’m tempted to do is leave without spending anything. Listen, what are you playing? I can’t play black jack, poker, roulette, etc., well enough to even fathom coming out ahead. Double bonus. So in the off chance that I’m dragged along to a casino for a friend’s birthday or something, as my posse presses their luck with the big kid games, I find solace in a few key factors. Press the spin button to see what you’ve won. #1: You can smoke cigarettes indoors. I wanted that one. #2: Slot machines hypnotize me. You just have to wait a minute, mom. I know that’s hard for you.
I listen to Adrian Rew’s field recordings of Midwest casinos, compiled into his album Slot Machine Music (originally issued as a CDr on Ergot Records), and I’m transported straight to the zone. By “the zone,” I don’t mean “the casino.” I mean the same mental fugue state and/or ecstasy sparked by Reich’s endless melodic repetitions, Nancarrow’s inhuman player piano rolls, or Headboggle’s grab-bag synth mangling. Rew’s overwhelming stereophonic mixes, populated by layer upon layer of manic arpeggios, klaxons, victory cheers, Wheel of Fortune fanfares, gambler commiserations, all captured from the perspective of a lone microphone, with all recorded machines improbably tuned to something like the same key by their manufacturers for the sake of good-time consonant vibes on the floor, transcend the physical reality of their recording sites (Horseshoe Casino, Cleveland, OH / Horseshoe Casino, Hammond, IN / Grand Victoria Casino, Elgin, IL) to stand as successful “compositions” in their own right.
Key word: ~*# chance #*~. Just as the unwittingly recorded gamblers submitted themselves mind, body, and wallet to the rigged mistress of chance, Rew allowed only the natural conditions of the environment to shape his recording. The casino’s chaos is out of his, or anyone’s, control — other than the fatcats in the backroom stacking bands on bands on bands, pumping in the enhanced O2. Without the use of pedals, oscillators, tape machines, or any typical noise accoutrement, Rew’s recordings fit neatly into the Hanson Records catalog (alongside other already classic field recordings like the Nath Family’s Sounds of the Indian Snake Charmer) as a mind-fuck of rhythmic abandon and eardrum overload, frosted with that depressive sheen of hope and loss that keeps us all coming back for one more try, a little more, c’mon babe, big money.
You can preorder the picture disc from Hanson Records now. It ships in early September.