Can’t live without a steady rhythm? Always in need of some syncopated solace? Want a whole bunch of real gnarly-charlie grooves to help cure them beatless blues? Do doves cry? And if so, do they make a noise? And if so, is this what it sounds like? How many fingers am I holding up? Who drank the last of the milk? Is gold really malleable? Need anything else?
Enough questions! Low-Key is here to shut my inquisitive trap, letting Soft speak for itself… uh, softly… well, loudly too. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that these beatstrumentals ride. Background hi-hats intermingle with the rest of the up-in-the-mix kit, while horns, keys, and strings take their turns looping infinitely and getting murked by filter and vinyl sim. Nothing ultra-modern or hyper or overly-fractured; just some good-ass, laid-back jams, all seeped and steeped in deep crates. Recently released on Rotifer’s new offshoot Snow Broth, the hard copies are only one-hundred deep, and at least half are already gone, so grab one up while you can.
In other Low-Key news (that would be SUCH a good news show!), he just released a split with Eighty9s on his label Humble Weight, and it’s in the same league as Soft: mellow, limited, and going quick. Dude just can’t stop.
Laraaji & Sun Araw
The Play Zone (St John’s Sessions X Boiler Room London)
I got a lotttttttttttttttttttttttttt of work to rock through tomorrow. It’s not as bad as it could be, but you know: Ima crunch shit up. Fortunately, I’ll have them Sun Araw vibes in my ears, with a side of Laraaji. And as the fellahs-three tour the Euro-region, keeping laughter at MAX, they stopped by the London Boiler Room for a quick hit of The Play Zone plume. There’s some Sun Araw and Gray zones, and then a mash of Laraaji and Cam and Grey complete mind-out jamming on a further-mankind mission to restore the progression of beyond the beast. Do the three captivate humanity’s collective creative nod enough to renaissance existence into a new plane of thinking? If you answered, “Yes,” you MIGHT be right. Scope them live-style London dimensional zones within The Play Zone and find yourself a slice of peace.
“Make-Out in the GDR”
Despite coming from sunny California, former Starving Weirdos leader Brian Pyle, now gone solo under the moniker Ensemble Economique, manages to create some of the most sunless, melancholic music in the psychedelic underground. On his most recent albums, he eschews dubby, hazy ambiance for a bleaker, more anemic sound, clearly influenced both by shoegaze and dark ambient. On his upcoming release via Denovali Records ominously entitled Melt Into Nothing (due this month), he explores the shoegazey territory through “Make-Out in the GDR,” the acronym standing for German Democratic Republic, the communist, totalitarian half of Germany, which was divided between the superpowers after WWII. Together with the stark, black and white artwork of the album, the song creates a feeling of depression and resignation, something that many citizens felt under the rule of the communist regime. The harsh, processed guitar plays a tortured, droning notes over a slightly tribal, cavernous rhythms and a life-draining melody devoid of any hope. “Make Out in the GDR” skillfully channels the feelings of paranoia and danger felt by many common people in that system, as famously exemplified in Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s film The Lives of Others, depicting the work of the East German Stasi secret police. Downer drone master strikes again.
A slip of the tongue and we’re off, loosely buckled in on a budget motion simulator. With the suction cup of a snail, and the glossitis of a disjunct-prone opera singer, a broken-in instrument briefly pantomimes the history of aviation. While the mouth nosedives, a stifled snicker or two escapes from behind the camera’s point-of-view. The film reel flaps; it nearly unspools. The old-timey post-production atrophies the action, yet fails to distance the dental intimacy of “interlude whilst.” For a mere frame or two, we are given a wider context; otherwise, this vocal video is claustrophobic, fast-acting, and… dental.
• Crank Sturgeon: http://www.cranksturgeon.com
“Ghost of Dipset” ft. Cam’ron
If pop music eats itself, à la Ouroboros, then rap music not only eats itself; it excretes its own partially digested form and comes back for seconds and thirds. That explains how Dipset and “Ghost of Dipset” can co-exist. This is not to say Smoke DZA is a shitty version of Cam or any Diplomat, or to disparage any rap artist in any way. Rather, I propose this analogy 1) as an excuse for posting this song months after it came out (my bad, caught sleeping), and 2) in an awkward attempt to make some kind of sense of the absolutely absurd engtanglement that is the Dame Dash/Funkmaster Flex/Peter Rosenberg/Chuck D/Combat Jack Show/Hot 97 Morning Show/Breakfast Club saga. If you know nothing about this ongoing debacle, consider yourself lucky. If you know anything about it and find yourself starting to take sides, just keep in mind that neither radio station would fit “Ghost of Dipset” or anything else off Dream.ZONE.Achieve into its regular rotation, and that Tiny Mix Tapes loves you the most. “Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.”