Ensemble Economique

“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.

• Ensemble Economique: http://ensembleeconomique.tumblr.com
• Denovali Records: http://denovali.com

Crank Sturgeon

“interlude whilst”

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

Smoke DZA

“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.”

• Smoke DZA: http://www.smokedza.net
• Cam’ron: https://twitter.com/Mr_Camron

Grandma Sparrow

“The Pigsmilk Candycane”

So, as I’m a realist (LOL), I’d like to think that one day I’ll have a clan of kids (maybe my own; maybe not my own), but when I sift through my LPs, I’m always thinking which LPs would be good for my (future) kin as they grow up. Yeah, Apple Brains is solid pie. Maybe more Zappa than Beefheart, but both work. Definitely some Ween too. But now it’s at the level of buying LPs for kids while in my pre-kid stage. And they’re probably not even coming for another five years. Yet, in the mean time, I’ll know ALL the words to Grandma Sparrow & his Piddletractor Orchestra, which seems to be intended more for adults anyhow, but music-is-music, and gettin’ stoked on having fun is (not fascistly required anywhere, but…) FOR EVERYONE!!

“The Pigsmilk Candycane” is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s as though it was written to be sung at a camp for adults hosted/ran by children. Though, Grandma Sparrow has found an interesting way to traverse musical worlds and genres and listenership via theme. By making “The Pigsmilk Candycane” more like a sing-along creates an atmosphere for people to join in and experience a physically separated community – that may also be out there listening to it in their home, or at work – singing along with everyone else listening. Thus, if you’re looking for a good fucking time, grip the NUTS off Grandma Sparrow & his Piddletractor Orchestra and have a BLAST forever after via Spacebomb Records. Scope “The Pigsmilk Candycane” in the mean-time and let loose this Monday to the idea of having fun:

• Grandma Sparrow: http://www.grandmasparrow.com
• Spacebomb Records: http://spacebombrecords.com

T o p $

“skirrrrrrrrrrt9 [with D. Neptune]”

Wait a hot minute, “skirrrrrrrrrrt9” is ONLY five minutes long? Whoa. I could’ve sworn I was listening to this for like half an hour at least. I don’t know: at what seemed to be about a minute-or-so in to the song, time started to kind of slow down. I started to feel heavy all of a sudden, the still, whist air became resistant to my movements, easy and smooth as they were. The synths washed over me like a tide coming in. I felt like a rogue cell floating through the blood stream, fluid, effortless backstroke through the plasma, bouncing from cell to cell. Mmmm, so based, T o p $ really hit the spot with this one. I’d even go so far as to say that this was tip-top (tip-top$? I’ll stop)(Sorry).

• T o p $: https://soundcloud.com/topsdollarsign
• D. Neptune: https://soundcloud.com/douglas-neptune

  

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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.