“minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]”
In 2013 alone we had Daft Punk, My Bloody Valentine, and Boards of Canada emerge from periods of inactivity that have lasted from eight years to nearly two decades. Another act whom we’ve collectively wondered whether or not we’ll ever hear any new material, Aphex Twin, has resurfaced! You’ve seen the blimp and gone into the “deep web,” all in the hope of finding news about new music from Richard D. James. Well, as I write this from a hotel room in Portland, we’re about nine days out from the release of RDJ’s Syro, his first record in thirteen years. The first song from the album, “minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix],” appeared online in the past week, and listening parties have already taken place around the world.
As far as the song goes, it whets the appetite for those who have been waiting on new Aphex music these past thirteen years. It’s neither as head-scratching and bloated as Drukqs nor as blissfully narcotic as SAW vols. I and II; rather, it’s an ideally low-key, acid-tinged return that picks up where he left off. Listening to this I can’t help but speculate on how the rest of Syro is going to sound, and whether or not it will be any good. I would not put it past RDJ to purposely put out a shitty record, sit back in his rocking chair, and laugh at all the critics and fans heaping praise on garbage all because it was stamped with the Aphex logo (I can’t help but think of this. Until Syro hits the streets next week, all we can do is speculate; however, I’m hoping that I can stop speculating and enjoy “minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]” for what it is, and that’s a damn good song.
III’s sound reminds me of an old warehouse where I used to rent a practice space. Hair, funk, and cover bands filled the other spaces. Their caves were lined with full-stacks of cutting-edge, dust-free equipment amplified by psychedelic stage lights. These ensembles were full-scale operations, like Carter Beauford’s drum kit.
Through these halls of rock biz aspirations, I found residue from fingers and pipes, private black mold rooms, empty vending machines, sponges and undies, oil, abused pianos, chewed reeds, bathroom graffiti on every inch, tar, patchouli, grease, stale beer, UTZ crumbs, flickering fluorescent, drug bags, and broken strings. I would hear the ensembles clawing away, rehearsing, doing another take, getting it right. Their sounds met in the halls, where they clashed together, creating a new sound environment and collaboration that transcended their individual efforts.
During the dawn phenomenon, these wafting smashes of idioms were haunting. III operates during those hours, in those haunted halls, where idiom is mangled, made hideous, and extinguished. The album has an emptiness that no level of high-energy drumming can resolve. Digital effects lengthen the span of the haunted hall, a Faraday-shielded shelter. The percussion transitions into ambient moments resembling edge-burnt postcards wedged in the walls, bookended by stall scrawls. Oil is the dominant scent.
I get so caught up listening to all these dead beats drone on and on through their broken language of drunken snares and dirty (hi!-)hats, that I forget there is still a bit of life in beat music. Just check out this 21-year-old Photay dude’s recent interview with Impose Magazine. So many exclamation marks and talk about excitement and freshness. Spring flowers bursting from my computer screen! The entirety of the EP is so feel-good, it almost makes me sick. Sputtering hi-hat sweeps, field recordings, and wobbling synthesizers abound. I remember being 21 and listening to Guns Babes Lemonade at college house parties and “getting sweaty.” And I remember rarely feeling that way since… Thanks Photay!
Check out “No Sass” below. The full stream is over in that Impose article.
Astro Nautico, where you been? Haven’t heard a damn thing from you since you won that Kickstarter campaign and released that Chits record, and then you drop Swim Team Kush a little over a week ago and this Photay self-titled EP a handful of days later on September 9? “No Sass” or nothing, but these old bones’a mine need a bit more of a breather next time, k?
If you’ve been sharpening your pencils and/or filling your mechanical pencils with that fucking lead that always breaks (a.k.a. getting ready to go to school today) just hold your horses and think again; it’s Spring Break (Tapes!) time, ya dum-dum. You’ve got a whole upcoming week of phat drums and savy samples awaiting you via Bugseed’s brand new cassette, Some Foods.
Now, don’t go committing any misdemeanors in anticipation of your copy of Some Foods to show up, like harassing the mail carrier with verbal threats and implied harm. Just listen to the stream of “Flowing” below and sit on your hands and waste the rest of your spring break waiting around for the tape to arrive.
“Super Strength (Power Plants)” feat. Morgan Delt
Yes! “Super Strength (Power Plants)” by Al Lover feat. Morgan Delt is DREADFUL! But I totally mean that in a way which I feel a sense of dread while listening to it, and I’m thinking that’s exactly the emotion they’re trying to muster up in listeners. Like, I get it: all the power plants will grow up and around every building with instant photosynthesis, drawing upon deeply rooted super strength that’ll divide us as species. I get it. We’re fucked. The trees will finally come for us in our time of weakness, and there’s nothing we can do but submit our human selves to vegetation, as vegetation has always submitted itself to human living. And this ain’t just a U.S. thing either, no. Take Morgan Delt for example: international, across many lands and seas and…. shit Morgan Delt is from LA. Okay, well what about Al Lover’s international appea… oh, they from San Francisco? Seems like they’re prophesying here about a country and not the world, y’all. It’s about time we all move out, no?
Listen to “Super Strength (Power Plants)” by Al Lover feat. Morgan Delt streaming below and you do the math. In the mean time, grip Al Lover’s entire new album Sacred Drugs via digital, or on LP through Psych Army Intergalactic and on CS via Crash Symbols.
• Al Lover: https://soundcloud.com/al-lover
• Morgan Delt: https://morgandelt.bandcamp.com
• Crash Symbols: https://crashsymbols.bandcamp.com
• Psych Army Intergalactic: https://psycharmy.bandcamp.com