A. G. Cook
On one hand, we got “#Beautiful,” a bland pop song by Mariah Carey on an otherwise pretty fantastic pop album. On the other, we have the bouncy “Beautiful” by A. G. Cook, the man behind the incredible PC Music imprint. If Mariah’s track seduces you into the pop domain through its syrupy hooks and breezy summer vibe, A. G. Cook’s track awkwardly sneaks you in through the backdoor. But unlike previous PC Music releases, A. G. Cook doesn’t overtly play with or “subvert” pop tropes here; he straight-up embodies them. I’m tempted to call this unabashed embodiment weirder, a hyperreal, post-simulation process that gives a renewed edge to optimism and reinvigorates clichés. But why would I? The music coming out of PC Music is refractory stuff, slipping in and out of your brain and infecting your nervous system in not-so-easily-irreducible ways that, at the very least, make you think, “Damn, I could really fuck with pop music these days!”
Lars Holdhus articulates himself as being the “system administrator” of his mechanic TCF moniker. The clinical and precise word “system” is extremely indicative of what Holdhus has constructed — both here in the presented mix and in terms of his overall process. For example, Holdhus has set into motion a seemingly automatic project-wheel known as TEA (Tiny Encryption Algorithm) project, which serves a way for TCF to expand from moniker to a module of the physical world. To fill in the prospective wait for the project to develop and take off, Holdhus has shared a awe-inspiring mix arranged for Badwaves.
“The rupture, the break, the obvious artificiality of the machine is interpreted as an unartistic act of force and therefore has to be covered up more and more,” says Gerald Raunig in his Deleuze adapting book length essay, “A Thousand Machines.” The mix operates similarly. Founded on an axiom of comfort in ecological dysfunction, the mix scales the expanse of plasticity. A lucidly lateral movement occurs through the mix’s development that unravels and then arrives back at the beginning, exposing a sort of boring truth of the future’s nowness as we utilize technologies in a massive interconnected web while still longing for the future. The concept of ouroboros mapping, pinning down points within a cyclical and non-arriving path is quite reminiscent of the drifting and largely organismic works (Basinski’s “92982.1,” Fennesz, Mika Vainio, Christian Zanési’ s”Nostalgiai”) that are included in the mix.
Holdhus, the observant explorer, the human in the middle exercises his ability to know his surroundings, to cybernetically construct while encased. The approach of the mix is that of an essay, a piece of information, a text and context presenting itself and its point with each lateral and then downward slide. Endlessly cycling recapitulations of reappropriations, all scatter-shot ambient and generative pieces with epistemic items bouying along a kosmische spectra, the mix reveals itself to be about the process of a series of input/output commands, prepositions laid out to produce and develop over a length of time (and space).
There is a particular moment, around the 31:20 mark that calls to mind a quote from Rem Koolhaas’ The Generic City, “Identity centralizes; it insists on an essence a point. Its tragedy is given simple geometric terms.” This moment seems to define the entire point of the mix. People Like Us’ “Sacred Erm,” lays bare an epithelial pastiche of everyday life: the human voice entrenched in banal daily phone banter becomes the center of the composition. This moment feels like a climax as Basinski’s d|p 3 forges its way through the torrent of elated and task-involved voices. The statement “I suppose you want me to spell” grabs the ear before being filtered and usher off into the ether, and a trance motivated piece by EVOL webs its way around the severely open “O” shapes of the brass instruments in Ennio Morricone’s “Di Notte.” There is a sort of bait-and-switch in this section: the codified, significantly packed nature of the human voice caught up its daily dealings is quickly replaced by that which is mechanical, both expressed through intensively cylindrical shapes. Everything that exists in space and time is simply matter waiting to be transformed and formatted.
Though, Holdhus calls this piece a mix, something simple and benign, quite indicative of a few points of interest in a particular moment; this could more precisely be called the definitive release of 2014. Within 40 far too short minutes, Holdhus has metabolized every vantage point and inquiry of modern society, splicing and combining the hot button topic of surveillance with the “highbrow” notion of the post-human ecology of our known world. Stream 486669f0e9b8990384108f3d54c6a8f036adeb8bc7108f3d54c6a8f036adeb below:
• TCF: http://www.larsholdhus.com
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
“Deeper” is ultimately a tale of hardened empathy. Perfectly soundtracked by Madlib’s deft flip of The Ledgends 1970 B-side cut “A Fool for You,” Gibbs runs through five years in less than four minutes, detailing a relationship nearly ruined by the initial attraction, the following separation of both parties, and the evidence of what their loving and mutual time spent together produced. The beat couldn’t be more on point either. Siren strings loop endlessly, pulling you closer and closer while fractured vocals cut in and out like the second guessing of time spent apart. And the drums bump like a dude beating his head steadily against the idea of his significant other’s infidelity.
“Deeper” is one of the most fundamentally human songs you’ll hear all year (but if you’re like me, you’ve been bumping this for some time now). Featured on the stellar Piñata LP, the video is the third in a series of Gibbs and Madlib tracks to be directed by Jonah Schwartz, all of which are worth your time. Bonus: Derek Jeter makes a guest appearance (kinda).
Chronic Organicism Part. 4
Oh, hey reader. What would you say if I told you that Italdred — the London based beat label — just released the fourth and final volume of their massive Chronic Organicism compilations? You’d say flimflam? And maybe even pishposh? Well, okay, you have a right to say whatever you want, but don’t write me off so quickly, ‘cause I’ve got facts backing me up, pal. Just take a look at their Bandcamp page and then try and tell me that I’m pulling your leg. You can’t!
Totalling well over a hundred tracks, and featuring the likes of Ohbliv, naps., GRIMM Doza, beatboxbandit, and many many others, this collection has something for the whole family (providing your family are all beat heads). There’s “Long Red” yelps, microKorg synth lines, Dilla-indebted drums, abstract Ableton bleeps and bloops, fuzzy funk samples, vaporwave porno chillers, mournful Clams Casino-ish vocals, dubby delay ripples, smooth as shit disco-fueled loops, footwork influenced chops and cuts, choral and orchestral flips, drill hi-hats, HUGE bass, and so much more. Fuck, there’s even a LOX remix thrown in. What more could you ask for?
Still don’t believe me? Well, stream the entire Chronic Organicism Part. 4 below:
• Italdred: http://italdred.com
index of/nipple tapes
Gaaaah, this jambalaya of temperance, patience, and intuition is getting me all worked up (in the best way possible). index of/nipple tapes feels so thought out and complete, yet still so unplanned and stubbled upon. Kinda like when you were young and had to stay home from school because you were sick, and the only thing to do was lay on the couch and endlessly flip through the channels. And then at some magical point, the surfing got good, and everything started to mix together into one sensical, fluid program. Er, sumthin’ like that.
By the way, this isn’t a fluke, either. Check out uuu by nipple tapes, released a little over a month ago. It’s equally as enthralling as the new index of/nipple tapes, which is streaming below: