Jaaska

“Chinna Chinna”

Videshi, a fresh EP from Brooklyn-based producer Jaaska is joined by a sunny new video mixed by visual artist Scary Pretty. This one’s more pretty than scary. In fact, alongside the feel-good lead-off track “Chinna Chinna,” it’s prettier than just about anything. The music and the film both feature a compact yet chaotic swarm of sampled material, pieced together boldly and precisely to create a lofty jam that is built to carry us right on through to the end of summer. The vibrant eastern instrumentation and Bollywood influence heard in this track extends, more or less, throughout the entire EP. In addition to “Chinna Chinna,” another stellar single titled “Star Videsh” can be heard as a teaser for the recent release. Buy the digital EP from AMDISCS!!

• Jaaska: https://soundcloud.com/mountainsong
• AMDISCS: http://amdiscs.com
• Scary Pretty: http://scarypretty.tumblr.com

Rob Magill

Experiment

Holy shit, Rob Magill is traversing levels here. Not only sonically, but as a musician, I’m NOT familiar with the fellah using samples. But it’s always more with Magill. There’s a reality to it, and especially here in Experiment. Not only does it sound like he’s in the middle of practice, but also trying to build something he found off the street from Ikea, and maybe he’s mixing a nice freckled ice-tea lemonade. Pink. With strawberries. It’s to sooth is voice. And his maximalist tendencies to create. As well, it’s in three Phases, so… fuck on Experiment this long weekend.

Also, I think there’s still a What About the Maybe tape left over at Tomentosa iffin’ y’all are so inclined. I brought my tape copy into work today. Take the tease here. And do yourself and Rob and old C and even P a favor this weekend and do something creative. Take that extra day, yo! Tiny Mix Tapes is shut down on Monday too. Just a reminder for all you die-harders out there.

WE LOVE YOU ALL!!

• Rob Magill: http://rob-magill.bandcamp.com

Zach Phillips

Recorded in Hell/ “As Teeth”

One thing that really fascinates me in pop music is the idea of proportion. When pop songs are reduced to their most basic formal elements (beyond simply harmony and melody), most can essentially be broken down into 2 or 3 discrete sections (verse, chorus, bridge). It can be really interesting to see how much of an individual section can be proportionally condensed or stretched while still resembling a song structure. For instance, how long does a verse or chorus need to be to resemble a typical song form? Conversely, how much variation needs to occur in order to distinguish one particular section from another? Additionally, what happens to our sense of time/structure proportionally when melody/harmony are embedded within the framing of longer instrumental or noise elements?

Zach Phillips’ music seems to be very concerned with these questions and on his latest, Recorded in Hell, he explores these questions of pop proportion in fascinating ways. Recorded in Hell largely consists of miniature pop songs that are extremely dense harmonically/melodically due to their extremely short lengths. However, it’s through this density that Phillips is able to examine how much a song needs to function and the proper “songs” on Recorded in Hell manage to create wonderfully complete bizarro pop tunes that are often only 30 seconds or less (see “Deer Release” and “A Good Misunderstanding”). Perhaps part of the reason this works so well is due to the bulk of Recorded in Hell’s arrangements focusing on Phillips’ virtuosic keyboard work and vocals which reduce the instrumentation to basic harmonic/melodic function while cramming complex formal structures into small time frames. The effect of proportion within these miniature songs is further complicated by a number of lovely synth driven instrumentals (all of the “2010’s” tracks) that are sometimes 2 to 3 times the length of the song material. This in conjunction with the odd snippets of dialogue that often begin each song effectively blur the listener’s perception of time. As we grow to accept the 30 second-1 minute songs as a normal complete length, the longer (1-2:30 minute) instrumentals feel almost like blissfully epic excursions. Phillips’ manipulation of proportion and how it plays with a listener’s sense of time within the context of pop music seems inextricably connected to Maher Shalal Hash Baz’s work but Phillips is exploring these concerns in very different ways through his use of song forms and instrumental variation.

These ideas also seem to inform the video for standout track “As Teeth”. Despite its abstract appearance at the onset, “As Teeth’s” video invokes narrative form through overlaid shots of a woman’s feet moving backwards and upside down and imagery of buildings and apartments. The video can be read as a visual representation of what Phillips does with form in his music. The transient narrative could even be seen as a direct illustration of the song’s lyric “even that remains a story.” Recorded in Hell and “As Teeth”, are Phillips’ way of playing with notions of form and narrative in accepted forms by both proportionally blurring and reducing their signifiers.

• Zach Phillips: http://www.osr-tapes.com
• Lillerne Tapes: http://www.lillernetapes.com

Big Waves of Pretty

It Is A Sight He Never Forgets

Big Waves of Pretty might technically hail from Wisconsin, but their home is (the couch in your garage) {your absent roommate’s bed} [the corner booth of a highway diner] somewhere across America, location after location, gobbled up in single-serving portions before getting back on the road again. The group’s tour with Bridgetown Records founder Kevin Greenspon stretched past 100 dates in the course of more than four months, allowing them to woodshed new material before fresh faces in basements, bars, and galleries each night. I managed to catch them twice on this tour, and remember: six-string shred, hyper-precise drum battery, cacophonous gang vocalization, dozens of bells handed into the crowd, hair flopping, shirts coming off, gear set up on the floor, amps facing inward, eye contact, irreverence, spirit. The two shows blur together in my mind. I imagine +100 shows blur deeper for them.

But here we have a succinct 27-minute document of their energy in the form of It Is A Sight He Never Forgets, recorded in Minneapolis at the end of their journey. BWOP’s aural transience matches their physical wanderlust, as their convictions bleed from the speakers in an ecstatic blitz of fingers and throats pushed to the edge of reason for the sake of comrades, strangers, and each other. “Big Waves” offers just that, as washes of effected six-string texture fuse with bell percussion before the math-rock takedown hits with crisp arpeggios and tight snare rolls. “Feeling Stoned” and “Blissed” temper the Dead-meets-DonCab vibes of Akron/Family and contemporaries with bruising blastbeats, warp-speed riffing and turn-on-a-dime song structures. “Goldenrod” stretches into narcotic ballad zones with vocal harmonies and harmonica peals before “If You Not Going To Sparkle What The Fuck Did You Come For” caps off the tape as a manifesto of their varied strategies.

It Is A Sight He Never Forgets is available now from the newly revived (never dead) Bridgetown Records, or spring for the package deal of the whole Spring batch.

• Big Waves of Pretty: http://bigwavesofpretty.org
• Bridgetown Records: http://www.bridgetownrecords.info

M.I.A. & The Partysquad

“Double Bubble Trouble”

Cohesion in art requires a certain level of restraint. The best form of restraint is economic. When an artist is bound to what little they have, or to some budget of some kind, the restraint forces creativity to a certain extent, if the artist obviously lets it. It forces them to get clever, get interesting, constantly moving. One’s focus becomes intense, clarity is gained. “Stay hungry,” in other words, and things start making sense, the art becomes itself. But more importantly, if one is successful in this manner, great is the artist who understands that the restraint is what got them there, not just some innate talent or skill as the ego implies.

So what happens if the artist cannot simply restrain themselves economically, by virtue of being at least decently off? Maybe they’ve become successful with their art. Maybe they married into wealth. Maybe they scored a windfall through a grant, winnings, something of that nature. Perhaps it’s a combination of some or all these things, among others. There is nothing necessarily wrong with these things independent of the context of creation. You have to live, somehow, and you got to have money, else you starve. However, without the lack of money being a form of restraint available, restraint becomes an internal discipline of the self, and creating something cohesive hinges on it. And discipline is a necessity. Otherwise, things fall apart and unravel.

Some artists try to maintain restraint by staying within the bounds of their genre. They expand only on the visions they already created. Others actually attempt to practice some form of discipline with their work. This is only successful to varying degrees, and leaves an overall middling experience.

Unfortunately, more often than not, the end result is that, once an artist chances upon wealth, they lose any sense of restraint, and rip loose. Subsequently, everything unravels. Everything they stood for, everything they were trying to do with their art, gone, along with any sense of direction. Even when they call back to those halcyon times where they could make a piece and it actually meant something, the response now becomes stale, and the artist looks like they’re flailing. There is nothing but loose scraps of what once was in the work.

That’s what this video feels like: clips of random smoke ring performance art, kids holding plastic guns (implied to be made from 3D printers, except they’re the same colors as those one finds in a toy store), cheap toy copters meant to be “peace drones” flying over what is essentially another repetitive Kollywood/breakbeat dance routine. A seizure-inducing shoutout to the beginning of one’s career for the last 30 seconds, intending to remind people the importance of the artist’s intent, comes off as sloppy and meaningless. “Yes We Scan?” “1984 Is Now?” What do they even mean, other than lazy appropriations of ideas that sound like filling gruel for a certain sect of the white population?

This would be just an acceptable act of laziness and weak vision, were it not for the fact that the artist is directing the video itself, despite years of crafting interesting and effective art. It’s as if the street, the prime source of material, is lost to the artist. It’s as if one’s place is mere window dressing, especially when the people one surrounds themselves with, from their spouses to their sponsors, are so above and beyond the street that their mere existence is simply to remind these higher-ups that there is such a thing as poor and marginalized people.

So, the question must be asked: Who the fuck are you anymore, Mathangi Arulpragasam? ?? ???

• M.I.A.: https://soundcloud.com/miauk
• Interscope Records: http://www.interscope.com

  

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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.