Forbidden Threshold

STRAANGE released Forbidden Threshold the other week in an edition of twenty cassettes, and each hard copy has since been gobbled up. Typical. Beats this vibrant and unique don’t stick around long in the physical realm. Schucks!

Real quick, though: guess what? There’s this thing called the internet, and you’re on it right now. Lots of music gets sold on it. But, a lot what gets sold can also be accessed for free. Case and point, what’s below.

More seriously, you should drop some coin towards STRAANGE.



Smooth Tendencies

New and improved mesmerizing full-length gold from formidable no jazz trio Microkingdom (Will Redman, Marc Miller, John Dierker) plays tender fisticuffs with Eugene Genre until it deforms. Note their sporting style: line-blurring improvisation and composition; cranking the film reel faster while battling Battling Butler; folding the skyline over to see the view, then closing the shutter; animation cels soaked in synthetic blends, ranging wet to bone-dry, rags soaking up the extra sauce, detail in the deviled eggs; baptizing rare kinetic and pure moments in the mainstream; spinning the globe and assimilating its rotating geography.

Yes, Microkingdom crams in the whole damn globe - universe music spirit language - while dodging the pitfall of eclecticism, the demon of distraction. In fact, after cramming in the whole damn globe, they exhale spirals of personal sound, that, if you were to lick your finger and hold it in the air, you might feel the breeze of an outside wind enter between the shutter’s slats, but, noting no change in temperature on the thermostat, you conclude that their kingdom is impenetrable, and of unique architecture. Singularity in the gatehouse; cross traffic in the keep.

• Microkingdom:
• Friends Records:



A block of marble was so fine,
To buy it did a sculptor hasten.
“What shall my chisel, now It’s mine
A god, a table, or a basin?”
“A god,” said he, “the thing shall be;
I’ll arm it, too, with thunder.
Let people quake, and bow the knee
With reverential wonder.”

So well the cunning artist wrought
All things within a mortal’s reach,
That soon the marble wanted nothing
Of being Jupiter, but speech.

Indeed, the man whose skill did make
Had scarcely laid his chisel down,
Before himself began to quake,
And fear his manufacture’s frown.

And even this excess of faith
The poet once scarce fell behind,
The hatred fearing, and the wrath,
Of gods the product of his mind.

This trait we see in infancy
Between the baby and its doll,
Of wax or china, it may be
A pocket stuffed, or folded shawl.

Imagination rules the heart:
And here we find the fountain head
From whence the pagan errors start,
That over the teeming nations spread.

With violent and flaming zeal,
Each takes his own chimera’s part;
Pygmalion does a passion feel
For Venus chiseled by his art.

All men, as far as in them lies,
Create realities of dreams.
To truth our nature proves but ice;
To falsehood, fire it seems.
-Jean de La Fontaine Book 9, Fable 6

SOFIA RETA begins ODOURS 『香水』 under the guise of Jean de La Fontaine’s “The Sculptor and the Statue of Jupiter (seen above),” warning of the power of modification, interpretation in the hands of the sculptor and viewer alike. The hour-long thread, chiseled over time like the sculptor’s statue, only has one enveloped title. There are directions and moods left for the artist’s headspace, only available to the viewer through interpretation. There are songs in ODOURS 『香水』 like there is imagery within the Statue of Jupiter, like looking up into the sky only reveals what it wants. If you search around, listen close, you’ll find it all. The artist expands on it below:

“ODOURS” or 『香水』 is an attempt at a sonic recreation of the refined Japanese art of appreciating odours known as 香道. Like 香道, there are allusions to common threads embroidered throughout the songs that represent each fragrance (which will go unnamed) so that you might discern a similar ‘flavour’ or ‘texture’ from one song to the next. Bearing that in mind, it’s maybe important to experience the album as a whole and preferably with headphones, by yourself, or maybe going to a walk. While music, like aromas, have a certain power to unify people, sometimes you can draw even more interesting conclusions when alone, allowed to think.”


Abstract Rude & Myka 9

AyeM Ray-DIO

Hip-hop isn’t jazz, but if it were, Myka 9 (a.k.a. Micah 9, Mika 9, Mikah Nine, Mikah-9, Mikah9, Mycah9, Myka Nine, Myka Nyne, Mykah 9, Mykah9) would be Charlie Parker. And I say this not just because it’s something catchy I heard in the Project Blowed/Good Life documentary This Is The Life, but because the man’s vocal performances are so complex, so steeped in subtle tonal shifts, that his myriad live and studio recordings could and should be cataloged Phil Schaap-style, with a Bird Flight-like chronological overview and accompanying musicological analysis.

Once you understand that, you can begin to appreciate why it’s so important for the works of longtime Myka 9 acolytes/collaborators like Abstract Rude to be preserved and celebrated; and moreover, why it’s so impressive that geniuses like these continue to make groundbreaking music that probably won’t be adequately understood until future generations come to hear it. For example:

This is the album Kendrick Lamar wants to make but can’t.

• Abstract Rude:
• Myka 9:
• Keep The Feel Entertainment:

Guest Mix: RickRab

Global Chaos I (International Style Remixes)

Cut HARD into the oblivion of meshing hip-hop, world pop, and dancehall, RickRab continues to kill the music game with Global Chaos I (International Style Remixes). And having been around for a minute (he’s on fucking WTR CLR for cryin’ out loud; one-half of NANNY), he’s proving Baltimore ain’t no place to fuck with in terms of music. I mean, okay, mostly ALL this mix was sampled outside of Baltimore, but OG Maco, YES!!!! But with the “pew pew pews” chopped in, Indian vocal caress, and various other sketches he draws with his mixing stylo, it’s impossible for the Rab go wrong. And as it’s only at 12-ish minutes long, repeat ON will turn into hours of listening that end with, “Holy shit, I just listened to Global Chaos I (International Style Remixes) the entire evening,” only to wake up and do the same the next morning. So feel it. Fuck it! It’s FRIDAY. RickRab wants your soul. Let him entertain you:

• Rick Rab:


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.