“Octopus In Your Dreams”
It is certainly no new thing to liken the vastness of Earth’s oceans to the boundless void of outer space, but it is a relevant comparison to observe at a time like this. While many modern synthesizer musicians are star-gazing and emitting cosmic visions and extraterrestrial landscapes, Panabrite looks down the depths of our own ocean, a place where weightlessness and darkness can be just as alien and frightening as what’s beyond our atmosphere. The similarities that can be drawn between the sea and space also includes their potential soundtracks. Distant bleeping synths may be a passing spaceship, or possibly a submarine. Delicate arpeggios may be bubbles of air hurriedly racing to the surface, or it may be distant stars and planets shining through the pitch-blackness. Just change the cover art from a supernova to a sea anemone and include words like “deep, barnacles, dive, and abyss” to the track titles and suddenly we’re underwater.
Panabrite is Seattle-based Norman Chambers, and whether he’s zipping around space or sinking into the briny deep, he is creating magically transportive music. Mesmerizing ambience and drifting analog synthesizer arpeggiations make up Sub-Aquatic Meditation, his newest release out now on Aguirre Records. This is Panabrite’s first LP, but only after a whole bunch of cassettes released over the past few years. The video is for the track “Octopus In Your Dreams” and is just that. You can also stream the whole album on the label’s site.
DJ Rashad, who released my favorite record of 2011, has been making music at a breakneck pace. In the last several weeks, he’s released a handful of tracks via his SoundCloud, a video for “Stick Up” (a collaboration with DJ Manny and Brenmar), and is currently readying two albums: a 20-track monster called Teklife: Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi and a follow-up, appropriately titled Teklife: Vol. 2. The former is due soon-ish on Lit City, a new NY- and footwork-/juke-based label that Rashad has started with Aziza Man (@J-Cush, #workaholic, #partyman, #pizzaface). AND: on top of all of this, one of Rashad’s latest tracks, “Shoot Me,” just got a video courtesy of Ashes57 — check it out above.
Meanwhile, Rashad and Aziza Man have been tearing shit up in New York. They played a show yesterday at the Cameo Gallery with DJ Spinn, DJ Manny, Falty DL, Dave Q, and Loefah, and they have another on Friday at Santos Party House, also with Spinn and Manny. These guys are clearly living the ☨€Kℒ ૉƒⅇ. And so am I. Vicariously. Follow Lit City for the latest and greatest, and stay tuned for more Lit City release news.
Three Legged Race
“Dr. Wrong Element”
I would argue that the ‘experimental artists’ often covered in this section are searching for new outlets to evolve and elevate their sound. Not to insinuate that the search ever halts, but with the modern synthesizer explosion — that we are probably still in the midst of — comes plenty of artists content to ride the fad out without digging too deep. Robert Beatty, performing as Three Legged Race, is not one of the coasters. There are plenty of tickling, familiar tones on his new 12-inch EP, but they decorate and serve a minimal, droning bass thump that’s almost noble in its insistence. I guess it could be described as a new take on proto-techno, but there’s a modern flavor to it all that melds with a definite analog vibe and escapes clear categorization.
Preview the opening track from the Wrong Element 12-inch here:
And watch Beatty’s promotional video here:
“You’ve Been Expected”
For music so reliant on the repetition of samples, it’s interesting how little Matthew Papich’s Co La project defamiliarized the source material while still managing to incite confusion. 2011’s Daydream Repeater, the first vinyl full-length for both Papich (Ecstatic Sunshine) and NNA Tapes, was certainly a pleasurable and easy listen, but people seemed to have difficulty figuring out whether or not they were “enjoying” the experience. There’s an amateurish simplicity to the music, and it was precisely this aesthetic transparency, this refusal to bend samples beyond proportion, this matter-of-fact presentation of pinpointable samples that made listeners question the quality of the music.
Daydream Repeater, in other words, was so empty of easily discernible meaning that its meaning was up for grabs. But no one was really grabbing, because aligning yourself with an album that begins with an untouched Twin Peaks sample might just be too obvious a signifier that it’d be particularly uncool to like. But fuck crate-digging aesthetics and technical proficiency, am I right? First and foremost, Daydream Repeater created experience, not meaning, and our reactions to it say more about our preconceptions than whatever intentions Papich might’ve had. The album sounded at once familiar and foreign, a surreal and fully-remembered daydream.
The above video is titled “You’ve Been Expected” (which is also the title of a Co La mix from October 2011), but it actually consists of two tracks off Daydream, “Vanity Plate” and “Wanna Say Faux.” The latter track features an especially fun deconstruction of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.” (Fun fact: during live performances of the track, Papich pulls out Kleenex tissues one by one as a “gesture of solidarity” with the audience.) We set the Vimeo video on loop, so keep this browser tab open for maximum impact.
You may not know the name K Ishibashi too well, but you might’ve heard him before. Dude has played with everyone from Regina Spektor and Sondre Lerche (your favorite!) to Alexi Murdoch and of Montreal, of which he is a member. He also helped found new wave synth group Jupiter One, who you might also not be familiar with but may have heard while playing EA games like Madden NFL 08 and NHL 08. (Or maybe you’re more of a Leisure Suit Larry kind of gamer?)
But K Ishibashi seems less interested nowadays in soundtracking games and more interested in getting his mug/music out there under the moniker Kishi Bashi: he released the Room for Dream EP last May, started a YouTube channel late last year, and is now set to release his debut full-length, 151a, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Kishi Bashi will be on tour starting in March, opening for of Montreal and playing shows with the likes of Deerhoof, Cults, and Loney Dear. Check him out virtuoso’ing on violin in the live video for “Manchester,” a track off 151a. The album, produced with the help of Kevin Barnes, is due April 10 on Joyful Noise.