Chocolate Grinder Mix 85

Deconstructed Unity

Recently, I’ve realized that a lot of my favorite music involves the melding of experimental practices with traditional song craft and/or tonality. While I love both pop and experimental music on their own, their co-mingling can yield some of the most fascinating results and seems like the most logical move for both genres. As a result, songs often become formally deconstructed and/or through-composed, while experimental compositions become more formal and, in certain cases, tonally centered.

In recent decades, the cross pollination of these genres has really become much more readily apparent, and 2013 seems to be a particularly good year for music of this nature. When compiling these tracks, I realized that one could make a truly massive mix tape of tunes that exhibit these characteristics from this year alone. The tracks presented here are some of my personal favorites that tend to fall in the middle ground between the two genres, but a few lean slightly more toward the experimental (Wakesleep) and some toward the pop (Ashley Eriksson). Additionally, the mix was organized so that there’d be tonal and/or timbral relationships between each track.

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:00] Ashley Paul - “Soak the Ocean”
[04:20] Bill Baird - “Spring Break of the Soul”
[11:59] Ashley Eriksson - “Mother Nature’s Promise”
[13:30] Howe Gelb - “Man on a String”
[18:32] Lee Noble - “Remind Me”
[24:50] Ryan Power - “Well on Your Way”
[31:41] Wakesleep - “Web Ice2”
[34:51] Baptist Generals - “Floating”



It’s been 207 days since we last posted about Ahnnu (for our Favorite 50 Albums of 2013 feature). But while he has been relatively quiet release-wise compared to last year — so far, he’s released a remix for a naps 7-inch and previewed a track from his footwork project Cakedog — he has a slew of new music coming soon, including projects/releases with Nerftoss, Wanda Group, Andrew Pekler, and Leaving Records. (❤❤❤!) In the meantime, Ahnnu took to SoundCloud to release “Kazu,” a new track that hints at the sonic territory he’s currently exploring. It’s still of the fuzzy, sample-based variety, but it’s concerned less with opulent beat tape head-nodders and textural fuckery, and more with repetition and the inconsistent intervals that throw the reliability of repetition into question. Have a listen:

Cassettes coming soon!

• Ahnnu:

Ariel Pink featuring Jorge Elbrecht

“Hang on to Life”

Ariel Pink and Jorge Elbrecht (of Violens/Lansing-Drieden) double team this jam, the A side from a collaborative 7-inch released on Mexican Summer. The lyrics, which implore us to “hang on to your life” and tell us that we’ve “screwed the pooch, now face it,” are what one imagines a person saying to himself/herself in the mirror at particularly bleak moments in life. Ariel on the phone with Jorge mid-song asking “She did what?” It’s a rhetorical question, of course, the answer either the cause or a contributing factor leading to this situation. Not quite the summer jam you were looking for from these guys? Stay indoors, out of the heat, and cry or something. And hang in there, Ariel; it’s gonna be a’ight. There’s other fish in the sea or something.

• Ariel Pink:
• Jorge Elbrecht:
• Mexican Summer:


“Eightfold Way (Doublefist Remix)”

As a continuation of sorts, workout music don’t always have to be entirely time-signatured and/or beat consistent. Case in point: Hyrrokkin brings incredible raw energy to the weights portion of the gym. And you ain’t gotta be pumping hard eight; get over there and do about 40 with the tiniest weight listening to the Doublefist remix of “Eightfold Way,” and you’ll get your mind and body jacked!

“Hyrrokkin?” you may axe. Welp, they’re currently a trio from Yellow Springs (Dayton), Ohio (which is about three and ten minutes away from where I used to live), and they just crushed a new album on Sick Room Records called Pristine Origin, out this September. “Eightfold Way” is the first track off the album, but this here premiere has been remixed and produced by James Plotkin (Doublefist, Khanate, etc.), which is included on their bonus remix album Inspiring Riot that comes packaged with the LP. Other remixers include KK Null (Zeni Geva), Jenks Miller (Horseback), Kid Millions (Oneida), Charles Hayward (This Heat), Jerry Busher (Fugazi/French Toast), Dylan Posa (Flying Luttenbachers), and a slew more.

This release follows Hyrrokkin’s cassette debut, Astrionics. In July, they’ll be recording a new track for a split 7-inch with Bellini and then record two collaborative tracks with Merzbow for a 12-inch. Hyrrokkin will also release a set of three 7-inch singles, with remixes on the B-sides by Doug Scharin, Kid606, and Andrea Parkins. And to wrap up these hard working fellahs’ schedule, they got a bang-out tour this coming Fall, so don’t miss the city postings!

Scope out Sick Room Records for Hyrrokkin’s LP Pristine Origin, including the remix album Inspiring Riot, out this September.

• Hyrrokkin:
• Sick Room Records:

Vox Populi!


Stake-out style outside the local strip mall, in the lot, and smoke is clouding all visibility. Swirled windows open and shut, revealing the cemetery across the street, and sitting in the shadows of trees makes the night a bit more grainy. Figures move about between grave stones, but they’re indistinguishable, seemingly blending with what can and can’t be seen clearly. Maybe it’s worship. Or without guts and brains. Shit, it’s probably an animal of some kind, right? Mystery is always the devil, so hold the details, please. And as these figures emerge into something noticeable, something clear, smoke swells the vision and red eyes are at an all-time high, running tears that frame the nose and mouth. Into the mouth. They taste like soot and salt.

Then what’s most feared is staring across through the cemetery gate and car windshield. It’s focused on the beads of sweat and neck pulse. The only attributes that can be seen clearly are eyes in a blob of black. It moves closer by following the shadows without revealing itself too much. It’s conscious. It’s haunting. This is the witness of “Golnessar,” musical incantation by Vox Populi!, repressed by Pacific City Sound Visions. Reap!

• Pacific City Sound Visions:


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.