Young Thug

“Hundreds (I Had a Dream)” / “No Fuck” / Black Portland mixtape

Last year, Young Thug released the highly acclaimed 1017 Thug; this year, he’s following the trapjectory laid out before him when he released that fantastic breakthrough mixtape. Actually, he’s sorta blowing up: the man recently signed to Future’s Freebandz imprint, and both Kanye West and Drake were recently caught blasting “Danny Glover” (which was leaked late last year, but was officially released this year via DJ Service Pack and included on the PeeWee Longway-hosted Lobby Runners mixtape).

Today, we have two new Young Thug tracks: “Hundreds (I Had a Dream),” which was released yesterday with Meek Mill in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.; and “No Fuck,” off Young Thug’s joint Black Portland mixtape with Bloody Jay, which is due later today. Check both tracks below, and brace yourself as we head deeper into a year that’ll surely see and hear more of Young Thug’s unhinged, idiosyncratic rap/singing/wailing, including a single with Future and mixtapes with PeeWee Longway and Rich Homie Quan.

• Young Thug: http://twitter.com/YoungThugWorld

Sun Araw

“Huff”

Like walking past someone talking on their phone in a hallway, “Huff” – and everything Sun Araw post-Ancient Romans (TMT Review) – begins super conscious and meticulous in vocals. As if Cameron Stallones knows you’re listening in and doesn’t want you to get the wrong idea, cause it’s, “All right, tell ‘em!” But as we’ve all come to expect, “Huff” is another eight minute burner track wherein Sun Araw continues to onslaught of psyche-and-go swag. And as most phone talkers move into more public/compacted areas, ears get filled with sound, and so does the progression of instrumentals in “Huff:” beat inversion, reversed werps, flute-offs, and keys tapping and wobbling. In the city you can walk past a dozen people saying something like, “And if he’s not my uncle, I’m not sucking” or “Tell ‘em his legs are already broken,” or just [yelling]. Well, Stallones really maxes out all his musical abilities in the end of “Huff,” shredding open a conversation of unspoken words that everyone “gets.”

Get B E L O M A N C I E, the seventh full-length album from Sun Araw, mastered by Rashad Becker, and available on 2xLP or CD or as a digital download on Feb. 18 via Sun Ark and Drag City. Stream first track “Huff” below and veggg:

• Sun Araw: http://www.sunaraw.com
• Drag City: http://www.dragcity.com

Have A Nice Life

“Dan And Tim, Reunited By Fate”

If you submit yourself in full to Have a Nice Life, the listening experience has the potential to paralyze, by virtue of both the tones that the Connecticut-based duo smashes into your skull and the disparate ideas they shoehorn into improbably compact aural spaces. The strategies they employ to sneak past your defenses might not even register. You’ll look down a few minutes after a track ends to find a heart-shaped cavity slowly leaking blackened chest-goo onto the hardwood floor. The words I write stand as flimsy straw men in the open field, stranded on their poles, waiting for the winds of The Unnatural World to arrive and bowl them over again.

“Dan And Tim, Reunited By Fate” reunites Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga by fate, six years after the monumental Deathconsciousness. The pair cherrypick tropes from a number of bleak traditions: reverb-drenched industrial beats; doom-metal sludge; shoegaze drones conjured from effects pedals; post-punk bass chuggery; a plaintive piano+static post-rock crescendo. If this buffet of pan-genre depression seems ready to crumble under its own weight, HANL hold it together by matching their compositional ambitions with idiosyncratic recording and production techniques. The duo demonstrates a willingness to abandon the equilibrium of a mix at any moment with the onset of a torrential lead voice or a left turn in structure, spiking the track down into new depths of depravity over and over until the coda provides a reprieve. Vocals float somewhere behind the guitar screech and only the highs can tear out of the haze. Drum tones remain consistent as a series of conflicting atmospheres seize control. “Dan and Tim” tapers off and Dan and Tim head back into the woods.

If you let it, The Unnatural World can take over you. It arrives February 4 via The Flenser (in collaboration with HANL’s own Enemies List imprint).

• Have A Nice Life: http://enemieslist.net/kvlt/artists/have-a-nice-life
• The Flenser: http://theflenser.com
• Enemies List: http://enemieslist.net/kvlt

Arca

“Fluid Silhouettes”

We ❤ Arca. The Venezuelan producer’s most recent two releases — Stretch 2 and &&&&& — made our last couple year-end lists, and he has already started off 2014 with a bang, having just announced a vinyl release of &&&&& and now with this new track, “Fluid Silhouettes.” Here, Arca teams with visual artist Jesse Kanda, a frequent collaborator who was responsible for one of 2013’s more memorable videos, the Arca-produced FKA twigs track, “Water Me.” And no surprise, the partnership works incredibly well again, with Arca’s grotesque, fluid musical transformations finding visual accompaniment in Kanda’s liquid, mannerist figures and shapes, all designed to reflect the “experimental forms” of designer clothing store SSENSE’s Spring 2014 collections: the look and sound of digital androgyny, 2014.

Meanwhile, look for a new Arca album this year on Hippos in Tanks. (!!!!!)

• Arca: http://www.arca1000000.com
• Jesse Kanda: http://www.jessekanda.com
• SSENSE: http://www.ssense.com

Chocolate Grinder Mix 99

Blood Sport B2B

“DJs,” the solipsistic parasites of the musical world, exist at a funny contemporary juncture. Between the entrenched vinyl purists and teenage iPod DJ-Appers exists a hinterland of frankly confused music collators, wondering which side to take. New technology, the primacy of “good selection,” open arms to new kids with affordable $50 DJ controllers from supermarkets? Or DJing as an art, a skill, a practice in the verbal sense, something that is being dramatically diluted by an explosion in cheap DJ software and a disappearing materialist edge, literally losing its grooves?

As someone who’s spent more than a few nights behind a laptop screen, swearing I’ll convert to Traktor Scratch for the next gig, trying to avoid the alluring ease of my pre-planned tracklist, feeling occasionally vindicated by the fact “you can’t even get this shit on vinyl, mate,” I can attest to the peculiar reflexive worry of the modern DJ. But what else is a DJ than a beacon of reflexivity: an ego with a sync-button screaming “LOOK HOW GOOD MY TASTE IS, DANCE TO IT YOU MUSICALLY INEPT IDIOTS.” It’s a sentiment we all have in common.

One thing promoters and DJs have turned toward to help avoid these lapses into screen-gazing automation is the humble B2B, Back to Back, HEAD 2 HEAD, in which two DJs respond to each other’s tracks organically. Here, partly inspired by the joyous mystery of taking part in the The 2013 Exquisite Corpse mix, is an attempt to propel the B2B ethos into a “long distance” (i.e., over email) online domain. We thereby get all the fun of a B2B exchange, without the actual fear of having a crowd in front of you waiting for a decent mix. Huzzah.

This mix was compiled with Blood Sport, a band from Sheffield who made one of my favorite albums of 2013, Life In Units, which you can stream for free at their Bandcamp. I hadn’t met the band in the flesh until a couple of weeks after this mix was finished, but we had fun steadily accumulating these tracks over email.

In a typical assertion of authorial primacy, I’ve granted the band one line in which to explain their experience of this process: “We’ve spent the last few years of our lives trying to chase an inexorable rhythm, through afro-beat, techno, and god-knows-what-else, and have found that our use of guitars and drums have become increasingly similar to a warped DJ set. So we were more than happy to oblige.”

They chose the first tune, I the second, sending the newly mixed, steadily growing beast we’d created between each other after each selection. The theme was loosely related to their experience of being in a band this last year, and my pining after the idea of making music again (Fix My Life, indeed). Here’s to shared solipsism.

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:00] Edzayawa - “Darkness” (Blood Sport)
[03:50] Melt Yourself Down - “Fix My Life” (Beige)
[07:35] Philip Glass - “Einstein On the Beach Act IV, Scene 1: Building” (Blood Sport)
[10:50] DJ Killer - “Church Song feat Chaka Chukwu” (Beige)
[15:41] Maxmillion Dunbar - “Cassette Arabic” (Blood Sport)
[17:00] Blood Sport - “Untitled Practice Rhythm #1”
[18:46] Maxmillion Dunbar - “Cassette Arabic”
[21:10] Four Tet - “Kool FM (Champion Remix)” (Beige)
[24:20] Gedeo Tribe - “Gedeo Vocals” (Blood Sport)
[26:30] Bee Mask - “Moon Shadow Move”
[28:13] Rose Nwanghonyama - “Xitsare Tsetsa” (Beige)
[31:00] Sosolye Undugu Dance Academy - “Butter Rhythm” (Blood Sport)
[32:20] Murlo & Famous Eno - “Ariel”
[35:06] Anchiskhati Choir Trio - “Adila-Ali Pasha” (Beige)

  

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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.