Lil Herb is from Chicago. Chicago has been getting hype lately because of the phenomenon known as drill – morbid, violent, minimalist (that’s me being polite) rap music from a very dangerous part of the United States. Noisey has made a documentary series about it called Chiraq. Many of the rising drill stars, including Lil Herb, have yet to enter their second decade. The beat to “Koolin’,” off of Herbee’s tape Welcome to Fazoland is characteristically abrasive, and will make your trunk thump like you’ve just kidnapped somebody. Drill’s poster-boy, Chief Keef, famous for being a reckless teenager and never being allowed to legally leave his house, usually rhymes the same words together, which gets old rather quickly. Lil Herb is worth the listen because he very deliberately separates himself from his more lexically impaired contemporaries by rhyming words with different words. Real talk, Lil Herb has a dexterous pair of lips, and sounds a bit like Ludacris if Ludacris was more concerned with the “hell-hole he grew up in” instead of puns about Michael Phelps. His choice of beats is Legal Seafood-fresh, with the choir sample adding depth to spartan, war-zone bass.
BONUS BONUS BONUS: this song is called “Kill Shit.” It features Lil Bibby, and the best line is by far “kill a nigga like sticky rice.”
• Welcome to Fazoland: http://www.datpiff.com/Lil-Herb-Welcome-To-Fazoland-mixtape.580474.html
“Gulls Over Landfill Caldera”
Gulls against a white sky:
Not seagulls. Landlocked. Tilt the camera down and see the sea beneath. Bird cries saturated the New Age. Untamed. The natural order of beasts. Wingbeats and cawing. These still comfort me. Faced with the waste, I am at ease. Wings spread and achieve stasis. Wings contract and the gulls advance.
Gulls glimpsed from a fortress of garbage:
Multi-instrumentalist and Patient Sounds label-head M. Sage released a 2xLP of spellbinding ambient composition called A Singular Continent. Sage sits at the center of his practice, pushing his rig of guitar, electronics, and samples into ascending passages of high fidelity drift. In “Gulls Over Landfill Caldera” his live input sifts through effects and digital processes, spreading into swathes of sustain and tracing oblique harmonies across an oval orbit of legible root tones. Overdubbed passages of violin, cello, synth, and saxophone emerge from the edge of the haze to provoke the session into deeper meditation. Like drone maverick (and Patient Sounds signee) Derek Rogers’ triumphant Saturations LP, Sage’s multi-tiered recordings fuse the glacial sonic trajectory of the ambient underground with a neo-classical palette of acoustic textures, calling Laughingstock and the roster of Constellation Records to mind alongside the sublime whispers of contemporaries like Hakobune or Celer.
• Patient Sounds: http://www.patient-sounds.com
Guest Mix: Nicola Ratti
Nicola Ratti is a guitarist and experimental composer from Milan. He has worked on a number of projects, including Bellows with Giuseppe Ielasi, and with Canadian musician Mark Templeton (whose Jealous Heart LP remains a firm favorite for this writer). On February 6, Ratti released his latest work; a double edition LP titled ossario (volume 1 and 2) on the Italy-based Holiday Records. The album is breathtaking, a well defined and contemplative medley of styles that is said to build on “musical skeletons designed not to be covered in flesh and tissues, but trying to reduce everything to the bone.”
In addition to the release, Ratti has assembled an exclusive mix for TMT. It’s grounded in the music of musicians he personally knows or has worked with in the past. There are also works from musicians he has never met, and who he could never meet, but it’s “music I could be listen to for hours, or music that doesn’t belong to my roots but that I recognize as essential to my artistic development.”
The image Nicola chose for the mix is an instrument he uses with Tilde, a trio with Attila Faravelli and Enrico Malatesta. It’s a small wooden block used to investigate surrounding surfaces, or it can be used as a percussive object. He says that it represents what the production of very complex sounds through the simplest of means. I couldn’t resist asking Ratti a few questions about his mix, which also features some crackle and noise from the vinyl he chose to use.
Listen to his untitled mix below, and check below for the tracklist and Ratti’s responses.
What were you hoping to achieve with this mix? What were your aesthetic aims?
I simply tried to mix together some music I really like. I like my music complex and rich in terms of texture and matter but extremely simple when conceived and realized. For instance, two wooden spheres, a colony of woodworms, a pair of low-frequency oscillators used with a simple and smart idea behind it all could create an intense aural experience, if you listen to them properly. In addition, the mix turns around the idea of rhythm conceived as a complex and non-musical element. A rhythm becomes more of an overlay of two or more discharges of acoustic events through a measure of time. Yet another aim was to create a mix characterized by high sound quality; that’s probably the element that lumps together all the selections I made.
The mix is stylistically diverse - field recordings through dub and glitch - how do these divergences in style play into the context of your latest album?
It’s all about sound and its substance, this is more important than the instrument you use to create your sound. My music is a kind of fragile balance between all of those elements, every one of them has the same importance in the mix and there rarely is a “main” one - it’s the distinctly hidden or far away elements are more important than what you can ear clearly.
The mix is based around collaborators and people you have worked closely with. How do you choose your collaborators? Are there certain?characteristics or personality traits you need to be able to relate to before you start working together?
Actually, it’s always a reciprocal choice. It’s easy to start a collaboration when you realize that you’re sharing some ideas and, most importantly, an attitude toward music and sounds. What I like in the collaborations is that they let me experiment much more than I could do by myself and also try some new solutions/instruments since I get bored after a while I’m playing the same instrument.
Your new album, ossario (volume 1 and 2), was released on Holiday Records earlier this month. Will you be supporting it soon with a live show? If so, where can people catch you?
Yes, I will. There’s a live show page on my website with the upcoming shows. The big one I’m looking forward to will be in Paris on March 28th at the Presences Electronique Festival, I’ll be around Europe for the most part of Spring and Summer.
[00:00] Attila Faravelli - “On top”
[04:04] Andrew Pekler - “The twilight of your smile.”
[08:12] Burkina Faso, Antologie de la musique du Gan - “Rythme Des Pilons Dans Un Mortier”
[10:21] Rhythm & Sound - “Aground”
[14:57] Burundi, Musiques Traditionelles - “Akazéhé Par Deux Jeunes Filles”
[16:34] Adam Asnan - “Tetraptych”
[21:25] Vessel - “VMI”
[24:51] Renato Rinaldi - “Time Machine II”
[26:56] Burkina Faso, Antologie de la musique du Gan - “Rhombes”
[28:07] Enrico Malatesta - “Bestiario vol.2”
[30:32] Mark Templeton - “Jealous horse”
[33:11] Eselsohr - “Voluntary milking system”
[36:32] Emptyset - “Monad”
[39:20] Francesco Messina - “Prati bagnati del Monte Analogo”
[44:57] Ricardo Villalobos - “Minimoonstar”
Evian Christ seems like a cool guy. Even Kanye West likes him. In fact, Evian Christ’s new song “Waterfall” reminds me of a bit of “I’m In It,” the track he produced for Yeezus, which makes me think he’s making a shift towards a more abrasive, caustic form of sedated trap beats. In an interview with Crack Magazine, he mentions getting into Vatican Shadow, an aesthetic that also shows a little on “Waterfall.” Thankfully, not too much though, as the producer strikes a fine balance between his more ambient mixtape and the harsh sounds of his recent work. Check it out here:
Evian Christ’s “Waterfall” EP is out March 17 on Tri Angle, an EP showing how he’s still one of the most exciting producers IN THE GAME.
“Full Claw Lunar Surface”
Firstly: YEAHHHH !!! [はいいいいいいい !!!]
Had to get that off my chest. Gezan inspires me to get the F off of my bony A, get into the pit, and try to love someone. Across years of incendiary live performances, the Japanese noise lords / bar band from hell / death squad has amassed a cult following, and count Ruins mastermind Tatsuya Yoshida, Melt Banana shred god Ichirou Agata, and Acid Mothers Temple honcho Kawabata Makoto among their vocal advocates. The press copy for their upcoming album It Was Once Said To Be A Song, due March 25 from the ever-next-level Important Records, features a quote from Merzbow: “Gezan is awesome.” Uhhhhh ‘nuff said?
Have a listen to album opener “Full Claw Lunar Surface,” premiering below, and prepare yourself for the type of attention-deficit aural assault you’ve been missing since the early days of Boredoms. Gezan merge the scuzzy, DGAF rock aesthetics mastered by DMBQ with interjections of desensitizing harsh noise chaos. The four-piece band slops black paint onto their boxing gloves and rains randomized blows onto the canvas: alien gang vocals, fragments of fierce guitar soloing, a skewed rap verse. They match their grab-bag ferocity with a surreal sense of humor, achieving the balance between entertainment and alienation that makes antecedents like Pop Tatari and Scratch or Stitch such bewildering listens decades after their creation. Show by show, scream by scream, Gezan pushes the institution of Japanese extreme music down into new depths of joyous depravity.
I’ve never seen Gezan live. Maybe you haven’t either. We’re both in luck: the band is currently touring the US. They wrap up their dates with a performance at SXSW on March 12. I’ll be there. Maybe you will too. I’ll be the one howling “YEAHHHH!!” the entire time — be sure to yell “HEY!”