Allied Forces Press
EARWAX ZIPTAPE SIX
Had to get to this one before C Monster snaked it like (s)he stole that Hi-Hi-Whoopie mixtape. “You bastard! That’s so good – that should have been mine.” I thought I could at least wait until morning before I wrote up a little some-some, but some people are just better at Internets than others, as if the keyboard were a mere extension of the brain, subsequently brightening and enlivening occurred thoughts, causing less filtration through factors that occur naturally when sending the signal all the way from the mind to the fingertips, like time, distractions, or-uh… typos. Can it be said that modern beat music and the old WWW share a similar symbiotic relationship? Like, Soundclouds raining new life into the genre’s roots? If so, this EARWAX ZIPTAPE really highlights some people and leaves out all of the others. Pure gold shining from between the lines of the tracklist, and you get to decide what it’s worth.
Allied Forces Press are based out of San Francisco and release these mixes four times a year, so keep your ears free from wax and to the dirt for future vibrations from the Press.
• Allied Forces Press: http://alliedforcespress.com/
Following last month’s excellent release from NYC-based lifestyle calibrators Mind Dynamics, Northern guardians of the so-real-it-looks-fake realm 1080p are back for another sojourn through the desert of the real with Montreal’s AT/NU, in search of a place called Psi Grove.
Deep, deep in the threshes of Psi Grove, ketamine-addled grooves swirl into telepathic mandalas, fallen victim to the total and radical permeation of a distinctly digital psychedelia, a new, unassuming psyche-tracing that blossoms out of the network, first benignly; and then completely raising a flood of surplus data—AT/NU appeals to the neural attenuation of overstuffed receptors and instant-weary time-travelers, an anxiety-induced eclecticism sprouted through the prism of consciousness.
Psi Grove speaks in drones and glitches, glacial movements of organic noise underpinned by memetic rhythms covered in tape gauze, the semiotic status of sound as communicator brushing against the co-existing status of sound as pure sound, as coincidental and formless. The two weakening one another, flirting, but never bending.
Follow the stream below—enter it with piousness and curiosity, and let yourself become one with its aesthetic tug. It’s bound to keep flowing on without you, anyhow. And while your thoughts are amiably calibrated, slide on over to 1080p to cop a tape, limited to 50 copies.
Like a pair of daring-yellow fingerless gloves, EMA’s lyrics take the wheel of her first single in three years “Satellites” and directs the fluidity of the music through the twists and turns of the harsh reality revolving around new and old worlds. As the “(Official Video)” projects to viewers, living the life of a consumer – music production equipment, six vertical flat-screen televisions, virtual reality, a table full of mental inhibitors – is sort of exactly the same as a bird being hunted by a cat. The devouring bit here is alluded to the economically misunderstood. Not that this group is misunderstood by others, but by their own inner ego while absorbing everything. Here, we watch EMA entrance herself in a virtual world surrounded by static and foliage and mist; shit that is totally “unpaid” for in fantasy. Maybe her heaven?
Yet, as an egg becomes chick becomes bird becomes food, the circle of life via EMA’s “Satellites” (Official Video) is one of emotional submission. She leaves behind a world of ha(l)ving everything (but, does she?) for an existence of pure imagination, confined to the particulars of algorithms and sensory notification. EMA’s newest album The Future’s Void is being released on Matador Records early April, spoil your interpretation of “Satellites” with the video’s “making-of” here, and pre-order the new LP and/or CD here. hi!
“Full of Grace”
As I try figuring out whether we’re still supposed to call the label “Tranquility Tapes” – what with the fact that this debut LP from Brooklyn pop duo Imperial Topaz is the label’s first foray into the terrifying and beautiful world of vinyl after a whopping 55 cassette issues, all of which are 100% gone, by the way – I can’t help the nagging suspicion that our time would be better spent in the frozen chrysalis of a track like “Full of Grace.” Yes, there’s something inherently icy about it all: Caroline Teagle’s voice sparkling like ice crystal atop expansive planes of synth that roll out for ever, as the endless tundra. But what’s amazing about Imperial Topaz, and indeed their whole new album, is the fact that the music still manages to move like it does. The sparse but powerful percussive elements of Zachary Zierden pump the song’s blood through its veins, combining with Teagle’s voice and its inherent emotional resonance to give tracks like this one a surprising and welcoming warmth. It glows from the inside-out, a radiance that beams through the minor key with an unmistakable optimism. It’s how the words “Away, away, away” can actually seem to be saying “Closer, closer, closer;” keeping its distance while beckoning for an inescapable intimacy.
Full of Grace by Imperial Topaz drops direct from Tranquility (Vinyl) in ten days (February 21)!!
Jerry Paper Feels Emotions
Jerry Paper Feels Emotions and allegedly so do we. If past tape releases on Orange Milk or Digitalis haven’t acquainted you with the singular world of Brooklyn resident Jerry Paper (neé Lucas Nathan), his debut LP on Patient Sounds, streaming in full below, will introduce the reluctant maestro in splendid fashion. If you’re wondering “Who Is Jerry Paper?” the documentary short released alongside this album will answer this question more fully than I ever could. If you’re wondering “Where in the dense timeline of contemporary music can I contextualize Jerry Paper?” the next paragraph is subtitled: Something Of A Lineage.
In the 1950s, lounge legends Esquivel and Martin Denney fill parlors and kitchenettes across the world with “exotic” tones and animal sounds that evoke stylized visions of South Pacific, Latin, and Asian cultures -> In 1978, Haruomi Hosono spurs Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi to adapt Denny’s composition “Firecracker” into the “chunky electric disco featuring synthesizers” of Yellow Magic Orchestra -> Hosono pioneers chiptune with his Namco collaboration Video Game Music in 1984 -> Around the turn of the century, ensembles like Stereolab and Broadcast hijack the trivialized tones of lounge and chiptune and juxtapose them against repetitious kraut-rock performances and detached vocalizations ->
Cut to present day: Jerry Paper meticulously programs and records an amalgam of lounge, post-YMO electronica, and video game music from a bedroom arsenal of analog synths and drum machines, and he croons over these “vintage” sounds about his own insecurities, romantic tribulations, and internet-era ennui. While the traditions that JP channels were designed to hypnotize and captivate the masses (see: sell units) with their novel tones and repetitive grooves, he aligns himself with Stereolab and Broadcast by applying those signifiers to quite opposite ends: to make us consider our “slapstick nightmare” existence, analyze our own quotidian desperations, question our state of technological and cultural saturation, wonder how and if we’re going to work it all out.
Say (or feel) what you will about Jerry Paper’s identity crisis frame narrative — does he musically deliver the goods? Oh, does he. Yeah, man. Ya. He totally does. His loping analog compositions exceed their predecessors in levels of squelch, synth layering, and harmonic complexity (check out the ascending chord structure before the coda in “Today Was a Bad Day” or the gorgeous melodic break of “Holy Shit”). His lyrics hit the sweet spot between hyper-specific self-deprecation and universal emotional truths (“If I stumble around / That’s because I’m drunk” vs. “Maybe / It’s not so bad / To be here / Without you”). His song sequence bubbles with bizarre interludes that flesh out his alter-ego with a brand of satire somewhere between Tim and Eric’s Tom Goes To The Mayor and Zappa’s We’re Only In It For The Money. The emotions I feel while listening to this album include: wonder, glee, empathy, gear-related envy, satisfaction, mild depression, hope. Excuse me, I have to go jam “Want to Be the Waves” until I become the waves.
You can order Jerry Paper Feels Emotions from Patient Sounds now.