Sketches [album stream]
I know it’s technically August now, but I just realized that the July batch of cassettes recently released by Constellation Tatsu Recordings is incredibly great. Including the previously chocolate-gound Cankun record Idle, the four tapes include artists from all over the board and all over the map. French master minimalist composer Alexandre Navarro has contributed to this California cassette label Sketches, a full collection of signature electronica, which is, as always, delightfully crisp yet scrumptiously smooth and subtle — kinda like those flamin’ hot Frito burritos they had at Taco Bell for a while.
Navarro’s Sketches is out now on Constellation Tatsu. The July batch also includes recordings from ambient heart-wrenchers Billy Gomberg and Hakobune.
“Palekk” is the haphazardly braided ponytail that hangs loosely from an artist’s head. It seems unconsidered, but you can’t imagine a more perfect way for that hair to lay past her paint-speckled shoulders. The track is produced by Ahnnu a.k.a. Leland Jackson of Virginia, who is part of Richmond’s Chocolate Milk hip-hop collective (with Ohbliv, Shawn Kemp, and Lil Ugly Mane). Clocking in at under a minute and a half, this post hip-hop track does just enough to get the idea across before making its exit. Similar to Madlib’s short-form, Ahnu introduces a pause and morphs the pattern seconds before putting on the brakes. Although not abrupt, the track ends just as you realized you were going somewhere.
“Palekk” is from Prohabitat, the follow-up to Couch, released by WTR CLR.
YAY!!!! Unnecessarily swelled beats and fucked fighting. Creature bongs releasing lungs on lungs on lungs full of smoke. Getting them babies swinging and ripppppppppped. Try’na tell a toon to chill, ‘cause chase creeps can’t crash. “SUGARBRUSH,” yo — shit, CULP can’t crash. Like, the only way someone should enhance their CULP experience is to pop the new album TUNA into Audacity and MAX that bass. That’s my favorite part of all this CULP grime-pop: when the bass completely scorches the melody. Only competition with this is that Bolo Yeung volume collection off Dat Piff. But, I think the mythos of who the fuck makes these fresh beats is my biggest heartboner moment with CULP. Whoodie!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fullerton Avenue Rhythm Arranger [album stream]
The word drone, in its many forms, always seems to imply a sort of subterranean feel — an existence just outside of immediate consciousness. Take drone strikes, for example. They happen from a nearly undetectable mechanical force that seems to come from nowhere and disappear as quickly as they came. A military force with no visible military presence. The idea is the same when referring to worker drones. Employees capable of doing the work on a nearly unconscious level, their minds wandering elsewhere in order to retain sanity.
Drone, as a music style/genre, works the same way: a tuning out that exists below our surface consciousness, accented only by little spikes that attack from nowhere and decay as quickly or slowly as they came. The way artists incorporate these peaks above the surface is what seems to differentiate most drone music; it’s the way the song pulls you from the quicksand that all drone often spends the first minutes dragging you into.
The new tape from Miracle Blues, Fullerton Avenue Rhythm Arranger, on Lillerne Tapes is a perfect example of this format. The first minutes are spent pulling you down into a pool of synth waves, just shallow (as in not deep) enough to be seen and, therefore, mesmerizing. And just before you are entirely submerged, little spikes of gurgling drum noises begin to bubble up from the surface, followed by a detuned spike of noise to snap you out of your trance. It’s patient and subtle and paced in such a way that it doesn’t allow you to tune out. This one demands your attention at the very moments you are ready to give it up.
Take the plunge below, and buy the entire thing over at Lillerne Tapes.
• Lillerne Tapes: http://www.lillernetapes.com
Lonely House [album stream]
More insanely good music from the highly (and criminally) unknown jazz cassette label Galtta Media, this tape finds honcho David Lackner releasing a beautiful collection of classical- and folk-leaning balladry from the otherwise moderately well-known jazz bassist Mark Przybylowski. The house, grey skies, and bare tree branches on the cover have me longing for the cool winds of winter, though outside temperatures refuse to clock in anything lower than 90° (#FML). Still, the overall feel of the cassette does help to cool things off, at least mentally.
Musically, Przybylowski evokes notions of impressionism with the pastel compositional strokes of masters like Erik Satie. Recorded with a single mic in an empty house over the course of a year, Lonely House features skeletal acoustic guitar, singing cellos, double bass, and the occasional vocal inflection. Ultimately, the tape is sold on its ability to break the heart with such an astoundingly soft touch, the airy quality of the tape imagining an armchair’s lulling rock, the withered, paper-soft skin of a grandmother’s brittle fingers, or the last leaf ever-threatening to fly headlong with the chilling winds. An old, sepia-toned photograph. A trembling memory. A devastating sadness. A warm, comforting blanket of beauty. Yeah, all that and probably a lot no writer could even attempt to describe properly. Find your adjectives:
• Galtta Media: http://galttamedia.com