Towel Crown [excerpt]
The southeast has long been stitched with warm pockets of noise and experimental communities. Asheville, North Carolina fits the bill of the “Keep ______ weird” mantra and does so in an earnest way. It’s the soon-to-be new home of the vinyl and cassette label Hooker Vision and its proprietors, Grant and Rachel Evans. Their latest batch of tape releases includes Asheville resident Will Isenogle, who performs and records under the nom de plume Merryl. The excerpt below, taken from Towel Crown, is a soft, meditative raga-like drone. Although Merryl’s arsenal includes synths and electronics like most of his drone counterparts, the output sounds more naturalistic, like blended field recordings of ocean waves washing onto the shore, serving as a substrate underneath the repeated tone interval.
Polaric Field [album stream]
When I drove out to Portland for the first time, I spent most of the trip listening to episodes of a Myth, Science, and Paranormal podcast called Mysterious Universe. The hosts (two dudes from Australia) talk about the kind of stuff you hear paranoid burnouts talking about on downtown street corners, only the hosts accept it all as possible and present it to their listeners without a sliver of doubt. Hearing stories of bigfoot sightings, abductions, and shadow people sift like fog from my speakers driving day and night through the ever-changing landscapes of the western states was a convincing experience on its own. I began to see lights in the sky and shadows off in the distance. I’ve been hooked to the podcast ever since.
I could have listened to Polaric Field from California’s Candescent that entire trip and had the same experience. Synth waves rise and fall out of night sky that seems to move behind those clouds and mountains and horizons. Each track feels infinitely long as you fall into it, staring, and you forget that the sky is only moving because you are.
Gaze deeply into the Polaric Field below, and buy the tape from Chicago-via-Denver’s Laser Palace.
• Laser Palace: http://laserpalace.bandcamp.com
Etta James’ “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” has been sampled many, many, many, many times before, each version giving the impression that the original James tune is a slow, somber listen, which couldn’t be further from the truth. On “Good Feeling,” DJ Manny, young footworker and trax-maker in the Ghettoteknitianz crew, manages to make James sound even more laid back and gloomy, which is especially strange, given the dizzying footwork rhythms employed by Manny. (Good track for Tribe to weep to after the Red Legends embarrass them in the circle. JK JK JK.)
Check out the video above, which features Manny, Curtis, Dre, Sonic, T-MO, Jonvante, and Dewayne footworking to the track. And look for The Manny N Rashad Show, Manny’s collaboration with DJ Rashad, due hopefully sometime this year on Lit City Trax.
“Wish and Wonder” / “Tree Forts”
YES!!!!!!!! “Wish and Wonder” is the first track off the new White Poppy (Crystal Dorval) release, I Had a Dream, on Not Not Fun. This track convinced me her album will crush for quite some time. And I love the kill-drawl, flaccid happiness of its sputter-stutter-style video: collective seizures, ace popping, tint on high, back-alley mirror-splits, cleavage, people salad, etc. If this video could read my mind (which it can), it’d give me exactly what I’d want to see (which it did). Weak criticism? Nah. Strong telepathic zones? YES.
“Wish and Wonder”:
Okay, okay. “Tree Forts,” okay. I mean, that’s how I felt when it started out, but WHOA: color-slapping at its YES!!!!!!!! («x2) Swing with that sway melody. Feel the Canadian pulse, mm! Absorb yourself in color. When I was younger, I had a forest next door to my house. My brother and I used to build platforms around branches and use rope ladders and swings to de-/ascend. The first time I saw a fox was during the bloom of spring, and I was alone on a plank swing. This song and video brings that to me at the point of nostalgia and memory, rather than recalling exact details.
Body [album stream]
Much like this geezer, Darling Farah’s debut is likely to be described as “one for the headz(zzzzzzzz).” Pffff whatever, it’s just great music. Just listen to the third track, “Fortune.” The use of reverb (I cant quite tell whether its a convolution or algorithmic module) and clever automation gives a bewildering sense of space. And it’s so well compressed; I’d love to know what type of VST he uses, as well as his attack times, ratio settings, and send levels. And the synth modulation is something else. I must know whether its granular, subtractive, or additive. And I wonder what DAW he uses, sounds like an Ableton 8.1 to me. Just darn great music.