If there’s one thing my grandmother has continually wished upon me, “Good luck.” There are a number of ways in which I could posit that her wishing has served me well, but being introduced to “Patrón” by Alpha Chris has made me feel blessed as a young baby boi on his bar-mitzvah day. As furthered by a beautifully shot video, Alpha Chris has a phenomenal aura which bursts like sunlight through the seams of an unceasingly fresh windbreaker. Like a preacher of love, Chris channels refreshing themes of bliss, genuine emotion, care-free club dreams, and Patrón. Alternating between next-level hype and peaceful repose, Alpha Chris is nothing short of a young god in the field. Listening to “Patrón” is a breath of fresh mountain air on a cool spring day with a fat Juicy-Juice in my right hand. I’m surprised at how low-key the track is right now, but can certainly vouch for its’ golden nature. Peep it if you please. You won’t be disappointed.
• Alpha Chris: http://www.chrisowensofficial.tumblr.com
There’s a playful layer of filth smothering Opal Tape’s newest release Hantasive, by Lyon’s Kaumwald. It’s a panic room carved out with spades in the midst of an e-waste mega-dump. These sounds wrap their INDUSTRY in an over glove, they giggle and burble at you with rotten teeth. The plastic spools and reeling materiality of Opal Tape’s preferred medium and mineraloid moniker shine through, even over Bandcamp, as they have across the label’s increasinglyacclaimed output. Obviously, T Heavyz ears were pricked up well in advance to the mystery and wonder which has since come to anchor each OT release. Here we have a further addition to an assemblage (yes, I mean record label) that hits just the right balance between individually challenging artistic excursions and curatorial common ground. European fans can currently try and catch this ‘Label’ as they tour around the continent. Stream Hantasive by Kaumwald below:
TMT briefly talked with Jason Lescalleet in anticipation of his digital reissue of The Pilgrim, which was originally released in 2006. You can stream the album below and read an analysis complete with some of the composer’s own personal insight below.
With most pop music — and tonal music, in general — it’s easy to rely on both the functions of Western harmony that have been ingrained into us at an early age and lyrics that tell us directly how to feel. But electronic experimental music’s alien, “abstracted” nature can make it harder to relate to for many casual listeners, the processing, blurring, and amelodicism not as clearly defined as harmony and language. But if I hear anyone claim that electronic music isn’t “expressive enough,” then I’ll turn them toward Jason Lescalleet’s The Pilgrim, which is being reissued digitally in a remastered/expanded format by the composer himself today.
The Pilgrim, despite its experimental nature, is one of the more moving pieces of music of any genre that I’ve heard. The album is a towering elegy to Lescalleet’s father that illustrates his knack for “presenting abstract music in a manner that allows the listener to find their own way into the music.” While The Pilgrim very specifically refers to the loss of Lescalleet’s father, the work creates a universality that has the power to speak to many different people. For over an hour, the piece builds and layers gorgeous austere drones in a manner similar to the compositions of Eliane Radigue and some of Kevin Drumm’s recent ambient work, before giving way to a slow-burning cloud of noise that leads into an absolutely devastating field recording of Lescalleet’s daughter singing “Molly Malone” to her grandfather. Nothing is ever explicitly stated, but the mood is undeniably clear and the music emotionally all-consuming. There are moments when both the meditative piece associated with death is evoked and the rage and struggle are thrust to the forefront and confronted. Lescalleet’s sound sources may hold deeply personal significance, but his processing and treatment renders them emotionally accessible.
The original LP pressing of The Pilgrim featured a live performance dedicated to Lescalleet’s father on one side and an excerpt from their last conversation on the other, in addition to a CD containing a 74-minute version of the titular piece. Format is crucial to Lescalleet’s work, and in this sense, the original version of the record is particularly idiomatic to its design. “The length of storage space…relative fidelity concerns and different audiences are considerations I take very seriously” explains Lescalleet. All of these elements contributed to the composer’s desire to reissue the record digitally and “offer [the] audience high-resolution sound files that are virtually free of media restraints.” Thus, The Pilgrim is “realized at its proper length” of 85 minutes, with the remastering emphasizing the “tonal qualities and acoustic properties” of Lescalleet’s sounds. The reissued version is as format specific as the original, and as a result, the piece gleams in its expanded and remastered form.
The Pilgrim is an important album in Lescalleet’s discography from both a personal standpoint and a musical one. In some ways, it marks a shift into more heavily thematic/conceptual works, as well as a movement into some of the other towering long-form pieces in Lescalleet’s oeuvre. However, The Pilgrim remains a particularly haunting, singular listen, a thoughtful masterwork that serves as both a memorial to the artist’s father and a prime example of how narrative and emotion can arise from abstraction.
• Jason Lescalleet http://www.lescalleet.wordpress.com
Before The Bible
Rap music’s flirtation with self-deification is not a new phenomenon. Before Kanye West wrote “I Am A God,” Lil B did him one better with “I Am God.” Of course, the usage of the colloquial “God,” as in “Peace, God” or “What up, God?” originates with the Five-Percent Nation, which has at various times counted among its adherents Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Brand Nubian, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and many other great MCs. From this list, Rakim clearly stands out as his unsurpassed lyrical supremacy earned him the title, “The God MC.”
“But wait, I thought Clapton was God!”
Shut the fuck up, cavebitch.
GOD is the author of such holy words as: “I can’t even take you niggas serious/ You disturbed in the head, you delirious/ I’m a hundred, lil nigga, I’m the pure/ You a disease, motherfucker, I’m the the cure/ Get him out of here, never shed a tear/ Peel off on him, leave him in the rear/ My only competition is looking in the mirror/ And not killing niggas is the only thing I fear” and “I’ve been a savage, I aint never been average/ I’ve got a bad bitch but you know I keep me a ratchet/ I shoot the seven Apache, up the game I be clapping/ Clapping at everything moving, I get a rush from the action/ This aint no movie, these youngins really be busting these uzis/ They don’t know how to read but they be toting them toolies/ I’ve got visions of bitches popping champagne in jacuzzis/ If you don’t like what I’m doing then go ahead try to sue me.”
HE comes from Chicago, the hometown to two of the four or five rappers who managed to make this site’s Favorite 50 Albums of 2013 and two more who probably should’ve made it but didn’t. On Wednesday at 2:00 CST, HE released HIS debut EP Before The Bible, which actually came out after The Bible, HIS debut mixtape, but who’s counting? Stream below, then click over to HIS Youtube Channel to watch the GOD get busy.
• GOD: http://youaintgod.com
DREAM SEQUINS® [trailer]
Be inside the inside. Mentally congregate all dreams and realities to one ‘said’ point. Find yourself falling only back upon your bed. Calmly find yourself NMΞSH’d OUT in DREAM SEQUINS®. All of this you’ve seen before in life, whether as a picture or scenic. So now you can OWN it by way of ID imagination and consumption. Feed off the in-flux of new and chartered territories. You’re on and off Earth. Sky is the limit seems nearly tangible. Crushed in the fade of sound, or was that sound? Am I talking, or hearing someone talk outside my home and that is my DREAM SEQUINS®?
When you awake, your laptop is opened up on THIS post via Tiny Mix Tapes, and you RE:watch what you just experienced in bed. NMΞSH sucks your mind grapes out and into the future. Now you begging for all the answers, but you only got this [trailer]. What to do? Get back at him around Feb. 27 and feel DREAM SEQUINS® via AM DISCS. Freak on the video below: