I never had a Nintendo or Sega when I was young. Not because my family was completely impoverished or in the shit, but because my young American mind saw those colorful, dazzling new technologies as an out of reach fantasy. When I was a little older, the same went for synthesizer music by the likes of Vangelis and Francis Rimbert. This is true: when I heard Vangelis’ theme from Cosmos I thought “this is my favorite thing in the world!” but I never got the fucking album! What? Are there any mental disorders where you don’t let yourself have what you want the most even though it’s right in front of you? (Masochism.) Jesus christ, at least now there’s enough spiraling synthesizer music to last several lifetimes.
So let me stop being a narcissistic dumbass and mention Panabrite, aka Norm Chambers, one of the current crop of “synth explorers” (to use a term Vangelis never thought would be cliche but cosmically has) who continues to blur the line between drifting ambiance and a sense of through composition. “Sea Balm”, a track from his new Tranquility Tapes release Wind Rider, veers towards the meditative side of things, though the sustained drone is broken up by a seemingly wordless vocoder track. When a faint arpeggio drops near the end it’s just icing on the cake, and you hardly realize that the entire thing has essentially hovered motionless over a single chord. It’s also worth looking into Norm’s other releases this year, particularly the Omni Center CD-R which is an absolutely crystal clear recording that I might share with benevolent visiting Aliens if they asked what this synthesizer shit was all about.
Mick Barr, the man behind/in front of Ocrilim, Orthrelm, and Octis, has a new solo album, Coiled Malescence, due September 13 via Safety Meeting. The album, which I haven’t heard but am expecting to blindly love, is available for pre-order right now. It reportedly “shreds.” (via Pitchfork)
• Safety Meeting: http://www.safetymeeting.net
“Conditional Formatting (Descent)”
Progress Chance, the new album by Brazil’s Ricardo Donoso (who is now situated in Boston — you want his mailing address too??), is out this week on Digitalis. The idea for the album, according to the label, “was to strip out the four-to-the-floor beats and any other drum programming and create his own version of the ‘morning dance music’ he grew up with in the Brazilian rave scene.” Any remixers want to overdub some shitty four-to-the-floor beats? No? Good. Check out the terrifying video for “Conditional Formatting (Descent)” above.
It’s been a long time coming, and getting increasingly longer, but underground breakbeat sensation Greg Marshall (a.k.a. Stylus Rex) is closing in on the release date for his debut album. Initially slated for release in early 2011, Ground Level Records boss Andy McAllister assures fans it will see the light of day in December (fingers crossed). In the meantime, the label has just released an official video for “Blatant Elephant.” Set to the work of a few visual artists, the A/V experience gives the viewer a slice of yummy nostalgia, sending us right back into that mid-90s warehouse then of necessity and now of legend. Here’s looking forward to that Christmas present.
Jeguol Naw Betwa
There are quite a few Mississippi Records fanatics out there, and it’s easy to see why. The preservation of roots music from all walks of life – not just blues and Americana – is a good thing, right? Head over to Little Axe, Mississippi’s distributor, for a reissue of Ethiopian “urban star” Mahmoud Ahmed’s 1978 Jeguol Naw Betwa LP, which, according to the label, is “as good as it gets & as close to universally perfect music as ever has been made.”