“Burning Vision Zero”
I sat here by the crack for awhile in the corner of the ceiling after hiding from the rain before the light was lifted and I decided to move. I scrambled; I was forced, really, from living on the underside as a little guy, although big for my kind. The lights were a mystery. I panicked. I had to let all those I had wound up go. Pots and pans and plastic made the mystery full and scattered.
I put both blinkers on, hesitated, then hoped for the best, and barreled into the shit. I was one of the lucky ones, for a pause, until the violence fanned out. Then it was all over, pal.
The downside was, I wasn’t through with the corner.
Nou la / Nou led
Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Zebra” has been the recipient of some great remixes, including ones by Napolian, Starfoxxx, and DJ Warlord (find his hectic edit here), so why stop there? Thankfully, Bekelé Berhanu continues the tradition on his new mix, Nou la, which finds him reworking “Zebra” into a glimmering, house-inflected number. But that’s just a fraction of the mix. The rest of this mix and its sister mix Nou led are exquisite throughout, contrasting nicely with Berhanu’s more abrasive Untitled mix for Janus (which I had described earlier this year as entrenched “in the noisy, politicized decay of club life, with leavening distortion that transforms its source material into wretched, hollowed-out pockets of dirt, mud, filth” — ha!). That one’s still one of my favorites of the year.
Catch performances by Berhanu at The Getty (5/30) and Los Globos (6/11) in L.A., and check out Nou la and Nou led below:
• Bekelé Berhanu: https://soundcloud.com/bekeleberhanu
“Alexander Moskos Reads: 3 Phases In Saliva (John Olson)”
Built over standing peals of guitar skronk/scrape and dry spoken vocals delivered with the half-fervor of a shamanic beat poet, Alex Moskos’s performances under the Drainolith moniker hit us as chunks of “no wave” noise layered heavy with abstracted rock signifiers and garbled melodies. Dense sessions like “Inside and Outside (Bog’s Blues),” our first preview of Drainolith’s Hysteria LP due June 2 on NNA Tapes, exemplify a zoned mind determined to give less fucks than have ever been given before — a benchmark defined and redefined by the experiments of Moskos’s other projects, like the now defunct AIDS Wolf or the noise collage supergroup Dan’l Boone (which initially formed to workshop Drainolith material).
On Drainolith Presents: Moskos Reads The Zonal Poets Vol. 1, a tape only available bundled with early preorders of the Hysteria LP, Moskos takes a step back from his musical practice to assume the role of literary conduit, digging into the minds and creative processes of his contemporaries in the US underground by performing readings of their poetry. Pieces contributed by the likes of trip metal godfather John Olson and Spectrum Spools honcho John Elliott offer thematic complements to the distorted reality of Moskos’s music, to the point that one wonders whether the stories dilute or exaggerate whatever real life events and/or hallucinations that inspired them. Just as Moskos’s vocals in Drainolith unfold as a series of enjambed poetic inklings, his readings of others’ work capture a similar dedication to focused fragmentation.
Press play on “3 Phases In Saliva,” premiering below, and follow Moskos down a spiral of industrial arcana, as birthed from the trip mentality of Wolf Eyes legend John Olson. Olson’s vivid diction reaches us as a smattering of olfactory details, grisly incidents witnessed, and visions of decay both socioeconomic and physical. “I am numb to seeing humans in danger,” says our narrator, as The Electrics carry out a ritual just for his sake. Olson’s detached narrative viewpoint and command of suspense within a framework of mundane experience evoke tactics used by Carver or Bukowski, but the content is pure ™ to the bone — filtered through an equally anarchic and meditative perspective honed through decades spent exploring the musical abyss.
Drainolith’s North American tour starts today. You can find dates here.
One of the conundrums with physically and (up until Afternoons Modeling in Dream Castle’s case) digitally rare music is it’s impossible to find on resale or in torrents, but when located, there’s such a tension melt moment from the music itself that all previous concerns and worries just float away. Thus, as previously mentioned, Afternoons Modeling just saved all your asses and brought you to the Tanning Salon. And within six suites, you’ll be blissfully relaxed in a zone that’s only meant for serious drifters. Yet, a serious drifter is inside all of us. It’s just a matter of reaching that Dream Castle in your mind’s sky.
Another conundrum of physically and digitally rare music is it’s vitality. You’d expect releases like Dream Castle to be as momentary as the blog that may have been made and deleted in the Tannin Salon name. But quite the opposite, as the lack of directness in presentation, including the drift of the music itself, by-way of comparing it to that cool breeze that comes along and is easily as forgotten, the joyousness of memory is beheld by tones. No matter if these sounds are intricate or progressive or copied or [etc.], the memory of when-and-where stirs in listeners when releases like Dream Castle pop back up. And as this comparison can be used with Chopin to Red Hot Chili Peppers b-sides, the intention of Tanning Salon is practically literal.
As the conundrum’s pile in, think of Dream Castle exactly like the tan you gripped while feeling that cool breeze: as lasting as skin cells dying out, there’ll always be the digital age prepared to drift back into your life. Afternoons Modeling supports this by releasing some of the incomparable and bombed-out releases that’ll momentarily bring you to pure peace, while dropping you as quick as they come. This is an extreme positive in a generation of music makers that can click, download, click, create, click, share. Afternoons Modeling is a memory tank. You’ll always be able to come back to Tanning Salon’s waves of thought. And there’s no direct or intentional though in Tanning Salon’s music (as it’s instrumental and lyric-less), but YOUR OWN conjured thoughts.
The conundrum of thought in instrumental music will forever be encapsulated by the modern generation’s heavy influx of albums/mixtapes/releases. There’s only one commonality with ALL the music being made today, and it’s completely political (in sound, specifically) to the Internet. Whether it’s a violin being played at home streaming it to a small audience online (or there-after, place upon YouTube), or a single synthetic-key machine, whatever you make will be in comparison to the Internet. Specifically because this is exactly where most people find their music today. So if it’s an orchestra concert you found out about on Facebook or Dream Castle by Tanning Salon, the politics of the Internet is purely instigative of thought in terms of lyric-less music. The intent is general and given to the person to decide.
Let freedom reign within the Dream Castle. We can all be attached in a state of URL minds. Visit Afternoons Modeling for a few more ideas on yourself and how you interact on the Internet alone or with others. But most importantly, get yourself a good lax via Tanning Salon. You’ve come this far virtually. It’s time to kick up a heel or two, girl.
GFOTY Boiler Room & SXSW DJ Set
While the audio for GFOTY’s set has been released for a little while, it’s the video of her Boiler Room performance that shows why the divisive label PC Music has achieved such success, much to the excitement (or utter chagrin) of the DJ world. Boiler Room is the first major time most music audiences are seeing GFOTY. Other than her Halloween stream via PC Music, there’s not been much visual recording of live sets. And the Halloween stream was more video art than a live art. The big question about this set, GFOTY’s first public broadcast, is whether the crash-and-burn style set is unintentional or performance art.
GFOTY enters in American flag print with a hood, Beats by Dre headphones, and takes a sip from an enormously large, perfect-for-a-music-festival martini glass. She begins as expected, playing some PC Music tracks (with A .G. Cook at her side) at the same time as dancing (something “forbidden” for “serious” DJs) like the girl-at-the-club she is. From there, GFOTY speeds up and slows down everyone’s favorite party songs, screaming the titles as she refuses to “properly” mix. About halfway through, her decks seem to mess up, and she begins to apologize over the mic, then suddenly starts singing over songs like “Cameltoe,” then apologizes for being a bad DJ, then says how she’s getting paid so much money to DJ SXSW. She calls Cook to help her with the CDJ. She smokes a cigarette as Spinee begins to set up besides her.
GFOTY seems to be interested in music as a commodity. Rather than record a set that will get lost in the sea of other Boiler Room videos, GFOTY chooses to evoke an excessive stereotype of the cool, messy club girl, who everyone thinks is only a DJ because she fucked her way to the top, drunk and high the whole time. This performed self can’t mix and talks about wanting to fuck onstage. GFOTY reclaims this sterotype and does a performance that uses elements of DJing in order to speak more deeply to a live (and streamed) audience. Her covers of tracks and spontaneous yelling through the mic calls to mind Björk, for a post-Miley Cyrus generation, the next natural step after Grimes’s controversial playing of the Vengaboys in her Boiler Room. The highlight is GFOTY’s live rendition of her own track “Friday Night,” where she yells over the music without care while showcasing the song’s true (excellent) nature. It all seems like an appropriate way to showcase GFOTY’s digital persona live. Her tracks when played over the internet are interjected with digital garbage, so of course her live performances must be filled with unexpected glitches.
Maybe this is all an overanalysis of PC Music, but then again, this is a group where one of the artists (QT) has stated her music is all an advertisement for an energy drink.