Potions

Midi Jazz Bass

Presented with a SurveyMonkey-style matrix of contemporary electronic music, Chicago-based producer Potions licks the tip of his e-pen to get the ink flowing and clicks a ✔ into all the right boxes:

☑ Dense compositions vertically layered with synth lines and rhythms.
☑ Fluid interweaving of genre signifiers from house, ambient techno, IDM, jungle, trip-hop, psytrance.
☑ Individual tracks cross-faded together into a cohesive set.
☑ Exploitation of antiquated preset tones mimicking acoustic instruments.
☑ A rhythmic grid that straddles the line between tracker robotism and “live” “swing.”

Presented with these survey results, without hearing a single beat, a skeptical listener believes to have heard it all before. After keying the glyphs of a shrugging emoticon [ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ] he or she presses [ENTER] and slouches as low as possible in the desk chair.

Presented with the IRL audio of MIDI Jazz Bass, streaming in full below, even a skeptical listener lets a, “Whoa. This,” slip out. Eyes open wider than expected. Feet move. Minds pick up new tricks. Melodies hover patiently in the back of the mix before slinking into the spotlight. Sessions evolve into vibrant lead passages over initial loops. Structural surprises lead deeper down the spiraling walkway to Potions’ subterranean bachelor pad, where lava lamps and strobes shine on, day or night. All the chairs there are shaped like eggs and allow for full horizontal recline.

MIDI Jazz Bass is available now in a limited 12” vinyl edition via Chicago’s Lake Paradise Records.

• Potions: http://potionsmusic.bandcamp.com
• Lake Paradise Records: http://www.lakeparadiserecords.com/index.html

EXCEPTER

“Maids”

“It’s merely a photograph,” said the engineer, “Photographs were intended to juxtapose reality.” She sets down the floating image in a dark room next to the train station as hanging sheets shake and drip dry; in a pool of water. “Immersion. And like – try this, here. No, try it,” she stretches out her arm and hand and fingers with powder in it. The powder is blown in your face and flowers forever seem to appear before your eyes, scattering thoughts of alleys and backs of buildings from your youth: hanging around town was a trip in itself once you found out the cracks in reality; the bricks serving ladders atop Main Street buildings, the unlocked basement doors at the gym and elementary school and township building, glue left out by the industrial building, and walking along the sidewalk around 3 a.m. “Photographs, you know?”

Flooding in five years after their last full-studio release, Debt Dept, EXCEPTER comes at listeners with a raring visual speed, laying down “Maids,” their first track off Familiar, their new LP being released on BLAST First (petite).

• EXCEPTER: http://www.excepter.net
• BLAST First (petite): http://www.blastfirstpetite.com

New Dreams Ltd.

Initiation Tape: Isle of Avalon Edition

It may be a little late for your initiation into the monarchy of vaporwave, but the enigmatic producer Vektroid, the force behind Macintosh Plus, Laserdisc Visions, 情報デスクVIRTUAL, New Dreams Ltd., PrismCorp, and [terabytes of] others since 2005, is the queen of the fleeting faux-capitalist genre. But what better time to start getting into vaporwave than right now? It’s 2014, you guys, and vaporwave is still dying out as the day it was born. So it’s time to continue putting down those guitars and microphones. You can stop beating your palms on stretched-out animal hide now. Just go to your computer and never come back. Hi! While you’re here, enjoy Initiation Tape: Isle of Avalon Edition, a 2014 edit of the artist’s pivotal release from 2011 (released under the name New Dreams Ltd.). It’s a bold initiation to 2014 indeed. Like looking at a painting of the future from the 50s, this music is founded in the past, but gives us hope for what is yet to come.

• Vektroid: https://vektroid.bandcamp.com

Sidewalk Kal

“Thousand Arrows” [rough]

Coming off an explosive performance at a recent Paxico Powwaw, Chicago’s own Sidewalk Kal blesses us with a quick one. Featuring the celestial Virginian beat-god Tuamie, on the boards, “Thousand Arrows” furthers Kal’s ever-present sensibility for silky beats primed for lyrical explorations. Consistent with his prior efforts, Kal’s verbal versatility is exceptional, blending a certain opulence with calculated and patient poeticism. With Deity Gang as his alliance, boasting membership of TMT favorite’s Mattron and **Ł_RD//$M$ among others, Sidewalk Kal is a surefire heat-source for the winter months. Peep “Thousand Arrows” below and be sure to stay keen on Deity Gang for 2014.

• Sidewalk Kal: https://soundcloud.com/sidewalkkal

Biosexual

“Sleigher”

As a music lover, maker, and follower during the past half-decade or so, it’s hard to think of a track I was more willing to get behind than “Sleigher” by Biosexual. The tune is far from new. I first mentioned it damn near two years ago, and I’m 128% more than willing to write about it yet again, here now. Some of you heard it way back then. Some of you heard it on Biosexual’s digital EP. Many more of you will hear it here for the first time, because this is a video, and we were given the gracious opportunity to premiere it. And visuals are so, so helpful, aren’t they?

This one is about our generation’s dependence on decadence, our willingness and eagerness to indulge in the unnecessary but oh-so sensory-pleasing pleasures, namely weed, wine, hamburgers, stuffed animals, and dead cats with ketchup. All things I didn’t realize I needed more of until I watched this thing ten times in a row. But to hear Zachary Nelson croon about forgetting what assholes like me have to say about his music, and instead stuffing his face with junk food and rollerblading… that’s the important thing, and somehow it’s all magically put into perspective now two years after the fact.

Nelson joins the ravishing Jocelyn Noir of Alak and Michael RJ Saalman of his own bad self in the band, and “Sleigher,” among other things, is a part of Biosexual’s brilliant, sorely overlooked debut long-player, The Window Wants the Bedroom, out the latter part of last year on Debacle Records. You’ll find in it on a vinyl record tucked away inside a gorgeous sleeve with strike-through gloss varnish typeface, buy the way. Not too shabby.

• Biosexual: http://biosexual.bandcamp.com
• Debacle Records: http://debaclerecords.com

  

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CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.