“Who Are You?”
Iowa City record label Night People has a habit of collecting artists who create music barely recognizable, but still thoroughly rooted, within genre lines. It’s like the label name Night People is a statement of intent; artists producing familiar sounds under the night’s shroud of darkness when all of the weirdos start to come out. Tampa’s Merchandise make a kind of blues rock so buried in 90s-style distortion that whatever defining terms used to describe their sound hardly manage to hit the mark. What’s strange is how appropriate the vast spectrum of genres explored on the label sound once those two words — “Night People” — are attached.
Listen below to “Who Are You?” from Merchandise’s appropriately-named Night People EP, Totale Night, and look for the entire LP April 2.
Alright, let’s get one thing out of the way: Oval’s Markus Popp is a handsome dude. I mean, look at the photo above and tell me it doesn’t scream “silver fox.” So, anyway, using his dignified looks and the sensual power of albums like 94diskont, Popp recently wooed several female (and a couple male) vocalists from South America into collaborating with him on a new record! Hooray!
Working with vocalists has typically produced excellent results for Popp in the past (see: So and Popp’s contributions to Gastr Del Sol’s Camofleur, for example), and Calidostópia! largely lives up to those high water marks. Additionally, this record may very well be one of Popp’s most accessible recordings under any guise. Unlike his exploration of more abstract glitch songs with So, these tracks are largely held together by melodies and rhythms, even if Popp is constantly working his noisy magic underneath it all. The end result is a gorgeous combination of “world music,” IDM, and trademark Oval soundscapes. And the best part is that keeping with the trend of releasing awesome records for free, Popp has the whole thing available to download for free from his website!
You can preview excerpts of Calidostópia! via SoundCloud below and download the record as a whole here.
• Oval: http://www.markuspopp.me
On Amorphous Dawn [preview]
Remember that year we virtually blow-jayed NNA Tapes? Oh, wait, we’re not stopping that? Because this here Belarisk On Amorphous Dawn [preview] is like green poop from drinking old wine the night before. Like, feel this: all day long, you got them green poops, and, and it’s so rANDom yet immediately blissful that you can’t deny the satisfaction. Sound familiar? Are you even LISTENING to this sample? Belarisk taming the noisy and transminded on the reel. Feelings of feeling rush to your ears and beat around the bush -err, drum. As if the noises were triggering your brainwave functions from spine to tips to introduce completely lush beams of light sucking your dimensional vision beyond whatever you thought you were before. Oh, I mean: this release is great and is totally individually visual in thought. Don’t believe me? Scope it ASAP at NNA Tapes. It’s been out! Where’ve I been?
Music is most often extolled as a form of art, but really “art” is just a convention of terminology, not exclusive fact. Music is inextricable from science too, and as any virtuoso knows, it is eminently quantifiable, from frequency to amplitude, BPM to MIDI file, harmony patterns to counterpoint. While never endorsing too clinical an approach, we should be thankful for those musicians who can chart musical anatomy with precision, lest we be cleaved by the saccharine, amateurish stuff toward which any art will devolve when left to the cross-section plot of “art over substance.”
So, without being reductive, listen to “Mint” by wise Belgian wizards Villa, who demonstrate how pop music can excel by shrewdly reducing the form back to its base components. Observe the few, yet measured tracks. Simple in element — the beat, the bass, the comped chords, the chorus — and pure in procedure, the song bypasses the heady modes of artistic histrionics in favor of the dance room equations that are tried and so true.
“Mint” is out now as a single from Club Mod, Modular’s new dance music imprint.
• Club Mod: http://clubmod.modularpeople.com
“Lost Wooden Planet Script”
Like the young knight Perceval, who sits speechless and confused in the presence of the Procession of the Grail, Urpf Lanze (real name: Wouter Vanhaelemeesch) stands guitar-in-hand, frog-in-throat, before The Procession of Talking Mirrors. The mirrors reflect a gruesome scene of guitars being torn to shreds by tornado-like fingers; a rumbling superstorm of breath growls and screeches out the echoing chambers of the beast’s vast throat and mouth.
The The Procession of Talking Mirrors LP (which has beautifully appropriate cover artwork made by the musician) will be released by Belgian label audioMER on March 10. For now, the label has posted the riotous finale of the record, “The Lost Wooden Planet Script.”