Jumping Back Slash
It’s brave for Cape Town’s Jumping Back Slash to use something so close to that wobbling synth lead on the first track of his new collection JBS004, the fourth in a prolific run of self-released Bandcamp EPs. Or maybe its just indicative of the way my ears want to draw close the disparate sounds of some far away city into the kind of recognizable, categorizable compound that would feel totally ridiculous to anyone who actually walked that city’s streets. We impose our own refrains from a distance, and nuances get lost. Any flickering nods to that blurry record rack in my mind are quickly thrown off by the sheer menace of this shit, the brooding sense of a raised fist just around the corner. Sugared vocals serve as silk gloves for that crushing slug at the gut. Structural violence.
Fader just did a good little write up about JBS, with some discussion and examples of the new sub-genregqom: “A more broken sound, a lot more minimal than normal SA house and rarely four to the floor, it’s a raw sound.” And apparently a big influence.
Keep eyes on the Bandcamp for future EPs! Listen to JBS004 below:
Jumping Back Slash: http://jumpingbackslash1.bandcamp.com
Chocolate Grinder Mix 97
House of Leaves
As the epigraph of his labyrinthine masterpiece, House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski invokes Beethoven’s Muß es sein? And, Es muß sein! responds House’s compelling four to the floor beat. Yet at the same time, house was initially, and remains for some in spirit, a melancholy place, one which, for the queer dancefloors of the late 70s and 80s, was a space of safety and display in a hostile world, while at the same time containing, in its echoes and sensual whispers, precisely the knowledge that the world is dangerous and unwelcoming.
The very existence of such a space proclaims this, and thus undoes itself; a teetering tension between celebration always already ending yet insistently refusing to be silenced, and an impermanence based on being hatred’s object no less than being a being bound to time’s arrow – a tension which is the essence of melancholy. House is haunted: a queerly haunted doll’s house. Presently, it’s haunted not only by this foundational-yet-crumbling constitution, but also by its temporal distance from its origin, and by the memories it conjures of a time before and during the AIDS crisis.
So the house we hear today is doubly cracked – the infinitely time-stretched fall of the House of Usher. This uncanny (lit. unhomely) house breathes heavily in the dark, reaching across time and space: “God God – whose hand was I holding?”
Yet in every haunting there is not only fracturing and fear, but sadness, a lingering gone-ness, an unresolution. If Danielewski’s novel was a house of leaves – one in which the semi-hypnotized subject is bound to go deeper and deeper into the echoing unknown, the space beneath – we have here a house of beats, a promiscuous mingling of the exhibitionist public and the sentimental private in the service of unfulfillable desire. From Octo Octa to DJ Sprinkles and – our destination – beyond, it’s been a lucky (20)13. Allow me the pleasure of telling you a story, one in which we poke around corners of this edifice overgrown and sun-dappled, forlorn and sublime.
“The house is history and history is uninhabited” – Zampano
Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.
[00:00] Ejeca – “Akrobat”
[05:17] Orson Wells – “Jungle Warrior”
[10:48] Fort Romeau – “Jetée”
[16:14] Tar Feather – “Gravel”
[21:23] John Grant – “Black Belt”
[22:19] Les Level – “Fever Baby”
[27:18] Xosar – “Gone Is Yesterday”
Sizzlin’ down the staircase. Swirlin’ each step at the side, and then. Vanilla suit vibes signal in waves off foot movements lookin’ like they dousing cig butts. Fog machines each loaded with two ounces of reefer. Smoke surrounding the small theater. Attendees laughing and gazin’ and booging in AND on they seats. CY mixing up a storm on stage after ascending from smoke heaven. Neon numbers nearly visible flicker 905 in a visual thought bubble.
So much drizzle, people. Put in your requests now. Watch the amazing reeler mix music that moonwalks across your nods in the shiniest of shoes with the mellowest of moods. CY all up in your brain chill zones. Take this “TUESTUE” [teaser video] for example. Yeah, we got the obligatory nostalgia visual fetish flaring, you-know you-know, but the smoothness is so viable in stability that you could listen to it a thousand times and continue hearing something new. Now, imagine reeling the new CY 905 tape from EL SERENO RECORDS on a day in the leaves; making a snow angle for hours; standing in the rain at the bus stop; beachin’ like a bum in the sun. Get some CY ASAP via EL SERENO RECORDS, and peep the digital below:
• EL SERENO RECORDS: http://elserenorecords.bandcamp.com
“Watch over Stillness - Matters Principle” (excerpt)
Reaching the stratum of contemporary experimental music occupied by the likes of Stephen O’Malley (Sunn O))), etc.) and Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic, etc.) — call it, say, the Tier of Champions — requires years of deep focus: guiding principles and philosophies long since hammered out; gear known backwards and forwards; a catalog of classic albums under the belt, each a labor of tonal and structural dedication; a network of trusted musicians, engineers, producers, label humans, and booking agents making parallel efforts. Having climbed that mountain and constructed their bone-encrusted thrones at the peak, O’Malley and Vainio live as legends of extreme music because they can’t help but sound like themselves on every record. We know their sonic signatures by heart — the towering walls of guitar-derived drone, the noise-spattered drum machine rhythms — and have followed them for years with our fists in the air, galvanized by every tone that bruises our eardrums and reshapes our perceptions. We don’t want them to change, as if that’s even an option at this point. But to collaborate? Yeah, we want that.
O’Malley and Vainio finish off a solid 2013 (see Exhibits A, B, C, D, E) with Through A Pre-Memory, a 2xLP of duo recordings as ÄÄNIPÄÄ, which might be the Finnish word for the playback head on a tape machine. Preview one of the album’s four mammoth side-length sessions, “Watch over Stillness - Matters Principle,” below, and revel in the tones you’ve come to expect from these masters. O’Malley’s ‘verb-drenched guitar wails between iterations of a pure sludge chord progression. Vainio’s muffled analog thuds and electronic noise creep and swell through the mix. When I first heard this, I wondered “Which one of them is vocalizing? Who’s pulling off that Alan Dubin rasp?” Turns out… it’s Dubin himself (!!), he who demands silence while he strips bone, lending additional dissociative terror to the occasion.
Through A Pre-Memory is available to order now from Editions Mego. The album’s extended pieces evolve through a number of movements and atmospheres, so a sample snippet can only tease at the depth of the full sessions — but you can scope out more preview material at Experimedia.
Perfection should by default be considered something suspicious, and that’s mostly because it simply doesn’t exist. This Thursday morning at my office, for example. Sure, it may seem just fine from an outsider’s perspective (that’s you, dear Chocolate Grinder patrons [Editor’s Note: <3<3<3<3]). I've got my coffee here, Pitchfork announced its new print edition... things couldn't get any better, amirite? iamwrong. In fact, my coffee tastes horrible, I forgot my lunch at home, and I have a pile of billing sitting next to me on my desk that I need to get through. The point is that the perfect is never perfect because it is constantly covered, shrouded and clouded with distortion on the periphery.
And this is the kind of vibe that PHORK (an acronym for “People’s Higher Order of Royal Kinship”) nails to the wall for the aptly titled “Paradise Stress,” from his new cassette release American Tao on Noumenal Loom that follows outings with NNA Tapes, Orange Milk, and Opal Tapes. The track presents a serene and pristine Boards of Canada-like synth refrain, surrounds it with nervous noise, and balances itself upon a platform of unstable bass that rumbles like thunder. It’s at once a beautiful environment while also unsettling, dark, and mysterious — the type of place that could be a wonderful dream or a terrifying nightmare depending on your perspective. And perspective as a theme translates to the visual realm with Mateo Marquez’s hypnotizing video accompaniment as well, offering up a cornucopia of color, sliced with shadowy grays into a shattered frame of revolving hues. But no matter from which angle you look at this thing (or listen to it - headphones strongly recommended, of course), it’s pretty mesmerizing.