“BDA (Ball Dropper’s Anthem)”
This is really just a taste, a preview, the opening rounds. Hey, look over here. Listen up. Detroit-based emcee SelfSays is psyching himself up, upping his stats and getting “motivized” with a time-is-now-type rap over a hail of hearty funk-march beats and warm soulful organ hooks (compliments of NY-producer Blockhead with dazzling reggae-ish fx on the vox by Ann Arbor-producer Buffay).
Having just past the age of 30, SelfSays (a.k.a. Charles Vann) is getting into the game a little bit later than some, but he’s kicking all that self-doubt aside with heart-on-the-sleeve, swiftly cadenced quips of no-time-like-the-present. Indeed, with the rise of Danny Brown, there’s potential that many other eyes are peeking through Detroit’s hip-hop hotbed and they’d be wise to keen in on SelfSays, backed by a range of eclectic and esteemed producers on an EP released last month to commemorate a springtime tour through Europe with Michigan-based electronica composer Shigeto. Consider it a primer, though, because he’s got yet another release (a 7-inch split) coming out in the last week of September: Not Another Video Game Song / They Shootin’ is his debut on iNsect Records. Level up.
I’ve gotten a bunch of e-mails in 2012 from a guy in the Netherlands (Eindhoven, to be exact) named Joep van Son who make lots and lots and lots of music both solo and with tons and tons and tons of bands. I get the impression they’re all basically the same thing, but my favorite so far was the incredibly energetic and ballistic self-titled Nikoo album. That came out in 2010, so since it was older and I couldn’t really share it properly here on the Chocolate Grinder (we do have rules, you know), I’ve been biding my time, waiting patiently for the next one that really struck my fancy.
Enter: This new “lo-fi song in a day, once every six weeks” (until…. ___?) series that Joep apparently started, like, 18 weeks ago under his solo moniker [V]. He steps into the studio, right back out, gets his buddy Bas to make a little artwork and BAM! Release for me, and release for you. And this one (like the others) is pretty great — Joep’s biggest strength is his ability to write a terrific chorus, and “Charlie D” is no exception with its super-catchy hook that lasts but just a moment before the verse sinks its pearly whites back into your neck. Acoustic guitar as the backbone, melody does all the work; the track reminds me most of Blur’s “You’re So Great,” but maybe with a bit more bite. It’s over in the blink of an eye, leaving you with the sweet aftertaste of an even sweeter tune.
“TOKYO_DAYS,” / “真夜中のJAZZ滑らかな心”
A couple weeks ago, I posted a mix of appropriation music called ║█║▌║█║▌│║▌║▌█║. I had finished the mix earlier that week, but on the day of publishing, that Friday morning, I heard this amazing song by transmat思 い 出 (a.k.a. coolmemoryz), an eccojam so heartwrenchingly beautiful I decided to redo the entire mix in order to fit it in.
Since then, the artist, now going by coolmemoryz, has released a handful of tracks, all with a vaporwave/eccojam vibe. They’re all so good that I had a hard time choosing which to write about, so I’m writing about two of them. The first is titled “TOKYO_DAYS,” a six-and-a-half-minute track that reflects a kind of pseudo-globalism with its effected Japanese voice clips, shuffling beats, and New Age synth washes. It’s all spa- and lounge-like for most of its duration, but it crawls, bloody and near-lifeless, to an unexpected demise toward the end. You have to hear the song to understand why.
The second track, “真夜中のJAZZ滑らかな心,” (roughly, “Smooth Jazz Heart of Midnight”) is less narrative, but equally enthralling. This is chopping and screwing at its finest, sounds that are pitch-shifted, looped, and tempo-fucked until you’ve all but lost any sense of center. What’s often highlighted here is not the cheesiness of the music, but the in-between moments during the decay and just before the attack. Sure, the notes and rhythms are stretched (and can be transcribed as such), but the moods are made decidedly anew.
• coolmemoryz: http://coolmemoryz.tumblr.com
I can’t really imagine a greater combination than that of Rene Hell and Oneohtrix Point Never (in terms of split LPs, of course, because we all know chocolate and peanut butter is the greatest of all combinations). The two artists may seem to be very similar in the big picture of music as a whole, but when zoomed in, the musicians may be seen as perfect opposites — sort of the yin-yang of current experimental electronic music. While OPN might represent some of the most interesting cutting-edge, sample-driven, slightly-beat-oriented-but-not-really-dance-music side of things, we can see Rene Hell at the other side as part of a more classical, musique-concrète, compositional school of electronic music. However, by the end of the record, you may not even know what music is at all.
Speaking of concrete, you can hear “Meta Concrete,” the first part of Hell’s side titled In 1980 I Was A Blue Square. It will be released on September 18 by NNA Tapes.
“Entoloma abortivum” [a re-staging of John Cage’s One11]
John Cage was born 100 years ago today on September 5, 1912. He passed 10 years ago, but our father Abraham of avant-garde composition has many sons that continue to foment the ideas of experimental music. One who is well aware of his own lineage, Lawrence English, commemorates Cage with his new album For/Not For John Cage. For: an homage — a body of work inspired by pieces written by Cage. Not For: a Cageian idea itself, perhaps, to dismiss responsibility of co-opting a legacy and an umbrella for the recordings that were organically tangential during the recording sessions.
The video for “Entoloma abortivum,” a collaboration between English and video artist Scott Morrison, is a re-staging of Cage’s film One11. English speaks to the process and how the scope went beyond aesthetic: “Part way through the process of composing music for One11 (refocused), it became clear that a body of sound work was forming (beyond the music created for the One11 (refocused) soundtrack) that drew heavily on some of Cage’s passions — specifically his interests in Zen Buddhism (and the space for contemplation this philosophy opens) and also that of chance operations.” Check it out here:
Pre-orders for Lawrence English’s For/Not For John Cage start today, with the album officially out September 18. It’s limited to only 500, so do what you have to do.