Under the Ahnnu moniker, Leland Jackson zones us into a dissociative mindset by airing individual samples into open spaces and looping them ad infinitum, allowing them to accumulate time-stretching artifacts and subtle effect processes as time slows to a crawl. Stripping his mixes of any legible percussion, he sketched out a mutant cousin of drone or musique concrète as filtered through an MPC-slinger’s rhythmic sensibilities on modern classic tapes like World Music and Battered Sphinx.
The music of Cakedog, Jackson’s 160BPM alter-ego, trades this hypnotic sample haze for its polar opposite: a vision of percussive footwork indebted to the Teklife crew that offers a heartfelt “RIP Rashad” while prodding at the limits of the style that the sorely missed DJ and his contemporaries pioneered over the last two decades. On “CakeUp,” a cut from his new tape Menace in the Phantom, Jackson cushions hi-hat clatter in reverbed synth pads, twinkling key samples, and a chubby upright bass groove. Syncopated kick drum bursts send the mix careening into double-time polyrhythms perfectly fit for the maxed-out maneuverings of footwork dance scene, as practiced in a network of venues, basements, and community spaces across Chicago’s south and west sides.
If you haven’t seen footwork in action with your own eyes, Cakedog can fix that for you. Jackson filmed the video for “CakeUp” straight to VHS on site at Battlegroundz, a seminal dance space on Chicago’s south side home to regular footwork meet-ups and battles. Given that the footwork / juke style has existed in some form since the early 90s, Cakedog’s deliberately retro visuals, complete with public-access style titles and flashes of grainy geometric abstraction, speak to the long legacy of dancers and producers that have pushed the style forward from its local beginnings to the international stage. However it reaches us, the footage or the IRL experience of footwork has the potential to stun its audience with its warp-speed steps precisely tethered to shifting rhythmic grids. Jackson’s video shines by giving into the awe of the exhibition, presenting just a few slices of the remarkable agility workshopped every day, battle by battle, by the style’s practitioners.
Industry rule #8,080: sometimes when music
journalists bloggers don’t know what to write about a song or an album that we’re posting, we Dfalt defer to the artist’s own press release. The most “Transpastic” transparent among us preface such deferrals with something like, “According to the [record label] press release,” like this…
According to the Daylight Curfew press release, “This is the first music commercially released in over a year and follows up last year’s Take EP.” Yes, you read that right. All other music sold throughout late 2013 and all of 2014 was mere illusion. All your base are belong to Jason Drake. Restore systems to Dfalt, get on that electro-cock-hop robo-copera shock tip, stream Seventy-Nine below, and download for $0.00 via DaylightCurfew.com or robo-cop the “commercial release” via iToons for $3.96.
NONI WO — not to be confused with the Japanese “nani wo (何を)” meaning “what + [particle marking direct object]” — consists of four male humans who live and record music together in Montreal. Glimpse them here peering genially out of a sedan, so you can imagine them in your mind. Better yet, press play on the video for “SPECTER,” premiering in this very post, to allow images of their moving bodies to enter your face and eyes.
“SPECTER” marries the sonic hallmarks of post-OPN (or Ford & Lopatin) sample-and-synth composition — the hi-fi panning bursts of fragmented percussion, the willfully preset-core tonal palette of MIDI flutes and organs, the mix-filling moments of alien bass presence — with the brand of “I get delirious whenever you’re near” dance-pop practiced by the likes of Gang Gang Dance or Aa. Possessed of more moving parts and mix-occulted Easter eggs than your usual electronic pop jammers, NONI WO operates as eight hands grasping microphones, slamming keys, and pressing buttons in joyous union, laying vocal harmonies over clean-toned guitar lines that sneak through webs of mingled synths and percussion.
The video presents these men through rose colored lenses. Watch as they watch you watch them dance, stand on their heads, wear ponchos, and stare. At around 1:47, one of the NONI WO-ers gazes off camera with this contemplative look on his face — not quite wondering what exactly he’s doing (that he is sure of), but more like, just assessing the state of things. Then other band members start to assess, as if inviting you to assess. You assess.
NONI WO released their U S B E P in early October. You can buy it from Summer Cool.
Just have a nod. Wait for something else to come along soon. Grained out “166MHZ” is short, but sweet on the expectancy. I don’t need a due date or nothing, L0HEESH, but maybe just a five minute mix? Dunno if dreams are ever true. Dunno if that was L0HEESH piping around my sleep last night. And it’s sorta like, “They’re making a Han Solo Star Wars movie eventually? People still goto the movies?” *Watches Return…’s forest moon of Endor scenes with “166MHZ” on repeat in protest until new L0HEESH tracks pops up*
• L0HEESH: https://soundcloud.com/L0HEESH
Party of One
“Watch While the Heads Roll”
Eleven years after their first and only album to date saw the light of day, Eric Fifteen’s Party of One is back from the dead with “Watch While the Heads Roll.” A quick flashback to 2003 when Fat Cat distributed Caught the Blast – the album, while receiving a variety of positive reviews, got caught up in a riptide of narcissists calling the album narcissistic in artless, catch-all I-HATE-PAVEMENT rants. Let bygones be bygones, but damn it’s a lo-fi pop punk record, calm the fuck down.
Hey, we’re in something that resembles the future where both 13 year old and 24 year old me are stoked about; hoverboards are real and Party of One is back at it. With a new band in tow consisting of Monet Wong (sweet name Monet), Matthew Wayne, and Kyle Joe Holland, Party of One is noticeably subdued with Eric Fifteen’s noted dark wordplay calmly telling us to not cry when the cops come. Eric’s nasal voice and forward demeanor have a relaxed Gary Numan vibe and I imagine the rest of the group are two-steppingswaying back and forth in unison and sporting sunglasses.
The band appears to have a cassette ready for Minnesotan record store turned part-time label, Go Johnny Go. The album, Streetside Surprise, is depicted on their Facebook and listed in GJG’s online catalog as a $4.45 fall 2014 release, but is not up for stream or purchase yet.
• Party of One: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Party-of-One/194609910555651
• Eric Fifteen: https://soundcloud.com/eric-fifteen