An aesthete’s appreciation for natural beauty might latch onto any one of several facets: nature’s sublime scale, its intensity, its persistence, or even its constant, inherent danger. While any of these are awesome on their own, nothing seems so mystifying as the natural world’s capacity for infinite variation — the divots of a canyon, the precise hues of a river, the cricks in the trunk of a tree — each may appear in any one of innumerable combinations, formed by forces impossible to trace with total precision. For instance, we may decipher that a specific river carved a particular valley, but the actual minutes once required for the trough to appear in the water’s wake are utterly impossible to reconstruct. There will never be an absolute ontological answer for why a stone took its certain shape, a slope its angle. Nature’s unimpeachable forms have appeared without any regard for their human audience, for our obsession with history and origin, and it’s hard not to be impressed by the upshot of variety.
The video premiered here, for “Rose” by Japanese duo IKEBANA, is a prime example of the way in which man-made digital media has proliferated to such extremes that it seems to have matched the scope and span of the natural world. It’s now readily expected that one will discover and watch a video on the internet while maintaining no conception of who is responsible for its sounds and images — all that is evident is that the video exists and that it has been curated for your delectation. Just as one doesn’t wonder who “invented” a rose that one sees in a garden, we also don’t presume to wonder who filmed the kaleidoscope, or the flicking hands, or the swaying submerged feet you see on your screen in this video. The vast “variety of the digital” is one of the unsettling beauties of the internet. You passively affirm what you’re seeing is existent and think, “Yes, I accept that there’s footage like this.” Logic is moot. Natural infinity rules. For better or for worse, it seems superfluous to ask “Who? Why?”
Of course, in this case, there’s a ready answer: the video for “Rose” was created by Texan two-piece Twigs and Yarn. And their treatment of the music is inspired — “ikebana” is actually a Japanese term for an art of flower arrangement. Just as flowers may come in any minute variation in the bounds of nature, this video intimates a universe where any electronic image pre-exists in its dewey vapor, ready to be plucked and arranged, then viewed for your pleasure, as you pass on your digital stroll.
IKEBANA’s album When you Arrive There will be released on July 8, from the Tokyo label Flau.
Chocolate Grinder Mix 83
Elements: Its Every Crease
Hi! So, this week I had some hardcore technology meltdowns. From tape recorders failing to my phone constantly dying to Audacity hating me and my time and my computer. Since I’m writing this before redoing the mix on lunch, I’m hoping you’re listening to it today: FriFri. I realize I could write/edit this post-mixing, but I’m into this intense readiness to complete a mix within an hour. All the files are downloaded, listed in order, and ready to fly. And since my phone has been a BITCH and is seeking out “similar problems,” the original mix I had planned to create fell through (more on that later). In light of that, Mr P suggested I do a straight-up hip-hop mix. Which I did, and it’s not mixed or edited. Total genuine CD-mix style, being sold in Times Square right now, only you can hear it below, ‘cause I get my people traffic on TMT. Hi!
Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.
[00:00] RIA EKIN - “SEARCHING FRIENDS” (excerpt)
[00:23] Mack Maine - “Kobe or Ginolbli”
[02:22] Nmesh - “Bayside High As Fuck” (excerpt)
[02:35] The Underachievers - “Herb Shuttles”
[04:55] Lou Tennant - “COPS SIDE-A” (excerpt)
[05:08] Lil B - “Lifes Hard”
[07:12] Action Bronson - “No Time” (excerpt)
[07:26] 18+ - “BITCH”
[09:00] Dracula Lewis - “Cheetah”
[11:34] Knx - “KwunsStrongr.ntro” (excerpt)
[11:46] Mykki Blanco - “Ace Bougie Chick”
[14:28] French Montana - Garbage Bag Money
[15:35] Rick Ross & Birdman - “Addiction”
[18:11] Spaceghostpurp feat. Nell - “No Trouble”
[19:37] Tree - “Busters”
[21:30] Free Weed - “Superstar”
Daftside: Random Access Memories Memories
Flicked over to FACT today for random FriFri giddy, and found that our pal Nicolas Jaar remixed Daft Punk’s entire new album and REtitled it: Daftside: Random Access Memories Memories. Check it out. Especially if you hated Random Access Memories. Lotta crawl-warp-style noise remix slurred destruction going on here in its most beautifully danced-out moments. Scope below!
• Nicolas Jaar: http://www.nicolasjaar.net
Hunx & His Punx
“Street Punk Trilogy”
Wanna see a new Hunx & His Punx music video? How about three, all wrapped up into one triple-feature creature? In anticipation of their upcoming full-length Street Punk, the Francisco rockers proudly present their “Street Punk Trilogy,” a trio of clips for three of the album’s tracks: “Bad Skin,” “Everyone’s a Pussy (Fuck You, Dude),” and “Don’t Call Me Fabulous.” The whole thing opens up with that oh-so-familiar opening from Masterpiece Theater — or, in this case, it’s Masterbates Theatre — before proceeding on to a monstrous matinee of angry moms, zits, street gangs, and punk shenanigans. We’ve seen frontman Seth Bogart wear a number of masks: the brooding lover, the hairdresser, the heartbreaker. Busting up laptops, wearing crazy pants, and throwing up the finger with aplomb, he plays the tr00 punk role surprisingly well. But even though he and his punx look and sound tougher this time around, they haven’t lost their penchant for overblown theatrics; as the trilogy shows, the corrosive and the campy are anything but mutually exclusive.
I lean back and let this one float over me — solo piano, hovering somewhere between dissonance and enlightenment, like Scriabin in his most pensive moments (maybe “Vers La Flamme”), clawing at unconventional tonalities while keeping a few fingers in a consonant headspace we can all sink into. Portuguese composer Tiago Sousa’s 33 minutes of Samsara take us down an aural passageway through life to death to rebirth to life to death to rebirth, each milestone audible in delicate upper-register phrases or left-hand block chords or accelerating swells through emotional ivory territories. One might not expect to find such work on wax within the realm of the “drone/avant/experimental” underground, yet here Sousa sits, pressing the sustain pedal gently, breathing and sighing in pauses between rhythms. Unsurprisingly, Immune Recordings backs this beauty — which, though more stripped-down in terms of instrumentation and atmosphere, fits neatly in the catalog alongside the crystalline sonics of Minamo and Lawrence English or Pulse Emitter.
Samsara is available now on LP and CD. Put it on your turntable and it won’t be hard to imagine Sousa right there next to you. He bends over the piano, closes his eyes, and ekes out a musical vision of the afterlife (and beforelife [and life]); you roll up the blinds, recline, and see what you can see of the sky.