“On The Sand”
Recorded and produced with Peter Broderick (also on the drums, violin and some effects), Ensemble Economique (a.k.a. Brian Pyle) is back for blood “On The Sand.” There’s a certain way one obtains masculinity in music without proving your male, and it’s a very flagrant alpha move. However, in “On The Sand,” Ensemble Economique slowly builds this theme of MAN produced music with brooding synth sounds, deep whispering, pensive guitar, and generally “I know the way” attitude, but let’s be honest, we’re all lost, in the desert, “On the Sand.” Yet, it’s never felt this patient. Beyond that, I’d rather have Brian Pyle at my six in a stranded situation like this, as he’s able to match and move it along as a soundtrack would to your favorite movie.
Ensemble Economique does a good combo of Expo 70 guitar vibrations, Trent Reznor vocal asping, and aged-old (circa 2006) Robedoor minimalism, stripped of all their pedaled effects. It’s an impressive first listen into what’s in store for this year. And I already know Daughn Gibson is trying, but will inevitably fail at tiddling my winks. So keep on the eye-peel for a new Ensemble Economique reel, and prepare for those late-gaze zones ahead:
• Ensemble Economique: http://ensembleeconomique.tumblr.com
A.F. Jones & Derek Rogers
“Repetend / Mistones”
What the resulting music would sound like coming from a pair like this one would’ve been your best guess over mine. On the one hand, we have “undersea acoustician” in audio engineer A.F. Jones, and on the other, laptop drone-guru Derek Rogers, two gripping fists in a fascinating aural handshake for Jason Lescalleet’s Glistening Examples imprint (which is on a major roll right now). These sculptures of sound always hit the ear with an air of ambiguity; where exactly did these tone pairs and clusters come from? And how exactly are they manipulated to create this unique version of musicality? Is this “written” in a “key?” To my ears, and with the visual evidence provided by Jones’s excellent video-mulch eye-feast for “Repetend / Mistones,” the duo makes instruments out of sheer electrical currents, wavelengths pitched together in concert, carefully sequenced, overlapped, and pitch-shifted to create harmonic beats and mild forms of melody before crumbling in on themselves in a pile of gyrating electrons. But as with many great compositions, the underlying notion here is one of growth, the music eventually taking on a life of its own that, despite its synthetic building blocks, feels unmistakably organic.
Repetend, Parallax is the name of the full release, a CD edition that will be available no sooner (or later) than March 24. Ahead of that, you can let your eyes cross themselves to the video below and pre-order it via Bandcamp. By the way, if you’re not wearing headphones, you’re probably doing it wrong — so fair warning there.
“In the Back of a Car”
Remember when I told ya’ll about a Platinum Boys track that was like “Weezer covering ‘No Woman No Cry’?” Well, my friends, “In the Back of a Car” is that-said track, and it is glorious. The penultimate tune off their debut LP, Future Hits, is possibly the best, but you should just get down with the whole thing. Marc Maron is into it, so what are you waiting for? Tapes and vinyl are available here, so get on it, my babies. Or are you too scared to rock?
“I hate most of what constitutes rock music, which is basically middle-aged crap.” - Sting
• Platinum Boys: http://platinumboys.bandcamp.com
In a minimal electronic production dusted with five or so layers of sample manipulation and filtered synth sweeps, the tone of a bass drum can make or break the whole affair. Thudding through the interstices, maintaining the grid, reminding us that our human hearts beat and pump blood to our extremities — the bass drum has responsibilities to fulfill. It asks us, not so kindly, to move.
If “Fabrik,” the title track of Jannick Schou’s new album on Experimedia, was just a bass drum loop, I would want to listen to it. But the danish ambient/electronic mastermind provides much more, foregrounding his massive fine-grained pulse in a web of lush abstraction populated with corrupted vocal melodies and waves of side-chained static. The industrial grind thickens over five minutes of syncopated pounding as the conveyor belt continues to spin off into infinity.
The visuals for “Fabrik” sketch a black-and-white quasi-narrative of machinery, unionized labor, and public demonstration. Steel girders pass by from the window of a moving vehicle. The crane lowers into the crater. Molten liquid flows into the mold and emerges as a giant metal cylinder. Schou blows the break whistle and the workers set down their tools. They take a breather.
There’s always a resounding happiness that lingers after the weirder Leaving Records releases finishes in your ears for the first time. But SP-MOLD is on an entirely different level of musical arena-ship. Like, Matthewdavid is no stranger to the avant/experimental (see: D/P/I, Diva Dompe, M. Geddes Gengras, Nerftoss), but also no coward in the face of niche physical releases (see: Leaving Record’s back catalog of floppy discs), so it’s super pleasing that – although linked with a much larger label/distributor, Stones Throw – that the West Coast label continues to keep shit real as fuck. And damn, even though SP-MOLD’s 3-hour release, Midden is a complete digital folder listed for FREE, there are few labels who’d even fuck with hours of music to release in one bulk like this, and at no cost. Just impressive.
At any rate, below is “2012” by SP-MOLD. It’s an excellent example of what you’ll be getting dirty with in Midden. There’s warped out bass-lines. Piano strings vibrated like xylophone plates. Samples as alien as “WHAT WAS THAT?” Drums lo-fi’d into a swamp of melody muck. When I tell you it’s nearly impossible to move past “2012,” and then you see the slew of tracks behind and ahead of it, you’ll be all, “Sick, I’m set for the year!” Well, don’t feel TOO complacent (because new Ahnnu is just around the corner, and D/P/I and Smurphy are neck-and-neck in new shit, constantly), but take your time. You DO have the rest of your life to trudge through the thicket of SP-MOLD. Enjoy!
• Leaving Records: http://leavingrecords.com