Brass Ring / Merx
The catalog of Kevin Greenspon’s Bridgetown Records continues to unfurl in new directions, encompassing a nationwide circuit of experimental underdogs and prolific DIY tape heads. While the label’s overarching aesthetic highlights the abstracted textures and compressed song structures of shoegazing guitar music and miniature ambient composition, the occasional slab of skull-rending electronic maximalism squeezes out of Greenspon’s home dubbing rig and lands right in your little grimy mitts.
As Dugout Canoe, Jacob Isaacs pours out a bubbling torrent of tones from his guitars, synths, and drum machines. The two side-long tracks that constitute his Brass Ring / Merx cassette combine the long form compositional tactics and live collage sensibilities of academic electronic music with a manic improvised energy, reaching ecstatic heights of sensory overload in the vein of the extended guitar sessions of Hubble or Alan Licht. As a chord progression slowly creeps out from the back of the mix, “Brass Ring” escalates from a randomized patch of synth pops into a clattering matrix of rhythmic noise formants. After each segment of the piece reaches a suitable peak, Isaacs detonates the structure and starts from zero again, speeding through discrete vignettes of guitar manipulation on the way to a battering major key climax. “Merx” airs out a web of 8-bit arpeggios and hard-panned percussive bursts as it sketches out an evolving melodic pattern in warp-speed. The track swells into a languid expanse of fine-grain drone voices, consuming any semblance of melody or structure in favor of a heavy drift down through layers of electronic mist.
GOLDEN LIVING ROOM and t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者
“FINAL PHANTASY VIII”
Ignorance is seriously bliss when it comes to expectation in music. Like, if you’re listening to a pop song and have no idea you’ve really ever heard something similar, you’ll probably think that pop song’s gimmick is genuine, legit, and huge. On the other hand, when listening to a beat-tape or disco or [a lot of Dream Catalogue’s discography], it’s also pleasant not being familiar with samples they’re using, thus airing an originality that’s either “Wait, I think that’s…” or “How did they think to put this together?” or *O_O* …also no sample snitching.
Ask Mr. P. I never want any knowledge on samples, ever. And typically when I listen to the original, the song that samples it typically does a much better job, and completely bombs the older music for me. Either way, GOLDEN LIVING ROOM is going a a peace-path this year on collaborations, and this time, it’s with the infamous Internetest, t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者. Whether these sounds are straight samples, or they made Mario mushroom and PSOne start sounds on synths. Maybe these are all vocals. I don’t know. I don’t make music. And I have trouble remembering. So I’m blessed t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 teamed up with Midwest titan, GOLDEN LIVING ROOM for “FINAL PHANTASY VIII,” and then added a video to help me bask in their productionist nirvana.
Find their collaboration on Dream Catalogue and “Never look back. Never look back. Never look back. Never look back.”
Blue Jazz TV
“Power Down the Blue Sky” / “Assholes”
While a big chunk of the cassette scene rolls around in its own low fidelity filth, having a label like Galtta Media around feels important somehow – something smooth for the medium, music that gleans like such fine crystal in heavenly hi-fi, even if that means the legit scenesters Galtta represents are turning in the types of greasy lounge tunes we get all over Blue Jazz TV’s Assholes. This is the project of Adrian Knight and Max Zuckerman, a duo occasionally accompanied by the sultry saxophone stylings of the label’s linchpin David Lackner. Knight you may remember as the young songwriter responsible for last year’s outstanding Pictures of Lindsey, which wouldn’t be a bad place to start when thinking about the overall sound of this tape and its awesomely nerdy sex-strut. Here we’re premiering a massive (and totally gorgeous) double video from the release created by Gabrielle Muller and Alice Millar, which highlights a sophisticated ballad in “Power Down the Blue Sky,” and the insatiably sleazy title track by contrast, capturing the 80s-drenched shmaltz of Blue Jazz TV with vivid colors, soft focus, and an incredibly patient pacing bringing to mind the work of David Lynch.
Assholes is currently available for purchase from the label direct.
“Heartless” by Ari Swan travels that fine line of disinterest and enjoyment for me. Personally, a lot of the melodies and vocal types she draws upon and uses typically puts me out, but because she traverses so much ground, it’s impressive. And the style might be a few years after it’s time, there’s a dedication here that’s beyond just Ari Swan (and Co.) is trying to convey as something progressive. The story and lyrical content being that specific progression. That and the fact that I LOVE never expecting to hear this in a television commercial one day. At times, it made me think “maybe,” but the tight composure this group has on-stage and succinct measure to flow into and out of each other is perfect. Thus, it’s actually a bit of magic that “Heartless” is so impressive to me. Again, give it a shot. The song goes beyond the lyrics, entwines them within layers of musical movements, and takes you exactly to a place you’ve been denying for years.
• Ari Swan: http://ariswan.bandcamp.com
“Inside the Banker Compound”
“To all those who lead monotonous lives in the hope that they experience at second hand the delights and dangers of adventure.” -Agatha Christie
Let Gut Nose take u there.
The steam is coming through the manholes, the neon lights cut through to the damp pavement. The nights are starting to get hot again, this summer will be less of a chill-fest and more of a deliberate attack on the winter that just passed. It might have a tone of aggression, even violence, but it’ll be coming from a place of our own strength rather than fear.
One can’t also help but predict a summer of generalized drug usage the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the second summer of love. But drugs can only get you so far - to really set off the party you need Gut Nose’s “Inside the Banker Compound.” The very sound of late capitalist dystopia, set to an unrelenting hi-NRG thud and itself quite likely created in the haze of one bump too many of Bossa Nova coke, this track will undoubtedly contribute to the further erosion of the nasal cavities of impressionable New York City youths (in the best way possible).
Like everything, the fuckedness is in direct correlation to the funness. The trees being blown by the wind, the can rolling back and forth on the pavement, the sirens in the distance, the cawing birds, the screaming child and the plane overhead - all the sounds of the city, thrown together by random chance. But is it just random chance… or does the city soundscape have a life of its own?
• Gut Nose: http://gutnose.bandcamp.com