Darkstar announce third album Foam Island, stream lead single

Sitting and splashing in the tub, cupping your hands and forming little islets of jasmine-scented bubbles with the foamy water — don’t you remember the days? Darkstar, the British duo of Aiden Whalley and James Young, certainly do, and no doubt they’ve been reminiscing on their bubble bath experiences a hell of a lot lately, perhaps even indulging on occasion. Foam Island, their third album following 2013’s News From Nowhere and 2010’s North, will float your way October 2 via Warp. You can expect it to be an R&B-referencing, groove-ridden, slightly warped (how ‘bout it?) affair on the surface, with themes of “political isolation, social disillusionment and personal ambition” running below. It should also be a friendly reminder to all that the bathtub is a more than appropriate place for existential thought.

In announcing the record, Darkstar have released a stream of album cut “Pin Secure” on their SoundCloud page. Its sound fits very well with some of the tracks on their recent Kirklees Arcadia mixtape, with Young’s vocals surfing a dry yet intensely catchy electronic groove. They also offered up a couple pre-order options for the record. We’ve got Bleep, iTunes, and Amazon. The record will be released digitally, on vinyl, and on CD.

Darkstar’s sound has evolved a lot since their early Hyperdub days, moving through zones of uncanny 2-step and surreal, beatific chant, to mention to poles of the spectrum. What’s best is they always seem to keep some aspect of their myriad sounds alive moving forward. Here’s to hoping Foam Island is their bubbliest synthesis to date.

Check the stream for “Pin Secure” below, as well as Foam Island’s tracklist. And get out the tub before ya prune, boy!

Foam Island tracklist:

01. Basic Things
02. Inherent in the Fibre
03. Stoke the Fire
04. Cuts
05. Go Natural
06. A Different Kind of Struggle
07. Pin Secure
08. Through the Motions
09. Tilly’s Theme
10. Foam Island
11. Javan’s Call
12. Days Burn Blue

• Darkstar: http://www.darkstar.ws
• Warp: http://warp.net

NNA Tapes announces new cassettes from Olivia Block and Patrick Higgins

Can we not act like there isn’t a sizable demographic across the globe that just owns tape players, doesn’t have reliable computer access, and has otherwise been regularly dehydrating at the relative lack of experimental music being released via this medium? To be sure, cassettes aren’t experiencing the same enthusiastic, if somewhat overblown, revival that vinyl is, but luckily the Burlington, VT-based NNA Tapes (run by Matt Mayer and Toby Aronson) have been doing their part to oblige the demand, all the while satisfying our not-unimportant desire for visually distinct album art. They’re sponsoring the release of two cassettes of note next week, on July 28, and we at TMT can hardly contain our human supply reels.

The first — as in the order in which I’ve decided to describe them — is Aberration of Light by electroacoustic musician Olivia Block. Her ventures certainly aren’t limited to formal releases (despite the almost literal vacuum in which 2013’s Karren left a person), and so the cassette is a “reworking” of a 2011 four-speaker collaboration with two film artists. The 31-minute lone track is said to be a sonic roller coaster riding along white noise rails, with masochist kids possibly screaming along the way. That’s my own interpretation, anyway.

Then there’s Social Death Mixtape from composer and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Higgins (of ZS fame). The use of the word “mixtape” isn’t a misnomer; as it turns out, because the release is essentially a “sampling” of personal compositions dating back to 2009. Higgins uses piano, harpsichord, synthesizer, guitar, sampler, and violin at various points over the tape’s duration, and the whole thing really does sound like a dinner with multiple courses: sparse, separated, and unique.

Higgins is doing a tape release show on August 14 at Elvis Guesthouse in Manhattan, alongside Miho Hatori and Greg Fox, with Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw as a special guest DJ. Check below for our premiere of “Pattern Select,” a track off Social Death Mixtape.

Both releases will also be available digitally, for you “modern” people.

• Olivia Block: http://www.oliviablock.net
• Patrick Higgins: http://www.patrickhigginsmusic.com
• NNA Tapes: http://nnatapes.com

RIP: Don Joyce of Negativland

From Negativland:

Words cannot do justice to the loss of Donald S. Joyce, Crosley Bendix, C. Eliot Friday, Omer Edge, Izzy Isn’t, Bud Choke, Leland Googleburger, Wang Tool and Dr. Oslo Norway, who all died yesterday in Oakland, CA of heart failure at age 71. Perhaps a loud, mournful squawk from Don’s “Booper” feedback oscillator would better sum up the feelings of Negativland, his comrades and partners in art for 34 years, who are devastated. It was Don who coined the term “culture jamming”, and who devoted his life to the art of sound collage and his weekly live radio program, “Over the Edge”, on KPFA FM in Berkeley, where it has continuously lived on the dial on Thursday nights at midnight since 1981, without interruption.

• Negativland: http://www.negativland.com

Shocking Pinks announces re-release of debut LP, world tour, relationship with half of the world’s labels

For a long time, we lived in Shocking Pinks famine. Nick Harte’s dance/electronic/bedroom singer-songwriter project put out their self-titled Shocking Pinks album in 2007, then went silent for seven years. They re-emerged last year with Guilt Mirrors, an album lengthy enough to make up for all those years of inactivity. And, now, the Shocking Pinks feast continues with a reissue of debut album Dance The Dance Electric, out October 5.

Evidently, Harte spent his years of inactivity making friends with every label in the world. Because, golly, this Dance The Dance Electric reissue is coming out through a lot of them. We’ve got E/D/I/L/S in the UK, Spiral Jetta in France, Geertruida in the Netherlands, and, finally, A Low Hum in every single other place this record could possibly be available. Details forthcoming about which labels will be putting out the record in the regions of the bottom of the ocean and the moon.

No matter what region you’re in and who’s putting it out, the record will be available on vinyl for the very first time. Similarly untouched by regional differences will be the nine unreleased tracks included on the digital version, all taken from the original sessions. Listen to previously-released track “Nostalgia” below, as shared by Brooklyn Vegan.

As further means to chase those lost years, Shocking Pinks will be doing three whole months of touring in support of this reissue. Those dates start in September and begin at Brisbane’s BigSound Festival. By the time they end in November, Harte will have found himself in China, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, some place called the United States, Switzerland, and more. He’ll pretty much find himself everywhere a label is reissuing Dance The Dance Electric.

Shocking Pinks dates:

09.08.15 - Brisbane, Australia - BigSound Festival
09.18.15 - Beijing, China - School
09.20.15 - Shanghai, China - TBA
09.22.15 - Guangzhou, China - Loft345
09.24.15 - Paris, France - ESpace B
09.25.15 - Clermont Ferrand, France - Le Baraka
09.29.15 - Dijon, France - TBA
10.01.15 - Brest, France - Salle Du Clous
10.02.15 - Rennes, France - Le Marquis De Sade
10.07.15 - London, UK - Sebright Arms
10.09.15 - Newcastle, UK - TBA
10.10.15 - Liverpool, UK - Macguires Pizza Bar
10.11.15 - Regis, UK - Rockaway Beach Festival
10.15.15 - Tilborg, Netherlands - Hall of Fame
10.16.15 - Hamburg, Germany - Frau Hedi
10.17.15 - Munster, Germany - Gleis 22
10.20.15 - Ghent, Belgium - Cafe Video
10.21.15 - Wuppertal, Germany - Waldmeister E.V.
10.24.15 - Winterthur, Switzerland - Kraftfeld
10.30.15 - New York, NHY - Baby’s All Right
10.31.15 - New Brunswick, NJ - The Banana Stand
11.01.15 - Philadelphia, PA - TBA
11.03.15 - Harrisburg, PA - The Makespace
11.05.15 - Morgantown, WV - Crash Symbols Presents
11.06.15 - Columbus, OH - The House with No Name
11.07.15 - Ann Arbor, MI - Far House
11.08.15 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
11.09.15 - Jamestown, NY - Labyrinth
11.10.15 - Seattle, WA - The Vera Project
11.11.15 - Salem, OR - Possum House
11.12.15 - Arcata, CA - The Farmhouse
11.13.15 - San Francisco, CA - Sylvan Annex Presents
11.14.15 - Los Angeles, CA - The Smell
11.15.15 - Bishop, CA - TBA
11.19.15 - Ballarat, Australia - The Eastern
11.20.15 - Melbourne, Australia - The Curtin
11.21.15 - Sydney, Australia - Octopus Pi Presents
11.27.15 - Christchurch, New Zealand - Darkroom
11.28.15 - Dunedin, New Zealand - Chicks Hotel

• Shocking Pinks: https://shockingpinks.bandcamp.com
• E/D/I/L/S: http://edilsrecords.tumblr.com
• Spiral Jetta: https://spiraljettarecordings.bandcamp.com
• Geertruida: http://www.geertruida.net
• A Low Hum: http://www.alowhum.com

Swans’ next album to be the last for current iteration, future uncertain


Having just completed the last leg of a 14-month tour supporting their epic To Be Kind, Swans can be certain about one thing: no more Burger King on the road! What’s not certain, however, is where Swans will go from here. Michael Gira took to Facebook to announce that the next Swans album and supporting tour will be the final for the group’s current iteration. “Not really sure what the next step will be after that, but that’s perhaps a good thing,” writes Gira.

Swans will soon be releasing a live album called The Gate in order to fund the next release, which Gira describes as “bound to be an insatiable beast.” More details as they arrive.

• Swans: http://younggodrecords.com/pages/swans

Blanck Mass announce US tour dates, new remix

At last, North America! The day you’ve all been waiting for: the announcement of tour dates for Benjamin John Power of Fuck Buttons’ other project, Blanck Mass is upon us! (Seriously, I’ve been waiting for this.) Take a deep breath… because… he’s probably not getting anywhere near your town! Unless you’re one of those blessed individuals who lives somewhere in the eastern part of this continent, where it’s cold in the winter and living history museums abound. What a country! (You, too, Canada. I know you’ve got history majors dressed up as 18th-century furriers up there, too.)

Where can you catch Blanck Mass? Well, at Basilica Soundscape, which maybe someone could fly me out for. (Just consider it.) Or at Liverpool Psychfest, which has one of the swoon-worthiest lineups currently out there. Plus, say, Boston, Philly, DC, Toronto — places like that. But if a Blanck Mass date is nowhere in your geographical future, fear not. There’s a new remix out there for you, and it’s spessssshial because Scottish duo Dalhous (Blackest Ever Black) fixed it up nice for you. You can hear “Dead Format (Dalhous remix),” the original of which comes off this year’s Dumb Flesh, right here:

07.24.15 - Sheffield, UK - Tramlines Festival
08.08.15 - London, UK - Visions Festival
08.21.15 - Bristol, UK - ArcTanGent Festival
08.28.15 - Turin, IT - Docks Dora, Todays Festival
08.29.15 - Tornhill, UK - Electric Fields
09.04.15 - Boston, MA - Great Scott
09.05.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
09.06.15 - Washington, DC - DC9
09.08.15 - Montreal, QC - Newspeak
09.09.15 - Toronto, ON - Drake
09.11.15 - Hudson, NY - Basilica Hudson (Basilica Soundscape)
09.12.15 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby’s All Right
09.16.15 - Paris, FR - La Chaufferie (la Machine du Moulin Rouge)
09.17.15 - Nantes, FR - Scopitone, Pole Etudiant
09.18.15 - Angers, FR - Levitation Fest
09.25.15 - Liverpool, UK - Liverpool Psych Fest
10.03.15 - Essen, DE - Denovali Festival
10.09.15 - Bologna, IT - RoBOt Festival
11.06.15 - Barcelona, ES - Mira Festival

• Blanck Mass: https://blanckmass.bandcamp.com
• Sacred Bones: http://www.sacredbonesrecords.com

Steve Hauschildt succumbs to the Sandman’s strict orders, announces new album Where All Is Fled

There’s plenty of beauty in the natural world. Alternatively, sometimes it’s a good idea to spend a weekend in the woods looking for psychoactive toads to caress with your tongue, as the resulting hallucinations are at least 50% likely to give you a new perspective on things. And even though Steve Hauschildt probably didn’t involve toads in the creative process for his new album Where All Is Fled, out September 25 on Kranky, that doesn’t mean that inspiration was limited to sober activities like laying in the grass and guessing which cloud resembles the abnormal shape of Nicki Minaj’s artificial posterior. Instead, normally enlightening things like “surrealist landscape paintings,” “early alchemical emblems,” and dreams were the expressed heavy inspirations. To what end, you might ask?

The track below should make things obvious enough, but in addition to the novel orchestral incorporation, the album as a whole is reportedly a subtle demonstration of abstraction. Crowd sounds, animal noises, and “re-sampled text-to-speech synthesis” can be found by the careful listener, and the obvious synth sounds that characterized Hauschildt’s time as a member of Emeralds, as well as much of his previous solo work, seem to have diminished. I wouldn’t pour one out just yet though.

Here’s the very purdeh title track:

Where All Is Fled tracklisting:

01. Eyelids Gently Dreaming
02. Arpeggiare
03. A Reflecting Pool
04. Anesthesia
05. Vicinities
06. Edgewater Prelude
07. In Spite of Time’s Disguise
08. Where All is Fled
09. The World is Too Much With Us
10. Aequus
11. Caduceus
12. Sundialed
13. Lifelike
14. Centrifuge

• Steve Hauschildt: http://elasticartists.net/artist/steve-hauschildt
• Kranky: http://www.kranky.net

FatCat relaunches post-classical imprint 130701 with a new album by Dmitry Evgrafov

130701, the alternative “post-classical,” acoustic sub label of FatCat Records, was releasing unique, ambitious, uncategorizable albums before it became a cottage enterprise, featuring the likes of Max Richter’s The Blue Notebooks, Hauschka’s Ferndorf, and Set Fire To Flames’ Sings Reign Rebuilder across an 11-year span. The label ceased operating in 2012, its seemingly final release a white label/CD-R compilation of live recordings and new works from Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka, and Jóhann Jóhannsson, three of its longest-serving artists.

Those of you on the lookout for academic-leaning, experimental music with a commitment to beauty should be made aware of the label’s relaunch ahead of its 15th anniversary next year.

Moscow-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Dmitry Evgrafov is the first of many new signings to the label. His forthcoming album, Collage, is scheduled for an October 13 release and will be the first new 130701 release in three years. You can listen to a premiere of the track “Fracture,” taken from the album, below.

Collage also represents a new phase for its composer. A self-taught pianist and improviser who played with Nils Frahm while still in his teens, Evgrafov put out a couple albums on his Bandcamp page after failing to find any real label support. His work from this period brings to mind the wistful, piano-led imagism of Frahm, Goldmund, and Broderick. By contrast, Collage sounds like Max Richter scoring Fantasia — it’s that much richer than his earlier stuff, with greater textural variation, bolder dynamics, and an emotional ambiguity that thrives when the performing restrictions are off and the VST plugins are on.

130701 will follow that up in November with an album from London-based French composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch. According to a spokesperson for the label, “the 15th anniversary celebrations planned for 2016 will be marked by further new signings/releases, reissues and live activity involving many of the labels historical roster.”

• Dmitry Evgrafov: https://dmitry-evgrafov.bandcamp.com
• FatCat: http://www.fat-cat.co.uk

Arcade Fire announce The Reflektor Tapes film, brazenly angle for an EGOT

As they accepted their award for Album of the Year on Grammy night 2011, an idea flashed into Arcade Fire’s collective head: they could be EGOT winners. Never mind that those things go to individual people, not generally entire bands; they’re the damn Arcade Fire! They’ll bend the tenets of award-giving, such is their passion. With Grammy in hand, they began scheming: For the Tony, they’d just write a musical, an idea so obvious the universe might as well have willed it into existence. Emmy, they’d surely get one for “Best Fallon Performance” eventually. Is that not a category yet? It will be. And the Oscar, just go and score a Spike Jonze movie.

Well, that didn’t work out as planned, the Academy’s voters opting for the score to astro-Bullock. So Arcade Fire have made their own movie, something that’s sure to win them an Oscar somehow. On September 24, The Reflektor Tapes will hit theaters for a limited run. The film tracks the process of their most recent album, Reflektor, following the band as they begin conceiving the album in Jamaica, record in Montreal, play an impromptu show in a Haitian hotel at the beginning of Carnival, and play arena shows in Los Angeles and London. Watch a short first-look trailer here:

Fueling the band’s award-magnet is director Kahlil Joseph, who has worked with Kendrick Lamar and FKA twigs, and has won the Grand Jury Prize for Short Film at Sundance 2012 for his Until The Quiet Comes film with Flying Lotus. Producing the film are Pulse Films (the studio responsible for Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days On Earth and LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up And Play The Hits) and artist co-operative What Matters Most, of whom Joseph is a member. In conjunction with the film’s announcement, the group has released a Joseph-directed video for Reflektor track “Porno,” which features footage from the film.

Cinema listings and tickets will be available here in the near future. To sweeten the deal, the film contains an unreleased track from the album’s sessions, along with 20 minutes of unseen footage for the cinema audience. With all that in place, all Arcade Fire must do is wait for the awards to roll in, so they may be blessed by EGOT’s radiance.

• Arcade Fire: http://arcadefire.com/site
• Pulse Films: http://www.pulsefilms.com
• What Matters Most: http://the-most.com

RIP: Kyoko, co-founder of OOIOO

From Yoshimi P-We’s Instagram (via Exclaim!):

This is Yoshimio.

I regret to inform you that my friend, Kyoko has passed away morning on July 19th.

Kyoko came from same hometown as I am . We started OOIOO together. She was the first guitar player of OOIOO. She left the band to concentrate to cure her illness but she came to help selling merchandise sometimes to our shows. She started the band with Itoken who was also her longtime partner.

Kyoko was 183cm tall. She was on her own pace , optimistic and natural blur. I loved her very much. I do not like to believe she is no longer with us anymore. I love to see her again.

• OOIOO: http://ooioo.jp