Unsung Canadian dub/techno experimentalist Deadbeat a.k.a. Scott Monteith has just started a crowdfunding campaign to reissue three of his most lauded albums on vinyl. Last month he announced an Indiegogo campaign to put out a box set including remastered versions of his long-out-of-print LPs Wild Life Documentaries (2002), Something Borrowed, Something Blue (2004), and New World Observer (2005). Monteith is aiming for the reissues to arrive in time for the 10th-anniversary celebration of his third album with ~scape, and you can help him raise the necessary funds until August 26. He has decided to compile these three albums as the box set since they’re all out of print, were released through ~scape, and constitute a trilogy of sorts, having been recorded during Monteith’s fertile Montreal residence (he’s currently based in Berlin).
Monteith’s usual collaborator Stefan Betke will remaster the albums, which will be presented as a trio of double LPs, pressed on vinyl and including a handful of previously-CD-only tracks. Although the campaign is pretty much a glorified pre-sale, as is customary for these affairs, there are some sweet rewards in store if you decide to contribute. So, if you’re generous enough, Deadbeat may come to your own house, hand-deliver the box set, and even play a private gig. The three albums are streaming at Deadbeat’s SoundCloud page (embedded below), in case you haven’t heard them before or want to carefully consider the decision.
Aside from bringing some very interesting albums back to the spotlight, this is Monteith’s chance to claim his rightful place in electronic music’s recent history. These three albums are worthy experiments on melding techno, dub, and postmodern ambient music. It’s true that Deadbeat’s always had one foot firmly planted on Detroit techno classicism. But just when his music seems ready to soar into deep-techno realms, the Canadian reins it back in, making that struggle the vibrant center of most of these three albums’ tracks. Deadbeat’s also quite a bit more explicitly linked to traditional dub music than the dub-influenced post-grime-boom UK DJs, who often deny trying to make dub music “on purpose,” despite the ample evidence thereof; so expect to hear plenty of spectral echoes and deep-vacuum drops here. Monteith rounds everything out with an elegant minimalism that was quite in fashion back in the early-to-mid-2000s, but has fortunately aged quite well.
The crowdfunding campaign is open now, until August 26. The exact date for the box set’s release is, naturally, yet to come. You can chip in here.
Noel Muir should be ashamed of himself. The 54-year-old general contractor from Uniondale, New York recently swindled the legendary jazz pianist Cecil Taylor out of nearly $500,000 in prize money, according to a Reuters report on Tuesday.
Japan’s Inamori Foundation awarded Taylor the Kyoto Prize last year and invited him to Japan to collect the prize and attend an award ceremony. The Kyoto Prize honors “those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind.”
Working on an apartment next door to Taylor’s Brooklyn home, Muir befriended the pianist. By the time of the award ceremony, the two were close enough that Taylor had Muir assist him with travel preparations and accompany him to Japan. Taylor even went as far as allowing Muir to arrange the wiring of the prize money.
Here came the betrayal. Muir had bankers send the $492,722.55 to his own account, claiming it to be the account for The Cecil Taylor Foundation. This was on November 20. By the time investigators got on the case, the account was empty. Muir could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Oh me oh my.
Here you can watch Taylor’s rather mesmerizing statement as Kyoto Prize Laureate. And below you can watch the free jazz frontiersman bang out sublime sound with his fingertips circa 1981.
Electro-techno musician Surgeon a.k.a. Anthony Child is putting some of his earlier material under the knife. The somewhat-invasive procedure requires re-cutting and remastering recordings with the help of Dubplates & Mastering engineer Christoph Grote-Beverborg, but don’t worry — both these guys are pros with steady hands. The prognosis is pretty good!
Child discovered six volumes worth of early material while rummaging through some old digital audio tapes.
“I was shocked to find how clear and dynamic many of my early tracks sounded,” he wrote on his blog.
The tracks were originally recorded by “people who had no understanding of electronic music,” Child said, including an engineer who was so “disgusted” by Surgeon’s music that he had to leave the room until the cut was finished.
The six volumes include one showcasing rare tracks from 1994 and 1995, and another full of unreleased tracks from 1995 and 1996. Pet 2000, the Surgeon and Dynamic Tensions EPs, and Communications will also be released on the new imprint SRX. Child commissioned New York designers Kein Meier and Yoonjai Choi, from the Common Name firm, to provide artwork for the sleeves. (Surgeon also has a brand-new single out on Token this month.)
If all goes as planned, the series will be released on September 15. Here’s hoping the operation is successful.
• Surgeon: http://www.dj-surgeon.com
So here’s something pretty damn cool:
Aaron Taylor Kuffner is a composer and sculptor who reached notability through his Gamelatron Project, which is basically a huge, unmanned, MIDI-operated orchestra of Balinese and Javanese instruments that’s performed at a wide range of venues across the world from 2008 to present.
Before the Gamelatron Project, however, Kuffner made music under the name Zemi17. Zemi is Japanese for cicada and 17 references the 17-year lifespan of an average cicada in the United States. So yes. Gamelatron put Zemi17 on the back-burner, but NYC label The Bunker, after discovering a recording of a 2012 live set, requested Kuffner put out a 12-inch under the name.
And so he will. Zemi17’s techno- and gamelan-fusing Impressions EP will drop on vinyl and digital formats on September 1. And hey, suck on this: each 12-inch is infused with insects, birds, motors, and gongs. Oh no that’s not what I mean!! I mean each track is a collage of those sounds!! That’s okay, it was a miscommunication!!!
There are clips of the EP’s two tracks below, both of which extend beyond 10 minutes in full. There’s also a tracklist, just to be formal. And there’s a pre-order link here, just to be nice.
Impressions EP tracklist:
Cowabunga! Don’t have a COW, man! I know what you’re thinking, and YEP, it’s been 20 years since Portishead’s seminal 1994 album Dummy hit the scene and magically made it “okay” overnight for people to say the compound word “trip-hop” and signify something legitimate thereby (other than perhaps their own heretofore-unique brand of douchebaggery).
Happily though, that 20-year-mark means two awesome things. First, the band is reissuing the album “on 180-gram, heavyweight vinyl in a gatefold sleeve,” the first 1,000 copies of which will be pressed to a special, limited-edition blue vinyl. Boom. No additional filler material; no outtakes or demos or shitty “remember that show, brah?!” live versions — just the fucking songs on the original record in the original order. You can pre-order it from the band starting tomorrow, August 13.
And second, it means that the follow-up to 2008’s pretty-alright Third fucking must be — as the British trip-hop set would say — comin’ ‘round the mountain, right? I mean, that’s just how publicity works. And Portishead are nothing if not slaves to the traditional industry hype cycles; am I right, fellow trip-hoppers?
• Portishead: http://www.portishead.co.uk
Erik Skodvin’s got enough on his plate. In addition to progressing his solo Svarte Greiner project, he also runs Miasmah, the Norwegian, commonly dark ambient label that excels at creating additional excuses for your nighttime disinterest in artificial lighting. Wading in the depths so persistently requires a special kind of fortitude, which is why, perhaps, he and longtime friend/musician Otto Totland haven’t given a tremendous amount of attention to their Deaf Center project over the years. Two albums since 2005. I take the liberty of speaking for everyone when I say, isn’t it about time that we enjoy another entree of flies, freshly-baked?
Deaf Center and Berlin-based “boutique” label Sonic Pieces are doing us a larval solid, as the former have just released Recount, a 27-minute inauguration of the latter’s Pattern series. This mini-album, of sorts, was initially recorded in the years before and after the release of Owl Splinters, so you know they were in the right frame of mind. As Sonic Pieces puts it: “Recount is a bridge between full albums, where time and familiarity are mesmerizingly suspended.” Ominous beauty courtesy of impossibly airy strings tends to have that effect. Just put this on repeat until the next LP, and you won’t even have to wait:
01. Follow Still
• Deaf Center: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deaf-Center/167713219947652
• Sonic Pieces: http://www.sonicpieces.com
Back in 2011, the globettroting French experimentalist High Wolf released a pseudo-hip-hop experiment under the name of Black Zone Myth Chant (a.k.a. Black Zone M.C.), the infamous but great Straight Cassette mixtape. In it he downplayed the exotic/spiritual facets of his High Wolf work and zoned into hip-hop, an interest not made explicit in any of his music up to that point. The mixtape featured some fat-but-trippy beats paired with the closest thing to anti-flow you’re likely to ever hear: vocal mumbling distorted to molasses. The mixtape was originally released digitally and on cassette by Winged Sun, High Wolf’s own imprint. Now it’s coming out on vinyl, thanks to Laitdbac Records, who will reissue the album on a limited-edition 12-inch format.
However, despite its dominating cavernous babbling, Black Zone Myth Chant is not just an exploration of heavily sedated flow, but actually an electronic-manipulation-of-the-human-voice project close to Steve Reich’s “Come Out” piece, Meredith Monk, or Julianna Barwick gone gangsta. The album was sadly obscured in its day by the almost simultaneous release of Death Grips’ debut mixtape and Shabazz Palaces’ Black Up, both adventurous detours for hip-hop in their own right. It didn’t help that most people thought this was a humorous aside, a footnote in High Wolf’s body of work — a hypothesis possible to sustain on the inclination for languorous beats and 800%-slower samples, displayed by a branch of post-vaporwave electronic music. But trust us, this is the kind of obscure record that’s certain to fill revisionist “Best Albums of the 2010s” lists in decades to come. I can almost see the blurb: “The missing link between DJ Screw and Dean Blunt.” So here’s your chance to stay ahead of the curve. Some of the mixtape’s highlights are the deliriously catchy synthwork in “Triangle COP” and the Berlin-school trance-pummeling of “My Glory Will Be to Sing Eternal Law.”
The Black Zone Myth Chant reissue will include three “Bonus Beats”; three new tracks that are more rhythmic than the original material — and thus recall High Wolf’s usual neo-kosmische tribalism — but just as good. You can give the album a preview listen over at the Chocolate Grinder. The album is out digitally right now, and will be available on vinyl in September 25.
Black Zone Myth Chant tracklisting:
01. White Voice
02. Hit By an Invisible Arrow
03. Triangle COP
04. My Glory Will Be to Sing Eternal Law
05. Centre of the Universe
06. Sleeping with TV On
07. Bonus Beat 1
08. Bonus Beat 2
09. Bonus Beat 3
Trance Farmers exhales Dixie Crystals into the world on September 2 via Leaving and Stones Throw Records
If Flying Lotus is the hazy, smoke-filled chamber of the bong that is skewed L.A. beatsmithery, then it’s time to sip on the bong water that is Trance Farmers, whose debut record Dixie Crystals is set to be released on Leaving Records in physical form and Stones Throw in the digital ether on September 2.
Mixing the haziest of oddball samples with his smokey, soulful vocals, Dayve Samek’s Trance Farmers project has been a labor of love recorded over several years (i.e. the usual time it takes to record an album in weed-smoking years) around Los Angeles and combines to create a record that is not suitable to listen to while operating heavy machinery.
Take a sip of the lo-fi, dirty brown goodness via the sample track “Friends” below:
Dixie Crystals tracklist:
01. Greasy Rider
02. Purple Hay
03. Lone Star
05. Betty Bop
06. Gas Can
07. White Out
09. Dream Train
10. When the Right Time Comes
Afropunk Fest expands 2014 line-up: Bad Brains, Sharon Jones, and DJ Rashad tribute featuring RP Boo
The 2014 Afropunk Festival, which takes place August 23-24 at Commodore Park in Brooklyn, already sounded amazing. D’Angelo headlining a four-stage festival featuring the likes of Shabazz Palaces and clipping.? For free? Shut the hell up!
Lo and behold, it looks like the great just got greater. Afropunk has added a bevy of bomb talent to their 2014 line-up, including Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Bad Brains (featuring special guest vocalists), King Britt, and Cro-Mags. Possibly the biggest draw for a fair amount of TMT-ers, however, is a DJ Rashad tribute show featuring members of the Teklife crew and the inimitable footwork pioneer RP Boo.
There are a host of others on the agenda for this year; head over to the Afropunk site to scope out the whole list.
• Afropunk Fest: http://www.afropunkfest.com
Picture a 90s alt-pop revival. Then ask yourself why?
Picture two unfathomably good-looking people, a boy and a girl, like a trimmed-down ABBA, and tell yourself they are called Ex Cops. Don’t ask yourself why this time, but let me assure you that neither person was ever part of a police force, as far as I can tell.
Picture Ex Cops wondering what to do after their first album. Now picture them turning to indie oracle Billy Corgan for advice. Imagine that he tells them to go and write unabashed pop songs that he would have done himself back in the 90s if he had the cheekbones that Ex Cops do.
Picture Justin Raisen (producer for Sky Ferreira and Charli XCX) sitting in a studio and hitting record while Ex Cops play. Imagine the neon shimmers and walls of guitars. Sometimes Ariel Pink will wander into the studio; do not be alarmed, he’s a part of this now too.
Now hit play on the widget below and close your eyes. You will hear “Black Soap,” the lead single from Ex Cops’ forthcoming album Daggers. Picture your inhibitions floating away like a balloon in a clear blue sky.
Finally, picture yourself in the not-too-distant future. It is October 28, 2014 and Downtown Records has just released Daggers by Ex Cops. How do you feel about this not-too-distant future?
Are you now ready for a 90s alt-pop revival? If not, return to the top of this page and repeat the steps.
01. Black Soap
02. White Noise
05. Pretty Shitty
06. Burnt Out Love
07. Modern World
08. Wanna Be (feat. L.P.)
09. Tragically Alright (feat. Ariel Pink)
11. Weird with You