Archive for February, 2014
It’s all about this track ‘Kidz’. There’s a guitar string slightly out of tune and the whole thing only goes for 1 minute 46 seconds. The lyrical phrase ‘I don’t know exactly where I’m going, but I’m right here right now’ is sung whisper-thin, only once. It’s a cliche but it doesn’t matter because this is a musical photograph. A disposable photograph. It’s not trying to be perfect or enduring, it’s just a short-cut to an honest moment.
New Teen Angst 2. is the debut release by Slow Violence, out on Canberra label Dream Damage. According to old mates at Mess&Noise, Slow Violence is the recording project of Advait Thakur, a Canberran currently studying at Rhode Island School of Design. This incidental fact brings to my mind the only other person I know to have studied there, Talking Heads frontman/musical wizard David Byrne. In a way, the two artists have nothing to do with one another. But another way of looking at it would be that they have EVERYTHING to do with one another. Check it out: the weird thing is that when I first sat down with this EP, before researching Slow Violence enough to know the RISD thing, I was actually reminded of a section in David Byrne’s recent book ‘How Music Works’, where he uses the phrase ‘meta-music’ to describe modern electronic sample-based compositions that are filled with ‘musical quotations piled on top of one another’. It is in the ability of Thakur to combine musical quotations from different sources to create new meanings that this EP’s appeal lies. He tastefully weaves together influences from ambient music, R&B, lo-fi indie, and other genres that never existed except in the pious ramblings of some Pitchfork intern.
Like the guileless wandering vocal line about a minute into Crushin’, there are so many unique sonic flourishes in these tracks that easily could have been stretched out or repeated (and robbed of significance), but instead exist as glorious singular events. This ability to hold back is a real strength of Thakur’s production and creative vision. It’s a free download on bandcamp. Go ahead and enjoy the moment.
You wanna know why you can’t have nice things? You don’t value them. Me and your mother, we work really hard to put food on the table and give you the best of the best. How do you repay us? You leave your shit everywhere, you lost your watch, you literally made us spend $100 last week on superfoods that were basically not even food, let along super.
What, you want another example? Well, how about that Jonathan Boulet guy? You know the one, he produced a slew of the killer records that came out of Sydney about two years ago, played drums in Parades and off kilter hardcore fetishists Oberon, oh yeah he also made a couple of pretty coherent pop based solo records, the second of which had some growl to it. Then one day he played a stomper of a show at GoodGod, went straight to the airport and got on a plane to Berlin.
What we’re saying is, his departure is all your fault. You didn’t listen, you didn’t care and you never once told him how much he meant for you. This is why you can’t have nice things.
You know, old mate Boulet still believes in you though, he gave you all of his old stuff to play with- that’s 46 unreleased tracks! Sure it’s second hand and some of it’s ill fitting, but it’s still nice and the quality lasts through more than a few wears. You’ll grow into his undies (it’s not gross we washed em).
The two records are astonishingly titled Unreleased Part One & Unreleased Part Two and they are real explorations, tracking the range of his previous output. It gets pretty weird in there for a minute, but it’s laced with interesting jams. Suffice to say, if you like being inside someones mind like a brain worm then you’ll like worming your way around these tracks.
So go get, it’s free if you want it to be.
I’m privileged to engage with two institutions that I hold in generally high esteem, the forward thinking boutique label Feral Media and the longstanding bastion of innovative electronica that is Bon Chat Bon Rat. If you’re having trouble getting your head around this, try thinking of this union as the chemical symbol for water. Correct, it’s H²0. In this analogy Bon Chat are represented by two parts oxygen and Feral Media are obviously that remaining one part of hydrogen. No disrespect meant toward The Feral Folk by leaving them with fewer molecules but even they’d have to admit that Bon Chat have a longer name which warrants a more significant chemical situation. Each element is great on their own right? Of course. Everybody loves a bit of oxygen, you’d be a fool to go without! But what happens when they come together? You get water, and the human body is made up of over 10% water, while the earth surface is covered by nearly 15% percent so I guess you can see how great water can be if properly treated. Remember though, drinking saltwater is never a substitute for good, Brita filtered water. Keep hydrated, keep active.
The tune itself is released within the greater boundaries of a seasonal Feral EP (this one is Summer) that sees a a strong trio join BCBR. We’re talking Tim Fitz, The Townhouses and Friendships all delivering brand new tunes. The Bon Chat song itself had a looping synth sound that manages to seem almost organic enough to be a pan flute or something similarly ‘world’ and there’s a pace to it that’s dramatized by some grandiose lyricism courtesy of INXS. Sorry, I probably should have mentioned this earlier, this is an INXS cover. It’s dark, it’s fearful, it’s great and it’s further padded by course synth coming in and out of that piping initial synth. Lots of synth, obviously. It’s been too long between drinks for BCBR so if they could just move things a long a little that would be lovely. More songs please gentlemen. Meanwhile, if you haven’t looked into the Feral Media back catalogue, let this be the day.
If you think I’m going to write a post that mentions both Feral and Rat and not deploy this image then you are absolutely and fundamentally kidding yourself. Get your Life in check.
In 1916, the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky described dance music of the day as ‘the musical ideal…music that wishes to express nothing’. This is exactly what I love about B Deep’s album Island Hopping Through The Stratosphere. The creativity, emotions and production skills of B Deep have been focused into creating tunes with one primary goal: to get you grooving. Don’t look for anything deeper. Like jazz in 1916, this music was not intended to be enjoyed intellectually from the couch and ESPECIALLY not on laptop speakers. I cannot stress this enough. Laptops weren’t even invented in 1916.
The album starts with ‘Want To Bail’, and let’s all just admit openly that at certain times in life [afternoon engagement parties] we have related heavily to the concepts explored in this track. The calculated stumbling of soulful piano chords against a beat that the blogosphere in its current word-vacuum could only describe as ‘off-kilter’ brings to mind the whole J-Dilla thing, as well as early 60′s soul-infused Kanye West samples.
Most of the tracks are based on ultra-short loops and this gives them a hypnotic quality. Portions of the album could arguably be classified as ‘chill music’ but the intersection between ‘dance’ and ‘chill’ is a confusing place, often only a question of tempo and marketing. ‘Beyond Say’ is a perfect example of this. Plug in the subwoofer, and it is a bass-heaving groove explosion; decrease the volume a few dBs and cut out the low end and it becomes nothing more than a light sonic garnish.
Which I guess brings us to the ironic truth of the whole ‘instrumental beats’ scene; that it has created some of the most interesting dance music of recent years but at times tracks are so smoothly produced and non-offensive that they wouldn’t be out of place backing the Foxtel Menu. Foxtel is still a thing right?
Spontaneous post provoked by real excitement here. I’ve got raging tune-wood for this pair that I heard today via Who The Hell, Mecca of all mp3s Australian and arbiter of tastes amazing. If you’ve read through all previous syntax and you’re still here then truly you’ve earned this. I reward you with a treat and that treat is Edward Francis.
I’m all goosed up on both these jams and I’m almost anxious in my haste to listen to both of them, repeatedly, constantly, so I can come to terms with them. They truly are both wonderful. Horse Rock Love Song because it manages to combine spaghetti western guitar with drawn out sax licks in a combination that shouldn’t work but good gravy, it does. Of course I’m spending each five minute listening trying to determine whether the spaghetti western reference was supplanted in my mind by virtue of the songs title but we’re done, we’re past that, the next song has begun. The tempo is up, the sound bed expanded (though that sax is still really right among things) and we’re hearing piano runs and… a marimba? Do my ears deceive me? The lady vox is Phia who has made waves in her own right the past year round. I’ve dug a little deeper, IT’S A KALIMBA, PEOPLE. Now we know… Now we know.