Archive for February, 2016
There’s a brand new Strain Of Origin coming this week. Now I’d like to think there are two appropriate responses to that fact. The first light interest, unaware of what you’re in for and the second is extreme excitement, because if you do know of the Strain Of Origin series then you’ll know that they’re some of the best curated and executed releases to come from independent Australian music world each year. They pair up two artists let’s say, for arguments sake, Wabz and Tim Shiel) and have the second artist (Tim) remix the a song by the first artist (Wabz). That’s just a hypothetical though, it can be literally any two artists.
In any case, we’re here with the first track from this years Strain Of Origin which sees Tim Shiel remixing Wabz. The original track is lifted from Wabz 2015 album Argyle and is a meditative song wrapped around two key elements. A pair of worrisom, reverberating guitar notes and a vocal sample that wouldn’t read out of place on the nihilst memes facebook page. “There is no forever. We all die someday”
The beat slides in and out and the only constant is the guitar and the sample. It’s not exactly melancholy or dark so much as a introspective, giving you space to dwell on the song’s emptier moments as the song bids you dwell on life’s emptier moments. Not empty of positivity, but empty of all things.
The edit you’ll find on Strain Of Origin V adds to the quiet atmospherics of the original with a perfectly joggable 130bmp and a rythm that’ll keep your knees in sustained motion. There’s still no fear but there’s more determination to this collaborative version and a sense of purpose that isn’t present in the questioning original. It dwells within the sphere of energetic, pulsing tracks that grow to a a steady throb with artists like Rival Consoles or Jon Hopkins and Tim will either agree with me or hate me saying that so here’s my hand on show. There’s one funny little moment in the track that has captivated me everytime I’ve listened to it and I know it feels like a silly micro-analysis but the ten seconds from 2:20 – 2:30 where the original “we all go one way” echos out before “we all die ***someday***” hits in reply but in this instance the someday has been perfectly rendered so as to sonically represent the systematic inevitability of death. Come on Tim, please try to keep it light, my kids read this. If you’re going to keep reminding them of their own mortality then I’m going to have to stop writing about your music.
Strain Of Origin V also features combination recordings from artists such as HTMLflowers, Andrew Tuttle, Dylan Michél and Setec. It’s out through Sydney’s Feral Media now and yours via this link.
I like to imagine, as those synthy sounding notes peel out through the track, that it’s actually the wailing voice of Ned Beckley filtered and filtered again until it becomes a piercing whine. It’s one of the many aspects of this track that add more levity to the production than much of his past record. Sure the weight is still there in the form of that brass and thumping bass (who is Atlas without his globe and would Shaq be Shaq without size 22 Reeboks?) but there are groovier and more playful elements that see him edging onto new turf. The track rolls rather than thunders onward, a smooth movement punctuated by rising synths, slicker bass kicks and a 50s vocal sample. He’s a true sound engineer and meticulous in his dedication to individual sonic crumbs which is likely why he’s found his composition work in such high demand. I think we’re past the point at which I can be trusted to objectively discuss Lower Spectrum records anymore and have entered a period more reasonably referred to as the fanning out stage. If the recording below was actually dead silence I’d be none the wiser, having employed a level of cognitive override sufficient to hear only what I expect from anything with Lower Spectrum’s stamp on it: excellence.
He’s touring nationally at the end of April and I can affirm without hesitation that you’d be a fool to miss it. I’ll except only two excuses for absence and those are incarceration and death so be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice or be present.
Look. I don’t pull rank often but it’s time you paid a modicum of respect to one of the Godfathers of Australian Music. No you fool, I’m talking about me, I’m the Godfather. I’m perpetually smoking cigars and I leave horseheads everywhere, it’s crazy. People ask me, “Tommy, where do you get all these horseheads? That’s an awful lot of horseheads, relatively speaking. Most of my friends have access to two, maybe three horseheads but you seemingly have an endless supply of them [horseheads]. Got any tips for a young gun just looking to make it in the horsehead game?” Well, I won’t be giving away any trade secrets right now but just keep working hard and you’ll find a way to break through. But back on track, you need to pay some respect because I am a big dog in one very specific field of musical expertise and that’s the world of I’lls and even more specifically, the world of Simon Lam.
Back in the early years of Australian music, at some time between the Aztec and the Ottoman empires, there begun a band called I’lls and this band released their first body of work, the Thread EP. Back then they were even called I’lls’ which is such a silly and beautiful grammatical name that I almost wish it they’d kept it thus. I wrote about it and I was probably the second blog to write about it on this green earth after All I Do Is Listen (who during its too-short lifetime managed to get the drop on EVERYTHING good. R.I.P). Between that I’lls EP and the one that was to come next, there was a solo EP from Simon Lam (commonly referred to as both the Ringo and the Yoko Ono of the group, for varying reasons) and it was a very, very special record. I was the first blog to write about that one, if you don’t count All I Do Is Listen and an unnameable, fairly tragic blog that also, against all the odds, wrote some words about the record before I could. So in terms of the scale of this human and the outfit in which he participated, I basically have a masters degree and sheriff’s badge and also a personally engraved weapon. I am a wall street trader in the business of I’lls records, a university lecturer in people called Simon Lam.
So when I say that this track rules, you’ll accept that and pass it off to your friends as your own opinion and that’s just fine. It’s the first single from Simon (under the name Nearly Oratorio) since the brilliant Showers EP. Those lightly clanging bell sounds send me back to a track unsurprisingly called ‘Bells’ by a very special band named Anathallo. Simon’s vocal on this are fragile as a reed and exist in a space that’s staggeringly pretty but also doesn’t feel quite right. It’s a little uncomfortable, as if the slightest shift in the wind could pull all the frequencies from the air and leave you back in silence. It’s the title track of the ‘Tin’ EP due out April 11 through Solitaire, a label made up of a few people who can probably say they have a deeper history with I’lls than myself because, you know… they were in I’lls or whatever.
Sydney, there’s a new bigboy in town. Technically if you add up all the members of Iljus Wifmo then it’s two new bigboys, but don’t get all maths on me guys, we’re here to discuss music and everyone knows there’s no room for numbers in music. There’s a reason they call them time signatures and not time equations. Keep it smooth. So, I caught my first taste of their new Laz EP on Tim Shiel’s Sunday Night Double J Program Something More. He spun a track from the EP called ‘Alcala’ which sounds like Black Vanilla remixing insectoid mating calls and is fairly indicative of the sort of sounds you’ll hear on the EP. The four tracker is an adventure through realms of bass manipulation and clever rhythmic maneuvering, the likes of which I haven’t the capacity to explain [well]. The heavier thumps are padded with spacious atmospheria, midnight wind through an abandoned industrial complex or boiling chemicals in a colossal iron vat. My favourite from the record is ‘Frenetic’, appropriately titled in its manic twitchiness.
Hmmmm, it’s hard to put your finger on what genre this music is huh? Figuring things out is tricky. In light of this, I’ve opted to consider which genres are not relevant to this record rather than those that are.
Without further adieu, Here is a list of the genres that DO NOT apply to the new Iljus Wifmos EP.
Ha! I think we dealt with this one in the first sentence. Iljus Wifmo are from SYDNEY. Even if they enjoyed a month long holiday to Berlin they still wouldn’t qualify as krautrock. A quick Google will reveal that it takes at least one year of permanent residency in a major German city to qualify for Krautrock status and even then there is a LOT of paperwork to be done.
It definitely is NOT indie-folk, this almost goes without saying. It would be a very unwise decision to book Iljus Wifmo as the main supports for Angus and Julia Stone because, I repeat, they are not making an indie-folk music. You could easily let them remix a song by the Tallest Man On Earth but I’m not sure what good it would do for Tallest Man, an artist whose fans primarily like music performed on acoustic guitars with rustic vocals and parochial themes, the sort of music you could safely call indie-folk. Those fans would not be interested in an Iljus Wifmo remix.
Ha! Witch grime? More like the Blair Witch Project! More like Tony Blair! More like AnTony Hopkins! More like Jon Hopkins… Uh oh… Wait. Maybe this is witch grime? Hmmmm. I’m not as certain anymore, this one will require more research.
Now I’ll concede that there’s plenty of humanity to this Iljus Wifmo record, but if we’ve learned one thing from Richard Dawkins’ Twitter it’s that there is no God and none of us have the faintest hint of a soul so to discuss music using such an absurd framework is to completely ignore all that science has taught us. If this genre was actually called ‘Meaningless Void Of Eternal Non-Existance’ then sure, that might be appropriate, but it’s 2016 and I think we can all agree that we are all just bags of animated meat. Other acceptable names for this genre included ‘Audio’, ‘Soundwaves’ and ‘Things For Ear’.
So that’s all of them. That’s a comprehensive list of all the genres that Iljus Wifmo aren’t, everything else is absolutely on the table. As always, please use the text line to transmit your opinions on this particular topic and any other current events that you are equally unqualified to comment on.
The EP is out as of yesterday via Romanian (!) label Clubwerks.