v/a: Corndogs #2 12″ (Sly Fox Records, 2014)

September 1, 2014 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Corndogs #2 12"

v/a: Corndogs #2 12″

Newest white-label comp from Detroit’s mysterious Sly Fox Records, who released an excellent Appian/Segv split 12″ in 2012, a clear lathe cut Corndogs #1 12″ last year (which I haven’t heard), and now this one. The Appian track that opens this 12″ is just simply sublime crystalline Detroit house, rich in melody and inventively programmed, only settling into a solid 4/4 thump for the last minute or two of the track. Gerald Norton’s track is a sly garage-house shuffler with repeating vocals pleading to “tell Peter Parker that he ain’t got what I got.” Segv’s track adds tons of crazy echo to some basic, repetitive piano chords, yet it manages to stay clear of the usual dub-techno cliches. The disc ends with a track from newcomer Suitor, a murky, mysterious techno track with cryptic synth patterns and clicky hi-hats. Solid release from a quality-over-quantity Detroit label.

Music Blues: Things Haven’t Gone Well (Thrill Jockey, 2014)

August 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Music Blues: Things Haven't Gone Well

Music Blues: Things Haven’t Gone Well

Music Blues is the solo project of Stephan Tanner, bassist for Harvey Milk, a doom metal group I’ve heard a lot about but never listened to. Even without knowing the group’s history, this album still seems like the work of a side project; it’s instrumental, and the songs seem like sketches or ideas that haven’t been fleshed out into proper songs, whether or not they’re supposed to have vocals. Tracks like “Premature Caesarean Removal Delivery” and “Great Depression” slowly lurch from one chord to the next, and you expect it to turn into something, but it doesn’t. “Tears Tie Children” is 50 seconds of a slowed-down Crosby Stills & Nash sample, for no discernible reason. “Hopelessness and Worthlessness” goes through various angles of doomy guitar chords, before segueing into “Trying and Giving Up”, which does eventually settle into a more steady, recognizable groove. “Failure” is where he seems to get struck down the most, shrouded in swarms of echo and producing the harshest guitar sounds on the album. The swirling dirgecore of “It’s Not Going To Get Better” is the album’s centerpiece, and “Tremendous Misery Sets In” continues in this vein. Despite the songs’ increasingly negative, depressed titles, the actual songs seem to get more inspired, developed and energetic as the album progresses, and by “The Price Is Wrong”, it feels like there’s even boiling-hot peak-of-summer sun burning through the rainclouds. There’s even some gallopping drum fills that make you think it’s about to turn hardcore or speed-metal. The “bonus track” seems to have electronic drums and synths, suggesting that it’s a demo or even a taste of a different side project altogether. As side project-y and almost comically self-loathing as this album may seem, it definitely does channel negativity into something productive and enjoyable.

Taylor Deupree: Lost & Compiled (12k, 2014)

August 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Taylor Deupree: Lost & Compiled

Taylor Deupree: Lost & Compiled

Taylor Deupree has been ceaselessly active since the early ’90s, releasing dozens of albums and singles under many different projects, running the 12k label, mastering hundreds of recordings by other artists, and being a noted graphic designer. It’s inevitable that his prolific work schedule results in plenty of material that never gets released on an album, so this collection compiles alternate versions, sketches, and live material. The pieces on here generally consist of warm digital ambient drone, sometimes with soft guitar plucking (“July 032013″, “Sketch For February”), fuzzy digital flare-ups (“Field (Beta)”), and even foggy vocals (the end of “Journal (Rough)”). As with most of his recent material, this barely resembles the more overtly techno recordings he made his name releasing in the ’90s, but “Sea Last (06.05.08)” has some sporadic, incidental pulses that feel like beats. 2 consecutive tracks have “Sleep” in the title, and while “Sleepover (Alt)” sounds like it’s nuzzled in a do-not-disturb slumber, “So Sleepy” sounds a little bit more restless and insomniac. An odds-and-ends collection to be sure, but the differences between the tracks aren’t jarring enough that it doesn’t seem like a cohesive, soothing listen.

Illuha: Akari (12k, 2014)

August 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Illuha: Akari

Illuha: Akari

This is Tokyo-based duo Illuha’s third album, all of which are on Taylor Deupree’s 12k label. The duo creates slowly drifting electro-acoustic minimalism, utilizing dozens of instruments, found sounds, and field recordings. The 5 pieces on here slowly unfold with layers of piano, fluttering backwards guitar plucks, controlled noise bursts, and measured bass notes holding things together in space. Things start out pretty sparse, especially on “Vertical Staves Of Line Drawings And Pointillism”, but around the middle of “The Relationship Of Gravity To The Persistence Of Sound” there starts to be a more expansive, encompassing sound. “Structures Based On The Plasticity Of Sphere Surface Tension” brings in nature sounds, but it’s hard to tell exactly what they are, it sounds like a combination of birds, water, rushing wind, and maybe others, along with more drifty Eno-ish ambience. “Requiem For Relative Hyperbolas Of Amplified And Decaying Waveforms” has similar rolling drone, but climaxes after 5 minutes with a wave of distorted noise which sweeps through and ramps up the intensity, taking things closer to Tim Hecker or Lawrence English than earlier moments on the album, before winding down to a close like an exhilarated sigh of relief.

Show #254 – 8/30/14

August 30, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Mic break sounds = John Arndt: Field Recordings From The Great Salt Lake Desert
Hour 1
3:00 AM Lexis ~ Hypnotise (Autechre Remix) ~ 12″ ~ Certificate 18
3:06 AM Animals On Wheels ~ Shoddy Kicks ~ Designs And Mistakes ~ Ninja Tune
3:11 AM Autechre ~ Uviol ~ Confield ~ Warp
3:19 AM GGMAH ~ Space Jam ~ Yearbook Detroit 2014 ~ ZZZ Tapes
3:27 AM Insect Deli ~ No More Snacks ~ No More Snacks ~ 0.01% Records
3:30 AM Seagulls Fucking Seagulls ~ side A ~ Ma Boii ~ NOG Records
3:35 AM Sonic Subjunkies ~ Djungelstadt ~ Rough And Fast ~ Riot Beats
3:39 AM Eight Frozen Modules ~ Garlic Catalyst ~ Random Activities And Broken Sunsets ~ Phthalo
3:45 AM Redsk ~ Ignore Your FM Radio ~ split tape w/ Seagulls Fucking Seagulls ~ NOG Records
3:49 AM M.B. ~ Eight Minutes And Twenty-Seven Seconds ~ An Hour With… ~ Placenta Recordings
3:56 AM De Leon ~ side A track 2 ~ tape ~ Aught
Hour 2
4:05 AM Illuha ~ Structures Based On The Plasticity Of Sphere Surface Tension ~ Akari ~ 12k
4:12 AM Moskitoo ~ Wham + Whammy ~ Drape ~ 12k
4:16 AM Taylor Deupree ~ Journal (Rough) ~ Lost & Compiled ~ 12k
4:21 AM Creme Betweens ~ In The Land Of Magick ~ Life Blood ~ Life Like
4:25 AM Babydown ~ Glasgow ~ Life Blood ~ Life Like
4:36 AM Botanist ~ Gleditsia ~ VI: Flora ~ The Flenser
4:38 AM Half Japanese ~ Overjoyed And Thankful ~ Overjoyed ~ Joyful Noise
4:40 AM Gary The Squirrel ~ Squirrelcore U.S.A. ~ Two Sides Of The Squirrel EP ~ WFMU
4:42 AM PC Worship ~ Hawl ~ Social Rust ~ Northern Spy
4:42 AM Music Blues ~ Hopelessness And Worthlessness ~ Things Haven’t Gone Well ~ Thrill Jockey
4:45 AM White Hills ~ Spirit Of Exile ~ Glitter Glamour Atrocity ~ Thrill Jockey
4:50 AM Mirel Wagner ~ The Devil’s Tongue ~ When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day ~ Sub Pop
4:52 AM Genlevel ~ Light Year (Wire Edit) ~ The Wire Tapper 35 ~ The Wire
4:56 AM FaltyDL ~ Nine ~ In The Wild ~ Ninja Tune
Hour 3
5:02 AM Jim-E Stack ~ Below ~vTell Me I Belong ~ Innovative Leisure
5:06 AM Mndsgn ~ Camelblues ~ Yawn Zen ~ Stones Throw
5:08 AM The Bug ~ Dirty ~ Angels & Devils ~ Ninja Tune
5:11 AM Moiré ~ Mr Figure ~ Shelter ~ Werkdiscs
5:16 AM Lawrence English ~ Graceless Hunter ~ Wilderness Of Mirrors ~ Room40
5:21 AM Alienslang ~ Shredding Stained Glass ~ Hall Of Tongues ~ Placenta Recordings
5:25 AM Harry Knuckles & ZZZINDRI!!! ~ track 2 ~ Harry Knuckles & ZZZINDRI!!! ~ Placenta Recordings
5:28 AM Sete Star Sept ~ Not Be Released From Suffering ~ Messenger From The Darkness ~ Placenta Recordings
5:36 AM Gen Ken Montgomery ~ Treat The Hell Out Of It ~ Birds + Machines ~ Pogus Productions
5:39 AM Enrique Pinilla ~ Prisma ~ Tensions At The Vanguard: New Music From Peru (1948-1979) ~ Pogus Productions
5:45 AM Pauline Oliveros ~ Cyber Talk ~ Quartet For The End Of Space ~ Pogus Productions
5:52 AM Robin Hayward ~ Travel Stain ~ Nouveau Saxhorn Nouveau Basse ~ Pogus Productions

Crush Collision 8/28/14

August 30, 2014 at 11:40 am | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

Hour 1
10:00 PM Biblo ~ Titled01
10:04 PM Moiré ~ Theme
10:08 PM The Magnecian ~ Nostalgia
10:13 PM Somatic Responses ~ Doepbrute
10:19 PM Telegraphy ~ Sunday Outing In June
10:24 PM Snuff Crew ~ Sick World
10:30 PM DJ 3000 ~ Shota (Shawn Snell Remix)
10:35 PM Oscar Mulero ~ Particle Repositioning
10:41 PM Ikonika ~ Mega Church (Perc Remix)
10:46 PM Martyn ~ Empty Mind
10:51 PM FaltyDL ~ Do Me
10:55 PM Detromental ~ Its Dentromental
Hour 2
11:00 PM Synthek & Audiolouis ~ Over The Edge
11:05 PM Teste ~ The Wipe (Edit Select 2014 Edit)
11:12 PM Esteban Adame ~ Out To Get It
11:15 PM Marcelus ~ Shine
11:22 PM Korma ~ Chain 2.0
11:26 PM Jeremiah R ~ Exile
11:30 PM Live Island ~ King (Home Dub)
11:33 PM Walton ~ Aggy
11:36 PM kmeyer ~ Dennis
11:39 PM Strategy ~ Mesohippus
11:46 PM Lakker ~ Pier
11:50 PM Ross Phinellas ~ Aboriginal
11:53 PM dynArec ~ Re-Automated
11:56 PM unknown artist ~ Atlas

Souls Of Mischief: There Is Only Now (Linear Labs, 2014)

August 24, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Souls Of Mischief: There Is Only Now

Souls Of Mischief: There Is Only Now

Souls Of Mischief will probably always be best known for the title track to their classic debut 93 Til Infinity. Their newest album has a similar timeless-yet-bound-to-the-mid-’90s feel; even though it’s called There Is Only Now, the now in question is 1994, which is when the album takes place. It’s structured like a radio broadcast, featuring frequent radio drops/IDs from A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammed, but it has a blaxploitation-like story line. Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes make appearances, but their contributions are much closer to their early-career incarnations than their more pop-oriented material. Busta Rhymes’ “Womack’s Lament” in particular is a frantic, cartoonishly violent caper, very reminiscent of the exaggerated-but-not-horrorcore-overkill violence of SOM’s debut, or even De La Soul Is Dead. Adrian Younge (who produced the latest Delfonics album) produced this album, and the music is entirely live instrumentation, no samples or programmed beats. The songs have tight, jazzy, funky instrumentation and are far more concerned with creating a narrative than coming up with easily hummable pop hooks. A creative album that’s highly enjoyable whether or not you’re familiar with this group and their legacy.

Half Japanese: Overjoyed (Joyful Noise, 2014)

August 24, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Half Japanese: Overjoyed

Half Japanese: Overjoyed

Half Japanese (who formed in Ann Arbor in the ’70s) have been one of my favorite bands ever since I started listening to them when I was in high school. This is their first album in 13 years, but their first album that I’ve actually heard since 1997’s epic Heaven Sent (which consists of an hour-long song, plus several brief variations on its theme). It’s been said that Half Japanese songs are either about monsters or girls, but most of Jad Fair’s work is simply about his pure, unbridled enthusiasm for life, and that’s entirely what this album is about. Instead of the cacophonous teen-angst noise freakouts of their debut 1/2 Gentlemen / Not Beasts, or the tender, heartfelt love songs of albums like Charmed Life, this album mostly consists of musical pep talks from Jad as he encourages you to live life to the fullest. The lyrics are typically off-the-cuff, and the music is simple, straightforward, and usually rocking (“The Time Is Now” is slower and stretches out to almost 6 minutes, a few other songs are slower too, otherwise it’s mostly mid-to-uptempo). Maybe it’s just because I’m so familiar with Jad and his work, but I just can’t help but be entertained by anything he does, I think his enthusiasm is just so infectious, rather than cloying or gimmicky. It feels geniune, he’s just being his own joyous self. So he can get away with saying things like “purrrr-fect, said the cat”, as on “We Are Sure”, in which he also refers to himself in third person as he tells you that you are great and you shouldn’t fear success, you should just do it because you’re on the right track. He can write songs about jumping into bodies of water made of chocolate as a metaphor for falling in love (as on “Each Other’s Arms”), because why not? Love is a sweet feeling. I’m happy that Jad Fair is still doing his thing after 4 decades, and that he’s still overjoyed about life, and I’m excited to see him again next month (9/7) at Trinosophes in Detroit.

Crush Collision 8/21/14

August 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

Crush Collision 8/21/14
10:01 PM Biblo ~ Rebound
10:04 PM Todd Osborn ~ House 117
10:10 PM Moiré ~ Stars
10:13 PM The Magnecian ~ Deleterious
10:16 PM Somatic Responses ~ Hornet Mk2
10:20 PM Subversive ~ Chainbreaker
10:23 PM Synthek & Audiolouis ~ Broken Pad
10:26 PM Edit Select & Teste ~ Ascend
10:30 PM Oscar Mulero ~ Gravity
10:36 PM DJ 3000 ~ Bridge & Burn (Keith Kemp Remix)
10:40 PM Martyn ~ Forgiveness Step 2
10:45 PM Korma ~ Chain 2.0
10:49 PM Kodomo ~ Impromptu
10:52 PM Ikonika ~ Strawberry Underlay
10:55 PM Strategy ~ Bubble N’ Snare
10:58 PM FaltyDL ~ Danger

Botanist: VI: Flora (The Flenser, 2014)

August 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Botanist: VI: Flora

Botanist: VI: Flora

Botanist is easily one of my favorite concent bands of all time. Plant-themed hammer dulcimer black metal! It’s almost too good to be true. All of the music is created by one guy, but they’re an actual band for live performances. I’ve only heart Botanist’s 2011 double(!)-album debut, but this is its 6th chapter, including an un-numbered split EP from last year. The project seems to have softened a bit since its debut. The lyrics used to be about plants taking over the world and destroying humanity (best song title: “Rhododendoom”), but this album finds Botanist at peace with his plants, and appreciating their natural beauty. The vocals here aren’t so much growled as they are whispered, and the hammer dulcimers have such interesting textures to them, sometimes they sound like layered sheets of guitar, and sometimes like pianos, and even sometimes like a harmonium or some other droning instrument. And of course there’s the hyperspeed drumming. It definitely sounds more like a band than a solo project. Unless he really is playing other instruments on this one and it just doesn’t mention it in the liner notes. Regardless, this is truly original, astounding music.

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