For as much as I dislike this part of the summer, there's always something special about it from a musical standpoint. Namely, I find myself drawn to funky and hard records with tracks full of machine grooves that pulverize each and every rhythmic molecule, picking apart a genre's DNA in the process. The four artists included in this round-up are each at different stages of their respective careers, with the oldest and youngest releasing two of the most refreshing and focused albums in their genres in the form of Nídia's slippery debut album out on Príncipe and Jay-Z's recharged and renewed 4:44--bootlegged from Tidal, but of course. Meanwhile, Bill Converse and Karen Gwyer, having released their second and third full-lengths respectively, are established techno producers whose global profiles have both been on the rise during the past couple of years. In contrast to Nídia and 4:44, both albums are considerably safe affairs that some may charge as being prime examples of dance music lacking the funkiness of the Detroit and Chicago sounds they are so faithfully channeling. However formalist either record is, both channel a certain raw emotionality that's not just funky, it's downright moving. Let's get to it...Read More
So I've been kinda losing my mind and money over a loosely-assembled coterie of producers in the UK circling around the Timedance, Mistry, Fringe White, and Wisdom Teeth labels in addition to hijacking the current release schedules of the venerable and always on-it Hessle and Hemlock labels. Unfortunately, as far as the stateside press has run, there's been a scarily deafening silence over what I consider to be the best moment in UK dance music since 06/07 (dawn of dubstep). To try and correct this, I'm going to be featuring more of these records in my singles round-ups alongside something a bit more substantial in the coming weeks and months. But for now, let's take a look at releases from Hodge, Parris, Laksa, and a long-lost recording from Drexciyan overlord James Stinson himself.Read More
Now for something totally and wonderfully different... Following on from a solid five weeks of posts about music, including the must-read interviews with Medical Records' and Unseen Worlds' respective Troy Wadsworth and Tommy McCutchon, I'm beyond thrilled not just to return to the visual arts, but to do so with a genre of art that I'm not incredibly super familiar with: Erotic art. I'm still not sure how I first came across the work of Apollonia Saintclair, but I still can't forget the peculiar feeling of confused tittilation I experienced as I began digging through her considerable body of surrealist-informed erotic art. Even before I started digging into her different and highly engaging interviews, I knew I had to at least attempt to interview her as I was deeply aroused and challenged by her singular sense of what's sexy and compelling to look at. Kindly agreeing to an email interview--which I'm now starting to grasp just how fortunate that was considering that she's what the youth might call "a big deal"--the timing worked out quite well as Saintclair is currently promoting her first published collection of her work, Ink is my Blood. Read on to learn about narrative engines, symbolic fields, and surrealist erotica.Read More
One of the first deep dives I wrote for this site was spurred by the Unseen Worlds' 3xLP compilation of legendary computer music performer Carl Stone. Not knowing the label already had another release coming next month in the form of C-Schulz's FRÜHE JAHRE, a vexing, seemingly genre-less collection of late 80s and early 90s electronic music released by the German eccentric, when contacted by the label's founder Tommy McCutchon with the idea of reviewing it, I couldn't help but ask him to go one step further and do an interview. Tommy was more than game and turned in an interview that makes for an accidentally perfect follow-up to the journey down musical memory lane that Medical's Dr. Troy took us down last week. Delving into reissue trends, the arbitrary qualities of musical formats and audiophile tendencies that led him to start the label, in addition to sharing his thoughts on streaming, vinyl, and Ethiopiques, this is a must-read imho. Enjoy.Read More
This is one that has been a minute in the making, but also one of those interviews that when you start editing it, you realize how little work you actually have to do because the person you're interviewing is so passionate and earnest in their contribution to the contemporary underground musical discourse. I first met Troy last year online, much like I do a lot of my new music buds these days. A fellow member of a nerdy-yet-not-nerdy-enough record collector group on the ol' FB, the type of sincere enthusiasm Troy brings to running his label Medical Records label and its techno-focused Transfusions sub-label was evident from pretty much my first interaction with him, enthusing about the different records I would post (and vice versa). He's the type of "music dude" who may work in the "industry" but like Pete Swanson or Matt Werth of RVNG, he's actually a music fan--turns out that the vast majority of people working in music don't really like it, or at least I've found that to be all-too true (and so, so sad). In an attempt to try something a bit different, Troy and I didn't actually talk much about the label as much as the years leading up to it, with him serving as tour guide through his own musical history. We touch on his days as a music fan growing up in rural and Dallas-area Texas, his deep and abiding love for such disparate genres as industrial techno, synth-pop, Neue Deutsche Welle, Minimal Wave, and 90s UK indie, and much more, giving some crucial insight into how Medical Record's 'eclectic' output came to be.Read More
We head into the past to make sense of the Tresor label's recent renaissance before taking a deep dive into the discography of Porter Ricks and try to make heads or tails of Terrence Dixon's baffling new EP for the label as well! Oh, and since we're taking a long overdue look at the label after it celebrated its twenty-fifth birthday, it only makes sense to take qa quick overview of their curious and engaging Dreamy Harbor. Onward!Read More
And now for something a little bit different. We don't listen to music in a vacuum, as much as we'd like to pretend we do, and following a soul-shaking panic attack, I found myself approaching this review from a much different standpoint. I chart my personal history with anxiety while also taking in some of the crap on the internet that needlessly feeds into my various neuroses that shape how I engage with music. Oh, and there's an in-depth dive into a trio of ambient and quasi-New Age reissues in the form of Astral Industries' Chi and The Heavenly Music Corporation platters alongside Love All Day's vinyl release of the long-lost recording of Planetary Peace's synthesizer spiritualist folk-pop. So strap on your oxygen tank and join me for a swim through the informational and psychological ether...OF YOUR MIND.Read More
Having been busy working on some long-form articles for this site alongside working on some exciting and forthcoming interviews, a new chapter of Single Life has been more than overdue. Similar to last time's discovery of the marvelous Sikora, I found myself encountering another new voice from the 90s in the form of Delsin's reissue of Norken's Southern Soul platter from 1997. Delsin's other king, Newworldaquarium, makes a more-than-welcome return to the new bin with his first release of new material since 2008 (compilation cameos not withstanding). Moving to the new school, we give a listen to Glaswegian Gordon McKinnon's Strange Culture alias from his release for the Invisible Inc. label. And wrapping things up are two remixes from Convextion and Japan Blues that were released last year and reveal a connection to the shadowy and shady Berceuse Heroique Label who gets a much closer look. Onwards!Read More
Well, it's been a long time coming, but I finally created a Mixes page where I can keep the ever-growing trove of radio shows and mixes I'm making for you to listen to! And of course, I'm adding track lists as I make them so with the exception of the two I just uploaded to my Mixcloud, the rest are covered. So put these on, get some work done, and hopefully find some new music you love! I'll be updating it on the regs so check back and click the link in the top navigation!
So I used to be quite the post-rock junkie back in the early 00's and few bands got me feeling things like Toronto's Do Make Say Think, a band that drew upon the emotionality inherent in live instrumental music but added a distinct set of groove that would make the fathers of fusion smile. Nonetheless, like most bands from that period of my life, I found myself seemingly outgrowing the band, especially after the two less-than-stellar albums released at the tail end of the 00's. That's all changed with the band's new album, conceived after getting back together following their label Constellation Record's Fifteenth Anniversary show, which sees them returning to what made their earlier album such classics while also pointing to new and exciting directions. So to celebrate this occasion, I did the only thing I know how: I reviewed their entire catalog. So without further ado, let's dive on in....Read More
When I started this site last fall, it was mainly to try and keep myself busy while I figured out what to do next with my life. Well, it turns out that this is a part of that, writing about music and life. But nonetheless, I've tried to keep my music writing decidedly in the "hobby" category as not only is it a super-competitive market, but I also want to say what I want to say and I just can't smile at someone after a shitty performance and say "Great job!" Not in my DNA.
Anyhoo, sycophant journalists aside, it felt more than a bit fateful when I saw that the University of Washington in Seattle would be putting on a performance of Harry Partch's adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus. You see, I had a best friend who was basically like my little brother and he died a little over four years ago. And when I say little brother, I mean he truly was like my dream little brother; not only did we routinely get mistaken for one another in the tiny city of Wooster, Ohio, but he would take whatever music or book I gave him and absorb it so completely that I still can't quite deal with what a loss it was when he passed.
Being prone to obsessions like myself, one of his was the composer Harry Partch; eccentric composer and creator of a forty-three-note scale, subject of multiple documentaries along with films made during his lifetime, and a homosexual hobo for good measure. To be honest, I always found his music a bit grating--which it is, at first, but spend some time with it and a world of wonders truly does await you--but when I saw the listing in Oedipus in the weekly show list I get as a music preview writer for Seattle's alt-newspaper The Stranger (it's a glamorous life, this) it was like I had written a pitch before I had even processed that information. And lucky enough, it was accepted and published a week or so back.
In it, I focus on how Partch viewed the human voice as being central to his artistic endeavor. As he saw it, when we speak we glide over different micro-tonalities--we don't speak in twelve tones like they do in the opera. Hence the forty-three notes that Partch derived using the ideas of Greek mathematician Pythagoras was his attempt to nail down the countless microtones that we touch upon when we speak. And to extend that idea, which was unfortunately boiled down to one sentence in the edited piece, I realized that this era of detuned-autotuned sing-song-rap is in many ways likely in line with what Partch envisioned had he the technological means. When Partch spoke, he did so in a half-tonal way where it sometimes sounded like he was singing and then he wasn't. This type of sung-not-sung speech has found a contemporary analog in Autotune-assisted rap.
But wait, doesn't Autotune actually eradicate micro tonalities, reconfiguring the voice's nuances so that we hit one of those twelve notes right on the money, like an android? Yes, but in the post-Young Thug/Lil Yachty rap landscape, not so many people rap anymore. Rather, you have thousands of young men and women, like Atlanta's SahBabii, who release catchy-as-hell and menacing half-sung paeans to their daily struggles. And these guys aren't trying to sound like Cher on "Believe" where Autotune helped to enhance her already on-pitch register. Rather, much like Partch did when he spoke, they sing-rap their lyrics in a manner that when processed through Autotune confronts the listener with a polyphony of microtonalities latent in everyday speech. And the reason, I believe, that audiences have been so receptive to the likes of Future and Thugger is not only do they write catchy hooks, but they're hooks that you can really sing along with and not have to worry about sounding like Gloria Estefan (man, I'm really going HAM with the diva references.) Anyhoo, that's likely a piece in and of itself but do check out my Partch article over at The Stranger, where I also do weekly show previews! It's the editorial circle of life.
OK, it's been a minute, but stoked to renew our interview series with this dense and rewarding interview with the artist Phillip Stearns. I was first introduced to him via his GlitchTextiles, a pretty savvy line of bedspreads and pillow cases adorned with patterns captured from different digital glitches. It wasn't until I began speaking to Stearns that I was only at the tip of a wildly inter-disciplinary, almost fractal body of work that takes in circuit bending, signal manipulation, the materiality (and immateriality) of music, and a whole bunch more. So buckle in as we dive headfirst into the heady world of glitch art.Read More
So while I have a few interviews that I really need to publish, I took some time this weekend to record a nearly-five-hour mix for one of my bestest buds in the whole world and hey, it didn't turn out too bad either. Sure, there are a few near-trainwrecks and some issues with the grounding on my tables/mixer, but all in all, I've found myself listening to this quite a bit since recording it, which usually means it ain't half-bad.
I should note that the illustration for the first part is from the estimable Bjorn Copeland of Black Dice fame (actually it is a BD cover, oops.) The second is from the incredible Apollonia Saintclair who not only has a book coming out shortly that you should definitely check out, but will also hopefully be interviewed here once she has some time following the book.
And of course, a tracklist...
Brian Briggs - Aeo Pts. 1 & 2 The Head Technician - Zones (Ecstatic 2016) Pye Corner Audio - Sleep Games (Ghost Box 2012) Lovefingers - Astroturf (RVNG 2007) Lorna Dune - Miamisphere@33 (Lo Bit Landscapes 2013) Windsurf - Future Warrios (Insternasjonal 2008) Still Going - Untitled Love (Instrumental) (DFA 2009) Sun Palace - Rude Movements Dennis Edwards - Don't Look Any Further Thriller - Freak For You (Thriller 2009) Herbie Hancock - Rockit (Columbia 1983) Mark E - Slave 1 (Runaway 2008) Capricorn - I Need Love (1986) Dharma - Plastic Doll Remix Sir Stephen - Ancient Ritual (WT Records 2009) Shit Robot - Lonely Planet (DFA 2007) Propaganda - P-Machinery (Island 1985) Daniele Baldelli - Cosmic Particles (Endless Flight 2015) Prins Thomas - Fehrara (Full Pup 2006) Q&A - Tumbling Cubes (DFA 2009) Altair Nouveau - Space Fortress (DFA 2010) Capracara - King of the Witches (DFA 2009) Delia & Gavin - Rise (DFA Remix (DFA 2003) $inkworx - Whut (Down Low 1999) Tom Noble - Maloca (Future Times 2010) Firefly - Stay (Instrumental (Emergency 198) Hugh Masekela - Don't Go Lose It Baby (Jive Africa 1984) I-Level - Minefield (Epic 1983) Designer - Feeling Nice (Charlie's Records 1983) Gay Cat Park - I Am A Vocoder (Medical 2014) Der Zyklus - Formenverwandler (International Deejay Gigolo Records 2001) Shifted Phases - Lonely Journey Of The Comet Bopp (Tresor 2002) Legowelt - Dirty Love (Bunker 1999) Pt. 2 Model Man - Honesty Doesn't Pay (WT 2010) Change - The End (Warner 1980) Xander Harris - I Want More Than Just Blood (100% Silk 2011) !!! - Is This Thing On? (Rug n' Tug Remix) (Touch & Go 2004) Zongamin - Hotel 17 (Kitsune 2004) Black Devil - "H" Friend (Anthology 2015) Dopplereffekt - Sterilization Mix 1 (Dataphysix 1997) Dopplereffekt - Scientist (Video Version) (International Deejay Gigolo Records 2000) Karen Novotny X - Free Radio (The Great Pop Supplement 2012) Daniel Baldelli - Cosmic Glide (Endless Flight 2015) Les Aeroplanes - Il Disent Que L'Orient Est Rouge (Mathematics 2009) Meloboy - Hot Love (DJ Koze Mix) (NovaMute 2005) Bangkok Impact -Junge Same (Legowelt Remix) (Creme Organization 2003) Ada - Blindhouse (Areal 2002) The Art of Trance - The Colours (Indigo Remix) (Platipus 1993) Broker/Dealer - After Hours (Spectral Sound 2004) Still Going - On & On (DFA 2007) Logic - Blues for You (Hard Dub) (Strictly Rhythm 1991) Kerri Chandler - Out in the Boonies (Downtown 161 2006) Heaven & Earth - Prescription Every Night (Prescription 1995) Gemini - Campanula (Chiwax 1997/2014) Lowtec - Coldred (Nonplus 2011) Paperback Player - Dancin' (Strictly Rhythm 1998) Cabin Fever -Bate 'n Lean (Rekids 2009) Sounds Stream - Good Soul (Sound Stream 1999) Soundstream - Love Train (Soundstream 2005) Kenny Dixon Jr. - Winter Breeze (KDJ 1995) A Drummer from Detroit - Untitled (FIT 2011) Caribou - Hannibal (Merge 2010) Four Tet - Nothing To See (Soul Jazz 2010) Common Factor - Feel What I Feel (Planet E 1998) Martyn - For Lost Relatives (Aus 2009) Willow - Untitled A1 (Workshop 2016) Lorna Dune - Agnes Day (Lo Bit Landscapes 2013) Sebastien San - Rising Sun (Planet E 2008) Kartei - Transponder (W.T. 2011) NWAQ - Trespassers (541 Dub) (Ape 2000/2016) Drew Lustman - Sykle (Planet Mu 2015) Harry Forbes - Microtech (Parry 198 ) Steely Dan - Peg
Over the past ten or so months, I've started DJ'ing again and feel like I've made more improvement as a DJ in that period that I had in the preceding ten years. And the reasons behind that are very personal, but all I can say is that I'm for once in my life feeling confident enough to release some form of musical product--I imagine I'll release my first album of music in my fifties.
And believe me, I'm still figuring out things on my end as this whole process really arose from my realizing I had "standards" as a DJ--boy, did I feel old when I heard that--as the equipment at 8Ball Radio where I host my Ambient Jeep show just wasn't cutting it. Then again, unlike some "community funded" radio stations in the city that are backed by millionaires, these guys are truly DIY so that's where I feel comfortable at...but that doesn't mean I can just record from home! And speaking of Ambient Jeep, click here to hear a 3.5 hour version of the below mix with somewhat different sequencing and a lot, lot more songs (and *cough*only the left channel really pumping out sound*cough*).
But believe me, I would not be posting this, let alone positing it in and of itself if I wasn't somewhat proud of it. And for a guy who basically hates everything he does. That's a pretty great feeling. Track list is below as well because what's the point in trying to hide songs from people? If you love a song, buy it and mix it better than I ever could!
This is only the beginning...
Taragana Pyjarama - Givers (True Panther 2014) Rene Hell - Untitled Solo 4 (NNA Tapes 2012) The Human League - Pt. 3 (Jem 1979) D. Edwards - Numbnuts Anthem (LA Club Source 2016) Craig Leon - Donkeys Bearing Cups (Superior Viaduct 1980/2013) Bruce Gilbert - Angel Food (EMego 1986/2011) Popular Mecanica - Impresionistas 1 (Dead-Cert 1981/2015) Mount Kimbie - William (Hot Flush 2009) Vladislav Delay - Latoma @45 (Echocord 2012) Steve Moore - Zero-Point Field @33 (L.I.E.S. 2011)/Panasonic (Blast First 1996) Porter Ricks - (Tresor 2016) Pansonic (Blast First 1998) Torn Hawk (L.I.E.S.) Juju & Jordash - Time Slip (Real Time 2007) Mark E - Slave 1 (Runaway 2008)' Strong Souls - Do It (Dance Mania 1994) Ruf Dug - At the Tuck Shop (Ruf Kutz 2012) Anton Zap - On the Road (Underground Quality 2008) Rodenion - The Beautiful Memory (Aesthetic Audio 2008) Rick The Godson - City Bar Groove (Track Mode 2000) Soulution Entertainment - Drift Away (Below 2000) Move D - Untitled A (Workshop 2007) A Made Up Sound - On & On (Clone Basement Series 2009) DJ Ghosthunter - Experiment 3 (MLZ's Theo Made Me Do It Mix) Ada - Believer (Areal 2002) Pete Townsend - And I Moved (ATCO 1980) NHK yx Koyxen - 1662 (L.I.E.S. 2016) Analogous Doom - Living in the Zome (Mathemtics 2008) I.B.M. - Limelight 80 (Mathematics 2003) Ancient Methods - Between A Sleep And A Sleep (Ancient Methods 2012) British Murder Boys - Learn Your Lesson (Counterbalance 2003) Sikora - Holzwurm (Klang 1999) Will Ward - Rugged (Detour ) Vatican Shadow -Church of all Images (Blackest Ever Black 2012) Mika Vaino- Barbarians (Raster Noton 2009) Vaputeen - Weld (L.I.E.S. 2012) British Murder Boys - All The Saints Have Been Hung (Counterbalance 2005) James Ruskin - Indrect World (Tresor 1999) Breaker 1 2 - 2 (Forbidden Planet 2013) Surgeon - East Light A2 (Diynamic 1999) Kuba Sojka - Bright Shadow of a Star (Mathematics 2010) Lino Vaccina Capra - Vocsi (Die Schactel 1978/2014) Oto Hiax - Flist (EMego 2017) Blues Control - Boiled Peanuts (Holy Mountain 2007)
Zurkonic Music Writings
It's been a minute (or 5 months) since I posted on current dance 12's and that's because I've been listening to a shitload of non-current 12's. And when I have tried to review some recent releases, well, let's just say there's an essay on fourth world dance music forthcoming....
And speaking of the concept of the fourth world in music--the idea originated from Jon Hassell of pairing first world music technologies with third world musical ideas--the group that made me start writing this in the first place, Sordid Sound System, appear to indulge in it a decent bit as heard in the non-western wooden keyboards heard on "The Baron." Elsewhere their videos are paired with what appears to be stock video footage or "anthropological" tapes, like the slowed-down street band whose playing provides a rather ironic visual counterpart to the Suicide-meets-Harmonia sounds of "Dub-Cha-Cha." And this type of unfettered genre jumping is shared by their label Invisible, Inc. based in Glasgow and certain one to watch, with the synth-led kraut stylings of SPACEROCKS and the textured ambient of Jon Keliehor being albums to explore further.
But let's just say even if I had heard those songs or any other by them before today--many of which sound great played on top of one another as so similar is the vibe across songs--it was a return visit to Academy Records in Greenpoint that put me on fate's path to hear "Brave New World."
Now this may be a music journalist cliche and it may not, but I feel like whenever there a track or edit that isolates a monster bass line, Liquid Liquid's "Cavern" will almost always be invoked. That said, I would be full of it if I said the thought didn't cross my mind around the second or third time I listened to the above. But what caught me was how redundant the groove was and I mean that in the best sense. The idea behind musical minimalism--at least in my book--is that repetition provides a launchpad for transcendence and it's through listening to the same line of music for two or twenty minutes straight that can induce wonderful aural sensations as each pass reveals something new...or does it?
Whether the new elements are mixed low or a product of your mind doesn't really matter. What matters is that this is powerful, trance-indepbted music--just one of the 7-odd genre tags on Sordid Sound System's Discogs page, including my new fave of "Dungeon Synth." The track was playing as soon as I entered the store and for the first two minutes, it seemed like a rawer edit favored by the like of Mark E or Theo Parrish until the noisey yet rhythmic guitar and a keyboard line parallel to the base part entered the mix. From there we were off to the race as a more pronounced and unruly rhythm guitar line serves as the entrée to a twisted form of group chatter (like the kind you'd hear at the end of classic soul songs like this one...perhaps the best group chatter ever?) The whole thing builds and builds but never boils over as someone cuts the gas and the vigorous simmer quickly dissipated. The rest of the material on the Fear Eats the Soul EP doesn't really come close to the effect that "Brave New World" had on my as the group moved from live drums to tinny drum machines on the remaining track and lose much of the magic in the process. Lastly, gotta love a Fassbinder reference in dance music, especially one that is a favorite movie of his and that Vereker also borrowed for an EP name back in 2012.)
For as tight as things have been for me so far in 2017 with getting my freelance marketing and content strategy business off the ground, I've also been running into an insane amount of great deals on record and in particular twelves. When I returned to buying and collecting records again last summer, I made a promise to only buy records that I would be listening to in five years, which has helped in resisting the $16 singles that now dot the new shelves of my go-to record stores (Heaven Street, now Material World, what up!) But when, say, Rough Trade marks down the many 12's people don't buy or Heaven Street buys a collection from a DJ like, say, Ital, I suddenly have an assortment of ace 12's to choose from that range from one to ten dollars (and in some exceptional cases, fifteen.)
So I've been picking up an odd but fantastic assortment of dance twelves and chief amongst my finds is Sikora's Holzwurm EP on the legendary Klang Elektronik. On the A side is the industrial chugger "Tribalizer," but the main star of the show is the fact-paced and utterly bucolic "Praguish," a track that could have been on Border Community in their heydays if had some post-arpeggiations thrown in there. Rather, it's a song that mixes perfectly with the likes of Shake's "Levitate" or Drew Lustman's "Blueberry Fields," both tracks it mixes perfectly with. Introduced in a hurry by Sikora through a nimble, proto-mnml beat over which glides a lush bed of pads and an intoxicating music box-like melody. At the midpoint, the producer deftly adds in what best can be described as springing noises and chirps placed at key points in the drum sequence to amp up this sunrise anthem as it charges through the seven-minute finishing line.
Lastly, off of the Perlon label's third edition of their legendary Superlongevity series is this highlight from the producer STL's staggeringly consistent discography. His desire to keep a firm control over his music and gleefully predictable compositional sense often make me think of him as the European Omar-S, but I'm sure that analogy would crumble under closer inspection. Either way, if you've heard a wonderful STL track before than you knew what to expect: minimal, unobtrusive, and eminently smart drum programming, bittersweet melodies, and an adept usage of textures to create what is essentially world-class ambient techno (or just ambient? A question for another post indeed...
OK, that's it for now but will be back soon with some very exciting interviews and features.
It's been a bit quiet around the parts so far this month, but I'm planning to change that for the coming months. In addition to having a few essays in the works, I also have several interviews that are in different stages of completion and more articles getting published that I can also share here. And to be fair, much of the reason I've been a bit quiet lately is that I've never really written such a negative review before, nonetheless believed in what I was saying with every last ounce of my being. I was joined at the biennial that day by a good friend of mine who is a former art student of my father's and while we spent most of the time wandering through the exhibition apart, the look of despondency on one another's face only grew as the hours passed. And yet, I did end up discovering a new (to me) artist in an ancillary exhibition on the Whitney's seventh floor; the painter Barkley L. Hendricks and his portrait of Steve charged me full of a sense of pride and defiance that the so-called "political" biennial was utterly missing. I've included some additional thoughts that I didn't address in my review (or didn't do well enough)Read More
While I don't get my mind blown at shows nearly as often as I used to, I'm still struggling to pull myself off the proverbial floor that live computer music performer Carl Stone knocked me onto last night at the Brooklyn Music School. Organizers Blank Forms with Lawrence Kumpf and Tommy McCutchon gave Stone the proper reintroduction to a larger audience he so deserved by bringing his music (almost) to life through an utterly immersive four-channel speaker system. Read on to find out how Stone is leaving seemingly everyone in the dust, except the Japanese singer and musician Akaihirume with whom he performed the show's most monumental piece. This was a show of a lifetime and hopefully just the start of Stone's ascension to the electronic music vanguard.Read More
I'll be the first to admit that I'm still getting the hang of writing a decent movie review. When it comes to assessing a narrative effort like Moonlight or Snowden both films' stories are nice and simple compared to films on such expansive and manifold topics as the internet or racism. And as much time as I've spent reading and watching a wide range of books and films on racism in America, as a white male it is something I can never truly capture in all of its horrific omnipresence. Simply put, race isn't an issue for those for who it isn't made an issue for on a daily basis, hence the weariness that accompanies questions posed about why we still need to talk about race in 2017. After all, an insidious byproduct of Obama's administration was the rise of the myth of a post-racial America, one a few years away from when Michael Brown and Alton Sterling became household names fro the most horrible of reasons: their murders at the hand of armed police officers. I will never forget the white (and male) colleagues I've had over the year who would mock me for my supposed fixation on all things racial who seemed happier to wallow in their own ignorance than to confront the myriad injustices that occur around them daily.
I Am Not Your Negro is director Raoul Peck's audio-visual punch to the gut, an ontological documentary that establishes the very existence of racism throughout America's long history. And while I don't feel like I captured the eloquent rage of James Baldwin nearly as well as Peck did, it was a wonderful opportunity and challenge and one that I would do a thousand times over again. Please see this film and read my review here.
Well, this is a treat... Pete Swanson is that rare breed of experimental musician who can be considered "popular" in a scene that is as tiny as it is devoted. Having first gained attention at Yellow Swans, his duo with Gabriel Salomon, Swanson experienced a second wave of notoriety after releasing the noise techno opus Man With Potential. Having relocated to LA in the past year, Swanson's next venture will bring his decades of record digging to record nerds around the world as he is the co-founder of the reissue label Freedom to Spend (FTS) alongside Jed Binderman and Matt Werth. Click to read my extensive exchange with Pete on discourse around reissue culture, the role that intimacy plays in the records FTS releases, and why three music heads are redefining what 'deluxe reissue' even means. One for the heads.Read More
As the weather in New York continues to baffle on a daily basis, spring continues to tease its way into being with sunny days undercut by blistering winds. It was against this unstable backdrop that I finally published an essay explaining my sexual orientation as demisexual and investigated how it's shaped my life. If you haven't checked it out yet, just scroll down below or click here.
Over at Gathering of the Tribes, I published my review of Barry Jenkins' masterful film Moonlight, which flouted conventional wisdom by winning the Best Picture award at this year's Oscars ceremony. Despite the review coming several months after the film opened, I still felt inspired enough by the film to explore how its pacing and anticlimactic nature subverts coming-of-age tropes while drawing a parallel besides Richard Linklater's 2014 film Boyhood, a film that very much should have the Best Picture award that year. With its humanist camera work and patchwork soundtrack, Moonlight not only draws in the viewer by showing them an earnest onscreen portrayal of black identity unlike any before it, but it also challenges the audience's very expectations and assumptions about how such a story can be told. Check it out here.
Finally, after doing three guest radio slots in January, I've started a biweekly radio show called Public Library. I will be mixing records from 2-4pm this Sunday, March 5, and every other Sunday Check out the mix here and scan the tracklist before. And after a quiet January and February, the site will be picking up in the next few weeks as I'll be publishing interviews with musician Pete Swanson about his new label, Freedom To Spend, and renowned visual artist Jaime Zhu alongside a new essay on the awkward process of coming out as demisexual, and essays looking at current music culture. Thanks for reading!
Reginald J. Lewis - Happy Machines (Public Information 2013) Martin Rev - Temptation (Superior Viaduct 1980/2013) Jahillya Fields - Servant Garden (L.I.E.S. 2012) Can - Future Days (Carl Craig Remix) (Bootleg) Pub - Summer (2001/2009) Dettinger - Tranquilizer (Kompakt 2001) M. Pittman -Cherry Lee (Down Syndrome Mix) (FXHE 2005) Pom Pom - 32 D2 (Pom Pom 2006) Beatrice Dillon - Can I Change My Mind? (Boomkat Editions 2016) / Jane Weaver / Pierre Raph (Disposable Music 2013) Vito Ricci - The Ship Was Sailing (Music From Memory 2015) Rene Hell - Untitled Solo 4 (NNA Tapes 2012) Rene Hell - The Bridge (NNA Tapes 2012) M. Zalla - Incidenti (Black Sweat 1974/2016) 1991 - No Hope (Boomkat Editions 2012) Luc Marianni - Faut Rester Groupes (DDD 2013) Loren Nerell - Eidolon (Forced Nostalgia 1986/2012) Emperor Machine - Linda Looks Good (DC 2004) Japanese Telecom - Game Player (Intuit Solar 2000) Loscil - Graupel (Kranky 2009) 0Growing - Fancy Period (Metal Blade 2003) Harry Forbes - Microtech (Parry Music Library 1985) Chris Carter - Solidit (Optimo Music 1980/2010) The Focus Group - Frumious Numinous (Ghost Box 2013) Bruno Spoerri -The Award (Edit) (Finders Keepers 2012) Leyland Kirby - Video 2000 (History Always Favors The Winners 2011) Raglani - Trampoline Dream (Editions Mego 2012) The Other People Place - Sunrays (Warp 2001/2017) Cooly G - Fuck With You (Hyperdub 2015) Aaliyah - Rock The Boat (Blackground 2001) DJ Rashad x DJ Spinn x Taso - New Start (Teklife 2016) Kode9 - Holo (Hyperdub 2015) Cruel Boyz - Umeqo Emagqomini (Dub Mix) (Gqom-Oh! 2016) @45 Zoviet France - Mohnomishe C2 (Red Rhino 1983) Kaba Blon - Furu Djougou (Sahel Sounds 2014) Osborne - Want To Jack (Shake Mix) (Spectral 2002) James T Cotton - Blue Blood (Spectral 2004) Pye Corner Audio - Autonomization (Ghost Box 2016) Martyn - Velvet (3024 2007) Terrence Parker - Untitled A2 (Intangible 1996)