This week I'm thrilled to share my interview with Austin, TX-based artist, musician, and graphic designer of many posters and album covers, Jaime Zuverza. In addition to sharing the same two first letters in our last name, the past eleven months has seen me developing a sincere relationship both Jaime the person and his art. It often feels the more I get to know him, the less I understand his art, but also the more I enjoy it. As I emote after the jump, interviews make for funny bedfellows and while Zuverza seems more like a kindred spirit, I found myself somewhat at a loss for words when trying to describe his art that blends surrealistic styles old and new across a host of mediums. Fortunately, Jaime turned in a truly beautiful interview so throw yourself into his world and get lost in his cosmic desert.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
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
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.
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
While January is not usually the most upbeat month of the year, so far it seems like most of NYC is either SAD or just plain mad. Myself? I'm just trying to keep my head above water and as such, have a past month's worth of articles and mixes to share with you!
First up, I returned to Tom Tom Magazine for the first time in five years to write an article on how drummers can make money online to supplement what they make from touring and record/merch sales. You can check the article (pages 50-53) here.
Secondly, having been blown away by the Agnes Martin show at the Guggenheim last October, I was fortunate to get to review this must-see show by my absolute favorite artist for Gathering of the Tribes. Tough review to do in only 1500 words, but check it out here if you're curious!
On the musical side of things, I've already managed to double the amount of radio shows I've done this month alone compared to all of 2016 and it looks like I might be doing a third before the month ends. The wonderful DJ Large Margin has me on his Flour Hour show where I did a 90-minute set of dubwise IDM, ambient techno, and minimalist gamelan. Give it a listen here and check out the tracklist below.
Finally, I got to pay a visit to 8Ball Radio for the first time at their recent pop-up shop at 38 Orchard in NYC. While this set had considerably more technical difficulties, it was also a blast to do, so give that a listen on Mixlr.
Daniel Schmidt -And the Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn (Recital 2016) Jonathan Fitoussi - Aquarius (Further 2016) Occult Orientated Crime - Telepathic Consultation (Dekmantel 2016) Charles Cohen - Shopping Cart Lady (Morphine 2013) Pangaea - Mutual Exchange (Hessle Audio 2016) Pinch & Shackleton - Boracray Drift (Honest Jons 2011) Lukid - Brick Burner (Liberation Technologies 2014) Actress meets Shangaan - A (Honest Jons 2011) SND - Travelog C3 (SND 1999/2014) LHF - Triumph (Keysound 2015) Bandshell - Perc (Liberation Technologies 2014) Logan Takahashi - Dizz (Ghostly International 2016) Kassem Mosse - Aluminosilicate Mirrors (Honest Jons 2016) Carl Craig - Red Lights @45 (Planet E 1997) Autechre - Clipper (Warp 1995/2016) Zomby- Float (Werk Discs 2009) Leyland Kirby - Diminishing Emotions (Apollo 2014) Der Zyklus - Formenverwandler (International Deejay Gigolo Records 2001) Legowelt - Dirty Love (Bunker Records 2000) Terrence Dixon - Rush Hour (Convextion Remix) (Rush Hour 2009) Urban Tribe - Her (Trust 2009) Patten - Gold Arc (Warp 2014) Newworldaquarium - Heavy Metal (Peacefrog 2003) Fred P- Everyday (Soul People Music 2009) Thomas Fehlmann - Du Fehlst Mir (Kompakt 2002) Hunee - The World (Rush Hour 2015) Afrikan Sciences- DBC (PAN 2014) Beatrice Dillon & Rupert Clervaux - The Same River Twice (Paralaxe 2015) Lino Capra Vaccina - Framentti Di Suono (Die Schaectel 2014) Dettinger - Untitled 7 (Kompakt 2000) Zurkonic 8Ball Set 1/21/17 Eileen Myles - Aloha (Fonograph Editions 2016) Taragama Pyrajama - Givers (True Panther 2014) Sir Stephen - Ancient Ritual (WT Records 2010) Strong Souls - Do It (Dance Mania 1995) Speculator - Royce Edit (L.I.E.S. 2013) Reggie Dokes - The Skin I'm In (Third Ear 2007) John Daly - Morning Moon (Mule Musiq 2009) Hunee - Rare Happiness (Rush Hour 2015) Soul Center - Liza U.. (Mucki) (Shitkatapult 2010) Ross 154 - Sun (Delsin 2004)The Shamen - Make It Mine (Moby Deep Mix) (M&S Records 2011) Jus Ed - AM-Mix (FXHE 2005) Tom Noble - Malanco (Future Times 2011) Les Aeroplanes - Ils Disent Que L'Orient Est Rouge (Mathematics 2009) 40 Thieves - Click-Naïf (Rong 2009) Funkineven - Roland's Jam (Eglo 2011) Capracara - King of the Witches (DFA 2009) Rick Wilhite - Get On Up! (Theo Parrish's Late Dub) (KDJ/Rush Hour 1996/2009) Rick The Godson - City Bar Groove (Music Is... 2000) Rick Wade - Hustler's Den (Yore 2008) Len - Steal My Sunshine (Version Idjut) (Columbia 1999) Gemini - Let's Go (Chi Wax Classic Editions 1999/2016) Still Going - On and On (DFA 2007) Logic - The Warning (Inner Mix) (Strictly Rhythm 2000) Underground Resistance - Transition (Underground Resistance 2002) Qualifide - Just Being Fooled (4/4 mix) (Hotflush Recordings 2004) El-B - Serious (Tempa 2009) Untold - Dante (Hot Flush Two 2009) A Made Up Sound - Disconnect Wire (Clone Basement Series 2009) Levon Vincent - Woman is an Angel (Novel Sound 2015) A Made Up Sound - Wire (Clone Basement Series 2009) DJ Xanax - No Title Whatsoever (Blue Football Mix) (Exotic Dance Records 2016) Surgeon - At the Heart of It All (Tresor 2000) Philip Glass - Kyoko's House (Elektra 1985)
Alas! 2016 is dead and things will surely get better in 2017, right? And if the world turns upside down in the next months and we all find ourselves under the martial law of THX 1138 android police officers with orange rather than chrome faces, here are 31 fantastic albums written about for you to sink your teeth into. Additionally, I've decided to use this as a place to make up for my past sins of not writing down my year-end list and try to somehow document all of the albums that have tickled my fancy since 2013, which is kind of my personal year zero. So dig in, critique my writing, and most importantly, allow each of these albums to take you on an algorithmically-enhanced trip through the annals of good music.Read More
Part of my directive while serving as Content Manager for the Korean sunglasses company Gentle Monster's US division was overseeing and creating the content strategy for a planned portfolio site-meets-culture channel blog looking at the latest in graphic design, contemporary art, interior design, architecture, music, fashion, and much more. As bureaucratic issues beyond my control kept Proto- from going to print and the content still in my hands, better to showcase my curatorial sense than to let it go to waste. This piece was designed to appeal to the more 'aesthetic' record buyer who values vinyl almost as much for its visual impact as they do for the music; "Urban Outfitters" record fans if you will. But just because you buy your music at Urban Outfitters doesn't mean you can't buy good records!Read More