Sunday, July 15, 2012


Apologies for the long delay again, but a lot of focus was elsewhere, and honestly not much new music that fits this blog & that you haven't heard has peaked my fancy over the last couple months, and what does fit would have been material for swift deletion in the still-bleak filesharing climate.

Sucks but I'll just say something quick-ish about these jams:

Been way into Demdike Stare, as many of you I'm sure are and all of you should very much be, everything from Symbiosis to Elemental is just awesome, don't miss some of their gloriously eclectic yet aurally guided mixes, not to mention Miles Whittaker's Suum Cuique sideproject (2012's Ascetic Ideals is to not be missed) and relate projects like Miles & G.H. on Modern Love. Ascetic Ideals in particular is one of the most interesting revisions of minimal techno I've heard since Chain Reaction (obviously) or more similarly Pan Sonic or Mika Vainio's Ø project. Their whole approach to sound collation has been inspiring me like major, and I find myself able to listen to them when I find all other music bust. They're kind of geniuses, really.

Also on Modern Love but truly standing distinct from Demdike, I've been in heavy rotation with Andy Stott's Passed Me By & We Stay Together. A lot about this work brings me in again and again. To put it one way Stott hybridizes the minimal yet clausterphobic feel I like about juke & footwork with the beyond-dancefloor pitch black ambience of Burial, this is in particularly prevalent form on Passed Me By. I've been unimpressed with single-artist outings of hardcore footwork outside of the Bangs & Works compilations on Planet Mu; I've had more luck with post-dubstep/wonky reinterpretations of it like Kuedo (also some luck closer to the original style with the Massacooramaan Dead Long Time EP), but overall it puts forward a lot of good idea sketches that are begging to be done better and the controlled-chaotic skittering of the beats just makes me want to listen to some good Venetian Snares. Yet really the footwork comparison is an oversimplification of Stott's sound; its in places blacker than anything Burial has done, and even most Demdike. Another feel I get is almost that he's doing with vinyl what Oval was originally doing with (literally) scratched CDs, but in a more beat-focused way; much of the chop, screw, glacially slow polyrhythm & glitch seems to arise from natural accidents with minimal sampledelic elements. We Stay Together references other, sometimes lighter territory that does particularly remind of Suum Cuique's way out stretching of minimal tech into pro-bono industrial drone but with a more luminous, cosmic feel with some seriously psychedelic flanged in & out beat fragments. A major part of his appeal to me is his ability to veer into territory as deep into darkness and dub as Vex'd or even Scorn, but without the now done-to-death brocore wobble or even the original percussive elements of dubstep that have lost their flavor. Really smart stuff that keeps the beat in places others wouldn't be capable of.

4AD remains still largely hit & miss with its new 21st century roster but a couple 2012 albums are perhaps good signs for the future, though I'm really unsure of this, but who cares about the label itself really. Just REALLY stay away from that Joker album. Grimes - Visions is like seriously the best electropop since The Knife/Fever Ray and I wholly mean this. I've been way into her nacent stuff on Arbutus etc. because of its sweet bedroom Cocteau Twins with just a keyboard vibe, her natural cherubic voice has the full quality of Elizabeth Frazer but with more willingness to be eclectic. That was enough to sell me initially but now she's upped to production 1000 or so notches, still almost entirely herself but really impressively so. Perfectly balancing out along a shamanic dance-ambient treebranch and appealing to (many, many) new fans as well as those who were already into her. And she is just really one of the loveliest cutest good-heartedest human beings alive with wonderful non-self-conformist fashion sense. Parallel to that is Purity Ring's Shrines, technically not released yet but leaked all over, not going to tell you how to find it until Jul 24 as that'd be a red flag for the safety of this blog. Anyways what's here is also luminous electropop in the ultraviolet-bioluminescent post-Knife sphere but of a distinctly witch house vein. Now get me right, I have mixed feelings about this "genre," alot of it is to do with labels-being-labels and being taken too far, but I do see a great amount of good in its higher echelons (particularly Salem). Purity Ring take the juke/crunk snare drum machine roll and isolated clap + high & golden post-trance synths into much, much brighter territory but not of an explicitly feel-good sort (though it will definitely make you feel warm & fuzzy inside). It's way less explicitly hiphop but reminds a bit of the uplift of many Clams Casino tracks. Megan James' vocals are truly something special to these ears, yes they are chopped & screwed and futurized with tastefully used (meaning appropriately more electronic sounding) auto-tune, enough unadulterated chops come through so you know she has a good voice, but what is really strong is her writing, track names  ("Belispeak,"  "Crawlersout," "Obedear.") are more than just titles, they are pieces of a witty & introspective language fluent with James Joyce & Lewis Carroll dreamland portmanteaux. What more that is particlarly lovely about the album is how much of the material is just naturally catchy, but not in a grating way that gets stuck in your head despite yourself.

Youtube sample-o-rama under the cut:

Demdike Stare - "Bardo Thodol" from Tryptych

Demdike Stare - "Hashshashin Chant" (Official Video) from Tryptych

Demdike Stare interview with The Drone

Suum Cuique - "Kuiper Anomaly" from Ascetic Ideals

Suum Cuique - "Intonation" from Ascetic Ideals

Andy Stott - "Darker Details" from Passed Me By

Andy Stott - "Cherry Eye" from We Stay Together

Massacooramaan - "Dead Long Time"

Grimes - "Nightmusic ft. Majical Cloudz" from Visions

Purity Ring - "Belispeak"

Purity Ring - "Fineshrine"

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