In a conversation with a friend this weekend we agreed that “amazing” and “wonderful” and other superlatives need to dropped from our vocabularies. Even “great” is just too overused; if everything is a high, how do you mark the middles? Does it simply serve to make the good incomprehensible and everything else from ok on down drift into hateful? Is that why everything must either “rule” or “suck” these days?
It’s kinda fucking with our ability to talk about cultural objects, be they cupcakes or codpieces.
Then this shit comes along and, well, it’s great. It’s great as in I’ve been listening to it nonstop since I got the album from Profound Lore this weekend; I picked it up based solely on the strength of “The Inheritance”
There’s only a few small moments which run against the otherwise smooth sixty minutes of No Help for the Mighty One – a few growls and barks on “Beneath the Crown” mar Subrosa‘s 70s permastoned gloss. This short run into more stereotypical trappings is brief and not particularly debilitating. And though at first listen the a capella sea shanty “House Carpenter” is kind of confusing, that feeling passes. Melancholic stoner doom pop held together with extremely strong vocal harmonies should be confident enough to give the geetars a rest for a minute.
Subrosa has produced an exciting album that showcases the best that cultural hybridity offers us; post-rock builds and low end grind, offset by strong songwriting, memorable melodies and an overwhelming sadness. Sounds terrible on paper, but paper ain’t sound.
Special mention should be made of the album art – expanded upon in this Invisible Oranges post.
I will now shut the fuck up about how I don’t seem to enjoy female-lead “heavy music”. Here’s to how wrong I was.
This was a low-end affair, caught inside the world’s most well-orchestrated bass car.
Security was remarkably tight; despite the Class of Nuke’em High brigade’s plumage, mistaking signals of menace for fashion trapped in (gothy 80s) amber is confusion. Perhaps the city has been causing issues as of late? Regardless, if you enjoy a good pat-down, the Santos security team has you covered.
Not Breathing continues to be one of the most criminally underrated electronic acts in the United States.
The intersection of booty bass and broken glass crushing out of Santos fairly dang amazing sound system had this woman in front of us doing aerobics. Other people were bopping and dancing – the set’s undercurrent was a solid slab of a heavy kick drum – but she was genuinely doing aerobics. It was a bit disconcerting, no matter how appropriate for an evening of painfully loud power electronics meets acid dancehall.
But what I like most about Not Breathing is that perfect mix of the ugly and the funky, but humanized and humorized just enough to avoid the sterility of the clinical UK style take on that ideal. Check out the video below for the basic idea.
Meat Beat Manifesto is one of the few acts I’ve seen that actually gets the whole VISUAL MULTIMEDIA DJ EXPERIENCE right. Triggered samples and clips from movies running forward and backward in perfect synchronization. Jack Dangers knows he’s just a dude with a beret, and responds accordingly. The music was excellent, mixing old classics with a mostly straightforward runthrough of the new album, Answers Come in Dreams. The bass was nearly sickening, as in “blaarrrghhhh” sickening, not “bro that was most sick” sickening. The last show I remember being that dense on the low end was Pole (remember him?) doing a neat and tidy set in the old neat and tidy Cooler back when it still existed.
It was kind of absurd, but in a way that convinced me to pick up the last copy of the new album they had at the merch table. Much of the crowd had come to a similar conclusion at this and the other shows that had come before; bless their hair extended and welding goggled-hearts.
Hey y’all, I’ll be playing with Joe Salina (Isfet) on the 27th at Silent Barn in Ridgewood (off of the Halsey St. L train) next Tuesday night. We’re the opening act so we’ll be on around 9-ish, most likely. Nice mix of noise and dancehall and ambient techno.
GLOBULAR CLUSTER / And Um Yeah / Imaginary Weapons / Isfet
Time: July 27 at 8:00pm – July 28 at 1:00am
915 Wyckoff Avenue
Thunderously heavy with a hint of shoegazey melodies drowning amid a sea of angry electro, Not Breathing‘s Christy Cores sits firmly in the Other category of the giant umbrella that is “electronic music”. It’s neither brutally experimental, nor particularly precise; it lacks the easy edge of a dance cut and doesn’t have much of a scene umbrella beyond “weird stuff from Arizona”.
It’s hard to even describe most of the songs – “Uh, ok – there’s mostly beats but not always, sometimes a thick ass low end, a lotta modular sounds, and all the hooks sound like a band is playing half a song on top of them. But it’s very good.”
My personal favorite is “The Final Night”, which has an old Trans Am buildup with a buried swirl of that kind of triumphant synth symphony of yesterday, but it’s also kinda ugly and smashed to pieces. It sounds like a fight between the collaborators involved and their disparate influences and ideas, and despite all the harsh corners, is about as polished as something of this nature can be.
A plea for the gatekeepers of yore.
It’s more than a bit dismissive of some of his points to declare this conservative reactionary nonsense, but it’s about as far removed from my lived experience with music that it might as well be in Russian. Then again, I’m not a music writer trying to live in a world where bands “hustle” in a multivariate mediaverse because of the 800lb elephant he ignores – people don’t buy music like they used to, and the barriers to entry have fallen or split into dozens of tiny pieces.
I’ve seen a similar notion pop up about the creation of a trans-national musical monoculture (the favorite term of the nattering nabobs of the fearful future) or some such rot, simply because the world we live in is different than the one most of us (meaning post 25-year-olds) grew up in. I am convinced that this is a kind of romanticism, and not just the old cultural cachet of being in the know (the “firsties” of the end of the 20th century), but of a slower media environment. When finding things was more deliberate, perhaps, or at least more easily digested.
That said, a slower pace is not unavoidable. All it requires is a little bit of effort. And more to the point, Robert Christgau invented Twitter-snark decades before the kids who made Twitter existed.
Richard D. James Album [Elektra, 1996]
Jungle sure has livelied up this prematurely ambient postdance snoozemeister. His latest synth tunes are infested with hypertime electrobeats that compel the tunes themselves to get a move on. And where once he settled for austere classical aura, now he cuts big whiffs of 19th-century cheese. He even sings. Hey, fella–I hear Martha Wash needs work. B+
While reading Thoreau’s comments on the lenses of specialists in the field of cultural interpretation, I thought of this essay on a very Brit hyper-hybridity popping out amongst their kingdom of sub genres. The essayist above draws together a slew of really disparate threads into a coherent – if not very convincing – narrative about (I think) what happens at the margins of genre. I’m not entirely sure, but I find it interesting writing about largely uninteresting music.
This one’s even more relevant to Thoreau’s topic, or maybe it’s simply that I can follow it more easily. That essay was written partly in response to this hilarious character assassination. If IOZ was British, straight and cared a lot about hating dubstep, he might read this essay. I can’t say I actually follow most of the personal snippiness, or even agree with him on most points, but it is a funny read.  Continue reading
So I can’t honestly say if it’s good or bad yet.
It’s worth noting that the author was about four years old when the records he’s discussing started coming out.
Overall, I thought it was interesting.
I think the theory is overwrought (Adorno and IDM?)* and perhaps more than a little misplaced (Literary theory?). The author also missed out on one key element of Richard D. James’ “fourth wall breaking” as he terms it in this paper. The “faceless DJ” was itself a memeplex, both internal and external; Aphex was, in part, pranking that concept by putting his face on everything.
As an aside, I have not read all of Simon Reynold’s Generation Ecstasy, but I do find his line about the “aut” in Autechre standing for autism funny. I don’t get it – go listen to Envane and tell me there’s no heart there, Mr. Reynolds! – but then again I didn’t have a bunch of fundamental drug experiences to rave back when it was a subgenre rather than an event description.
* My wife is somewhat in love with the works of Walter Benjamin, so this is the only place I can say “The Frankfurt School were all dickheads” without getting into an argument.
I also like to throw the occasional stone at The Quietus, if only because their Britishness is often overwhelming in a way that makes me feel slightly punchy*, but this particular essay is mostly true. I have no stake in what happens to hip hop as it wallows in its hair metal denouement, but autotune and dancehall seem like a perfect match to me.
My own version of that article would skip AutoTune and jump directly into British rappers, as in “No Brits – and perhaps no Europeans – should ever rap in public.”
The sidebar would be a transcript of a prank call to The Spaceape asking how many shillings a year he gets paid to mumble about his grocery bills. (I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all but holy mother of fuck is he ever a musical shit midas.)
* As in “wanting to punch something”, not tired. But if you needed an indie rock and pop and a little bit of whatever source to read on the internet, you’d be hard pressed to do better than they.