Black To Comm came to my attention in a single instant: walking with my girlfriend into her favorite Manhattan record shop, Other Music, and spotting this artwork on the new release rack. I was drawn in, picking it up, staring into its depths. I had absolutely no idea who the artist was, but I wanted to know how it sounded. Unfortunately, at the time I was short on cash and wanted a known quantity – an album sure to justify my purchase. Fortunately, my friend Samuel at Bubblegum Cage III highlighted the error in distrusting my gut instincts that day.
I’m sharing with you today one of the best fan-made videos I’ve ever witnessed. Enjoy.
This is, of course, Starbound: All Burnt Out and Nowhere To Go, perhaps my favorite track on Disco Inferno‘s landmark album D.I. Go Pop (album posted here, and their singles collection posted here). It’s a tightly coiled bomb of liquid Durutti Column-esque guitar and off-kilter sampling antics, liberally seasoned with the knife-edge lyrical shards of singer Ian Crause. Nothing more to say than: enjoy the video, thank the fan on his youtube page, and if you’re not already an obsessive fan like myself, get right on my two prior Disco Inferno posts.
[and seriously, get the whole album. HERE. you’d be morally bankrupt not to! just kidding. sort of.]
‘It will astound you.’
The Korgis may not have been prophesizing the likes of Daniel Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never, but that doesn’t stop me from employing the lyric in prelude to this fantastic adventure. So come on. Open up. Change your heart.
When a tonic this refreshing comes along under strange and rare circumstances, the first impulse is to bottle it up and zealously guard what we can, keeping the secret inside – lest the surprise and wonder be spoiled once the wider world is clued in. The exuberant thrill of something so foreign and new, mainlining into that place where awestruck dreams and hazy childhood memories intersect, is a thing to behold. After burrowing deep into the material and subsisting on the sound alone, though, we emerge with the burning desire to shout about this revelation from the nearest hill top. We want to place it in the hands of our friends and loved ones, imploring them to give it a try. We get on the internet and write a blog post about it.
But first, we live in the belly of this beast for a while. The world inside is warm, coated in a futuristic glaze and resting on a plate of brittle nostalgia. The illusion of inhabiting my greatest preadolescent sci-fi fantasies threatens to crack at any moment, but the dream sustains over any running time. The most inviting synthesizer tones on the planet mix with an untethered, noisy veneer to coat the entire sonic range from genteel new age to corrosive heavy drone, spiked with the best and brightest futuristic love letters the past has had to offer. From Vangelis‘ darkly soaring Blade Runner score to the paranoid stabs of The Terminator, Terry Riley‘s groundbreaking dreamscape A Rainbow In Curved Air to the stark electronic shores of Manuel Göttsching (Ash Ra Tempel), this territory is clearly the province of an indelibly spacey imagination.
Zones Without People, my personal introduction to the artist, is the most obvious place to look now. In a league populated by a select few contemporary dreamers and astral drifters like Emeralds and White Rainbow (see New Clouds and Best of 2009), Lopatin grasps the sonic galaxy whole cloth and spirits it away to his lab where every star, planet, and asteroid belt is shot through and wrung out with the latest in mind-bending laser technology. Like the lush oxygen garden aboard the Icarus on its journey to reignite the sun, the entire work is suffused with the gritty footprint of organic life – bird calls, frogs, bubbling rivers, wind and all manner of insects echo from the depths – and organized into a most efficient delivery system for aural dopamine. Channeling the aforementioned musical gods and hinting at further realms yet unexplored, the half hour recording transcends and transports far beyond its modest borders. This is a monumental trip, in every sense of the word.
Next we have A Pact Between Strangers, a beguiling triptych of the most effervescent, liquid shapes Lopatin has worked with. Sandwiched between two 12 minute throbbing drone epics, the title track strikes a soft nerve between the yawning pulse of Gas, the hard lines of straight Detroit techno, and the subtly sampledelic nature of Zones Without People‘s most tactile passages. Beginning as a relaxed sequel to the opener, When I Get Back From New York floats from the most gently narcotic river bed upwards to find a maelstrom on the surface, a dervish of synth rapids and hissing meteor showers. As the piece winds to a close and the solar winds exhale, total surrender has been achieved. This is music to offer oneself up to completely. Embrace it, climb inside. Once acclimated, the journey outward is harsh. The dials here are always pegged at elation, so it’s best not to make a move in that direction.
[with the originals impossibly hard to come by on their limited vinyl and CD-R releases, the majority of OPN’s output has been remastered and packaged into the 2cd Rifts compilation, available at boomkat, amazon, or directly through the man himself at pointnever.com]
STAR is the latest and easily most accessible project from longtime Chicago noise purveyor Scott Cortez, pulling both the most rhythmic and sensual threads from his Astrobrite and Lovesliescrushing projects and twisting it up in a heavy coctail of feral shoegaze.
Not for the faint of heart or those looking for something on the pretty end of the genre spectrum, this album has all the feedback and grit of Loveless, paired with structures so direct, pounding, and straightforward they’d make the White Stripes‘ eponymous debut blush. Not content to simply burnish a menagerie of effects pedals (ahem, A Place To Bury Strangers), the band crafts a tight little set of addictively hummable songs that shine clear and bright through the storm of amp worship. It’s fun, active, and humbly brilliant. Devastator is an unassuming foray into hazy rhythmic stomp and groove love anthems; it’s the kind of album to drive alone at night with, or simply relax with a glass of whiskey and some headphones as company.
(or: I Was Dared!)
Relevancy is ephemeral, hip is an illusion, and trends accompany diminishing returns. Just saying.
I listen to music that I like, and write about the stuff I really enjoy. You should too. There is no shame in this. Think about something you love. Be thankful for it, whatever it is.
Why do you like what you like? Why do you say what you say? Let us know.
Thank you for reading.
Those who know me know that I’ve got a certain itch that only Flying Lotus can scratch. But only two people know the significance this video holds for me.
In anticipation of his upcoming album Cosmogramma (out May 3, 2010 on Warp) I’ve decided to shine a light on one of my favorite artists working today, Steven Ellison aka Flying Lotus. To my ears, there isn’t a more exciting and promising career out there, with a body of work that speaks for itself and points to the future in every possible way. Listening to his 2008 masterpiece Los Angeles is to know exactly what heads mean when they say “next level shit.” He’s not only a step ahead of anyone else in the game, but appears to be having the most fun doing it.
This is to be the first in a series of posts leading up to the release of the album I’ve been jonesing for ever since my first bicycle ride with Los Angeles as the soundtrack. I felt it poetic to begin at the end of that album, with this mesmerizing lock-groove-driven number, sprinkled with achingly gorgeous vocals courtesy of Laura Darlington (Mrs. Daedelus and one half of The Long Lost, to those who care). Not only is the song a perfect set closer, but it’s accompanied by one of thoe most simply poetic and visually sumptuous videos I’ve seen in a long while. I’ll let you decide how you like it, but suffice to say it’s works like this which sustain my faith in the art form.
Keep your eyes on here for the latest updates and any tracks which may be dropped between now and May 3.