Singing Statues hit me out of nowhere. Sort of. Truth be told I looked this up out of curiousity while absentmindedly browsing Teebs‘ profile and listening (again) to Ardour. After an afternoon bicycle ride with this brief EP providing the soundtrack, I’m completely sold.
Teebs is about to release the album of our sweetest dreams, and I mean that in the most literal sense. The also-visual-artist and freshest face in Flying Lotus‘ Brainfeeder collective has finally created a full length release, finally exceeding even his most beatific psychedelic paintings in service of rendering his uniquely utopian vision.
Yes, utopia. This is exactly what Teebs conjures on record; one listen leaves no doubt as to the veracity of a claim by Flying Lotus himself that this album sounds “the way Avatar looks.” I’d be hard pressed to utter a more succinct bon mot. This music reminds me of imaginary imagery more than any specific prior music; tropical visions of the future as seen in 60’s cinema, a psychedelic James Bond-ian secret island accessible only by submarine. Or space ship. The colors and tones may have forebears in John Barry and Martin Denny – and the optimistic sheen the future once sported – but the construction and the visionary feel is all his own.
Underworld drop their latest studio album, Barking, on September 14th and are teasing it with the hilarious (and hilariously badass) video for second single Always Loved A Film. Skateboarding, shoplifting, drinking, girls, joyrides and more… from a group of deliriously ecstatic senior citizens!
I’m guessing it’s a reflection of, or sly commentary on, the men behind Underworld‘s “grandfather” status in the electronic music realm. They’ve come back with their most straightfoward party starting album (at least since the blissed out live Everything, Everything album and DVD) at a time when most of their peers are curating soft jazz shows on NPR or laying low in the south of France or some such idyllic place. It may not be the most original slice of dance nirvana or within spitting distance of the band’s 1990’s apex (see Second Toughest In The Infants right here on Optimistic Underground for that) but it sure gets my blood pumping more than most of what 2010 has had to offer.
All I’ll say beyond that is to watch the entire video. To say things escalate beyond mere (displaced) adolescent destruction is an understatement: this ride gets wilder until the very last frame. Enjoy
Well, this brief cassette release is at least tied with the two LPs preceeding the possibly-album-of-the-year Returnal. Yes, like those psychotropic soundscapes, it is indescribably gorgeous. Pulsing with an alien life unique in Oneohtrix Point Never‘s oeuvre, these two live-sourced tracks foreshadow the drifting-cloud majesty of Returnal while rumbling with the some of the most concrete rhythms he (Daniel Lopatin) has yet recorded.
It begins with what sound like marimbas via a familiar-enough repeated melody, simply growing in intensity – never changing – throughout the 9 minutes of Melancholy Descriptions of Simple 3D Environments. The draw here is how Lopatin slowly cocoons this spine, draping layer upon layer of undulating synth washes, echoed laser effects, and eventually the swelling heart of warming drone takes everything right off the ground. Side B opens with what can only be described as The Caretaker (aka Leyland Kirby) riffing on something more triumphant than haunting: a hollowed out and dispatched-from-the-past orchestral section valiantly tries to break through the corrosion. Then we abruptly cut to a short murky collage which feels like bumping through a science lab in the dark before drifting directly into the triumphant heart of this piece: The Trouble With Being Born. An oscillating fuge of an (uncharacteristically) optimistic dystopian anthem, this largest cut of the side’s 9 minutes feels like the true contemplative center of the release, a space where all conscious thought lifts up and outward. In other words, it’s 5 minutes that will totally “expand your mind,” man. Then a proverbial sudden-record-scratch moment happens and we cut to an Ariel Pink damaged-AM-pop sound refracted in the same manner as the previous collage, fading toward silence.
It’s quite a ride. Short but intense. Listen.Tracklisting: A Melancholy Descriptions of Simple 3D Environments B Adagio In G Minor Screw/Piano Craft Guild Edit/The Trouble With Being Born/Let It Go