!!! – Get Up (incredible Nate Dogg cover)

Turn the volume up really fucking loud and let yourself get loose.

This song would be a guilty pleasure if it didn’t bang so fucking hard and noisy.

So this is !!! turning Nate Dogg’s party anthem Get Up into a frenzied maelstrom nearly matches prime-era Can in pure, swaggering trance rocking. This kind of thing toss-off brilliance doesn’t happen often. In fact, I can’t recall any other tranced-out funk rock covers of hip-hop that outlasted novelty status. Or really any others at all.

If you’re into fun at all, you’ll probably like this. Listen now, and prepare for it to hear it on repeat in your mind until tomorrow.

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Here’s a weird picture to accompany the tune.

Marco Shuttle – Visione

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Seeing ‘with Donato Dozzy’ attached to the first track on this debut album from Marco Shuttle, I absolutely had to listen. As a total unknown to me, the bespoke surrealism of the cover art caught my eye, but Dozzy grabbed my attention. As half of Voices From The Lake and an incredible techno artist in his own right, this guy will always deserve my time.

Featuring on this album is an endorsement that’s paid off handsomely. This is one of the best albums of 2015 so far. The best news is that the entire thing is streaming free:

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Rest In Peace, Tangerine Dream founder Edgar Froese

My morning news just brought word that Edgar Froese, founder of one of my favorite bands of all time, Tangerine Dream, has died at age 70. The cause of death was pulmonary embolism.

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Tangerine Dream, for those only familiar with the name via a smattering of mostly-great 1980s film soundtracks, were one of the most innovative and popular bands to emerge from the 70s German krautrock / kosmiche scene. Constantly evolving, they helped birth the modern ambient sound and informed generations of electronic music in every form. Froese was the only consistent member through dozens of lineup changes that included the luminous contributions of Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler.

Moving from spooky moonscape-scouring meditations through epic space rock and pulsing dance music, Froese never let the band stay perched on one sound for long. With over 40 years worth of music to choose from, fans of the band can never reach consensus on what is the best. Personally, my heart will always return to Rubycon. The eerie psychedelia on these two tracks laid the blueprint for ambient rock, but was so much more than a chill-out session. Analog synth arpeggios lay a spaced out bed for for a quietly propulsive rhythm. With a wash of disembodied choral voices influenced by György Ligeti, plus tactile sounds from gongs, strings, and woodwinds, the eponymous pieces build tension and ease it away like a tidal wave in slow motion.

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Andromeda Galaxy: Largest Photo Ever [video]

A couple days ago, NASA released a new photo of the Andromeda galaxy, our closest galactic neighbor.

Hubble produced one of the largest images ever created. With 1,500,000,000 pixels, you’d apparently need “more than 600 HD television screens” to view the entire thing at once. Instead, check this sublime video to get a swooping, zooming view of the galaxy.

What you’re seeing is a selection of over 100 million stars embedded in a section of the disc galaxy, spanning 40,000 light-years. That’s astounding.

If you want to see the full image for yourself, check out Hubble’s Zoom Tool. You’ll be able to pan and zoom as deep as you’d like, to view individual stars from the far end of the galaxy. It’ll take a minute to load at the deepest levels, but it’s worth it.

Sharpest ever view of the Andromeda Galaxy

Here’s a smaller “thumbnail” of the real deal, just to give you an idea of the scope at play here.

And finally, if you’re enjoying the song in that video, I’ve got it streaming below. Artist name Koda; he’s new to me.

Watching the video, I was thinking at first that I was hearing Ryan Teague. By the end I was convinced it was Sigur Rós. I’d say Koda falls somewhere between, and far more subtly. It’s not normally my sort of thing, but I might check out his other work.

So, I’m well aware you can view the image on all sorts of high profile sites, but I wanted to share it here because I’ve got a deeply rooted fascination with and love for anything space related. Thanks for reading!

Please, for the love of all that is holy, check out that Zoom Tool!

Another new Zs track streaming right here: “Corps”

Yesterday I wrote about and shared the 18 minute title track for Zs’ upcoming album, Xe. You can listen here. I later realized that the band’s own Soundcloud page held a second lengthy piece, called Corps. It’s another fantastic slice of weird avant jazz that’s got my anticipation off the charts at this point.

The tune opens with a guitar riff marrying Dick Dale surf licks with Steve Reich minimalism, creating a line for the insistent percussion and tenor sax asteroids to dance over. Think Misirlou fucking with Electric Counterpoint and you’re on the right page. The rhythm loosens up, allowing the drums and saxophone to each billow up and take turns leading the sound. It’s a fantastic, tightly wound jam that ends in an effervescent free-jazz cloud.

Because the band absolutely thrives in a live setting, here’s a brief, energetic take on the song:

Now that I’ve fallen into a youtube hole and saved a load of Zs videos, you’ll likely see a handful more of these posts before the album drops on January 27th.

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Protip: you can order the album directly from Northern Spy Records for $17 on vinyl, right here: XE On Northern Spy.

Noisy jazz mutants Zs release a new album next week; title track streaming here!

Next week, muscular avant jazz champions Zs will release their long awaited album Xe, the first true followup to 2010’s monumental freakout New Slaves. I was already excited about the news. Now that I’ve heard the title track, I’m losing my patience.

Always evolving, never repeating, Zs are set to render us all dumbstruck again:

While I haven’t written much about Zs, they are in fact my favorite jazz project working today. I’ve shared a pair of posts about bandleader Sam Hillmer’s solo project a couple years back, and mentioned the group on my Best Of The Rest Of 2010 post. My words book-ending that list turned prophetic: “…any one of these albums may end up defining the year as much as the ‘true’ list.” In the case of New Slaves, that sentence couldn’t be any truer.

The double LP set is a monster, crossing cavernous metal and noise rock with free jazz of the highest order. The title track is, to my ears, a love letter to John Coltrane’s divisive masterpiece, Ascension. As the months of 2011 wore on, I found myself returning again and again to the album, eventually regarding it with a sense of awe for powerfully (and permanently) shifting my tastes more than than anything I’d mentioned on the official Best Of The Year list.

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Now, we have Xe dropping on January 27th, 2015. Judging by the initial nuanced throb of the title track, this looks to be perhaps less outwardly punishing than the last album. However, when the percussion starts tumbling over itself, and the guitar flares out of its surf metal loop, the tune erupts for the final third, with Hillmer soloing all over the place in a tight frenzy. Instead of a total wildfire, perhaps we’ll get a controlled burn with this new release.

Order the album directly from Northern Spy Records right here: XE On Northern Spy.

Jo Johnson – Weaving

This is one of my favorite albums of 2014. I’ll be publishing a few full album streams before and after my Best of 2014 list, so stay tuned.

Jo Johnson popped onto my radar with brightly minimalist cover art on nodata.tv and a promise of synthesized dreaminess. I got exactly that and more. Listen now with this full album stream.

The appeal of this album, for me, is how she blends a loosely spiritual feeling, akin to Alice Coltrane (who she apparently nods to with the first track) with the cold kosmiche arpeggios found in the best work by Manuel Göttsching (Ash Ra Tempel) or Vangelis’ iconic Blade Runner score. This is as computer-based as anything in the psychedelic synth world, but there’s a warmth and pathos permeating every second of the brief album.

The title track and final piece are big highlights for me. In the latter, she breaks the futuristic-meditation mold and cracks straight into some twisted ambient techno, the likes of which Future Sound Of London or early Aphex Twin may have delivered.

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Here’s that lush cover art. If you want to purchase, the LP can be found at Forced Exposure and Juno Records.