New mix: Endgame

 

I wish that the URL on FACT Magazine’s obituary for Mark Fisher were literally true – “mark-fisher-k-punk-capitalist-realism-has-died” – rather than what has actually happened. Capitalist Realism is alive, and Mark Fisher a.k.a. k-punk is dead. I didn’t know him, but his writing shaped me as much as any music, and I believe it will go on because there’s so much I haven’t delved into yet. My unread copy of Ghosts Of My Life, purchased with glee the moment I saw it at the ICA bookshop — until that moment, I didn’t know it existed — hides in my boxes of books, waiting for my new home, wherever that will be. Not much of an excuse. And I’ve ordered his new collection, The Weird and the Eerie, and you should too. Even when k-punk was in full swing, I didn’t always read it with the eyes I have now, being more focused on finding the latest and greatest dubplates than in understanding the world; I’ve gone back to it so many times since then, and every time I’m filled with a combination of self-loathing (how did I not appreciate this?) and awe.

One thing I did devour in its moment was Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, a book as Herculean in its upending of the post-Fukuyama consensus as it is short. Not only did it change my view of the world, it also cracked open the door leading to another, better way of organizing human endeavour than the one we currently cling to. Fisher didn’t have the answers necessarily, but diagnosing the problem was more than enough of a contribution. He knew that there was something ruthlessly anti-human about the ruling ideology, and located it in the prevailing attitudes toward mental health. Another gift he bestowed was indirectly pushing me towards thinkers like Lacan, and while my understanding is still fragmented and incomplete, it was Fisher who, more than anyone else I’ve read, put his finger on the way mental health and the state are related, and shouted with arresting urgency about the problem we didn’t know we had.

I’ve always had the spirit of those early ’00s times in mind when compiling the mixes I post on this blog; in some ways I’ve been making them for Fisher, Simon Reynolds, Martin Clark, Dave Stelfox et al, an imagined audience of real heads who led me to this music in the first place. So I’m dedicating this mix to Mark Fisher, and hoping that he know how much of an impact he really had on his students – in learning settings both formal and not.

R.I.P. k-punk.

Download from Mediafire

1. Helm – Olympic Mess (N1L Remix) – Olympic Mess (N1L & Beatrice Dillon Remixes) (PAN)
2. Walton – Gunman / Caught in a Trip (Tectonic)
3. Asusu – Sendak – Hallucinator _ Sendak (Livity Sound)
4. Insha – Quiet Storm – Dysplazia (Type)
5. Pangaea – Bulb in Zinc – In Drum Play (Hessle Audio)
6. Alex Coulton – Ascent – Gamma Ray Burst (Tempa)
7. Simo Cell – Away from Keyboard – Gliding EP (Livity Sound)
8. DVA [HI:EMOTIONS] – Notu_Uronlineu – Notu_Uronlineu (Hyperdub)
9. Gundam – Too Late – Intimate / Too Late (Goon Club Allstars)
10. J:Kenzo – Zbantu Shake – Battlefield / Zbantu Shake (Artikal Music)
11. Youngsta & Cimm – Redshift – Split Minds / Redshift (Tempa)
12. Distance – Badman – Dynamis (Tectonic)
13. Ipman – Constrict – Constrict / Running Man (Tectonic)
14. Youngstar – Bongo (Hi5Ghost Remix) – Bongo Remixes (White Peach)
15. Boylan – Shimmy – Norman Bates (Oil Gang)
16. Spooky – Fiesta – Fiesta / Cherry (Oil Gang)
17. Logos – Glass (Boylan Devil Mix) – Present Different Circles (Different Circles)

Mixed Dec 29, 2016 by Dave Morris a.k.a. deemo for a-void.ca.

The 50 Best Albums of 2016

In this post: an introduction, reviews of the top 10 albums of the year, a complete top 50 list, and a streaming playlist with a track from every top 50 album save for those not on Spotify. See you in 2017!

There were no seismic shifts in the pop landscape in 2016, nor in 2015, nor in 2014, nor in recent memory. The last time I remember feeling a legit sense of the earth moving under my feet (um, ears?) was when in 2006-2007 the Neptunes and Timbaland ceded ground to Kanye West’s now-dated chipmunked vocal samples, The White Stripes (and before them, The Strokes) firmly rewrote the pop-rock template and the Dixie Chicks told the world they weren’t ready to make nice. All the change since then has felt incremental, which may be a function of my age, but aside from maybe Drake and 40, who has rewritten the playbook — anyone’s playbook? Maybe it doesn’t work like that anymore. Technological change can generally be seen only in the rear-view mirror, but I can’t help thinking it’s changing the way the music evolves. Weep for the future historians who have to find a through-line in the evolution of music in the teens.

If that’s the way things are, or will be, then 2016 was the year I stopped worrying and learned to love the absence of a bomb. None of the albums on my top 10 list feel like any kind of quantum leap forward, but they are all masterful and constantly stimulating, even surprising, on the tenth or even fiftieth listen. It’s pretty shocking to me that a straight-up gangsta rap record like Still Brazy or an instrumental-rock spazzout like Return To Sky would end up atop my list, to the point that I often wonder whether I’ve started privileging the familiar over the unexpected as a kind of defensive mechanism, against the shell-shock of the new. But the flipside of that is my disdain for the records proclaimed as epochal (Arcade Fire *durrr*, Taylor Swift *yawn*) has made me more enthusiastic about records that feature maturing talents, like Blonde, and that showcase mature artists operating at their peak, like Anguis Oleum and A Moon Shaped Pool. It’s exciting to be around when the music world is being turned upside down, but it’s no consolation prize to bear witness to a crop of artists who be doin it and doin it and doin it well.

1. Frank Ocean - Blonde (Boys Don't Cry)

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Team Frank Ocean was already a heaving bandwagon when Blonde dropped, though to these ears the hype was premature when Channel Orange was the only evidence on offer. Whatever, I probably wouldn't have thought Prince was a genius on the basis of his first album, and yet, and yet. Blonde is plenty full of genius-signaling greatness, in flashes of wry lyrical humor ("did you call me from a seance? You from my past life") and epic ballads like "White Ferrari" that just scream This Is Everything You Never Dared Hope He Could Become. There's something in Ocean's ability to leave a line hanging in the synth-soaked, sometimes guitar-wrist-flick-punctuated air. He owns the space between words, shapes it invisibly with the last line and the next one. Even the funkier moments like "Pink + White" are expertly paced hops from one melodic cloud to the next, with his signature move of brightening the harmony in mid-lyric. More than any other impulse he seems to have, Frank Ocean just loves to yank the listener from nostalgic, sometimes idyllic images drenched in romance to mundane, pungent detail about drugs or, often, driving. "We're alone, making sweet love, taking time / but god strikes us!" To me, the centerpiece of the album is "Solo" for the simple reason that it works on a granular detail level -- capturing a moment of pure bliss from an acid trip on a dance floor -- but it also works its way gradually through a heartbreak that left him alone, exposed without a lover and without the rhythm section whose absence leaves a joy-shaped hole in the track. Absence and space are the most expressive parts of the album, and knowing how to play them is irrefutable proof that Frank Ocean has ascended to a higher plane. Though if he really were some kind of god, he'd be the kind that likes to day-trip back to earth, maybe as a swan, just to mess with some poor human for a few hours before returning skyward.

 Selections from a-void’s Best Albums of 2016

 The List: 1-10

1. Frank Ocean – Blonde (Boys Don’t Cry)
2. YG – Still Brazy (400/CTE/Def Jam)
3. Lorenzo Senni – Persona (Warp)
*4. Tim Berne’s Snakeoil – Anguis Oleum (Screwgun)
5. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani – FRKWAYS Vol 13: Sunergy (RVNG Intl)
6. Causa Sui – Return To Sky (El Paraiso)
7. Pangaea – In Drum Play (Hessle Audio)
8. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (XL)
9. DVA [HI:EMOTIONS] – Notu_Ironlu (Hyperdub)
10. Kaytranada – 99.9 (XL)

 11-50

11. Pet Shop Boys – Super (X2)
12. Vince Staples – Prima Donna EP (Def Jam)
13. Weaves – Weaves (Buzz)
14. Parquet Courts – Human Performance (Matador)
15. Dinosaur Jr – Give A Glimpse Of What Yr Not (Jagjaguwar)
16. Matmos – Ultimate Care II (Thrill Jockey)
17. Gucci Mane – Everybody Looking (Atlantic)
18. *Purling Hiss – High Bias (Drag City)
19. A Tribe Called Red – We Are The Halluci Nation (Pirates Blend)
20. *Useless Eaters – Relaxing Death (Castle Face)
21. The Gaslamp Killer – Instrumentalepathy (Gaslamp Killer Music)
22. The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It (Dirty Hit/Interscope/Polydor/Vagrant)
23. Skepta – Konnichiwa (Boy Better Know)
24. Bardo Pond feat Guru Guru and Acid Mothers Temple – Acid Guru Pond (Fire)
25. Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial (Matador)
26. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You For Your Service (Epic/Sony)
27. Kenny Barron – Book Of Intuition (Impulse/Universal)
28. Poirier – Migration (Nice Up!)
29. Hieroglyphic Being And The Configurative Or Modular Me Trio – Cosmic Bebop (Mathematics)
30. Camera – Phantom of Liberty (Bureau B)
31. Rihanna – Anti (Def Jam)
32. The Field – The Follower (Kompakt)
33. Trevino – Front (C Birdie)
34. Marquis Hawkes – Social Housing (Houndstooth)
35. Warpaint – Heads Up (XL)
36. *Fp-oner – 6 (Mule Musiq)
37. Lone – Levitate (R&S)
38. *Lawrence – Yoyogi Park (Mule Musiq)
39. Black Milk and Nat Turner – The Rebellion Sessions (Computer Ugly)
40. Pye Corner Audio – Stasis (Ghost Box)
41. Africaine 808 – Basar (Golf Channel)
42. *Andrew Cyrille – The Declaration of Musical Independence (ECM)
43. Dr. Lonnie Smith – Evolution (Blue Note)
44. Jakob Skott – All The Colours of the Dust (El Paraiso)
45. Dynamis – Distance (Tectonic)
46. Gerry Read – Chubby Cheeks (Timetable)
47. Solange – A Seat At The Table (Columbia/Sony)
48. Steve Haushcildt – Strands (Kranky)
49. Future – EVOL (Epic/Sony)
50. Prins Thomas – Principe Del Norte (Smalltown Supersound)

* = not on Spotify

New mix: Shivers

deemo-shivers

A lousy day for the UK is not quite what I had envisioned for this UK-heavy mix — if anything I was hoping it would serve as a post-Remain-vote tribute to the cultural benefits of immigration, since pretty much none of the music I promote these days on the blog would exist without it. But so it goes, as my heart goes out to Britons who may be feeling less loved by their country today. Anyways that’s a lot of nonsense to pile onto what is supposed to be a party-ready mix of bass heavy tracks, so let’s get into the weekend — never mind the Brexit hangover.

Download from Mediafire

1. Alex Coulton – Ambush – Ambush / Direction (Tempa)
2. Cliques – 8th – Dotted (Tempa)
3. DVA and Addison Groove – Allyallrecords – Take It All EP (Hyperdub)
4. Phon.o – Bell Blender – Afterglow (Tectonic)
5. Nomine – Nomine’s Path – Path/Peace/Lost/Mantra (Tempa)
6. Skepta – Lyrics ft. Novelist – Konnichiwa (Boy Better Know)
7. Commodo – Set It Straight ft Rocks FOE – Set It Straight (Black Acre)
8. Boylan – Ghosts in the Machine – Ghosts in the Machine (Edgem)
9. Sully – Arco – Vamp (Black Acre)
10. DJ Voilà – Some Jazz – Aimless Summer (1080p)
11. Lone – Alpha Wheel – Levitate (R&S)
12. Deft – Ivory Tusk – Blackest EP (20/20 LDN)
13. Poirier – Kypoli feat. Machinedrum & Aleisha Lee – Migration (Nice Up!)
14. dBridge – Average Echo – Average Echo / Heritage (CNVX)
15. Etch – Triptych – Technicolor Daydream (Lapsus)
16. Folding City – Groundswell – Ice Riddim (Tuba)
17. J:Kenzo – Alight – Skatta / Alight (Cosmic Bridge)
18. Danny Scrilla – Come Cross – From The Vault Vol. 1 (Bandcamp)
19. Sam Binga & Om Unit – Windmill Kick – TransPacific EP (Bunit)
20. Special Request – Live From Alpha Centauri – Tessellations (Houndstooth)

Mixed June 14 by Dave Morris a.k.a. deemo for a-void.ca

Mix: Massive 2: Metal Plates

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Drum and bass was my first dance-music love (unless you count a flirtation with C&C Music Factory in grade school); I think it was a direct route from seeing Prodigy’s “Firestarter” video on MuchMusic to getting hold of MTV’s first Amp compilation and just playing and replaying Goldie’s “Inner City Life” over and over and over. I was all about the breaks, aside from a lingering fondness for Roni Size (firmly wiped out by paying UK import prices at the Eaton Centre HMV to get hold of the Breakbeat Era album… yurgh). I lapped up anything Goldie-related, discovered Alex Reece, Remarc, Plug, Wax Doctor, goggled a bit at Aphex Twin, Alec Empire and Squarepusher’s cuckoo-bananas contributions to the genre, and even made my poor mother turn the car radio to CIUT to catch a ragga jungle show that aired at 6am while we were on our way to school. (Sorry, mom.)

Tech-step pretty much killed the sound off for me, at which point I was deep into IDM anyway – anyone want to buy some Team Doyobi vinyl, not even slightly used, hit me on my beeper. Don’t all call at once. Anyways, the resurgence of Metalheadz, in the form of a flurry of new releases, is plenty of reason to make a sequel to the original Massive mix I did a while back. But all this grime and footwork business goes rather well with it, I must say…

Click here to download from Mediafire

Deemo – Massive 2: Metal Plates by Deemo on Mixcloud

1. Ishan Sound – Namkha (Kahn Remix) – Namkha (Tectonic)
2. DVA – Solid (feat. Zaki Ibrahim & Metrodome) – Hyperdub 10.2 (Hyperdub)
3. Tessela – Rough 2 –  Rough 2 (R&S)
4. Four Tet – Kool FM (Champion Remix) – Beautiful Rewind Remixes (Domino)
5. Cassius Select – Bruv – Tuff Sherm / Cassius Select (Plastic World)
6. Lunice  – Can’t Wait To – Can’t Wait To (LuckyMe)
7. Danny Brown – Smokin & Drinkin (DJ Sliink Remix) – Smokin & Drinkin EP (Fools Gold)
8. Emika – Double Edge (Pinch Remix) – Missing in Action: A Collection of Selected Tracks, B-Sides and Remixes from 2006-2010 (Tectonic)
9. Plastician – Aqua Riddim – Plasticman Remastered (Terrorythm)
10. Footsie  – War Dub 4 (Send For Everyone) – King Original Vol 3 (Braindead Ent)
11. Flowdan – No Gyal Tune – Serious Business EP (Hyperdub)
12. Cam’ron & A-Trak – Dipshits (feat. Juelz Santana) (clean) – Federal Reserve (Fools Gold)
13. Traxman – Da Geto Dj’z And Teklife Anthem – Traxman presents TEKLIVING the Bandcamp Album (Bandcamp)
14. DJ Rashad, MoonDoctoR & FreshtillDef – Don’t Blow My High – WTF! (Freshmoon)
15. Nucleus & Paradox – The Return Of…   – The Return Of… / Analogue Life (Metalheadz)
16. Mako feat. Detail – Tell Me Something – The Truthseekers (Metalheadz)
17. SB81 – Arq – The Blueprints EP (Metalheadz)
18. Lenzman – My Tearz (feat. Steo) – Looking at the Stars (Metalheadz)