Catching up: Björk, John Carpenter, DJ Clent

bjork

Björk
Vulnicura
One Little Indian

I guess this is Bjork’s breakup record but I always heard, well, all of them as breakup records. All that vocalese and weird phrasing and unprompted high-note-hitting screams angst to these ears. It’s just that on Vulnicura the lyrics match up to the overall mood. You can’t mistake “History of Touches” for merely pining for the fjords.

It really works. The prog-rock time signature wonkery and emotive ramblings perfectly capture the feeling of once-solid emotional supports disintegrating with little warning. And the production is riveting, making full use of strings’ inherent melancholy. I wouldn’t wish the apparent emotional turmoil of this record on anyone, but sad Bjork appears to produce the best Bjork.

carpenter

John Carpenter
John Carpenter’s Lost Themes
Sacred Bones

People need to make more John Carpenter movies, apparently. Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury’s Drokk was apparently commissioned for Dredd, but the filmmakers ultimately didn’t feel the very Carpenter-like vibe of their score would fit the more conventional-action-movie movie itself. Likewise, apparently Mr. Carpenter has lots of tunes for movies that never existed or got made, and it’s a fun game to listen to these while imagining a Snake Plissken-like figure walking across a rainy landing strip toward the camera. Carpenter’s got a fabulous sense of drama and clearly knows his way around a synth or two; I’m not convinced I’ll be listening to this set more than occasionally given that his compositional skills are more limited than his arranging or melody-crafting ones — there’s a certain formulaic quality that’s maybe to be expected from a director who makes a lot of genre pictures. Still, some good fun to be had if you don’t ask too much of it.


dj-clent

DJ Clent
Last Bus To Lake Park
Duck N’ Cover

Since footwork was thrust into the wider consciousness (ie. white people like me discovered it – in my case, with DJ Rashad’s Just A Taste which was four years ago), the releases I’ve cherry-picked from the ether have spanned from super basic hack-job sampling to futuristic brain-melting slabs of innovation. Props to veteran DJ Clent for making a record squarely the middle of that spectrum without sacrificing any urgency or excitement. “Space Control” feels like a race car that’s going to fly off and smash into the warning track at any second, but miraculously holds onto the groove; “Fear This Muthafucka” pairs an eerie vocal siren with a series of spoken and synthesized barks that are as disorienting as being slapped around the face. But “Let Me See You Juke” is as straightforward as they come. Your juking, motherfucker, let me see it. The Nintendo song doesn’t totally work, but otherwise Last Bus To Lake Park is so good that I have a hard time choosing a favourite. Naturally, the track with the most “motherfucker”s wins by default.

Mix: Get Bodied

deemo-getbodied

Haven’t had time to do much in the way of posting lately, but I’ve got a couple of mixes on deck to share, starting with this one. That Evian Christ track in particular is a stormer. Get up on it like this.

Click here to download from Mediafire

 

Deemo – Get Bodied by Deemo on Mixcloud

1. Bjork – Virus (Hudson Mohawke’s Peaches & Guacamol remix) – Bastards (One Little Indian)
2. French Fries – U.M-An – Kepler (Clek Clek Boom)
3. Evian Christ – Propeller – Waterfall (Tri Angle)
4. Gladiator – Assembly Line (Original Mix) – Assembly Line (Fool’s Gold)
5. JT The Goon – Eski Moment – Twin Warriors EP (Oil Gang)
6. Mumdance & Rabit – Square Wave Shell Down – Boxed Vol. 1 (Boxed)
7. Arctic – The Sicilian – 14 tracks: Nexx Level Grime (Boomkat)
8. Bok Bok – Melba’s Call (feat. Kelela) – Melba’s Call (feat. Kelela) (Night Slugs)
9. Machinedrum – Back Seat Ho (Rustie Remix) – Fenris District (Ninja Tune)
10. Mark Pritchard – Makin a Livin’ – Bleep: The Top 100 Tracks of 2013 (Bleep)
11. DJ Clent – Don’t Leave Me (Baby) – Hyper Feet (Planet Mu)
12. Henry Rodrick – Hey Baby – Don’t Believe (Studio Barnhus)
13. Umbertron – Jackmi – Chicago Tek (Loose Squares)
14. Ital Tek – Universal Decay – Mega City Industry (Civil Music)
15. DJ Earl Heavee & DJ Taye – RubbaBANDZ – Audio Fixx 2 (Ghetto Teknitianz)
16. H-SIK – Sonic Rage – Sonic Rage / No Promises (Black Acre)
17. A Tribe Called Quest – Stressed Out (Bjork’s Married to the Mob Mix) – Stressed Out (Jive)

Mixed April 12 by Dave Morris a.k.a. Deemo for a-void.ca

September late pass: Machinedrum, Jessy Lanza, Traxman

If your September was anywhere as batshit crazy as mine, the flurry of new albums saw a few winners slip through the cracks. Time for another update of Ye Old Late Pass series: September albums edition.

Continue reading “September late pass: Machinedrum, Jessy Lanza, Traxman”

Galapagos and Tuesday dls: Young Jeezy, Shlomo, mo

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Why is it, a-void readers, that our fellow 9-5ers take very little convincing to go for mid-week drinks despite the near-guaranteed hangover and wallet-damage; but when I try to get them to check out new music�such as Galapagos at The Drake a couple weeks ago�they come up with the flimsiest of excuses? Not that the organizers didn�t fully pack the place. I just didn�t hardly know anyone there. It boggles the mind.

My favourite moment, out of a wealth of great moments, was when Shlohmo (pictured above looking like a wizard) asked the assembled onlookers if we liked Waka Flocka Flame? Muted cheers. Each of the performers I saw found their sets� sweet spot (TOKiMONSTA melted my brain. Next time bring merch!), but the crowd were fickle enough that I may have been the only one loving Shlomo�s crunktastic “Pretty Boy Swag” remix. Dammit people, you�re the adventurous ones�all we are saying is give Gucci Mane (and Zaytoven and Drumma Boy) a chance.

Young Jeezy�s new single “Ballin�” works well as remedial listening�it�s technically brand new, but the hailstorm of hi-hats and the church bells tolling murrrderrrr will get you up to speed on Jeezy�s M.O. faster than he can say Yeaaa-aaaah. Which really isn�t very fast. Warning, though: if you don�t know Lil Wayne, don�t start here. You�d come away thinking he was a poor man�s Rick Ross. [LINK]

I am all up in Shigeto�s fanclub as you may have noticed from my recent mix (AHEM), so I was already paying-what-I-wanted for his collab with ambient dude Heathered Pearls before the beat even kicked in. Both men�s sonic signatures are all up in “Porcelain,” though the two styles gel better than expected; the clattering beat is as confounding as the ambient drone is soothing, though the sudden shifts in mood keep it perpetually on the edge of toppling over. This is active listening music, so don�t sleep. [LINK] (via 92bpm).

Six things that crossed my mind within moments of seeing that these juke/footwork legends took a gig in New York:
1. Fuck! I should have gone to New York;
2. Or I could try to see them in Chicago;
3. I wonder how much it costs to book DJ Rashad?;
4. Juke tracks, even ones with as much rubbery intangible funk as Rashad�s “Loud Pakk,” are only ever as good as their sample; 5. Which explains why the other three tracks you can download at this link are average, while “Loud Pakk” is just the kind of thing that will give you a seizure, and once you�re done convulsing you�ll just put it on again.
6. And that�s before the 2-minute mark, when a tech-y synth comes in and just Wrecks. Mother. Fucking. Shop. [LINK]

I was lucky enough to be introduced to XI at the Galapagos gig, and lo and behold he got profiled on Spinner without my involvement. I would be annoyed if Tabassum Siddiqui didn�t do such a fine job. Cop his tune “Medicate,” which balances three competing styles at once: the bass pressure of dubstep, the effervescent hi-hats of garage and the almost G-funk-like melody floating through on the Moog-esque synth lead. *TILT*.� [LINK]

Cop this nine-minute extended mix of “Deny This” from Mark E and tell me whether it�s brilliant, a good way for DJs to take a bathroom break, or both. [LINK]

Tuesday downloads: Mophono, snares, shorties

 width=Thinking about snare drums: on first blush, not exciting. Many of you would rather smack yourselves in the bits with the business end of a ball-peen hammer than read about snare drums. (OUCH.) But what is break-based music about if not snare drums? Ponder if you will. The kick is the kick, maybe drowning in an ocean of reverb, maybe dry as the skin between Ashy Larry�s fingers and pitched somewhere around your neck bone, but either way, a low thud of some kind. The snare, on the other hand, can be anything. A finger snap, a stick to the rim, a booming explosion, a compressed burst of white noise, a searing hand clap, a pop, a blurt, a ping, a wave that hits you from behind, an elastic stretched off into infinity, or just the end of the measure. The world in a single sound.

Finger snaps are what are currently scaring me, only because in the wake of producers like TOKIMONSTA and FlyLo turning the finger snap into the sound of your neck releasing your head from its attachment to your body, it�s become a bit of a clich�. This is why I currently love Mophono, whose album Cut Form Crush has just hit stores with a mighty WHAP!. �Be Human Part One” (via the ever-marvelous MyManHenri) has been on deck for one of my mixes forever, not least because those rolling snares break up a dreamy Shigeto or Dunian track like an axe through a cord of wood. Mophono is conversant in many variants of the boom bap tongue; this mix for Friends Of Friends is a United Nations of snare badness. If you try to sleep on it, the drums might gang up on you.

[LINK via Let�s Get Digital]

I gotta go do the dishes because curry isn�t like regular food whose plates you can leave for a day or so without too much fear of smell or bugs. So here are two quick hits. Hi, haters.

Lone: English tech producer makes snappy lil mix for Bleep�s Bloc Festival that�s still nowhere near as fun as his 2010 album Emerald Fantasy Tracks, and yet is still ridonkulously good times (do the math): [LINK via XLR8R]

You didn�t think I was going to quit without giving you some fresh juke, did you? Chrissy Murderbot drops a fusion track into DJ Spinn�s Cuisnart; the resulting mixture is like a fruit smoothie with slabs of dark chocolate in it � totally heterogenous, and still awesome. [STREAM via FACT]

Tuesday downloads: fancy footwork

Watch this. Feel that lump in your throat? When all the handwringing about exploitation begins � and there will be plenty of both the former and the latter (somewhere at this very moment a deeply unfair reality show contract is almost certainly being drawn up) � let�s not forget why we chase highs like the feeling of watching something that fresh and amazing for the first time. It�s like finding a trove of unseen Picassos in a flea market, if comparing wastelands like YouTube and the blogosphere to a flea market isn�t too much of an insult to flea markets.

I�m crazy late to the game, of course � people have been doing footwork in Chicago since the late �80s. It took Planet Mu�s Mike Paradinas (a.k.a. u-Ziq) championing the music for me to notice, which isn�t a small thing either. I didn�t think much of DJ Nate�s �Hatas Our Motivation,� Planet Mu�s first footwork release, or the stuff on Ghettophiles that I heard. Where�s the beat? Why are the loops so short? Who wants to turn up the bass with all that distorted middle-range? Whatever magical combination of gabba-like sample stabs, drum machine tom-toms and soul that I wasn�t even hearing as music, Paradinas did. I wonder if he can explain why I�m the only one who thinks the new Kanye can eat a bag of fuck?

�Here it comes / the sound of confusion�
� �Walking With Jesus,� Spiritualized

My switch got flipped by DJ Rashad�s forthcoming Just A Taste [STREAM], but it�s not out yet, so while you listen to his and DJ Spinn�s disorienting �Go Crazy� on loop so many times it turns your cerebral cortex into lumpy yoghurt, download DJ Earl�s �Hit Da Bootz� for a basic but compelling example of how to turn an 8Ball & MJG sample into a straight banger. Rashad�s single from earlier this year, �Itz Not Rite� is worth a purchase if only to find out what these shits sound like properly mastered. Which is to say, face-melting, like the best early drum �n� bass. Or Monk. Don�t you dare laugh.

[DJ Earl LINK via FACTmag; DJ Rashad available via Boomkat/iTunes/etc]

Tuesday: Madlib, Shackleton, footwork, Young Galaxy

"Start" by Lee J Haywood
Image by Lee J Haywood (via Creative Commons)

Love that sign. Tempting as it may be to link to the Jay-Z remix of “Beware Of The Boys,” let’s keep this inaugural post on track. For starters we’ve got a Madlib / Karriem Riggins joint from ‘lib’s latest entry in the Madlib Medicine Show series; they’ve been hit or miss, but this jazzy little track with a neck breaker of a beat is definitely a hit. (via Stones Throw)

Props to Shackleton for pulling a Ricardo Villalobos with his Fabric 55 mix (from which “International Fires” is drawn); he might not sound quite so druggy, but weirdly wonky is an acceptable substitute. If you wanted to make a second soundtrack to the Zhora chase scene in Blade Runner, this would do the trick. Disorienting, frantic but still focused. A delight. (via RCRD LBL)

“For many, the songs on the compilation will be challenging.” But rewarding, I’m sure, is what NPR meant to say. Ahh, noblesse oblige. Are they suggesting that this compilation of footwork tracks is challenging the way Bruce Springsteen is? I was about to make a comment about the fact that it took Planet Mu’s Mike Paradinas (a.k.a. u-Ziq) to cross an ocean and sign these acts to get NPR to pay attention, but even the dubious write-up that goes with Bangs & Works Vol 1 is still recognition, and the fact that it seems to be arriving for footwork before it’s already over is encouraging. I hope David Lachappelle makes a documentary so I can see how they dance to this stuff. I am only half kidding.

One other thing: Canadians will know Young Galaxy in the way Americans will know Justin Guarini, in that both are among the few to have squandered their initial cultural captial (YG – signed to Arts&Crafts; JG – American Idol winner). But I had a soft spot for Young Galaxy’s overlooked second album, Invisible Republic, so I’m happy that the two available tracks from their third disc, Shapeshifting, are getting blog buzz thanks to the shimmering, Balearic production by Dan Lissvik of Swedish duo Studio. The tunes are really good too, ya know. (via Gorilla Vs Bear)