Incomplete festival review and contest. Kuma Hora, Czech Republic – july 13th, 2012. All the concert goers looked like the future people in Bill and Ted’s. One of them floated up and shyly asked if I’d judge a contest of a few new bands playing the fest. I took this request from the future very seriously and these reviews are the result.
Planety: Pět minut za městem A dreamy crash-boom-bang traditional pop sound played with force. Heavily effected up beat lead guitars smells like Czech grunge. The lo-fi approach and flavor has me dancing around the room. It doesn’t even matter that I don’t understand a word, I instantly liked Planety’s simple approach. LISTEN:
KRISTEN: An Accident! Loopy intricate guitar & bass paired with sparse open drumming and repetitive vocals. Solemn interesting indie noise music. I believe the late Jean-Michel Basquiat would have loved this Polish trio. Aggressive jazzy dance jams with free form bits scattered all over the place. BRAVO! LISTEN:
Piotr Kurek: Coda (Digitalis – sold out) Insanely surreal video game sounds pushed together by analog keyboards. Like being trapped in a 8 bit haunted house while wearing a lead suit. I like that this Warsaw artist is working with dance companies and artist residencies. I’d love to see the results of those efforts someday. LISTEN:
Aches: Fine Tongue EP on EXITAB label. Colorful droning loops with nice organic feeling. Super creepy “stalker vibe” vocals and ultra slow drum machine beats. Painterly guitars that seem dream like over what sounds like screwed up jungle beats. This Brit relocated to eastern Europe and interesting results abound. LISTEN:
Mile Me Deaf: Call Us Rats – Fettkakao Sampler – Fettkakao 2011 // fett022 Sarcastic psychedelic pop music. Driven by a collective beauty and tight guitars. From Fettkakao, the same Vienna label that brought you PLAIDED and VORTEX REX, two additional pop groups with a very unique takes on the form. I recommend all three whole heartedly. LISTEN:
Rouilleux: Zugzwang Hand made black and silver digipack. Slow sad wash of tortured guitar. Like a long folk song sung underwater. High smokey vocals sung under a curtain of effects. Rouilleux is very depression influenced but still the balance of noise and songwriting is pleasant and keeps the listener engaged. LISTEN:
S ND Y P RL RS: DARK MATTER book + cdr, 22 pgs, Colpa Press Nice warm German drone that lasts and lasts. The book would certainly enhance the experience of the piece, alas I didn’t get one. Still I enjoy the warm, slow building rumble this Berliner produces. Sounds like living in a jet engine or a steam ship. Just like any long trip, after about 40 minutes, S ND Y P RL RS slowly fades out and ends… LISTEN:
The refreshing and generous Andy Moor sent this transcription of a transversal discussion he had with Jace Clayton, aka DJ/rupture, conversing about possible meanings for the expression “post-colonial culture”, the uncertain substance of rastafarianism or what DJ tools you should use or not… Music always meets politics.
“Pazuzu, Lord of Fevers and Plagues, Dark Angel of the Four Winds with rotting genitals from which he howls through sharpened teeth over stricken cities….” (William S. Burroughs, Cities of the Red Night)
A recent PEW/Psychedelia American Life survey revealed that Astral Travellers spend between 10-15% of their off-Earth time inMUTWAWA.
MUTWAWA is an acid Rorschach blot (bloat?) for seekers & questers.
Some samples have been brought back from the Astral Plane, and decomposed into their constituent parts by dark-side-of-the-force chemists.
We know what MUTWAWA is made of, but not how or why.
The Association for MUTWAWAN studies held its last congress at the summit of the Great Pyramid of Cholula. No agreement was reached about MUTWAWA’s Ontology and Ontogeny.
Several theories vie for supremacy:
MUTWAWA is the ectoplasm of the ghosts of the victims of 20th Century imperialism jacking a séance convened by Green Velvet.
MUTWAWA is the conventional-direction-of-time-countervailing-ripple produced by the achievement of consciousness by military drones after entering contact with ancient Balinese spirits, aka the future echoes of a Jodorowsky-class singularity.
MUTWAWA are Wolf Eyes squashed at the revolutionary disco.
MUTWAWA are being trained up by Add (n) to (x) and Gibson’s Digi-Loa to go into the black fibre wastelands of the matrix, and whip the floor with the Lawnmower Man’s ass.
We look forward to the hypothesis testing & methodological developments that will be afforded by the release of their new cassette, ‘Lamashtu Pazuzu’, where some have already pointed out that they have their ‘Dinosaur X Moment’.
Picture by Joseph Stuefer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/josefstuefer/)
The Staircase Conspiracy is an imposingly complex, fluid and organic mixtape/collage showcasing Discrepant‘s musical randomness and embracing lots of points of collision with Cedric Stevens’/The Syncopated Elevators Legacy atmospheres (see Discrepant’s previous post on the subject here).
The Staircase Conspiracy Tape Vol. 1
Tracklist: Cédric Stevens - Between The Battle and the Sheets (Fennesz Remix) Roy Porter - Tleilax Marcel Duchamp - The Creative Act Ben Frost - Stomp Andy Moor & Anne-James Chaton - Une Histoire De L’aviation Leyland Kirby - This is the STory of Paradise Lost Liz Green - Bad Medicine Cédric Stevens - Vanda (excerpt) Oiseaux D’europe (excerpt) Tremor- Caracol Petrona Martinez - Sepitema (Thornato Remix) Burning Star Core - Hopelessly Devoted (excerpt) Third Eye Foundation – Lions Writing The Bible Benoit Poelvorde - Mer Du Nord Poem ( from Man Bites Dog) Oiseaux D’europe (excerpt) Acid Kirk - Hillary Fuzz Station (Excerpt) Werner Herzog - On the Obscenity of the Jungle Paul Cantelon - Theme For The Diving Bell And The Butterfly Nils Frahm - Familiar Robert Mitchum - Preacher Song (from Night Of The Hunter) Acid Kirk - Hillary Fuzz Station (Excerpt) Drifting Bear Collective - Cum Jack Frost (Excerpt)
Many people wound up on this post through various sources (Death Grips Twitter account, Brooklyn Vegan, Tiny Mixtapes, CorruptFork…). If you’re into weird hip hop, you should also listen to the amazing band Clipping. They are not this week’s epicentre of the Hype, but they do mindblowing music.
Don’t let machiavelian PR schemes fool you, the bear is the actual album cover.
Last february, I was disappointed to learn that Death Grips, a wonderful trio making angry fractured hip hop (with The Magnificent Zach Hill on drums, Andy Morin on keyboards and Stefan Burnett on vocals), had signed a major label deal with Epic/Sony.
Ex-Military Mixtape, their first album, was released under a Creative Commons non commercial licence, allowing people to copy, distribute, display, and build derivative works based on their music, as long as it was for non-commercial purposes. Consequence ? Ex-Military was shared hundreds of thousands of times. It turned Death Grips into one of the most famous indie band taking a real alternative stance on the actual copyright system, acknowledging people’s right to share. AND it is an awesome record.
Then they signed with a Major. Obviously, it wasn’t just a greedy move (anyone who knows the bands members will agree on this), but rather a “we’ll have big distribution and total control over creativity” blah blah thing. Death Grips stated they would release two albums this year via Epic: The Money Store (last april), and No Love Deep Web (planned this October).
When the Money Store came out, Epic/Sony predictably barred them from using a Creative Commons licence. The band then decided to act naughty: they leaked the album on Youtube anyway, allowed people to download a bunch of tracks, leaked the instrumentals after an incredible hide-and-seek game in the deep internet. Death Grips also are the most legally-downloaded band on BitTorrent in the first half of 2012 (oh my god, 34,151,432 downloads of weirdo hip hop noise music). The Money Store truly is an amazing piece of music, but the whole album wasn’t released under a Creative Commons licence, so legally people weren’t allowed to share all the tracks, remix it, etc.
However, it seems the honeymoon between Death Grips and Epic is officially over. Death Grips tweeted today “The label wouldn’t confirm a release date for NO LOVE DEEP WEB ’till next year sometime. The label will be hearing the album for the first time with you”.
Ten hours later, they released their new album for free. Tons of websites have already reported it, but it seems only a few (i say “a few” because i’m polite, i actually read nothing about it – edit: Death Grips and others have spread the A&D post you’re reading, thanks to them, and Consequence of Sound wrote a piece about it) noticed they didn’t just “release it for free”: they allow anyone to make money with it.
According to the Archive.org download link they’ve posted themselves, this album is indeed released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence, a veeery open one. Of course, it lets people share and remix the music, but contrary to the previous licence they chose for Ex-Military, it also authorizes commercial uses without asking permission, as long as the music is still credited to the band. Yes, you can use Death Grips’ music in a TV ad (for an energy drink maybe?), or in a big commercial movie. You don’t have to wait for a physical release date, you can start a record label instead, press and sell 10,000 copies of this album without even asking the band NOR Epic/Sony if they are okay with that. Well, if you’re not an asshole, I hope you’ll send Death Grips some money.
Some people (Hi Sean!) are wondering if the whole operation is a PR stunt. But the licence chosen debunks such hypotheses because it implies that Epic/Sony don’t have exclusive commercial rights on Death Grips’ music anymore (while a Creative Commons Non Commercial licence would have allowed Epic/Sony to retain exclusive rights on commercial uses). There’s no way a major compagny would accept such a licence as part of a PR scheme. Actually I think it is the first time a band signed on a major label releases an album on a CC Attribution 3.0 licence.
Anyway, i wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Epic/Sony for pissing off Death Grips and pushing them back to the arms of Creative Commons. Sharing is Caring, blah blah blah, Amen.
EDIT 10.4.12:Death Grips have now changed the Creative Commons Attribution licence into an Attribution-Non Commercial one. It means you can share or remix the work, but NOT use it commercially without permission. Several explanations are possible: - They didn’t know what kind of licence they took in the first place (I doubt it, as it wasn’t their first Creative Commons release and Death Grips themselves shared this A&D post via Twitter). - They changed their mind. - Epic/Sony made them change the licence, so the Major Company can still have exclusive commercial rights on Death Grips music. As the Major Company has paid for the recording of No Love Deep Web, this scenario is quite likely.
I suppose you have noticed it, more and more blogs/webzines/old medias have developped the quite peculiar habit of getting carried away by bands that have recorded only one or two mp3s, and/or to write about records which won’t be released until several months. These cultural phenomena have deep and multiple causes, although today we will briefly touch upon a few of them:
On the media side If you want to get some attention among the thousands of billions of posts cracking everyday on the interweb, you have three options: 1) To be the first 2) To be interesting 3) To be funny
To be interesting is difficult and takes a lot of time without any certainty of any achievement. To be funny is a gift from the gods and, as an unfair but logical consequence, is not accessible to everyone. To be the first thus is the easiest. And writing about something months prior its release, or about someone still in his foetal state, is a good way to be the first.
On the band/producer side The goal is to create artificial buzz with tiny bits of a piece of work. You can’t verify and judge by yourself, you have to believe the teaser. Without even acknowledging it, a lot of small indie labels use the same marketing methods as the movie and video game industries. Sometimes their teasers reach unexpected heights of vacuity : “Hey, a-band-you-don’t-care-about has just released the TRACKLIST of its new EP! Let’s all talk about it!”
On the “everyone” side We’re all addicts to the Novelty Orgasm. We want to be connected to the Flux of Now, to listen to new music as soon as it has been recorded. As if music obeyed to a darwinian process, as if The New was, in itself, superior to The Old.
These are troublesome facts because they are largely scattered, almost systematic. When we’ll write the Tablets of Stone of A&D, we shall include these two commandments : Don’t write about a band until he has released at least one full album. And Don’t write about it until you have actually listened to it.
But of course, a few bands would lead anyone to bend these rules. For instance, Clipping:
Clipping make hip-hop. They are a weird, noisy, radical hip hop trio. Two guys twiddle bleep bloop machines producing krrrrrrrr and ssshhhh and sometimes jkl<dy!!_*hfsd sounds, while a third one declaims demented lyrics in fast forward mode. We had some very good deviant hip hop recently (Death Grips, Shabazz Palaces), and one can expect the same kind of febrile excitation here.
It just drilled my ears. Actually I needed it to accompany me in the bus, at the supermarket, or at the golf club. Clipping didn’t care about me and didn’t include a download button so I bravely ripped it from Soundcloud and listened to it 321 times. But it was only one song, so I had to curb my enthusiasm.
Then I saw this video:
Ok Gwendolyne, they seem to not suck live (I have a slight tendancy to speak to myself when i’m moved emotionnally). Their show at Enter The Interweb confirmed this assumption:
My expert detective skills a basic internet search coupled with a few questions to Brian Miller taught me more about the identities of Clipping’s members. One of them already is an undergound star : Jonathan Snipes of electro dance punk metal joyous pop hardcore band Captain Ahab. Jonathan makes all his music available digitally on a free donation basis (go listen to the last Captain Ahab album, The End of Irony). Another Clipping dude has been involved for a long time in the let’s-release-crazy-experimental-modular-synth-music-limited-to-30-copies scene: William Hutson of Rale. He releases limited cassettes on numerous labels and runs Accidie Records. And then there is Daveed Dibbs, rapper, actor, educator with a lot of messy hair and an insane flow. Dave released his first solo album for free last January (grab it here).
And now the time of the first Clipping release has come: A tape just came out on Deathbomb. It only is a three songs/ten minutes tape, but it will make a rain dance happen in your panties. At least, it finished to wow me and to get through all my ethical principles. Listen below to Face (an hysterical swoop), a studio freestyle, and Broke (dark, slow track). Hail Clipping.
When I feel like giving up on life, I think of a handful of people and Jesse Hlebo of Swill Children is one of them. Jesse takes the hard road, never cuts corners, and sees things through to the end every time. This and his massive talent as an artist and designer keep me collecting all his releases. Swill Children is an independent record label/book publishing company from Brooklyn NY that has released music by Lucky Dragons, Guardian Alien, W-H-I-T-E, Nü Sensae and Okie Dokie among others. They’ve also published books by Grant Willing, Bryan Kruger, Ryan Foerster and Taraka Larson. All the books and Vinyl are printed in house on a Risograph (high-speed digital printing system).
2. Pdf version of the first book published by Swill Children: Jesse Hlebo & Hannah Racecar – I Tried To Take A Picture Of The Moon Because It Was So Big or The Math Drinkers(right click/save as)
Jesse Hlebo and Hannah Racecar collaborated on a zine in which they took pictures and wrote poems once a day for six days, leaving up to chance the content that was to be produced. The result is a brief glimpse at lives full of frustration and loneliness.
3. Go spend some valuable time on Swill Children’s website.
The swill children projects suggest a narrative but there not linked together are they? How far ahead do you plan?Do you have an arc in mind for Swill Children?
There is an arc for Swill Children but it’s more spontaneous than engineered for a particular future. I never know what will happen next month or next year. I try and respond to what came before and keep moving forward. Each release references sorrow or jubilance in a manner that converses with the last. I sort of viewed this last batch of releases as a unit, though they are very distinct from one another. I haven’t done that before.
Can you tell me a bit about your relationship with NYC?
I’ve never been to a place that was as inclusive as NYC. The time in which it took me to get involved with the music scene was not only quicker than any other place I’d lived, but was far more passionate and heartfelt. It’s the first place I’ve lived for more than a year since I was 17 but has yet to become dull in any way. Not that things are ‘comfortable’, things just fit. I don’t know if I could live anywhere else.
Who is Jesse Hlebo?
I spend a large part of my day trying to figure out this question. I’m not sure if I’ll ever know.
On your website you have the Sopa Petition pop up. What’s the deal?
SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) is an act that the USA government has been attempting to pass that would, in short, introduce a very highly controlled haze over the internet that doesn’t currently exist on such a massive scale. It is an outright attempt at censorship and authoritarian control. I’m really glad the internet has continued to be as ‘wild-west’ as it has for so long and think it should stay free for as long as possible.
What images do you come back to again and again?
Maurice Ronet looking into a mirror before committing suicide in The Fire Within, directed by Louis Malle. The fire and crickets scene from Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. Gordan Matta-Clark’s documentation of Splitting: Four Corners. The elephant-trampling scene in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. Tauba Auerbach‘s Static photographs of television static. The first time I saw Richard Tuttle‘s work at MoCA in Los Angeles. Fireworks exploding in a panorama around me while laying on my roof in Brooklyn. Childhood best friend rolling over a brick and cutting open leg, blood seeping through his pants and dripping on ground while running. Skateboarding in Union Station in Los Angeles while drunk, falling on my face, bleeding everywhere, and peeing in a urinal while blood dripped into the water. And running on gravel between trains in Klamath Falls at 4am while being chased by a railroad officer.
What projects are coming up?
Paperweight -a primarily online-based organization dedicated to furthering a dialogue on independent publishing- is about to launch on Thursday the 12th of July. We’re participating in Brooklyn Shelf Life, a year long project with a total of 48 publications. New releases in the coming months from _ Quarterly, Andrew Laumann + Jesse Hlebo, Peter Sutherland. We’re participating in Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair at the end of September as well as the Sculpture Center block party at the beginning of September.
When we asked Orange Milk Records if they wanted to take part in A&D’s project, Keith Rankin (who co-runs the label, and also is a musician and a visual artist) answered us heartwarming words:
“The manifesto is pretty intense… I always wonder why more people aren’t discussing the topic, as it’s one of the most relevant to small musicians these days. I’m glad to see the view that downloading/sharing isn’t a purely negative force, but a deep part of human nature and history. I don’t like the argument some people make that we need to revert to a 90s model of buying more records… new models need to be discussed, obviously. So in short.. I love what you’re doing here”.
Of course, such a kind message is all the more embarrassing as our donation platform isn’t ready yet (hopefully it is only a matter of weeks now). However, Keith sent us two art pieces he has done recently (lots more can be seen on his flickr page here), and we take this opportunity to mention some Orange Milk releases.
Keith also has a solo project, Giant Claw, in which he “makes music that sounds like the soundtrack to a dystopian children’s book published in 1981″. He just released a new album on Wool Recordings. You can stream it here and buy it there.
Orange Milk Upcoming Releases (tapes will be out soon and you can already listen to the whole albums and buy digital versions on a free donation basis on Orange Milk’s bandcamp)
Maharadja Sweets – Engines of Joy CS
I’m still not sure what it is about Maharadja Sweet’s music that is so sincere it brings joy and pain simultaneously. There is something undeniable about a man who looks like a distressed bank teller by day and an open mic circuit player by night.
Maharadja Sweets – Hobbes to Calvin
Criminals - Babes CS
“Slow, quiet jams; hot off our July tour. All recorded in my dead aunt’s empty house in a remote oak-and-plastic suburb. I play foghorn, ms-10, & piano, Leslie plays bass, motors, & violin.” – Andy Burkholder
HCMJ - Honeybee CS
Honeybee is an experiment in twisted droning metal, dark synth weirdness, and galloping acoustic ballads. It’s also a concept album about a group of sailors from the late 16th century who return to the shores of spain only to discover that the land has become like a corrupt jpg – broken and whitewashed.
Slow Boat pulls out every last sound in the organic world and puts it into a context of sheer beauty and conceptual interest simultaneously. It is masterfully original and well thought out with superb musicianship and puts hope into the polarized world of conceptual vs. analytic. This is a limited pressing of 300. Featuring Eli Keszler on percussion.
Cream Juice - Self Titled CS
Seth Graham (Henry Dawson) & Keith Rankin (Giant Claw) bringing some improv synth randomness. This is a sprawling hour-long debut.
Sean McCann – Open Resolve LP
A seminal recording of sound collage and experimental synthesizer sounds from one of the brightest musicians in underground America. PLAY LOUD.
Acolytes is (Mysterious first name) “Boseman” (Mysterious last name), a friend of Russell of The Pheromoans. Actually I met him on Soulseek, this P2P culture-sharing network is litteraly crowded with musicians/activists. Boseman is supposed to do a duel interview with Russell for Amour & Discipline, but it will probably take him 7 years as he would rather do nothing or just sit and listen to grime like a fucking chav. However, his first EP on Savoury Days, Known Nonsense, is a true jewel of “creepy and complex psychedelia, an updated take on 80′s DIY eclecticism, from the likes of Gareth Williams, Prominent Disturbance or L. Voag, with a hint of futuristic proggers such as Heldon” (Russel’s words). Yes that’s a lot of name dropping but Acolytes deserve it and I can’t wait to hear his first full album. Life is short and we’re all gonna die soon in a awkward way so you should stream now the whole A side just below (three songs: The Music of Eric Zahn, Syncopated Sleep and The Agreement) and then swiftly spend all your money there.
I can’t get bored of the new Zea 7″ with clarinet player Xavier Charles. Zea is known for his booty-shaking pop punk anthems, but here he’s showing his sensitive side with Bourgeois Blues (a cover of Leadbelly) and two new songs. Buy it directly from Arnold here.
Does anyone know why there is sometimes such a disgraceful big blank after the song names on Soundcloud players?If you can show us the light please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Gay Anniversary is a noise punk band from Athens, Greece and I’m gonna rip-off their own description. They sound likeanother boring clone a credible reincarnation of Bick Black. Scratching guitars, Pounding drum machine, Robocop bass, Barked vocals, Wild excitation: everything is in its right place. Why not take a look at their Bandcamp page? Some members also play in Bazooka, you can admire their poetic skills in “I Want to fuck all the girls in my school”. Both bands respectively released a LP and a 7″ on the excellent Slovenly Recordings.
Gay Anniversary – American Yard
Gay Anniversary – Choke This
Bazooka – I Want To Fuck All The Girls In My School
Dan negociating ice cream flavors with wealthy indie labels.
Dan Deacon hasn’t sent us his contribution to A&D webzine yet but we still love him, because he wrote a great Grnd Zero support letter to the Lyon’s City Council (thanks a billion times, dude), and also because he just spread a vigorous track from his forthcoming America LP over the interweb. The lyrics of this new album are supposed to advocate the destruction of capitalism or something but according to reliable sources far-fetched rumors he SHAMELESSLY BETRAYED Carpark records because Domino offered him more strawberry ice cream. And yet I can’t wait to hear it and fight big corporations and see him live again and feel as if I will be four years old forever.
B) We don’t care about the release date anyway (non-2012 records)
Mississippi Records released several extraordinary compilations in 2010, one of them being I’ll Meet You On The Other Shore, the third installment of the Field Recordings From Alan Lomax’s “Southern Journey”, 1959-1960 series. It’s nothing but stunning blues, folk, work songs & gospel. This record is long out of print and cyberlockers suck, so you’ll have to create a Soulseek account to get the full album (and of course if you like circular pieces of vinylidene polymers you should also take a look at Mississipi’s available records). This music will make you want to sit under an oak tree, bite a fruit, let the wind lick your hair, while thinking about all the good and bad things you did during your lifetime.
This Banjo can almost prove the existence of God: Hobart Smith – Railroad Bill (Right click/Save as)
Union Choir of the Church of God and Saints of Christ – None But The Righteous (Right click/Save as)
Noise-duo Yellow Swans (and Pete Swanson solo works) deserve to have a whole book written about them but for now let’s just say their music was, in their own words, “a constantly evolving mass of psychedelic noise that is both physically arresting and psychically liberating”. This surprising emo-pop track comes from the 2007 tape Deterioration, one year prior to their separation. It is out of print too so you know what you gotta do.