The rising London-based imprint Dred Collective has been sharing free tracks all year, first with weekly round-ups on its Facebook page and its increasingly prolific collaborations with Footwork Jungle. FJ's traction isn't something you should mess with: between it and Dred, previous collaborations have sported a healthy roster of Teklife members and SoundCloud heads, and the labels' latest collection, the 10-track Rave 2.0, continues the trend. But the lead-off track, a giddy stomper from Krakow's Fidser, might be its best-- a concise slice of aural whiplash that throws the Teklife of 2014 and the Sound Clash of 1995 into the same space and sees what kind of madness can be set off. Not that anyone should be skeptical: Fidser's "Got My Bottle" is a badman.
Rave 2.0 features additional heat from Machette, RedHat, and more. It's available here for free, unless you want to leave something in the tip jar. Listen to "Got My Bottle" below.
Elsewhere, Dan Bodan and his beloved(s) fall on each other soft as rain-- or are straight up invisible. However, on “A Soft Opening,” the latest single from Bodan’s forthcoming album Soft, things are a touch more physical. Bodan brags about the existence of his lips and the intimate acts one can perform on them (“Touch my lips and then unfurl”). The beat from 18+ and Latisha Faulkner creaks and sighs like a bed "in use." Smash cut. Suddenly, we’re in an office or in front of a camera. “Interview me,” Bodan croons. The song's conflation of romantic and economic relationships (it's based on poetry by Dena Yago of “trend forecasting” art collective K-HOLE after all) resonates in lines like, “Pluck my beaten brow." Spa treatment or act of tenderness? Can't it be both?
Soft is out October 28 on vinyl from DFA and on tape from 1080p.
One of the greatest tales in music history is the early days of black metal in Norway and it’s association with murder, church burnings, and Satanism, a black hole of which you can fall into simply by researching Mayhem’s classic album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. While Mayhem’s recent work is pretty good too, black metal has evolved a lot in the past 20 years even in Norway, as can be easily witnessed by listening to the new record by Witchface, a little known one-man project from Sandnes, on Norway's west coast (famous as the hometown of Carpathian Forest). The unknown assailant behind Witchface brings the histories and sounds of black metal and hardcore punk together and it’s just as terrifying as you’d expect. Skrekk & Gru (which from what I gather is the equivalent saying “the horror”) is set to be released on Halloween, in a limited batch of 200 hand-numbered copies with screenprinted covers on silver foil paper. Also of note is that it’s been mastered for vinyl by Will Killingsworth, the guitarist behind Massachusetts hardcore bands Orchid, Bucket Full of Teeth, Ampere, Failures, and Vaccine, among others.
Skrekk & Gru is out on October 31, available on Witchface’s Bandcamp page.
It seems that from the whole Emeralds trio, Mark McGuire was the one who was always able to elicit most emotions from his instrument-- a gentle breeze of guitar-driven nostalgia, the human element which both stood against and complimented Steve Hauschildt's and John Elliott's synthetic soundworlds. "Noctilucence," off Mark's newest EP sees him playing his trademark, multilayered Göttschingian groove, but this time with synthesizers and drum machines in full swing. The colorful electronic/string panorama is futher expanded by soft techno beat played at a relaxed, unhurried speed, allowing the listener to hear McGuire's magic unveil in regular intervals.
Noctilucence EP is out November 11 on Dead Oceans.
“Khaki Makeout” is easily the most accesible track on Active Supply, the latest release from Brooklyn-based duo, Mind Dynamics. Accessibility may evoke the mundane, but this track mashes together all the Fiji-water pop culture worshipping of the cloud rap/trap producers currently littering Soundcloud into something self-reflexive and tribal. They take us to a deeper level as they further subvert these cultural references and twist them into unnatural shapes.
Listen to "Khaki Makeout below." You can pre-order the album over at Digitalis.
With its steady, interweaving synthesizer arpeggios and dehumanized vocal performances, "Za-Zen" definitely recalls mid-'70s Kraftwerk-- a connection bolstered by the album Insterstate's specifcally similar conceptual nature to Kraftwerk's landmark Autobahn. Likewise similar are the alternating sensations of admiration of frustration, play and protest, that Minneapolis duo The Pen Test and Kraftwerk both evoke from their sonic depictions of these massive road complexes. The Pen Test suggest the ever-shifting relationships not only in the song, though, which seemingly refuses pop structures (form, changes, climaxes) but is nevertheless is pretty catchy and ends with an exciting rush of synth melodies-- but also with the video, which playfully evokes computer games, the road, board games, and more traditional music videos (the band members there, "singing") without actually depicting anything. These are all images devoid of content: unfixed, non-relational, non-existent maybe. But, also: fun, exiciting, like a road trip could be.
Interstate is out now on Moniker Records.
THE PEN TEST - ZA-ZEN from Tim Krause on Vimeo.
It is day two of the Hopscotch
music festival in Raleigh, North Carolina and I’m sitting in the lobby of the Sheraton, the unlikely nexus around which this three-day showcase of independent music culture orbits. Mary Lattimore
has agreed to meet me for an interview, after she figures out where to stash her instrument. Unlike a guitar case or even a drum kit that can be disassembled and squeezed into a van, Lattimore spends a lot of time thinking about how to handle her instrument. She has toured with the likes of Kurt Vile
and Thurston Moore
, but Mary Lattimore plays a harp. Seeing Lattimore on-stage with the imposing, grand instrument can cause even a jaded experimental music fan - nonplussed by the appearance of theremins, prepared guitars or analog synthesizers-- to look twice. Her career so far sees her quite literally sitting at the center of some of the most prodigious and respected avant-rock practitioners and has re-aligned expectations around instrumentation in underground rock circuits. Mary Lattimore collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Ziegler on an album titled Slant of Light,
released last month on Thrill Jockey
AdHoc: I remember seeing Fursaxa at All Tomorrow's Parties in upstate New York in 2010-- that was the first time I became aware of your playing. How did you move from the more traditional world of harp music into underground music?
Mary Lattimore: I went to classical music school, a music conservatory in Rochester. But I never listened to a lot of classical music, I love rock music-- classic rock, experimental music. I worked at a record store in Rochester and the university had a really good radio station. I was a DJ, I was playing and interested in records that weren’t classical music. I became friends with some members of Arcade Fire. I met them in Columbus, Missouri and we started talking. I told them I was moving to Philadelphia and I played the harp. They asked me to sit in with them and so I did, and that was the first time I had played harp in a band situation. Win and Will [Butler, of Arcade Fire], their mother is a famous harpist. She wrote the harp parts on Funeral and I just learned what she had written. That was my first time seeing how it feels to be on stage in that situation, and it was really awesome.
I also had friends from college from the band Espers. Greg Weeks was putting together a soundtrack orchestra to do an alternate soundtrack for the Czech new wave film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders under the name The Valerie Project. I composed some parts for that and we took it on tour with a 12 person orchestra.
New Zealand’s Tlaotlon crafts music that disorients and overwhelms, a maximalist soundtrack to today’s enveloping, pervasively networked culture. This split on Baba Vanga-- with the Czech Republic-based, Wanda Group-like Střed Světa-- finds him injecting his vapory polyrhythmic techno with a rush of tribalistic energy, a ritualistic induction of sensory overload. Opening track “Magnetic Perception” is a steadily mounting cacophony of fractured kaleidoscopic rhythms and Rene Hell-esque computer abstractions. Here-- and throughout his half of the split-- Tlaotlon evinces a great willingness to allow his music to drift into utter disarray. Conflicting moods and patterns converge and diverge into ecstatic dissonance, incongruous and yet united by an infectiously nihilistic glee.
The split is out now on Baba Vanga.
Autumn brings with it a series of familiar rituals: the leaves turn color, sweaters and peacoats emerge from closets, pumpkin spice becomes the primary source of sustenence, and Long Distance Poison's Nathan Cearley hosts his second Modular Equinox of the year. Like its summer and wintertime companion, the Modular Solstice, the event brings together all sorts of musicians to perform modular synth-based improvisations. Organized by Cearley, Rose Kallal, and ESP TV's Victoria Keddie, this Fall's lineup brought together the likes of Drew McDowall (a former member of Coil) and Hiro Kone, as well as Root Strata label head Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. As always, Cearley has passed along those sets for you, listener, to stream.
Hyperdub, the legendary London-based label headed up by curatorial mastermind Kode9 (aka Steve Goodman), has been known as the pre-eminent purveyor of forward-thinking club for the past decade. Putting out everything from grime-inflected dub to reworks of classic UK funky, they've undergone massive changes in the past 10 years, taking a definitive swerve away from their dark and dystopian origins toward a sleeker sense of retro-future neuroticism. And while no one can doubt the klout of talents that graced early Hyperdub releases (i.e. the sparse minimalism of the recently passed Spaceape, Kode9's penchant for metallic minimalism), it’s refreshing to see a label that progresses instead of staying staunch in its conviction to a given genre. So in honor of a decade of bass Darwinism, AdHoc has compiled a guide to the label's essential 12-inches-- typically less trumpeted than its LPs-- a playlist of some of the most seminal talent to emerge from the depths of Goodman’s.
Kode9: Sine of the Dub/Stalker (2006)
This is O.G. Hyperdub for all you historians out there. The origins of the minimal dub that first brought the likes of Steve Goodman to public consciousness a decade ago. Completely foreboding, nail-bitingly ominous in its minimalism, there’s something threatening about the acute emptiness and Kode9’s generally sociopathic spin on garage. The “shit-your-pants” factor is also definitely not helped by the Spaceape’s spine-tingling rumble, which makes tracks like “Sine” sound like the monotonous campfire story of your dub-drenched nightmares. “Stalker” is equally as terrifying with its unblinking bassbeat and steady, impending creep. But what’s most interesting is to see how gloom-and-doom it is compared to the stuff he’s producing today, which comes in the form of winnowing haze of his Uh/Oh Rinse release or the lumbering anxiety of “Xingfu Lu.”
Ikonika: Please/Simulacrum (2008)
The debut release showcasing the weirdly warped stylings of Ikonika, this one is a woozy club trip that is so off-kilter you feel drunk listening to it. Bright and cartoonish in her wonky leanings, Ikonika was the marked the end of an era completely dominated by the moody and aggressive minimalistic stuff that became associated with Hyperdub. An indication of less morose things to come along with Darkstar from a label originally pinned for its dark, disparate leanings. “Please” is a dynamic, overdramatic take on wacked out cartoon love, the slow whine of her melancholic programming almost comical in its computerized plead to stay. But there’s also a sequel, which comes in the form of “Simulacrum” and its steady trepidation, a sense of adventure akin to plodding through dank, dungeons and fog-drenched forests in an 8-bit video game. A prime example of the playful bent Hyperdub began to adopt post-2008 and a good indication of funkier things to come.