Both Natural Information Society and Bitchin Bajas historically exude a palpable sense of primordial urgency-- a dedicated palette of pulsing futurism and meditative organic instrumentation. Their first collaborative single, “Anemometer,” dwells in some long forgotten spiritual realm, an immortal knight still protecting the Holy Grail. This music does not so much exist in the outside world as much as it does our deeply conditioned hope for an afterlife. An effortless jazz-drone becomes a full body apparition at Heaven’s Gate with a swelling mantra of cymbals, synths, autoharp and flute, leaving one to wonder if there was ever any reason to not believe in the first place.
Autoimaginary is out August 28 on Drag City. You pre-order the LP now.
Boston-based Steep Leans, the project of one Gray Somers, doesn't let having a bad time keep him from writing songs with bright guitar licks and big hooks. On "Navigator in the Night," from his upcoming Grips on Heat, he accomplishes both aforementioned tasks with aplomb while reciting lyrics that generally veer toward the negative. The tenuous balancing of murkiness and exuberance is reflected in the music's pacing too; "Navigator" switches from upbeat-yet-foggy rocker to swampy, spaced-out cool-down and then back again, kind of like one of Deerhunter's more pulsing numbers. All the while, though, a persistent snare drum keeps the thing moving, bringing the song closer and closer to its eventual second-half slacker-fist-raising climax.
Grips on Heat is out September 21 on Nathan Williams of Wavves' Ghost Ramp. Steep Leans is also heading out on tour with Wavves and Twin Peaks; check the details here.
Jared Blum's Vision Heat project emits a distinctive glow of pure, distilled 80's VHS movie soundtrack nostalgia inspired by the whole slew of cinematic and musical visionaries spearheaded by a double genius John Carpenter in the 1980's. His new album, The Chosen Themes, projects an image of imagined, visionary movie and TV series themes collected into a sort of visionary compilation (just to check some of the track names: "Vision Heat Logo Tone #4", "City Skyline Montage", "City Nites Themes 1 & 2"), accompanied by wonderfully oldschool videos by Jennifer Juniper Straford, who mangles the VHS memories for a psychedelic, delirious effect. The sounds on the LP are sure to be a wet dream for every fan of classic 80's synth tunes and all the TV pieces that catch the zeitgeist of the bygone age.
The Chosen Themes - Program I is out now on Root Strata.
Dieter Moebius, co-founder of the legendary German groups Cluster and Harmonia, passed away earlier today. Born in St. Gallen, Switzerland, Moebius formed Kluster with fellow geniuses Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler in Berlin in 1969. The band changed the "K" to a "C" after Schnitzler's subsequent departure, and they went on to release a series of albums throughout the 1970s (and beyond) that defined the kosmische sound of the era and continue to influence forward-thinking electronic musicians today. As if Cluster's run of albums weren't enough, Moebius and Roedelius also joined forces with Neu!'s Michael Rother (and later, Brian Eno) as Harmonia in the mid-'70s, releasing a few similarly excellent and epoch-defining records. Michael Rother issued a statement on Facebook this afternoon about Moebius's passing; Cluster's Facebook page contains a moving eulogy as well, which reflects upon their stunning track "In Ewigkeit (In Eternity)," from the 1976 album Sowiesoso.
Heavily resonant vibrations pour out of Meta, Boliden's debut release on Chemical Tapes. Thick infectious melodies pull deep at your emotions, yet an uncontrollable feeling of joy flows through your body. Meta is a slow moving percolation of cerebral rhythms perfect for exploring the inner depths of your mind, as well as a making you move on the dance floor. Boliden creates a uniquely uncanny atmosphere that positions itself within a space between material reality and a spacious surreal dreamscape. "Los Altos" is a refreshing bask in warm glowing ecstasy. This feel-good track is as groovy as it is psychedelic. Cascading vocals loop an undecipherable phrase that creates a delicate tension without a frame of reference. Churning sound waves splash around as if they were slowly taking breaths between the drum beats. A golden refrain communicates a magnetic entrancement that draws you in but keeps you floating.
In the artist statement for LIVESTREAMS, visual artist and musician Celia Rae Hollander, also known as $3.33, writes the following about streaming: “There is no ownership, belonging or rigidity, just a freedom in movement and change itself.” It’s a utopian vision of streaming, one somewhat detached from the politics of the streaming industry-- but Hollander’s interest is not in streaming as a business but as a phenomenology, an experience of the world. The piece, originally a sound installation presented in conjunction with artist Jim Drain’s recent exhibition at the LA gallery Various Small Fires, carries this idea in its waves of cascading, arpeggiated piano phrases. Alternately droning and staccato, the piece bundles together a variegated mass of moods and atmospheres; it re-configures the idea of the stream as an enveloping fold, which issues no demands and upon which no demands are made.
Early branding for blank VHS tapes drugged the customer with a false sense of reliability and home-entertainment warmth-- the use of vibrant primary colors, especially by Polaroid, whispered: "trust us, use us, we are the way of the future, we will be here forever, immortality is imminent." That's at least what I got out of it. Or, they could just simply be referring to the immaculate depth and clarity of the VHS color spectrum, lovingly recreated in Bastian Void's music video for "Videochess / The Mosaic Navigator." The video was done by Daniel J. Cashman, and compounds subconscious imagery in the same way that Joseph Batardo's Bastian Void project layers vintage synthesizers over modern, bleak, ambient noise. The video fits -- Bastardo has commadeered the VHS aesthetic in a lot of his design work for his label Moss Archive, and in many projects as himself, Homeowner, Bastian Void, or as a part of Looks Realistic.
The accompanying song is part of a tape released on Sicsic, a tape label from Frankfurt whose batches always seems to feature the cleanest artwork with a genre-bending roster of experimental musicians.
Repent and confess, sinners who dare enter the world of Ronnie Stone & the Lonely Riders. It's a bold opening sentence, sure, but it feels appopriate for the subject matter at hand. No emerging Brooklyn act has accumulated the obscene levels of feverish admiration and unwavering intrigue that Ronnie Stone & the Lonely Riders has. To put this in the most simplistic terms imaginable: no one's operating on their level. They're a band that claims to have transcended time-- futuristic beings with their roots planted firmly in the past. Everyone plays a part and commits to it without hesitation, band and audience alike; the dress code for their upcoming show permits the following items: "...leather.lace.lashes..., 1820's goth/2060's cybergoth, ,,,black.boysenberry.bloodred..., ...And when in doubt wear all black."
At some point, the music becomes a minor fraction of the experience-- but the music's strong enough to draw people into the group's leather-clad world. Convincing world-building, as any writer of a television show can tell you, is an intensely difficult task to pull off; however, Ronnie Stone & The Lonely Riders have earned the admiration of many by doing it with aplomb. To heighten the sense of mystery, they've managed to achieve this in relative secrecy, only occasionally coming out of their hive to reveal their works to the public. When those events happen, there's a strict set of rules that the audience members are encouraged to follow that tend to fit thematically with what the band has in store for the evening. On Saturday, the band will once again strike up another gathering and unveil their songs as part of an inspired rollout campaign for their forthcoming Motorcycle Yearbook, which is destined to be one of the most-discussed records to come out of Brooklyn in 2015.
AdHoc recently jumped at the chance to pry as much information as I could out of the band's enigmatic leader, Ronnie Stone, and was met with a series of cryptic answers that seemed carefully designed to reveal as much as possible about the world the band inhabits through a winking subtext rather than a surface statement. Everything the band's done up to this point has operated along the same lines, leaving a breadcrumb trail in the hopes that people follow it to their surreal temple. It's not just Stone in this mode, either. When I asked the band's manager for a list of The Lonely Riders I was granted the following information: Ronnie Stone & The Lonely Riders are a boogie-funk supergroup from the future. The members consist of Ronnie Stone (shoulder synth), Emerson Steele (drumset), Rocko Grande (guitar), CJ Sweetie (synthesizer), and Johnson Gauge (synth-bass).
Over the past few weeks, I've had a few opportunities to speak directly with the veiled figure; but for this particular interview, the veil was strengthened through a faceless correspondence that allowed Stone to articulate his responses in a manner that felt consistent with what the band hopes will be a truly immersive experience. Stone at one point brings up Giorgio, who is a keeper of secrets for the band and exists primarily in the shadows, who delivers answers with an even greater cryptic flair than the project's mastermind. They're a deceptively literate band, forcing the people they've attracted to their world to read into just about everything for greater meaning if they choose to follow that route. For others, it's merely enough to relax and enjoy the hyper-realized ride.
Below is a transcription of a Q&A where no true names are revealed, the real driving motives behind Ronnie Stone & The Lonely Riders' mission is provided via hints, and all of the answers are coded. The real question is whether or not seeking for their layered meanings is really an answer at all. Dive into the world of Ronnie Stone & The Lonely riders by coming out to Aviv for Ronnie Stone & The Lonely Riders: The Confession on Saturday, July 18. Make sure to come prepared. Get into the forthcoming show's spirit by reading some of Ronnie Stone's confessions below.
All In One Peace is a three cassette reissue of early recordings of Laraaji-- celestial musician, composer, and laughter meditation workshop leader. Converting a zither into an electronic instrument and playing it as if it were a piano, Laraaji began experimenting with his invention and the study of Eastern mysticism in late 70s New York. All In One Peace features his three seminal cassette albums spanning 1978 - 1983. Lotus Collage, his first album, was recorded in a Park Slope living room during his time as a busker, with a freestyle open tuned electric zither and harp. Unicorns in Paradise from 1981 builds on his use of open tuned strings with a Casiotone MT-70, allowing for expansive, entrancing improvisation. 1983’s Connecting with the Inner Healer Through Music, created as support listening music for a workshop by the same name at South East Spiritual Conferences (SESC) in Greensboro, NC, also features Laraaji’s five movements of “Trance Celestial,” from his Rhythm and Blues self-release of 1982. Many of these works have not been available in their entirety since their original release, and all predate Laraaji’s “discovery” by Brian Eno. All In One Peace is an opportunity to discover Laraaji at the genesis of his musical and spirtual explorations.
You may have heard, but legendary Michigan-based trip metal group Wolf Eyes started a Bandcamp page this week. When most bands start Bandcamp pages you probably go, "Oh, this band started a Bandcamp page. Okay." But for fans of a band with as many hard-to-find CDRs, tapes, and records-- literally hundreds upon hundreds-- as Wolf Eyes, the prospect of being able to sample and buy their music is incredibly exciting. In terms of logistics, the band says they'll upload five releases a month, which is probably just scratching the surface of the Wolf Eyes (and co.) archives. But it'll give listeners previously hip just to Wolf Eyes' "studio" albums a chance to experience the manic energy of live, on-the-road, in-the-van trip metal. (A personal favorite aspect of them being on the platform, too, is that it gives precise chronology to a hitherto unwieldy catalogue.)
Head over to their Bandcamp page now, and catch them on tour soon (if you live on the eastern half of the U.S.). Dates are after the jump, but we'll mention now that, although we can't say if Wolf Eyes is playing, we can say that the Trip Metal Inzane All-Starz will be at Palisades in Brooklyn on Saturday, July 18. Check out 2003 release "Undertakers Pt. 2" in the meantime.