Since their formation in 2006, Wooden Shjips have been churning out hefty helpings of foggy psych-rock. On their fourth album, the trance-inducing, beard-toting rockers show no signs of stopping. Back To Land digs deeper into the krauty aesthetic they achieved on 2011's West; the tracks are earthy and have a certain openness to them. We called up the band's bassist Dusty Jermier to talk about the European psych rock community, Portland vibes, and nature recordings.
Ad Hoc: Are you living in Portland now?
DJ: I’m in San Francisco. Two of us, [organist] Nash [Whalen] and myself, are still in the Bay Area, and [drummer] Omar [Ahsanuddin] and [guitarist/vocalist] Ripley [Johnson] have moved to Portland. Nash and I go up quite a bit for practices and for the recording as well and other things. Portland is pretty great. I mean, people are friendly in San Francisco, but it’s different. They’re pretty openly friendly in Portland. People will wave and say hi as if you’re someone that they’re happy to see [laughs]. It’s not superficial, either; it’s genuine. I’m from Iowa originally, and it’s similar where I grew up. I’ve been living now in San Francisco for quite a while, and it feels strange to be around this open friendliness again.
Ad Hoc: I can understand that-- people in New York don’t really say hi on the sidewalk.
DJ: I like going to New York. I find people in New York to be especially friendly in a specific way. There, it’s friendly to be very open to someone if they’re in your way. Like, “Hey bud-- get out of my way!” And you go on with your day. It’s friendlier than not saying anything and being pissed off at someone for being in your way. Also in New York, from the time I’ve spent there, I’ve had many strangers come up to me and hang out and talk. Just out of the blue. I wouldn’t have expected it, but it’s happened to me quite a bit in New York. I would be hanging out outside and they’d come up to me and chat. At first I thought, are they trying to scam me? But no, they’re just having a short little conversation, then they’re off.
Back in September, British experimental dance group Factory Floor put out its long-awaited but thoroughly excellent self-titled debut album. Last month, New York-based producer Laurel Halo released her similarly superb sophomore LP, Chance of Rain-- one of our favorite records of recent days. Now, you can hear an amalgam of these two unique musical voices because Halo has remixed “Turn It Up,” a song off of Factory Floor. The original track is almost completely unrecognizable in this version, with Halo slowing things down and creating an engaging new composition out of deep, percussive rumbles, physically palpable synth squelches, and a variety of atmospheric samples, all of which are very much in line with the aesthetic that she so fruitfully explored on Chance of Rain. (via FACT Mag)
Factory Floor is out now on DFA Records, and Chance of Rain is out now on Hyperdub. Factory Floor will also play two shows at 285 Kent, Brooklyn next week, on Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th.
Volcanic Tongue and musician Neil Campbell went and did a very cool thing: they compiled a 75 minute mix of unreleased recordings by genius British multi-instrumentalist Richard Youngs. Youngs's output is a bit difficult to grasp-- he's worked with a disparate array of collaborators, in a disparate array of styles, over the course of several decades. Listening to this mix, though, helps bring the listener into his musical mind. A non-chronological and seamless trip through his musical history, it mostly concerns itself with recordings from the '90s but collects a variety of works from 1979 (when Youngs was, if my math is correct, thirteen years old) to the present. Youngs's abstract sonic experimentation is always mitigated deftly by a sense of accessibility, drawing you in, time and time again, in continually different and fascinating ways. Happy Friday.
Orange Milk is responsible for a handful of the year's best tape releases, including one by its bosses, Keith Rankin and Seth Graham, who record as the grossly-titled-but-excellent Cream Juice. Their tape, Man Feelings, is a mess of clattering percussion and chirping electronics that sometimes lock into a satisfying groove but often, as though improvised, sprawl out across a large spatial sonic plane. "Oh Oh Oh Oh" is one of the release's more groove-oriented tracks, continuously moving forward despite falling apart a bit in the middle and frequently injecting itself with random spurts of electronic appurtenances. Its video, then, supplies a similar unhinged forward progression, hurling colorfully distorted images of the VHS/CPU ilk that, over the course of the video, become more and more shredded and abstract.
Man Feelings is out now on Orange Milk.
Cream Juice - Oh Oh Oh Oh from Huckleberry Friend on Vimeo.
Last month, Jan St. Werner-- best known as one half of the German electronic duo Mouse on Mars-- released Transcendental Animal Numbers, a two-song cassette that explored relationships and possible tensions between the electronic and the analog: the music on the cassette, though emerging from an algorithmic computer program, actually sound somewhat like field recordings of animals in the wild. Now, Jan St. Werner has put together an exclusive mix for Ad Hoc to coincide with the release of Transcendental Animal Numbers. Werner's mix explores a transnational array of sounds and styles over the course of its nearly 50 minutes, including tracks by French musician Jacques Berrocal, Italian composer Franco Battiato, avante-garde German electronic band Popol Vuh, Swedish electro-acoustic composer Åke Parmerud, and even legendary Jamaican dub artist King Tubby.
You can stream Jan St. Werner's mix below and check out the full tracklist after the jump. Transcendental Animal Numbers is out now on Thrill Jockey as the second entry in Werner's Fiepblatter Catalogue series.
Earlier this year we wrote that Krill were recording new tracks at Silent Barn-- only a few months after the release of their second full-length record, Lucky Leaves. The fruit of that recording session is a "failed concept album," entitled Steve Hears Pile In Malden and Bursts Into Tears. The concept revolves around two kids in the outskirts of Boston who discover that they are part of a Pile song-- with some Dostoyevsky thrown in for good measure. The idea is as funny, self-referential and low-key poigniant as we've come to expect from a band that has their own theme song. Krill has released the title track from the upcoming 10". The track clocks in at less than two minutes and is as melodic as it is propulsive-- featuring the same kind of twisted riffage and hysterical vocals that characterized Lucky Leaves.
Check out the track below, and see Krill tonight at Shea Stadium as part of the Big Snow Farewell Party pt. 2 that Ad Hoc is co-presenting. Steve Hears Pile In Malden and Bursts Into Tears is out Feburary 18 via Exploding in Sound.
Hubble is Ben Greenberg's outlet for avant-garde guitar exploration, and creates otherworldly sounds through the rapid and continious repetition of short melodic phrases. The project orignally grew from of material he worked on with Sam Hilmer's iconic experimental band, Zs, but has since come into a project of its own. Since the release of the first Hubble LP, Hubble Drums, in 2011, Greenberg has joined the Men and embraced their rigorous touring schedule. But despite that he's found time to continue with his work with Hubble, and released his second full-length, Hubble Eagle, last month on NNA Tapes. The album has a few surprises— Greenberg's using more acoustic guitar instead of electric, and on his cover of the Kinks' "A Long Way Home" uses vocals for the first time. "I think I'm going to start singing more and more. I really love that Kinks song and learning/adapting it to a Hubble format was a way to kinda test the waters with myself." We spoke to Ben Greenberg about his development as a guitarist, his approach to composition, and the value of simplicity.
Ad Hoc: You’ve mentioned elsewhere that you started playing music at a very young age. What inspired you to first start playing guitar?
Ben Greenberg: Probably Bill Haley. I would listen to oldies tapes when I was really, really small and I remember listening to "Rock Around the Clock" over and over and over again. Also Roland Janes, Jerry Lee Lewis' guitar player. I think he was a session guy at Sun Records. But yeah that kind of stuff got me interested in playing guitar when I was around 4 or 5 years old.
Ad Hoc: Can you tell me about the composition and recording process for the record? Were the tracks more or less written and arranged before you began recording, or is working in the studio part of your composing process?
BG: Every time I play this music it comes out differently, so on the last few recordings there was a much larger editing component to shape tracks and have them flow the way I wanted. This time was different though-- there was barely any editing at all on Hubble Eagle.
Last month Zorah Atash and Josh Strawn released Dance Before the War, their first full-legth effort as Azar Swan after retiring from their previous project as Religious to Damn. The new billing comes with a new focus to draw from their darker contemporary influences. Former Coil member, and more recently half of synth outfit Compound Eye, Drew McDowall is an evident fit to remix these two; his reworking credentials famously include most of Nine Inch Nails' Further Down The Spiral, as well as appearing on Long Distance Poison's Gliese Translations. Here Drew eschews the original's primal aggresion for a smeared sequence more libidinous and suggestive of the track's title, leaving Zorah's voice to deliver the pressure of its message of compulsion.
Dance Before the War is availablly digitally from Handmade Birds.
Kayla Cohen, formerly known from her project Sultan, returned in 2012 with her newer endeavour as Itasca. Readying for a brief winter tour, Cohen has shared a track from her tour cassette which are, as of now, all demos for her forthcoming album. From the sounds of demo “After Dawn,” the sparse acoustic style of her previous releases, Grace Riders on the Road and Proto, remains. There is a shift, though, in that her sound feels much lighter. There is a bare tenderness about “After Dawn,” reflected both in the depth of her voice as well in the delicate and potent guitar strummings.
Be sure to catch Itasca perform at the Silent Barn tonight in between sets of King Cyst and Volunteers Park. Also, peep her winter tour dates with Ivy Meadows after the jump.
In this fourth installment of Who Has Tapes Anymore?, Mike Haley and John Pyle from Tabs Out bring you some of their favorite cassette releases of the last month.
Witchbeam: Shadow Musick Vol. 1 (Tranquility)
One half of Telecult Powers provides a romantic mixture of voodoo desires, ardent electronics, and deep down fixations on the ethereal with a rare solo appearance. The tones dig deep under your skin and dance until the goosebumps arrive. The spoken word segments offer something that few recordings in the genre do. This is one you need to hear! It’s the Tape Of The Month for November over at Tabs Out. Be a part of it!!
Radio Shock: Adapter (self released)
Adapter is a collection of Radio Shock odds and ends from the past handful of years. These cuts never found any release to call home, so like gnarly lil’ orphans, they boogie-boarded down the sewer streams and ended up together here. There are thirteen tracks in all: a Slurpee® of peculiar bings, bloops, and 1-up notifications poured over slimy rhythms. It's the after hours DJ set from Slimer that never was. Cross the streams and see what happens. Endearing packaging brings it all together.