“Absent Personae Postscript” is weaponized history, rerouted through trauma, cybernetics, and orality. The final track off of PTP’s collaboration between Deforrest Brown, Jr. and Kepla, offers a fragmented narrative that traces a Black history embedded within the skin, within the voice, within the body of a community under “trap-conditions,” under the "lash" of a mechanized and mechanizing apparatus spanning economy, sociality, and punishment. Brown, Jr. reminds us that “there is only evasion” in this state of things, and “Absent Personae Postcript” fidgets with an evasiveness, a rhizomatic awareness whose reticulating components swerve and fissure into mitosis. The whirling cleavages, the chirping schisms that Kepla fashions splice into the rerouted figures and histories Brown, Jr.’s solemn words purl. The floating, spectralized form that recounts Brown, Jr.’s dérive further enhances this sense of deterritorialization and reappropriation: Brown, Jr.’s voice speaks the figure of the encoded and encrypted Black Body—depicted with various digital manipulations in Chris Boyd's haunting video—into existence.
The triumph in the piece lies in that fact that, through the interplay of sonics and lyrics, Brown, Jr. and Kepla radically affirm the power of the voice—and to reinscribe a Black physicality beyond deployment, mechanization, and objectification. Over its trickling 11-minute runtime, the two assemble a fugitive ontology of the Black Body in which technologies of language, sound, and image commune with the resonances of a spoken heritage felt down to the cellular level. As Kepla channels visceral anxieties and dismemberments of the trap into the haptic glitches and tactile code of sub-bass, Brown, Jr.’s oration thrums and concresces into a re-codification of identity, a re-mythologizing whose cryptic poetics serve both to evade institutionalized meaning and encrypt a sense of being from the avaricious nodes of a power-knowledge network geared and lubricated to appropriate and eliminate radical transmissions centered on Blackness.
When Brown, Jr. announces that the apparatuses of control and oppression suffer “a loss of discrete control” because of the “discreet evasion” of the Black Body, his clinamen, his slight and silent homophonous slide from the "ete" to the "eet" fractures—ever so slightly and ever so slyly—a system of language intent on smoothing legibility and concretizing order. Run through feedback and trauma, Brown, Jr. presents a fleeting moment of resistance, a remapping and rewriting of the conditions of the trap into something delightfully ambiguous and radically spacious. In “Absent Personae Postcript,” cybernetic horror sunders into evanescent hope, fracturing just enough to trace a space, a space of art.
PTP will release Absent Personae on 9/29 on vinyl w/ "Absent Personae Postscript" as a bonus track. You can pre-order it now here.
Chino Amobi recently tweeted that “the best compliment” he got about Paradiso was that it was “unlistenable.” Paradiso is the latest full-length from the Richmond-based producer and co-founder of NON Worldwide, a record label and resistance movement centering the artistry of musicians from within the African diaspora. The album’s sprawling 20 tracks brim with industrial beats, MIDI horns, and the raw power of his own voice—as well as the sounds and voices of his many collaborators, including Dutch E. Germ, Elysia Crampton, and Moro.
Ahead of Amobi’s live set on July 20 at St. Vitus, AdHoc spoke with the musician and organizer about the liberatory politics of Paradiso, and how difficult music can amplify marginalized voices.
Your new record is incredibly rich—there’s so much going on in every song. Could you talk about the process of composing these tracks?
I just wanted it to be something different, to have a moment where I liberated myself sonically from a lot of the stuff that I hear—[stuff] that people classify as “electronic.” These tracks are in conversation with so many artists, so many people that inspire me. I really wanted to go all over the place—to do things that were not only challenging for myself, but also challenging for the listener. I wanted to construct a narrative that felt cinematic.
That’s kind of the way my mind works, too—I’m inspired by so many different themes within the span of a day or an hour, and I really wanted to respect that thought process. If you look into my work, I don’t really have a style—I do, but I don’t.
Even Buck Gooter's name sounds gristly, vaguely profane, like something illegibly scrawled in a rest stop bathroom. And on 100 Bells, the Goot lives up to its name. From the overblown drum track and overdriven whammy bar shredfest of "Apocalypse Me" to the throbbing and unshaven cowtown karaoke of "I Don't Talk to the Dead," Harrisonburg, Virginia's Billy Brett and Terry Turtle sluice their "primal industrial blues" in "the sediment and grime" they apocalyptically envision in "Dissolved Song." With the intense sparsity and abrasiveness of early no-wave acts, the two have created a cathartic experience whose grinding repetition, howls, and blasting beats feel more akin to amputation than exfoliation. But by the time Buck Gooter stomps out the blues standards of "Fracking Up The Planet," an ecocritical polemic against pollution, garbage, and environmentally destructive governmental policy, Brett's and Turtle's murky process finally solidifies into focus: they play blues as bluesy as it ever was. But instead of floating downstream, lilting into a gentrified tradition, they drag us into the sludge and mud clogging the delta.
Mark McGuire's music kaleidoscopes. From the sparkling kosmische wormholes of his work with now-defunct Emeralds to theguitar latticework of his solo efforts, his output has covered immense sonic ground. But on his newest release on VDSQ, Ideas of Beginnings, the journeyman finally sounds at home. The interlocking strum patterns that texture the record lap gently on the ear, gesturing at a charred and worn personallore imbued within each warble of the guitar. Ahead of his performance on July 27 at Brooklyn's Park Church Co-op, McGuire spoke to AdHoc about the narratives his music explores, the role of guitar-based art in today's musical terrain, and the critical importance of playing from the heart.
The title of this record Ideas of Beginnings seems to signal a return to something primal or even pre-linguistic. What sorts of beginnings do you have in mind?
The title came from a line in Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts about the eternal nature of things, that there was no beginning and there will be no end. That ideas of beginnings only make sense to us because of our notion of linear time. So the music reflects the ideas both inside and outside of time. Kind of like standing outside of yourself looking back upon your life, and at the same time looking up as that inner child that wished for all those things to happen. Eternal beginnings and never-endings.
A lot can happen in 20 minutes and 52 seconds. It's funny, then, that on Shintaro Matsuo's latest 20-minute-and-52-second-release 20:52, very little seems to transpire. Across the 17 stems that quiver along the gossamer dough of the record's surface, Matsuo's burbles unwind and revert, never quite attaining a form or pattern. It's a process of ambient becomings through which Matsuo's fickle melodies trickle, tickling like a presence just before contact, like the air right above a follicle at the end of a goose bump. Glassine shards drift, encased in a sonic orbit whose perihelion teases a touching-down but whose eccentricity imbalances and collapses the approach. And it's a listen that only rewards further digressions into its whorls and helices, one that merits a grappling with metaphor and a necessitates a reconfiguration of the spacial and emotional possibilities of sound: gurling with potentialities and directionalities all nearing audial senescence, 20:52's negotiates the aporia of silence and catalogs brief, aleatory intonations against its suffusive logic. Matsuo nurtures this concrescence, these periphrastic excursions, into a shimmering, incantatory ptyx—but always knows when to snuff it out, quietly, deftly, spectrally.
"Holy Error" is sonic eschatology. The final track off of Sote's Sacred Horror in Design, Iranian composer Ata Ebtekar's latest full-length for Opal Tapes, brutalizes sound—both acoustic and synthesized—into something apocalyptic. Configured as a means of deciphering Ebtekar's "childhood following the 1979 Iranian revolution," "Holy Error" unloads rounds of sub-bass and discharges decaying arpeggiations. A martial thump introduces the piece before screeching setar and shrieking santour begin to bristle. Before long, the song curdles: distinguishable instrumentation dissolves as the tear gas hits and sound is weaponized, reconfigured and deployed as a mechanized toxicity. The collapsing logic of crisis reticulates, territorializing a state of emergency. Anxiety perforates the scene as electronic source engineered at EMS Stockholm becomes quantized, spectralized, hostile. Rubbery solidity ricochets and extends a network of noise, its erratic flows and spikes mapping a brutal topography across its viscid surface. As the apparatus continues to atomize sound into discrete zones of trauma, another aspect of the array emerges. It might be an alarm, but it could be a scream, too. In this postlapsarian moment of collapse, the ambiguity of the noise blurs the sonic signifiers of state-sanctioned violence (siren) with the visceral, human response to the trauma induced therein (scream)—cultivating a vital humanity from within the submission of imperial control. On "Holy Error," Ebtekar disrobes the acceleratory futurism of neoliberal rhythm while amplifying the voice that wails out in protest. Beyond this onslaught, "Holy Error" projects a glimmer of salvation, refracting into an insurrectionary revelation.
"Seams" sweats. That is, Pinact's latest single off their upcoming full-length The Part That Know One Knows possess a distinctly pubescent quality—one evocative of burps and braces, frayed t-shirts and enamel pins. It's raw pop-punk, jittery and slurred at once, tripping over itself as it follows Gillies' sneering tenor, singing of something "splitting at the seams."
Shot in the Glaswegian threepiece's studio, the accompanying video depicts a rowdy performance inspired by Nirvana's legendary Paramount show in which partygoers crowdsurf and mosh, revved by Lewis Reynolds' rumbling drums and Gillies' jagged, high-octane guitar. With its attention to the physical signifiers of pop-punk—from the bandmates' disheveled mops to Gillies' low-slung guitar to the VHS grittiness of the footage itself—the clip discharges the sonic retromania of a teenage era into a bratty physicality, capturing a moment of sounds and gestures and bodies still lingering somewhere in the corporeal memory of the skin.
"Barbapapa" should sound heavy, maybe even unpleasant. But it doesn't: despite the skronk of its mechanized percussion, its spooky minor chord synth stabs, and the diagetic scream that cut across the song's mechanical layers, "Barbapapa" is industrial music at its most infectious, at its most benevolent. Unearthed and reissued by Unseen Worlds, the track is part of a Frühe Jahre, a compilation of experimentalist C-Schulz's early work that showcases the musician's fluency with genres as disparate as noise and modern classical. On "Barbapapa," as drum machines squelch into place, Schulz's tools seem to sway into assembly as he refurbishes the harshness of industrial music into something more akin to the funky bounce of acid jazz. In the swirl of chug and chortle that C-Schulz conjures here, man, machine, and magic meld in a euphoric singularity—one that rewires apocalyptic anxieties and channels its clanking energy into a vision of pure play.
Sam O.B. and Miles Francis purvey a rare sort of pop music, one as whirringly complex as it is delightfully sweet. Though the two New York-based musicians deviate stylistically—Sam O.B.'s atmospheric tropicalia luxuriates in a loungy lavishness, while Francis' off-kilter avant-pop bounces with a syncopated ecstasy—their R&B-inflected sounds both sashay with a catchy confidence. Ahead of their performances on July 15 at Sunnyvale, the two like-minded artists took a moment to remix each other's biggest songs for us here at AdHoc and talk through their respective processes. We are really psyched to premiere their remixes, a playlist of all the tracks included can be found here.
Sam O.B.: What was the inspiration behind "You're A Star" (specifically lyrically)?
Miles Francis: The music came first with "You're a Star": I recorded the tom-toms for 4 minutes straight and built the song on top of it. The lyrics are sung from two angles: encouraged and pessimistic. I tried to articulate the crazy balancing act of being an artist right now. We commit our lives to music, but we also commit to getting our art out there no matter what, to working every day to become more established and well-known—all while retaining the genuine inspiration and motivation to create our songs in the first place. When the moment comes that you are "chosen," and the light is shining on you, you better be ready for it—because it turns out that every next step opens up a hundred more steps after it. All of this is to say: keep your head down and keep going, you're a star no matter what. That's the encouraging side of the song. If you focus so much on where you stand, where you're going, and seeking fleeting validation, it completely takes you away from what you're doing. That's where I wrote the song from, and the circular opening sentence inspired the rest of the lyrics: "All the things that I want to do with me hold back from doing the things I wanna do."
The Euglossine Bee is an insect whose burnished exoskeleton glints. Flitting in and out of their erratic pollination patterns, the bees adorn flora like jewelry, gilded and opalescent. Rather than collecting nectar from the orchids they visit, male Euglossine Bees instead apply pollen as a cologne, extending their opulence to the realm of the olfactory. Gainesville, Florida-based musician Tristan Whitehill, better known as Euglossine, makes music just as bedazzled as the homonymous hymenoptera. On Sharp Time, his latest record for Orange Milk, Whitehill further lavishes plush synth sounds and pathways, ladling redolent hums and stabs into viscous forms too slippery to crystallize. Perhaps most emblematic of Euglossine's indulgent meanderings and becomings, "Phenomenological Manifold" stages the insectile flutterings and shimmerings across its generous 13-minute runtime. Bedizened with plodding lounge guitar and trickling arpeggiation, the track offers a winding, multifaceted experience across sensations—the very manifold encounters with twinkling and resplendent phenomena that the song's title promises. Glossy and thick, Euglossine's sonics transmute into perfume, fragrant with luxury and luster fit for the ostentatious bees of the same name.
Euglossine's syrupy Sharp Time touches down on July 21 via Orange Milk.