"Wochikaeri to Uzume," the latest track from Sugai Ken's upcoming UkabazUmorezU full-length on RVNG, roughly translates to "welcome back and forth." And, from the welcoming and sonorous xylophonic percussion that introduces the clutter of sound to follow to the rich pauses that punctuate the tumbles of clocks, trickles, and feedback, the track roughly charts a series of sonic welcomes back and forth. At various instances boinging, hopping, and spilling, each moment of sound (and negative moment of silence that bookends each sonic puncture) feels like an ecstatic, sponatenous spillage, an unstable quark jolting out of position. If this review makes too liberal use of physical metaphor and anology, it's because Ken's music emphasizes the physicality of the art, the fact that each honk and slurp owes its existence to vibrations thrumming on the eardrum. Each tickling note upends the linear dimensionality of music; transposed into a physical interaction, a molecular concatenation, senses blur and striate. Music, on "Wochikaeri to Uzume," re-turns (in)to something atavistic. A clock ticks in the tense final seconds, ushering us into a time in which sound and feeling were one. Welcome back.
The human body is a theater of war, a site wracked with violence and desire. In the video for "I Wanna Be Your Dog," the second track off of VIOLENCE's upcoming Human Dust to Fertilize the Impotent Garden, a certain body—that of VIOLENCE's Olin Caprison—situates the writhing interplay and intertwining of the two. Garbed in lacy lingerie and a disfigured ski mask, Caprison smears two pregnant signifiers together, grafting the criminality of headpiece and the sultry, oversexed salacity of the bra into symbolic prostheses that map violence and desire onto the smudged red lipstick on Caprison's face. But the visual poetics of the tracks video aren't the only indicators of this prurient conflation: Caprison's lyrics are positively filthy. Pleading, they detail fantasies of degradation and animalization, where the intimacy of "want[ing] for you to hold me close" gives way to "whip[ping]," "cover[ing] in spunk," verbal abuse, and even "giv[ing Caprison] a reason to die." And the semantic distinctions between violence and desire aren't the only things Caprison blurs: the song itself appropriates sounds from industrial, black metal, and drill to sculpt its asxphyxiatory and percussive filigrees. The glinting, limpid tones that buttress the basic but anxious melody wouldn't be out of place on Geinoh Yamashirogumi's Akira soundtrack. But unlike Akira, a science-fiction thriller that defers its anxieties into an animated future, Caprison confronts a brutal present. As they pound their flesh on the concrete floor of the shack in the video, naked and sexualized vulnerability putrefies—before our eyes—into pain, clot, bruise: Caprison historicizes the present in unflinchingly exposing the disintegration of desire into violence, touch into assault. The setting of this curdling is burnt-out, graffitied and decrepit, but it's present, it's really there. It isn't post-apocalyptic—isn't even doctored. It's real life, not a horrific possibility, but an always-already vitiated present. Despite the trap-conditions, Caprison leaves us with the potential for escape: in the final, fading shot, they turn and walk out of the frame, out of the immediate and battered present and into an unseen space beyond the limits of what appears possible.
Sometimes there's a light at the end of the banal. Sometimes, everyone feels lazy, angry, nervous, bored, empty—and, for Hypoluxo, on their latest extended play Taste Buds, "nothing's crazy" about feeling anything. Most of the tracks on the record occupy these commonplace spaces of stasis but channel the boredom typically found therein into a restelessness whose chiming indie guitar and gently driving bass and drum lines propel the Brooklyn fourpiece into a sonic territory just kinetic enough to be addictive—something so addictive that it feels edible if not appetizing. The charming baritone lyricism and driving indie guitar condense into something to be gnawed, something that can be enjoyed ambiently on repeat but whose audial nuances—from the twinkling horn on "Nevada" to the sputtering and dovetailing melodies on "Sometimes"—reward undivided attention to the artistry couched beneath common places and feelings that Hypoluxo indulge. Taste Buds makes for gourmet indie rock, and it's delicious.
“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.