Posts by Beth Tolmach

Roots Revolution: Why Dub Matters

Roots Revolution: Why Dub Matters

This is an excerpt from an essay in AdHoc #7. Purchase this issue or subscribe.

“Discovering stuff like On-U Sound, King Tubby and Lee Perry at pretty much the same time was just mind-warping. I was just, like, wow: tracks can be really turned inside out, upside down and back to front, and still lead you into a real unknowable unknown — a musical void, in the best sense. From then, really, it was just that love of reggae’s constant yearning to renew itself and have future shock reinventions. I became more and more fascinated by dub as a philosophy as much as a musical tool, or as much as a way of helping tracks avoid their sell-by date. I saw echoes of dub in the writings of William Burroughs or in the films of Jean-Luc Godard, with their crazy edits, or in lots of different areas of art, not just music.” — Kevin Martin, a.k.a The Bug

Dub has made its mark on various forms of popular music in recent decades, imbuing all shades of electronic and rock with a new expressive modality—one that exalts negative space by stripping tracks down to the bare essentials, drum and bass, whereas the typical Western song privileges melody. Many reggae singles feature dub versions of their A-side as if to emphasize dub’s power as well as its difference from more traditional song forms. In Johnny Osbourne’s “No Lollipop,” the B-side mixdown by dub legend Scientist softens the single’s A-Side, expanding its runtime and leaving ample negative space for Osbourne’s vocals to echo in the void. When played back-to-back with the original, the dub version serves as a moment for reflection, where we relive the song and find our own breath in the newfound spaciousness.

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DUST: "Drink Soap"

DUST:

New on the trippy techno front is the hyper, drum-and-bass inspired track "Drink Soap" from DUST, the Brooklyn dance collective whose mainstays include audio engineer Michael Sherburn and John Barclay (founder of underground dance spots like Brooklyn's Bossa Nova Civic Club). The track plays with different atmospheres, synthesizing cold techno with a subtle old-skool rave vibe. "Drink Soap" is the first taste of DUST's new EP, Paradise Simulator, soon to be released by label SCI-FI & FANTASY and featuring additional remixes from Sinclair and Lamin Fofana. 

DUST's Paradise Simulator is out this month via SCI-FI & FANTASY. Stream "Drink Soap" below. You can catch DUST live July 3 with Juan Atkins, or at the SCI-FI & FANTASY label night on July 11. 

W3NDCH3LL: Soul

W3NDCH3LL: Soul

Mishka Records is a label operating within the universe of МИШКА NYC-- a streetwear company and blog dedicated to promoting underground hip-hop. Last May, Mishka kicked off the WindChill series, which documents the Chicago instrumental beat scene. After the first two volumes released last summer, Mishka is now back with the third and final edition of the series. W3NDCH3LL comes in three separate parts of 13 tracks each, featuring 39 unique Chicago producers in total. The first portion, "Soul," dropped yesterday and the other two parts will come sometime this week. The project was mixed and engineered by Kawaakari

Stream W3NDCH3LL below. Stay tuned for W3NDCH3LL parts 2 and 3.

Grisha Shakhnes: "Hectic Light"

Grisha Shakhnes:

Grisha Shakhnes is Tel Aviv-based composer known for creating subtle, textured atmospheres out of re-purposed cassette tape noise. On "Hectic Lights," a track appearing on his new record, All this trouble for nothing, Shakhnes manipulates layers of synth and accentuates the tension between loud and soft. This latest release is a follow-up to 2013's leave/trace LP, both of which were put out on Glistening Examples-- a label run by tape artist Jason Lescalleet, which focuses on making analog-produced, long recordings accessible on a digital platform.

Grisha Shakhnes' All this trouble for nothing is out now and is available for purchase here.

Heavy Makeup: 2nd Tape

Heavy Makeup: 2nd Tape

Heavy Makeup are a Swedish punk band who make sludgy, relentless hardcore in a style reminiscent of '90s groups like the Melvins. Following last year's demo released on the Swedish label Farsot Records, Heavy Makeup has dropped their second tape, consisting of four feverish tracks which communicate nothing less than an utter misanthropy. On "Full of Shit" the vocalist takes a poser to task, only to further point the finger on "Ugly" which ends with him screaming, "You're so fucking ugly!" These lyrical themes combined with album art of Jesus as the Grim Reaper leave no doubt in mind that this band is unforgiving, pissed off, a tad self-righteous-- exactly what punk is supposed to be. 

Heavy Makeup's second tape is out now. It seems to have been self-released. Listen below. 

Advaeta Made Us A Mix

Advaeta Made Us A Mix

Last time we checked in with Brooklyn's Advaeta was after the release of the grungy, harmony-packed "Angelfish"-- a single from their forthcoming LP. That album, titled Death and the Internet, was released today on Fire Talk Records. Advaeta was kind enough to make us this mix, which covers everything from no wave to gothic trance to bubblegum pop. Read the band's commentary on each track below the jump. You can catch Advaeta live at their record release show with Psychic Blood and Pill, happening this Saturday at Palisades. 

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Death Vacation: Through Your Head

Death Vacation: Through Your Head Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

Death Vacation is a four-piece hardcore band from New York who play quick and heavy hardcore songs with raging vocals. On "Wet," from their new EP Through Your Head, the track is rounded out with the declaration: "I never get wet for a person like you!" Death Vacation is putting out their new cassette on Serenity Now Tapes, the punk/hardcore branch of Mirror Universe. They play several shows in the next month, including one at the Acheron on May 2 with Vulture Shit and Clean Girls.

Stream the A-side of Through Your Head below. It's available now on tape and digitally on Serenity Now Tapes

Listen to Single Lash's New Album

Listen to Single Lash's New Album

Any mixture of the adjectives "dark" and "goth" to describe current bands indebted to shoegaze is pretty tedious at this point. As descriptors they fall flat, especially when a band crops up who actually breathe life into this overworked genre, such as Austin's Single Lash, and their new, self-titled, full-length album. These 12 songs go beyond any surface style to cohere and build off one another-- though there's no doubt that the thickly textured guitar and occasional forays into pure feedback like on the track "False" are essential to the feeling of blissful delirium throughout. Single Lash is made up of Neil Lord, Colin Foster, and Nicolas Nadeau, who also plays in Slow Pulse, another band on the Mirror Universe Tapes roster. 

Single Lash's album is out on April 7, via Mirror Universe Tapes. It will be available digitally and also as a limited-edition cassette. Stream it in full below. 

To the Essence and Back: A Lil Ugly Mane Retrospective

To the Essence and Back: A Lil Ugly Mane Retrospective

This is an excerpt of an article from AdHoc Issue 5. Purchase this issue or a subscription.

While browsing YouTube for songs by the Richmond, Virginia rapper Lil Ugly Mane, you might notice that on many videos, someone with the username “Trill Phonk” has copy and pasted into the comments section the same all-caps death knell that appeared on the Ugly Mane Bandcamp page: 

“LIL UGLY MANE IS A DEFUNCT PROJECT. A FINAL RELEASE AND BOXSET IS IN DEVELOPMENT WITH ORMOLYCKA LLC. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE. THE OFFICIAL FACEBOOK, WHILE STILL VISIBLE, IS INACTIVE. ASIDE FROM THIS BANDCAMP, THERE ARE NO OTHER WEBSITES OR BLOGS THAT EXIST. THERE IS ALSO NO UGLY MANE TWITTER,THERE NEVER WAS. ORMOLYCKA WILL UPDATE YOU ON THE BOXSET. ALSO WIND INSTRUMENTS ARE REAL HARD 2 PLAY. CRAZY.”

A little research reveals that this avatar represents an “underground hip-hop” label, but you have to wonder if it’s not actually yet another mask of Travis Miller—the real-life identity behind the elusive Ugly Mane and his morbid rhymes. But deducing whether it’s Miller or just a fan behind the message is less interesting than its permeating presence across YouTube. The repetitive broadcast of Lil Ugly Mane’s retirement from the rap game seems incongruous with the online platform on which it is shared, a space where the linear version of time that we use to understand an artist’s career trajectory doesn’t really exist.

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Container to Release New Album, Shares Video

Container to Release New Album, Shares Video

It's just been announced that Container-- solo project of Ren Schofield, who is also in Form A Log-- has a new album in the works. We last heard from Container with 2014's Adhesive EP, and so news of a release-- the first full-length since 2012's LP-- is pretty exciting. The forthcoming record, also titled LP, will be released in June on John Elliottt's Spectrum Spools label. For now, you can check out the rattling single, "Eject," which has been shared alongside a video by Val Martino.

You can now pre-order the LP in colored vinyl. Container performs live with Eric Copeland and Sasha Jan Rezzie at Palisades, on April 25.