With the technology behind electronic instruments changing rapidly, many electronic artists have given their own sonic takes in the age-old argument of analog vs digital. Brooklyn's own Flash Trading belong to the camp of electronic musicians that seek to pay homage to classic analog sounds while pushing forward the genre through their bold songwriting. Their newest video for "Acceleration," off their upcoming EP The Golden Mile, which AdHoc is premiering today, plays with the line between the retro and modern by utilizing not only analog instruments, but also old webcams and video effects to film the music video. The video itself plays even further with this divide between the modern and the nostalgic through its depictions of the song lyrics written out on social media posts and text messages. In this way, even as the filtered bass, syncopated claps, and classic synth sounds that make up the track calls back to 80s and 90s electronica, Flash Trading reveals that through reproduction, all sound is ultimately timeless.
Today, AdHoc is premiering HDLSS's newest track "What Comes Next" from their forthcoming LP, Selections from DUMB, out 8/4. The track tackles minority othering, American secularism/anti-religiosity, and political/artistic responsibility. Masquerading as a dance song, the song's driving beat is clearly capable of moving one's body, but the HDLSS's lyrics are focused far more on moving one's mind. HDLSS's Fareed Sajan had this to say on the track:
"This song was born out of the incongruity of your insides not matching your outsides. That universal feeling that the way you look does not represent who you actually are. As a brown person, stereotypes have always followed me, and now, when Muslims are being demonized every day, it is even harder to escape. Hindus are perceived as Muslims. All Muslims are perceived on the same axis as extremists. Nuances get lost. It’s an issue any minority confronts, where an individual is forced to represent a swath of people, the Other, since most people do not know many South Asian, Latino, Black, LGBTQ etc. people... This puts people who have critiques of their own culture in a precarious position. And what does this do to a person within a faith who has doubts, or is still developing a faith, yet at the same time they are perceived to be a spokesperson? How does that affect his/her natural spiritual development? 'What Comes Next?' addresses that question by taking the perspective of someone grappling with being born into Islam, and fighting to understand religion in a nihilistic/narcissistic/consumer driven society."
When Danish Singer and Producer Anders Rhedin, better known as Dinner, began writing the tracks on his upcoming album, New Work, he looked to his favorite topic for inspiration: nonduality. New Work, out 9/8 via Captured Tracks, meditates on the spiritual concept through the influence of William Blake's Proverbs of Hell and his own change in lifestyle. Dinner decided that producing New Work required that he uproot himself and go to LA where he would work on the album with co-producer Josh da Costa (Regal Degal, Ducktails) and a host of American collaborators: Andy White (Tonstartssbandht), Charlie Hilton (Blouse), Rori McCarthy (Infinite Bisous, Connan Moccasin), Staz Lindes (Paranoyds), and Sean Nicholas Savage.
Of the new tracks on New Work, Dinner said, “A lot of my favorite music is American. I thought it would be fun to go a little bit less Euro on this one. I’m plenty Euro by myself, some might say. I wanted to add a different color.” But in the spirit of nonduality, "Un-American Woman," which we are premiering today, plays sonically with the apparent disconnect between the European and American pop sounds while ultimately revealing an underlying unity that exists between them both. Of the track, Dinner said, "Un-American Woman' is a song I wrote just before I stopped going out, just before I stopped sleeping around with women. The song seems to be about disillusionment and a fear of being stuck in a certain lifestyle. But it also touches upon the potential transformational aspects of suffering (or ‘Duhkha’ as the Buddhists say). Nothing’s black or white, good or bad. There is just life force moving. A constant movement. 'The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,’ in the words of Blake. I lifted that line for the song, of course.”
On the video and it's choice of dreamy locales, Dinner said, “the director and I just got in a car and drove through the desert, from LA to Las Vegas, to meet with the ballet dancer Hank DeMarco (Mac Demarco’s younger brother) and a group of his dancer-friends at a motel room. And then we documented our little journey as we went along. We just followed our intuition…Vegas is a very special place. I feel it is a nexus of dark, dark energy, to me. It was very important that we go there of all places. Ballet and vegas - it had to be that combination for this song. We drank milk and smoked cigarettes with the dancers. That seemed very important to do, too."
“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.
Couch Slut made a name for themselves on their debut, My Life as a Woman, through their bone-shattering riffs and the exorcising vocals of singer Megan Osztrosits. Now, on sophomore album Contempt (out 7/28 via Gilead Media), the band seems to have crystallized, or perhaps cemented, into a being that is as hauntingly beautiful as it is abrasive and sludgy.
New single "Snake In The Grass" showcases an effortless mix of both visceral noise rock and haunting ambiance, a sound that is as angelic as it is satanic and which was only hinted at on tracks like "Rape Kit" off MLaaW. The track has all the hallmarks of Couch Slut as we know them, the same brute militancy of drummer Theo Nobel and bassist Kevin Hall's rhythm section, the controlled chaos of guitarist Kevin Wunderlich, the piercing wails of Osztrosits, even the band's masterful use of feedback to produce the white noise that bookends the track. But what stands out about "Snake In The Grass" in particular is Wunderlich's guitar solo after the 3-minute mark. Just as Osztrosits' voice has been rightly praised for its ability to cut through the gargantuan sound of her bandmates, Wunderlich's guitar solo, with its airiness and reverberation that would be more suited to ambient guitar music or arena rock, stands as a moment unheard in Couch Slut's discography thus far. It Wunderlich's work here that elevates the track from a discrete focus on the dark conditions of the earthly to a view that encompasses both heaven and hell.
We can't wait to hear what other surprises lurk, waiting to be let loose on Contempt.
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.
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.