Making tunes weird and gorgeous seems no small for one John Jones, the Baltimore resident who strums a few bars in Dope Body by day, and operates as Nerftoss on the side. Nerftoss first emerged on our radar last year, and his debut release-- Spirit Advantage on Leaving Records-- provided a subtly addictive balance, mining pleasant ambiance and the deepest corners of his folk and jazz crates. The comparison to his homie ahnnu was justified, but with “Dream of Pennies,” Jones decided to take a third, previously unexplored option. Described by the man himself as “making a fictional band,” “Pennies” proceeds to do just that, taking micro-sized samples and sculpting them into a kraut-surf groove, slowly building to a swell as the tune tuckers itself out. As a bonus, there's also puppies.
Nerftoss' latest release, Maiden Powers, is out November 18 on LP and digital via Ehse.
Baltimore native CEX (aka Rjyan Kidwell) has actually been in the game for a long while, dropping scattered analog releases across his hometown with very little attention paid to exposure and as much as possible to the craft. It's a lofty feat trying to describe exactly where Cex's music (especially over the course of 15 years) falls over the spectrum, simply because Kidwell's tunes tend to bob and weave between a little bit of everywhere, with zero bias for genre. At the center of his new LP, the hour-long Manumit Me, are a pair of opposing primers, the fractured synth pop instrumental "Aging Bull," and the sprawling downtempo guitar workout "Permanently Erased." The former cut is the most appealing on first listen, cutting a stumbling drum beat through a bubbly, conversational synth, while the latter cut is an eyeopening work. "Erased" makes the most of its lengthy run time, starting with a killer riff and slowly wiping the percussion and guitars clean, leaving residual echo by the tune's close. Bonus points for being fun as hell to spin.
Manumit Me was recorded on all analog equipment directly to four track, and the thriftiness of the equipment shows through. Manumit Me was released recently on upstart tape imprint Player Press, which is helmed and curated by Nerftoss. The CS is out now. "Aging Bull" is available for download below, and the curious can stream "Permanently Erased" as well.
The Los Angeles-based, white noise-indebted beat wizard Dakim, sometimes known as Dak., doesn't his pop his head out from the muck all too often. His persona has been constantly beguiling since his output began trickling out all the way back in 2008. Since then, the homie's cassette releases (including this one) have managed to only mystify the producer's ambiguious sonic persona, trading static for soul licks and building opague loops and pleasant, half-remembered samples into compelling tunes. His latest release from Leaving Records/Stones Throw, continues that trend while shrugging off some of the longer, more challenging passages that have typically come with a Dakim release. Here, the tunesmith throws one earworm gem in right after the other, forming a subtle tip of the hat to old pause tapes and at-home craftsmanship.
DDust Regos is out now via Stones Throw and Leaving. The CS is in its second run, limited to only 250 copies, and there will be no digital release.
As it turns out, Baltimore-bred sample alchemist Nerftoss (aka John Jones) was playing a pretty devious, long game when he posted his Orienation Mix last summer. The 32 minute affair was delightfully bizarre, bouncing between dulcet drones and endearing outsider folk, but the selections served as a manifesto for the up and coming producer's sound. "Future and Co," taken from his February debut on Leaving Records, takes the pallette from that mix and serves it sunny side up, beginning with wandering horn samples before nudging its way into a blend of rusted acoustics and an increasingly creepy lullaby sung by school children from a place unknown. Up until this tune, the only material from Jones was a deft reworking of "Found" from fellow homie and Ad Hoc favorite Ahnnu's World Music, but "Future and Co" points towards there being more to Nerftoss than just being an expert crate digger and kindred spirit.
Spirit Advantage drops February 18 on Leaving, and will be available on CS and digital.
A tried-and-true variant on the dollar bin, sometimes the best method of finding far-out grooves is just to scour the internet, find a random mix, and (more often than not) absentmindedly press play. This latest crate digging excursion comes from Baltimore native John Jones, acting here under the enigmatic-- and awesomely named-- moniker Nerftoss. Jones originally had an ambient, guitar-based alias named Eachothers, the output of which has completely disappeared without a trace. Other than a heady tracklist and some psychedelic knockouts inside, there is absolutely zero information on the mix. There's also nothing really newsworthy here: no announcement of a record, no original material, just a solid venture into folk, free jazz, and the avant-garde.
The curious can download "mx.1" below, with the tracklist available after the jump.