Archive for October, 2010
It is difficult for me to explain Boards of Canada, because when I do, people just think I had too much chocolate milk. But if you listen, maybe you will understand.
Boards of Canada doesn’t necessarily produce “good” music, but that is not why I took time out of my lazy Saturday morning to write this post. I wrote this post so that maybe some hipster (who somehow has been listening to this band for years) can relate to my thoughts and so that I can confirm that I am not going crazy.
Boards of Canada is Scottish electronic duo consisting of brothers Marcus Eoin and Mike Sandison. To the ear, their music sounds like compilation a samples from an 80’s health education VHS. But one night I fell asleep listening to their music and I had the strangest, most ambient dreams. One was where I was next a tall-standing wind turbine, in a desert similar to that of the cover of the book, Martian Chronicles. This was only one of my dreams, but to avoid embarrassing myself I will end here. To give you a general idea, when I listen to Boards of Canada I feel empty and pathological.
My recommendations are to listen to the two albums, Music has the Right to Children and Campfire Headphase.
P.S. Right to Children sounds like it should be the soundtrack to this movie:
Or maybe the future?
On this chilly and windy day in Chicago I feel like sharing. Gonjasufi’s 2010 album, A Sufi and a Killer was released back in March but for some reason it took me this long to get into it. On the playlist I’ve included two tracks. The first, titled “Sheep”, is an example of the really dreamy 60s pop production that is featured on some of the songs while the second, “Ancestors” is an example of the FlyLo production featured on many of the tracks on this album. But more significantly, “Ancestors” features Gonjasufi’s incredibly soulful vocals. His voice is like detached from my normal perception of what vocals should sound like. And the production in general swarms around your head flies on a hot day (but it’s chilly and windy in Chicago…) WHATEVER.
Okay I gave in; “Kowboyz&Indians” is actually better than the two songs I put on the playlist so I’m putting this youtube embed here for prominence and just in case none of y’all check the playlist (because I have this creeping suspicious none of you check it but I just put google analytics on the player so now I can check fo sho).
PS Even though this post is hardly timely, I decided to post it because this album has the potential to show up on some end of year lists, including ours and this is an important thing to think about yo.
Active Child, a largely new age electronic duo, has been tailing School of Seven Bells around the country. These bands made it all the way from LA to the Otto Bar in Baltimore where I watched them while Brandon shot photos. I was most impressed with the warm-up act, Active Child – Patrick, the lead singer and self-taught harpist, mesmerized the audience with his angelic voice and martyr image. They filled the whole room with purpose.
School of Seven Bells, on the other hand, sounded timid. The lead singer, although enchantingly beautiful, sounded as fragile as she looked.
These are Brandon Medrano’s visual representations of the show. They are more than photos. From them, emotion, meaning, and story emanates. For more of his work go here… http://brandonmedrano.com/
I am delighted, and it is an honor to present to you, “Runaway”, directed by Kanye West.
Abridged notes from my first viewing:
1. Like a good party, this film is full of good music and beautiful women. Ha. and Aphex Twin.
2. Kanye isn’t the best actor but maybe that’s what makes him so endearing (yeah I think he’s done with the whole asshole schtick).
3. In fact, this movie isn’t even that good, it’s just like… I mean it’s far better than ODDSAC as far as visual-musical pairings go (this film at least felt very inspired, whereas ODDSACa was a film obsessed with the novelty of the medium) but that’s irrelevant.
4. Whoa. Kanye is the definition of cool. This music is incredible.
5. HOLY FLYING BIRD WOMAN (reminds me of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil).
click on player on the right to listen
Belle and Sebastian – “I Didn’t See it Coming” “Expectations”
You may recognize this indie pop group from their contribution to the oh-so-loved Juno soundtrack. Their sound is upbeat, tween, but always paired with darker, sadder undertones. “Expectations” is from the Juno soundtrack whereas “I Didn’t See it Coming” if from their 2010 released album, Write About Love.
Twin Shadow – “Castles in the Snow”, “Shooting Holes”
Twin Shadow is a new group that just recently released their first album Forget, produced by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, and manages to keep all Grizzly Bear influence away from their final product. “Shooting Holes” is a disco song and “Castles in the Snow” is explained by P4K, “Tracks like these create a mood that is nostalgic, regretful, and even sinister.”
School of Seven Bells – “Iamundernodisguise”, “Heart is Strange (active child remix)”
Active Child will be doing a show with School of Seven Bells tonight at Otto Bar. Coming across this remix makes me think they might get on stage together to collaborate. “Iamundernodisguise” is a new age choir with tribal drums and electronic layering. It’s all about pleasure, mysticism and echoes of the past.
Here is Animal Collective’s video for their Merriweather Post Pavilion track “Bluish”. It came out in September and it’s pretty righteous. Click the image below to watch. Or click here.
After the narrative and (pretty much) visual mess that was ODDSAC, it’s nice to see something visually appealing that seems appropriate in relation to its abilities to capture the subtleties of that AC sound. Now that’s a purely personal opinion as I’ve spoken to a growing number of people who say ODDSAC was perfect and so maybe I’m the one who’s way off. Whatever. I mean ODDSAC wasn’t a complete failure but it was pretty “film school project” quality –amateurish? Sure, but that’s not expected from AC at this point in their career (is this the end of it LOL?). A handful of moments of sonic brilliance and the occasional interesting visual unfortunately doesn’t “save” the work as a whole. Better luck next time?
Next: Flying Lotus.
Last week I showed you guys some tracks from his new EP, Pattern+Grid World. Yesterday, a video for the FlyLo track “Kill Your Co-Workers” was released. The visuals homages to the video games of yesteryear are everywhere and the video itself is fucked up as hell. It’s awesome!
Lastly, Larissa mentioned to me in conversation yesterday how difficult it’s gonna be for us to come up with our top ten albums list at the end of the year. I concurred; in fact, it’s been on my mind almost every day. So much good music has already been released, and not released yet. Kanye’s new album is gonna kick so much ass. I mean, look at the cover!!!!
As previously mentioned, it’s called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and it’s gonna be good. Also, Radiohead might release something this year which would also blow my mind. Well that’s something to think about.
Listen by clicking on our player and go here for download
I asked him to name the untitled track after me.
We referred to it for a while as “Your song”, and it would have stayed except for that Elton John had already claimed it. George eventually named the song, “Not So Fugitive Visions”, I’m guessing, after Prokofiev’s series of short pieces based a poem by Konstantin Balmont.
I do not know wisdom – leave that to others – I only turn fugitive visions into verse. In each fugitive vision I see worlds, Full of the changing play of rainbows.
Don’t curse me, you wise ones. What are you to me? The fact is I’m only a cloudlet, full of fire. The fact is I’m only a cloudlet. Look: I’m floating. And I summon dreamers… You I summon not.
It’s interesting enough that George decided to deny his piece the status of a fugitive vision because it is “full of the changing play of rainbows.” But maybe George’s choice for a title has to do with the fact that his visions, although they exist, are not turned only into verse. In fact, “Not So Fugitive Visions”, is almost devoid of any lyrics. And while fugitive visions always meant fleeting in my mind, George’s piece is far from fleeting images. In fact it’s most like an amalgamation of every dream one’s ever had, all layered on top of one another – the color blue on top of yellow to make green, the note E on top of C to make major… maybe there are fleeting aspects to this piece, but at the end of the day, nothing has actually exited the scene.
And that’s why when I first heard “Not So Fugitive Visions”, I decided it was the best thing I’ve heard all year. My favorite part is the loop that enters almost halfway through the long piece and continues to play until the end. It’s an uplifting high-pitched sound that almost sounds like someone is running their wet finger over a crystal glass. George took that loop from his Pool Time series. He knows that his friend Eric made the noise, but he’s not sure how. That’s the beauty of it.
And so George is releasing “Not So Fugitive Visions” along with two other tracks today. They are a preface to what is yet in store for us. Each exposes a different side of George – “The Amateur” and “The Swimmer” are innocent and naïve like their names suggest. His singing is serene and almost nervous, “Did you just wake up sometime today and say, I’m gonna be somebody?” he sings but also maybe and subconsciously asks himself.
Musically, oscillations in “The Amateur” and synthetic drumming in “The Swimmer” bring shades of Smashing Pumpkins circa Adore into the picture. The subtlety in “The Swimmer”, however, shows personal maturity. At the end George repeats the melody and words that have played throughout the piece, “I wanna go swimming,” but he changes the rhythm, elongating every word, and you’re caught off guard until you realize that it’s exactly what you wanted to hear.
And this is what characterizes The Amateur as a 3 song release. Where did this come from? What does it mean? We are almost caught off guard, but we realize it’s the natural stepping-stone from Salt Story to whatever comes next.
Oh, not much, just STILL MAKING KICK ASS MUSIC. He released an EP called Pattern+Grid World in August not long after he showed up at the 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival to perform his own original soundtrack to the 1962 art film Heaven and Earth Magic. Unlike Comsogramma, his full length released earlier this year, the new EP is not so much a breakthrough in form or style but rather it displays elements not so discretely borrowed from contemporaries like Aphex Twin and Dilla and it also takes cues from Drum and Bass. Here are two tracks to sample.
Flying Lotus – “Kill Your Co-Workers” by Some Kind of Awesome
Flying Lotus – Camera Day (taken from Pattern+Grid World) by Warp Records
He also performed his Cosmogramma track, “Drips”, with the jazz ensemble of the Los Angeles Orchestra. FlyLo plays laptop (LOL). The orchestra seamlessly segues from “Drips” in a Dilla track, “Take Notice”. It’s beautiful and incredible that a track from an album like Cosmogramma can receive a live treatment like this.
As you know, we’ve been dormant for the majority of the summer. Regardless of, and perhaps in spite of our inactivity the world of music kept spinning (those bastards). On Monday’s post, Larissa already pointed out several albums that came out that you most definitely should not have missed. All this week we’re posting and we have a surprise for you on Friday. But right here, right now, I’m letting you know what I happened to catch as the last several months flew by…
He’s at the top of his game. He’s putting out a new song every Friday (the last several of which have been absolutely fantastic) and he has a whole album coming out in late November. He also performed on SNL not too long ago. It was one of the most sensational and elaborate live performances the skit show has ever seen. Watch below.
I had never really been that huge of a fan Deerhunter but when I stumbled across this video, I fell in love with this song and now band. Doesn’t Bradford Cox’s performance in front of the camera remind you of Thom Yorke circa Pablo Honey? He sings so sweetly, “No one cares for me/ I keep no company.” It’s a sweet sentimentality and excessive self deprecation that reminds us of how chillingly pleasurable it can feel sometimes to wallow in our own miserable corners: “Cuz I’m a creep/ I’m a weirdo.”
“Hold the Line” is his newest pseudodubstep HOT OFF THA PREZZ sounding track. Guaranteed to make your go ooooooooooh. DL it here and watch the video below.
I was considering going to see these guys two months ago for a concert the day before my birthday. It was going to be a birthday present to myself but those prices were WAAAAY too steep. 75 bucks just to sit in the back of the crowded UIC Pavilion? No thanks, but I did enjoy this brand new track of theirs!
Forgive me for maybe having mislead you a bit about the nature of this post. Yeah sure, a lot of time has passed since we were last consistently posting and this is definitely not an accurate representation of all good things that have passed since then. However, I still feel like being a little timely with what I’m showing you, and besides, I can hardly remember all the good things that happened this summer. So enjoy what I’ve given you anyway and see you again tomorrow!
“Impossible Soul”, the final song of The Age of Adz, takes me back to watching the chorus line of my high school’s production of West Side Story. In my memory, that day, the Sharks joined hands with the Jets (the dead ones revived, their shirts stained with prosthetic red blood) to sing the finale of the musical. They danced, they sang, and they bowed together. A scene like this forces the audience to wake up and cross that blurry line that separates fiction from reality. I remember the end of a show, rubbing my eyes, standing up, gaining my balance and commenting on the production to the person next to me – my smile felt stiff and fake because moments earlier I was watching Tony die, absorbed in that fictional reality. Like walking out of any sad movie, it’s hard to shake that feeling that something really terrible just happened.
And thus, “Impossible Soul”, is full of enough absurdities (autotune, 25 min long, a really cheesy interlude…) that it functions like the joining of hands between the Sharks and the Jets. These idiosyncrasies break your engagement with the fictional production. Yet, just as the finale of a musical runs through every leitmotif and theme, “Impossible Soul” repeats enough lyrics and melodies from throughout the album that you are ultimately called back into the emotional roller coaster that is Age of Adz.
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