Monday, January 30, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
If you've ever had an interest in contemporary jazz but didn't know where to start, this is the place. Brud: 3 CDs filled with every permutation of back-cracked jazz you'd ever hoped existed. It's a lengthy testament to Andre Vida's infinitely brilliant imagination. Listen below and be converted (it's that simple):
Friday, January 27, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
(Peaking Mandala, 2011)
Andrew Douglas Rothbard's hyper-collagist, über-stylized psychedelia is like a chocolate fountain, constantly brimming over with candy-sweet richness. On his latest, Frequenseqer, It's almost too much, carrying the threat of short-wiring the listener's brain. But that's part of the deranged beauty of it: an all-cylinders assault constantly teetering on the point of collapse (yet always managing to stay right-side up). Containing 23 tracks, Rothbard's most recent outing is a gorgeous, expansive mind-tangle, flush with swirling electronics, beat-mashing intricacies and a giant-sized, glitched-out imagination. A very worthy successor to 2009's Exodusarabesque (and his debut, Abandoned Meander, for that matter). File under: should've been on my year-end list (like everything I've been posting lately: new 2011 year-end list in February (I should kill myself...)).
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
(Mad Monk, 2006)
Kurt Weisman is right: more is more. Which is why, when I finally got around discovering and hearing his debut 7" (pre-Spiritual Sci-fi), More Is More, I had to drop my jaw open here. I love Spiritual Sci-fi, and this is in that exact vein of weirdness/wonderfulness.
Double-bonus, Weisman-acolyte and FG-featured musician, Salvador (Salvita?) Cresta, made this mind-warping video for More Is More's "(Syd´s snooze room)´s blues and leather gallery":
Kurt Weisman - (Syd´s Snooze Room)´s Blues and Leather Gallery from Salvita Cresta on Vimeo.
I'm just discovering the brilliant, brilliant composer and cellist, Okkyung Lee, which is always a terrific and terrifying experience: reaffirming that there are endless numbers of incredible musicians, musicians who you (read: I--but probably you too) would love if you only knew they existed, and each with lush, exciting back-catalogs: infinite music. There's simply not enough time... But, at the end of the day, at least I can say that I did finally find Noisy Love Songs. An easy comparison here--she being a cellist--is with fellow cellist, neo-classical composer, experimentalist (and FG fave) Aaron Martin. However, while Martin has perfected sad-gorgeous melodies and sparse-but-effective sound samples, electronic flourishes, Lee's work takes on a more animalistic, almost feral quality. There's a move into more contemporary, improvised territory with Lee (perhaps they're not so comparable after all). The album's beautiful by nature of the cello, but that doesn't stop Lee from pushing the boundaries of her instrument and the musical territory we've come to expect from it (the cello). Noisy Love Songs is certainly verging well into avant garde territory, but Lee manages experimentalism that doesn't all-together abandon what is obviously a high level of classical/compositional training. The album skips back and forth between "love songs" content, simply, to stretch and heighten one's back fur to those bent on obliterating everything into a primal, beastly huff. It's a very dynamic record and, I must say, Lee has me totally smitten. I imagine in the coming months I'll be digging up a lot of Okkyung Lee to feature on the blog. Brilliant, brilliant work.
Okkyung Lee - Roundabout
Thursday, January 19, 2012
(Self Released / Mississippi Records, 2011)
Bloody gorgeous, muddy, bluesy solo guitar improvisations from this Pacific Northwest guitar-neck strangler. And occupying a well-fitting place with Mississippi Records (even as one the very few contemporary artists they've put out). Anderson's certainly in touch with old-age blues. On The Golden Hour, the blues/delta/ragtime lineage is immediately apparent, but with a new-style corrosiveness and grit, grandeur, and most importantly, soul. Did I mention how gorgeous this record is? Nowadays, if you are releasing a solo guitar record, there's some obligatory sense in the critic of name dropping Fahey and everyone else. Marisa Anderson (and I apologize for having mentioned the name already) stands outside that obligation as a guitarist whose work holds up singularly and boldly on its own merits. Strong, timeless music here with the strength to rebuild a wobbling nation by harnessing what grace that helped build that nation in the first place. The Golden Hour is one of those kinds of albums.
(Rune Grammofon, 2011)
I'm a bad fan, apparently, of all my favorite bands. First The Goslings and now MoHa!! I'm really slipping folks. Rune Grammofon, a year ago this month, released this limited edition MoHa! singles collection (makes me smile to imply the pop-music understanding of 'singles' to MoHa!) culled from their vinyl-only output between 2008 and when it was released. I have a couple of those records--a 7" and split 10"--but not all of them, and I don't get to my vinyl nearly as often as I'd like, so this is a godsend. And, just like with The Goslings, I'm ripe for the pummeling monstrosity of machine gun-strength/tempo noise that MoHa! is the grand standing masters of. The duo's simply the best when it comes to breakneck free jazz crippled with electronic squalor then catapulted with wry punk abandon. And it doesn't matter that Meiningslaust Oppgulp is a "singles compilation," the tracks here (ranging from 3 to 13 minutes) coalesce perfectly into this album length format they've been collected into. Listening to them--Anders Hana and Morten J. Olsen--work through each of these tracks is like listening to an giant infinite-tentacled beast dismantling entire cities to a stop watch. Utterly exhilarating, spastic and, occasionally, when locking into some sickly groove, unexpectedly coherent. The compilation is a perfect example why MoHa! is one of my very favorite bands. And, in terms of retroactive re-organization, listmaking, all that stuff--flippant and overt valuation--in case you're curious, this would likely plant itself right behind Amateur Doubles (that's spot no. 2) on my 2011 year end list. Which means, if you hadn't gathered as much already, that it's essential listening. (Also, listmaking is bad for your health.)
Flisespikking/ Lyd med Tenner/ Mjøl di eiga kake by MoHa!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
There are a few artists whose work sits so powerfully in my subconscious that I will, seemingly at random, think of them, my mind urging me, insistently, to check on them, see what they’ve been up to and make sure that I haven’t missed anything in the interim of days between now and the last time I thought of them, listened to them. It’s a small group—say maybe a dozen artists—who get that kind of attention from me. The Goslings are one of those. It’s been nearly four years now since their last full-length record, Occasion, and I thought to myself, Self, we should be due for another blast of Goslings sometime soon. So, I check on them through some of my standard avenues (mostly Google) and realized, appalled at myself, that The Goslings put out a collaborative record in 2009 that I, until now, never knew existed: Heaven of Animals. I’m embarrassed, I guess, that I didn’t know about the album when it came out, but even more than that I am excited that I have, immediately, a new album fingerprinted by gloriously abysmal Goslings with which to seek out. I’m hesitant of course, we are dealing with a collaboration, here—maybe there’s no trace of “The Goslings” anywhere on the record, and who’s Warmth? Still, excited. Overwhelmingly excited. Researching, I realize that I’m a bad Goslings fan: not only did Heaven of Animals get released in 2009 by aRCHIVE, half the record (the first 4 of the 8 tracks) were apparently released in 2005, in collaboration with Roxanne Jean Polise (also titled, Heaven of Animals). I feel like an idiot—but regardless, I’m happily, idiotically smiling now, because it’s new-to-me The Goslings. Seems like the thing’s sold out, I can’t find it anywhere (not that that has stopped me from looking for a downloadable version before), so I download it. The first track, “Soft Eyes Open,” is twenty-two minutes long! Has to be the longest thing they’ve done. And it's glorious. Like gold in my ears. The record finds The Goslings (& Warmth--whoever you are Warmth, and I'll find out when it isn't past midnight, I'm looking you up) in perfect form. Loud as ever and dronier than ever as well. But still, patently, The Goslings. It's almost as good as Grandeur of Hair. I sure hope something new is right around the corner (though, this'll hold me over for a long, long while).
Thursday, January 12, 2012
(Self Released, 2011)
Don't know why, exactly, I fell asleep this year on First Dog to Visit the Center of the Earth, aka First Dog, aka FDVCE, aka Murrieta, California's Jack Rodriguez. However, consider me wide awake now. Wide awake. All I have been listening to for the past week is 2011 FDVCE releases (two full lengths and an EP). The most recent of which, Landing, is still super fresh, considering it was just released last month. I first fell for FDVCE last year when I heard Colossus Archosaur. On Landing, the Black Dice oddness has sobered slightly, though not completely, and the result is bubbly, tinkering, bright and colorful work reminiscent of Yesterday Was Dramatic-era Múm. And, as you might imagine, the ground connecting those two FG-favorites is rich with possibilities. Thankfully, Rodriguez cultivates the space with expert skill, creating work that nods knowingly at its predecessors while at the same time carving out a unique space for himself. Really, a really good record--more than just solid: great.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Comics:"One day I will be the kind of person who does not kill plants"
"Growing Up Haunted" (excerpt)
"Dorm-ant Spirits, Or: the Phantoms of my Freshman Year"
"My Alaskan Summer" (excerpt)
And, of course, more here.