“Popeth” means “everything” in Welsh. It’s also the name of the latest collaborative full-length from enlightened noisesmiths Aaron Dilloway and Jason Lescalleet, properly following up their 2012 team-up Grapes and Snakes. Above, find Popeth centerpiece “Western Nest,” whose masterful bonding of lulling electronic pulses and high frequencies suggests a peak of unity between the two artists. Truly, the entire project lives up to its name - it is in essence the culmination of Dilloway and Lescalleet’s combined efforts in sonic manipulation and the creation of a holistic soundscape up to this point.
Popeth is out now via Glistening Examples.
Hypercolor is a NYC trio making its self-titled debut on “downtown” figurehead John Zorn’s Tzadik imprint later this month. Unsurprisingly, the threesome comprised of guitarist Eyal Maoz, bassist James Ilgenfritz, and drummer Lukas Ligeti (all of whom are accomplished composers and improvisers) delivers the label’s trademark brand of controlled improvisation. However, the band’s deceptively simple setup proves to be another welcome take on Zorn’s “game piece” mentality; the result a work of spastic jazz-rock that courts entropy for the entirety of its playtime. This act is aptly named – Hypercolor will likely be among the most vibrant blasts of rock music this year.
Look out for this thing, due to drop 15 January via Tzadik.
With the title and track names of new instrumental soundtrack Fashion Week, Death Grips at last answers the age-long question “jenny death when?” – probably in time for the New York and London Fashion Weeks, which start 12 and 20 February, respectively (the 10th would seem to be a safe bet).
That said, I’m happy to find that this collection of 14 new tracks is much more than a mere hint. Ride’s vocals are of course absent, but these instrumentals do well to amass potency along their decidedly linear paths. These cuts themselves really seem to be up on the runway, strutting their stuff with an unprecedented balance of boldness and poise.
Oneohtrix Point Never has just shared an outtake from R Plus Seven called “Rush,” supplementing it with a short-but-sweet collaborative track with A.G. Cook, founder of London label PC Music, which specializes in a brand of “bubblegum bass” that I’m not sure I get yet. This feels right.
Dirty Beaches has been laid to rest, but Alex Zhang Hungtai remains a wanderer. In the statement that accompanies swansong Stateless, he comments on the transitory and unpredictable nature of life and prompts us to “brace ourselves for the ever changing tides of time.” Above, find the profoundly affective audio-visual representation of this rather melancholy existential mindset. Godspeed to us all as we wander through this life!
Stateless is out now via Zoo Music.
It is pretty much impossible to classify the music of Finnish collective Kemialliset Ystävät. I might say its style is kind of psychedelic, appears to be predominantly electronic, and has exotic elements, but half the time I can’t even tell what is generating the sounds on latest album Alas Rattoisaa Virtaa: Live instrumentation? Sampling? Synthesizer? Voice? You could say it is a mash-up of world music (particularly from the Far East), krautrock, chiptune, and plunderphonics, but in the end I’m not comfortable isolating any one of those (micro)genres. Ultimately, Alas Rattoisaa Virtaa is sui generis – the style is Kemialliset Ystävät’s alone.
The result is an ironically whimsical experience. Alas would be the perfect soundtrack for a Hayao Miyazaki movie – images of Spirited Away and Porco Rosso filled my head, well before the oinking pig samples that come in at the end of the clap-led centerpiece “Vettä Yarahille.” A few more of my favorite moments are the initially boisterous and later moody “Arkistorotat/Risuilla Täyteyssä Salissa,” the clanking and marching “Naderbux & Sundergrund,” and the ethereal “Hetkinen,” which I swear sounds exactly like part of the Spirited Away soundtrack. I wish I could, as usual, lay down a bunch of interesting genre descriptors to posit an idea of the aesthetic and pique your interest. But I hope my inability to do so for this LP will have the same enticing effect. I’ll try one last film allusion: if there were a Studio Ghibli-produced adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, this would be the score.
- From my joint Ultima II Massage / Alas Rattoisaa Virtaa review for The Arts Fuse
Jason Lescalleet is coming forward as a proponent for the virtue of instant gratification with monthly/quarterly subscription series This Is What I Do (deets on his Glistening Examples website).
In an interview with Tiny Mix Tapes, the musique concrète virtuoso touched down on the value of immediacy in music: “Part of this project’s value comes from the immediacy of the material… Immediacy means that I won’t have time to over think anything. Raw. Pure. Also, timely, current, now. A glimpse into my state of mind on a real time basis. Keeping it real.”
You might recall Lescalleet teaming up with Kevin Drumm to suck listeners into an inescapable void of emptiness and beauty earlier this year with The Abyss. If that’s not real, I don’t know what is. Help Lescalleet keep it real – check out last month’s This Is What I Do above and if it’s your bag, consider following the series as it makes its way into the new year. Enjoy!
Four Pattern Distorted Harmony is the fourth album released this year by Vitoria-based experimental music project i.o. I endorsed their album Edit Architect earlier this year.
Just like i.o’s previous exploits in 2014, this album is an intense, glitchy collection of tracks indulging in progressive rock, free jazz, noise rock, and match rock. It’s got a number of subtle, serene moments as well that work wonderfully as well. Enjoy!
Hypnotic: a term used too often to describe anything slightly disorienting.
Repetition: often overemphasized by writers to manufacture effect that isn’t there.
Jolting: applied to the softest of transitions.
Impressionistic: used to delineate music that barely hints at being allusive.
With Zs however, bold descriptors often apply simply because their music is doing bold things. This group boils musical ideas to their purest and most elemental forms before stacking another idea onto the fold. To employ so many strong musical expressions in the span of twelve minutes, lapsing into and out of focus yet maintaining a cohesive thought throughout is undoubtedly impressive. Free jazz, blues, industrial, and many more forms of music, some that I probably can’t even name, meld into each other here. “Corps” can be found on Zs’ upcoming album Xe, which was recorded in one sitting and is sure to contain similar experimentation.
Fresh off a Mercury Prize win, previously loved Young Fathers have dropped a new single titled “Soon Come Soon,” which features the trio’s usual blend of hip hop, African music, and alluring balladry. The song starts with a loose, primal groove and ends with a gorgeous set of vocal harmonies. It’s a warm track that brings back the natural vibe I enjoyed so much from their initial mixtapes, but was somehow forgotten on their recently released commercial debut.