NMESH, the alias of Kentuckian electronic music producer and ex-drummer Alex Koenig, is committed to the concept of the “guest mix” to an almost unhealthy extent. Consider the above 4-and-a-half-hour-long, 10 “world” conceptual mix he created for Tiny Mix Tapes.
With the tagline, “TINY MIX TAPES HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY NINJAS. ARE YOU A BAD ENOUGH DUDE TO SAVE TINY MIX TAPES?”clearly this is not the product of a sane mind. This is the work of a person who has spent way too much time with the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog and Ryu Hayabusa. Basically, Koenig’s my kind of guy and Welcome to Warp Zone! is the musical even of the year in my book. If you too feel keen to listen to 4 and a half hours of retro-virtual inanity, tune in above and enjoy!
Burial Hex, the well established pseudonym of experimental singer-songwriter Clay Ruby, has reached its calculated end. Last week, Ruby put out The Hierophant, the most graceful finish conceivable for his long-running project. On past efforts, Burial Hex almost always had me wondering at what point a piece of music might be considered sui generis – his style has clear elements of darkwave, death industrial, and modern classical music, but this has always struck me as a trifling observation to say the least. I believe The Hierophant, fittingly Ruby’s most holistic statement to date, confirms this. So, I can really only set up the above title track by calling it a “Burial Hex song” and hope that’s enough to grab your attention.
Although this ‘death’ was prophesied or whatever, I can’t help but be sad that there won’t be any more Burial Hex music. Fingers crossed that like the recently concluded Dirty Beaches, Ruby will continue exploring his own sound under different names, but as is, he has given us one of the greatest avant-garde albums of the year. Anyway, I feel I should pay my respects: R.I.P. Burial Hex.
The Hierophant is out now via Handmade Birds.
Back in June, the zestful noise poppers over at A Sunny Day in Glasgow delivered perhaps 2014′s greatest summer album, Sea When Absent. The Sydney six-piece’s refreshing shoegaze production rendered this the perfect beach music (on an overcast day). But now, a week from Thanksgiving, the band is in a properly wintry spirit, participating in the limited edition cassette series Sketch for Winter. Theirs is the first installment this cycle, comprised of four “new Christmas classics” and, naturally, one Mariah Carey cover. Above, stream the confrontationally-titled “Shut Your Mouth, It’s Christmas,” which perfectly captures the holiday ethos. Happy listening!
Sketch for Winter I: New Christmas Classics is available here for pre-order via Geographic North (limited to an edition of 300). Also, A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s label Lefse shared a cold new video for Sea When Absent cut “Crushin’.” Watch that here:
Last month, Alex Zhang Hungtai announced the laying to rest of his long-running and acclaimed no-wave singer-songwriter alias Dirty Beaches. The recently released Stateless was packed with gorgeous drones and was thankfully an elegant end for the project.
There was a silver lining to this news: Hungtai announced that new music under different handles would be coming as soon as 2015. Lo and behold, he has already delivered over 20 minutes of music under the pseudonym Last Lizard. The 18-minute-long “Dickie’s Theme” and the below 4 minute excerpt from “Detroit” are billed as “tenor sax and tape experiments,” in a similar vein as some of the material on Stateless. Try to imagine The Disintegration Loops constructed only out of layered tenor sax sounds – if you can, then you ought to have a good idea of what you’re in for.
R.I.P. Dirty Beaches. Long live Last Lizard!
A week ago, Canadian underground veteran emcee Eternia dropped a new track. The single, “Scraps,” is thick with an impending sense of boom bap-influenced hip hop that forces its listener to contemplate their place in the world. According to Eternia in a quote for HipHopDX, she heard the beat playing while in the middle of prayer at City Lights in Toronto, wrote the song the same night, then recorded it the next day. Eerily reminiscent both melodically and production-wise to “The Answer” by The Foreign Exchange, Eternia uses her crafty lyrical prowess to build a foundation of aggressive bars about life lessons learned and hard knowledge earned. It’s proof of why Eternia has been able to stick around the hip hop game for a decade and still seems hungry for more ears to listen intently.
- Ron Grant
With a deep, dense, spacey, almost gritty aura to it, Brazilian electronic duo Living in Frames‘ song “Closer” certainly doesn’t slouch on delving into the darker side of what many folks may immediately lump into the category of EDM. There’s heavy, obvious elements of both dubstep and drum and bass, as well as a fair amount of spacey voice manipulation, atmospheric instruments and an overall sense of strategic musical uncertainty that seeps and drips throughout “Closer,” making for a listen that leans towards the neurotic. Yet the track still revels in and embraces its own scant but deeply-layered makeup. Heilo de Matos and Luis Antonio Muniz, though they’ve only been together for a year, seem to be getting closer to the specific sound they want to convey in their music, and “Closer,” though it could maybe have been a bit more defined, is still proof of that.
“Closer” appears on the twosome’s upcoming EP Outer. Listen to the track above and download it for free if you so please. Happy listening!
- Ron Grant
This week Finnish experimental electronica extraordinaire Sasu Ripatti (a.k.a. Vladislav Delay) dropped a new full-length album called Visa. On this new project, you will not find the rich dub influence of previous two LPs Vantaa and Kuopio; rather, Delay appears to be attempting a return to form…whatever that may be for him. Since the beginning, his work has in many novel ways challenged the conception of ambiance as a passive mode of music, and the five oft-sprawling pieces on Visa very much share this spirit. Delay’s music demands attention – his compositions are angular, his rhythms complex, his progressions combustive. Consequently, he has managed to remain quite a bit more “engaging” than your typical ambient artist. Lay your ears on a medley of Visa‘s tracks above, or stream the whole thing below via Delay’s Bandcamp. Enjoy!
Known for being somewhat of a chameleon when it comes music production, Michna has carved quite a lane for himself through the intricate mixing and melding of genres: doses of hip hop, electronica, darkened techno has allowed Michna to create a formidable music tapestry and given him the space to delve into areas once thought not feasible. His latest offering is again a combination of all the aforementioned styles. “She Exists In My Mind” is indeed a dark, stark trip inside a curious musical mind that for just over three minutes keeps the listener enthralled and guessing. Be forewarned, rewinds and head nodding will ensue greatly.
- Ron Grant