July 31, 2008
Finally, after a year or so of suspense waiting for more news on The Avalanches’ ever so elusive second LP, we have news. The Avalanches’ Myspace quote in the top left corner has changed, it now says “putting the finishing touches on album 2 !!!!!!!!!” WHAA! FINISHING TOUCHES! Keep an eye out for the album, or even a release date, in these coming months (years? decades?), it might come up someday.
July 31, 2008
Artist: Vanishing Voice
Album: Morning After
Label: Three Lobed
You can thank Vanishing Voice for providing quality music to be used in any creepy situation. Driving through the NJ Pines at night? Vanishing Voice! Just watched a horror flick? Vanishing Voice! Heard a sound coming from your attic? Vanishing Voice!
You get the picture, they are creepy. Their music is also incredibly beautiful. Drones swirl below a shower of drum beats which constantly switch from free-form to tribal rhythms while guitars silently emerge and disappear again. All of this creates songs that just flow perfectly, so perfectly, in fact, that one may not notice a transition until it is fully completed. This cohesion creates a beautiful and hypnotic drone album which I think is one of the best I’ve ever heard.
July 29, 2008
Yesterday, I acquired a copy of Radio India: The Eternal Dream Of Sound. This is the 14th “compilation” to come from Sublime Frequencies, a label that scours the world in search of obscure music (and sounds). The reason for my use of quotations on the word “compilation” is that Radio India is far from your normal compilation. First of all, there are no artist names whatsoever, these sounds are only a document of another world. This in itself is an interesting concept that has been quite controversial for Sublime Frequencies; should world music be presented as a lesson in foreign cultures or should it only be displayed as a document for the listener to “study”? Sublime Frequencies chooses the latter. By only cluing the listener into which city these sounds were recording (directly from the radio), Sublime Frequencies creates a unique listening experience in which the listener is completely unbiased. This idea of “green” listening is made even more interesting when a song suddenly skips into another, a technique that Sublime has been using on all of it’s radio recordings.
As for the music, it lives up to Sublime’s own description as an “amazing collection of audio art”. The first disc contains mostly music-only excerpts from radio stations ranging from New Delhi (Radio Delhi) to Kolkata (Radio Calcutta). These excerpts cover an incredible range of genres, such as folk, disco, odd Bollywood jams, and good ‘ol classical sitar music. The second disc contains a more experimental mix of DJs, commercials, music, and radio sounds which create a feeling of closeness to India, while the radio static creates a feeling of distance.
I’d highly recommend this as a jumping point into Indian music, or as a supplement for a seasoned veteran.
July 25, 2008
Today, Thurston Moore, noise guitar extraordinaire, Ecstatic Peace! runner, and, most importantly, Sonic Youth singer, songwriter, and guitarist, turns 50! It still amazes me that he still rocks (and noises) hard to this day. Keep it coming man! Here are some videos of him doing awesome stuff:
July 21, 2008
Mincemeat or Tenspeed:
Mincemeat or Tenspeed, the Philadelphia-based project of Davey Harms, was as awesome as usual. Luckily I got a spot directly in front of him and was able to see what exactly what he was manipulating on his table of guitar pedals and other gadgets. The performance started out with a rhythmic shower of raw square waves and slowly morphed into a more subdued sound. After a long session of knob twisting and pedal pressing he simply placed two hands on two different pedals. Finally, after building some suspense in the audience (enough to make someone scream “DO IT!”) he pressed the pedals. Unlike the crowd’s expectations the sound didn’t start blasting, it only took another shape; only to be shaped again, and again, until, shortly after two pedals fell on the floor, the sound sucked back into silence. And that’s the beauty of Mincemeat or Tenspeed.
War on Drugs:
Somehow, War on drugs was able to fit two electric organs, two drum sets, two guitars, and their five members all onto the small stage. Despite the tight fit they put on a great show. I’ve never listened to them before, and although they didn’t seem right opening for Black Dice I really enjoyed them. I couldn’t get over the fact of how Wilco-ish they were; the singer looked exactly like Jeff Tweedy and sounded a lot like them too. Their songs were nice and poppy but sometimes slipped into a big swirling sessions of blown out guitars, droning organs, and waves of cymbles; a nice touch. I’d highly recommend checking them out; I will soon. Expect these guys to get huge.
Finally, Eric, Bjorn, and Aaron came on stage and began to set up. Eric taped a drum pad to a box with duct tape while Bjorn opened up his suitcase of psychedelic sounds. Suspense was building up, and I was contemplating whether or not I should put in my earplugs in order to prepare for the loudest band in New York when a blasting bass tone not only entered my ears, but entered my entire body. At that point I realized there was only one way to listen to Black Dice music in order to get the full experience: really really loudly. I immediately forgot about my earplugs and let the sounds embrace me.
The first song, aptly titled “Chicken Shit” (is this new or a creative title for “improv” on the set list?) jumped around from sound to sound and beat to beat until morphing into something more recognizable. Out of the burning sounds came pieces of the song “Scavenger” off of their latest album Load Blown. Maybe it was just the decibel level of the music, but after fully enjoying myself through the entire set I was catapulted into some sort of nirvana during “Roll Up”, a song which I had lost interest a long time ago after listening to it a countless number of times. As the warmth of the blasting sounds surrounded me I felt compelled to close my eyes and do the dance that I always knew would go along with that song; why was this happening?!? Never have I felt such a powerful experience at a concert. When the loopy synths of “Drool” came peeking through I became lifted into another world. Noises punched me and blanketed me until, suddenly, the music stopped. I had landed. Extremely satisfied, I just stood there for a few more minutes, left the venue, and drove home. Absolutely incredible, thank you Black Dice.
July 18, 2008
We’ve been recording sounds since the late 1800’s. In the time between the 1880’s and the 1970’s quality was improved and methods were made more simple; though everything remained analog. During the early 80’s the recording industry was turned on its head with the introduction of digital recording methods and CDs; recording would never be the same.
Since that point recording methods have gotten simpler and simpler, and quality became as clear as can be. What could be better? A recording that sounds great and is simple to create sounds like the holy grail of recording. But there’s one thing missing from these digital recordings: personality.
When a record is recorded digitally and pressed to a CD there is definitely something lacking. Although the sound is “perfect” it is also dry and bland. Part of what makes music great is its personality; what kind of mood seeps out of the stereo when you press play? There is nothing I like better than putting an actual vinyl record on my record player; not only because I love music but because I love the sound. Sure, those crackles and the overly warm sound may not be the true sound, but I’d rather have a record that has a life of its own that one that is just a document of a song.
Many artists, from underground to mainstream, have taken this analog feel and run with it. The White Stripes‘ sound relies greatly on their analog recording techniques, and while bands in the mainstream like The White Stripes are holding steady on the analog side the greatest analog population resides in the underground. Bands like Racoo-oo-oon are determined to keep the analog trend going and resort to a half-dead media, casette tapes, to do live recording and even some home recordings.
With that said digital shouldn’t be completely ruled out. It is incredibly useful in the creation of sounds, and without it we wouldn’t have half the genres we have today. Personally, almost all of my instruments are digital; I think that they do a great job creating unique sounds and I love them for that. But as for recording and media, I’ll stick to analog.
July 10, 2008
Is it just me or does this look ridiculously fun. Just you, your bike, and ice all around you. On second thought, it might be a bit balmy, and of course, there’s always that small chance of falling through. Good times:
Videoed by Lucas Brunelle
July 10, 2008
July 8, 2008
This is the first post, a mark in so called “history”.
But what is history? Why is the past not the present if we can just conjure it up in our minds at a moments notice? When we say something was just done, was it just done? Or is it happening as those words are coming out of our mouths in the other “dimension” of our minds?