June 20, 2009
Synesthesia: a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated
Short Film: Click
Terri Timely has also made music videos for many artists including Modest Mouse, Joanna Newsom, and Midlake.
May 27, 2009
For a while now I’ve been wanting to make a podcast that hits harder than the others I’ve put out before. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t feeling the music that I wanted to include at the time, so I decided to wait it out. Finally, as the weather turned from warm to hot, I started to click with heavier stuff, and now, before your very ears, is the product of this. The podcast starts out clear enough with Rusty Santos, but soon dives into a sea of fuzz that is The Hospitals. I hope that you enjoy this month’s podcast as much as I enjoyed making it.
- [Δ0:00] Solo Pact by Rusty Santos: Rusty Santos, producer of Animal Collective’s legendary (in my opinion) Sung Tongs, obviously has a skill for sound. In Solo Pact his voice dwindles masterfully among horns, guitars, and other instrumentation.
- [Δ1:59] Dream Damage by The Hospitals: Tape hiss! Detuned guitars! Amps from pawn shops! California heat! A push cart selling shaved ice near the beach!
- [Δ3:32] White Strobe Void by Wet Hair: Wet Hair has been described by some as “blissed out”. I frankly don’t understand how they’ve come to describe them as that, I think that it’s more “I was blissed out once but somebody threw a whole bunch of grease on me”.
- [Δ9:18] Igloo by Pyramids: Pyramids are a band from somewhere underwater in the Baltic Sea. Just kidding, they’re from Texas.
- [Δ12:22] The Trees Grew Emotions and Died by Cold Cave: Cold Cave is Wes Eisold from Philadelphia, PA. I can’t tell if he’s bringing noise to the electro kids or electro to the noise kids. Either way, it rocks.
- [Δ16:23] Sunday Night by Lotus Plaza: Lockett Pundet, the mastermind behind Lotus Plaza, has created the most euphoric song I’ve heard in a while. Congratulations Lockett!
- [Δ21:00] The Future Looks Bright… Super Bright by Groupshow: Groupshow is awesome, how often do you get to hear three relatively hi-fi artists (Farben, Sad Rockets, and Static) messing around with lo-fi equipment and loose song structures?
- [Δ24:47] This Is How We See In The Dark by City Center: The vocals seek to find escape but the brackish cloud of dusty ambiance restrains them. Eventually, electrical pulses nearly destroy them, but just like any good story, they find themselves finally free at the end.
February 5, 2009
I genuinely lack the ability to fall asleep to most music. My main difficulty lies in the fact that I feel the urge to pay undivided attention toward any noise that comes cascading from my speakers at night. This ailment often runs over to the time after I’m finished listening as well; music is like a sort of caffeinated drink for my ears. Therefore, I must carefully pick what I listen to before shutting my eyes for the night. This month’s podcast is a selection of songs which you may find glowing on the screen of my iPod after my night-stand’s light has been extinguished for the night.
- [Δ0:00] My Clown by Belong: This is actually the cover of a song originally crafted by July, a psychedelic band from the 60’s. Would you have been able to guess that though? The interesting thing about this cover is that it almost seems to be the remains of a song, yet it still holds a powerful aura. An absolutely incredible tune, I dig the chorus which seems to be sung at a distance amid bouts of analog noise.
- [Δ6:26] Noslipós by Library Tapes: Falling asleep in an old library surrounded by books and amber lights. Do you hear a piano?
- [Δ7:56] Long Term (Remote) by The Caretaker: Ask yourself, do these songs evoke any memories? If you said The Shining then you’d be correct, if you said anything else you’d probably also be correct (hey, it’s up to you). Originally, The Caretaker project was created to imitate the ballroom scene from The Shining, one of the creepiest movies I’ve ever seen. Even though the unknown artist behind The Caretaker has moved on to a more psychological approach of imitating amnesia, he/she still seems to keep Stanley Kubrick’s visions strong. Find yourself forgetting? Forgettttin… Forg…
- [Δ12:09] Map In Hand Pt. 1 (Prologue) by Seaworthy: Seaworthy is an awesome example of how one’s life seeps into his/her artwork. Cameron Webb, one of the core members of Seaworthy, has a PhD in environmental science and does most of his work in wetlands. It seems as if the wetland’s lush green humid conditions have dripped onto the music a bit.
- [Δ13:57] Formal Barrier by Ateleia: This song takes many forms, each a different soundscape of its own. Almost like it is a world of differing ecosystems, each equal yet different.
- [Δ19:49] Piece for Four Pianos by Morton Feldman: In my opinion, Morton Feldman’s music embodies the soul purpose of minimalist music. Although the songs are almost painfully simple and sparse, they create a distinguishable mood in the room; it is music to feel a presence to.
- [Δ26:07] Bonfire On The Field by Chihei Hatakeyama: Chihei Hatakeyama’s sole release on Kranky, entitled Minima Moralia, is undoubtedly one of my favorite ambient albums. The aural images that he creates are quite possibly the most beautiful I’ve ever heard (seen?). Imagine a bright white and silver room filled with smooth white sculptures… at least that’s what I see.
January 6, 2009
As we move deeper into the heart of winter we search for the heaviness in which we find warmth. Meals become more hearty, jackets cover fleeces which cover sweatshirts, and thick scents of pine fill the air. This month’s podcast keeps steadfast with this winter heft by presenting music that piles upon itself. Instead of a classic structure, these songs tend to not be put into sections, but instead build layer upon layer until an ultimate climax is met, a point at which there is no direction but down. Hence, a network of layers is created, just like the bundles that protect your body from the snow storm.
- Seabird by Black Dice: Black Dice, a popular noise outfit based out of New York, creates music that is not only layer based, but is completely dependent on layers. Seabird, as well as the rest of Black Dice’s catalog, not only piles layers upon layers of sounds, but also connects them. When a drum beat comes in, it is almost guaranteed that it will be connected, either in a rhythmic or more free pattern, to another sound. Listen as chimes unearth themselves amidst washes of synth arpeggios and hi-hat grooves.
- Mirror Friends by Lucky Dragons: Lucky Dragons has been said to “edit his music like a magazine”, though I’d fancy it as more of a collage. Luke Fishbeck, the mastermind behind Lucky Dragons, cuts and pastes pre-recorded and sampled sounds in a way that creates songs that never quite lose their spark.
- Baleen Sample by Animal Collective: Although Animal Collective has gone in an almost completely different direction since their acoustic days, they still hold some of their styles close to heart. In this song, which is an instrumental track on the Prospect Hummer EP (recorded with Vashti Bunyan in 2005), steady guitar strums fade in and out as an almost watery soundscape in the background creates a blissful backdrop. Similar techniques to these are still found in their new releases such as Merriweather Post Pavilion (which is absolutely incredible if you haven’t heard it yet).
- Afternoon Saints by Lee Ranaldo: Lee Ranaldo has been in the business for a while now. Although he is better known as a guitarist in Sonic Youth, his more underground personality is deeply rooted in the noise and (experimental) visual art community. In Afternoon Saints, a collage of bells (Pink Floyd anyone?) rises and falls in intensity creating a being that can only be described as “organic”.
- Jeep Uzi by WZT Hearts: WZT Hearts, a noise group from Baltimore, has the ability to create a wide variety of moods with its music. In this song, the resonating ringing of bells is followed by a shaking response, an odd mood of relaxation amidst anxiousness is created.
- Holy Quinn by Stag Hare: Stag Hare creates music that slowly builds block upon block until a point where there can be no more building. At this point this wall of rhythm is revised and turned into something almost completely new. Music to stare into the sun to.
- Golden by High Places: I feel as if High Places sometimes gets labeled too often as a “cute indie noise band”. Sure, a girl with a high voice sings over tinny bells, but I feel as if the music is much deeper than these labels imply. High Place’s music washes over you like a wave, beats progress and slowly fade away as chugging rhythms slowly take their place.
December 6, 2008
Of course, I am in no way capable of funding an actual trip of this caliber, so instead I’ve created a podcast that kind of makes you feel tropical! Put on your bathing suit and curl up under the covers of your bed, it’s time for a deep vacation.
- A Patricia by Los Destellos: During the 60’s the world went through a revolution. From California to Japan a shock ran through society as the hippie counter-culture famously became a solid part of popular culture. During this time hippies sought places where they could find peace, isolation, and beauty. Peru fit the bill very nicely, and their culture was absorbed and spit out as something a bit more psychedelic. “A Patricia”, a song created in this era, was a product of the hippie movement in Peru. By combining traditional cumbias with the psychedelic mindset of the ’60’s a new, and at that time mind-blowing, sound was created.
- Ibadan by Ebenezer Obey: Known as the “Cheif Commander” of Nigerian Pop Music, Ebenezer Obey was an influential musician in his home country. By mixing Caribbean type instrumentation with African beats he creates joyous songs which can be heard oozing out of Nigerian dance clubs on clear nights.
- Beach Point Pleasant by Ducktails: Flash to the present! Ducktails are bringing back the tropics. As a repetitive organ sprays sun over a warm beach, heavily reverbed guitars drip with blue water. Just lay back and take it all in.
- Horse Steppin by Sun Araw: Greeted with waves, bass, and a lazy drum beat, “Horse Steppin” represents beach sunsets all over the world. As the bass / drum line repeats throughout the entire 10+ minute song, sleepy guitars sweep in and out as if a sun bleeding orange light.
- Intro Goth by Wavves: Used as the album opener on the self-titled record from beach punk specialist Wavves, this song fills the ears with bubbly guitars. Like jumping from the hot air into the complete silence and green tinge of the ocean, “Intro Goth” is immersing and blissful.
- Scones and Bull by Eric Copeland: Like in most of Eric Copland’s or Black Dice‘s songs, “Scones and Bull” creates an aural world. For about a minute and a half Eric Copeland gives you access to this planet of pitch shifted loops and foolery, but just as quickly he pulls you out.
- Let it Out by Skeletons: This song is deceivingly complex. Although its structure seems simple, there are countless sounds to pick out; quick strike of the organs, ascending strings, and silent guitar plucking make this song great.
- Robber’s Knot by Him: By mixing genres like afro-beat, math rock, and indie, Him (no, not the metal band) has created something beautiful. With all didgeridoo buzzes and beautiful singing I am forced to ask how one can not like this.
P.S. – I’ve added a Podcast section to house the new podcasts.
October 13, 2008
Music has a special ability to bring back old memories. Sometimes songs get tied like a knot to parts of our minds, and when they are played again they release the sights, smells, and most importantly, feelings of a certain place in time. This is what I assume to be a perfectly natural occurrence as music seems to have a special ability to connect to us. The alignment of rhythms and sounds are able to evoke some sort of sensible feelings out of us.
Then there is the music of Mount Eerie, a project of Phil Elverum (formally of The Microphones). Mount Eerie takes the listener away to a place where he or she has never been. Instead of evoking memories, it creates ones that have never even existed. While listening to Mount Eerie I can often feel fog surround me, and I can see forests of ancient trees covered in moss. Mount Eerie’s music is not just music, it’s an entire experience. Instead of defining a story, it defines a setting, and allows the listener to explore.
This setting usually is characterized by the Pacific Northwest, the place where Phil Elverum lives and where Mount Eerie thrives. Like a sponge, Phil Elverum sucks in the environment that he lives in, the wet moss, the foggy morning, and spits it out in sonic form. I can’t help but think back to a time when I was on the beach on a cold night. I dipped my feet in the water and felt it rush up my legs and I was immediately struck by fond memory, but it was a memory that never happened. I instantly felt the emotions, images, and sounds that emanate from Mount Eerie’s music; I was transported to the Pacific Northwest as seen through Phil Elverum’s eyes. This was an incredibly powerful experience that I’ve never felt from any other music; it was an extremely beautiful moment.
Recently, Mount Eerie has expanded into other media forms. So far, a photo book and a movie (see: “Fog Movies Live”) have been released, and a journal (see: “Dawn”) of drawings and notes is set to arrive in November. These things serve as a perfect complement to Mount Eerie’s music, another indication that Phil Elverum really knows how to relate music to his environment. His photo book, which contains a record featuring “Mount Eerie Pts. 6 & 7” (a continuation of The Microphones’ final album “Mount Eerie”), matches the music perfectly with its blurred pictures of foggy landscapes, dimly lit homes, and ghost like double exposures. These things add to the aura of Mount Eerie, they create a definite idea of what is seen, felt, and heard.
On the album “No Flashlight” Phil Elverum mumbles, “What does Mount Eerie mean?” This seems to be a question that is best answered by the entire catalog of Mount Eerie / The Microphones material. This is because the answer to that question can only be expressed by feelings which words are not powerful enough to describe.
August 22, 2008
Gang Gang Dance— the psychedelic Egypt-influenced drum boomers from Brooklyn– have finally allowed the new single from their upcoming LP, Saint Dymphna, to slip from their fingers. The single, entitled “House Jam”, was first revealed as a remix by xxxchange of Spank Rock; but now, anxious Gang Gang Dance fans (like me) can finally catch a listen of the real thing at fluxblog.
August 18, 2008
Good ‘ol Phil Elverum has come again bearing (more) gifts, when does he stop! On his online shop he’s put up a brand new Mount Eerie / Julie Doiron & Fred Squire collaboration, Lost Wisdom, a Mount Eerie movie, Fog Movies Live, a Mount Eerie book (with 19 songs), Dawn, and a D+ album, What is Doubt For?. Unfortunately, the fifth addition to the store, a re-issue of No Flashlight, has already sold out.
Mount Eerie is also touring so much that I’m not even going to attempt posting it here. Go here instead and scroll down.