Dexterous Material: Edition No.8
I have serious sympathy for anyone else that has ever sat at their computer and tried to describe Death Grips’ music. Angry? Loud? Someone extremely demanding threatening to fight your eardrums in space? I’m open to suggestions. Maybe this is what makes them so enticing. Music seems to be getting harder to place, to accurately describe and to put in a certain category.
Speaking of Death Grips, they closed out the 13 week Adult Swim Singles Program with the track '@deathgrips'. Again, I have no idea how to even begin to describe this. It’s complete Death Grips style, hard hitting and angry, arduous and odd, fairly impossible to detect what is actually being said. So why is it so good? The entire Singles Program showcased precisely selected quality music such as 'Chemical Legs' by Com Truise, 'Spiral' by Wye Oak, 'Andreja 4-Ever' by Elite Gymnastics, and 'Between Friends' by Flying Lotus featuring Earl Sweatshirt and Captain Murphy.
I cannot skip over the fact that Flying Lotus' newest album Until The Quiet Comes is out. The anticipation has been building all summer, and NPR indulged fans with a First Listen. In other Brainfeeder news, The Gaslamp Killer’s recent album Breakthrough is another wildly intense and hard to place sound that is getting a fair amount of attention. I had to mention it.
Florida's Mike Diaz of Millionyoung put out a new album Amanecer this year. The album as a whole is listenable, but hardly memorable. The tracks are best listened to spread throughout a mix of others, but jumbled together are too similar. 'Chlorophyll' caught my attention though, with Diaz's voice sounding similar to Peter Morén's of Peter Bjorn and John. The track is kept light but eventually lets in some bass to give it depth.
London duo Labyrinth Ear got quite a bit of blog attention for their album Oak in 2010, they have since released the EP Apparitions this year, and most recently the single 'Urchins'. I don’t really know if I should be sad listening to this, curious, or worried. Whatever emotions are channeled in this track, they bring some interesting vibes. Their music in general seems to have a hot and cold collaboration. The vocals are chilling, but the beat is warm. The contrast is well executed; my only concern is that this band might fall into the plethora of other musicians working with the contrast, such as Purity Ring who has already seemed to have taken the cake in this category.
It's the year of the producer, and Om Unit's Jim Coles is right on track. The album Aeolian was released this year. Coles is not only a veraciously talented artist, he is pretty good at staying under the radar. Although Aeolian was released on Civil Music, he runs Cosmic Bridge Records, which houses the likes of Moresounds, Kromestar, EAN, and Danny Scrilla. Everything is deep and dark, catering to those that love bass music. The most interesting part of Om Unit's music is its clean sound and precision. Compared to something like Death Grips, which seems to be an overload of everything at once in the best way, this is so much simpler but equally as enjoyable. It's almost as intense, just in an entirely different semblance.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say it – I think this might be the death of sub-genres. There is so much music being made that mixes genres together, it's impossible to place any artist in a certain spot for more than a few weeks until their sound shifts to something entirely new. I encourage the melding of different sounds; I think that’s the best way to keep new things coming. Create the new by combining the old, and run like hell when you start to get placed in a category.
I've been listening to the new David Bowie album a lot recently, mainly trying to figure out exactly what all the fuss is about. Sadly despite numerous, hyperbolic press reports that he had all but single handedly saved music, I'm yet to be convinced The Next Day is anything other than a fairly decent rock album. [read more]
When asked to takeover this column I had to ask myself first just what is 'electronic music'. As we hurtle into 2013 it's a strange time to be a fan of the all encompassing genre. In theory we've never had it so good, EDM bestrides the known universe with everyone from the most hardcore of rappers to pop's princesses wanting to swaddle themselves in the perceived cool of dance music's all conquering midrange fuzz. [read more]
I'm tapping this into my phone as I hurtle through Germany, one of Kraftwerk's beloved autobahns easing my passage across Europe at a steady 170km/h. By the end of the week I'll have travelled through a further five countries, emailed/Skyped/Facetimed people from seven more and received at least one miss-sold PPI call whilst traversing a mountainside, 2.5km above sea level. [read more]