titassite

Area 51 dance party

Featuring : Group Rhoda

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Skittering beats across a desert plane.  Mara dancing by fire, the cloudless sky illuminated by the laser trails of countless celestial beings.  The smoke from the flames helping give the laser light form and shape.

As the darkness begins to spread at the far corner of the sky, a lone figure moves in the desert valley below.  It’s not quite clear how she came to possess the fuel, but this distant figure is almost certainly building a fire, or a pyre, or some other low wooden structure that seems ripe for burning.

As the desert turns cold, the sun picks out the black edges of the surrounding mountains.

Now it is night and the fire rages.  We are closer.  Closer to the warmth of the fire.  We can see that our fire builder is Mara.  She dances behind the flames and as she does so, we hear music.

Skittering beats cross the desert plane.  From above we see shapes against the stars.

Right on the beat, the cloudless sky becomes illuminated by the laser trails of countless celestial beings. The smoke from the flames helping give the laser light form and shape.  Their metallic wings and angular bodies blot out the stars.

And Mara dances.  And Mara sings.  And the desert becomes a dance floor for the black birds in the sky.

Group Rhoda – Skia

Group Rhoda are currently on tour in Easter Europe.  You can read about where right here.

A simple folk tune, a florid aria, a shredding metal tune

Featuring : Roomful of Teeth

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If anyone thinks choral music is an anachronism in 2015 then they’re just not listening. Two years ago Katie Gately’s Pipes took Bjork’s Medulla approach to acapella arrangements and exploded it (leading to the inevitability of the two inniuses actually working together this year).

Just as exciting are Roomful of Teeth – a Massachusetts choir formed in 2009 by singer and composer Brad Wells. Roomful of Teeth profess to approach music more like a band than a choir, bringing in influences from Tuvan throat singing as much as opera and Korean p’ansori singing as much as Gregorian chant.

Their output to date consists of a mix of the members’ own compositions and new pieces from modern composers such as Missy Mazzoli and Merrill Garbus (aka tUnE-yArDs). It is intense, innovative, of-the-moment music from people with a genuine love for sound in all its myriad formats.

They’re possibly the closest thing XXJFG can imagine right now to a contemporary version of our beloved, untouchable Geinoh Yamashirogumi. There is no higher compliment.

We spoke to members Brad Wells and Cameron Beauchamp who told us a little about their working processes.

Brad Wells:

“The selection process for composers is intuitive and informal.  We look for creative musicians with distinct, original compositional voices – composers who have something to say and whose music connects with audiences.

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“Not every ensemble member composes (about half of us do).  But every member does contribute creatively to the process of building new work – especially if that new work is generated from composers within the group.  Suggestions, ideas, different perspectives from each singer are welcome and often incorporated into our new pieces.

“There’s no consistent style or quality that I look for when writing for the group.  Suffice it to say I look for feeling – strong feeling – whether it’s a physical sensation of ring or buzz that results or a vivid emotional response or release.  The human voice – in speech or song – is drenched in emotion; if one doesn’t feel something when the extraordinary vocalists of Roomful of Teeth are singing, something is wrong.”

Roomful of Teeth – Vesper Sparrow (composed by Missy Mazzoli)

Cameron Beauchamp:

“Hopefully, our music can draw in listeners from all walks of life and turn them on to genres of music that is foreign to them. We aim to widen the general listen audience.

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“Our music gives a freedom that I don’t experience when performing other types of music. Never have I felt this depth of expression through so many colors of singing.

“I don’t believe a good singer is defined by his/her pedigree. I believe the integrity and dedication to the musical line is the defining point. I am equally moved by a simple folk tune, a florid aria, or a shredding metal tune. It’s all in the honesty of the performer. ”

Synthetic Womb

Featuring : Abul Mogard

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artwork by Marja de Sanctis

We encourage you to read Joseph Stannard’s rather touching interview with Abul Mogard.  It covers the main talking points regarding the self-taught, Serbian former steel worker turned synth composer, far better than we could in this introductory paragraph.

Instead we will talk about Bound Universe, the second track from his new LP, Circular Forms.  And we will do this because it’s beautiful and faintly terrifying in a way only synthesised music can be.

The arpeggios help, forming that warm cocoon that walks the line between womb-like and smothering — one smiling doctor in a blank modernist room away from insanity.  It’s the washes of noise, gently placed in each ear that seals it.  Hiding in the periphery of the soundscape, erupting distantly, an unwelcome memory of the messy world outside the synthetic womb.  A reminder of the artificiality of the world that Abul’s constructed for us, with his synthesisers and fear.

Abul Mogard – Bound Universe

Abul Mogard’s LP, Circular Forms, is out on Ecstatic Recordings on September 7th.  Pre-order here.

Less hate, more speed

Featuring : Germ Class

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One of the most unforgivable sins of the broad church of sounds collected under the umbrella of chillwave was its reactionary misapplication of reverb, as some sort of analogue for the blurry waves of a beach where all the beautiful people gather to generate future memories whose only goal is to be blurrily shared. It sounds like Instagrammatical history, the (appallingly inaccurate) trailer for Her or an advert for Apple Photos. The nightmarish stasis of the stationary state.

We defrag our system of hate with a progressive utilisation of reverb, by this wonderful German Army/Dunes collaboration, Germ Class: to us, Complex Glow represents the hypnotically fractal interconnectedness of reality, the confusion between cause and consequence, the entropy that creeps in as old sounds are resurrected to roam a world where everything has to exist at the same time, forever. It is the shockwave of things speeding up, not the other way around.

Germ Class – Complex Glow

We understand the tape is for sale in Night People but we can’t find a link anywhere.

Gif above via UI BAKA

The Wine Bar at the End of the Universe

Featuring : CFCF

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CFCF’s The Colours of Life has been our summer.   A 40 minute track comprised of a ‘lost’ album originally planned for RVNG but now released, as a single instrumental piece on 1080p.  We played it, and played it again.  Repeat after repeat, marvelling at the seamlessness of the whole thing, the drift of Phil Collins‘s New Age worlds into each other.  We knew it was originally many tracks, each to be farmed out to different vocalists but the whole seemed impervious to that slicing.

And then we saw it.  When we squinted real hard at the artwork on our iPhone screen, it was right there, beneath a grid of 16 animal shapes.  Behold, a track list!  Dan Brown would be all over this shit.

So at last we were able to identify that ‘the Michael Mann bit but with pan pipes’ is actually the last track: Return.  And our subject for today, previously know as ‘sax bit’, is actually Nightmusic.

CFCF – Nightmusic

Nightmusic is so smooth it could open its own wine bar and have it survive outside the square mile.  A wine bar filled with wicker and fake palms and lit with blue neon light.  A wine bar so impossibly awesome that it’s situated in the penthouse of some glass and steel phallus.  A roof garden catching the midnight rain as the punters catch their ennui reflected back in crystalline mirrors, hazed in cocaine.  So smooth, so sad.

The Colours of Life is out on 1080p today.  You can get it digitally or on tape (only a few copies left when we ordered ours) right here.

The millisecond of unself

Featuring : John Atkinson + Umanzuki

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In the olden days of broadcast media, producers would license library music to add the right sonic mood to their TV programmes, films and ads. This music was generally functional, filling the silence with sound analogues for situations of violence, suspense, romance or wonder.

The resulting sense of immersion has been lost in contemporary interactive media, where the user generally supplies her own soundtrack, often with cognitively dissonant outcomes (e.g. a jaunty pop number punctuating the figures and images for the latest massacre; a doom dirge providing the ambiance for a carousel of baby photos in your favourite social networking site).

Minimise this psychic friction with Moodify.

Moodify is a browser widget that streams music adapted to the website you are visiting, based on keywords crowdsourced by a mix of trusted Moodify editors and machine learning algorithms with what our engineers describe as a “JG Ballard bias”.

We are particularly pleased with Moodify’s ability to parse web-induced meta-moods, the modern equivalent of the sixth sense with which our primitive ancestors intuited the presence of a predator prowling their farm, or felt a whiff of excrement in the village well.

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The Klaus Schulzesque thriller of Umanzuki’s Porta 2, for example, echoes the threatening ruminations of the collective, reptilian pre-rational brain coiling in some internet comment threads, the pent-up violence of a distributed cult psychically self-immolating in a cycle of dark energy simmering a few angstroms away from becoming materialised.

The murder squad goes into red alert whenever its ominous pounding starts pounding, and its satanic claps start clapping.

Umanzuki – Porta 2

Buy Porta as cassette or digital from Yerevan Tapes.

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Things get really interesting when Moodify weights a website’s mood with the moods of the pages that it links to. The resulting cat’s cradle often glimmers with a premonition of emergence, as if spooky action at a distance had just taken place, but you missed it.

John Atkinson’s soundtrack for the Romanian investigative documentary Asasin În Lege is a wonderful representation for this, full of angelic drones which collapse continental distances, and harmonies which are both dense and clear, complex networks unfold in front of our eyes, and the path through them is revealed, to the truth.

John Atkinson – Fireworks 6

Acquire Asasin În Lege from Florabelle Records, and watch it here (here in English, as Killers Inc).

(Screen-grab above from Adam Curtis)