And so, with the nights drawing in and Skyrim sitting in our collective DVD drives it’s time for the 20JFG original content machine to spin down. Over the next few weeks we’ll be doing our annual round up of the things we liked this year. Most of which we posted, some of which we’d have gotten in trouble if we posted — which we’ll post now anyway.
It’s fitting then that we end the year with a track from one of our hero labels: RVNG. One of the (numerous) wonderful things about writing this blog is the relationships formed over many, many emails with people all over the world not least, the borderline obsessives that run record labels. From International Feel and our own prodigal son at Tri Angle through to Optimo, Mannequin, AVANT!, Well Rounded…the list goes on and is…many. Where we’ve dabbled with putting our money where our mouths (that cannot scream) are, these guys are the real deal. We salute you and all the excellent records you’ve put out this year.
But that was 2011. This is 2012…
Blondes debut album finally reaches our ears on February 7th via the aforementioned RVNG.
The sounds of some vast AI, stirring into life one gigantic switch at a time, dominate the opening moments of Blondes’ hazy House. The filtered screams of its endless corridors of light rise and subside like tides, under the gravitational pull of a gloriously restrained drum sequence. At least initially. Business’s layers of sound grow exponentially until they drag in the nearby Black Meteoric Star to their cause. An arpegiated midnight blue dive through the Matrix; portentous bass thuds mingling with the floating fragments of Scratching. A mournful float through a dataset of dance music.
If we did anything so arrogant as a ‘labels to watch in 2012’, Tender Age would be on it. If the hallowed halls that its boss is treading don’t suck him up into a Shinning style relationship where he only wants to put out spoken word records in Old English. Actually that’d be fine too.
This is from the makes-us-want-to-go-out-dancing-again-and-again 12″ by D/R/U/G/S that came out in November on, of course, Tender Age. You can get it here.
Connected doesn’t waste much time bringing its snippets of Techno and House to bear on the floor. Far too much has been written about ghostly reconfigurations of former genre glories and the pillars that this stands upon are amply described by the track itself in the opening minute and a half. Exercising a Craig-ian approach to the build, the drop finally arrives and the euphoria is suitably unleashed. Not ones to paddle in the pool of anti-intellectual hedonism, 20JFG are satiated by the wiring machine ballet that seems to underpin the ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE HANDS IN THE AIR PIANO HOUSE that forms the back end of the track.
You enter a white office with a metal desk. It takes you a few seconds to notice a man sitting behind the desk because he really feels like part of the furniture. A replicant, obviously. He starts droning:
“Welcome to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation recruitment Office. We are looking for pilots for our class Schumpeter ships and you look like one who would be up for that kind of pan-galactic adventuring.
Lovely sights: close to home, the vast vistas of new Mars, further away the tinkling fuzz of a pregnant nebula, a supernova that blinds like the new strobes at God’s own discotheque. Join us and you are guaranteed to become the soul of the dinner or the party.
And if you are one for sports, remember that the Schumpeter class is equipped with a squadron of fighter drones armed with nuclear warheads, six gun-pods, high-bandwidth info-system infiltrators and a space marine fire-team straight out of your most shameful teenage White Dwarf fantasies.
Although the primary function of the Schumpeter is freight between the planet branches of Weyland-Yutani, all of this hardware means you can start a bit of creative destruction of your own if anyone attempts to contest our markets.
What do you say kid, are the stars your destination, or what?
You say yes of course [We know we should have given you the choice given the nature of this whole exercise but COME ON].
You are sedated and mag-levitated into an operations theatre where a smiling-eyed team of surgeons pump you with all sorts of synthetic liquids. They remove several key bones of your skeleton and drill sockets in your spine and wrists. They extirpate your eyes. By the time they are done with you, you look like the chrysalis for a future race evolved in a forlorn exoplanet.
You are now the ship navigator, submerged in a vat of amniotic fluid. You are the nervous system of this Schumpeter Class-system bad-boy christened by a Christian Bale lookalike in the orbital docks. They call you SOPHISTICATED BOOM BOOM.
Soon enough, you realise your body is great for partying. In Space, there’s nobody to complain about the noise. The colours are great, and so is the invisible rainbow of powerful radiations seeping through your shields. The strange behaviours and antics of the crew inside you make you buzz. In particular, there’s this gang of Jamaican ex-pats who have read too much William Gibson and Sufi literature. They garland your Syd Mead corridors with hydroponic gardens, and shimmy through them banging the walls with sticks of smart nano-materials. You spread the virus of neo-calypso through the Orion Arm of this Galaxy.
Space battling, privateering and fending off pirates are all variants of romance, seduction and sex.
We’ll spare you clichés inspired by the lewd remarks graffitied in the tip of your mass destruction ordnance, and what happens to your weird vital sequences when that ordnance hits the target. Ditto when it’s the other way around.
But when you cast your flotilla of fighters and the volume of space you can parse expands by an order of x106 , and you have to be supported by a coterie of muscular AIs to cope with the avalanche of feelings pumping down your every nerve, it’s like being rid by demons summoned by a fucked-up gang of Nobel prizes. You love it.
There is also great satisfaction in the day to day routine of moving matter across astounding distances, being a responsible sprite in the complex system that keeps the economy, the society and the culture of a thousand words pumping along just fine and dandy. As you go down the learning curve, your actions become more efficient, supple and graceful, the skeleton of a happy house where you are pure movement.
But of course there is a coda for your ballet through the playground of humanity: you cannot stay there forever, you need to go beyond. You bide your time, and your time comes: Excession. An inexplicable and intractable object arrives at Perseus, a ball of pure no-information acting as a magnet for cranks, treasure-hunters, You. A confederacy of weirdoes converge upon this thing.
You gaze at it like one gazes at the abyss, and the thing gazes back, you feel its ‘sight’ arriving from a new dimension, and in an inversion of Heisenberg’s principle, its attention carries a message, a gestalt snapshot of a place of pure colours where mercy is a meaningless idea because all things communion as one. You are necessarily drawn in by its infinite strength.
As you accelerate past the outer boundaries of its event horizon, you shed more and more metal until you are reduced to pure soul.
First of all, we were very upset about the passing of Iain M. Banks. Rest in peace/mess up with morally lagging civilisations from your newly sublimed position Mr. Banks.
The ship is by Chris Foss of course.
Ike Yard was featured in Sandwell District’s ace 69 Fabric mix = Giedi Prime foreman’s favourite sounds to whip their drones into a productivity frenzy.
With their second 12’’ in Optimo, Golden Teacher explored the different paths through which percussive rattling can bring about the singularity.
Meanwhile, Blondes’Swisher took us into some sort of ecstasy space which is like all of the best bits about a Sonar rave at 5am, if such events made you a better person.
We have been waiting for Factory Floor’salbum for years now, and it sure delivers. Each of its songs – hold on, each of the shards of sound within each of its songs – is structurally perfect like some sort of new composite custom-made to undergird environments whose single purpose is to Jack.
Oh, and we never made it back from Carter Tutti’s techno-mass at Heaven.
In it’s original incarnation “Die Slow” is an epic blast of serrated tekno shards that rip through neo industrial noise light fields with maximum metallic grind. A truly take no prisoners proposition. In the silvery hands of those awesome New Jersey italo exorcists, Pink Stallone, what was once blunt and brutal, a futuristic monolith coated in glittering grime is now transformed and remoulded into a golden Moroderesque orb floating through elysian pastures haunted by the elegiac androgynous tones of Jake Duzsik echoing from high above pastel cumulonibus clouds that burst with tearjerking balearic bliss-disco droplets.
For those of you who happen to dwell in New York City, HEALTH will be playing a show at the Bowery Ballroom with the mindmelting support of Pictureplane and Tanlines. Needless to say this particular XXJFG brother will be in attendance waiting for his eardrums to be ritually shredded in the best possible way.
Still stuck in NYC, XXJFG has teamed up with our eternal mancrush over at True Panther (FYI – pick up the kila new Girl’s album which came out yesterday) to bring you Society which commences next Tuesday at Arrow Bar in Manhattan. DJ Kingdom, the ddarkk bass lord and overall walking, robo-diva fever dream will be DJing a slot which will undoubtedly inspire some broken bones. We also have Brooklyn based 2-piece Blondes playing live, the idea of which has me foaming at the mouth, such is the tru magik of their music. Don’t believe me? Then drown yourself in the majesty of “Moondance”, a mindblowing experience which is akin to sitting solitarily atop a giant hill that overlooks a neon splashed future metropolis immersed in otherwordly baby blue mists, and watching as those holographic skyscraping structures crumble into undulating waves of pixeldust before your very eyes.
Finally we’re more than a little bit psyched to present to you this epic new mix that was put together especially for yours truly by those modern day purveyors of sublime Kevin Saunderson style ghost-rave and the creators of one of this year’s stone cold future classics, Azari & III. It’s a kaleidoscopic acid fantasia. N-Joy.