120 Megabytes – Episode 15
A Best Of / recap / wrap up / selecting our favorite videos from the past 14 episodes of 120 Megabytes
It was as if, glimpsed from the right angle, all of the attempts at categorisation had but cascaded into one. Moving the three lists back into their proper position temporarily solved this issue but the great list-master remained disturbed. For what could this mean, he thought. What were the semantic implications of this perilous discovery? Were the three lists secretly as one? What would the creators of the lists think of this? A year’s work, carefully separating and categorising reduced, by a tilt of the head, to a universal soup.
Darkstar – North. In the best possible sense, the synth-pop album of the year.
Echo Lake – In Dreams. Metronomic dream-pop for Black Lodge parties.
Future Islands – In Evening Air. The house band for a desert plateau from which you can see only stars.
Girl Unit – Wut. Minimalist mirrorball-Bass. A torch song for the drop.
Guido – Anidea. Soundtrack to lone walks through a metropolis you’re falling back in love with. Until this ends…
Hotel Mexico – Its Twinkle. Teaching us how to love the guitar overdose once more. Like falling on psychedelics.
James Blackshaw – All is Falling. An album of serene beauty that performed a feat of alchemy by making travelling back from London at 3AM a pleasurable experience.
Night Gallery – Constant Struggle. In a world of (reanimated) Cold-Wave we nuzzle in the warm embrace of an anglo-centric synth-pop…that includes songs about child killers. What darkness lurks in the heart of synthesisers?
No UFO’s – Soft Coast. A cascade through the experimental heart of early dance music. A transmission picked up from the desert wastes of a future built on Kaotic Harmonies.
Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal. Universally praised culmination of an epic journey of minimal synths into the night desert skies – criss-crossed by star patterns that resemble a patch-chord diagram. This is what happens when someone wires that up.
Solar Bears – She Was Coloured In. “The metronome of this song swings with the circumference of a horizon beheld from high above, where the clouds glow with a tincture which is both the warmth of the sun, and the deep blue of the space above, it makes me wanna cry for everything we have forgotten”. – Florian
V/A – Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music From South Africa. Without a shadow of a doubt the compilation of the year.
We sit sprawled within the nebula-grey walls of our collective zine. Drifting amongst the vast bodies that exert their eternal pull on our fragile mass. Directionless and infinite; endless inquiry is expended on our destination, but we simply do not know; mere amateurs that we are at this low-budget journey. All we can do is gaze at the sights.
The industrious and prolific Oneohtrix Point Never returns to these shores with (appropriately enough) Returnal, his latest album that came out last week on Editions Mego. Pretty much all of it’s been covered on other blogs but thankfully the album’s so chock full of gems that we could find one track that hasn’t hit the Hype Machine just yet.
Daniel Lopatin’s vast analogue electronics slide once more into life amidst the vast expanse of silence that exists for a moment at the start of Where Does Time Go, their bubbling, oscillating waves lapping at the air. If this was meant as a meditation on the irrepressibility of time, on the ability to lose yourself in something beautiful only to find weeks have passed – it’s fairly successful. The looping oscillations never retreat, instead providing a lattice with which to thread the washes of melody that fade in and out – their purpose glimpsed only through a veil, obscured and fleeting.
We love it when people name things after things they love. The URL of this site being the prime example of us living by that maxim. Someone calling themselves No UFO’s could only go one of two ways. Thankfully for all involved the first thing we received from them was the Soft Coast album. It’s not techno but I’m sure Mr Atkins would approve – moving, as it does, between some of the founding blocks of techno: the early electronic throb of Chris & Cosey, the steamy fizz of electro (here slowed with one thumb on the tape), hell, there’s even one track called Cajmere Dreams which would be nice to think of as a documentary.
Many tracks are snatches, attempts perhaps at understanding the function these sounds have. A few are longer and they are glorious.
00/00/2010 begins with nothing more than a slow, looped bass guitar straight from the bar of a David Lynch western, joined eventually by both a suitably distorted guitar and muffled, far off vocal: all disinterred, stoic, warning. As so it rolls. Suicide-al tendencies on display. Around two and a half minutes in we’re exposed to a horn blown like a tranquillised James Chance. Where infernal energy has finally deserted him and he’s left, in our imagined Lynch western, to prop up the bar and breath fragile life into notes that last an eternity.
Soft Coast by No UFO’s is out now on Nice Up International. There are only a few left so get yours here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
As some of you may have seen on the internet the last few days, we’ve been invited to participate in a new website called Altered Zones. Being the endlessly curious lot that we are we it would have been churlish to say no. 20JFG will still be here doing the same thing it’s always done – scampering about in its own amateurish way, writing about music that we like and we hope you like too.
Our contribution to Altered Zones won’t be unfamiliar to those of you that read this everyday. Altered Zones is for the people that don’t. Saying that, if you like the stuff you read here then the odds are you’ll like some of the stuff other people post over there.
Of course if you’re deeply allergic to Pitchfork Media Inc. then FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T CLICK THAT LINK. It’ll burn your mouse finger. Stay here with us, it’s safer that way.
Your body crosses a scanner that reproduces it as a multi-dimensional cloud of data soaring in the noosphere. This is the new you. A vector of n examples with m features correlated in complex patterns. There are many other datasets like you here, impressions of reality that generate their own reality, abstract manta rays swirling in a mathematical ocean which is all colours and none.
You mingle with them, becoming their predictor or their outcome, or simply spiralling down their complex structures like a winged visitor at one of the wonders of the mind that some of them doubtlessly are;
The constellation of data generated by the 600 million collisions that take place every second within the Large Hadron Collider at CERN – a 15 petabyte poem within which all of the twisted truths of reality lay hidden, a memory palace decorated with artefacts representing all the Gods’ mementoes and plans, a collection of love letters between subatomic particles that bonded and kissed in the darkness, if only for a picosecond. Imagine them in the club, holding the conceptual equivalent for their hands together, just before the drop.
The 12.47 billion Google searches taking place every month: acts through which a confederacy of users learn about the world and about each other, but also expressions of desire, hope, fear, conflict and complexity, a Rorschach blot of humanity’s collective psyche. Also critically, the ambient babbling through which a language is taught, the constant stimuli driving the growth of the globalised cortex of a baby AI that will soon flex its robotic muscles.
The 200 terabytes of data generated by ESA’s Gaia telescope as it renders a 3D map of a billion astronomical objects i.e. 1% of the population of our very awesome galaxy – within this information set, an outline for the evolution of the society of planets, including clues about the murder mystery which is the Fermi Paradox, or a peek through the wormhole which was the escape hatch for our absentee neighbours.
The security log detailing the process through which unseen forces infiltrate a super-secure corporate system with purposes as yet unclear. At one level, this is a police procedural where each of the tricks used to obfuscate a path, divine a password, scramble a file-system contains the scenario of a Michael Mann calibre-heist. At another level, this is (info) sex. Seduction, surrender, intrusion, corruption, joy. Like the ecstasy of the mystics, like what Patrick Cowley’s perfect futurism does to its followers.
Link to positive party scenario 2
Link to omen scenario 2
If you are one of those kindred souls who delights in the mysteries of the uncanny, willing moth floating in the periphery of the psychedelic no-light, then this will be a year you shalt remember. With many arts have wicked sorcerers enchanted our souls in 2009, their eerie and powerful melodies flexing like psychic tendrils to pry open portals scarred with grimacing faces past which a blinding light shines. Because life is nothing but a sort of animated death, so by staring into its hollowed eyes, we remember what makes us human and rejoice, illuminated.
In this post we go into these Gothic lands and beyond, to embrace the propulsive spirit of true progressive music, which races past and above the warbled notebooks of the mundane and take us to a world where everything is possible. Pegassus takes the star child on its stride and into the land of epsilon, we are riding shotgun. There is room for more, there is space for all, step in.
Belbury Poly– From an Ancient Star- In a house made of paper, a girl named Marianne, distracted by a glowing screen and it’s analogue warnings of dirty water fails to notice the ancient stones closing in outside.
Blues Control– Local Flavor- The chalk drawing of a mandala in the brick wall of the basement opens the door to a dimension where snakes with leathery wings twitch to the tune of a mad organist.
Boredoms – Super Roots 10 – n hallucinated odalisques whisper into the ears of the God of Thunder tempting him so that he can get the Dyonisian party rolling, why don’t we get Lindstrom involved in this bitch?
Cloaks – Versus Grain – When the bass speaks it coughs up ash and broken bone first.
The Detachments – The Flowers That Fell (Thee Four Horsemen remix) – One of our own stalks The Detachments original through blue lit corridors and across tranquil woods, its collar turned up on its impeccable rain coat, its hand hidden until the glorious moment at 3:48…
Emika – Drop The Other (Scuba Vulpine Remix) – As it beats and pounds inside her chest, watch out for the smile on her face when “it” finally breaks through those fragile ribs.
Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport- We couldn’t put it better than HEALTH: ‘prog music for 13 year olds with beards’
Factory Floor – Lying -A rain slick 24 track Loop in the church of Neu! bring preached at from beyond.
Gatekeeper – Optimus Maximus EP- Diamond tipped Giallo talons scratch the stony face of Nitzer Ebb, the ensuing trashing is something to remember.
Hind Ear – Coconut – Rolling organic waves of pastoral beauty. The 70s Agfa to Fever Ray’s b/w Ilford.
The Horrors – Sea Within a Sea – A love letter to a more metronomic time. One of the most pleasant surprises of the year.
ΤΗΞ LΔΖΣ– Spacetime Fabric Conditioner- Sexy stories that the Alpha mother dwarf recounts in her catacomb while the gods crack mountains in the barren surface of a demon-ridden world Mahavishnu Orchestra didn’t dare to tell you about.
Oneida- Rated R- I crafted bow and arrow with the bones of my forebears, and climbed up the snowy the mountain to hunt the Pterodactyl.
Prince Rama of Ayodhya – Zetland- Cinnamon scented snuff for Ennio Morricone to clear his nose before getting on with the soundtrack for the Holy Mountain.
Teeth of the Sea – The space disco soundtrack for the sex bits in God of War, if they had been shot by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Throbbing Gristle – The Third Mind Movements – Back in the kidneys of our creators. Filtering out your life and leaving you meat. Pure, grinding, bliss.
This is the year when that unholy union and grim phoenix of obsidian which Zombi are reached, with Spirit Animal, the apex of their transversal trip towards the abyss where all our nightmares meld lascivious into each other. Alas, it seems unlikely they will populate our nocturnal path home with invisible, unimaginable horrors again.
But despair we shouldn’t, because both Steve Moore and A.E. Paterra are to continue tormenting our feeble minds with macabre melodies in their own separate and wild-eyed ways. You have heard your fair share of remixes concocted by the former in these pages, now check out the hellish motorik cavalcade which is Teleforce, as included in ‘Timespan’, a one and half (or double if you dare play the slab of esoteric geometrics) sided album recently released by the latter”s incarnation, Majeure, in Temporary Residence.
Analogue banshees cry for your soul, surrender.
Oneohtrix Point Never’s Zones Without People was the point in the sky where the red clouds of dusk touch the glistening sea. Russian Sea is the energy of the primeval forces, physically embedded or configured as networks of hungry potentiality which swarm and twitch under the surface, waiting to devour the unwary listener with jaws made of light.
Order some more psychotropic synth symphonies from here.
Our last addition is something which we heard this year but will actually be released on a 2010 which is already looking swell- it comes from the always excellent vaults of Permanent Vacation, and it goes by the name of Mandarinen Träume- it is an absolutely mindblowing compilation of kosmische musique produced in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik between 1981 and 1989, as put together by Florian Sievers.
The excellent press release we received with the album frames the compositions herein contained as ‘escapes into the above’ from the claustrophobic confines of a totalitarian state, and we couldn’t have put it any better than that, just slide between the perfect sheets of heart-achingly beautiful 3D soundscapes projected from your speakers in Reinhard Lakomy’s Eswachst Das Gras Nicht Über Alles, and visualise mankind’s struggle for liberation from a concrete planet of brutalistic architecture dominated by shadowy forces as directed by Rene Laloux and soundtracked by Jean Michelle Jarre at the Moonwalk epic style height of his powers. And surge.
Some of the images for this post were provided by masters of things that perhaps should not be but thankfully are Tommyboy.
For those of you rattling around London this Friday, one of your faithful XXJFG brothers will be DJing in the basement of Jaguar Shoes from around midnight. Come and shake bones. Obligatory Facebook event here.
Time For Dreams hail from Melbourne but apparently this track was mostly recorded on a plane (to Basel). Which if they hadn’t told me, I’d have probably made up.
Cooing Sally Shapero-isms echo round the midnight synths. The very early hints of destruction evident in the distortion on the first chorus. A soft analogue fog obscures the expected, violent denouement. An ending heralded by a bubblegum break straight out of the Glass Candy school of soundtracks to open roads and dead of night journeys to after hours clubs. Breathlessly becomes a slowly disintegrating vehicle as its destination approaches, coasting to a stop as fire consumes the car. The screaming twisting of metal under the intense heat daring Fuck Buttons‘ tortured electronics to join it.
In terms of starting well you probably can’t beat a pre-credits lion roar and lasers.
Oneohtix Point Never has already neatly placed the Zones Without People LP within his discography and is preparing to release TWO LPs in November. Which includes Rifts, a double CD collecting the three albums in the ‘Rifts Trilogy’ (which included the Zones Without People LP). Got that? This is the title track from Zones Without People and is very much worth holding tight in the maelstrom of Daniel Lopatin’s creativity.
Arpeggiated synths, unencumbered by the local gravity of a rhythm section, allowed to float free in space, brushed by ancient solar flares reduced to whispers. Their luminous golden shapes twisting into endless spires in front of an infinite starfield. All this, seen from the lonely, brutalist balcony of pyramidal structure on a distant plain.
You can order all sorts of things from OPN direct here.
For whimsical mood-music that further enhances warm but breezy summer days you can always rely on the French. Whether its the soft focus porno music and midnite drive jazz groove of Karl-Heinz Schäfer’s “Les Gants du Diable” soundtrack, or the Nico-esque melodies plucked from icicle clusters of Brigitte Fontaine, or the rolling and diving strings of Jean Jacques Dexter, there is sometimes nothing finer than strolling through the misty silken corridors of ’70s French psychedelia. Quentin Tarantino picked Christophe’s “Sunny Road to Salina” as the soundtrack to The Bride’s journey from Texas burial to white-trash desert motor-home showdown, and international dj’s Dirty Sound System collect such luminaries together for their best compilation yet, “Dirty French Psychedelics”.
“Berceuse” by Ilous et Decuyper is something Quiet Village would surely approve of, with its echo chamber vocal windmills set heavily in the soft grass of the southern French countryside where a farm house is burning backwards and a funeral procession for an angel glides slowly past.
Disc and limited vinyl out 25th May, bon.
Seguing perfectly into tarnished brass Wicker Man territory is the magically fearful work of The Time & Space Machine or Richard Norris, one half of the purple psychedelic paradox known as Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve, whose second 12″ spans the chasm between The Emperor Machine and the aforementioned Karl-Heinz Schäfer, cramming the gaping space with acidized folk and “Psychomania” home-counties hillbilly rock, all warped by the blazing sun and flinching like a jazz-funk corpse.
“The Trip” is a stand-out with bubbling Tangerine Dream atmospherics on a low heat and chase the blue dragon through the eye of the orchid guitars and panpipes, and a silent Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg from “Performance” pirouetting back and forth, fading in and out like a mirage on a star studded black chiffon background.
Second half of Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve, Erol Alkan (seen here as editor Disco 3000) brings on the electrics with an inspired retake of Supercharge’s strutting electro-italo coke-fuelled love anthem, “I Think I’m Gonna Fall in Love”.
Keeping the subtle “I Feel Love” bassline, Disco 3000 reduces the vocals and elasticises them so they ping back on themselves and bounce off the curvaceous walls of a glass disco ball where the song resides, clamouring around in a power-ballad vs. Moroder utopia cloud of pink and blue, all the time restrained by a schematic synth effect stuttering like cold rain on a hot robot.
From the 12″ out on Ballerino.
Mixtape number 2! This one comes from the organic crimson mindscapes of mind-dimension apocalypse, Oneohtrix Point Never and its an hallucinogenic collection of bleeps, new wave and synths.
Eduard Artemiev- Rekkens
Martin Dupont- Just Because
Carlos Maria Trindade – Nuno Canavarro- NC Blu Terra
Model 500- Future
The Shadow Ring- Don’t say no
Claude Larson- Lotus Eater
Doris Norton- Norton Music Research
Vidna Obmana and Asmus Tietchens- 4th Theme
The Cure- Charlotte Sometimes
Absolute Body Control- A Better Way (Sensational Version)
Emerson Lake and Palmer- From the Beginning
Supermax- Ain’t Gonna Feel
Lazy Smoke- Come with the Day