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Here we Stomp

Featuring : Zombies in Miami

Here we stomp, sucked into a dance vortex after our participation in Helena Hauff’s Printworks revival, an injection of dark Latin American body music and too many videos of Boiler Room mixes, bodies swinging vacant and pure like phantoms in a Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore reenactment.

Mexican motorik-tek duo Zombies in Miami are the right guides for this trip: They make Kosmische disco that soars to elysian heights like a Lindström and Prins Thomas’ solar glider, but replacing all our Norwegian patrons’ elegance and glamour with muscle and danger: the shadows projected over this dancefloor are not eagles or machines of loving grace, but carrion birds ready to feast on the souls of whoever’s left standing.

We leave you with two examples today: Fuego, a pure blast of Bostich filth and Odissey (sic), a lurid descent into a 1980s update of HP Lovecraft’s Dreamlands.

Enjoy!

Zombies In Miami – El Fuego

Zombies in Miami – Odissey (Original Mix)

Fuego is included in ZiM’s Snake Language EP (in Love on the Rocks); you can find Odyssey in Odissey EP (Suara)

Me and MR James

Your humble scribe has been away from 20JFG for a while. Lots to catch up on. Get cracking (and have an sanity-destroying Halloween).

 We went to see Helena Hauff at Printworks last week. Her set wasn’t… subtle. She seemed hell-bent on splitting space from time while the audience seemed intent on merging their cerebral cortex with their calf muscles. The outcome was religious in a Brian Yuzna kind of way.

We loved the whole thing hard but would have loved it even more if she had played some of her electroid / EBM stuff as well as the bangers. Say, tunes such as Piece of Pleasure, from her 2015 Discreet Desires album, where she demonstrates a synth-arpeggio virtuosity somewhere in between John Carpenter’s urban dysto-poems, and a Wolfenstein lazerkraftwerk rampage at the underground lab where the Nazis were trying to crack the secrets of quantum reality.

There is a very special colour that can only be seen when human flesh melts into another dimension. This song sprays it all over your face.

Helena Hauff – Piece of Pleasure

Get Discreet Pleasures from Ninja Tunes.

Ricardo Tobar’s Red Sea belongs to a obscene sub-genre of motorik practiced by Throbbing Gristle, Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom, and few others. Its only purpose seems to be to induce in your writer hallucinations about Ballardian deserts populated by HR Giger-esque worms rid by stern cybernetic gimps. Think Dune but turn the jihad self-replicating mind-virus that will devour the universe vibes to 11.

The whole process is beautiful and awe-inspiring in a way that makes a mouthless part of you shriek with horror, like a plague of locusts, piles of deformed skulls in Paris’ catacombs or the last 10 seconds before the heat death of the universe Bauhaus emptiness of a De Chirico painting.

Ricardo Tobar – Eleven

Get Red Sea from Correspondant Records.

They bring the drums, oh yes

Featuring : Atlea + Identity Theft

Thanks to Mara, of the excellent Group Rhoda, we recently received a veritable horde of records from the West Coast label, Katabaik.  By this point we’re pretty deep into the Punk DIY ethos does dance music era — which given all the other (terrifying) eras we seem to be living through right now, we have to say we’re pretty psyched about.  Katabatik are very much part of that.

The artwork’s also pretty fucking far from the minimalism associated with dance records.  It’s far nearer to the to early 80s tape trading scene, early 90s Industrial  CD covers and early 00’s acid coloured internet art.  I mean, up there you’ve got some totemic Moebius stuff going on and below you’ve got collage via surveillance culture.  Its visual stimulation is generous.

So the records then…

Atlea – Beyond

Beyond brings the Techno.  The thumping, eerie unmoored place.  The bass that hints at enormous indifferent shapes beneath your feet, gliding by in their own unfathomable dance.  The distorted melodies that swirl about an unintelligible vocal that doesn’t so much as add to the dread as it does fulfil a role in the scene unfolding before you.  Like a compare to a dance you’ve stumbled upon, it invites you in and soothes your anxiety while indoctrinating you to the unquestionable futurism of techno.

 

Identity Theft – Pierrot

Pierrot begins with a sample, so distorted it could have been taken from a wax cylinder.  But rather than use this as a scene setting flourish it’s allowed to loop and build until you can start to see the grain before your eyes.  And as soon as that begins to happen it all falls away into something smooth and sleek.  And lo, we are told that ‘this is the final curtain call’ by a voice impassive and reassuring, like a private press of New Age induction lectures.  That harshness, then calmness, eventually segues into a jittery hall of dance, the Techno throbbing throughout.

You can grab | by Atlea from their Bandcamp here and similarly you can buy Pierrot directly from Identity Theft’s Bandcamp right here.

Tropical Frieze

Group Rhoda return to these pages with the most excellent Minimal Synth Bossa Nova jams.

Trespass does what Group Rhoda does so well and weaves multiple disparate moods together into a beguiling whole.  Her vocals, as always, at once deadpan and almost operatic.  Like locking into a piercing stare while the world explodes into colour in your peripheral vision.  Layered underneath, a haunting minimal synth track; as much South American as Near Eastern.  Swirling, sparse and hypnotic.  And finally a spare drum machine that manages to be super minimal and absolutely banging at the same time.

Group Rhoda – Trespass

Trespass is the first track off Group Rhoda’s album Wilderless.  You can get it digitally or on vinyl from her Bandcamp, right here.

Finally, we have a bonus video in the form of Brenna Murphy’s work with Visible Cloaks.  The sounds are a mix of Visible Cloaks Reassemblage  and parts of their forthcoming Lex (which we’ll write more about soon).  The visuals are a form of RGB Brutalism with scant regard for ambient occlusion and global illumination.  They’re reminiscent of early digital animation and late 70s video synthesiser work.  But whereas that early work was often defined by rigid, mathematical movement, Murphy’s work foregrounds the human hand as we see abstract pattens painted across the screen in real time.

It’s also trippy as fuck so you should watch it.

Remains of the Wave

Featuring : Katy & Nick

Today we bring you new music from the simply (and accurately) named, Katy & Nick.  Katy being Katy Cotterell of Gloss Rejection and Nick Carlisle of Bamboo.

They only have two songs on the internet and both trade in haunting synth wave.  This, though, is a very British synth wave.  A punk-y, abrasive synth wave, not the icy distance of some of the finest continental practitioners.  This is the ennui of a damp bedsit in a bad Victorian conversion, not the existentialism of a brutalist estate.

That Man is Back is the banger.  It’s something you expect to find on a dusty Rough Trade 7″ — where you subsequently find out it actually sold 50,000 copies and didn’t even make the top 40, because the 80s.  That sort of thing.

There’s a little bit of YMO to the hyper-simple melody that loops throughout the whole thing.  An appropriately simple counterpoint the arpeggiated synth line that threads its way through Italo and Hi NRG.  But above all that surges Correrell’s voice: echoing, forceful.  Seemingly at times to do her own internal call and response.  Almost screaming; shaky at times in the controlled way that punk nails.

Katy & Nick – That Man Is Back

That Man is Back is taken from the two track release What I Did For You.  You can get it from Bandcamp right here.

Nigerian Funk Great

Featuring : Steve Monite

Steve Monite’s 1984 absolute-fucking-banger, Only You, is our subject today.  Bringing together loads of things 20JFG loves about the 80s: dubby baselines; weird, verging on avant garde synth sounds; proto-rap spoken word sections; and Disco.  God, Disco.  Disco not in the rigid genre sense but in the David Mancuso, eclecticism is the only way to party sense.

And that bass.  And those gated drums.  Fuck.

When the robots rise or when some Russian AI finally perfects just the right combination of fake news to trigger mass heart failure in the worlds social media populations…we’ll have Steve.  As the world goes up in flames he’ll be there, telling us only we can put out this fire*.   As we battle the bots’ encroachment on our collective subconscious we’ll have Only You as the checksum.  If you hear it and don’t immediately stick it on repeat you’ll be first up against the digital wall.  Or get muted.  Whatever.

Steve Monite – Only You

Only You (the album) was reissued by PMG in Austria.  You can grab it off Discogs right here.  Only You (the song) was remixed by Frankie Francis and released on a 12″ by Soundways.  You can grab that off Discogs too (as it’s sold out).  Frank Ocean covered it earlier this year so let’s hope we get an official release of that too.  But ultimately, when it comes to our preferred version, there’s only you Steve.

*technically only Steve can put out the fire but given the constant perspective shifting in the song I’m claiming we’re all Steve.

Teh End of History

Pop historian-philosopher Yuval Noah Harari fascinates and horrifies us in equal measure with his long-view description of human evolution (see Sapiens (2014) and Homo Deus (2016). It goes a little bit like this:

In the dark ages, humans believed in superstitious fictions that gave their life meaning. They existed in close connection with nature, but also at its mercy.

With the Enlightenment, humans gained control over nature through science, and turned themselves into the measure of all things, but this made their lives feel empty and meaningless. The religions of authoritarianism tried to fill that void with awful results.

New scientific and technological advances are now calling into question the basic assumptions of the enlightenment: behavioural economics and evolutionary psychology show that human being are not rational, their beliefs and actions are conditioned genetically and culturally. Machines are becoming smarter than humans, able to predict and manipulate their behaviours in increasingly sophisticated ways. All these developments point at an impending transition to a new stage in history.

Can democracy and markets survive this change, or will they be replaced by collective intelligences and platforms that aggregate and automate decisions in complex ways?

Can humanity survive the battle between the forces of reaction and acceleration?

Will we find meaning again in new religions of fandom and singularitarianism?

Noah Harari tells all this with a dispassionate voice, avoiding linear narratives of progress or decay. With each phase transition in human evolution something is lost and something is gained. A mystery always lingers, we listen to its music.

The dark ages were full of mystery and emotion, they contained a sense of permanence, and order, with human existence tightly embedded in the cycles of the celestial and terrestrial spheres. Free will in believing and sinning opened the way to moral behaviour and heroism, but this was part of a bigger story told written by the Deux Ex Machina.

Delia Gonzalez’ latest album, Horse Follows Darkness brims with that sense of thrust through layers of gnostic mystery and invisible force fields, into a space of revelation hidden at the heart of the dark forest. Hidden Song is the theme track for the werewolf gang that runs things that neighbourhood.

Delia Gonzalez – Hidden Song

Go get Horse Follows Darkness from DFA records.

We are the children of the enlightenment. Our most successful societies protect and nurture us, encourage us to express ourselves and our creativities in a myriad ways. Those of us endowed with genius can make their selves (even souls) seen, heard and felt that way, and when this happens, all witnesses are seared by a flash of joy. We might be alone in the universe, but we can gift each other universes.

Modern composition has many moments of such humanistic beauty, here is one from Philip Glass’ North Star.

Philip Glass – Lady Day

Some information in discogs.

Many of our favourite musics are produced through collaborations between humans and complex technological artifacts (electronic music) or seek to induce trance-like states where humans start behaving as if they were components of technological systems (dance music), or had been bodily spliced with technology (EBM/post-punk).

Caterina Barbieri’s take on our technological structuration is more abstract. Her electronic compositions give us nerd-rapture inducing vistas of cybernetic worlds where human and machine intelligences have already merged; we listen to their message with a mix of alienness and familiarity, as if told in the tongues of the natives of those strange new lands, distant descendants of the mild cyborgs who today inhabit online gaming clans, collaborative consumption platforms, and the deepest code architectures in GitHub’s sprawling cathedrals.

Caterina Barbieri – Information Needed to Create an Entire Body

Acquire Patterns of Consciousness from Important Records.