Tag Archives: bandcamp

Play like a Superhero – Walk like a Motherfucker

Featuring : Quasiviri

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Superheroes should be psychedelic motherfuckers. Quasiviri sometimes sound to me like a pop Oneida – and if anyone are superheroes, then its fucking Oneida.

It’s that muscular, fuck-you bass – which sometimes just settles into an up-middle-fingered stomp and then stomps all over your face. It’s those mind-scrambles of organ. It’s the fact you can fill up a fuck of a lot of space with just three instruments and a sound to die for.

But it’s not just wig-out mayhem. Quasiviri is tight, clear-eyed, ultra-focused and purposeful rock that just happens to share a sound with your dream psychedelic record. It isn’t prone to noodling, or playing jazz chords with 20 notes when one note repeated 20 times will do just as well.

Also it’s playful, and funny, and why isn’t it this stuff that people are obsessing over now? Be not apologetic. Play like a superhero. Walk like a motherfucker.

Quasiviri – The Perennial Pose

Buy Super Human from Bandcamp

(art is Lenny Lathem (after Jack Kirby), Dr. Strange, Marvel Comics black light poster art.)

A Vipers’ Nest of Ouroboros

Featuring : Jute Gyte

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(Lucifer (Morningstar). A wax sculpture depicting the devil snared in a set of power lines built by Paul Fryer. The sculpture is illuminated by the church’s stained glass windows. It can be seen at The Holy Trinity Church in Marylebone, Westminster.)

Lurching, ascending, descending – ever moving in a time that doesn’t seem to resemble time at all. Sometimes the music of Jute Gyte sounds as though it is crawling around inside you, threatening to escape.

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Whether it is slowing up or speeding down sometimes seems not only subjective, but actually kind of irrelevant. This is genuinely transdimensional music. It obeys the rules of little other sound in our universe.

In an era where the ‘psychedelic’ is much fetishized, but oft-misunderstood (as The Quietus brilliantly explained recently, why people think Hookworms are psychedelic, why they’re not, and why Katie Gately IS), Jute Gyte is making music that is beyond cosmic. It looks where space rock has taken us and laughs. Why waste time on sailing a backdraft of flanger up to the moon when you can wrench open reality itself and slide a rotten tentacle through the cracks?

Jute Gyte – The Grey King

This isn’t for people who find black metal cute. And it isn’t for people who find black metal extreme. Microtonal metal might never inspire memeworthy fandom, but right now it sounds like the future. And the past. And the whole ugly present – all knotted together in a vipers nest of ouroboros.

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Name your price for a download of Jute Gyte’s magnificent Ressentiment album at Bandcamp

 

 

Sonick Tarot Deck

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(image is Depression by Victoria Lincoln)

Four sides of vinyl, each containing one track. Yet this Father Murphy EP has 10 tracks in total… how so? Because each side has been intended to be played back simultaneously with another side of vinyl, or standalone, opening up a variety of aural combinations.

This is doubtless regarded as a gimmick by some.

But why be so cynical as to alienate yourself from magick? It’s a simple process, but one which engages the listener in a more involved capacity than just passively listening to music.

As bloggers, as DJs, promoters, and half-assed label owners that is all WE ever wanted to do.

If there’s any criticism of Father Murphy’s concept at all it’s simply that their collage work is so accomplished that any intervention is redundant at improving their sound. But ‘improving’ probably isn’t the point here – instead it’s like shuffling a sonic tarot deck, flinging out new and improbable pairings that prompt you to gaze hard into the juxtapositions for meaning.

Here is a sliver from that Pain is on Our Side Now EP:

Father Murphy – They Will All Fail You

It’s got to be worth buying that extravagant second turntable for!

While you’re at it, why not get a third turntable, and throw Diamanda Galás’ 1996 LP Schrei X into the mix as well?

Diamanda Galás – Cunt

Yeah. Now you’re talking.

What do you mean Schrei X was only ever issued on CD? That tiny little mirrored vinyl sounds just right grinding into the stylus…

Buy Pain is on Our Side Now via Bandcamp

The Spaces Between The Notes

Featuring : Jute Gyte

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(art is by Marcelo Bordese)

In the spaces between the notes, there are demons.

This is why indie has that interminable Prozac jangle to its guitar playing. It isn’t because indie guitarists just play in major keys instead of minor – no, it’s because they don’t know about the demons. They’re there – squished in-between the notes – packed tightly, gurgling and farting and dreaming of release.

Metal guitarists think they know about the demons. They don’t know shit! They’re just playing in minor keys and dorian modes and trying to be evil. The demons don’t listen to them.

It takes a special kind of seer to speak to the demons, and a special kind of wand with which to invoke them.

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Jute Gyte has his eye turned astral-wards, his legs taper into thick roots scrambling and chasing many miles beneath the earth’s crust, sucking up the hot, nutritious magma at its core. His fingers sing multi-tiered hymns and his scabbed throat picks away at the names of things.

If Robert Johnson had been born in 1990, this is the music he would be making. It’s a devil-infused blues howl up there with Jandek and Xasthur.

A howl into the void!!!

Jute Gyte – The Fire of This

That lurching seasick feeling you’re getting isn’t just from the rotten, diseased-sounding tone of the guitars and the cosmos-vomiting retch of the vocals – it comes partly from the microtonal scales and extra-fretted guitars Gyte’s thoughtful human alter ego, Adam Kalmbach, uses to construct these fabulous sonic fables.

There’s further explanation of this in an excellent interview on the Contaminated Tones blog:

My music is generally highly chromatic (sometimes microtonally so), rhythmically complex, and experimental. I find it useful to think of music as three interwoven systems, each with their own rules, that combine to generate individual works. These systems are rhythm (the horizontal organization of sound), pitch (the vertical organization of sound), and timbre (the character of the sound, which is itself built up from microlevel horizontal and vertical organization). My black metal work places these systems in a hierarchy where pitch is paramount, followed by rhythm, then timbre. Pitch must be served by these other elements – there are often four of five independent guitar parts sounding simultaneously and they must not be tethered to an ill-suited rhythm, nor may timbral experimentation be allowed to obscure the complex pitch verticalities or muddle the rhythm. 

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In metal the obvious focal point is the guitar, a pitched instrument. Musical “problems” or experiments relating to pitch might be questions like “what if I tune the guitar to [a certain tuning] and then only allow myself to play [a certain limited selection of frets] no matter what strings I’m playing?” or “what if each riff in this song is in a different tuning?” or “what if I layer four guitar tracks, simultaneously presenting this riff in all its interval-preserving forms: prime (normal), inverted (horizontally flipped), retrograde (vertically flipped), and retrograde-inversion (horizontally and vertically flipped)?” Sometimes these ideas are exciting in theory but fail in practice and have to be discarded, but these kind of thoughts result in around 75% of the riffing on my black metal albums. The other 25% are riffs that I more or less improvise while recording, a process that I find more immediately exciting but less likely to produce results that truly surprise me.

My decision to turn to microtonal guitar was a pragmatic one. I increasingly found myself writing riffs only to find that the note I wanted was, for instance, not C natural nor C sharp but rather the pitch in between, so I had a guitar modified with a 24TET fretboard that would give me access to those pitches “in between”. This was a good idea. I cannot overstate what a revelation the microtonal guitar has been for me. I had used microtones before I had the guitar modified, but it is one thing to play with a slide or to retune something in software and another to have a naturally microtonal instrument. The immediacy – having access to microtones without recourse to special techniques or processing – makes all the difference and allows the microtones to form the basis of the music instead of being occasional ornaments or effects.

A fair question is “why isn’t 12TET enough?” Why did I want the pitch between C natural and C sharp in the first place? I don’t know how you hear music, but I know that as a listener when I hear certain interval combinations or harmonies in a work I instantly form mental associations with other works that use the same combinations, and as a musician I sometimes despair at this inescapable web of associations, formed from centuries of music built around only twelve different pitches. Though this may not be true, it sometimes feels as if everything has already been said and only minor variations remain, like rearrangements of the Titanic’s deck chairs. Having access to double the pitches of the dominant 12TET system allows me to find interval combinations that seem at least comparatively novel and as a musician I find this thrilling.

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Influenced by the fathers of 12-tone serialism, Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, as well as Pierre Boulez and Milton Babbitt, this isn’t over-educated “metal as academia”, but more a kind of soulful, melancholic black metal – one that finds melancholy in every day things (“Labyrinths of newsprint”) and locates “soul” in lesser-mapped musical twitterns.

It is experimental music that engages the listener in the most visceral way possible, not only shifting mood but physicality.

What could be more occult (literally: “hidden”) than that?

Buy the album Vast Chains from Bandcamp

Too Strange For Humans To Like

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(Art is from How To Tell A Monster From A Friend by Alvin Granowsky.)

Supremely weird indie-rock. The weirdness of which just isn’t quite conveyed in the download that we’re offering up to you, because you really need to hear all of Trupa Trupa’s album, ++, in sequence – flickering randomly and frequently as it does from dirge, to punk jam, to crescendo rock anthem – before you grasp quite how atypical it is.

The lyrics are not just goofily abstract in the accustomed lo-fi way, they’re violent and provocative. Upsetting. The music carves out an even deeper dissonance, as it unfurls with a rare tenderness and warmth, consoling, like a slow-motion cuddle! Ice-pick guitar undermined by deep, weary sighs of brass. Angular moments of noise snuggling up against intricately-plotted basslines and rhythms, sensing no apparent contradiction.

Bands like Future Of The Left and Melvins subvert their own instincts for aggression with gibberish. But neither band sound so…. lovely…?? While doing so, as this

Trupa Trupa – Here and Then

There are moments in Trupa Trupa’s randomised rock that remind us of assorted lost just-leftfield-of-mainstream rock groups of the late 90s and early 00s who never even achieved cult status, but were still all flavours of special to us.

Here are some of them:

Shooting At Unarmed Men – Pathos Ate Bathos

Cable – Ultra Violet

Party of One – Shotgun Funeral

Marmoset – Blooms

But Trupa Trupa are really great musicians, and they play with the sincerity and chops of The Sea and Cake or an American Analog Set. If they prettied up their messy bits, stopped singing about wanting people to kill people, and wrote proper songs instead of stark minor-key mantras they’d be all over Pitchfork. And they’d suck! So don’t do that, Trupa Trupa. You’re too strange a proposition for other humans to like you.

Stick with XXJFG. Down here, where it’s safe.

You can get ++ from Trupa Trupa’s Bandcamp.

 

On how to get humans to fail the Turing Test.

Featuring : Basic House + Blanck Mass

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Last night*, the 20Jazzfunkgreats arrived home late, exhausted after a day spent speeding down the humanity-crammed tunnels of the circulatory system of the big smoke.

  • Too exhausted to jump inside the digital skin of an avatar, and speed over the nascent AI-crammed streets of the skin of Liberty City (with anticipation about GTA V’s forthcoming release).
  • Too exhausted to be blinded by Frederik Pohl’s immortality, through his Gateway.
  • Too exhausted to open the window at a universe gearing out for war again.

Too exhausted for anything, except watching some trailers for forthcoming Hollywood blockbusters in YouTube.

Big mistake buster.

This was a soul-carpet-bombing experience. There was not a single moment of intrigue, excitement or allure among the wares being peddled by Tinseltown’s alleged dream-weavers.

  • Chief in its appallingness must have been ‘RIPD’, a pastiche of Men in Black and Ghostbusters starring an animatronic based on Jeff Bridges.
  • Close in its wake came White House Down, which looked like a sub-Splinter Cell disaster film where, erm, the White House goes down.
  • Prisoners was another of those “How Far Would You Go to Save Your Family/Country/Daughter?” rhetorical questions which always seem to be answered viz: “I would lock whoever in a dark room and torture the shit out of them”.
  • As the trailer for Robocop stumbled through Google’s intrusive adverts, an ectoplasm materialised in 20Jazzfunkgreats’ dank lounge spelling the following words: WHY EVEN FUCKING BOTHER.
  • Not even Vin Diesel’s awesome growl, our respect for his Advanced Dungeon & Dragons chops, and the fact that he looks a bit like our cat Nebula could make us look forward to the new Riddick thing, which looked like one of those console games you can pick up in Computer Exchange for £7.99.

Which touches upon an important point: Most of these films looked like the cut-scenes of video games, the problem being, that the cut-scenes of video games tend to be, with exceptions like Rockstar games, the Last of Us, and (in a ridiculous way) Kojima and Resi Evil games, the bit where we go to the kitchen to pour ourselves a whiskey (even Prisoners looked a bit like a rubbish version of Heavy Rain).  Quite pathetically, Robocop even had some first person infrared style target identification that made us think of the infamous film adaptation of Doom featuring The Rock. It truly looked like the interactive bits of a video game without, erm, the interaction.

That tortured soul chained in the antechambers to the Pits of Anguish uncountable spiritual leagues away shrieked once again, and the ectoplasmic words of truth shone in our dank lounge.

WHY EVEN FUCKING BOTHER.

As ever, 20jazzfunkgreats resolves these moments of despair by deludedly escaping into a made-up universe where things are ‘the way they should be’, viz.

isolatarium

Impossible mathematics are taught in schools that look like that flashback in Akira, and large corporations convinced us that the product we really want, the product that will keep us young and desirable, are located outside the Solar System. Adverts are now targeted at humanity, instead of at humans.

We interface, trade and battle with otherworldly intelligences through an Oculus Jack-enabled browser compatible with the cosmic matrix.

We must admit that seen from the outside, this doesn’t look particularly impressive: some scrawny geeks holding their knees in a corner of their lounge, rocking back and forth, is that a thin sliver of saliva dangling from their trembling lips? Yes, but come inside, the vistas and potentialities are totally awesome.

For example, today we are going to the cinema to watch this film that sounds really cool. It is inspired by that admired classic of the early 20th Century that got a 6.3 score from Pitchfork (one day PF will issue an apology for that) ‘They Were Wrong So We Drowned’ where Liars told us the story of a village built at the foot of a mountain inhabited by a coven of witches, and the interactions between these two communities.

This imaginary film is set in some vaguely Carpenterian contemporary urban setting, an inner-city neighbourhood collapsing around a dilapidated basketball court, think of the ambiance of bad things lurking in the shadows below you in the cellars above you in the ceilings behind your back as you turn around with a shudder, in Dark Water, or the Horror of Red Hook (but without the racism.)

This here could be in the soundtrack: with much bareness a storm is summoned, drums bounce and crack omen-full, and the synthesisers hoot harsh like owls in the depths of a forest you enter through gaping windows and cracked walls, in its centre you find a white basketball court where shadow-creatures play their game in silence, using a sphere of night.

Basic House – Denial As Method

Basic House’s Denial As Method is actually included in The Isolatarium, the soundtrack for Brad Rose of Digitalis’ first novel of the same title. We haven’t yet read it, but will report on it as soon as we do so. You can get it here, and the soundtrack here.

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Of course, our curmudgeonly reaction above embodies a pessimistic outlook on the behaviours of Hollywood moguls.

It may be the case that their re-hashing, stealing and lowest common denominator converging behaviour is simply aimed at abolishing unsustainable ideologies of progress, generating a present which is the past which is the future, a new world which is a liquid Solaris-like pool of memories/hopes/emotions, actions/reactions and causes/consequences spilling orthogonally to the fallacious arrow of time, and the illusion of distance.

Everything comes together here, like a Societal orgy, but serene instead of frantic, of the soul and of the flesh that we leave behind as we sublime, thank you Hollywood, you made us one.

Blanck Mass – Sundowner

The drones of Blanck Mass, which we firstly came across in the wonderful soundtrack for ‘A Field in England’ (now that’s a film) have burnished many a moment of our trajectory through this year with exaltation, odd glimpses of the beyond we recognise only in retrospect. When the starchild is born, this is the cosmic puree on which its caring mother will raise it. Sundowner is included in his S/T album, go and get it here.

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* This was written on a Saturday.

Never Bored

rich ristagno

First thought was an unpleasant one: Ariel Pink. I know that might be considered blasphemy, especially from one of the several mouths in the giant mercurial Cerberus-face that is XXJFG, and yeah that Tascam Portatudio sound was a smear of loveliness in itself, and Pink did had an entire genresworth of back catalogue committed to C60 before even the first of the many Haunted Graffiti imitators paid over the odds for a vintage 4-track machine on eBay. But he just always seemed like such a douche. He’s not going to lead my vision quest! But then, hey, I still rep for Megadeth – the band fronted by the King of Douche that is Dave Mustaine – so what do I know?

Second, third, fourth, and fifth thoughts: Jimi Hendrix, The Zombies, Funkadelic, Van Halen.

Six, seven: Pavement, R. Stevie Moore.

Eight: Bobb Trimble!!

http://soundcloud.com/drag-city/rich-ristagno-what-is-a-man

Because Rich Ristagno is no hipsteroid, he scrappily recorded a delicious, delirious classic (What Would It Be Like To Be Rich) back in ’81, with a bunch of under-rehearsed and over-high players employed at his cheapest local studio. His only influences were allegedly Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac, but what came out was something much more interesting. The guitarist is maddeningly OCD, he totally over-plays – and by that we mean he shreds ALL THE TIME. It’s perfect. Especially as the general tone of the songs are so Hall & Oates-restrained that they become monotone. The cognitive dissonance between the wailing, cheaply-recorded, almost toy-like guitars, and the soft bounce of Rich’s vocal is beyond even Stephen Malkmus or Spiral Stairs.

Detroit steelworker Rich made up 100 copies of his little LP at a vanity pressing plant, but never got around to distributing them – they stayed in his parent’s basement, until Dirtbombs drummer Ben Blackwell stumbled across an old radio promo, and pimped the recoding out to Drag City. At least that’s how the legend goes. It probably will turn out that this whole thing is a goofy Electric Six side project or something, and that the handsome dude with the moustache was just an old photo of one of their dads, but hey ho. As it stands, What It’s Like To Be Rich is a gentle and fascinating little document, that reads as genuinely – if accidentally – psychedelic.

plains druid

 

Plains Druid can’t compete with that kind of backstory, and why should he? There’s nothing accidental about this occultist synth-psychedelia. This track, Telescreens, seems to tilt forever, like it’s heard something magical happening just past the sun and needs to bear down on it in ever-slanting orbits. You think we’d be bored of being blissed out by now, but let me tell you a secret:

XXJFG IS NEVER BORED OF BEING BLISSED OUT.

The space between our ears is our one sacred protest against the modern world and all its hard edges and petty cruelties. And this is what that space sometimes sounds like.

Plains Druid – Telescreens

Buy Plains Druid’s To Be Without Judgement from Bandcamp.

Buy Rich Ristagno’s What Would It Be Like To Be Rich from Rough Trade.