When I turn on my computer after a particularly long night, I reopen my browser, and this is what it looks like..
And on the first page, of the first instance of the browser, on the very first tab in a stack of sixteen in the selected window, not counting the tabs stored in Read It Later, Too Many Tabs, and the thousands of bookmarks (scattered in a surprisingly organized disarray).. but I digress. On the top of my digital pile, I find this little number from a group I’ve never heard of and know nothing about. I can’t even begin to remember where or from whom these link trees sprouted. And it’s like this every morning. I sift through this endless onslaught of listening material; hours worth at a time, and often available for immediate download. In addition to this relentless influx of media, I am constantly having to purge my ever-expanding collection, deciding what I can’t make it through a week without and what could be archived onto one of three external drives.However, this evening, I’m glad I started with A Loom & Not Me. It’s raining glitter outside and it’s cold as hell. I’m planning on staying indoors, warm and intoxicated, submerged in tonight’s enticing mélange of aural delights.
For quite some time, I was lightly opposed to the idea of “cloud storage” though I have since realized that there are many bits of information that I’m at total ease with the thought of a lost and wandering pair of eyes perusing. Eyes that may be otherwise desensitized by the infinite fount of music blogs and dizzying array of sources for artists to both explore and share an infinite stream of sounds, images and words, among other sensory experiences that defy definition.
In the meanwhile, mere onlookers such as myself simply glean and tirelessly consume as much as is humanly possibly in a 24/7 operation of one—perhaps more if we’re lucky and stumble into other starving, wandering souls that heedlessly join in the quest for the remarkable and unheard. We combine endless resources, unhealthy amounts of time, personal and social influences, connections, and our assorted channels of output, attempting to fulfill our self-imposed obligation to share the things that move us and return what little we can to the digital collective. I feel driven to write this as though it would be read by thousands, because in theory, it could be—if given enough time.
I know that my sentiments are not just my own. I have been fortunate to have met and conspired with many fellow enthusiasts throughout my ongoing crusade for musical enlightenment. Thanks to the modern marvel that is the internet, I have been able to connect with specialized connoisseurs over a range of mediums and each contributes from his or her own uniquely forged and attentively fostered tastes and preferred directions. None of us are content with predictability or regression. Building with elements of the past should still result in something unique for today; we should always strive to build upon what we were given and offer something significant and inspiring to the crusaders of tomorrow.
And now, on to tab two. By the way, this is free:
Soosh - Colour is Breathe [Error Broadcast]
It is a very firm belief of mine that great music should always be felt. Physically felt. Whether it’s the vibrations of a subliminal bass line massaging your brain or the fuzzy tickle of a softly-textured synth on your eardrum; perhaps the moisture in your unwitting eye when you hear an old man croon his sorrow into his beat-up blues harp, or the slight twinge in your chest when a lonely woman’s alto caresses your heart. If the song doesn’t affect you on some palpable level, then the creator has failed. Many individuals dislike this line of thought because that would mean that the majority of what they listen to is the result of someone else’s failure. Perhaps I’m a bit radical, but I also hold to the belief that music is a universal language that not only has the power to convey and inspire a broad range of emotion, but can invoke a sense of spirituality and mysticism, and can unify humanity solely through their shared passions and common hunger for musical enlightenment.
Soroosh Khavari (aka Soosh) has presented me with an exceptionally difficult piece of work to define or categorize with his debut LP on [Error Broadcast] Records, due for release February 25, 2013. There is no genre at present that you could assign to this startlingly intimate production. But perhaps if I dispense enough futile metaphors in an effort to simulate this extraordinary experience in words, then you may be able to get just a basic idea of what you can expect from Soosh’s magnum opus.
As “For You” gently begins, your ears may be a bit confused to begin with. It’s okay though.. you didn’t download a bad quality format of some late night radio show for lovers. In fact, as you listen, you find that your ears acclimate to the variance in aural atmosphere, like your body would in a hot bath. The beat is barely there, in an invisible basement with pillows for walls, and there are voices too. You may feel like an eavesdropper as you strain to make out what is sung a-midst the growing confusion of wavering pads and tremulous synths. Until about two minutes in.. Just when you’re starting to feel a bit dizzy: “Do what you feel is right.” Next thing you know, you’re beyond the barrier of your own temporal reality.. but it’s alright. Do what you feel is right..
"Open Hearts" comes at you—straight out of the blinding sun of this uncharted wonderland of sounds, with a determined beat that will set the pace of your heart for you before setting you adrift in a brilliant void drenched in the rays of an alien sun. Thank the unfamiliar stars for those reassuringly tender vocals murmured by Soosh’s own sister, Carmel Khavari. She keeps a part of you close even though the rest of you may get swept off into the chaotic oblivion of Soroosh’s devise. Throughout the album, it’s as though Soroosh and Carmel play the parts of two supreme entities, creating a sense of yin vs. yang and you may often find yourself conflicted as to which you would rather prevail. Ultimately, this is inconsequential, because there will always be equal parts of both within the other, so you should probably calm yourself and embrace the qualitative aspects of both. Take a deep breath and let the Khavaris guide you along the unpredictable tides of a sea that rises and falls in accordance with the phases of eleven moons.
"The Space Between" undulates recklessly, like some lullaby for Martian infants. It’s spacious, meditative, and is perhaps the most hi-fi of Soosh’s otherwise deceiving renderings. "Loving" intrigues me with its unique take on what might have once been an 80’s R&B song that got caught up in a time warp and became the next big hit of the future. While a bit monotonous and discordant at some points, you’ll still find yourself bobbing your head to the bubbling bassy synths and the echoing discourse between Carmel and Soroosh. It ends on a bit of an ominous note, fading out to make way for "Chorus Dream." This track has a sublimely down-tempo beat with wooden blocks at its core and a few renegade toms interjecting at will. On top, Soosh layers it with finely textured polyphonic synths, samples that sound like they were once harmless field recordings from a school playground and a chorus of perfectly timed vibraphones. Together they create a romantically dreamy atmosphere as Soroosh gently implores you, "Come dance with me… I…love…you."
"The Way You" is one of my personal picks, though I’ve often been told my tastes favor the strange. This track is utterly captivating for me. Synth-master Soosh once again spins my head with his billowing saws, complex rhythms and wonderfully intimate vocals. Both his and his sister’s voices find their way into your mind, carried on the currents of sound that Soroosh has woven into an organic tapestry imbibed with the powers of flight. An incredibly seductive track that leaves you feeling tingly and just a tad bit reluctant to carry on to the next plane of this sensory journey through this multi-layered universe. ”Uncertain” is yet another stand-out track for me, featuring an ultra-swanky beat and a catchy tin-wrapped lick from what might a Plutonian shamisen—if I had to hazard a guess.
I know what you’re thinking. She’s abandoned us! She lost interest! Not so. I’ve just been investing a lot of time on one pinnacle experiment. Which I’ll be posting soon and submitting to nutriot.com. I hope that they can appreciate the abstractions that I’m attempting to actualize. Ha, didn’t see that coming, did you?
In any case, before I post my review of the forthcoming Soosh album, I feel that perhaps I should create some kind of thesis for this so-called ‘experiment.’ I learned at least that much in school. So, to elaborate, I’ve recently been pondering a great deal on the idea of music vs. words (not lyrics.) I listen to a lot of music and I read a lot of music literature over a broad range of sources. And I can’t help but think, “there are only SO many comparisons..” and I often find myself sighing over worn-out terminology and tuckered cliches.
So, I’ve been trying to come up with a cohesive way to not just simply “interpret” and describe an album or track, but to narrate it. I want to simulate the journeys and experiences that certain albums or tracks are capable of taking me on—through words.
It’s a bit radical, I know. But as music evolves, so must the way we listen to it and so must the way we write about it. You may notice that this blog is ever-changing. I’m never satisfied with the way these sentences flow or how the space to image ratio feels. I don’t believe in the finite. EVOLVE.
Just started getting into this guy’s stuff this past week; most of it is pretty standard for leftfield bass music—glitched-out, wubbly bass tracks with a lot of 8-bit samples fandangled into beats that often try just a tad too hard. However, the EP I’ve chosen to share with you below is a noticeably more substantial work than the assortment of Monk Fly’s other capricious experiments.
I think most people can agree that some of the greatest art is born out of the most painful experiences. Sadly, 2011 took the lives of four members of Christopher Hancock’s extended family, resulting in the melancholic template for this somber EP, which he has dedicated to those that have gone and we that remain. Hancock has composed a deceivingly intimate expression of mourning within these five tracks, conveying grief, confusion, anger, and separation—employing an extensive range of samples and patterns. While generally sullen and gloomy, there is still a silver lining near the end; slivers of hope piercing through an otherwise forlorn soundscape. Overall an acutely pensive production that may invoke a few dusty memories.. If you’re not afraid of some light introspection, jump on in.
I recently compiled this list of titles (with convenient links!) for nutriot.com, which hopefully will be signing me on as a contributing reviewer in the very near future. Given the focus of the site, these releases are primarily from the electronic and instrumental hip hop genres and you’ll recognize a few from previous postings on this blog. This list could go on and on, but for now, these are what I consider essential listening from Jan 2012 to this very moment. I’ve also thrown in a select few of my favorite album covers, just to keep the page pretty. I’ll be compiling a similar listing for indie and other more experimental genres that couldn’t be grouped in with the ones below. Keep an eye out!
So, I must confess.. I’ve been shamelessly indulging in what is probably an unhealthy obsession for future bass and psy-hop lately. But what the hell.. I’ll enjoy it while the fun & frenzied race to find the next unbelievable track lasts. After all, what’s not to like? It is generally produced with the purpose of multiplying textures and fashioning synths that play with your ears and massage your brain with beats so dope, your eyes water.
So it stands to reason, that while wandering around Project Moon Circle's site today, I would stumble upon Pavel Dovgal's official debut, Cassiopeia, which was most likely one of the pioneers in the infectiously wonky wave of future bass and hip hop. Released near the end of 2010, Cassiopeia has upped the bar a bit for the rest of his glitch + bass-loving brethren.
The album opens with “Ahu Tongariki (Road to…)” and gently detaches you from your immediate reality. After your initial priming, Dovgal drops you into the beat-vat, “Girango,” A swarm of blips and blaps mob your senses; though I still couldn’t call this just “chip-tunes.” The omni-present bass booms on from track to track, right on into Quant Magic which smoothly expounds on Girango, perhaps telling a slightly more mystic version of the same narrative. "Lyra Bird (ft. BekBekson)" takes a different approach altogether. Simple fuzzy samples on top of staggered jazzy beats make this track come off more like old-school trip hop than anything else.
My absolute favorite track off this album at the moment is “Parade Your Planets.” This spacey little number has some of the best textural synthwork I’ve heard all week on top of an unholy beat. Watch your bass levels, or there could be permanent damage (assuming you have your headphones on, like your’e supposed to.) “Sacred Chants of Shiva” is actually a serious contender for my ‘Best of’ award. The more I listen to it, the more it oozes past my skull, through my ears and straight to the brain. Dovgal uses tribal instruments to lay out a futuristic psy-dub beat perfectly paired with the echoes of Hindu hymns and wicked, mind-melting oscillations.
"Blue Phoenix ft. Verhovski" is an aural playground complete with chime slides, see-saw synths, and merry-go-round melodies interwoven with sound bytes taken from a wide assortment of cultural settings. "Andromeda" and "Solar Midnight" are both slightly shorter, though equally poignant tracks built on a similar premise—"Solar Midnight" being the more uniquely-crafted of the two. "LA (feat. Fancy Mike)" is probably the one track out of all thirteen that I can’t quite get into and I am generally inclined to skip it to get to "Document," which has all required elements to win the "Smoovies" award that I’m in the process of defining and initializing distribution of in the near future.. haha. "Salzburg" would get a runner’s up for sure, if not the real deal. It’s a pulsating house-coated track that literally makes me see things if I zone out too hard.
And last, but not least, the final track, the Comfort Fit remix of "Sacred Chants of Shiva." If you didn’t like the tribal aspect of the original for some strange reason, check out this slightly more energetic revision that still keeps your playlist ice cold. Pavel Dovgal is an artist worth keeping an eye on for sure. So much depends on the direction he chooses next. When you’re that far ahead of your time, you could be hard pressed to revitalize your sound three years later. Though, personally, I’d prefer a little more of this please:
This comes to you from Vancouver’s own AstroLogical, whose newest album Truthseeker was just released earlier this week (Jan 22, 2013) on Jellyfish Records. “Omen” features the stylings of Denmark-based producer Galimatias, and is one of eleven sublimely smooth tracks to listen to while you try to stay warm this weekend.
[taken from the Project Moon Circle Bandcamp page]
Ten years of existence and constant progress is no easy endeavor and it’s honouring all the more to celebrate all these years of succesful cooperation with the tenth and concluding release of the ‘10 YRS hhv.de 45‘ series.
The limited 7“ contains four exclusive tracks produced, coproduced or remixed by label-avantgarde Pavel Dovgal, Long Arm, 40 Winks and Robot Koch, who could not embody the development of Project: Mooncircle any deeper, and, moreover, introduces just recently signed Pyur and Darius Vaikas, foreshadowing a possible future of the label.
released 25 January 2013