Errrr... Allegedly Summer time mix tape- Don't get me wrong it's a lot of fun, but not all of it has summer time clothes or beach party written over it; opinions may vary I suppose. Regardless, Mad Decent's summer block party 2014 mix is a lot of fun and worth checking out. Mad Decent started putting out mix tapes back in 2008 with Diplo at the helm, and they've gained a lot of traction in the last few. It's got some reasonably high concept dub step from acts like Big Gigantic, and some pretty slick straight up pop music like Liz's "All Them Boys". It's a little inconsistent, not in terms of quality but vibe, but there's definitely some gems here. It's not all new- that Diplo Sleigh Bells remix seems a bit ancient comparatively- but over all it's a cool cross section of production. That Keys N Krate Download it here and check out some highlights below the jump.
In a year when the chilling extent of state sponsored surveillance became so unnervingly apparent, the word 'selfie' got added to the dictionary. These are strange times. Ours is a world being constantly reshaped and redefined by our relationship with and understanding of technology. For all the wonders of the digital age, it has proven just as capable of being a blight upon our culture; one that empties all relevance and meaning from the modern era leaving only the most rote superficiality. To add further insult to injury, it is this vapid deluge of useless memetics that is so forcibly scrutinized through oppressive surveillance. While all but the most naive idealists will find some truth to these statements, believing them to be more than insular realities but instead an interconnected web of modern dystopia is a tougher argument to make. This is Erica M. Anderson's argument, one she earnestly tries to make over the majority of The Future’s Void. Anderson follows up her last album, the wrenching Past Life Martyred Saints, with a drastically different set of subject matter, and a sonic pallet that's nearly as divergent. But whereas her past outing was a perfectly synchronized collection of ideals, instrumentation, and experience, Anderson's unique stylings don't coalesce so naturally with heavy issues she tackles, and that she seems to equate the terrifying realities of modern surveillance with whatever is bullshit on the internet today indicates a final thesis that is need of revising. Regardless of intellectual misdemeanours, EMA's greatest strength, her bracing and striking nature, still manage to shine through here from time to time.
I'm dusting off the murky conrners of the internet my once prolific blog residedin, albiet for a brief moment only. While any attmepts at actually writting something have been continously thwarted by a disinct lack of time, I did manage a while back to help my good friend Mickey Mcleod, of Boutique Music, put together the second instalment of his podcast series. Like the proceding podcast, Red 2 focuses on what we think are noteworthy contributions to inide electronica. Over the period of a little over an hour we play and briefly analyze a dozen or songs, ranging from Com Truise to Little Dragon, and a whole bunch in between. We recorded back in the early summer so a couple refrences are slightly out of date. Be sure to check out www.boutiquemusic.ca and special thanks to Blue Light Studios for once again letting us record there.
Somewhere between a hippie commune and a chemical laced rave lies Sasquatch. It's lineup is as eclectic as its representation of nature, ranging from pristine if out of reach, to messy and intimate, much like the picturesque visage of the Gorge and the- let's say less than sanitary- reality of thousands of people camping together. However sun scorched fields cut with the occasional rain storm are a small price to pay for such a vast and rewarding amount of content provided by this year's slate of artists. It was a lot to get through over a four day period so rather than my slightly long form reports on concerts, I've opted instead to just offer small synopses of some of the more noteworthy acts and let the supplemental media speak for itself. As much as I'd like to go on and on about every detail, some of those details have been obscured by several days of a fairly punishing schedule. I assure you that's not an allusion to drugs, although christ were there a lot of people on drugs.
We're about 3 weeks away from Sasquatch 2013, and as you can imagine, I'm pretty excited. What started as part reaction to the dying out festival circuts of the 90s and part acknowledgment that Coachella was in fact, a pretty big fucking deal, Sasquatch's humble beginnings aspired to offer the pacific northwest an indie rock festival of their own. Over a decade later it has expanded in to genre sprawling line up and earned it's position as one of North America's premier music festivals. It also didn't hurt that it takes place at Washington's gorgeous Gorge Amphitheater. People must really like camping. Below is a play list of some of the featured artists I'm most excited to see. With such an amazing collection of acts, even the daft assortment of dancing hipsters that are heavy on affluence and low on shame will keep me away this. See you there, bring allergy meds.
Often times when people retroactively refer to music as ahead of it's time, they employ the term as an apologetic euphemism. It serves as an acknowledgement that whatever trends it was breaking away from or what new prescient one it was trying to set, it couldn't be easily integrated into the current musical zeitgeist. However years later it would prove not only trail blazing, as modern music caught up to its terms and expressions, but its hidden worth would finally be made apparent. You could say part of this dynamic has applied to The Knife in the last half decade or so. When their 2006 album Silent Shout album hit, the enigmatic electronic music from sibling duo Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson didn't really sound like anything out there. There was no easy analogue or corollary in which to categorize its dense, macabre, and lively journey into forested realms full of discovery and mystery. If any album in recently memory fits the quantitive descriptor of being ahead of it's time, it's Silent Shout. It took years and years but finally as we stretched further into this new decade, diverse musical acts from around the world started to analyze and adapt The Knife's sound, incorporating it into the main stream and elsewhere. Acts that range from poppy like Grimes and Purity Ring to more experimental outfits like Gang Gang Dance all began to exhibit the genes of The Knife. The key difference between The Knife and our initial hypothetical however, is right from the beginning, Silent Shout was ubiquitously considered to be a masterpiece- one of the best the decade had to offer. Around it developed such an awe inspiring reverence that even the mention of The Knife brought with it a flood of requisite accolades.
I've got something new and exciting for you today. Rather than reading me drone on and on about whatever meandering thoughts occupy my attention, now you can listen instead. I've partnered with my friend Mickey Mcleod to bring you the first in what is hopefully a continuing series of podcasts. Mickey is the founder and owner of Boutique Music, a Vancouver based company specializing in audio design and consultation for local businesses (check out his site here). When he's not sounding so formal, Mickey is also heck of a producer and DJ. He had the idea of doing a series of podcasts that focus on specific types of genres and affixing colours to each one as a means of differentiating and cataloguing. The Red series focuses on indie electronica. Throughout you can listen to a series of artists in the field and then some thoughts from Mickey and myself about what we think makes them noteworthy. Give it a listen below or download it at your pleasure, and look out for the next podcast in the next few weeks. Big thanks to Blue Light Studios for letting us record there!
I can't help but listen to Amok by Atoms For Piece and think of what it means for Radiohead. I think it might be the end for them, or at least the beginning of the end. For a band with such a mythos built around it, and one that has proven so cunningly adaptable over the years, it's hard to imagine any kind of final extinction on the horizon. While Amok is not necessarily a harbinger of doom for its monolithic forerunner, if such an event is looming, this may be where the journey began (or maybe it was The Eraser). So much of Amok seems like a counterpoint to Radiohead, an antithesis to the storied dynamic. As Radiohead has mixed in more and more shuffling jazz and unpredictable expressions into their work helping them nurture a sense of humanity amidst an increasingly desolate soundscape, Amok is a much more benin and even morbid affair. Its flares of significance and awe, of which Amok has many, come not from gorgeous instrumental arrangements or Thom Yorke's laboured and transfixing voice, but detached and digitized synthesizes. While the ruminations of Radiohead have warranted enough analytics to fill libraries, Yorke's thoughts in Amok act as a negative to that, focusing instead on things he doesn’t want to say, almost to the point of existential minimalism. Such a departure may seem to reek of the trappings of creative gridlock, or some kind of artistic midlife crises, however Yorke's steadfast stoicism, and level heading musings on these issues convey he is still very much engaged and in tune with his skills- he simply wants to apply them to something different. Furthermore, that Atoms For Peace consists of the same group he toured his solo album The Eraser with, namely Nigel Godrich and Flea, implies a premeditation and sense of drawn out planing leading up to whatever he hopes to accomplish with Amok. Maybe he simply desires another break from heading up one of the most important bands in the world, maybe he wanted to plant the seeds for its dissolution. If the later is true, that Amok turned out quite compelling is both intriguing and unsettling.
Yes, really just some pop music. Such a broad and nebulously defined parameter might not seem like the best basis in which to construct a play list, but that's kind of why I'm doing it. I've been having a lot of conversations with people lately regarding exactly what pop music is. Ever since the Ed Sullivan show back in February 1964, people could agree on its complete ubiquity, but as for what pop music actually sounds like is a tricky question to answer. I've been offered a number of different answers, all of which support a degree of logic and evidence. Some tend to look at pop music based on exactly what is popular, looking to the top 40 charts and the like. Ever since the 90s explosion of boy/girl bands and the next generation of excessively saccharine female singers, a lot of people have been unable to separate the larger idea of pop music from just that. Others take a more constructivist view of the topic claiming pop music is any music that adheres to a traditional verse-chorus structure. Some look at pop music on more of a sensory level (perhaps rightly so) claiming pop music is nothing more than flashy music expressing cultural and instrumental trends. It's tough to say what the best definition is- probably an aggregation of all the above ideas. Whatever the case it got me thinking of what I think of when people bring up pop music. This is what I came up with, what I think is a broad and accomplished sampling of modern pop music. Give it a go and see what you think. What comes to mind when you think of modern pop?
I switched over to sound cloud for this play list, it's got a better layout and is compatible with most mobile devises as opposed to Divshare play lists which I used in the past. Play list is below with a track listing after the jump
As in all of it. It's been a long road leading up to the release of Amok, the debut LP from Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich's project, Atoms For Peace. So long, that with all the surreptitiously released tracks or incognito performances, not to mention the dulge of news and rumors surrounding the collaboration, it's hard to believe that only now are we finally getting an album out of it. Yet here we are. Atoms For Peace are streaiming Amok on their site in it's entirety along with a trippy internet warping visualizer to go with it (player embedded below as well). Amok is out Feb 25; preorder it from their site and give it a listen to see what you think. Check back here soon for a review as well. Early thoughts: It's damn good.