• m b v

    24 fév. 2013, 5h10m

    The new My Bloody Valentine album m b v is a decent listen. It’s got big shoes to fill, and fails to fill them in full gaze of an adoring and nostalgic public, but just pretend it was recorded by one of the many faceless “post-rock” troupes or ambience-bangers that have birthed and died in the twenty-two years since Loveless and suddenly it sounds refreshing and lively. Not much is new or different, but there is one innovation: this is the first time an album cover might actually be improved by the use of Comic Sans.

    RIYL: the sound of Kevin Shields’ crusty ejaculate in your ear.

    WTF: If track #8 isn’t the sound of a gerbil on crack powering a Ramones cover band, “Nothing Is.”
  • Seven Lions

    15 oct. 2012, 6h20m

    I don't really dig on American dance music, brostep, club electronic music, or, really, most mainstream pop music in general (which explains why I'm just writing about this now)... but I have to admit, this guy is crazy good.

    Tracks like She Was (ft. Birds of Paradise) or The Great Divide (Seven Lions Remix) erase my previous, long-standing gripes with American "dubstep"--i.e. the boorish "kid playing with a noisemaker" feel. Did anyone else have one of those weird Sound Blaster toys with the "death ray," "machine gun," and "bomb" noises? Press and hold two buttons at the same time and it sort of blended the noises to make them even more irritating for the parents? Eh, maybe not. Anyway, that's inevitably what I think of when dubstep gets mentioned.

    And sure, all that is still present (it seems to be one of the defining characteristics of much of American clubstep), but Seven Lions' approach to production sets him far apart from most. This noise is sculpted. And it's not even the main focus. My word, it's actually melodic. Just lovely. It's refreshing to finally hear something like this. It took me a long time to try to force some 'step down, and a little more time after that to begin to enjoy some of it, but I have few complaints about any of the Seven Lions remixes/songs which I have heard thus far.

    The Velvetine track in particular reminds me of coloris era (2008-present) She, but with overt, trendy dubstep drops, and a breathtakingly gorgeous break starting at around 2:20. It's still childlike, but in terms of the sense of excited wonder, the sense of scale and spacey, futuristic, cyberpunk beauty it evokes--a welcome antidote to the "midrange cack" that seems to butt its ugly bass in everywhere these days. Something like last year's Make Me Real would make a fine companion on a playlist.
  • 'Wub' is the new 'unce'

    28 nov. 2011, 0h05m

    And I really despise them both. It's so lazy and just inexcusable anymore. I can't stand that thudding, self-parodic 'unce unce unce' techno beat in fucking everything, mostly radio pop, or, in a genre I actually have interest in, NYC scene chiptune that was likely composed on a Gameboy with LSDJ or something else. 'Unce' is past simply being cliche. It's at least as high a musical crime as writing a song that goes Cmaj Gmaj Fmaj. You son of a bitch! I understand if you're learning to use a tracker, it's an easy framework to lay stuff down, but MY GOD, it is the antithesis of interesting 99.9999% of the time.

    And the dubstep 'wub'? Someone kill me. It was cool the first million times. Now it's reached the point where electronic musicians will plunk down some 3xOSC craziness just for the sake of snaring more vapid flunkies that will make "ohhhh man, filthier than Oedipus, bro!" or "That drop is dirtier than getting a hard-on changing your sister's diaper" the top YouTube comments. Sure, it can be done well---Mick Gordon, for example, plays the dubstep calling card on Katana Blaster (Constantly Playing Mix) and I can't picture that lovely song working well without it---but more often it just sounds like some kid cracked out and making fart noises for three minutes while the TV plays in the background. Strung Out again.

    If you can spend the time to write an interesting song around an interesting melody, you can integrate interesting percussion and other trimmings without that becoming the focus of the entire piece.

    Ugh. Sorry. I try not to play the "hate" card anymore in any serious discussion, but the irritation builds up like barnacles. I'm just tired of hearing neophyte musicians, or underground musicians, relying so heavily on cheap parlor tricks and lazy songwriting. It's exactly why I hate most of the mainstream music I hate and have mostly given up on truly inspiring work coming from above the surface.
  • Ode to Chiptunes

    10 jan. 2011, 18h47m

    My god, chiptunes make me happy.

    None of the ancient C64 noise-dirge, ass velcro stuff... that just makes me long for a Sound Blaster.

    But that sweet, sweet Amiga sound... the base for countless tracker and demoscene glory tunes... spluttering sprays, thudding beats, careening portamento. I can bathe in it for hours and hours. Like listening to a carefree childhood dumped to disk.

    Dubmood,zabutom? You are heroes. "zeta force" is one minute of infinite-loopable greatness, the perfect blend of upbeat anthemic and chilled-out cool. "Supersquatting" is perfect roll up on some fools nerd rock.

    Who can't immediately love Quazar of Sanxion's "Hybrid Song," with or without COME ON AND JAM! splattered all over it; all the little "lookie lookie" cool-as-shit turnarounds like the super brief riff change-up about a minute into She's "Nebula"; the pure, transcendent glory of "Another Winter" by Anamanaguchi as it soars and climbs arpeggios like exuberant kids scaling backyard walnut trees; the absolutely exhilarating rush of kenet & rez's "Unreal Superhero 3" and its supercharged, purloined Ennio Morricone melody?

    Everything here is a treasure. Especially, though, it's the fast stuff, the rollicking teenage dream paraphernalia, the stuff that bitchslaps your nucleus accumbens, that really shines. This is the best punk metal you've never heard. All the kinetic energy remains. The freeform simplicity decked out with a fetish for hyperspeed singing arpeggios, all handed off to a performer that can play flawlessly at any tempo.

    Listen to enough of it in a span of time, and going back to music with "real" instruments is like Dorothy's Kansas. Home, but the Technicolor is gone. The leads sing like the purest angels, the obese bass hits like an office chair sized sledgehammer to your solar plexus. The whole world of sound seems to harmonize, and you have to stop yourself to remember that all this joy leaking into your ears is doing so from the innards of a machine not so different from a glorified silicon player piano. That the wizard behind this curtain, the one responsible for this ghost in the machine, is a musician of tremendous skill, craftsmanship and patience.

    He is a badass, and this is art.

    \m/ \m/