2/21/2017

Review: Kieran Daly + Robbie S. Taylor - "OST"

Kieran Daly + Robbie S. Taylor - OST
(2016 Psalmus Diuersae)

Cinema magic. The straight-to-VHS kind. 

Cybertwee composers Kieran Daly and Robbie S. Taylor chef up revelatory ambience for Reagan-era adventure on their debut collaborative effort, OST, aiming their aural flashlight at the 10-speed mountain bike that weaves through neighborhood lawns, synchronized swatch watches, and the occasional extraterrestrial encounter. Hollow bleats of synth brass and a pliant bassline's bounce urge the cast into action, deconstructing The Yellowjackets' RnB-tinged jazz fusion into a spillage of retro-chic playthings scattered on James Ferraro's studio floor. 

On OST's A-side, Daly stacks stabs of MIDI programming like blocks in a wriggling Jenga tower. Curdled keyboard drones flirt at rhythm, stepping on the toes of slap bass licks in their stream-of-conscious dance. "Boss' Brake Solo" and "Extra Movable Fuj World" are feeble scaffolds, their recurring gusts of clammy dissonance filling wide-open vacancies: each structure's decrepit construction is made apparent as they buckle in the breeze. Hold on for dear life - don't let the minimalist motifs lull you into comfort.

Taking his turn on the B-Side, Taylor pumps OST's gas pedal, corralling his bite-sized ideas into nuggets of expressionism. Each composition on the latter half of the record is marked by its sense of urgency: alternating keyboard notes speedwalk across the shopping mall floor in their ergonomic trainers on "Sheets of Sand", avian flute-trills goading the listener into the dissonant hustle of "Cutscene: Boonies", a climactic chase scene illustrated by frenetically-mashed harpsichord and melodramatic swells of Earthbound-esque chiptune. 

Released exclusively through Psalmus Diuersae's bare-bones website, Daly and Taylor's improvised horseplay is perfectly tailored to its medium of distribution. It is content to be a curious ripple in a massive body of data; a cryptic .rar file to be unzipped, consumed, shelved in your iTunes library, and re-discovered months later only to re-affirm its strangeness. While I still greatly enjoy collecting odd 7" records salvaged from bargain bins, there's an equally alluring sense of wonder that lies dormant in the stray .mp3 file. Maybe sometime in the near future, in reaction to the ubiquity of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, the forsaken Blogspot pages of the late 00's peddling their rips of screamo demo tapes and forum threads devoted to trading Animal Collective bootlegs will prove just as hip as making the drive to your local record store. Perhaps you've stumbled upon this review years from its publication date only to browse Psalmus' virtual vinyl crate, admiring its dreamy eggshell backdrop as you grab a .pdf, an .mp4, and few .zip files for your future perusal.

Long live the download.

Snag OST here: http://psalm.us/ost.html

2/16/2017

Review: Communions - "Blue"

Communions - Blue
(2017 Fat Possum)

When are we not in communion? In spite of the Internet's omnipresence/omnipotence, much of my web-surfing takes place under the cover of digital tabernacles: niche structures waterproof enough to thwart the shower of data trickling down my phone's screen. Buckets of rainwater collect what is useful to me and filter out the pollution.

The subculture; the group chat; the social media echo chamber - these are the places we gather to assume identity in the digital sphere. We are huddled tribes toasting s'mores on the campfires of our user-generated content. If anyone is familiar with the sectarian nature of the netscape, it should be Danish quartet Communions. Emerging from the then-trendy Scandinavian collective Posh Isolation in 2014, the post-punk outfit benefited from a sizeable buzz generated by the backing of label founder/Iceage frontman Elias Ronnenfelt and their blog-ready brand of lo-fi grit, squeezing icy squalls of garage rock into tight sonic containers. From the blurred resolution of their Cobblestones EP to the faceless figures that graced the covers of their discography, Communions' output seemed to come from a place of remoteness: the stylish impersonality of online demi-stardom.

That's what makes their first full-length LP, Blue, such a refreshing effort: raising previously-closed venetian blinds of fuzz, Communions make the dramatic nosedive into clarity suggested by aquatic album artwork that bears a heavy resemblance to Siouxsie and the Banshees' The Scream.

While Blue may visually suggest the sound of Goth's industrial conception in the late-70s to early-80s, its 11 tracks are more spiritually in tune with The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" than "A Forest" - it's an idealistic, bright-eyed explosion of power pop that revels in lyrical ambiguity. Martin Rehof's ductile vocals rocket from the springy surface of opener "Come On, I'm Waiting", slicing through constellatory new-wave riffage:

"I've been up and I've been down / I've been lost and I've been found.../Turn me into Blue"

Communions flaunt their newfound accessibility on the following cut, "Today", recalling the wiry indie-pop of Phoenix and The Strokes. Ambitious lead melodies are gravitationally pulled back to manageable heights by gloomy acoustic chords, forming a ripple of optimism that bubbles at the tune's surface. 

Blue is best at its most unabashedly cheesy. Cases in point: the lovely little flute-like synth that strings the bridge of "Eternity" to its chorus, the blues-rock twang that peppers "Midnight Child", and especially the churchbell trills of guitar that open "She's a Myth". Though not a groundbreaking project, the record is teeming with enough anthemic energy to stay in rotation for months to come. It's a giant leap from fragmentation to singularity - from communion to ite, missa est!

2/12/2017

Review: mt. marcy - "tied together"

mt. marcy - tied together
(2017 Self-Released)

The car keys claw their bookshelf roost. Your ritual slice of sprouted-wheat toast scoffs with disapproval as the butter knife drags a pat of butter across its coarse skin. Windshield wipers wrench a night's worth of frozen accumulation from your field of vision. 

Mornings are a litany of scrapes, and Pittsburgh's Mt. Marcy is devoutly connected to their AM ambience. His newest EP release, Tied Together, irons out the lo-fi wrinkles of earlier jazz-sampling hip-hop efforts, trading jaunty slabs of piano-based crunch for more breathable folk-pop pastures. "for sure", for example, is composed of little more than meditative acoustic guitar loops and the field-recorded clatter they accompany, yet it communicates a potential vastness. It's a song you can step out of the house to. It holds the door for you.

"sometimes" is a little more intimate than its forerunner. The sounds of swishing corduroy pants and throat-clearing form a canvas for its guitaristry, glued together with dots of harmonics that suggest the post-rock constructions of Acid Aura, or Unwed Sailor's The White Ox

mt. marcy saves his best for last on "talking to you", taking to the keyboard to flesh out his stringy arrangements. It's effortlessly calculated, like the careful way one drives to work without giving much through to the traffic. tied together is static music for the autopilot spirit: life-affirmingly unchanging.

2/07/2017

Review: Chad Johnson - "Rollin'"

Chad Johnson - Rollin'
(2016 Self-Released)

"Two" seems to stumble at the starting blocks, its shuffling drumroll ironing out the wrinkles of its pace as it reaches for the baton. Wheezing from behind, a pair of guitar leads croak like nasal congestion, joined at the ankles, extending this wand at the peak of a three-legged stride. The track's pathos is derived from the dividing line drawn between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat: it's tragically pretty, like a picturesque blooper.

Named for the Cincinnati Bengals' now-retired wide receiver formerly known as Ochocinco, New York solo outfit Chad Johnson owes as much atmospheric credit to grass-stained autumns as it does to the athletic endeavors they house. The project's sophomore EP, Rollin', is driven by a rare blend of technical ability and heart, churning out its batch of jazz-infused riffs with the deceptive sense of ease that flutters on the surface of Mac Demarco's discography. 

Prefacing the aforementioned "Two" is "Hard To Find", a breezy, lounge-influenced tune that sandwiches its blurred reminiscence with meandering solos that seem to lazily stroll about the neighborhood as a dotted line reveals their roundabout path. It's a session of stretching before the race that follows. Breathe in, breathe out.

Closing number "Sorry" channels the beach-rock optimism of Dent May, pasting hooks to metronomic drum beats with a thin layer of keyboard buzz. Chad Johnson's starry-eyed refrain - "you don't have to stay / it'll always be ok" - slowly fades into the tides of cassette degradation. It's the sound of blind faith and sincerity running dry; the dehydration of a spirit clinging to the moisture of saliva.

get your popcorn ready

2/03/2017

Review: Shivver Cliffs - "The Hills Cast Shadows"

Shivver Cliffs - The Hills Cast Shadows
(2017 Self-Released)

Do it big for ambition's sake. 

Reclaiming a sense of self-indulgent scale brandished by the blog-rock wave of the mid-00s, Missouri's Shivver Cliffs ascends to the lofty idealism of Sigur Ros and Broken Social Scene's art-pop bombast while at the same time harnessing the sort of desolate dark matter that fills the landscapes of Bjork's Medulla. The Hills Cast Shadows is the project's first official release, a 7-track LP that doesn't waste time with pleasantries or first impressions. Album opener "Drift Close In" weighs in at a hefty 11 minutes, eroding from a monolithic crawl of cinematic strings to the fragmented remains of Star Wars droid warble. Midway into the track, Shivver Cliffs emerges from the synthesized rubble, a twangy bass and faint piano mouthing spacey riffs as they whisper clipped phrases into an echoing mic. Trudging your way through a blizzard of harmony, these verses, though distant, feel like a signal flare; a sign of help on the horizon.

"repair the puzzle
of broken windows on your floor" 

The bizarro-folk swell of "Ain't No Mountain Can't Crush My Home" finds The Hills Cast Shadows at its most ambitious. Dissonant slide guitar riffs are warped into sourness around their resonant acoustic framework, steering the cut into uncharted territory. Sparkling treble drips from stalactites. Unseen insects skitter across granite walls. Shivver Cliffs peaks miles from civilization, contrasting anthemic heights with subterranean ambience.

The Hills ends with its most accessible offering: "Television Dreams". Looping stray noodles of plucked improv, the closer is is knotted together by the occasional vapor of rhythm tapped out on a drum machine. This is the sort of music you could inhale, wintry drainage rattling in your chest. Clouds form on each frosty breath.

"I'm bathing later every single day
Using shower handles as my crutch" 

1/29/2017

Review: good carl - "Catharsis"

good carl - Catharsis
(2017 Self-Released)

The golden arches; the yellow shell; the eggplant bell are perched on their crows nests, stars of Bethlehem that phase in and out of the nightly landscape. They coyly blink from above the sprawl, their faint fluorescence either a dead giveaway or an invitation - we are open. Fruit pies in their sturdy sleeves and hardshell tacos are best enjoyed off the surface of a dashboard, the vibrations of traffic seeping through the windshield.

Good Carl's neatly-wrapped debut EP is also primed for such a setting. Clocking in at approximately 9 minutes, it can be consumed in the time it takes to circumnavigate the drive thru and make quick work of your provisions in the parking lot. Catharsis is served warm, chorus twinkle and reverb dripping from the duo's guitar leads - one part Mineral, one part Libertines - tied together with cymbal splashes and twin skramz vocals.

Named for Animal Crossing's museum cafe, "Brewster's Roost" is the record's choicest tune, little yawps of strummed rhythm leaping over drum fills like pot holes carelessly crossed. "You'll Always Be My Robin" comes in a close second, its instrumental bridges forming rickety moments of reflection between raspy verses.

Like a more stripped-down offshoot of Algernon Cadwallader, good carl's brand of emo is a nervous frenzy - an inner comfort pawing at its cold-sweating confines. 

1/24/2017

Review: Meredith's Kiss - "Neither Special Nor Different"

Meredith's Kiss - Neither Special Nor Different
(2017 Self-Released)

Burned into the flip of a film strip, Meredith's Kiss snaps queasy shots of suburban tranquility. While neighborhood ranch homes were once vinyl-sided with their vibrant Easter egg blues and creams in the breezy chillwave soundscapes of Ducktails and Real Estate, Neither Special Nor Different can only enjoy their their bourgeois bliss from the other end of a negative image. Jazz-pop noodling wafts from its manicured lawns speckled blue like breath mint discs in their pop-top canister, soupy swells of reverb pooling in the arch support of new sneakers as one cuts through a backyard. 

Intro track "Harris" tears a perforated page from the notebook of Alex G, pitching up its vocals to unintelligible levels. Frayed threads of melody bounce their way across the trampoline surface of Meredith's hoarse chord progression - minus chipmunked cries, it's a thick divot of noise pop worthy of mid 90s college radio rotation. 

Interestingly enough, Neither Special's most effective transmissions are its instrumental cuts: save for a few wordless murmurs, "Irene's Song" communicates via the coo of guitar twang and a couple of static-y synth leads. "Not Special" shuffles along, soured by blunt dissonance - kraut on your hot dog.

As solid as any riff on 70s soft pop I've heard in a hot minute, Meredith's Kiss paints in an odd tint of familiarity. Like green ketchup, Neither Special Nor Different is a tried and true taste with a bold new look: one's taste buds might need a few attempts to catch up.

1/19/2017

Single Review: Kitchen - "November Prayer"

Kitchen - "November Prayer"
(2017 Drunk With Love)

A plea for a fog machine, stillness, snow: the first glimpse we have of Kitchen's upcoming debut LP, Town, acts as a prayer of petition, a chord organ rite that invokes the decay of yellowed floral upholstery as much as it does the divine. This equally emo - yet refreshingly optimistic - re-incarnation of Rochester-based bedroom pop outfit The Loner(s) finds frontman Jame Dont dabbling in the ramshackle orchestration of Julia Brown and Jackie Trash. The nervous pace of acoustic downstrokes are propelled by the hum of twin strings; Dont comes up for gasps of air as keyboards bubble to surface, faint remnants of a drumkit's cannonball fizzing into the shallow end. Structurally and texturally, "November Prayer" resembles the solvent drone of Belle and Sebastian's "Marx + Engels": the skeletal outline of a twee-pop tune - the sort that might conclude a first grade pageant dedicated to the food groups - is plopped into a small ceramic mug. Kitchen and Co. carefully fill the vessel with their warm bath of cassette whirr and the song steeps, slowly devolving into scattered tufts of harmony and eventually into an ambient brew, accented with minty pulses of piano.

Town drops January 23rd via Drunk With Love Records. Scoop your cassette copy here.

1/14/2017

Review: Swooning - "Gloom"

Swooning - Gloom
(AXRC 2017)

As stoked as I should be for the release of Slowdive's upcoming reunion record, gorging myself on Chicago-based quartet Swooning's deceptively filling sophomore EP, Gloom, has rendered me stuffed on dream-pop for the time being. Countless Bandcamp projects have offered their iterations of garage grown shoegaze over the past half-decade, yet Swooning's flashlight beacon peeks from this digital forest thanks to its jarring dynamics and flaky production - their distortion-polluted puddles of power chord runoff lie stagnant, pooling in the damp earth's indentations as surf rock riffage reminiscent of Beach Fossils falls from the overcast malaise.  

Opener "Cold" invokes the intense fragility of Ride's "In A Different Place", its distant, clouded vocals and shimmering lead guitars narrowly dodging the blunt force of tattered percussion, blown-out drum fills and tempo-changes pitching county fair booth curveballs at the glassware dreamscape. In terms of replayability, "Awhile" is Gloom's strongest showing, making an olympic leap from an Alex G chord progression to the sort of serrated fuzz-punk sprint that Dinosaur Jr. might have included on their Bug LP. 

Despite sub-zero temperatures, swoon in the oppressive humidity of Gloom's shoegaze atmosphere.

1/10/2017

Review: YAM AMO - "YAM AMO"

YAM AMO - YAM AMO
(TOKEI RECORDS 2016)

On the math rock spectrum, YAM AMO are fractions forged in chalk dust, their wiry mandolin strands and bleats of melodica signifying segmented pizzas or lattice-topped pies cooling in the window. The Japanese post-rock quartet may bake erratic rhythms and clumsily braided folk melodies on their self-titled debut effort, but never outside the crusty confines of simplicity: partitioned with a wheel-shaped knife, the 11-track LP is attuned to the sweet-tooth, citric drips of jazz riffs oozing from the corners of each slice.

Their name translating to "The Mountains", YAM AMO's approach to instrumentation is suitably rustic. Though antsy percussion occasionally traverses the urbane choreography of late-90s Chicagoan acts like Joan of Arc and Tortoise, the fresh breaths of celebratory twang that accompany them stick to well-trodden dirt paths. Each tune on this album of instrumentals is its own striking revelation - a leap into raked leaves or a step onto the precipice - exploding with the same youthful cheer that once incited Cap'n Jazz or K Records' Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. In the fast-food jingle trills of "ホームタウンホリデー" ("Hometown Holiday"), the contrail puffs of flute that knot "じゅげむ" ("Tighten"), and even in the anxious condensation of "台風のあと" ("After the Typhoon"), a triumphant peal of trumpet jutting from its blanket of guitar gloom a la American Football's "The Summer Ends".

As its artwork suggests, YAM AMO is as trustworthy as the Sunday comics folded on your front lawn, their primary colors facing the parting clouds of an overcast morning. It is a record to be spread out and consumed with a glazed donut and hot beverage, enveloped by the remnants of sleep.

1/06/2017

HALF-GIFTS ISSUE 17 OUT NOW



Includes interviews with Chocofriendz, music video animator andrewdude1, and Silo's Choice // guest art and reviews by Ethan Warpool, Mackenzie Manley and Kyle Root // top picks of 2k16

1/03/2017

Review: Rubella - "The Pit"

Rubella - The Pit
(Tolmie Terrapin 2017)

Ring in the new year with skin disease: the latest output manufactured by industrial-pop processing plant Rubella comes bundled in eczemic distortion, leaving a flaky trail of shed melodicism in its wake. In the crepuscular tradition of Bauhaus and Blank Dogs, the Ohioan sextet squeezes squirrelly post-punk arrangements into congested spaces. Each throaty synth squelch and barked verse you'll encounter in The Pit feels like a disembodied breath that clings to your neck hair - Rubella's brand of B-movie horror is more implied than concrete, like a pair of ping-pong ball eyes peeking through the darkness of a poorly-lit room. 

Decelerating the unbridled violence of Melt-Banana's coppery blast-beats, Rubella's largely electronic brand of no-wave recalls the garbled cry of a dial-up internet connection brushing digital sleep from its eyes. Cuts like "Wasted Gifts" and the treacherous, piano-driven "Bad Parts" sneak needle-like bursts of high-frequency static into their lawless soundscapes as a unifying twinge of discomfort. No particular element of The Pit is particularly unnerving, but taken as a whole, Rubella's record is overwhelming in its concentrated chaos. Strangely enough, it's the more atonal tracks - "Tunnel Drive" and "Wild Grasses" that I've come back most often, harmonically arid yet alluring in their percussive assault. 

The Pit isn't exactly an inviting listen, but those who feel most at home with a Sacred Bones record spinning on the phonograph or a Spotify playlist's worth of Wolf Eyes leaking through earbud speakers should snuggle into its blanket of sour sound quite cozily.

12/30/2016

Interview: Chris Gelpi // Nemuri Winter Label Founder


Compelled by the otherworldly chilliness of Nemuri Winter's debut label compilation, I hit collective founder Chris Gelpi up with a few questions concerning the record and his past artistic ventures. Read my thoughts on Nemuri Winter Vol. 1 here and peep the interview below:

Could you provide us with some quick background info on Nemuri Winter? What compelled you to bring the collective together, and how did you go about doing so?

I think it was a month or so after I joined the Tsundere Fan Club collective. I started thinking a lot about running a sister group on the side whenever i got a little bit more of a following.  I jumped on the idea sooner when i did a physical release for See You in May 2016.

As far as the name goes, it's pulled from a wood carving by Hidari Jingorō called Nemuri-neko ("sleeping cat"), that looked a lot like my own cat.  I knew the sound I was looking for early on so I decided on Nemuri Winter as it sounded pretty spot on to that.

The group actually started in a Skype chat with Yen, just kind of kicking around the idea. Yen and I had some thoughts on who we wanted.  Enter Baku and ¿。. We added VALKYRIE, Acounta, and Ocha after that, but none of us were very active for the first few months.

I guess it was September that I noticed that the Soundcloud page was getting a bit of attention and was motivated again to make shit happen, so the rest of the members joined up pretty quickly and Vol. 1 started.

How would you describe the vibe of the Vol. 1 compilation? Who did the artwork? It's a very visually compelling release.

Thanks! When we started working on it I was expecting the compilation to be pretty moody or close to ambient honestly. We were all tossing around ideas on what we wanted to make for our tracks and a lot of us ended up going in different directions.  I didn't want to put restrictions on anyone because I knew that the people I let in already fit the sound I wanted without trying.  What i got from that was a pleasantly surprising mix of genres and energies that still captured the mood I had in mind without getting stale.  All that to say, I wanted sleepy winter vibes.  I wanted the thought of curling up with a book or a hot bath on a cold day.  I got all of that, without really saying it out loud to them.

That said, when i hit up Sarlis (sarlisart.tumblr.com) for the comp art, I actually straight up told her about the winter girl reading a book in her room without hearing any comp tracks first.  I gave her a loose mental picture and she delivered it perfectly.  We spent months looking for an artist we could vibe with and Sarlis nailed it all within a day. I wanted everyone to work freely and deliver their ideas of the collective aesthetic, so getting it all back in a way that came together perfectly is satisfying.

I respect that you all have input into the overall vibe of the music the collective put out! Do you have a group chat for the label that you use to communicate?

Yeah! we were using Twitter for a while but it was difficult to make important announcements for everyone to see since we all have different schedules.  We're on Discord now though and that makes it a lot easier to organize topics.  I wasn't sure what to expect from a group chat mostly, but the amount of enthusiasm from the others about the progress of the group is amazing.  we shoot the shit a lot but we're also crazy efficient because everyone is really excited to work on this

Your personal project, Daki, has had a pretty eventful year of its own. How often do you work on making beats? What tools and sounds do you use to do so?

This year has been crazy for me for sure. I've been on multiple hiatuses for spending so much time on this and being unable to pace myself. I started Dakihttps://soundcloud.com/dxki/tracks back in February as my first project making beats and in a recent total I think I counted 60 tracks this year. There was a while where I think I was posting material almost every other week. The original 5 tracks of Astral Drain were made over 2 or 3 days.  When things are clicking, I tend to stretch myself way too thin to get something out of it because I spend all of my down time feeling bummed about being in a creative rut. I think another huge contributor is that I don't feel that I know what I really want to work on. I get influenced by so many artists that I hear and I end up spending a lot of time trying to learn about composition in different genres. That's a lot of time spent analyzing and not really creating, so it doesn't help my moods. I'm hoping to find myself in 2017.. that feels corny as fuck to say.

 I actually have both FL11 and 12, 12 mostly for when people send me collabs (i'm the worst person to collab with btw). I'm so used to doing things in 11 and it does everything I need so I haven't wanted to go through with learning the 12 interface yet. I don't have many vsts that aren't stock other than a tape stop and a wow n flutter plugin for warped cassette FX.  In the few cases where I composed, I used Massive, Sylenth, Nexus and FL Keys (rhodes for a little lo-fi thing).  Other than that I collect kits.  I narrowed down my current collection to about 37 of my most used kits, so i'll be digging for more soon. I try to have as many options as possible and I'm going to be recording a lot of my own sounds for a future release.

Do you want to slow things down for 2017, or do you have even more material planned for the upcoming year?

My current goal is to do my best to make quality work: 1. I want to be more discrete about my plans and flesh concepts out more. A huge trend for me in 2016 was just saying "fuck it" and posting stuff, jumping accounts, deleting things. Just being indecisive in general. I also want to make sure I'm not shutting out my personal life. I'm getting closer to my late 20s and I have a fairly established life outside of the internet so I think it's important for me to keep in mind that this is an outlet, this is for fun, and getting caught up in the internet side of things, the numbers and all that, can take the fun out of it for me.

But I'll definitely still be working hard behind the scenes. I do have ideas for stuff I really want to work on as well as plans for Nemuri Winter and the other groups I'm in. It'll be busy for sure.

Could you give readers a history of your musical output? I first came into contact with your music thru the now-defunct Haunt Yrself Tapes. What have you worked on since then?

I used to front metal bands from 2007-2010. After that I spent a little time on some bedroom pop projects with GarageBand, Reason 4, and a little casio keyboard, tried playing guitar for a bit, and tried to start some small projects with friends that never really worked out.

Haunt Yrself was my first cassette label started in 2013. After that I worked on Ritual Tapes, doing close to 20 releases in 2014 and hosting a showcase in Los Angeles. From 2014 to December of 2016 I recorded and performed shows as a harsh noise/power electronics act.

I remember being pretty into the whole witchhouse sound back in 2011, and I got really into Balam Acab and Holy Other, etc in 2012. I guess that's kind of where my interest in production started. In the years following I got pretty into internet trap beats, though at the time I didn't know where to start or anything about the SoundCloud scene. I used to find stuff on Bandcamp and in 2014 I got pretty inspired by CHRSBRRY and FRCLN (who I'm in Tsundere Fan Club with now, oddly enough).

Finally in 2015 I started trying to learn beatmaking. I was watching a bunch of anime and stumbling on artists that sampled OSTs and it really drew me in to the whole SoundCloud scene.

Your output has spanned nearly every era of internet-DIY music since you started putting out material. How have your influences and listening habits changed over the years? How have they stayed the same, if at all?

I think overall my influences have stayed the same. qI find new influences all the time in whatever genre I'm learning about but I don't think I've ever fully dropped things that have really impacted me.  My listening habits are kind of obsessive in that I usually latch on to a style and listen to only that for weeks/months and then move on.  However, especially lately, my long-time love for the work of Phil Elverum has been leaking into my production.

I've always been into lots of variety though. Bedroom pop like stuff from Orchid Tapes, DSBM, J-idol music, noise-power violence fusion shit like Water Torture and Kuroi Jukai, new wave, xiu xiu whatever you feel like labeling them, dynmk-type stuff, vaportrap, lo-fi hiphop. I dunno, a lot of things have stuck with me over the years and even though it may not all come out in my music, it's played a HUGE role in how I listen to people I find online and the type of musicians I surround myself with, I think.

Do you plan on putting out any physical releases of your music? I know you've had experience putting out tapes in the past.

I think if I do, I won't be the one releasing it. I was pumped about releasing See You on tape, but I realized how terrible I am with mailorder now. The next EP I do will have a physical release through my friend Zack's tape label Shinonome Labs, and we're kind of discussing the idea of putting Winter vol 1 on tape to see what kind of response we get.

I used to love making crazy cassette packages, but now it's hard for me to make everything by hand and manage stock like I used to, while also working on music and working in general.

I really love the stuff that Shinonome has been putting out recently!

Yeah! Zack's been active in a handful of bands, Junpei Iori being his current main, I think, so he's got a ton of connects in DIY scenes all over the place. Almost a direct line to really solid but lowkey acts. I ordered the tape he did for his chiptunes project, and it's great to see him putting a good amount of effort and care into his physical releases.

What other labels have you been following closely?

This was more last year, but I was super into Aught \ Void and Sol y Nieve both catering to more noise, doom, black metal stuff but doing really great work on packaging.  inner ocean has a lot of cool lo-fi tapes. This has mostly been the year of collectives for me though though. Magic Yume was my go to on Bandcamp for a while. Yume Collective and Computer Ghost are also really cool.  Consul is insane for heavy trap stuff. Got to shout out Rareticuno and Akuma season. Ichigo and Divine Rights also have comps coming in the near future. Future Society just released a new comp. And obviously s/o to Tsundere Fan Club... Haremboys bout to do some stuff tho.

What are you into outside of the musical sphere?

Outside of music, I play video games a lot but I'm trash LOL.  I don't focus much on competitive gaming, so I don't spend a lot of time developing any skill.  I guess I just like to play for story or whatever.  I also really dig horror movies and slice of life/romance anime and manga!

12/23/2016

Top 10 Tracks of 2016: Part 4

1. Chance the Rapper - "Finish Line / Drown"

"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" - Hebrews 12:1

Despite the nearly universal acclaim Chance's sophomore effort, Coloring Book, has garnered for its seamless suture of bubblegum-trap and gospel music, the neo-sincere hymnal's most reverential cut has been unfortunately overshadowed by the more secular bombast of "No Problem" and "Mixtape". 

"Finish Line / Drown" is an ambitious, fragmented meditation on the importance of perseverance. Angling their lyrical lens at the New Testament's repeated metaphorical references to footraces, Chance and fellow Top 10 list inductee Noname relay their way through a marathon's worth of life's trials - addiction, parenthood, loss - while keeping their sights set firmly on the paradise that is promised to postdate our earthly tribulation. 

Pasted together with T-Pain's transhuman mastery of autotune and punctuated in with a spoken-word coda delivered by choir director Kirk Franklin, "Finish Line" proves to a be a double-decker sandwich that's tough to take a first bite into. Imposing as the track may seem, its 7 minutes of emotional fluctuation and church-organ swells digest quite easily washed down with the heartfelt positivity that each verse overflows with: Chance's with double-time exultation, Noname's with hushed conviction.

Hurtle toward the close of an arudous year, "Finish Line" blasting through your earbuds loudly enough to block out any distractions.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:7

12/18/2016

Christmas Compilation Out Now!