Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kandy Korn Rituals

This is why the internet is ridiculous and amazing.

I've been extremely busy at work. The other day I was jamming, trying to get a handle on the mountain of work I needed to finish, and I suddenly decided that what I really needed to do was find out what that Unwound song was that my old housemate Shannon had on vinyl.

I soon figured out it was "Kandy Korn Rituals" EP. That song is a minute and  a half blast of chaos, with the band sounding like a hardcore band who listened to too much Sonic Youth. It's not sung so much as screamed, and has an unhinged quality that they toned down for later releases.

The song I REALLY love from that EP, however, is "Against," another burst of hardcore noise. Amidst squealing feedback, singer Justin Troper screams "Against all time/against all space/against all matter/what's the matter?" It's a gorgeously ugly song.

I finally found it online, only to realize that I have a copy of it on a collection Honeybear records put out a while ago, when they were still around. That's why the internet is magic.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Aphex Twin

I've been listening to Aphex Twin lately. His Selected Ambient Works Vol. II has been my go-to chillout album since I bought it in 1999. To this day, when I am stressed out or overwhelmed I put it on.

Aphex Twin is an Irishman by the name of Richard D. James. He went to music school, so his take on electronica has more theory and talent behind it than your average e'd out 90s producer. As a result, his music is less groovy and more disturbing than other producers of the same era. His music falls into the irritatingly-named category IDM, or intelligent dance music. In general I haven't been impressed with the few IDM artists I've come across, but Aphex Twin is a different story. He's a little like a drug-addled 90s Brian Eno, using electronic instruments and studio engineering to take music in directions that few other people have dared to go.

I've been getting through his 1995 Richard D. James album. There are a lot of glitchy drum'n'bass beats, but it is tempered with interesting and often beautiful compositions. I've listened to it a few times and so far enjoyed what I've heard. I also bought his last album, 2001's Drukqs. 

 His videos are always incredibly weird. He did several in the late nineties with Chris Cunningham where his face is prominently featured. In the 10 minute long video for "Window Licker" there are a whole series of video hoochies with his face. It's the stuff of nightmares.

Chris Cunningham later did a video called "Monkey Drummer" set to Aphex Twin's "Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michaels Mount," off of Drukqs.

It's not the kind of music you can just sit down and listen to, but when I'm in the mood for something that pushes the envelope and is a little disturbing, I turn to good old Richard D.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

MC Zulu and Pusha T Review

Two weeks ago I reviewed Chicago dancehall artist MC Zulu's new album, Electro Track Therapy.

Last week I reviewed Pusha T's new album, Fear of God II.

I really liked the Pusha T album. One of my favorite songs was "Alone In Vegas," and the video captures the loneliness and creepiness of the song. It's Pusha kicking it in Vegas alone after killing a dude in the desert.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sugar Minott and 3:33 Reviews

Between work, school, and life, I haven't had a lot of time to think or write about music. I did manage to write two reviews last week for RapReviews. The first was for a Sugar Minott box set, which I really enjoyed. He was a reggae singer in the line of Horace Andy, who did soulful roots stuff.

The other was 3:33's Live from the Grove, best described as horror soundtrack hip-hop instrumentals. Creepy as hell. I can't decide if it was also good or not. Here's the trailer.

I'm currently excited about listening to the Field's new album, A Looping State of Mind. I liked their 2007 debut, missed the album they put out a year ago, and I love this. It's built on loops and repetition, and is really hipnotic.

The other thing I've been listening to a lot of ion Spotify is Southern rap. It's a genre that seems super ignorant and simplistic at first glance, but there are some interesting things going on if you scratch the surface.
Like Paul Wall's "Sittin' Sidewayz." On the surface it's a mediocre song about being the king of the parking lot. But it has a wicked beat, and Wall peels of the inconsequential verses with ease. When I was in Houston last weekend, this was the song that was in my head.

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