Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2010 Mix Tape #2: The """"Pop"""" Mix

As promised, here's the second in my series of 2010 mix tapes. As with my previous mix, all tracks here are from albums released this year. My previous mix was all over the place stylistically, meant more as a snapshot of some of my favorite groups this year. This mix and the couple I'm working on that will follow should hopefully be a little more stylistically consistent. This time around: pop music! Well, sort of anyway. I'm not going to lie, I can get behind at least a portion of today's indie pop/rock scene. But this blog isn't geared towards that and so I've somewhat eschewed more traditional indie pop/rock for stuff that isn't entirely dissimilar but that still errs a bit on the weird side of things for the most part. Which isn't to say there's nothing recognizably indie pop in the mix. Helicopter by Deerhunter is a pristine piece of music that somehow manages to be cleancut yet still suffused with gurgling, shimmering noise. The Books offer up a riotous bit of electric cello, warm, wordless vocals, and bizarre samples. ALTAR EAGLE (yup, their name is in all caps) put electropop through a meat grinder and get beautifully mangled and distorted songs as a result; clean, discernible pop is there just below the surface of scuzzy static and noise. Marnie Stern sets herself apart with her ridiculously blazing, ultra technical guitar work backed up by the pulverizing drumming of Zach Hill. Julian Lynch's track sounds like a pop song slowed down and recorded through a tin can telephone with one end at the bottom of the ocean; fans of Ilyas Ahmed's more recent work will be instantly familiar and happy with the result. Eluvium's piece is built on distant, metronome percussion, a glowing bed of ambient noise, and plaintive piano and organ over top of Matthew Cooper's quiet baritone. And so on. Enjoy!

Hollow Press 2010 Mix #2: The """"Pop"""" Mix
1.The Books - Thirty Incoming
2. Liars - No Barrier Fun
3. Julian Lynch - Just Enough
4. Menomena - Black Queen Acid
5. Foxes in Fiction - 15 Ativan (Song for Erika
6. Kenseth Thibideau - Black Hole
7. Deerhunter - Helicopter
8. Owen Pallett - Keep the Dog Quiet
9. Marnie Stern - For Ash
10. Nice Face - Beater
11. Big Troubles - Astrology Screen Saver
12. Avey Tare - Cemeteries
13. Eluvium - Making Up Minds
14. ALTAR EAGLE - Pour Your Dark Heart Out
15. Tobacco - VHS Knife
16. Mountain Man - Buffalo

Total time: 1:02:08


Tune in in the hopefully not-too-distant future for 2010 Mix #3: Strings and Things (All Classical, All the Time)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 Mix Tape

I enjoyed making the mix several posts below (and mixes in general) so much that I decided I'd try my hand at a few more for the blog. Over the next few weeks I'll be posting mixes of songs from 2010. This has been such a fantastic year musically so consider these mixes samplers of a sort if you haven't been keeping up. This first one is a pretty diverse set on songs that I tried to stitch together with some semblance of cohesion. Either way, there should be something for everyone here. Asfandyar Khan, Eluvium, and Grasslung offer up slow, shimmering drones, the kind of music for drifting off to sleep during a rainstorm. The tracks by Danny Paul Grody and Black Eagle Child are plaintive, plucked guitar, beautifully simple. Daniel Bjarnason's piece is a monstrous, heart racing bit of modern classical with off kilter pizzicato and jarring swarms of strings both bowed at ever increasing speed and battered with the bows themselves. Rene Hell and Emeralds take exuberant synth journeys. Meanwhile Barn Owl and Ajilvsa delve deep into the America west with their dark guitar dronescapes and growling oscillator murk respectively. And there's plenty more as well. Later mixes might be a bit more focused but I thought this scattershot look at some of the best this year had to offer was a good place to start.

Hollow Press 2010 Mix #1
1. Asfandyar Khan - Hello, Morocco
2. En - Pratyaya
3. The Alps - Telepath
4. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Where You End and I Begin
5. The Books - A  Wonderful Phrase by Gandhi
6. Rene Hell - C.G. Mask
7. Emeralds - Candy Shoppe
8. Jasper TX - Our Way Through the Field (Remix by Aaron Martin)
9. Daniel Bjarnason - Bow to String 1
10. Danny Paul Grody - Fountain
11. Eluvium - Nightmare 5
12. Barn Owl - Awakening
13. Ajilvsga - The Animal's War Party
14. Common Eider, King Eider - They Want to Dig for Gold but all They Will Find is Blood (Cell
      Phone mix)
15. Grasslung - When We Were Young
16. Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Telepathy
17. Black Eagle Child - Iron Mountain

Total time: 1:32:48

NOTE: I was having some trouble getting the files to organize themselves. It should be alright but be aware that they may be out of order when you rip them to whatever media player you use

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Night of Experimental Music, live @ Bard Hall 10/30/2010

What we have here today is an extremely rare live recording, one you certainly will not find anywhere else. Three sets, two very brief and one rather long, recorded live at a pre-Halloween show in Bard Hall at Bard College in front of a crowd of about twenty.

The first set is a solo piece by Colin White using amplified metal, tape, and feedback. Warm, humming feedback washes over piercing squeaks and rough, buzzing reverberation as white noise wavers and builds over rhythmic metallic clanking and lowing reverb. A perfect pre-Halloween set, this sounds like some surrealist horror soundtrack.

Next is Michael Foster on saxophone and occasionally gasping, wordless vocals, and Leila Bordreuil on cello. The two instruments dance in and out of one another, sometime complementing each other in an offkilter kind of harmony, other times dueling and spinning off in contrary directions. There are moments of furious build and manic intensity and others of slow, minimal meandering. Fans of the previous post on this blog will find more to love here as this delves into the realm of frenetic free jazz and even swings, in a delightfully surprsisng take, into traditional jazz for a moment. A very cool and altogether too short piece.

The concert ends with a trio of amazing musicians: The great Greg kelley on trumpet, Vic Rawlings on prepared cello and electronics, and Ryan Jewell on percussion and various strange noise producing implements. Clocking in at over half an hour, this was an incredible set. Imagine a field recording from inside some alien, wheezing, decaying factory and you'll start to get a feel for what this piece sounds like. Kelley uses a damper and a small, thin sheet of metal to emit from his trumpet a rattling hum or plays with the mouthpiece removed to create a breathy, moaning gasp. Jewell uses an oyster fork and a piece of Plexiglas placed flush upon the cloth covered and contact miced surface of a snare drum to create a sharp, piercing squeak, places a long metal tine vertically against the same drum and rubs it rhythmically to create a wavering reverberation, and swings a heavily rosined bow through the air in a dense whoosh. The prepared cello of Rawlings buzzes strangely in the background and his electronics build a underlying haze of crumbling static and machinelike rumblings. Other sounds abound: Strange gasps like steam valves venting air, distant hums like generators quietly chugging away, gravely rattles like cogs spinning, hollow clanks like pipes faintly rattling. One feels as though one has found one's way into the belly of some strange machine. It's an incredibly minimal piece but it's eerie and bizarre and really wonderful, especially considering the acoustic nature of most of the sounds which somehow sound so unnatural (in the best possible way).


Many thanks to Goro for taping this show!