Archive for August, 2011

Sightings: Nick Fioretti, “In the Pictures”

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Aside from the fact that Nick Fioretti is a guy from Seattle with a few songs up on the Web, I haven’t been able to find much about him. It’s a shame, but tracks like “In the Pictures” speak for themselves. The song scarcely lets a five-second intro go by before exploding into an absolute racket of disparate sounds and pop influences. Pounded keys plod along while a messy swirl of electronics runs roughshod in the background. The sounds prove to be a bit metamorphic, shifting from everyday, backing-haze into seemingly random, needle-like lines that almost resemble guitar solos. It’s all a bit of a mess, but there are certain points to be made in noisy messes. Fioretti waits patiently for that imaginary, perfect, “girl in the pictures.” Certainly that’s enough to make anyone a bit disjointed.

Nick Fioretti, “In the Pictures” (Old Anchors, Self-Released)

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Words: Marc Picciolo

Check out a few more tracks from Fioretti on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

Sightings: SFV Acid, “Stanley’s Dream 2”

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Though I usually associate SFV Acid with hypnotic avant-garde house music, the young man from the Valley has some serious ambient chops. Tracks like “Stanley’s Dream 2” prove this. The piece starts us off with ice-cold, atonal electronics, peppered with mysterious echoes and racing pulses. Stanley’s mind seems to be a dark place at this juncture. However, things wind up on a sunnier note. The final moments are a melodic sweep that would be at home in a Douglass Sirk melodrama. “Stanley’s Dream 2” was recently released as part of Dublab’s Tonalism PlayButton compilation. A PlayButton is a musical artifact that can be pinned right to your lapel. This particular iteration was inspired by Tonalism, Dublab’s 12 hour ambient music event. Other artists represented include Lucky Dragons, Julia Holter, Golden Hits, Julianna Barwick, Pharoahs, White Rainbow, and Matthewdavid.

SFV Acid, “Stanley’s Dream 2”

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Words: Samantha Cornwell

The Tonalism Play Button is available now from Dublab.

Sightings: Keith Freund, “For Broke Everything Is Real”

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Keith Freund is one half of the husband-wife duo Trouble Books, who released a superb collaborative effort with Emeralds guitarist Mark McGuire earlier this year. For his first widely available solo effort, Constant Comments, Freund has crafted a deliberately paced and conspicuously intimate record that combines solo guitar, shimmering ambient tones, and a deft use of field recordings. All these techniques converge on the patchwork “For Broke Everything Is Real,” which incorporates the noise of raindrops, shouted voices, and a passing train with mournful guitar work in a dazzling five-minute display of auditory enchantment. The track is a fitting adieu to the rain-soaked summer months, easing one into the languid early fall.

Keith Freund, “For Broke Everything Is Real”

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Words: Max Burke

Constant Comments is out now on limited LP from Experimedia. Trouble Books play the Ingenuity Festival in Cleveland on September 17th

Sightings: Human Teenager, “Whites (In General)”

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Human Teenager is the duo of Gary War and Taylor Richardson (Infinity Window), founders of the Brooklyn-based psych label Fixed Identity. “Whites (In General)” is a track from their upcoming debut LP, Animal Husbandry, slated for release in early 2012, label TBD.

A visceral, ambient/industrial, psych/noise, multi-layered speedball of analog synthesizers, drum machines, and samples, “Whites (In General)” buzzes us up while numbing us out. Adrenaline-pumping, high frequency oscillations, darting arpeggios, and sharply apocalyptic battle sounds juxtapose with warped vocal samples, slow drones, and slurred synths. The war of consonance/dissonance ends in Pre-Columbian America underwater ambience before returning to complete silence. Despite easy comparisons to both Merzbow’s psych-infused noise and Popol Vuh’s ethno-exotic ambient releases, this track is not an incarnation of the past, nor does it directly anticipate the future. “Whites (In General)” is about the present. With its derisive title, noxious vocal samples, and doomsday sonic imagery, it may suggest socio-political commentary– and its genuine immediacy calls for action now

Human Teenager, “Whites (In General)”

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Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood
Photograph: Fumie Ishii

Look for Animal Husbandry in early 2012. Check out Fixed Identity for War and Richardson’s label releases

Event: Visitation Rites Co-Presents 100% Silk Warehouse Party with Vibes Management and Mutual Dreaming

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Visitation Rites teams with Vibes Management and Mutual Dreaming this Friday, August 26th in extravagant homage to Los Angeles’ 100% Silk, the dance-centric campadelic Not Not Funimprint founded by Amanda Brown of LA Vampires. Join us at a giant warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for performances by NYC-based members of the stable, disco-inspired DJ sets, and projections by Luke Wyatt and Aurora Halal. If you don’t fall in love with everybody in the room by dawn, then you’ll probably at least come home with a clearer grasp of the word “vibe” when used as a verb. RSVP at silkwarehousersvp@gmail.com for the address, and visit Facebook for more info.

Innergaze, “Shadow Disco”

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Ital, “Ital’s Theme”

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SHAMES, “I PLEASE U”

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Magic Touch, “Clubhouse (feat. Honey Owens)”

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Words: Emilie Friedlander

Sightings: Wellington Downs, “King Blacker Lungs”

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Matthew Sage, of the Patient Sounds label, lays down some wonderfully ramshackle noise-pop under his solo moniker Wellington Downs. His latest release, entitled Bruises Apples, is packed with crackling tracks that sound as if they were recorded in a room with no gravity. “King Blacker Lungs” is a standout that displays what I mean quite well. Sharp-edged guitar and cymbal crashes slice through the mix and let Sage’s long-drawn vocal drones escape into the air and out into space. The rest of the song follows suit and takes listeners on a loud and static-filled celestial journey. Sage’s music spends these space vacations gathering intel and forming into neat, three-and-a-half minute gems that fit snuggly next to likeminded noise artists like Big Troubles or fellow Colorado-ites Woodsman.

Wellington Downs, “King Blacker Lungs” (Bruises Apples, Self-Released)

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Words: Marc Picciolo

Check out the rest of Bruises Apples, as well as more Wellington Downs tracks over on Bandcamp.

Sightings: Thundercat, “For Love I Come”

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Thundercat, nee Stephen Bruner, makes funk music that looks towards the future. Up until recently, he aided acts such as Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, and Brainfeeder head honcho Flying Lotus with his bass playing chops. The Golden Age of the Apocalypse, which is his first solo release, is innovative, but also maintains a classic sophistication. Sometimes it sounds like the coolest African American parent music ever. “For Love I Come” the lead single from the album, begins on a serene note, with buttery falsetto vox, and erupts into glorious, rhythmic funk in its closing moments.

Thundercat, “For Love I Come”

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Words: Samantha Cornwell

The Golden Age of the Apocalypse is available now from Brainfeeder

Sightings: Julia Holter: “Goddess Eyes”

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Los Angeles’ Julia Holter seems to be singlehandedly leading a return to the kind of erudite and hyper-theatrical electronic music that put Brian Eno, Bruce Haack, and Laurie Anderson on the map, articulating the story of man’s becoming-machine through synthetic washes and vocoded verse. Loosely based around Euripedes’ Hippolytus, her highly anticipated Tragedy LP on Leaving Records approaches pop songwriting with the precision of a microtonal composer and texture with the ear of a noise kid. “Goddess Eyes,” below, is a case in point; essentially a duet between Holter and her electronic self, it unfolds with the pacing of a dramatic aside.

Julia Holter, “Goddess Eyes”

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Words: Emilie Friedlander

Tragedy LP is out August 30th on Leaving Records. Read an interview with Julia Holter on Altered Zones

Sightings: Quiet Hooves, “My Girl”

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Saddle Up, the out-pop debut of Athens, GA’s Quiet Hooves combines orchestral textures with jazz rock rhythms, ragtime melodies with baroque and psychedelic pop song structures. The result is a Vaudevillian pastiche à la Van Dyke Parks’s Song Cycle.  In a throwback to assembly line record production, singer/songwriter Julian Bozeman handed the tracks over to Javier Morales, who arranged, recorded, produced and engineered each — alone in his bedroom on a Tascam MKII cassette recorder.  Fitting, as the 12 piece live band has recently returned from four nights of support on home recording legend R. Stevie Moore’s first-ever tour. Morales has created a warm and peculiarly familiar feeling for Saddle Up. It’s as if we’ve stumbled upon soundtrack clouds for ten miniature tents at an old time-y circus where Ringmaster Bozeman’s vocals serve as guide through the narratives of each.

The party’s particularly poppin’ in the “My Girl” tent as Yellow Magic Orchestra-style synths and sharply timed drum machines shoot through pocket symphonies of shiny keyboards. Softly commanding, Old South-tinged vocals ramble the shortcomings of an un-won object of his affection in a bouncy, mischievous way, perhaps in coy flirtation. We’ve seen a bearded lady and the rest of the “sideshow freaks” before — but this time, we’re going to hear their stories.

Quiet Hooves, “My Girl”

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Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood

Saddle Up now available in CD and LP formats from the band’s own Party Party Partners. Forthcoming Stallin’ 12″ available March 2012.

Sightings: Larry Wessel Premieres Boyd Rice Documentary, Iconoclast

Thursday, August 18th, 2011


Among the personalities that defined early noise and industrial music there was no shortage of the strange, transgressive, and misanthropic. Distinguishing himself among this parade of oddities as a unique and uniquely American counter-cultural force was Boyd Rice. From his early tape loop experiments to his long-running NON project (a new album of NON material is due in 2012 from Mute Records), Rice has channeled his interests in Satanism, fascist imagery, and Gnosticism into his music, resulting in a prolific and uncompromising body of work.

On these merits alone, Rice is worth considering as a major underground figure, but it is his more inexplicable pursuits– his fascination with Tiki culture, for instance, or his employ as a celebrity bodyguard– that add unexpected depth and an additional veneer of weirdness to Rice’s career. For the past six years, filmmaker Larry Wessel, who has previously chronicled the fringe reaches of Los Angeles and the work of artist John Trubee, among other subjects, has been assembling ICONOCLAST, the definitive portrait of Boyd Rice in sound and image. Such a rich subject deserves an epic treatment, and ICONOCLAST’s four hour running time promises just such a film.

Catch ICONOCLAST in New York this weekend at two special screenings, 7 P.M. Saturday and Sunday night, at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan.

Words: Max Burke