Archive for January, 2012

Ad Hoc Kickstarter Launches Today

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Following a solid run as the editors of Pitchfork experimental sister site Altered Zones, Emilie Friedlander and Ric Leichtung are back with Ad Hoc, an underground music and visual culture publication created for and by a community of music lovers with a shared ethos: that of building the world you want to see using the materials at your disposal. A collective of ten tastemaking music blogs from all over the world, Ad Hoc is a daily destination for MP3s, videos, mixes, interviews, artist’s writings, and cultural commentary— curated for quality, and with an emphasis on emerging artists and musical movements that best exemplify the new grassroots, Internet-fueled DIY.

Ad Hoc is also a quarterly zine— available in electronic and paper formats, and full of original art work and long-form features. Resurrecting the curatorial logic of zine culture, Ad Hoc will paint a dynamic, living landscape of the underground music world at large, setting the reflections of professional journalists and critics alongside artists, promoters, and other music-world personalities. Ad Hoc is a mosaic of voices, each offering its own partial illumination of underground music today, and what it means to navigate a rapidly changing industry in the era of information.

Visit our Kickstarter page to learn more about Ad Hoc, and how you can help us build our new home.

Ad Hoc features regular contributions from 20 Jazz Funk Greats, Decoder (ex-Get Off The Coast), Distonal (ex-The Decibel Tolls), Dummy Magazine, International Tapes, Mutant Sounds, No Fear of Pop, Visitation Rites, Raven Sings The Blues, and Rose Quartz.

And writings from Alex Bleeker (Real Estate), Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches), Alan Palomo (Neon Indian), Allese Baker (Artforum), Dale W. Eisinger (New York Press), Dan Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never, Ford & Lopatin), Emil Amos (Holy Sons, Om), Emily Rose Epstien (Ty Segall), Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (Liturgy), Ian Nelson (Friendship Bracelet), James Leyland Kirby (The Caretaker), Jenn Pelly (Pitchfork, Village Voice), Jessa Farkas (Future Shuttle), Jigmae Baer (Royal Baths), John Elliot (Emeralds), Justin Spicer (Tiny Mix Tapes), Kim Kelly (NPR, Brooklyn Vegan), Laurel Chartow, Liz Pelly (Boston Phoenix), Maria Minerva, Marc Masters (Pitchfork, Wire), Matt Sullivan (Altered Zones), Michael McGregor (Chocolate Bobka, The Report), Nate Luce (Flower Orgy), Taraka Larson (Prince Rama), Todd P, and many, many more.

The Ad Hoc Comp

Available both as a digital download and a limited edition cassette box set, The Ad Hoc Comp is available exclusively via Kickstarter, and features previously unreleased material from dozens of our favorite artists in the world right now, including Balam Acab, Beach Fossils, Blondes, The Caretaker, Dan Lopatin, Ducktails, Games, Grimes with Majical Cloudz, How To Dress Well, Julia Holter, Julian Lynch, Keither Fullerton Whitman, Laurel Halo, Pictureplane, Pure X, Rhys Chatham, Sleep Over, Sun Araw, and others.

Peep our Kickstarter Page for more sick rewards.

Ad Hoc
Coming in 2012
Contact us at
Follow us at @adhocfm

Sightings: Sun Araw vs Heatwave “‘Open’ This is Literature- Disco Hermetics (2012)”

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

The dance floor can be a ripe space to work through your shit. Those who know the healing power of body motion can attest to this, and will often preach it as gospel. Alex Gray (Heat Wave, Deep Magic, Dreamcolour, Sun Araw) and Cameron Stallones (Sun Araw, Magic Lantern, WHERES YR CHILD) clearly fall somewhere within this camp. Their hour long disco mix, “Open”, which was originally concocted for dublab, will cover your toast in extended, buttery grooves. Perhaps Stallones and Gray aim to raise awareness about the cosmic power of disco? Perhaps they were just having an amazing time? Either way, I have a feeling you will enjoy this mix.

Sun Araw vs Heatwave, “Open”

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Words: Samantha Cornwell

Sightings: Magical Misakes, “Supermoon Crashed (ft. Mutual Benefit)”

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Erik Luebs of Magical Mistakes may reside in a small village in southwest Japan, but the sounds on his brand new Special Friends EP shimmer as brightly as any bustling metropolis on a Friday night. This track –a collaborative effort with Mutual Benefit‘s Jordan Lee — takes your typical electronic sheen and stretches it taught around tight percussive fills. The effect both pumps you up and manages to soothe your brain before the sheen flys away and “Supermoon Crashed” moves into almost-traditional folk territory. Luebs flashy electronic beats give way to thick strings and Lee’s slow, steady crooning. At its core “Supermoon Crashed” combines the best talents of the very different Magical Mistakes and Mutual Benefit projects, and presents a nice collaborative snapshot of these two artists. It makes one wonder why more bedroom recording artists don’t get together for efforts like Special Friends. Forgive the pun, but it seems to be in everyone’s mutual benefit.

Magical Mistakes – “Supermoon Crashed (ft. Mutual Benefit)” (Special Friends EP, Self-Released)

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Words: Marc Picciolo

Check out Special Friends and more from Magical Mistakes over on Bandcamp.

Check out Mutual Benefit on Bandcamp as well.

Sightings: RareBit, “Running Tangles”

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Daizo, the debut full length from Los Angeles’s RareBit, could be characterized as a thoughtful brew of free jazz and electronic aesthetics. The tracks have a bold, improvisational feeling to them, usually characterized by several layers of percussion. “Running Tangles,” the album’s second track, pretty quickly serves us some vibrant grooves, and an explosion of percussive taps and rattles. About a minute and twenty seconds in, we are suddenly launched into a flourish of electric guitar sounds. There is some interesting vocal work, in the form of a silken R&B falsetto. This element accents the rhythm in the initial moments of the track, and takes center stage at its close, in the form of a harmony that is reminiscent of prime era Boyz 2 Men.

RareBit, “Running Tangles”

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Words: Samantha Cornwell

Daizo will be available from Non Projects on February 28th

Sightings: Lucky Dragons, “Existers”

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Lucky Dragons music has always made me think of sun light refracted through a prism, and then broken down into a network of startling pixels. This probably has something to do with their seamless fusion of digital aesthetics and organic sound textures. Their positive, forward thinking sounds bring to mind a future where nature and technology work together in harmony. “Existers” is the opening, and title track from their forthcoming album. It builds on their established aesthetic with lush synth flourishes, and tight, simple hand percussion. Those who have been following their work will be surprised when Sarah Rara’s sultry vocal enters the mix. While this is more of a pop element than what we’ve come to expect from Lucky Dragons, it builds off nicely from their established sound, and hints at a future of fruitful experimentation.

Lucky Dragons, “Existers”

Words: Samantha Cornwell

Existers will be available on Valentine’s Day 2012.

Sightings: Woodsist to Release Golden Calves Collection

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Before he made a name for himself as the man behind Wooden Wand, a revolving member of Vanishing Voice, and one of the most prolific players in the so-called “New Weird America” movement, James Jackson Toth apparently instigated some pretty wild basement sessions while studying at Purchase College in the mid-’90s. Toth was only 18 years old at the time, and the project, Golden Calves, combined a cast of characters both real and imaginary, many a half-remembered night of non-stop jamming, and Toth’s own solo acoustic balladry, which he occasionally overdubbed onto the group sessions. The “band’s” first album, Golden Calves Money Band, caught the attention of underground heads like Thurston Moore and Matt Valentine, and resulted in a US tour with a line-up of Dave Seidel and Darren Methlie, who would go on to be a founding member of Vanishing Voice.

In the way of a retrospective, Woodsist is readying a collection of Golden Calves recordings that includes the original Money Band LP along with Century Band, a 12″ spotlighting the group’s contribution to a 3-way split they did with Thurston and John Olson’s old band, Dr Gretchen Musical Weightlifting Program, in 1999. Tending more toward the songwriterly side of Golden Calves– as opposed to the more free-form one– “Seraphim Radar Rallies” and “Hollow Earth Worship” jibe with Toth’s own characterization of them as “thinly veiled love letters to Siltbreeze” while possessing a rickety charm all their own.

“Seraphim Radar Rallies”

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“Hollow Earth Worship (The Oujja Machine)”

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Collection: Money Band LP+Century Band 12″ is out January 29th via Woodsist

Sightings: Matt Carlson “The Perceptron”

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Particle Language is the debut solo LP of Matt Carlson , otherwise known as one-half of Portland, Oregon’s Golden Retriever. While many contemporaneous analog modular synth/tape/vocoder projects veer toward the extra-terrestrial, Carlson’s abandons sci-fi for science, drawing inspiration from the quantum mechanics domain of physics for the title of his album, and the track below. A perceptron is an artificial neural network in which the output of each layer of “neurons” connects to one or more inputs of other layers. In Carlson’s “Perceptron,” hissing, atonal twitches of synthesized sound and hollowed, stuttering vocoder shred through a warped tunnel of sludgy tape loop inputs heavy enough to bog out even the numbest downer aficionados. Superimposed with the tweaked-out schizophrenia of “Perceptron,” Particle Language’s occasional reach for damaged techno sets high the bar for the inaugural vinyl release on the “no rules experimental” Draft label.

Matt Carlson: “The Perceptron”

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Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood

Released in the final days of 2011, Particle Language is available on Draft Records

Sightings: Dustin Wong, “Diagonally Talking Echo”

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Dustin Wong – Diagonally Talking Echo from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

A tuner, an octave pedal, some distortion pedals, a delay pedal, an envelope filter, and a delay pedal just about describes the chain of effects that Ponytail guitarist Dustin Wong plugged into on Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads, his forthcoming LP on Thrill Jockey.  I haven’t heard the whole thing, but “Diagonally Talking Echo” gives a pretty good approximation of the live set he’s been refining since dropping his first solo LP, Infinite Love, came out in 2010: at once melodic and repetition-based, strobing and strangely delicate. Layer by layer, Wong builds a ticking machinery of minutely interwoven sounds and pentatonic guitar squiggles. When he opens his mouth real-wide and lets out a sing-scream wail (see the video he made, above), it’s as though all the pent-up tension were finally being released. Below, Wong describes his writing process through the double metaphor of industrial textile production and French pastry-making:

“I see all these pedals as a kind of textile factory. The sheets and colors are determined then the patterns are laid on top, one layer after another until it becomes a fabric mille feuille. Once that cake looks done it gets replicated again through another delay pedal. I can keep building these sounds on top each other and decide whether I want to take half of the cakes slices or not, if i do, I can gaze at the symmetrical void of what I have taken.”

Words: Emilie Friedlander

Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads is out February 21st on Thrill Jockey in CD and LP formats.

Sightings: Quilt, “Young Gold” (Video)

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Massachusettes rockers Quilt have the whole playful psychedelia thing down pat. Their use of angelic melodies and simple, repetitive, jangling guitars recalls hippie forefathers (and mothers) like David Crosby, Grace Slick, and John Phillips. The video for “Young Gold” plays into the jovial innocence of the original psych generation even more, by featuring the members of the band running aimlessly through the woods, with a long golden sheet in their hands. Simple adventures ensue as they drape the sheet in a variety of formations. This is all shot on luminous, 8mm film, recalling the experimental films of the late 1960s. The term psychedelic has taken on many meanings over the years, but Quilt continue to play with the original concept, and do it quite well.

Words: Samantha Cornwell

Quilt’s self-titled debut is available now from Mexican Summer

Sightings: Hot & Cold, “Distant Lights”

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I can’t imagine a much better way to ring in the new year than a free compilation from the folks over at Bathetic Records. Expressway comes curated by Dirty Beaches’ Alex Zhang Hungtai and Bathetic’s William Cody Watson, and features track after track of dense and often foreboding jams you would expect from artists like Speculator, Tonstartssbandht, or Hungtai himself.

My personal favorite of the compilation’s many highlights is “Distant Lights” from Beijing’s Hot & Cold. “Distant Lights” pits a relentless bass groove against warb-ly atmospherics and gentle synthesizers. The effect can either conjure an image of a brisk morning walk around the park, or of stomping around a futuristic offworld dance floor. Whether your mind goes to invigorating strolls–or equally invigorating, alien, dance moves–“Distant Lights” definitely always hits the right pleasure sensors.

Hot & Cold, “Distant Lights” (Expressway, Bathetic Records)

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Words: Marc Picciolo

You can download the entire Expressway Compilation here.