Install Theme

Digital Natives - It’s All Point Blank

Among the high output of releases by Floridian native Jeffrey Astin’s Digital Natives project, the demand for suspended and looping funky, sweaty beats never stops, as if this was the height of the disco era and Astin was the top selling, ultimate DJ selling out entire convention halls and stadiums with his concerts, crafting out one infectious, looped antem after another like it’s always 1977. Somewhere between vaporwave and Amon Tobin, it relies heavily on electronic repetitious revelation as well as slow, narcotic mystery unfolding endlessly before the listener in some sort of a haze emerging late at nigth and fitting late night listening. It’s all about mixing bossa nova with funk this time, trying something slightly new, because there’s a plethora of genres to be explored. Sometimes I think Digital Natives is there in order to check the looping and sampling qualities of all the genres that are there. So we might expect some Digital Natives built on emo punk or black metal in the future. That might be great. Loop all music. Recommended!

Luxury Elite - TV Party

If you’re still falling for the sleazy artifice of vaporwave in mid-2014, there’s still this narcotic looping sex-pop gem from Luxury Elite, a cassette from Orange Milk Records entited TV Party. This is some perfect slow evening/small house party set-up for the relaxed home environment. A bottle of wine, a relaxing screensaver is set up your Windows 95 personal computer. And a woman of your dreams on your side… Except her name ends with a .jpg. Or .avi. Or .mov. Or .gif. But hey, you’ve still got this amazing cassette by Luxury Elite in your cassette player, or at least the .mp3 or .flac version in your tabletop 2.0 speakers! So don’t worry, get carried anyway with your favorite wine and your favorite Evening Relaxation Sound Setup[tm] from Luxury Elite Sound Systems Inc. Download it to your HDD today!

Genetics and Windsurfing - Audio Stream Continuum

Yet another oddity from the newest batch of tapes from the Brooklyn trippertronics label Orange Milk Records. “Genetics and Windsurfing” sound strange put right beside each other. Like a mis-match in the thick yellow pages book or a department in the shopping centers of the future. Anyway, as heard on the tape, fusing a watersport with one of the most advanced fields of science can prove in some sound mutations gone amok. The solo work by Poland’s Daniel Jaśniewski keeps on delivering explosion after explosion of glitched out confusion littered with harsh notes and disjointed rhythms, sandwiched between the coldest Autechre moments and the fucked up dada beat collages of NHK’Koyxeи. Certainly challenging, undeniably adventurous.

Ryan Emmett - Portrait of a Dog

Orange Milk label already got me used to their weird brand of weird music and their new batches make me always jumpy and eager to bite into their meticulously illustrated soundworlds container inside. With the four stages of transition featured on the cover, the cassette by Ryan Emmett indeed proves to deny itself of any other all-encompasing description than the laconic “experimental” at the bottom of the Bandcamp page. With the perception shifting toward the more primal, animistic nature (hence the tape’s name), the synth patchwork becomes more sinister and wailing, chaotic and droning, but still detached from reality with tape warps and garbled hiss. There are no maps for this territory. Be careful, have your knife always ready. This is no man’s land - maybe you’ll salvage something.

Lutto Lento - Unlucky

image

Lutto Lento (sometimes also written as DJ Lutto Lento) is the musical endeavor of Sangoplasmo Records manager Lubomir Grzelak. The sound of Unlucky sees Grzelak plunge into the plunderphonics/sound collage field, previously explored by artists such as Sultan HagavikJakub Lemiszewski or Jakub AdamecIt’s a mighty strange cross between 90’s/early 2000’s dance music aesthetics, mangled vocal samples (some of them taken from English lesson CD’s!) and endless warping and distortion of the magnetic tape, sounding like a horrific mutation of an English learning TV program where the characters accidentally ingest some bad acid and go on a bad trip to hell and back.

Jakub Lemiszewski - 30 Minut

Polish sound deconstructor Jakub Lemiszewski makes music that slips away from any easy definitions, which can be ranged from plunderphonics or vaporwave to weird lo-fi, synth driven slowcore and it still would be too narrow to describe a weird, dadaistic gallery of sounds and symbols on “30 Minut”. Taking samples from the strangest of places (the opening piece “91” sets snippets from old Polish advertisements and news commentary to the pimpin, funky beat in the vein of Jeffry Astin’s Digital Natives project). In the latter half the album becomes a collection of strange, forgotten video game soundtracks played with the most basic, skeletal computer equipment available. Kinda like a more cheesy and parodistic answer to Sweden’s 1991.

Download “30 Minut” here

Gobby - Lantern EP & Above Ground

image

image

Who the heck is Gobby? The most whacked out new kid on the block, that’s who. And straight outta the UNO NYC camp, no less: here comes some Dada electronics! Imagine James Ferraro doing doing seedy garage beats together with post-everything wizard Zac Nelson and a bit of Negativland-style plunderphonics to boot, and you might come just this little bit closer to describing Gobby’s glowing, hyperkinetic sound. Fucked up waporwave/warped synth pop aesthetics meet even more fucked up techno and house deconstructions in this pile-up of accidental sounds. Recommended!

Just click the covers in order to download respective albums. Or click below:

Lantern EP

Above Ground

Kordian Trudny - Odrzuty

Now here’s a weirdo gem from my home country. And I don’t give a damn if you know Polish or not, because this right here is some of the smartest, most psychotic and intentionally cheesy and hilarious plunderphonics since Negativland with wonderful use of samples. If you listen to this high, you might have a better trip than with some overblown space rock jam band. Seriously! And if you understand Polish, you might just be reaching the next level of existence.

Упал В Муку - Monday Night Fever

image

If you listen to this album more than three times in a row, chances are you will turn into the man from the cover: a wise, soul-travelling shaman with a large beard, slightly deranged, but enlightened. Like the bastard child of sound collage makers and Flying Lotus. Insane plunderphonic IDM excursions from the Russian wilderness.

Review: Crystal Palace - Spirit Quest

image

(Cassette, Rotifer Cassettes, 2012)

Crystal Palace’s “Spirit Quest” is one of the most intensely psychedelic, unrelentlingly experimental releases of 2012, and I don’t mean that only in the hazy-murky-limited-cassette-drone sense, but in the sense of all albums from the year 2012. Released by the Floridian weirdo post-musick label Rotifer (who are responsible for some re-releases of Greek-American New Age maverick Iasos), it provides 60 minutes of heavy, interlocking and multilayered tapestries of synthesized patterns, found sounds, chopped’n’screwed electronica much in the vein of ultra-psych electronix San Francisco project Hans Grüsel’s Kränkenkabinet (except not wearing any of the crazy costumes the dudes from Hans Grusel were wearing). But yeah, the general vibe is much the same.

Starting harshly with some heavily delayed and reverbed fragmented fragments of radio broadcasts or some mangled songs, the tape transforms into a rollercoaster of often abrasive, always abstract synthesizer conversations and wildest soloes interspersed with warped cut’n’paste collage psychosis. Even multiple repeated listenings can’t make me see the record as a whole, it’s so heavily multi-leveled, so fractured and weird to the highestest level that it should actually be listened to in parts, with the listener taking breaks to save himself from overloading the synapses and frying their brain. “Crystal Palace” is a relentless, unforgiving record that takes no prisoners. It’s hard to take it all sober, it’s even harder to take it all on drugs. In fact, one shouldn’t be on drugs when listening to this. Lo-fi, folky guitar improvisations jump without any warning into Stockhausen-style musique concrete and mercilessly cut-up tape sound collages, occasionally offering a glimpse of New Age/prog electronic beauty and tranquility through the heavy tapestry of noise and distortion.

"Spirit Quest" is like a few years’ worth of ideas crammed into one 60 minute cassette. What we get is a hyperactive, overbearing album so pregnant with sound it’s like a musical equivalent of a neutron star: just like a small piece of a neutron star weighs millions and millions of tons, one minute excerpt from "Spirit Quest" sounds like a 30-minute excerpt from any other album. Intense as FUCK. Only for the seasoned, experienced music consumers.

"Fight the ocean and you will drown!"

Review: James Ferraro - Sushi

(Digital / CD / Vinyl LP, Hippos in Tanks, 2012)

Oh, James Ferraro. Always changing, always on the move. If all his albums, starting from his work with Spencer Clark as The Skaters duo, and ending with his newest release, ”Sushi”, were made into one long movie, it would be a story of a constantly stoned shaman moving from a half-ruined shack deep in the woods to the body-building obsessed suburban neighborhood dominated with a huge shopping plaza with inoffensive muzak playing constantly and free wi-fi zones in every cafe and fast food restaurant. Towards the end of the movie, the shaman, now transformed into a brand-concsious, gadget wielding “modern man” moves into the downtown, filled with glossy skyscrapers. The final scene, playing to sounds from “Sushi” would be Ferraro going to the night club on a Saturday night, driving a chromed Hummer and wearing designer clothes, picking up hot chicks and downing one expensive drink after another.

If some 2-3 years ago someone told me Ferraro will be creating head-nodding, foot-stomping dancefloor electronica being just one notch away from being straight away club bangers, I would have laughed in that person’s face. But hell, here is he is: reshaping his sharp sense of satire and high definition parodies of consumerist lifestyle into house and IDM beats, continuing the line started with his Bodyguard project, with even more focus on rhythm and catchiness. It’s almost perverse to think how accessible and danceable Ferraro has become over the years. To start with the pleasantly lazy opening tones of “Powder” - a slo-mo R&B jam, which, while still filled with some trademark Ferraroisms - like the strange bubbly sound hidden in the beat - is far less cheesy and cheap-sounding than previous Ferraro productions. It’s temtping to say that on “Sushi” James starts to take things seriously. Of course, the change is not as radical as you might think at first - the cheese is still sprayed all over the album, this time however, it’s not as obnoxious and jarring as before; this time Ferraro relies on subtletly and tries not to distract the listener from the enjoyable, gliding synth lines that underline the right, dancey rhythm sections.

I think the future, not the far future, but even the near future will consider “Sushi” as James Ferraro’s “Big Leap” album, the one that will make him more open to the less obscure-music seeking crowd. Which is not as bad as you might think. Ferraro is already working on a collab with Dean Blunt (of Hype Williams fame) and the duo are already going on a mini-tour in the US. Here, on JF’s newest offering, he runs with jaw-dropping ease through a maze of future garage, microhouse and ambient techno beats sprayed with a lovely futuristic haze. This blend of strange, cut-up samples and minimal beats sounds like a less serious, more tongue-in-cheek version of Akufen or Actress. Ferraro makes a quite liberal use of modified samples from well-known hits (I think I can spot a Rihanna sample in one of the tracks). It’s hard to tell whether “Sushi” is an outsider homage to house and techno genres or another sharp satire on contemporary music; while “Far Side Virtual” exposed the idiocy of consumerism-lead everyday life, dominated by brands and fleeting technologies, “Sushi” can very well be a subtler, but still hard-hitting parody of hedonistic club beats, suspended in a haze of alcohol and drug inebration and also celebrating consumerism, but in a more aggressive, rhythmical way. Or maybe I’m just over-analyzing things.

The more dancefloor-oriented tracks are the real highlights of the album, they show that JF has the knack for creating club anthems, if he would like to. Maybe it’s the fact that he moved to the generally warmer and more spacious L.A. (again) after living for some time in New York City. Considering the city’s underground psychedelic connection with dance music (exemplified by the Not Not Fun subsidiary, dance-music oriented label 100% Silk), it was only natural that James should move to the more dynamic, neon-colored electronic productions. The minimal structure of “Baby Mitsubishi” almost sounds like a fresh cut straigt outta some underground London-based label, not a work of a well-known musical parodist. The wonderful bass boosts on “SO N2U” complete the ever-changing urban musical landscape, sounding like a dynamic montage to the documentary about the club culture in general.

The fact that James Ferraro has decided to record an album like “Sushi” might show his new direction: instead of playing at little-known outsider music festivals he might want to sneak into the big DJ parties and become an embodiment of the stranger, more adventurous part of the club culture. Let’s hope he succeeds, I’d love to see him make some holy fucking bangers in the near future.

Review: Oneohtrix Point Never / Rene Hell - Music for Reliquary House / In 1980 I Was a Blue Square

(LP, NNA Tapes, 2012)

American future-gazers Daniel Lopatin (that’s OPN) and Jeff Witscher (Rene Hell) have harnessed the vintage electronic techniques and redefined them in thrilling and unexpected ways. Oneohtrix Point Never started with massive, stripped down analog drones that gradually worked their ways into kosmische musik worship, to later become more experimental, plunderphonic, using samples and creating collages. Rene Hell made a sharp break with the anemic ambient or noise projects to create a completely new entity: stylish, sleek, modern and actually adventurous. His style was like the IDM for the analog synth revival, flickering with mangled samples, tight rhythms often bordering on techno and rolling krauty synth lines.

It’s actually strange that the idea of a split release between the two didn’t come up earlier. On both sides, the musicians present their own, idiosyncratic approaches to electronic music, reinforcing their image and sounds, as well as experimenting insome new areas. Dan Lopatin continues his romance with creating new patterns entirely out of samples on side A, entitled “Music For Reliquary House”, after a performance he did in a New York museum of art. This is Lopatin at his most abstract and abrasive, often falling into a flurry of brutal, shard-like glitch clusters that mess up the entire recording and add a special, cracked-like, distorted quality to the constant stuttering in unknown languages. Sometimes he will reach back to his soothing beginnings and throw a dreamy, angelic drone to serve as the background to the pointilistic carnage piercing the listener’s ears with high-pitched precision.

Rene Hell’s side is definitely more melodic - and if I never thought it would be possible to call Witscher more melodic and song-like than Lopatin, Jeff’s compositions do actually possess a sense of melody - and some breathtakingly beautiful melody at that. Take the opening “Meta Concrete” as an example, with a cinematic piano line constantly pierced by jarringly modern electronic glitches, which sounds like a soundtrack to an upcoming film by Michel Gondry or Spike Jonze, this time set in a near future, with an obviously sci-fi twist, but still retaining the somewhat unreal, surrealistic imagery. At other times, Witscher will indulge in MIDI madness, like on overtly sterile and glitch-ladden “Bridge”. However, despite being constantly and relentlessly attacked by brutal, bare-bone power electronics, Rene Hell’s side always stays surprisingly modern and beautiful, soaring bold and proud with melodies and intense synthesizer sequences.

The split LP between Oneohtrix Point Never sees both artists switching roles, this time it’s the latter that takes role of the “relaxing”, more “conventional” and “song-like” part, providing a slower breath and a bit of rest from the glitchy, musique concrete fragmentation of the former musician’s side. An adventurous listen, where two visionary creators pay homage to their avant-garde forefathers. Recommended.

Review: Sultan Hagavik - 8 Przepięknych Melodii (Sangoplasmo, 2012)

Remember that time, dear Reader, when you used to listen to your favorite cassettes in your childhood (I’m assuming the age of the average reader of Weed Temple is somewhere around early to mid twenties) and your player would just go insane (or suddenly become an asshole) and just eat up and mangle your tape in some horrific-yet-hilarious way? The sound of the Wrocław duo Sultan Hagavik is exactly this sound, except multiplied tenfold. And then multiplied again.

If you sometimes have this craving, that drug-addict-style craving for some fantastically, frenetically fucked up anti-music, releases like this come to the rescue and give you a fix of warped sounds that pose a risk of turning your brain inside out. Wait, did I write “rescue”? “Very poor choice of words”, Dark Knight’s Joker would say. The dudes from Sultan Hagavik are pretty much Jokers, they are having a fucking ball while everyone around just try to run from their creations in terror.

Nothing is sacred for them, starting with classical symphonies (the opening and closing pieces) slowing up and down with no remorse, pierced with dadaistic soundbites played at various speeds, continuing with pop pieces warped and bastardized beyond recognition, samples from movies, speech slowed down or sped up according to the authors’ whim, bloodcurdling screams repeating and suddenly cut, Arabic music laced with glitches and noises, compositions with barely any skeleton or structure filled with crackles and tape hiss.

"8 Przepięknych Melodii" (roughly translated as "8 Super-beautiful Melodies") is a half-hour ride through relentless mutations of sound with a lot of abstract, twisted humor hidden in this haze and maze of distorted sonic madness. The album title is hilarious in itself, considering there is hardly any melody to be found here, not to mention anything beautiful. The titles of the tracks (in Polish) are also very funny, even though most of the humor is lost to foreign listeners, with names like "Uródź Budyń" ("Give birth to pudding"), "Zwłaszcza Grzegorz" ("Especially Grzegorz"), "Biedny Spektral" ("Poor Spectral") or "Fantastyczna Muzyka Arabska" ("Fantastic Arabic Music"). Hell, even the album’s artwork is some incredible parody - they just took a stock photo of a walrus and ACTUALLY, PURPOSEFULLY left the "depositphoto" watermark ALL OVER the tape’s artwork - not only on the front, there’s actually the watermark creating a pattern on the whole j-card, even merging with the track titles on the back.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Digital Natives - Two See Everything

New cassette from Jeffry Astin’s loopadelica project Digital Natives. Exactly 60 minutes of lush, soulful repetitions, designed to make your head bob and make you down the street with an arrogant pimp gait, fat joint in one hand and a Martini in another. Snap, crackle, hiss, repeat. Also, make sure to check out his previous release, "Blow Your Brains Out", which I reviewed a bit ago.

New label: HLF/PIN

Contuinuing our regular “column” describing newcomers to the record label industry, I present you HLF/PIN MZK, a net-label based in London, UK which started in March 2012. They describe themselves as a “non-for-profit” label, and musically, they want to release albums by, in their own words, “best unknown artists that specialize in making ambient, experimental, lo-fi, drone, plunderphonics, psychedelic music, or just anything that is different”. Since I’m a sucker for plunderphonics and there seems to be a rise of p-phonics (think of OPN’s “Replica” and James Ferraro’s “Far Side Virtual”), I can say there are some high hopes for this label.

HLF/PIN on Facebook

HLF/PIN on Tumblr 

The first release by HLF/PIN is “MEDI4 DOWNLO4D” by San Diego’s experimentalist Colestock. Broken, warped jazzy beats meets found sounds and dusted hypnagogic fog. The result sounds like an ambientalized hip-hop effort recorded straight onto a shoddy tape which is so worn-out it might break at any moment. The album is available for free download from Bandcamp.

HLF/PIN’s second release, which is about to drop next week, is an album by an ambient artist called Beams. After hearing what Colestock has to offer it has to be said that Weed Temple will watch the efforts of HLF/PIN and its alumni in the nearest future.