Thursday, 18 December 2014

Best Of 2014 - Albums & Mixtapes

Pom Pom - Ariel Pink
Pop LP of the year. I can't possibly write another word on the subject.

Gangsta Stripper Music 2 - Beatking
He is the Beat King and he's had a sterling year. This was the Club God doin his Houston ratchet thang which is the best mix of 10s rap and 90s rave these ears have ever heard.

Black Portland - Young Thug & Bloody Jay
Atlanta's stellar nutcase duo make mental rap classic.

Unfidelity/Four Track Mind - Ekoplekz
Two classic double LPs in one year! Maybe Four Track Mind just pips Unfidelity at the post but these albums are inseparable as they came from the same recording sessions, I think. Nick Edwards reigns in his wayward machines like never before to achieve stunning results.

By Any Means - Kevin Gates
King Kev's got the best voice in the game and his flow's incredible. An intimate insight into Kev's life. From being dirt poor with no electrical, being incarcerated as a juvenile and an adult, having children and being signed to a major record label. His life's a movie. Louisiana trap at it's finest.

$hmopcity - Kool John
The most underrated mixtape of the year. Bay Area ratchet that was all killa no filler. It's party time, are you puttin on 10 Summers or $hmopcity? It's a no brainer.

Underground Tape Cassette Music - Gangsta Boo & Beatking
Fucking great collaboration from 666 Mafia's legendary Gangsta Boo and Club Godzilla Beatking. 80s electro, doomcore and other fucked up rave flavas clash with 2014 Texan Ratchet and 90s creepin Memphis shyt. Rewind!

Life After Death Row - Boosie Bad Azz
Lil Boosie gets out of prison and makes a hell of a poignant mixtape about the experience. True Detective had nothin on this Louisiana rapper's gritty reality.

Under The Skin OST - Mica Levi
Best soundtrack since........ Intensely sinister and harrowing. A bit like Bernard Hermann if he'd got on the painkillaz. Who'd have ever thought I'd enjoy something by Mica Levi? The world is a strange place.

Oxymoron - Schoolboy Q
The title says it all.  State of the art sex, drugs and rap 2014 stylee. Oxymoron not only refers to Oxycontin addiction but to the dichotomy of Schoolboy Q's being ie. trying to be a good dad but being a bad ass gangster.

Beautiful Pimp II - Rome Fortune
Atlanta's suave space age rapper makes a sequel better than the original. Cito is on the beat throughout the entire mixtape which was a great move.

Heat Vol. 1 & 2 - YP Spoelstra
Two volumes of choice ratchet from the Bay Area's HBK Gang. YP's giving Mustard a run for his money and he's just put out a 3rd Volume, bloody hell!

Torridon Gate - Howlround
Who'd have thunk a 24 minute recording of a garden gate would be this enjoyable?

R.O.C. - IX Tab
A trip into creepy electronic zones where funny things happen.

A Que Fresco - Que & Mike Fresh
Like Speedy Gonzales, the subject of one of their songs, these guys don't mess about. This is 2014 rap at it's most buoyant and audacious. A pop triumph.

From Out Here - The Advisory Circle
Perhaps their most fully realised LP to date. A musical interzone somewhere between idyllic and peculiar. An album that plays tricks with your memory.

Reconsider Lounge - Rangers
I thought they'd vanished but thankfully here they are again. This time in short sharp mode like they were on 2010's classic Suburban Tours. OMG this is a guitar record! Remember them?Memoradelia! Why aren't they as big as Coldplay?

You Might Also Like - eMMplekz
More mental absurdity from Baron Mordant over some of Nick's most accomplished trax to date.

My Krazy Life - YG
The Power And The Glory - Perc
Bullet - Zuse
The Mobb Tape - Zmoney
Wet 2 - Skipper
Tha Tour Part 1 - Rich Gang
Pavilion - Panabrite
Oculus OST - The Newton Brothers
Influkz - Ekoplekz
We Invented The Bop 2 - Various
7 of The Moon Ballades Series - Motion Sickness Of Time Travel
Tony - King Louie

Benji - Sun Kil Moon
20 years since I've listened to anything by Mark Kozelek but I couldn't ignore this album's cult groundswell on the interweb. Holy shit things have changed since Red House Painters Ocean Beach (well mostly, he is still singing about his mum) ie. Mark's way more hokey now, gettin back to his Ohio roots. Who would have thought he could get more morose? This is a stunning work of a master songwriter. The words just poor out of him unfiltered and somehow it works. Benji is an insight into a tragedy strewn life and a morbid mind like no other. Whether I can handle listening to it again is another story.

Rustie - Green Language
Peaking Lights - Cosmic Logic
Young Thug - 1017 Thug 2

Moon Wiring Club - Leporine Pleasure Gardens (Mr Postman where's me parcel from the UK?)
Kevin Gates - Luca Brasi 2 (Only got it yesterday)
Starlito - Black Sheep Don't Grin (As above)
YP Spoelstra - Heat Vol. 3 (As above above)
Rangers - Session Man (Currently downloading from bandcamp)

Ripping off Young Thug is absurd. It's like ripping off Mark E Smith ie. he's so idiosyncratic if you're copying him it's so obviously not you. It makes you an instant joke.

LIFE'S TOO SHORT to bang on about artists that are dull, overrated or just plain shite like Grouper, Blanco Husalah Kokane, Salva and whoever else innit?

There's only one Young Thug (he's on the left).

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Best Tunes Of 2014

Forever Bloody - Young Thug & Bloody Jay
Low - Juicy J feat. Young Thug, N Minaj...
Lifestyle - Young Thug, Rich Homie & Birdman
2 On - Tinashe feat. Schoolboy Q
Studio - Schoolboy Q feat. BJ The Chicago Kid
Florida Water - Young Thug & Bloody Jay
Turn Down For What - DJ Snake & Lil Jon
Club Goin Up On A Tuesday (DJ Snake remix) - I Love Makonnen 
Tuesday - I Love Makonnen feat. Drake
One Spliff - Hodgson
Gladiator - RS4
Kuang EP - Lee Gamble
Amnesia - Kevin Gates
No Tears - Jeezy feat. Future
'til we pass out - Raven Felix
Danny Glover Remix - Young Thug feat. N Minaj
No Love - August Alsina feat. N Minaj
CoCo - O.T. Genasis
Area 51 - Theo Nasa
Don't Know - Kevin Gates
Pole Sex EP - Beatking
Fuckin Wit Me - Tinashe (Mustard On The Beat)

* I tried to make sure these were singles in some form or another otherwise I would have had like 17 Ariel Pink tunes and like 40 from Beatking. Those songs are on the albums in the albums and mixtapes list.  Then again I guess anything on i-tunes or beatport is technically a single, whatever!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Power Ambient LOL

I couldn't help but have a little chuckle to myself when I read an article at FACT on "Power Ambient". This is some kind of re-branding so the writers don't seem recalcitrant. Terms like New Kosmische, Nu New Age, Hypnagogia,Vapour Wave and even good ole Ambient have obviously become embarrassing and passe for these writers. So Motion Sickness Of Time Travel get a second bite of the cherry under a new genre pseudonym "Power Ambient". Hey I've always liked em no matter what category they've been put in. What about one of my other ambient favourites Panabrite, do they get to be rehabilitated? They released another excellent LP this year Pavilion, or do they remain in the backwaters of passe pigeon holes?

This is taken from Panabrite's 2014 album Pavilion.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Reissues/Archives/Compilations of 2014

Another great year for ye olde music. In this list are only things I missed first time round (or 2nd or 3rd or...) ie. it doesn't include Spiderland, Doolittle, Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal Holocaust etc. Oh...and no Bedhead or Mogwai because they Then there's the never really owned category ie. I've only ever had taped copies of The Sunnyboys and Since The Accident or crappy mp3s of Electricity, The Boogey Man, Forbidden World etc. so they're included. 2014 was a hell of a year for cult horror synth score reissues! It's like all the soundtracks I've been looking for were all released at once. Labels like Soundway & Finders Keepers continue to unearth fabulous music. Death Waltz, Waxwork, One Way Static, Luxury Products & Superior Viaduct are the new labels on the block giving us what we want from the esoteric archives as well. So here's 20 great old records.

Sunnyboys - Sunnyboys
The sound of my childhood and my older brother's record collection. One of The classic Australian rock debuts. The Sunnyboys were young, charismatic, troubled and so alive. Their first record is some of the most exciting guitar music from 1981 or any other year for that matter. It came with a bunch of bonus tracks but who needs em with an LP this fanfuckintastic?!

Axemen - Derry Legend
The Axemen reissue program continues. After their 1986 mangled pop masterpiece Three Virgins came the follow up Derry Legend which has been long out print. This LP has gained (Derry) legendary status in my brain. Derry Legend is The Spotlight Kid to Three Virgins Trout Mask Replica if you get my drift ie. it's a more accessible pop version of the band yet still retaining all their strange awesomeness. 80s NZ rock doesn't get much better than this.

Andrzej Korzynski - Man Of Marble OST
Groovy soundtrack from Poland 1977. A psych synth disco classic. Soo good....Finders Keepers have done it again!

Boards Of Canada - Hi Scores
Two years before Boards Of Canada released their magnum opus Music Has The Right To Children came the Hi Scores EP which is similarly awesome idylltronica.

Caustic Window - Caustic Window
Strangely unreleased but excellent LP from Richard James aka Aphex Twin from 1994, his golden era. Why on earth did this get shelved? A timely reminder of where all your favourite electronica (remember that 90s term?) came from.

Peter Jefferies - Electricty
He of classic underground 80s NZ group This Kind Of Punishment and Bruce Russell's right hand man at Xpressway Records. He's so idiosyncratic only Peter Jefferies sounds like Peter Jefferies and the world's a better (If slightly darker) place for it.

Severed Heads - Since The Accident
A key LP from Sydney's early 80s experimental scene. Still pretty much ignored here in their home country to this day. Wake up Australia!

Susan Justin - Forbidden World OST
The cultiest synth soundtrack of them all. Issued for the first time since Web Records released it in 1982! A one off unique blend of electronics, pop and soundtrack motifs. Death Waltz continue their roll.

Chuck Cirino - Chopping Mall OST
More cult Carpenter-esque synth soundtrack gold from the 80s. Waxwork Records is all about quality not quantity.

John Harrison - Creepshow OST
I finally got a copy of Creepshow after like it's 5th or 6th reissue. More 80s psycho synth sounds from 1982.

Ralph Jones - Slumber Party Massacre OST
Possibly the best of the post Carpenter cult Horror synth scores from 1982.

Tim Krog - Boogey Man OST
Now this one was rare until now. A much coveted 1980 horror synth score from Tim Krog, a UCLA film composing graduate. Horrortastic!

Bruno Nicolai - All The Colours Of The Dark OST
Italian Giallo score from the great Bruno Nicolai. Nicolai was a frequent collaborator with Ennio Morricone. It doesn't get much better than this for spooky Italian 70s soundtracks.

Bruno Nicolai - The Case Of The Bloody Iris OST
This is from 1972 as well (see above) and it's another slice of Italian horror soundtrack weirdness. Haunted yet bizarrely jaunty at the same time.

Hungry Man - Keyboard
More crazy keyboard action from West Africa in the late 70s. If you thought William Onyeabor was the last word in synth psych afro funk you were wrong. Some of the best sounds ever squeezed out of a synth and put to tape. Is there more of this shit yet to be discovered? I hope so.

Various - The Sound Of Siam 2
A splendid second serving of Luk Thung & Molam tunes from Thailand. This time from 1970 through to 1982. Incredibly distinguished and beautiful.

Heldon - II: Allez Teia
More tripped out 70s space frog prog from Richard Pinhas and co.

Pye Corner Audio - Black Mill Tapes
4 albums worth of horrorological atmospheres and old eerie synthesiser goodness. Perfect to while away wintry afternoons.

John McCallum - Surf Nazis Must Die OST
Classic 80s drum sounds, synths in overdrive and anthemic guitars. There's even a wayward noisy sax at one point. It even becomes poignant and a little melancholy at certain stages. Surely this is where Mark McGuire got all his ideas from.

Various - Suburban Base Records: The History Of Hardcore, Jungle, Drum & Bass 91-97
Hardcore you know the score and if you don't check out this compilation from one of the best labels of the era.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Advisory Circle - From Out Here

GhostBox seem to be releasing less and less. I think the last one I bought was early 2013's Elektrik Karousel by The Focus Group. The Advisory Circle's From Out Here came out yesterday and well the sound of brown continues. The Mrs says "Someone playing with their Casio in 1983." She lived in a small seaside village in North Wales at the time. She adds while Escape Lane is playing "Lovely use of minor falls." During Causeway Ballet she offers "This is very soothing and gentle and somehow familiar." This LP isn't anywhere near as jaunty as their previous LP As The Crow Flies from 2011. We're heading into much stranger zones on From Out Here. For every melodic and idyllic tune there's a peculiar one. It wouldn't be an Advisory Circle album without a couple of logo tones would it? There are two here. Gee whizz, he's even in 'Ekoplekz for babies' territory on Experiment. While the usual hauntological themes are present and accounted for such as 70s TV, library music, eeriness, information films, found dialogue and Radiophonica, this album captures the stillness, innocuousness, melancholia and the metaphysics of being. I dunno if it's just me today (impending birthday) or what?...but this album has signalled to me like no other that we are trapped (even though it's fleeting) in time and skin. Lost in a time-warp and vaguely bewildered. Zoloft world....

Speaking of great batting averages John Brooks, the man behind the moniker The Advisory Circle is almost up there with Moon Wiring Club's Ian Hodgson, his collaborator on the Woodbines & Spiders record from earlier this year. Whether Jon is in solo mode (The excellent Music For Thomas Carnacki, Music For Dieter Rams and Shapwick) under the pseudonyms D.D. Denham (The terrific Electronic Music In The Classroom), Georges Vert (An Electric Mind) or making Advisory Circle albums his strike rate is high. The intriguing debut Advisory Circle mini-album Mind How You Go came out in 2005 and the masterpiece Other Channels was released in 2008. Wow, Mind How You Go is nearly 10 years old. It seems so much older and yet it also seems more recent at the same time. Is this atemporal stasis? It's some kind of paradox befitting the music of The Advisory Circle anyway.

*These soundbite things on soundcloud are rather annoying aren't they? That's the first & last time I'll embed them in a post!

Moon Wiring Club - Leporine Pleasure Gardens

Does any other artist do the sound and vision combo better than Moon Wiring Club? Loving this tune, the film clip and the artwork as usual. This year it's a cd/LP set. Happy Xmas. Does anyone actually like mince pies? Now the wait. Will the parcel arrive in time for my end of year poll or Christmas for that matter? He's had a bloody good run hasn't he. I think of his output so far 7 of the 8 records have been true delights. The only one I couldn't get into was Clutch It Like A Gonk. That's a hell of a batting average though. Here's hoping he scores a century with this one.

I think this one is the LP cover

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Tinashe With Mustard Again

Just saw this. This is what we want Tinashe working with DJ Mustard. I dunno if this is anywhere near as good as 2 On but then again how many tunes are?

I did like this one from her album Aquarius. Mustard not on this beat though, but he might as well have been.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

IX Tab - R.O.C.

Well we've been waiting for this for a while haven't we? Loki teased us 12 months ago with a video from his soon to be released album R.O.C. but it hasn't arrived until now or a month or so back when it got released. The previous IX Tab album Spindle & Bregnut Tree was an outstanding debut that made my best of 2012 list. I think I wrote that it was a spooky, disorientating, magically psychedelic and rustic industrial album. The noise farming gumboot industrial sounds continue on R.O.C.

R.O.C. begins in new age territory with Parhelion and just as it's lulling you into a false sense of security with its blissful vistas it quickly deteriorates into creepy zones. Mangled voices enter with electronic bleeps reminding you of what IX Tab is all about. A Drunken Bone (of chrome) drifts in with an ominous drone and 5 minutes later a strange synth enters while a sonically warped poet starts reading. It's some kind of poem about being drunk as electronics gurgle underneath, ending with haunting clatter. These jams are capricious and malignantly psychedelic. Blasted is a clangorous drone that ebbs and flows, accompanied by a rusty beat and a manipulated woman's voice. I M Wh U Mk Ov M is all birds in a garden followed by threatening keyboards. A voice over from some kind of 70s occult wildlife documentary (Did they make those?) slips in while the synths then shower you in glowing sunshine. The man is talking to a tree that seems to talk back to him? A Wasp In The Queens Skull is ye olde electronics that swirl and buzz and ends with a deranged repetitive sample.

St James & The 28 Pieces is the tune I mentioned in a previous post with the hypnotist/meditation guru telling you to "relax, let yourself go and sleep." while you stare at a spot on the album cover. Electronics float in and out as the guru keeps guiding you through the hypnosis. A lady's voice appears like a mirage at the peripheries of your listening experience cloaking the tune in mystery. Then like the previous track it finishes with a contorted repetitive sample, this time, of a man perhaps saying "He is/was queer." The sounds of children talking dissolve into foreboding electronic drones on The Sutton Wytch Found-Fox, this is followed by a man discussing a talking fox who has a bloody hand print or something like that(?). Funnily enough my dog freaked out at this tune. A plucked harp begins The Sweet Track. Interstellar swirling electronics rise and fall away as vague foreign chanting flows into the mix then the harp continues its merry way to the end of the tune. Erratic electronics veer out of control on A Prayer To The Head. Amongst this aural madness is a media sample frenzy. It's hard to decipher what's going on, making this composition quite disconcerting. Blurred bass throbs, even blurrier sampled ethereal female murmurs, intense noise that builds to an ultra slow technoid dub beat and samples of a ranting psychotic twit are all part of the apocalyptic epic Blowm. The beat then picks up as the twisted voices are smeared against it. Finishing the album with a nut job's diatribe about god knows what.

R.O.C. is an aberrant and shadowy affair. Get the family to gather round the hi-fi and let the good times roll.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Ariel Pink....Again

ZRW pointed out this tune to me via twitter @zrwilson. This is one Ariel Pink did with Gary War as Gold Digger around 04(?) Totally missed this at the time. So this is another usage of the Dayzed Inn Daydreams chorus, this time under the title Liquid Sun. This was taken from a compilation called Light Dead Sea:Volume 1 which seems to be very rare. It can be found here in mp3 form though. It features another Gold Digger song Destined For Greatness plus Omen from Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti as well as two solo tunes from Gary War. Worth checking out for fans of Pink and War who missed it.

This is the version mentioned on this previous post from Odditties & Sodomies Vol. 1.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ekoplekz - Four Track Mind

Nick Edwards aka Ekoplekz is busy as ever. I'm still getting my head around eMMplekz's You Might Also Like, his third collaboration with Baron Mordant, and here comes another Ekoplekz double LP. He's already released an excellent album this year Unfidelity. How he never lapses in quality is a testament to his musical vision and talent. This could be his most ambitious project to date. In the past it was like his music machines were out of control but now he seems to have reigned them in and gained astonishing results in the process. Four Track Mind is a dazzling album. There is undeniably something that sets this LP apart from previous Ekoplekz releases. I can't quite pinpoint what it is. Maybe it's the bass placement in the mix? This is Ekoplekz at his most sprawling and diverse. Four Track Mind is the sound of the continuing metamorphoses of Ekoplekz, heading further into the unknown. I reckon Edwards could have a second act where he becomes a soundtrack composer. The record cover is somewhat reminiscent of a Scorn album. Make of that what you will.

It all begins with Ariel Grey (funny eh?) that is like a kosmische tune gone awry. Initially ambient it gives way to a mechanical beat then its like Augustus Pablo shows up for a moment followed by what I think is a space ship crashing through some kind of meteor shower and perhaps off into oblivion. Tantrikz is a bit lighter with its motorik dub pulse which has me envisioning a lunar autobahn for moon buggies. This is some great stuff. Meek Street is a jaunty little electronic ditty, good times. Interstice has a cold lost future vibe. Then it's the glowing sci-fi of Reflekzive. Next we're in gloomy territory with Death Watch, which is cinematic in its darkness. This is all quite a trip.

D'vectiv is intergalactic melancholia that turns to brittle funk, ending in a squall of white noise. In Teak Effect is pastoral technoid dub. Edwards could do a remix of this and have a dance floor hit on his hands. The title track is an off kilter doomed dub composition complete with squelches, clanks and a bass that's doing its own thing (possibly another song entirely). Return To The Annex is all seething swirly electronics and distant haunting voices (some kind of family tape from 1977). It's hypnotising. This is an outstanding track on an outstanding album. Four Track Mind closes with the lovely dubbed out melodic electric circuits of Fox Eyes. Fox Eyes is heading in the direction of idylltronica zones and that's a very good thing here.

Maybe I was a little hasty when I proclaimed Unfidelity as the album of the year back in March as Four Track Mind is even better!