Monday, 30 October 2017

๐Ÿฃ TACTILIAN — NERVES

The gleaming side of glitch reveals itself in this, a sphere of gold, molten gold, flowing through the sky and passing through clouds leaving a hole and eventually the sphere makes its way down to the sea and fizzles and pops into clusters of smaller golden spheres jostle and vibrate and then suddenly swerve upwards, into the sky again, and disperse in many directions, something that has this sense of the ornamental and glittering but that also feels majestic, grand, summoning a sense of space alongside its cozy treasure-trove. The continuous jostle and bustle of 'Nerves' may reflect the personality of its creator, Tactilian, who is currently located in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. "I moved here from America about 5 years ago to teach English and find a new head space for myself," he tells us over email. "I had found myself a bit too complacent and stagnant in the States, so I figured a radical shift or change was in order."

The plinking piano melodies and the chopped chords, the constant soft organ blooms, and the ephemeral sheen of gold that occasionally blast into the air, it all speaks of space, and constancy of the hi-hats speak of momentum in this vastness. Little noises make this quite wonderful. The stuttering percussion, and that same piano melody that has that expansive reverb on it also adds to the jewellery box of trinkets that keep this track on a level of gently sparkling throughout. The vocal samples, textured like whispers and placed in patterns that heighten the sense of swirling, give it a familiar unfamiliarity: we all know what voices sound like, but chopped voices arranged in wordless rhythms infuse this element with intrigue. There is no stagnation here, no attachment even—all of the parts of this track seem to orbit each other, merge together and then these fleeting connections dissipating, keeping it a swirl of movement on the canvas of silence, like the constant curl of clouds on the blue sky.




๐Ÿ“ 
Tactilian Internet Presence ☟
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๐Ÿฃ OKAY(K) — CLEMENTINE(S)

The constant stepping down of the clean electronics of this track, the way these blooping foam spheres of sound tumble almost arrhythmically down endless staircases, how they ping-pong round the infinite confines of an Escher drawing, how like Mario 64's endless staircase there is not a stop to the decided jumble of sounds but it starts again always in the same place down down down and imperceptibly upwards again. 'clementine(s)' is a wonky slice of sound, something that speaks of circles and the always ouroboros of living, created by producer Hirsh and rapper okay(K), whose voice crackles and crumbles throughout, creaking obliviously and with dazed wonder as the world spins and time ticks all around.

Speaking to yes/no via email, okay(K) explained the background of the track. "clementines is about how we go through life in a linear fashion but within this life there is a cyclical dynamic in that we often have the same experiences almost as if it were dรฉjร  vu." And so is that non-linear nature bouncing on a foundation of fingerclicks and thudding kicks and clacking abrasive snares and the tick of the metallic timekeeping hi-hats, plasma synth fluttering like a realisation that this, whatever this is, has happened before, the intensity of clarity, the alarm-clock wakeful moments of the day when your head roly-polies at the thought of fate and reincarnation and buzzes with various other ontological wondering.




๐Ÿ“ 
okay(K) Internet Presence ☟
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Friday, 27 October 2017

๐Ÿ“ฃ LAZY INTERVIEW #32 — IGLOOGHOST

When music, when art, when anything surfaces in our world that is not altogether comprehensible in its unique outward appearance and its enigmatic origins and if it is skilfully done and compositionally brilliant, much like the multimedia microcosmic way in which Bristol-based producer IGLOOGHOST's debut album for Brainfeeder, Neล Wax Bloom, voyaged from a human brain into something that creates a reflection of itself in the human brains that hear its maximalist output, when something like this arrives, naturally everybody wants to know everything about it, and like a less negative version of the Buddhist parable of the poisoned arrow soon a hungry and curious mind wants to learn all they can about the creator; information lies only with them, whilst mere speculation lay elsewhere, thus conjuring a certain amount of power for the creator.

Or is it pressure? Whilst the choice to divulge – or not – background information regarding the framework and foundations of art allows the artist control over how openly the art itself can be perceived, revealing too much information breaks the spell of intrigue, careful imagery becomes too human, too fallible.

The lazy interview seeks only to hold a mirror up to the artists who venture through its question marks, and in its plain glassy surface is IGLOOGHOST, an entity, both progenitor and product of his music, a deliberate cryptid, not a composer nor a producer, but very much half-absorbed by his own creations, almost not of this world. And therein lies the strength of Neล Wax Bloom, not only in its music that cuts the air and judders atoms into cosmic ketchup and inaugurates floods of dopamine excitement in the brain, but also in its extended world, the story that it unfolds, the artwork and the characters depicted in that artwork; it is a powerful raving monster.


๐Ÿค



w h o   a r e   y o u ?   w h e r e   a r e   y o u   f r o m ?   w h a t   d o   y o u   d o ?
I'M IN MY GOLDEN MANSION DOING SCHOOLWORK. I WANNA DROP OUT OF SCHOOL.


h o w   d i d   y o u   s t a r t   c r e a t i n g   m u s i c ?


PLUGGING WIRES INTO MELONS.


h o w   w o u l d   y o u   d e s c r i b e   y o u r   s o u n d ?


COOL.


i s   t h e r e   a   p e r f e c t   t i m e   a n d   p l a c e   f o r   l i s t e n i n g   t o   y o u r   m u s i c ?


7PM IS ALWAYS COOL. SOUNDS GOOD IN A TRAIN.

BEANS ON TOAST
w h a t   i n s p i r e s   y o u   m o s t   w h e n   m a k i n g   a   t r a c k ?
WHAT DOESN'T EXIST YET.


w h a t   i s   y o u r   m o s t   m e m o r a b l e   m u s i c a l   e x p e r i e n c e ?


BUYING GROCERIES FROM LIDL LISTENING TO EIGHT LINES BY STEVE REICH FOR THE FIRST TIME.


w h a t   a r e   y o u r   f a v o u r i t e   t h r e e   s o n g s   a t   t h e   m o m e n t ?


BIG DONK KING - EVIL TWIN
DOG MODE - TERRIFIC NECKLACE
A$AP BARRY CHUCKLE - 2 ME (2 U)


w h o   d o   y o u   m o s t   a d m i r e   i n   t h e   m u s i c   w o r l d ?


IGLOOGHOST.


i n   y o u r   o p i n i o n ,   w h a t   i s   t h e   f u t u r e   o f   m u s i c ?


IGLOOGHOST.


w h a t ' s   t h e   f u t u r e   o f   y o u r   m u s i c   –   w h a t   d o   y o u   h o p e   t o   d o   n e x t ?


I WANNA MAKE FIGURINES, INTERACTIVE EXHIBITIONS & A CARTOON.


w h a t   i s   m o s t   i m p o r t a n t   t o   y o u ?


BEANS ON TOAST.


๐Ÿƒ





๐Ÿ“ 
IGLOOGHOST Internet Presence ☟
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← #31: TOUCH SENSITIVE #32: ??????? →



Thursday, 19 October 2017

๐Ÿฃ E.M.M.A — MINDMAZE

Two indomitable styles of dance music come together here. One is from the past, all flutes and lutes fluttering and harpsichord trilling, with no percussion except the sound of fervent court dancers and baroque celebrities hoisting their skirts to show off their fancy footwork, the era of clammy hand-holding in a collective series of movements including gentle twirls and partner swapping. The other style is rooted in dancehall, just as clammy if not more so but with less collectivism and more individual flair, and wholly centred on the beat pouring out of the soundsystem and onto the sultry writhing dancefloor.

In 'Mindmaze' London producer E.M.M.A fuses the breezy proprieties of delicate medieval court music with the marching mayhem of dancehall-flavoured beats, a trundle of rolling abrasive snares and rapid-fire handclaps that lock in with snippets of that courtly music of yesteryear. However there is a twist. And the twist is that these fine melodies are actually lifted from the music of Mindmaze, the educational diluted dungeon crawler that came with childhood-summoning e-encyclopedia, Encarta '95. The choice of source material speaks of junior schools in Autumn, installing the CD-ROM on your family computer, working your way through the maze—but more than that it simply conjures youth, not with abstract references, faux-'80s remembrances, but with a concrete trinket from the old days; and the cocktailing of that with a current rhythm suggests that this is more than vacant nostalgia, something closer – with its strong booming beats and naturally playful nature – to an extension of youth, a refusal of adulthood.


  • ๐Ÿ”” This track arrives alongside another called 'Pumpkin Emoji', both of which will comprise a 12" single from E.M.M.A to be released on 10th of November via Coyote Records. You may pre-order it by clicking on this exact hyperlink and selecting from a series of options.


๐Ÿ“ 
E.M.M.A Internet Presence ☟
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๐Ÿฃ SARO — LOOKING (CITY FATHER REMIX)

The bristling insectoid sounds of night, the found sounds of the world, the swirls of dust and debris in our everyday waking hours come to life and trickling nocturnal with a moon hanging in the sky seeming to swing like a pendulum. This track certainly is night, unsociable and filled with bustling beats like the unkempt untamed thoughts of a restless mind in the body of a human out walking to put themselves at ease. It's a remix of LA singer Saro's track 'Looking', a much slower number that booms along with heavy walls of synth, as opposed to this frantic and clattering juke-ish rework by fellow LA resident and producer City Father; "I wanted this remix to be like a distorted reflection of the original work," CF tells us in an email. "I tried to respond to its ideas with sounds and textures that would tell the same story, like samples of Saro's breath and field recordings I made wandering around downtown LA in the middle of the night."

And in the new nighttime feel the vocal from the original – "hope you find... what you're looking for" – is the main refrain in this interpretation, now rapid and repeated, bright and hopeful amidst tumbling angular polyhedrons of percussion clacking and bursting for that tarmac pavement (asphalt sidewalk) concrete glass, hard urban materials that give a harshness to the cityscape as much as the beats lend their polisve clatterings to a harshness in the soundscape. Inspired by the "dark" undertones of the original, City Father explains that he wanted to give everything a "hazy, metallic, solitary color" in order to represent the "subtle messages within the original song." So there are bristling impersonal samples, unclaimed and writhing and ambient, the cold textures of the city—and the synth chords, which do not respond to any offerings of company or social gatherings but wait and then walk alone, melancholy and resolute.


  • ๐Ÿ”” This remix was released in association with Mateo Sound, an artist collective located in LA.


๐Ÿ“ 
City Father Internet Presence ☟
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Saro Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

๐Ÿฃ Tร‰Nร‰Rร‰ — TENEBRIS

Firstly this sounds like waking up from a night of forgotten but disturbing dreams in an ant colony. Something about the beginnings of this track just sound like that, the strange alien opening up of the synths, a reluctant fanfare, the sound of an orchestra tuning up and then fading to these subterranean falling-away sounds, spooky slices of organ-esque synth, wobbly, sheet-with-cutout-eyes-ghost-costume-ish, like a 16-bit depiction of a graveyard. We are in the ant colony and it's huge and filled with intricate little details, the tunnels, the foodstores, the ants themselves rushing through the earthen tunnels propelling themselves along in tweakish meanderings stopping to frantically touch antennae withanother of their kind. And you're there, taller than an ant, but still tiny and small enough to be inside this ant empire. The ticking clock of synth, the rich wonky descending downcast bleeps that ping a signal diminishing in strength as you attempt to escape but head deeper into the tangle of tunnels; it counts down, giving this track a decided sense of urgency.

And this, 'Tenebris' – which is Latin, the ablative form of tenebrae meaning darkness – is created by French producer Tร‰Nร‰Rร‰. A formic frenzy of footwork, the beat alternately booms below with bassy kicks and scuttles above with insectoid hi-hat scuttlings and the rapid rattling thwacks of snare, and occasional clusters of drum machine bloop-boops tumble through like accidentally looking at somebody for too long and then turning suddenly away. Hollow reverbing neon columns, or columns miniature, like glass straws, give it a sense of futuristic grime coldness, as the beat continues its syncopation; then, then those graveyard chords appear again, but this time as stewards of melancholy ambience, not spooky but wide, sometimes muffled sometimes sharp, careering through with a sort of hopelessness, blank and vacant, which helps paint the unreal walls of this otherworldly den of insects, and coupled with the beat, effuses a sort of resolute determination, a must-do of escaping, of feeling frustrated within your own skin, vigorously worried, the clasp of clawing hands for something recognisable in the dark below ground.


  • ๐Ÿ”” This lovely slice of music is taken from Tร‰Nร‰Rร‰'s Lux In Tenebris, a two-track offering whose other track 'In Lucem' is a warmer, slower, more sultry number than 'Tenebris'. You can stream and/or purchase this by clicking this hyperlink.
  • ๐Ÿ”” The artwork for the release comes was created by Kinu Kamura, a fitting illustration almost in monochrome that captures an inherent bleakness as well as brightness that dwells at the heart of this track.


๐Ÿ“ 
Tร‰Nร‰Rร‰ Internet Presence ☟
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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

๐Ÿฃ YAEJI — DRINK I'M SIPPIN ON

The space here runs off into the distance like an endless profusion of cut-out apartment blocks and the black sky blanketing it all above with dim hundreds of lights below and the receding traffic, lonely open urban caverns and canyons; it is the silken void between angular concrete, the difference between tangible feeling and architectural corners, spirits and shapes—humans, the distances between them. This is the vital crux of 'Drink I'm Sippin On', a moonless city and its skyward turrets and those who inhabit the harsh environment, and how this landscape is conjured by its creator Yaeji. Each soft explosion of bass is the ghostly shape of a tower popping into your periphery, the trap-flavoured scuttling needling hi-hats the bird's-eye view of buglife people swarming and cars lurching, and smart snares cracking with the unforgiving tarmac, the flat pavements, the signs traffic lights the metal and glass and cement.

All of it is placed like building blocks with a minimalism, a brutal but soft stark sparseness, that allows this literally awesome sense of space to gush through and into the cityscape like a waterfall, like a dam destroyed and the flood pouring in lakeishly, oceanic; but it is not water, though it is as fluid as it. Yaeji's vocals come in here, the sea of soul that makes up the spaces between the percussive pillars of the beat, her voice in Korean and English somehow harsh as it whispers almost abrasive fizzing with satin smooth texture and the reverb of it dropped into this expanse and sweeping and deepening and besides this the catchy hook is the haunting reminder of rhythm and individuality, a lone isolated voice, amidst the illustration here of non-rhythm and non-individuality, of sprawling structures and the giant of humanity in all its multiplication. The spirit of Yaeji, though expressed through a hushed susurration, grows and fills the gaps between the coldness the bluntness of the beat, a single person speaking in a silenced crowd.


  • ๐Ÿ”” This wonderful track is taken from Yaeji's EP2, her second release this year, a six-track offering that will arrive into the world for your listening pleasure on 3rd November via Godmode.


๐Ÿ“ 
Yaeji Internet Presence ☟
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Monday, 16 October 2017

๐Ÿฃ GENIUS — 2226

The dust that this track kicks up the dust caught in lances of light coming in through a boarded up window the dark humid nature of it and the basement punk feeling of it the slapdash half-asleep DIY dream of the track sloshes against your ears like an old pair of jeans. It is in the harsh comfort of this track, its vintage photo smouldering cigarette atmosphere, where inexplicably a subversion of this sort of music dwells. Garage rock, abrasive punk-flavoured guitar music features lyrics that are blunt, to-the-point, aggressive. But in this, '2226' by Busan-based band GENIUS – that is ์ง€๋‹ˆ์–ด์Šค in Korean – the lyrics are so cryptic that they are practically non-sequiturs. It begins with the biggest of all: "Hey dear brothers and sisters / Today I don't wanna take it / Don't make me a bird / Don't make me an ashtray."

At other times, however, the lyrics are in their simplicity quite blissful: "Today I don't wanna drink beer / It makes me full / I just need hot water in the big cup." To hear such strange poetic words floating along to scratchy sweeps of lo-fi guitar, to attitudinal scoops of bass and racketing drums, it was refreshing. When we asked the creators of this gently raucous track about the concept behind the song, the guitarist replied enigmatically, "I want to be happy with my dear brother and sister. That's it." According to the email we received back, many of his lyrics revolve around "rebirth and transcendence." For such big ideas to live in this short tract of grunge-tinged guitar music feels like a reflection of inebriated philosophising, the persistence of big thoughts no matter who or where you are, the discovery of the meaning of life half-drunk at the bar; the song's final line, "We can… be happy more", echoes hopefully like a mantra.




๐Ÿ“ 
GENIUS Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 12 October 2017

๐Ÿ’ฟ MAXO — SKYRISER

Remember the Nintendo WFC music from Mario Kart Wii? The opening of 'Dependent' on Maxo's very recent Skyriser EP recalls this. There are the spacey synths, the stuttering drums, the feeling of restrained ecstasy that a person feels as they do something immensely exciting controlled by their thumbs and contained within a screen. Ultimately there is no actual wind rushing through your hair, no real monstrous tortoise shells rifling at your head. It's even better: it's in another world. And to add to that already beguiling prospect there is this hyperactive, highly kinetic sound, just to ensure you get the message that this is escapist fun.

Similar cool, breezy synths run through 'Tears In The Wind' with their alien modulation. Starry melodies plink gently across this carpet of percussive electronic activity, leaving behind a trail of stardust reverb. There is also a touch of Earthbound in how the synth chords are muffled at times, how they sometimes seem atonal, and in the rhythm with which they hit your ears, a similar modulation and fuzzy feeling that's in the 'Battle Against a Machine' theme.

Clearly VGM, videogame music, is an influence. But alongside this, infused with it, is an almost outlandish experimentalism, which results at all times in bold dynamic eruptions. The overall intensity of 'Tears In The Wind', for instance, how buzzes abrasively, its bass scowling and gonna-blow, how the chords at times (e.g. around 2:39) chromatise with rapid ascension through semitones, and how cuts in the music itself create these sudden jumps through negative space, literally startling your brain as it attempts to react (0:58); similarly at 0:29 in 'Dependent' the unexpected rush of space into ears is then counteracted with stumbling staccato sound. There's the unforeseen switch in 'Kite' from intense rainbow synths to playroom xylophones (1:05), plus its mad wobbling sounds from about 1:55. Or simply the chord progression itself in 'Grow Wings', a beacon of composition with its breakcore beats, glitching electronics and smooth subtle and sparingly used vocal samples. Dynamics, knowing how to play with sound as much as when to create an absence of it for maximum effect, seems to be a Maxo forte.

Little details like these hide away in the Skyriser tracks like Easter eggs, giving each one a high replay value. The album opener and also its certified most-cute 'Plushlined' is a good example of these small parts both making up the whole and being exceptionally enjoyable on their own—the way it starts with this World 1-1 ease and freshness, the plinking melody, the hyper marching band drums, the luscious fingerclicks, snippets of birdsong, rapidly arpeggiating bleeps, airplane sounds, two or three different vocal samples, then the wonky Earthbound-esque synth chords. And that's just the intro. It's intentionally maximalist and bristling with numerous elements without ever seeming overly busy, each one placed precisely whilst retaining a carefree haphazard quality.

But aside from the tiny details there is an overarching theme, or at least seems to be. We begin with cute and happy, then it gets spacey and far-flung, then a bit more serious in the fluffy threats of 'Tears In The Wind', then downright dark at the start of 'Grow Wings' with its brooding vibe in the bulging synth bass and scuttling heavy half-speed beat, before making an intense volta around the midpoint of that track, and going into 'Kite', which begins as a resolution – with vocals presumably from Maxo himself gently crooning over hard beats and that plonking tuned percussion, a concluding sort of track sounding like sunlight glinting on raindrops left after a storm still with dark grey clouds rolling away to reveal endless blue – and which ends as triumphal pogosticking disco.

Indeed the track's titles suggest this sonic storyline, too: 'Plushlined'—well, it conjures cuteness, comfort. 'Dependent' has somewhat negative connotations, especially regarding drugs or even a dependency on people. 'Tears In The Wind', well it's almost self-explanatory: tears are sad enough, but when they are whipped away by the wind, so that even nature finds your sadness ill-fitting, it has even more lonely, repressive symbolism. 'Grow Wings', like the track itself, sounds like a kind of volta, a change—or there is a desire to change there, to view a situation from further away, from a more objective viewpoint than on the ground, figuratively speaking; or perhaps it is a desire for escapist wish-fulfilment, to grow wings, to gain a superpower. And then 'Kite'. Kites are simple, fun, associated with childhood wonder not-a-care-in-the-world-ness in this non-committal stage of life. Another meaning is of a bird, also called a kite: birds mean freedom, escape.

Thus in Skyriser, even in the title itself we have the point of the EP, the story: from start to finish, from ground to sky, our central character is happy and fine, experiences attachment and then rejection, wanders lonely and sad, somehow grows wings and ascends into the sky.

The EP comes with three remixes, essentially different tracks rather than recognisable reworkings. Two are of 'Grow Wings'—Tomggg flips it into a virtuosic tumble of bleeping sounds, uptempo skittering dopamine-firing electronic melodies and low bassy booms; on the other hand TREKKIE TRAX-affiliated producer Carpainter turns the track into a frenzy of happy hardcore. The other remix is TORIENA, who puts a breakcore-flavoured spin on 'Tears In The Wind' with glitched-out chiptune sensibilities. These are stylistically likeminded artists, ones who help with the colour palette of Skyriser even further, adding to its moodboard of high-powered fun: absolutely this is dance music that eschews lyrics and formulae for imagination and free association, swaps populism for poptacular, paints a fresh nightclub – if only in our headphones, in our bedrooms – for nerds and internet people and gamers and creatives and for anybody else who wants to be taken elsewhere by music.


  • ๐Ÿ”” Maxo's Skyriser EP was released on 11th October by Japan-located label TREKKIE TRAX. You may purchase the EP by clicking this hyperlink and subsequently deciding exactly which service you would like to use in order to do so.
  • ๐Ÿ”” The artwork for Skyriser was created by visual artist and also musicmaker Yung Slav. It features Maxo's musicmaking logo – the interlocked cubes – hurtling into a splash of crystalline aquamarine liquid. There's a lot of kineticism and fluidity in the visuals, reflecting the movement and natural, effortless flow of the compositions on the EP; or else, in opposition to the EP's title, the logo, textured smoothly rocky like an asteroid, falls towards the Earth. Perhaps that is the silent, visual beginning of Skyriser, and after this comes 'Plushlined' which sonically describes the newly-arrived-on-Earth creature whose story we subsequently follow.


๐Ÿ“ 
Maxo Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 5 October 2017

๐ŸŒ VISITS — TOKYO NEON CITY

If the internet were real life, it would probably look a lot like Shibuya at night. The thronging people, the neon colours, wild characters, skyscrapers looming above, the overload of endless, endless options. Pop-up ads and entertainment galore. The centre of Japan's capital at night is the city everyone expects Tokyo to be. Twenty-four hour future megalopolis cities are often dreamt of, fabled even, but Tokyo is the real thing. Multi-floor arcades buzz with players spending their yen to claim Neko Atsume plushies from the crane machines, basement restaurants hidden behind a single wooden door unfold beneath the depths of the street, weird walkways with seedy lurkers offering anything money can buy, girls waiting in the cold with signs selling third floor karaoke bars, salarymen stuck in the 90s ramble into the nearest soap land to sip on sake and more. In the dark of the night Tokyo becomes an escape for the hardworking officeworkers, a place to let go of the overtime schedules and bowing to the bosses. Illuminate the darkness and stay awake as long as you can, Toyko is alive.

A layer of the complex nation peels off and it is all Japanese. An enticing gleam of glow spilling out of each doorway inviting passersby in. Under-designed posters layered over scraps of messages stamped in graffiti, signage for twenty-four hour vending machine restaurants. Anything that could be considered Western in origin has been sucked in and warped to suit a Japanese manifest. A crossing of practical ugliness, angular buildings, informative signs, with a scattered infusion of cuteness, inadvertently results in charm. Illicitly obvious and sweetly saccharine and sublimely innocent.

A lattice of streets each drenched in vertical signs, lanterns, advertising billboards, jostling for attention, singularly underappreciated but together they tessellate to create the neon glow of Tokyo's global image. Whilst the Hong Kong government strategically phases its iconic signscape out of the city in an effort of homogenisation, Tokyo shows no sign of dulling its intensity.

The city's glistening wonderland extends to the otaku centre of the universe: Electric Town itself, Akihabara. Each level of every building is a world of its own, providing stimulus and a home to each geeky fascination and a corner for social outsiders to feel whole. Akihabara is the district to explore, with bewilderment and curiosity, the underbelly of innocuous anime and geeky fandom. Burrow deep, get warped by the kawaii cuteness that sells so well in Japan and gaze in shock and consider with an analytical eye the perverted nature of peculiar pastimes such as building lifelike femme dolls and the reverence (or lack of) for females on the cover of the more porn-based manga.

In fresh light of day, the seedy side rescinds and the city pops with the a crisp brightness under a blue sky. Looking resplendent in every weather, winter brings a cold clarity to the streets and from the top of the Metropolitan Government Building the spread of this mega city is almost understandable. From the ground level each intersection feels like an Oxford Circus, like ten London's in one city but from atop this viewpoint, the flat network of Tokyo's streets filtering off into suburbs and edged by a ridge of mountains is magnificent. All of the nooks of life and happenings in the streets below are incomprehensible.

The night before we left the neon world of Tokyo behind we were treated to a vision of the city lights in the rain. Japanese people always seem to be prepared for any weather and with the first splatters of rain umbrellas appeared above the heads of the crowds; circles of colour reflecting the glow and refracting the gleam of lights on the puddles of rain on the tarmac. When it rains in London, the city is grey and dismal; when it rains in Tokyo the city is resplendent, shown off in all of its depth texture and flavour, futuristic, otherworldly, retro and delicately detailed.

REBECCA ALICE SAUNDERS
@yesnotravel



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๐Ÿฃ DJ SEINFELD —TIME SPENT AWAY FROM U

The overdriven beat is what starts this track on its way to you heart. It is not only the superficial decay of it, the lo-fi crackle as the booming kick begins to distort into a speaker-blowing splodge, the grainy swishing of the hi-hats as they cut through the buzzing air, the exploding handclap hidden in the splash of curdled noise, the snare like robust cardboard thudding its accents on the beat—it's not just the beat existing in this way. It's not just the entire track existing this way, actually, the whole of 'Time Spent Away From U' shuffling with the rhythm of funky house, big sunset crashes of synth destroyed by sidechain and the decay of the track, the vocals crooning ancient lovesongs into the mix. It is not the mere fact of DJ Seinfeld's track existing in this lo-fi manner.

It is more what this actually conveys. What does it convey? When people think of vintage crackle, what is that? It's from turntables, from old records warped and scratched, from old never-replaced needles. But the nostalgia, unless you are old enough to remember it, from these is borrowed, nonreal. The nostalgia of the warping and destruction of this track is blissful and intimate, it has a bootleg feel, as if it were captured on a tape recorder in someone's back garden shed, as if it were being shared by friends on a hi-fi, the speakers already damaged from playing music too loud and now this late night discovery blaring on the speaker, all of you crowded around. It is not just the sound of a song being played a thousand times already, but of the soundsystem it's played through being used even more times. The warmth of this situation, the uncapturable time-and-place perfection of it.

This quality, this aching tragic nostalgic quality of the track, our generation's recognisable nostalgia, not borrowed—this quality, coupled with the sudden gutwrenching drop in the stomach that the big pianos of the track conjure, perfectly illustrates its title. Missing somebody, longing, needing; simply told, bold and blocky, brash and blunt. And through the bleary-eyed sadness of it, we come through the other side, the crunch and depression of it ceasing to quake our ears, the final few seconds of the track free of decay and distortion as we enter into our cold realities once more.


  • ๐Ÿ””
  • ๐Ÿ”” This track is take from Barcelona-based DJ Seinfeld's debut album of the same name, Time Spent Away From U, which is being released on 3rd November courtesy of Lobster Fury (Lobster Theremin / Media Fury). You may pre-order the vinyl version of this, which features more tracks than the digital version, by clicking this hyperlink.
  • ๐Ÿ””


๐Ÿ“ 
DJ Seinfeld Internet Presence ☟
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๐Ÿฃ TONIO GEUGELIN AND MOGLII — SCHILLERIZE

The smoothness, the channels of caramel that flow wonderful in this track, the untouched pristine minimalism of it, all of this, the popping percussion tumbling along like light-up spheres gently donning into one another. There is just such a tract of these delicious percussive noises going on here, such a catalogue of textures, a gentle curve of creation, cuteness in motion. German musicmaker Moglii and producer-violinist-singer Tonio Geugelin's organic wonderland of a track is powerful in its pastel hues, a vision of the potential intricacy in dance music, in electronic pop music, beyond formulaic future bass and beyond the esotericism of IDM, into a world of warmth and easy intrigue.

Toy instrumentation might not be a true part of the duo's brand new track 'Schillerize' – referring to the process of creating an artificial iridescent sheen in crystals – but there is certainly an element of it present; wind-up toy sounds creak and trickle in the background, ping-pong bloops ding and pop, the sort of sounds you might hear from a VTech electronic learning product, or maybe more like a retro-leaning drum machine tom; percussion like pearl necklaces or bags of marbles jostle and ticker-ticker, big handclaps count out the hidden footwork energy at the heart of the rhythm, this natural world, this flora of beat ornamentation.

Producer Moglii speaks about the track: "It lives through the combination of the organic electronic beat with the acoustic beauty of a violin and vocalchops to get an unique soundscape," he tells us. "Therefore violinist and singer Tonio Geugelin was the perfect partner for this track."

Vocodered vocals, sometimes layered lightly with faint pitch-shiftings of itself, sing out in syncopation, eschewing the typical synth chord or piano syncopation of electronic music, with the synth instead snaking throughout, with not a build-up or a drop in sight, gradually rippling harder and heavier towards the end, the whole track feeling like a distortion of the glassy crystalline surface of a turquoise brilliant body of water.


  • ๐Ÿ””
  • ๐Ÿ”” 'Schillerize' is out today on BonFire Records.
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๐Ÿ“ 
Tonio Geugelin Internet Presence ☟
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Moglii Internet Presence ☟
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Sunday, 1 October 2017

๐Ÿ’ฟ YASUAKI SHIMIZU — MUSIC FOR COMMERCIALS

Capitalism and consumerism is not usually synonymous with beautiful art. It is more that the product-shifting world that these terms evoke lack soul, existing only for the pursuit and accumulation of money, for pure expenditure. However at the heart of this process is humanity, and that is imbued naturally with existential concerns, the need to put meaning to the detachment of capital and how it is moved around.

Advertising lies somewhere between art and business. But who creates adverts? Who creates that imagery, the world in sight and sound that will describe a certain corporation, make it an attractive ally for the consumer, make it a thing to covet and seek out and own for the amelioration of everyday life? In the case of TV ads, as much as a feast for the eyes, they must be a treat for the ears, as music is more crucially the evoker of emotions: Worlds are summoned by music, simple products in everyday surroundings made otherworldly, sensuous, exquisite, by the placement within the right soundscape.

Japanese composer, saxophonist and producer Yasuaki Shimizu (ๆธ…ๆฐด้–ๆ™ƒ) is the creator of a collection of such musical morsels, designed to entice and invoke nostalgia, designed as soundtracks to dreams you never had but now do. His 1987 release Music For Commercials – simply titled and with no pretence: each short track was conceived as just that – begins with an ascent to heaven. 'Tachikawa' is a gorgeous loop of breathy choral synth, regency cello sweeps, and twinkling piano; it's that regular string beat that gives it life and movement, and the more ethereal higher pitched and ambient sounds, and samples of birdsong, that give that marching kineticism a destination: the sublime. And that is the feeling of using a Tachikawa pen.

Each track on Music For Commercials is titled after the company for whose advert it was intended. The heavenly feeling effused by Shimizu's music continues with sweeping strings for purveyor of timepieces in 'Seiko 1', beating-heart strings and glittering swoops, an atmosphere that makes up much of the output on this album, originally unveiled to the world in 1987, the peak of Japan's economic bubble towards the end of the nation's postwar boom. Business thrived, the consumer consumed.

So alongside this heavenward leaning, there is a modern sense of pace to many of the tracks on this album. Many of the songs have this awe about them, starry-eyed, the embryonic big bang of the perfectly sculpted world of TV advertising—then there is a sound that embodies everything that follows, the cogs of the machine in motion.

'Ricoh 2' and follow-up track 'Laox' have this officious constructivist sound, staccato, bustling, a soundscape of the urban and the modern-day. 'Shiseido' and 'Seiko 5' follow in kind, with the latter eminently tumbling. It is success, or the road to it. These pieces are aspirational in their kineticism—movement equals life. Lack of it is surely stagnation, death. Even in 'Suntory', its percussive melodies not only paint this glittering heavenly picture – you can imagine whisky mid-slow-motion pour into a low glass of perfect rough cubes of ice so fresh they still exude frozen mist – but again, the nature of these noises is one of movement.

'Seiko 3' highlights this with synthesised orchestra hits. Similarly 'Sharp' continues with this atmosphere, this technique of quite regularly ticking beats mimicking the countdown of time, the pressure to spend as seconds fall away—or rather it is the sonic mirror of busy people in busy environments, where office workers talk and fax machines crunch printers zap and keyboards tap and traffic orderly trundles outside and millions of feet move to meetings; busy and surviving in the city. Human, though somehow barely human, voices make appearances: in 'Boutique Joy', and in 'Laox', where they are hypnotic, like a mantra behind the futuristic judder of the track, and operatic they soar in 'Knorr'.

In conjuring the excitement and regal stature of consumer culture – as well as a certain ethereality – this music as a whole recalls a different, more distant past; Edo-period Japan, a time of peace when a new middle class emerged and joined in the hedonistic lives of geisha, sumo wrestlers, samurai, prostitutes, known euphemistically as ukiyo (ๆตฎไธ–) – the floating world, a world above that of the regular person and everyday cares. In woodblock prints called ukiyo-e (ๆตฎไธ–็ตต), pictures of the floating world, scenes of this nature were easy to celebrate: they depicted something familiar and tangible yet heavenly and unattainable, as humans dressed in fine clothes engage in pasttimes and pleasures to which the commoner would have had no or limited access. The same can be said of this music made for commercials: it is the music of the neo-floating world, which has moved from brothel to boardroom, from bathhouse to brand names, from from one attractive plane of existence to another. Quite simply, both this Japanese demimonde and 1980s consumerism embody one overriding thing: progress.

But something happens in the Bridgestone tracks, five morsels that adhere to neither this heavenly quality, nor this urban idealism, but instead take all the experimentalism so far demonstrated to a new level. It begins with skittish descending saxophones, ominous cellos, and lamenting strains of what sound like kokyu but which are possibly alto saxophone in what is a cocktail of looping jazz and traditional Japanese music, a beautiful cacophony of woodwind. This is sequeled in 'Bridgestone 2', fuzzy saxophone wobbles alongside chanting vocals and occasional plinking synth. Water dripping in a cave, sweeping string sounds beset with long delay summon a distinct alien atmosphere, mystic and brooding. Reverb and delay on a melancholy clarinet melody. It ends with steam fair-like organs in a near-disturbing waltz, finishing in noisy cyclical chaos. Here is the real compositional flair of Shimizu, experiments with the mixing of organic and synthetic sounds, and in glorious repetition before repetition became a standard in instrumental music.

Different to every other track is the intriguing 'Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu'. At nearly 10 minutes long, this one takes up nearly half the album's runtime, giving it an obvious prominent place amongst its neighbours. The penultimate track's title (written in Japanese as ่Šฑ้ณฅ้ขจๆœˆ) literally means flower-bird-wind-moon but figuratively refers to the beauty of nature. It's unclear whether this refers to an actual television advert or whether it is purely conceptual, but either way this is symphonic piece, calling to mind a mini Fantasia, the structure and its contents going through the waking of the natural world, its inhabitants activities, a volta that adds gravity and drama before the tracks paradisiacal finale.

A burst of woodwind flourishes and angular synth, moving into ambient softness, trilling strings, a gentle early morning magic to it. Abruptly it changes into something stranger, low synth vox burble beneath delayed fluttering strings and a collage of scuttling percussion. Then at 2:40 we move in the direction of tropicalia, luscious splashing percussion and exotic jungly marimba sounds as well as more flighty synth ambience, with the chirruping of some unknown animal giggling and flitting. 3:29: ascending and descending cartoon xylophone cartoonish, Stravinsky-esque strings that stab discordant and bright—still that soft ambience hanging as a backdrop.

4:03: a sweep of glittering chimes, a mesmerising pulse of woodwinds and strings, a slow glinting plucked melody, a vast sound, like pointed pines bristling across a folded paper landscape of hills, rising, whooshing ghostly sounds, brooding cello, scattered scampering handclap sounds, more desperate skirls of violin, this sudden adverse change in weather evident from 6:07, a cracking regular drum, high pitch chords flash like warning lights, still that howling wind, the sudden swirling sweeps of harp dreamlike. 7:14: the clouds dissipate, sun lances down, warm waves begin to ebb and flow along a plaintive melody and jingling bells, more harps, then soaring dipping and diving flutes like birds rejoicing after a storm. Ending on a perfect slice of pastoral, it seems all is well with this plane of existence, far from the commercial world of cities, a slice of Shimizu's unfettered creativity.

It's fitting that the final track on Music For Commercials was destined for department store Seibu. After the strident avant-garde Bridgestone tracks and the agrarian idyll of 'Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu', we return impulsively and ultimately to spending. With booming timpani and regal orchestration providing a triumphal march, the bass vocal croons out victoriously, announcing the not just a product but the palaces that house them: shopping malls. Much like a royal's homecoming hundreds of years ago would be announced with fanfares and processions, so too is Shimizu's 1980s treatment of malls, places of worship and pleasure and power—for those with the purse to permit it.

An interesting genre of music of recent times, vaporwave, harks back to these tracks. With relish it pores over malls of yesteryear, simultaneously championing and pastiching material-based capitalism, by utilising often slowed-down music of these times – the upbeat magic of funk and soul, sometimes of Japanese origin, as well as instrumental lounge and muzak: the original soundtracks to both centres of hedonism, the nightclub, as well as the music of department store PA systems. It is not empty nostalgia, but like exotica and lounge that preceded it the music is a conjurer of other times and places, scene-setting mood-making sounds. Or like classical music, which has been the soundtrack to everything from ballet and Romantic poetry, to seasons and emotions.

So Music For Commercials stands in a unique position, sort of like a time travel paradox. Shimizu's music follows this vaporwave aesthetic, of course: his compositions summon elsewheres for the listener's imagination, as this silver age-era TV commercial music quite heavily does. But directly via Oneohtrix Point Never, who has specifically cited this album as an influence, and who is himself credited with the embryonic stages of vaporwave, Shimizu's collection of advert-destined tracks has trickled through the years into the psyche of experimental musicmakers that followed. It is proto-vaporwave.

And like Socrates' theory of forms, which states that there is somewhere in the ether a perfect form of every single thing, Music For Commercials is the original and omnipresent vaporwave, its highest form, created exactly for that which today's vaporwave conceptualises, and everything that follows is essentially a lower form, an idol carved in the shape of the Yasuaki Shimizu's musical mind. He brought a divergent beauty to the sounds of soulless capitalism, made art where real art had no place, created a future hallowed ground of music out of the ideals and aspirations that the floating world of adverts compel us to pursue.


  • ๐Ÿ”” Music For Commercials is available to purchase digitally as well as on CD and vinyl from Bandcamp. It arrives courtesy of Belgian label CRAMMED and is a reissue from their MADE TO MEASURE composer series; 2017 marks the 30 year anniversary of this release.
  • ๐Ÿ”” Images:
    1. Music For Commercials artwork, 2017
    2. Poster for Seiko Hybrid SP, 1980s
    3. Poster for Crest by Suntory featuring Akira Kurosawa, 1990
    4. Hokusai's ่—คใซ้ถบ้ด’ Wisteria and wagtail from an untitled series known as "Small Flowers", c1834
    5. Photograph of Shibuya's "Scramble Crossing" by Avard Woolaver, 1987


๐Ÿ“ 
Yasuaki Shimizu Internet Presence ☟
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