Dexterous Material: Edition No.9
To expect the unexpected. Which in turn means you are expecting exactly what you will be getting. Which isn't unexpected. So what do you expect? Before I become profoundly irrelevant, what I'm getting at is artists making unexpected music. Switching it up, surprising us, keeping on our toes. Wavves dabble in production, and a collaboration of Philip Glass with Amon Tobin, as well as other surprises to follow, paired nicely with some expected sounds.
First off is the album Rework: Philip Glass Remixed. Philip Glass recruited the talents of Nosaj Thing, Beck, Dan Deacon, Amon Tobin, Pantha Du Prince, and many more. Glass is a composer, and his work isn't often brought into the world of electronic music. Glass began the collaboration with Beck, as he told in a New York Times article. Glass' music has been descried as classical and minimalist, and most of these remixes respect the original feeling he created. The album was featured on NPR as a first listen earlier this October, and a limited 500 copies of the vinyl edition is being offered. According to Glass' website, it looks like glass. Clever. The repetition featured in many of the tracks is more comfortable than frustrating, it forces us as listeners to engage in the audio bliss melting in our ears. Beck did a magnificent job of carefully selecting artists to help with this, and the result is enticing. Beck's remix clocks in around 20 minutes, but rolls and morphs itself into so many different forms that the time passes quickly.
On a more traditional note, the last installation of Flosstradamus' X EP series. This time around it's X☢. It all sort of hurts. Everything is viciously intense and leaves nothing to the imagination, which is fine, but it's nothing new. Tracks such as 'Drak Knight' feel like they're pushing too hard, the intrigue of their music seems to have been lost in a wild frenzy of volume for me. The best track was 'Details ft. PK Hardstyle', a mix between trap and hardstyle that was the easiest to listen to without damage to the eardrums. The good news? Free. Download the series here.
Those familiar with Wavves know that the surf punk band has little electronic sound, Nathan Williams of the band and his brother Joel have been at work over the past few months producing music for what they call Sweet Valley. It is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from anything Wavves sounding. The Ep Eternal Champ was released via Fools Gold in September. Eternal Champ has obvious heavy influences from video games, and is described on their bandcamp as: a Bermuda Triangle-like place, where cannabis crumbs, spilt beer, record dust and that mysterious shit you had to blow out of game cartridges all collect as if pulled by some gigantic junkyard magnet. There really is no better mental picture, listen for yourself and download the album for free on their bandcamp. More free.
Speaking of getting more free, I can't seem to overlook Diplo for very long. And it seems he doesn't sleep very much. Not surprising, he uploaded a mix to soundcloud titled: got stoned and mixed really old records for half an hour. The mix is just that. Weird enough to be classic Diplo style, but with an implacable flavour. If that isn't enough, the Halloween mix from his weekly 'Diplo and Friends' show on BBC was uploaded and the most terrifying part might be how much this man can accomplish and with what precise quality.
To end things on a lighter note, this month Little People released We Are But Hunks of Wood. Laurent Clerc has became known for the interesting and sparse music, this being his first album release in six years. The sound is different than what Clerc brought to Mickey Mouse Operation in 2006. Tracks are more introspected, thought through, and tightly wound. According to his website a winter tour with Emancipator is to be expected, a combination of live music that would be sure to send any heads spinning.
There's been an increasing amount of negative talk towards electronic music as of late, which is understood. The intense popularity of the music happened faster than anyone could have imagined, but instead of being a fad expected to fizz out after a year or so, electronic music is different. The roots and history that laid the foundation of music being made today will never go out of style. When composers and talents that have no previous ties to electronic music such as Philip Glass begin to take notice and become involved in the music, we have to be doing something right. So begins the weeding out process. The plethora of choices has been laid and I can only hope that the talents with the right flavour will continue on.
Summer music is a cliché. Remember the CD's you made when you were 16 inscribed with "Summer!~." Whatever, we all did it. My point is, music in the summer takes on a whole new persona. We remember the songs we listened to over and over on our way to countless festivals, rather than the ones we heard cursing our way through the snow. There's something about being warm that makes all the vibes a little bit better. [read more]
When asked to takeover this column I had to ask myself first just what is 'electronic music'. As we hurtle into 2013 it's a strange time to be a fan of the all encompassing genre. In theory we've never had it so good, EDM bestrides the known universe with everyone from the most hardcore of rappers to pop's princesses wanting to swaddle themselves in the perceived cool of dance music's all conquering midrange fuzz. [read more]
I've been listening to the new David Bowie album a lot recently, mainly trying to figure out exactly what all the fuss is about. Sadly despite numerous, hyperbolic press reports that he had all but single handedly saved music, I'm yet to be convinced The Next Day is anything other than a fairly decent rock album. [read more]
Let’s get this straight. Less is not more. Usually. For all purposes of this column, more is more. And that’s what I’m sticking to. Which leads me to compilations, collaborations, and all things involving two or more grotesquely talented artists. The more the better. [read more]