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DIY/Lo-Fi





VIDEO: “Retreat” Finds Dzang Soundscaping The Climate Crisis

photo courtesy of artist's bandcamp page

Dzang is the project of L.A.-based electronic producer Adam Gunther, who has released “Retreat,” the lead single from his forthcoming EP Glacial Erratic, due out July 23rd on Bandcamp, along with an accompanying music video.

The moody, downtempo instrumental track begins with ominous FM-synth bells tolling over a subtle bed of digital noise and bleeping, before a soft, swollen bass enters along with a drum pattern that resembles a ticking clock with a seizure. Gradually, sparse upper-octave synth notes and insular, beautiful synth pads enter your ears, with the entire soundscape splitting the difference between serene grooving and cautious searching. The late addition of the metallic shuffling of chains to the rhythm lends extra weight to the track, before it fades out with the same fateful bells from the beginning. Are they a warning? Or are they simply mourning?

Gunter explains that the track was meant to convey the feeling of California’s climate crisis and the need to escape. The accompanying music video “shows a talismanic bird flying through scenes of climate disruption only to arrive at an urban core, unable to escape humanity’s influence.” It’s a chilling but mesmerizing visual paired with music that is just as good at provoking deep thought about our global predicament as it is for blissing out on a late-night highway drive. Gabe Hernandez





DIY/Lo-Fi

Time: 
07:00
Band name: 
Melt Mars
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/meltmarss
Venue name: 
FTG
Band email: 
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VIDEO: In “Burning The Ground,” Justus Proffit Keeps The Candle Burning

image courtesy of the artist 

Bar/None Records Artist Justus Proffit has released “Burning The Ground,” a single from his upcoming sophomore album, Speedstar, coming out August 20th, along with an accompanying music video, and his low-key indie folk-rock vibes are formidable.

The track opens with lazily-strummed acoustic guitar sharing space with gently chorused lead guitar lines. A placid bass faithfully hits the root note, establishing a solid rhythmic foundation. The tom-forward drum kit begin to tumble dizzily during the chorus, giving the song an added sense of dimension and avoiding the possibility of sounding repetitive. Meanwhile, Proffit’s lead vocal mirrors the laconic lyrics in his offhand delivery, as if you were listening to him in a chair across the bed from which he’s performing. The package as a whole is as meditative as it is catchy. 

As a whole, the track gives off strong Elliott Smith vibes, combined with a bit of the stoned effortlessness of Kurt Vile. The video, meanwhile, finds Proffit alternately ambling around a cemetery in daylight, relaxing in a very candle-lit bath tub, and dripping red wax over glass heads and religious statuettes. Shot with a VHS look, its amateur look evokes the visual work of alternative artists from the 80s and 90s, and subtly fills in the more gloomy blanks of the music. Hopefully the album will similarly ride the line between depression and dynamism. Gabe Hernandez

 

 

 





FRESH CUTS: With “12:55 PM” Celia Hollander Plays With Time And Wins

Photo courtesy of the artist

LA-based electro-acoustic composer Celia Hollander has released “12:55 PM a track from her upcoming album, entitled Timekeeper, out July 23rd on eclectic local label Leaving Records.

Hollander, with an MFA in Music Composition & Experimental Sound Practices from Cal Arts, describes her output as “…work that critically engages ways that audio and the act of listening can shape temporal perception, generate narratives, question cultural infrastructures, and cultivate social connection.” For us, it’s the audio shaping temporal perception part that draws our attention to “12:55 PM.”

The instrumental track begins with a clock-like shuffle rhythm, the sound of which is reminiscent of the electronic fizz of retro drum machines, before helium-tinged synth stabs begin bubbling up in the mix. Occasionally, tasty drippings of silicone-coated synth bass add some welcome low-end thickness to the soundscape.

On the whole, the track presents a vaguely tropical vibe, but not so much that you feel like serving up mai tais. “12:55 PM” fades in and out like an ocean breeze, but it’s also a chilled, yet caffeinated sonic landscape that entices you to dance, but could just as easily soundtrack your next dose of edibles. Hollander clearly has a way with manipulating a listener’s perception of time. The other tracks on Timekeeper are all titled after very specific times of day. What we can say with confidence is that we’re looking forward to losing some more precious minutes and hours in her delicate, enticing aural playground. Gabe Hernandez





Drakkar Noir/Heidi Sabertooth seduce you to The Sleep of Reason

The music heard on The Sleep of Reason, a split EP by the DJ/producer/multi-instrumentslist team of Heidi Sabertooth and R Gamble a/k/a “Drakkar Noir” released on Chicago’s Jacktone Records, is both primordial and futuristic—the sound of electronic circuits climbing out of the primordial ooze and becoming self-aware—which seemingly fits perfect for these two artists one of whom is named for a family of prehistoric predators, and the other named after the most primordial cologne of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

These eight tracks of old-school-inspired electro, industrial, acid, and EBM (electronic body music) are raw and spontaneous sounding—qualities that many wouldn’t associate with electronic music—due in no small part to the use of standalone electronic hardware, machines that the user manipulates in real time and which were recorded live here for the most part so that a certain level of improvisation works its way into things. Much like more conventional instruments, these types of electronic instruments don’t always behave as expected or as intended, meaning that it takes skilled and sensitive musicians to improvise around unexpected sonic detours and that’s a big part of what makes this method of music making and this EP compelling.

What also makes Sleep of Reason compelling are the songs themselves—built on minimalistic yet ever-morphing grooves that burrow under your skin and into your grey matter with the insistance of a funky flea circus passing through town. And that’s not even to mention the glitched-out, paranoid android vocals heard in various sonic forms from track to track whispering intimate-yet-oft-indesipherable sweet creepy nothings into your earholes.

 

Elsewhere Ms. Sabertooth has described her four tracks as “a channeling of angst and disenchantment about relationships, technology, and expectations of the modern femme.” And you can can hear the pure, uncut intensity of this angst and disenchantment on, say, “It Says You Read It” that with its clattering beatbox percussion and squelchy sine waves pretty much sounds like a Peaches song on Promethazine; or on “I’m Gaining Weight Again” that with its spiraling and increasingly distorted doomy sonic vortex is something like an obsessive shame spiral rendered in sound.

Drakkar Noir’s four songs mine somewhat similar territory but with significant differences as well—mining slightly more insistent beats and a stronger acid influence, all appropeiate to his nom de parfume alter-ego—like on side-opener “Free Delight” which makes the very notion of free delight sound both enticing and slightly uneasy as if you just know all that free delight is gonna come back to bite you somehow.  Or the next track “Shadow Reel” which is kind of like “Planet Rock” if the planet in question were Jupiter with its cold, windy clouds of ammonia.

Which all fits well with the loose overarching concept and titular inspiration for the EP which is 18th-century Spanish painter/printmaker/iconoclast Francisco Goya’s famous etching entitled The Sleep of Reason Produced Monsters (well it’s famous if you’re an art historian at least) which depicts an artist passed out at his drawing desk surrounded by a sepulchral swarm of bats and owls, with a caption reading: “Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts and source of their wonders". Truer words, etc. etc.

And hey if you’re feeling these retro-futurist electro bats and owls vibes then be sure to keep an ear out for Gamble & Sabertooth’s live DJs sets on Brooklyn’s very own The Lot Radio. And if you’re the greater NYC metro area region, you may also wanna check out the Lost Soul Enterprises collective and record label of which they’re both core members and which currently has a regular bi-weekly residency going at h0L0, a spacious progressive music oasis tucked away in the borderland between Bushwick, BK and Ridgeway, Queens. (Jason Lee)

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