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Showing posts from July, 2016

CATS OF TRANSNISTRIA - 'DIVINE' LP & 'AWAY' EP REVIEWS

Derivativeness is a pejorative in most music critique, music where you can clearly hear the sources must clearly not be 'challenging' and must be confronted for it. I think that's utter bullshit. I don't care if what I'm hearing is totally new in those terms - the newness of music comes from the people involved and how they put together what's fed them up to the point of their own decision to express themselves. All music is derivative - it's whether people are able to surpass their sources and implant themselves in the mix. So though I hear all kinds of familiar pleasures in Cats Of Transnistria's music, the haunted vocal plangency of Tarnation, the blitzed-and-blissful feedback of MBV and Windy & Carl, the spectral suggestiveness and radiance of Young Marble Giants, the bleak doom of Nico, it doesn't matter in terms of my enjoyment - this self-nailed 'slow and deep duo from Helsinki' have created two records in the past two years that…

HAVOC & ALCHEMIST - 'THE SILENT PARTNER' ALBUM REVIEW

Like Curren$y (who of course he worked on with this year's superb 'Carrolton Heist' mixtape) I love the fact that Alchemist is so BUSY these days. By far the best project he's dropped since last year's astonishing 'Israeli Salad' is this set with Mobb Deep legend Havoc. Where 'Israeli Salad' benefitted from its outrageous psychedelic luridness, this is a way more minimal set of beats and loops, conscious that Havoc's voice and rhymes deserve close non-distracted attention and thus hitting on a kind of minimal almost-drone-like hypnosis that's utterly compelling.

Opener 'Impose My Mode' actually nails it lyrically when Hav says 'stealth mode' - this isn't flamboyant music, it's private, isolated, dark, riding shotgun and worrying the driver, simmering with tension, twitching with imminent menace. As ever with Havoc the flow is both stop-start and fluid, having a continuity thanks to persona and atmosphere but slipping…

S***TIEST MOST REPELLENT AND DEPRESSING MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK : SOME C*** CALLED YOUNGR PLAYING TO OTHER C***S AT SOME F***ING HELLISH MORNING RAVE TYPE S***FEST

Of course, goes without saying that I would dearly love everyone and everything in this video to be consumed by a ball of fire and that this is not a 'true definition of an artist' (as stated on the horrific FB EDM rave page I stumbled across this on) but a true definition of a wanker. However, it does identify something I've noticed among younger musicians, and some dipshitted older ones - this idea that your 'quality' as a musician resides in 'how much' you can do. How many notes you can play quickly, how many notes you can force into the singing of one syllable, how many instruments you can play like you're Roy fucking Castle. This is why bands are lauded for 'playing the hell out of their instruments'. This is the way music ends up getting 'judged' when there is no critique, only cheerleading. And we end up with music with no space, no suggestiveness, only a endless shrill desire to 'impress'. A far way to come perhaps from a…

COMMODO - "HOW WHAT TIME" ALBUM REVIEW

After its nephews, the cousins d'n'b, grime, dubstep faded in the 00s inevitable that hip hop would reassert itself as BASS-music's most powerful drunkuncle-like force, coincidental with hip-hop's ongoing journey in from the coasts and back to the party, back from the real and imagined frontlines to the trap called home, the home called Trap. The best dubstep is touched by hip hop for me, hits some of the exact same pleasure centres - and in recent lean years it's mainly meant stuff on Deep Medi, Mala and Commodo in particular. Last year's double 12" LP from Commodo, Gantz & Kahn "Volume 1" was one of the year's highlights - a deeply cinematic bass-heavy soundtrack to a late night neon-smeared drive round the ringroad, as concrete and brute as it was diffuse and suggestive. One of the most useful and USED records in my 2015 life of endless transit. Have been gagging for this, his debut full-length LP and it's been worth it. Even beyo…

HOREHOUND "S/T" + MESSA "BELFRY" - WHY FEMALE-FRONTED DOOM IS BOSSING MY 2016

If there was one doom-metal/sludge release from last year that was really addictive for me it was Windhand's amazing 'Grief's Infernal Flower' set. If it slipped on by you, acquaint yourself. Riffs big and baleful as hell and beautiful beautiful songs sung by Dorthia Cottrell in a voice part Sandy Denny, part Linda Thompson, part nobody else. It's a wonderful record, but it made me think alot about why I loved it so.

<a href="http://windhandva.bandcamp.com/album/griefs-infernal-flower">Grief's Infernal Flower by Windhand</a>


See, I've always tried to write in a gender-neutral way about music but the female-fronted nature of Windhand DID make a difference. Although there was plenty of heavy male-fronted stuff last year that floated my boat, I kept returning to 'Grief's Infernal Flower', getting heady off its pungency and fun…