An actually quite wonderful disc from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma which is comprised of five tracks used a sound installation for the SFMOMA Living Room event back in June. The music was given out to visitors that day, with a small quantity later sold at Aquarius, which is how I grabbed a copy…they now seem to be gone for good, so I’m going to make the (hopefully correct) assumption that it’s OK to share it online. [10/12 update: while no one has asked me to take this down, I feel like it’s only right to, especially now that it is available digitally.]
There’s no titles or really even artwork to speak of, and the abrupt track transitions might suggest carelessness with the overall presentation. But the mood of this hour-long disc is consistent and the shimmering guitar work here is maybe the most tranquil, free-floating music Cantu-Ledesma has released—it’s a cousin to the overdriven, smeared fuzz of last year’s Love Is A Stream but with all of that album’s distortion stripped away. Ideal early morning music but a powerful narcotic as well.
The A-side off the newest Grouper release, for yr listening pleasure. This 7” sounds, well, “Grouper-y”, in a similar vein as Alien Observer or most of her more recent material, except for a slight twist - the vocals are relatively clean. No longer bathed in cavernous reverb, they come to the forefront just a touch more, as the rest of the music stays mired in the traditional Grouper way. Chances still are, if yr into Grouper, you’ll like it.
Couldn’t have really said it better myself—this is a lovely, solemn song and it’s a welcome change of pace to hear Harris’s vocals (relatively) unadorned.
One of my favorite music writers, Mark Richardson, has two tumblrs: one under his own name, and another called Invisible Music, on which he writes about his experience listening to (mostly instrumental) music while not revealing any identifying details about the tracks, like song or artist names. It’s a great way to engage with music free of context, except his own experience, which he writes about vividly. I’m going to steal the idea just for a brief moment, with a small twist, which is that even I have no fucking clue what song this is, and it’s been bothering me ever since I heard it six years ago.
What I can share:
I heard this in Marseilles in September of 2005 and recorded it off the radio.
It sounds like a mix of New Edition, Musical Youth, and “Juicy”.
No one I know who speaks French has been able to ID this for me.
This song bumps hard, but maybe it’s some prefab boy band.
Really enjoyed this funny, sweet article by Clay Tarver about keeping his musical past from his sons. Between this, “It’s Hard to Be a Dad,” and learning today that I’ll be teaching a class of twelve boys this year (no girls), I am feeling optimistic vibes about being a meaningful adult to a kid. But mostly, I can’t believe that Tarver basically got the New York Times Magazine to print a eulogy for his obscure (and frequently brilliant) band under the auspices of an insightful look at fatherhood. Chavez records blew my thirteen-year-old mind proper.
JONTI- SINE & MOON MIX (STONES THROW PODCAST, 2011)
Streaming above is the first ten minutes of this mix.
This is stellar and a total no-brainer for anyone who is even generally into Stones Throw’s output of the past few years—and since it’s free anyway, there’s no buyer’s remorse to fear. Jonti, an Australian by way of South Africa, will release his first album in October, and I can only hope that it sounds similar to this podcast, which suggests influences like Dilla, Stereolab, Jneiro Jarel…maybe some Koushik? I’m sure his inspiration runs deeper than that—regardless, I’m celebrating his good taste, not dismissing him as derivative. From all appearances here, he already has superior instincts as a producer, songwriter, and singer.
This is not a brand new song, but it’s new to me. After avoiding Toro Y Moi for a year or so, mostly because of my suspicion of the term “chillwave” and, equally, of the band name “Toro Y Moi,” I discovered I actually enjoy Underneath the Pine a lot. That set me off to learn more about what Chaz Bundick has done, and the idea of him having a “dance alter ego” (according to Carpark), Les Sins, was intriguing. Turns out that this 12” released last fall is actually pretty stunning—a beautiful synthesis of influences reminiscent of the early ’00s French house that is so dear to me.
With a longer intro, “Lina” would have fit in beautifully on the We Rock Music or Vulture labels a few years ago, which is high praise from me. That said, part of its charm is that there is no buildup—you’re only given a few seconds before being thrown into its dizzying, giddy atmosphere. The vocals by Rachel Lehman are sometimes left untreated and other times diced up into new configurations in a glorious evocation of Todd Edwards. The chord cycle endlessly ascends and there’s so much going on (but not too much) that this track, which isn’t even five minutes long, is a little exhausting, but only in the most gratifying way.
The other song here, “Youth Gone,” is an appropriate b-side; more spaced out, more melancholy and with no vocal hook, it’s a great (and frankly, necessary) comedown from “Lina” that still sparkles. The first minute has one of those samples that’s a little hard to catch, seemingly moving in and out of the beat, but soon the track gains emotional weight and propulsion.
Admittedly I have a soft spot for music like this, but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone do it quite as well as this in some years…
SAM GOLDBERG- DALMATIAN COAST HAVING HAD FORGOT (ARBOR, 2011)
The skies opened up and set off my rainy day music alert this afternoon…this new album by Sam Goldberg fits the bill perfectly. Having Had Forgot is really a lovely summary of Goldberg’s body of work thus far, with some tracks recalling the glacial guitar pieces on Echoing Department or Current while others hint at the synth-based compositions he has explored under the name Radio People and as one-half of Mist. What interests me most are the new sounds he adds to his palette, though; there is an intimate pair of songs based around acoustic guitar and field recordings, and even more surprising, a second pair that incorporates saxophone, double bass, and live drums. Some might blanche at these developments, but they add a lot of resonance to these songs. At times, “Dalmatian Coast” brushes up against the ecstatic in a humble, unassuming way, like Pharoah Sanders in a suburban cul-de-sac.
It’s hard to look at the cover of Having Had Forgot and not think of the graphically similar arrangement of faded pictures that graced Mark McGuire’s Living With Yourself. But maybe it’s telling that while McGuire’s album (both visually and musically) conjured images of specific people, there’s hardly a person to be found on Goldberg’s landscape—in the lone picture of a person (a self-portrait?), the subject’s face is obscured by a mask. Otherwise, these images are warm but uninhibited, full of dark houses, vacant cars, empty beer bottles. But instead of asking you to interact with people, maybe Having Had Forgot simply invites you to inhabit these spaces and make them your own.
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND- VENUS IN FURS (rehearsal recording) AT THE FACTORY, 1966 (bootleg)
Doom & Gloom from the Tomb recently had a fruitful set of posts collecting some VU boots. The one I most gravitated to was a rehearsal recording at the Factory from 1966, which is the first time I’ve heard anything unofficial from the Cale years. (I really love the VU albums but don’t usually have the energy to track down this stuff.) As I tackled All Yesterday’s Parties: The Velvet Underground in Print, 1966-1971 this past weekend, this extremely well-recorded rehearsal was the perfect accompaniment; charmingly (and appropriately) casual at times, blistering at others (an 11-minute take of “Miss Joanie Lee”), I’d argue that this is really worth your time if you have even a passing interest in the band, especially their first couple of records.
The version I’m posting above of “Venus in Furs” has almost nothing to do with the droning, malevolent music you’re likely familiar with; instead, as Doom and Gloom points out, runs through the chord changes of “Love is Strange” while Lou deadpans the words. The result is oddly light and inviting…and it falls apart after two minutes because it’s a rehearsal, of course. But there are lots of gently revelatory moments here.