Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Future Rapper.
Listed: A Sunny Day in Glasgow + Future Rapper
A Sunny Day in Glasgow
A Sunny Day in Glasgow came together after a rash of cloudy days in London. Ben Daniels came back to the states transformed by the experience. Whether it was a positive transformation, well … that's for you to decide, but we rather liked it. In our review of Daniels and Co.'s debut full-length, Scribble Mural Comic Journal, we said: "A Sunny Day In Glasgow seem to be learning the ropes of full-length album production. If Scribble reveals anything, it's the band's overwhelming creativity and willingness to experiment. They channel that bedroom loneliness with a knowledge of shoegaze that goes far beyond simple homage and imitation." A new EP, Tout New Age, came out on July 10. We also gave a huge thumbs up to their label, Notenuf. Ben took part in this week's Listed.
Top 10 Records I've Rediscovered Since my iPod Died and I've had to Put Everything Back on the New iPod They Gave Me as a Replacement (I didn't make backups)
10. Palomar - I, Palomar
I have all of Palomar's records (except for the new one), but I don't think any of them come close to the awesomeness of their first record, which in my mind is a perfect record. I really love every song on this record especially “Washington,” “Special Lunch,” “Robert,” and “Sits Like a Girl.” Matt was the best drummer ever.
9. X-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents
I really wish I could have seen this band live. This is one my favorite records of all-time and I had totally forgotten about it. When I first learned about this band my friend told me Polystyrene had died of a heroin overdose, so I was really happy to learn a couple years later that she just retired from punk rock and became a Buddhist.
8. Operation Ivy - Energy
I really, really super duper forgot about this one. I honestly could not remember the last time I had listened to this, but man, it's so much fun. “Sound System,” “Bombshell” and “Gonna Find You” are the shit. My very first band used to cover “Take Warning.” It was awful.
7. The KLF - Chill Out / The White Room
Two of my all-time favorites, so these records are never far, but it had been a couple years since I had listened to either. Chill Out is another perfect record to me for reasons I can't really elaborate on.
6. Talulah Gosh - Backwash
I think this band should have been famous. They singers have absolutely gorgeous voices and the harmonies kill me. Really bubblegummy I guess, but I go for that.
5. The Breeders - Last Splash
I kind of forgot all about the Breeders and hadn't listened to them in years. This record is super fun and the rhythm section is top notch. I don't think I liked “One Divine Hammer” that much when I got this record, but I can't stop listening to it now.
4. Sam Cooke - Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square
I know nothing about soul music so I can't really say much about this record's relation to the genre, but the version of “You Send Me/Bring it on Home” on this record is the most intense music I've ever heard.
3. Jonathan Richman - I, Jonathan
I love pretty much everything Jonathan Richman has ever done and will ever do, but I especially love “That Summer Feeling” so it was like the best thing ever to find this record again. The “Sister Ray” bit in “Velvet Underground' is also awesome. I think he recorded it in a basement on a 4-track or something, too, which is great.
2. Nirvana - In Utero
This is my favorite sounding album of all-time. The drums and bass sound is amazing. So much space on this record, it really gets me. I guess I never forgot about this record, but hadn't listened to it in forever. I need to get the Albini mix though…
1. The Misfits - Legacy of Brutality
I don't know why I never got a proper Misfits album and only have this collection, but this is all I've been listening to since I found it again. “Hybrid Moments” and “Angelfuck” are incredible. And "I ain’t no goddamn son of a bitch" must have been super fun to get to sing.
Three years in the making, Land of a Thousand Rappers: Vol. 1, The Fall of the Pillars, will land on August 7 via Asthmatic Kitty's new imprint for conceptual and electronic projects, Unusual Animals. Future Rapper, a.k.a. Asthmatic Kitty's employee Michael Kaufmann, has collaborated with The Holy Fool, a.k.a. Wayne S. Feldman, and the Queen of Soft, a.k.a. Liz Janes, as well as Papa Alabaster, a.k.a. producer Ero Gray, to construct a thickly layered avant hip hop album that integrates the vernacular of email spam with classic mythological themes of friendship, betrayal and colony collapse disorder.
1. Structuralism - The Medium is the Message
I first heard Mad Professor's Dub Me Crazy Vol. 1 when I was on a road trip in early college. I can't remember where I was, I think Florida. I had stopped at this small white painted cinder block record store. The context is not important, but that I have this memory of purchasing this record is. It is an indication of the profound impact this record made on my life. When I put the record on, I knew it was actively changing my metabolism. A couple years later I would become obsessed with the fact that dub reggae is a potent example of the McLuhanian concept of the medium as the message. The use of tape delay, tape rewinding and the deconstructing use of reverb present an obvious reminder to the fact that this music resides on magnetic tape. Similarly the film work of Stan Brakhage reminds us that we are watching film, by manipulating the stock with scratches, paint, or glued on blades of grass. This tradition continues with the turntable scratch, Oval's work with CDs, glitch electronica and the self-referential Muppet Movies (Animal invading the projection booth and ripping the film ala the burning film of Bergman's Persona). Or, in Muppets take Manhattan when Kermit turns and addresses the film audience, crumbling the fourth wall, the absurdity of illusion flattening the film to the skin of the movie screen.
2. The Cut-up
Similar to the structuralism of dub reggae and glitch electronics, is the cut-up and plunderphonic work of such artists as John Oswald (who coined the plunderphonic phrase), Leafcutter John, Jackson and His Computer Band, Jason Forrest, Matmos, Prefuse 73, The Books, etc. The awkward stuttery syncopation of their music and the rich tapestry of sounds creates an information-dense music that brings with it a mix of memories and emotion through the use of otherwise emotionally dry or cliché source material. These artists are all doing very different things, and perhaps need their own descriptions, but I see a stylistic consistency or at least camaraderie in their work. My favorite release of these is Wobbly's Wild Why. Although not easy on the ears, the record is conceptually rewarding. Wild Why takes hours and hours of sampled top 40 hip hop radio and creates a new work that turns commercial radio hip hop inside out. As part parody part tribute it is a rapturous assault on politics and senses.
3. Reductive Art
While the maximalist and excessive barrage of plunderphonic work is appealing, I also have a real hankering for the opposite, the minimal, the stark, the haiku, the barely existing. I once looked up Christian Marclay in the New York phone book and called him to ask if I could send him a cassette of noise improv that my then noise band "therefore" had recorded, and have him erase most of it. The phone call was inspired by Rauschenberg's erased DeKooning in which Rauschenberg asked DeKooning for one of his favorite pencil drawn works on paper for Rauschenberg to erase. The result is a ghostly presence created by the knowledge that there previously was a work of art in its place. For me it is the same effect created when a museum sends out a work of art or artifact on loan, and there is this void where it once on display. I think some of the mid-period work of Robert Irwin is along these lines, a reductive work of art that is not destructive, but focuses the viewers attention to the already existing environment, like muted swear words on hip hop radio. Marclay didn't appreciate the concept. That, or he was freaked out I was calling him at home.
4. Post-Minimalist Hip hop
I have always been a sucker for post-minimalism. My trusty wikipedia describes post-minimalism in music as "minimalist procedures such as additive and subtractive process are common in post-minimalism, though usually in disguised form, and the style has also shown a capacity for absorbing influences from world and popular music.” In the case of Dabyre's Two/Three and Mr. Oizo's Analog Worms Attack we have the post-minimalist absorption of hip hop creating beats that come off like a drunken boxer, swaggering, ugly and dangerous as sin. The sand-encrusted snares make me really hungry, like all of the sudden I really want to eat a steak. There is also a rooting of hip hop back to its influence; the calculator white funk of krackwerk [sic] appropriated by Bambata and friends. There is also a reverent disrespect like that of Damien Hirst cow cross-section cutting and pharmaldahyding; hip hop is dissected and splayed. This is more successful than digital hardcore in its declaration of war. This is pop rebellion music. It is the boom of a bass in a rattling trunk and loose license plate hi-hat, with driver who is not embarrassed in the least. Geophorically speaking, this is the erosion of hip hop, not that it is being corrupted or betrayed, but now we have a Grand Canyon.
5. Mask Core vs. Live Hip hop
I have never been a fan of live hip hop. Even Cypress Hill with a giant hand holding a smoking joint left me feeling cheated. Live hip hop rarely transcends karaoke or public rally, especially when the performance relies primarily on the artist's ability to handle a remote mic or maintain the hype level through crowd participation and fist pumping. It seems to me that so much more can be done in the live context because hip hop isn't stuck behind guitars and live drums. For proof of what hip hop can be the answer is in mask core. By mask core I am referring to such bands as The Locust, Pink and Brown, Lightning Bolt, Forcefield and Fort Thunder and Load variants. MF Doom is aware of this formula and is able to turn the backpackers into Lord of the Flies survivors. A stretched out dirty white undershirted, drunk, metalfaced MFDoom getting into a fistfight at CMJ 2000 was the best example of punk in hip hop I have ever witnessed. A close second was Antipop Consortium's performance that same CMJ, in which I kept imagining that each member was going to swallow their mics, samplers and turntables. I also love Why? live, have heard good things about Dälek and their stacks of hearing loss, and hope that DJ Carhouse (Otomo Yoshihide) and MC Hellshit (Eye) reunite for a proper album and tour. I propose less Gnarls Barkley and more crossover duets between experimental/underground hip hop and mask core, like the Gothic Futurism of Rammellezee (the penultimate mask-hop) and his Death Comet Crew mashed with San Diego/NYC's w0rkf0rce (www.w0rkf0rce.com) and their legion of snouts.
There is a scene in Sun Ra's Space is the Place in which he is visiting an African-American youth center. It is a strange pseudo-documentary style footage that appears to be shot on the fly. Sun Ra in his cybergyptian garb is a strange vision for these after-schoolers. I can't remember the exact line, but in my memory they are asking him if he is real and he tells them that they all do not exist, that this is an illusion, that as black people they are invisible on this planet and need to return to space from where they came. There is something in the tone and words in which Sun Ra uses in this scene that point to the heart of what him and his music was about. It is a music that begs to be heard, that longs for freedom and identity in American culture, where the black man is disenfranchised and seen as inferior. Kodwo Eshun's More Brilliant than the Sun follows the history of Afro-futurism in music, drawing lines between Alice Coltrane, Miles Davis, Parliament, Detroit house music, Dr. Octagon, Tricky and others. However, the most poignant and metaphorical of this theme is not Dr. Octagon but rather Keith's Black Elvis in Outer Space.
7. Unsci-Fi - Like Sci-Fi
Jim Munroe's Infest Wisely (http://infestwisely.com/), a lo-fi sci-fi collaborative episodical film, illustrates the beauty in what is a healthy trend and resurgence of sci-fi, but not in its usual cliché forms or aesthetic. The movie relies on the intelligence of its storyline as opposed to the cost of its visual effects, and comes across as a strange fan film of itself. I am a sucker for melting faces and translucent robots as much as the next person, but without the backbone of a good story it fizzles. This DIY cinema involves realities that seem very present and possible (nanobots, identity theft via DNA, the disappearance of paper money). Most science fiction, and the bulk of what is in the public consciousness, is drowned in bad and abused storylines, special effects, and technophilia. But in addition to Infest Wisely there is a wonderful canon of unsci-fi sci-fi. My favorites include Primer, Dune, the films of Andre Tarkovsky, and the theme music to the new Battlestar Galactica. I would even argue that a film like Alien Nation subverts typical sci-fi by rooting the structure in the buddy-cop paradigm, not too similar to the culture clash of the Rush Hour trilogy.
8. New American Mythology
Mythology sneaks it way into our consciousness/unconsciousness with every new medium. Photography gave us ghosts, the Loch Ness Monster, and a living Elvis. Film gave us conspiracy theories on JFK, Big Foot, and UFOs. Now the Internet has given us John Titor, banking scams, Killer Bees, and a living Tupac with posthumous discography to rival his living discography. All of these constitute a unique American mythology that pops up its heads between the cracks of extreme conservative and mainline religiosity, rationalism, nationalism and science. Neil Gaiman's American Gods is a great work of fiction that chronicles this strange landscape of new and forgotten gods. Robert Pirsig in his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance also speaks to this transition. The altars of our "rational" lives are built to science and mathematics in the place where we use to burn incense and leave tangelos for the many armed, the blue, the ox-headed, the holy ghosts. As the new gods are birthed, the old ones die. The Living Elvis is now actually dead. He died in a plane crash in the Andes.
8. Sci-Fi Everyday Life - Ice Cream and Honeybees
Disappearing honey bees and futuristic Ice Cream are evidence to the ever increasing occurrences of science fiction-esque incidences invading the immediate present. It more often feels like we are living in the day after tomorrow than this very day. The unnerving weight/wait to load a MySpace page and its awful interface creates a pending sense of doom and apocalyptic heralding. That combined with the disappearance of bees and the diminishing return of CGI graphics seems also to indicate a nearby mega-cataclysmic event from micro to cosmic. Fortunately shaving razor advancements and futuristic ice cream (i.e. Dipping Dots, Daiquiri Ice from 31 Flavors, and Astronaut freeze-dried Ice-cream) are a reoccurring theme of the hope and promise of the plasticity of science in the manufacturing of personal hygiene care and food stuffs. On the ice cream front, Cold Stone and its mix-in stone slab variants seem to me to indicate a reactionist and lashing out against the future of ice cream. Don't let your ice cream be mashed on a slab of rock.
By Dusted Magazine