I don’t know what this has to do with Korea; no more do I know why doom metal (or sabbathcore as it was amusingly described by the label when Korea was submitted for review) represents the north, and electronica the south. I like some enigma in my music, so it’s not keeping me awake at night, and I’m reluctant to ascribe any definitively programmatic meanings to the music. What I think is really interesting about this album is that it juxtaposes two quite distinct creative approaches, and presents them as a single artistic utterance. Whatever meanings the listener might conclude are central to the work must …
Tag: electronic music
Dementio 13 – Imperial Decimal (electronica)
Historically, the music released under the Dementio 13 aegis has been sufficiently consistent to sound like the work of a single project, but it has also developed and evolved in quite striking ways. The earlier work had a more signally electronic sound, and although it involved some remarkable explorations of texture, was notable more for the way that it manipulated relatively simple melodic and harmonic materials to create a very human, outward-looking creative landscape. It did this from a set of premises that might reasonably be expected to yield a more claustrophobic …
Various Artists – Singles and EPs
There are ‘pieces’ that are undeniably rap, and definitely not poetry, such as The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’, and there are others that are undeniably poetry, and definitely not rap, such as John Donne’s Elegy XIX: To His Mistress Going To Bed. This emphatic distinction is a matter of customary usage however, not of hard and fast definitions, and to look for the precise boundary between the two is to fall into an essentialist fallacy. Nevertheless, many assume the existence of such a defensible frontier, which can make for a strong reaction to its penetration, either of outrage or amazement. The Ruby Kid straddles that imaginary barrier without difficulty; the songs/poems/raps on Strange, Lively & Commonplace are both one …
Various Artists – Album Roundup
Sufficiently independent not to sound ‘indie’, yet aesthetically straightforward enough not to sound ‘experimental’, Neurotic Wreck’s schtick is a pretty accessible art-pop stew; a predominantly electronic production mashes up trip-hop, electro, shoegaze and other downbeat sources, into a melancholy and and carefully textured soundworld, freighted with nostalgia and regret. The album is all about its songs, which is to say it’s as much about lyrics and melody as it is about production, but the creative textures and arrangements are a central part of the utterance; it’s moderately avant-garde, but it’s also furnished with a pop sensibility, and very well put together. It’s not party music, but it’s very listenable, and indeed re-listenable.
Paragaté – Spaceflight Pharmacology (ambient)
Possessed of a melodic simplicity that invokes naïvety, and a harmonic rhythm that deploys some erudition in the service of fairy-tale inevitability, ‘Friendship’, the brief G. Cook piano piece with which Tom DePlonty opens Spaceflight Pharmacology, is a scene setter. Quickly succeeded by a piece that might more readily be associated with Paragaté’s established interest in ambient music, it serves notice to the listener that they should have their ears open, and that their critical responses should be held in abeyance until they have heard the entirety of this hour long utterance. Many of the pieces that follow are more aurally discursive than is common in ambient music, and although atmosphere is clearly a concern throughout, with a sense of…
Various Artists – Album Roundup
The Interceptor (a creative alias of the musically promiscuous Chris Saunders, a man who seems to join or form a new band every week), is a purveyor of electronic music; there’s a definite 8-bit vibe but these tracks are far from purist chip-tune territory. Looking at the project’s fairly minimal online presence we can discern an interest in soundtrack that tallies with the primarily atmospheric content of the music: specifically, these sounds are intended as a soundtrack to killing zombies, driving through apocalyptic wastelands and fighting cyborgs or serial killers. Which might lead the listener to expect something heavy and harsh, in the manner of electro-industrial or powernoise, or some kind of circuit-bent hybrid like Army of 2600 …
Dementio 13 – El Lissitzky (electronic post-rock)
Composers of electronic music, if they wish to work with a relatively accessible aesthetic, face a particular set of challenges: to avoid a sense of impersonality, to make their music feel ‘human’, to make it breathe, when it may in fact move no physical air between the moment of composition and the moment of reproduction, requires the artist to attend consciously to aspects of the sound that occur automatically in acoustic performance. The uniformity of a repeated sound produced digitally in response to identical instructions is not completely compatible with the idea of music as an expression, as an act of affective communication; this characteristic of electronic music can be exploited as a positive (not just to evoke anomie), by addressing the …
Army of 2600 – Return Of The Bloop Beep Buzz (chiptune/ noise)
Chiptune purists may stick exclusively to using sounds as they are synthesised by their chosen platform, but there’s a well established set of musical practices that take the sounds of a Gameboy, an Amiga, or, in this case, an Atari 2600, and liberally mash them up. Mike Bourque likes to slather distortion over his sounds, but he still has an ear for the original context of his instrument; the sounds captured on Return Of The Bloop Beep Buzz are not sourced exclusively from his computers, but they are deeply, nostalgically redolent of the sounds that accompanied many geeky kids’ gaming experiences in the 1980s.
Various Artists – Album Roundup
There’s more than a nod to dreampop and shoegaze in this music, but Lisa Masia and Marina Cristofalo are clearly too in love with the raw and ragged sound of a distorted electric guitar to tame it to the extent that might imply. Some of Wish You Were A Pony is downright heavy! This is pop music, but not lowest-common-denominator, mass-market pop; it’s pop because it’s all about simple, accessible melodies, infectious, danceable rhythms, lush, inviting soundscapes, and, well… fun.
Dementio13 – The Hobbyist (electronic post-rock)
‘Style’ is frequently contested territory in popular music. Widely circulating ideas of authenticity have it that for a creative musician to think about style is to privilege the superficial surface of their work over the deep substance. Musicians are supposed to just be ‘true to themselves’, and the music that comes out will come out, reflecting their influences, but uncorrupted by any contrived effort to conform to any particular generic conventions. This is a bit of silly notion really: for one thing it seems obvious that some element of conscious choice goes into determining whether a given artist works in bossanova or death metal; for another, much of the music that most strives for authenticity comes out sounding conventional and generic.
lextrical – Deletia (electronica/ indie/ folktronica)
Deletia opens with ‘Lunchbox D’, which begins with an obviously electronic backbeat; this is joined a bar later by a saturated, analogue sounding synth melody, and simultaneously by a guitar. This sets the pattern for the album: it is a predominantly electronic construction, but it is a highly organic one, and stylistically it looks toward guitar music at least as much as it does toward electronic music.