Archive for the 'Electronica' Category

Body Language

LA’s underground electronic scene has been getting a lot of attention recently with some newsworthy surprise appearances by the likes of Odd Future and Thom Yorke at venues like Low End Theory. It is with few exceptions (like Toro y Moi), however, that you hear much about is what’s developing within the East Coast’s underground electronic scene. Body Language represents one such development that you should be aware of. A frequent guest at NY clubs CassetteNYC and Percussionlab, Body Language is beginning to generate some serious buzz – and not just within the Big Apple, but upon the airwaves of college radio and your KCRW-esque local indie stations.

Body Language have actually been around since 2009, when they released their first EP, “speaks,” an intermittently funky and downtempo experience that ebbs along smoothly thanks to the excellent integration of its flowing synths and vocal harmonizing. I was first drawn to the group having heard the track “Sandwiches,” which is so chock full of sandwich-related sexual innuendos that you can’t help but divert your attention to its playful and infectious progression. Other standout tracks include “New Day” and “Work this City,” which clearly draw from existing indie-electro crossover artists but take on a decidedly original feel by capturing the late-night, seedy atmosphere of the modern metropolis.  Be on the lookout for lots more material from this talented group (comprised of Grant Wheeler and Matt Young on synths and Angelica Bess on vocals), especially considering that they’ve been landing supporting gigs for Zero 7 and School of Seven Bells. You can actually download their second EP “Social Studies” (released in January) for free off their bandcamp site. But don’t expect free downloads from these guys much longer!

DOWNLOAD SPEAKS

Chris

…And We’re Back

If it serves as any indication of just how long it’s been since this site has been updated, I actually had to reset my wordpress password because I’d forgotten it. Like the other contributing members of this music community, as curator I too have been pretty sidetracked with life as of late (like…studying in Argentina, for instance). However, I was inspired to resurrect the blog after a couple of recent occurrences prompted me to action, namely the due recognition a friend of mine is receiving for his excellent new blog – thedancingrooster.com – along with some coincidental inquires about the fate of this blog. Well…it IS still here! (Ironically, the site received thousands of hits in its months of inactivity. Why thank you, Google.)

That being said, how about turning to the business at hand: Music. And what an exciting time its been since the last post I made in May, 2010. Rather than the exhaustive process of covering all that’s happened, I’m going to focus this post on two emergent artists that I strongly feel are going to have significant breakouts in 2011: Tame Impala and Toro y Moi.

Tripped Out, Mate

Let’s start with the Aussies. Based out of Perth, Tame Impala is one of the newest members representing the neo-psychedelia movement taking place in Western Australia, along with other bands like Parades, Red Riders, and Wolf & Cub. While they’ve been fairly well known in their own country since their EP release in 2008, it was only recently with the release of Tame Impala’s debut LP “Innerspeaker” early last year that they began generating serious chatter in the US. I first stumbled upon the band while cruising around last.fm last year and was immediately drawn to the group’s vintage psychedelic sound. Listening through the tracks’ grooving, washed-out guitars and deliberately crafted synth riffs harkened mental comparisons to Cream’s Disraeli Gears. Indeed, Impala’s achievement of such a classic 60’s sound made more sense when I learned that the band recorded the album in a strictly analog studio. Now that’s doing it right. And lyrically, the band’s spacey and cryptic song-writing adds additional intrigue. There is one line in particular from the track “Solitude is Bliss” that I think helps sum up their sentiments quite nicely; “There’s a party in my head and no one is invited.” Although paradoxically, Tame Impala’s 11  track odyssey gives us listeners ample opportunity to spectate. Enjoy the vibes and be on the look out for the hype to surround this artist in the months to come. I suggest checking out the singles “It’s not meant to be” and “Lucidity” for starters.

DOWNLOAD INNERSPEAKER

Too Hip

Completely switching gears, I’d also like to draw attention to the emergent artist Toro y Moi. Toro y Moi is the stage name used by electronic artist Chazwick Bundick, who at just 23 years old is one of the rising stars in experimental electronic music. A South Carolinian native, Bundick draws much of his influence from his parent’s multi-ethnic Phillipino and Black heritage, especially in the extensive vinyl and tape collections they amassed while being part of the underground NY music scene in the late 70’s . Upon listening, it is transparent that Bundick has a talented ability to fuse together a rich pallet of diverse elements, making his music a bit hard to singularly define (although it has been associated by some critics to the chillwave movement of summer 2009). For me at least, the ambient nature of his music broadly sounds like a flowing mixture of Passion Pit’s pop aesthetics (at least lyrically) with the laid-back background textures of Bonobo and some of the pulsating syncopation of Flying Lotus. If that sounds intriguing, that’s because it is. Toro y Moi’s debut 2010 album Causers of This is an excellent debut effort. From the beginning of the first track, “Blessa,” Toro y Moi’s Causers of This takes on an almost dream-like quality, perrfect for some late night listens. But enough of my attempting to abstractly describe what it sounds like, you’re just going to have to experience it for yourself!

DOWNLOAD CAUSERS OF THIS

-Chris

*Note: I realize many of the links below have stopped functioning; I’ll work on updating them in the next few days

The Origins of Sampling: The Light and the Dark

Today I bring you two of the earliest and most influential albums in the formation of sampled music…Except these albums come back from a time before sampled music became commercialized. Like any other genre, once sampling became popular, creativity and innovation went downhill. Now contemporary artists like Kanye drop a clip of Steely Dan into a song and people think they’re virtuosos. Instead, imagine entire albums being constructed purely of vinyl samples and you will arrive upon work of the Avalanches and DJ Shadow. These groups were the true virtuosos.

At first I did not mean to complicate the post with two artists but I simply cannot mention the Avalanches without also mentioning DJ Shadow. For me, these two are like Ying and Yang. And in a way, that metaphor perfectly distinguishes their sounds – Light and Dark. Which one should we look at first? Light it is.

2000’s Since I left You is the Avalanche’s only LP. And you’ll soon find out why – it took a paramount degree of effort to put together. The story has it that one day the band’s two main members, Robbie Chater and Darren Seltmann, were cruising around a garage sale looking for old vintage instruments. In their search they came upon a stack of hundreds of vinyl records being sold at bargain prices. After discovering some really cool riffs and beats while listening to many of these no name artists from the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, Robbie and Darren started looping and sampling segments of the albums into single tracks. What began as an experiment soon became an obsession and Since I Left You slowly emerged from a pile of forgotten albums. Explains Chater, “the more rejected and unwanted the record that a sample comes from, the more appealing it is”…The band estimates that the album contains over 3,500 (!!!) different samples, ranging all over the place from drum beats and vocal cuts to recordings of horse neighing. From the opening track, the album is uplifiting in its positive, danceable vibe. Its many layers combine to create a rich pallet of buoyant optimism. I agree with the band in that the album sounds almost like a type of international love story – a lighthearted flirtation with the entire medium of music. Highlights include “Since I left You,” “Close to you,” “A Different Feeling,” and “Frontier Psychiatrist.” Check out a music video of the title track below, you cant help but smile.

If the Avalanches represent the light side of sampling, DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing is its darker, more moody cousin. Released in 1996, Endroducing is actually a couple years older, and is commonly held to be the very first album to be constructed entirely from samples. Similar to the concept behind Since I left You, DJ shadow compiles recordings from all over the place (old tv shows, jazz, hip-hop, etc) except his music has a much different story to tell. Shadow’s music takes on a much more Trip-Hop like sound, emulating and building upon earlier artists like Massive Attack. The dance-ability of the Avalanches is replaced with a brooding, contemplative outlook – the type of music you would chill to at the end of the night in a downtown loft. Even the name, DJ Shadow, induces listeners to investigate the darker aspects of life. It is a much more heavy and spiritual experience than the Avalanches offer – the type of album that has a time and a place but is always rewarding. You probably won’t be putting this on your party playlist, but it definitely should occupy a coveted spot in your music collection. Highlights include “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt,” “Transmission 1 (and 2)”, and my personal favorite (its sooo good) “Midnight in a perfect world.” Enjoy both these fantastic albums

DOWNLOAD THE AVALANCHES

DOWNLOAD DJ SHADOW

-Chris

Body Riddle – Chris Clark

 

sometimes known as Aphex Twin's next disciple

Probably one of the greatest influences for my music recently has to be Chris Clark of Warp Records. With about 6 LP’s released, his sound grows tremendously with each release and has become one of the driving forces for this new style of IDM. I’ve listened to almost every single one of his albums and have been blown away each time by his meticulous sound design and production value, two things that are generally unappreciated but — when done right — can create soundscapes of epic proportions.

In his 2nd to recent album, Body Riddle, Chris Clark employs the use of his own homemade samples and an MPC to generate his complicated beats. As much as it is to say that Flying Lotus‘ beats are just as crazy, Clark’s style is just that much different. He started off producing in his dorm, but his style stays very archaic using his own samples, tape machines, and an old computer to work it all out (Squarepusher-esque ain’t it?). He loves to dabble with samples, usually taking a 1-2 second clip and mangling it until he doesn’t even recognize it anymore. In an interview, he mentions that he’ll dabble with a sample he can’t even remember how he got there in the first place…but it still sounds good!

Body Riddle (he shortened his name to Clark since this album)

Take songs like “Night Knuckles” or “The Autumnal Crash” for example…the sheer audio soundscape that he creates as you put your headphones on to these two songs just take you for a ride on its own. In songs like “Ted”, the nice jingling melody over a jazz-infused percussive rhythm — not to mention listen to that kick THUMP in contrast to the melodies!

As a quick taste for his style…I’ve included an awesome music video of one of his songs, “Ted”, below. Please try and use headphones (and don’t skip ahead of the song, you impatient fucks ;))!!

Hoping to give you guy another great album this week. Here is Body Riddle. Enjoy.

Chris Clark MYSPACE

Download Body Riddle

His newest album, Totem’s Flare, is tripper if not MORE than this album and I highly suggest it to anyone into this kind of music, but please let me know what you guys think of this album so I can upload more to your guys’ liking in the future!

Tomio

Flying Lotus – Los Angeles

If you haven’t heard of this man, then perhaps you’ve watched Adult Swim on Cartoon Network– ever listen to the weird background music when they flash bad punny jokes on the screen? That’s probably Flying Lotus.

Flying Lotus — née Steven Ellison — is the grandnephew of Alice Coltrane: a convenient and eye-catching association that will follow Ellison’s career each step of the way. In fact, it was Coltrane’s gentle nudging that pushed Ellison’s career ambitions from filmmaking into musicmaking. Flylo’s been producing music for nearly a decade, but lend your ears to his defining sound and character: Los Angeles. Although this album has only been released since 2008, it’s been getting nationwide recognition for its spacey, floaty, and yet hiphoppy textures. His mastery over an organic beat rather than a typical 4 on the floor dance track is just something to really appreciate about this album as well.

It’s really hard to explain this entire concept album into words but it’s something you definitely have to listen to in one go and not skip around tracks. Throw on some headphones, close your eyes, maybe take a toke, and just get lost in the ebb and flow of this hazey new atmosphere that Flylo’s pioneered in the electronic music world…a genre that I dub “spacehop”.

Here’s a youtube for a quick taste of his sound…notice how full yet minimalist his sound is..

Download Los Angeles Album Here

Flying Lotus Website :: Myspace

Please support him and buy his next album on 4/20 (haaaa) May 4, 2010 : Cosmogramma…it even has Thom Yorke on one of the tracks, now you HAVE to buy it!

-Tomio


*This blog does not upload or store any copyrighted music. The site provides links to, but is unassociated with, file hosting sites such as Mediafire, Megaupload, and Rapidshare. From the Fringe is intended to be used for music discovery purposes only. Please support the featured artists by purchasing their albums. - From the Fringe © 2010

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