Friday, January 14, 2011

What the Fork?!?! - January, Week 2

[For last week's inaugural WHAT THE FORK?!?!, click here]
This was a very good week for totally inexplicably pretentious authorial choices and references to musical movements I didn't know existed. Let's get right to it with three quotes from Pitchfork's first review of the week, the big front page story on the Monday Hipster Times, (1.) Jess Harvell's review of Gatekeeper's Giza EP:

Last year, around the time Salem were causing such an online ruckus by marrying exploitation movie aesthetics to plodding beats, Pitchfork contributor Philip Sherburne wrote a piece on his blog that attempted to link the vogue for "witch house" to a wider trend toward dark, dank electronic music. He cast a wide net, from the krautrock-ish Emeralds to the haunted sound of post-Burial dubstep.

Salem caused "an online ruckus"? Do they have anything to do with WikiLeaks?

Also, LOL at Sherburne for trying to link the vogue for "witch house" with krautrock-ish Emeralds and post-burial dubstep. What a dumbshit.

Gatekeeper combine elements of mid-period Cabaret Voltaire (the eerie, unintelligible sampled moans and growls)

But how am I to think of mid-period Cabaret Voltaire and only think of the eerie, unintelligible sampled moans?!? Am I meant to simply discard the other hallmarks of mid-period Cabaret Voltaire?!? An undue burden has been placed upon the reader!

 the most sinister stalking-you-down-a-dark-alley strains of Detroit techno (think Suburban Knight more than Derrick May)

I almost always think Suburban Knight more than Derrick May, so no problem there.

 and the on-the-cheap choral grandeur of every keyboard-owning "composer" ever tasked to rip off Vangelis' score for Blade Runner.

"Keyboard-owning "composer" tasked to rip off Vangelis' score for Blade Runner" was actually my Halloween costume last year; second most common costume in NYC after Chilean miner.

The vibe of Giza is pure suburban hoodrat thrills, over-amped electronic music made for teenage metalheads playing coin-op games in grotty strip mall arcades.

Little known industry secret: Conan lost The Tonight Show because he just wasn't drawing in the teenage-metalheads-playing-coin-op-games-in-grotty-strip-mall-arcade demographic like executives thought he would.

(2.) From Nick Neyland's review of Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics by Ducktails:

The uptick in bedroom musicians slotting cassette tapes into dusty four-tracks and coating their music with thick layers of distortion reached its apogee in the past year. It's difficult to sift through any music content online without stumbling across reams of opaque artists blurring out the world, many of whom were tied together under the "hypnagogic pop" banner. 

Is it difficult though?

(3.) From Patrick Sisson's review of Prefuse 73/Jaytram/Epstein by Prefuse 73/Jaytram/Epstein (let's ignore the name of the album/artist and go straight into the review):

The Brooklyn-by-way-of-Florida beatmaker and sound artist [Roberto Carlos Lange] isn't exactly an unknown. He's released albums as Helado Negro, participated in Guillermo Scott Herren's Savath y Savalas project, produced Bear in Heaven's latest album, and collaborated with Juliana Barwick, among other projects.

He's also a regular on the popular local game show Williamsburg Squares.

(4.) From Andrew Gaerig's review of Bangs & Works, Vol. 1: A Chicago Footwork Compilation by Various Artists:

Let's be clear: footwork, or footwurk, or footwerk is not blowing up. Not like dubstep or electroclash or hyphy blew up.

What about futwhark?

There is little question why footwork evolved in Chicago: House music birthed the raunchier, uptempo ghetto house (or "juke"), which in turn led to the stripped-for-parts footwork sound. 

This, in fact, answered all of my questions as to why footwork evolved in Chicago.

Unlike, say, house music, which has been refracted into a million directions, Bangs & Works will sound homogenous and alien on first listen (remember back to your first listen to Run the Road or Favela Booty Beats; shit's going to start off a little annoying). 

Try though I may, I cannot remember my first listens to Run the Road or Favela Booty Beats, nor am I totally convinced that these are actual works of music.

(5.) From Joe Tangari's review of A Young Person's Guide to Kyle Bobby Dunn by Kyle Bobby Dunn:

It may seem as though I'm comparing listening to his music to watching paint dry (and to some people, that's probably what the glacially shifting 17-minute drone "Butel" will seem like), but it really is interesting, involving music for fans of ambient drone.

Do any other ambient drone fans out there think "Butel" could have been longer and more glacial, or just me?

(6.) From Philip Sherburne's review of Imaginary Softwoods by Imaginary Softwoods:

That outlier status has helped bring the album to the fore in a catalog that's strewn with cassette and CD-R releases, enough to overwhelm all but the most obsessive fan. It was originally released as a triple cassette on Cleveland's Wagon label in 2008; in 2009, Wagon re-issued it in a CD-R edition of 100 and Digitalis snuck out 150 copies on double vinyl. Finally, late last year, Digitalis brought out a more plentiful vinyl edition, remastered by James Plotkin (who also mastered Emeralds' and Oneohtrix Point Never's recent albums for Editions Mego) and cut at Berlin's Dubplates and Mastering Studios.

I actually have one of Imaginary Softwood's first releases, recorded on a Yak Bak in Fort Lauderdale. 

It's not hard to connect this self-titled album from his Imaginary Softwoods alias to Emeralds or any of Elliott's other projects, like Mist (with Sam Goldberg) and Outer Space. All 12 tracks are based on synthesizers, sequencers, and sound-sculpting effects, and they nod to a vast realm of ambient electronic music, from Krautrock's "kosmische" contingent to Kevin Drumm and Tim Hecker

Q: How much acid do you have to do to exist in a "vast realm of ambient electronic music?"
A: A LOT OF ACID

That's all for this week's WHAT THE FORK?!?! Have fun this weekend, and don't get lost in a vast realm of ambient electronic music -- you may never return.

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