♫ Listen: CDX – Lion Cuts

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Why you’d do this to your cat is beyond me, but I don’t have a cat, so I don’t have to make that call. Tim Thornton does, and what he does with/to his cat is none of my business; if he wants to shave most of it except for the parts that actually make it look like a lion, that’s on him.

But maybe Lion Cuts (Doom Trip), Thornton’s new endeavor as CDX, is the perfect descriptor for cutting away the excess, as it were, and going lean and mean, with a few aesthetic touches here and there for intense flavor and style. Still, Thornton’s approach to drippy disco-synthesizer grinders is workmanlike, getting right down to business without any nonsense, no fuss, no muss. The jams jam in earnest immediately, not not jamming until nearly everyone in a hundred-yard radius is exhausted from jamming these jams so incessantly.

Is it a surprise that these CDX jams were recorded live with no overdubs?

It should be.

These blasts from the Blue Lodge trip smoothly through apparatuses aimed at suspecting and unsuspecting everypeople alike, pulsing unimpeded in false color arteries like mass transit at rush hour in the frictionless future. In this future, everything serves a purpose, nothing is wasted, not a single molecule, not a single note. Thornton’s got the efficiency thing down here, a well-oiled — well, not “oiled,” that would be wasteful. Maybe a well-waxed or whatever it is in the future they have that makes things run smoother. Probably a polymer. Maybe it’s just pure energy. Whatever science has come up with, it certainly hasn’t predicted this well-maned, oddly groomed stylistic anomaly. It’s the only evidence left of excess.

It’s fine, though. No, really, it’s cool.

Lion Cuts by CDX

Mukqs to release new album Any% next week on Doom Trip Records

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Dave Matthews once mused, “It’s crazy, I’m thinking, just knowing that the world is round / And here I’m dancing on the ground / Am I right side up, or upside down?” And to this, I say: we are neither, Dave. There is no up; there is no down. Already as we look skyward toward the stars, yearning to be high above floating in space, we forget that we’re already in orbit, that Earth is already in space. The galactic spirit is here; it’s all around us.

For the record, I’m a big fan of outer space or whatever. But I’m ALSO a big fan of stuff that supposedly sounds like outer space. Funny how space is a vacuum and therefore is mostly quiet, but we humans still insist on associating certain sounds with it. Bleeps and bloops, acid-y bass lines, ambiance, all that good synthy stuff. But wait: Earth is in outer space, floating around, orbiting the sun and shit. And so if we make sounds here…on Earth… isn’t that…what outer space sounds like?

Enter Chicago-based electronic extraordinaire Mukqs’s upcoming album on Doom Trip Records: it’s titled Any%, and I’m telling you, it packs a cosmic punch. And you can hear a track off of it right here, right now. It’s galactic; it’s out-of-this-world; but it’s in-this-world, too. You see, that’s what I’m trying to get at — we want to imagine outer space so badly that we forget it’s US HUMANS making these sounds, it’s US providing the soundtrack. We’re in space ALREADY, for crying out loud!!!

Like, why even bother with rocket ships and all that? With Mukqs at the helm we can go anywhere. Any% is synth-tastic, it’s ethereal, it’s eclectic, it’s all you want and more. It’s here; it’s everywhere. It’s out on cassette and digital September 13. And it’s yours by clicking here if you so desire. All you need is your headphones and a celestial disposition. Sample the magic below via the track “Gaia Saver.”


Any% captain’s log:

01. Debug Dip Setting 08:18
02. Love Machine
03. Opposition to Questioning
04. A5 Demoloin (For Carl Stone)
05. Tentafable
06. Gaia Saver
07. Weathertenko
08. Stolas
09. Cut or Crush Ceremony

♫ Listen: Pale Spring – Cygnus

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There is an alternate universe where Emily Scott is already a household name, and if there is any justice in the world, our universe will soon catch up with that one.

Pale Spring’s Cygnus might be Doom Trip’s most straight-up pop release yet, but a kind of slanted, dour pop with muted, echoed trip hop production, courtesy of Scott’s husband Drew. Scott comes off in her delivery like Dido, Imogen Heap, or Portishead’s Beth Gibbons. Like its avian subject, the swan — a symbol of beauty and grace — Cygnus demonstrates a dignified sorrow at every step, its bowed head a contemplative symbol of its inner workings. Scott plays the part perfectly, her emotive voice a confident manifestation of bare melancholy and regret displayed for the purposes of entertainment. Our attention is voyeuristic, our intention is empathy.

But then the stars.

The constellation Cygnus is a simple cross shape, recognizable enough that Ptolemy listed it in the second century BCE. Pale Spring’s Cygnus contains a similar emotional nexus, connecting head to heart and mind to body, but tenuously, as fragile a point of reference as the constellation’s imaginary lines. It infiltrates like a frigid winter night, sky brilliant with flickering points, air crisp and sharp. And through it all Emily Scott’s voice radiates like melodicized moonlight.

Is she a household name yet?

How about now?

CYGNUS by Pale Spring

♫ Listen: HOTT MT – Earth on Heaven

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I’ve been writing here at TMT for at least a decade now,* and at times it’s appropriate to reminisce about the early days, about those first posts flung into the great digital void for five or six of you to read. In fact, now that my audience has grown by the thousands, I feel like it’s a good time to celebrate and reminisce about my VERY FIRST post for TMT,** for HOTT MT’s “Tranceforming” clip off their lovely AU (Alternate Universe) album. It’s doubly appropriate today, because HOTT MT — that is, Hour of the Time Majesty Twelve, for those of you who like your acronyms spelled out — has a brand spanking new tape out via the lovely and beguiling Doom Trip Records, a goshdarned favorite around these parts.

Earth on Heaven is a stunner.

Strip away some of the AU shoegaze haze for full-on fantasy melodies. In fact, if you want a visual representation of what this thing sounds like, look no further at that crazy cover up there! The mood is purple sky, the guitars and keyboards shimmer against enormous moons like rainbows, and the incomparable feeling of freedom one gets listening sometimes feels like soaring through clouds, other times like horses grazing in open fields. Hour of the Time Majesty Twelve doesn’t sound like some kind of Wiccan name for nothing — the musick needs that “k” to denote the “magick” (pagan or otherwise) that permeates the spellcasted delivery of this hypnotic hymnody.

Nope — not crazy at all that HOTT MT once collaborated with The Flaming Lips.

It’s “musick” but it’s a place, a fully realized magical land conjured out of the HOTT MT minds of Spooky and Ashi. The furthest reaches of this land are held together by spells, each particle of matter enchanted in perpetuity to hold its form. The rules governing the physics of this land are murky to all those untrained in these arts, leading to the discovery of surprise after surprise for anyone who happens to venture over the spectral boundary and into its charmed regions. Earth on Heaven holds you in its thrall, enacting a spiritually curative effect. In fact, I can’t even take credit for that idea…

Or maybe Earth on Heaven just plays like the incidental music at a mana spring. Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

*ED. NOTE: 1 year, 20 weeks, although I understand how that could SEEM like a decade.

**OK, so “Tranceforming” was actually my fourth published post, but it was the first one I wrote for TMT, my “writing sample” at the end of the hiring process.

Earth On Heaven by HOTT MT

Doom Trip assembles Eartheater, NMESH, Mukqs, SWAN MEAT, and more friendly faces for Doom Mix Vol. III

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L.A.-based label Doom Trip Records have been keeping it real for a solid minute now, with a roster including the likes of R. Stevie Moore, Rangers, Mukqs, Diamondstein, and a whole host of other TMT beloveds. But on April 9, they’ll somehow keep it EVEN REALER by releasing the latest installment of their yearly Doom Mix series, gathering some of the label’s finest heads in one place and even rangling some newcomers into the fray.

Speaking of newcomers: Eartheater kicks things off on the very first track! The comp also features new tracks from SWAN MEAT, Nmesh, HOTT MT, Equip, TALsounds, and a whole bunch of other splendid voices from the gurgling experimental underground.

A taste, for example: “Six Winged Angel,” by gonzo ex-TMT writer Mukqs:

Doom Mix Vol. III by Mukqs

Or perhaps this smooth jammer from Vinyl Williams is more your speed:

Doom Mix Vol. III by Vinyl Williams

Again, a completely different vibe from Heejin Jang:

Doom Mix Vol. III by Heejin Jang

If anything, this comp serves once again to highlight the zany and diverse sound Doom Trip continues to launch out into the world; so head over to their Bandcamp to pre-order a copy of Doom Mix Vol. III, and we’ll see you in hell!


Doom Mix Vol. III tracklisting:

01. Eartheater – Concealer
02. SWAN MEAT – ROASTDUCK OPERABYTE
03. Nmesh – KSR Reverse Osmosis Hook
04. Mukqs – Six Winged Angel 03:54
05. HOTT MT – Starheart 03:14
06. Vinyl Williams – Nether Congrenes 03:24
07. Pale Spring – Suffer Soft 04:04
08. R23X – Phantasy III
09. Diamondstein & Sangam – The Heat
10. Niku No Sekai – Floating Hills
11. Heejin Jang – Restless 03:42
12. TALsounds – Mistake
13. Equip – Alchemist’s C-o-r-r-i-d-o-r
14. CDX – Eat Tape
15. Skyjelly – Watch Out
16. Paige Emery – Sinksand

♫ Listen: somesurprises – alt

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Blessed are we to be spiritually fulfilled by somesurprises. Does alt move you? Does it lift your troubled soul? Does it reverberate from cathedral rafters in celestial tones? Is it some sort of holy narcotic?

The Seattle neo-kraut-gazers’ new three-track EP on Doom Trip is a head-engulfing cloudburst of gently propulsive energy. The four(ish)-piece band’s first release since 2017’s serious dreams on Eiderdown finds Natasha El-Sergany and company traversing paths blazed by some of my all-time favorite bands, most especially Yo La Tengo. And folks, let me tell you, somesurprises can “hang with the big dogs”! (Did I just turn into a frat boy there? Yuck.)

“Low on Sleep” is the only track featuring El-Sergany’s voice, and it’s just as lovely as Georgia Hubley’s or Laetitia Sadier’s. Beyond that, “Paolo and Francesca” (kind of like “Pablo and Andrea,” am I right? Just saying) shimmers with nocturnal radiance, but “Alt” is where the real action is. The title track’s nine and a half minutes blaze a motorik causeway straight outta Neu! ’75, punctuated throughout by overdriven guitars. You know Ira Kaplan totally had a copy of Neu! ’75 as a teenager! (He’s sixty now. I feel so old.)

There’s so much feel-goodery packed into alt that I dare you to remain earthbound, weighted by your troubles. I think you will find your outlook much improved by the time alt’s twenty-one minutes conclude. And yeah, that’s a heckuva generous EP length. Blessed indeed are we to be spiritually fulfilled by somesurprises. Rise into the glory of the infinite momentum.

Alt by somesurprises

♫ Listen: Rangers – Late Electrics

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Fuck all this club, dance, experimental, cloud rap, noise, ambient fuckery. Fuck all of it. Let’s fucking rock! Lo and behold: Rangers is back with some Late Electrics. And no matter how old-school rock and roll sounds, Rangers got that feel on lock. So if you’re not able to attend the live party (happening at Stone Henge; drone cam picture below), keep reading and then stream!

Major zoners like “Nile Rogers,” “Dutch Oven” and “Never Expected Much” lock down a humorous feel under a serious tone that jams and highlights some of Rangers expert guitar work. Specifically guitar work that sounds so easy to do, but probably took YEARS to perfect and compose. “Well-Fed Jaguars,” “Apartment Scene” and (title track) “Late Electrics” soar from the past sound we’re all so familiar with when Rangers pop onto our playlists. Definitely a refined flavor of Rangers in these three tracks, but the good-old Teccus boi we’ve all come to adore.

Just the title alone, though: Late Electrics. Like we been waiting. Like Rangers is catching up still. Like a statement had been made. Like we need to keep it a minute behind. Like Doom Trip Records bout that fashion on the reel (or digital). And so is Late Electrics.. so grip now and privy yourself to the whole things streaming below:

Late Electrics by Rangers

♫ Listen: Tarkamt – Live at the Necropolis

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Cherif El Masri, who’s from Cairo, probably considers the idea of playing the Giza Necropolis in the same way as we think of rocking the neighborhood dive bar or the classic basement punk show.

¯_(ツ)_/¯

No big deal. It’s a thing on the weekends, right? We do it. We don’t think about it too much.

Or maybe El Masri, inspired by luminaries such as Yanni and The Grateful Dead, was so energized by the idea of modern technology juxtaposed with ancient history that he spun a setlist perfect for the most bitchin’-est laser light show the Sphinx has ever seen.

Or maybe he just really, really wants to play in a tomb. That’s my guess.

Live at the Necropolis (Doom Trip) wasn’t actually recorded live at the Necropolis. In fact, it wasn’t even recorded live. El Masri, a guitarist (Invisible Hands, with Alan Bishop; Nadah El Shazly’s live band), does, however, conjure long-lost spirits on his debut as Tarkamt, a dark, motorized, forbidding psychedelic/noise feast fit for the damned. He even plays all the instruments himself, like a high priest presiding — except of course when he allows Alan Bishop to flay his enemies with a ripping sax solo on “Et Sic Infinitum.” It’s a welcome guest turn.

Not content to simply ride a ritualistic wave of a post-punk séance, which he does with great success, El Masri allows the forces he’s assembling to speak with their own voices at points, such as on white noise hellscape “Churning the Ocean of Milk” or the clanging “Death Takes a Vacation,” on which an evil spirit (probably) masquerades as a text-to-speech program. These ghosts sound pretty angry, pagan entities existing to lap up the psychic residue of the living. And yes, in the thrall of Tarkamt, these spirits actually are willed into corporeal existence.

They will get in your head. They will stay there.

Tarkamt is the portal.

Thus El Masri shocks with otherworldly affect, powered not only by electricity but also by the currents of the underworld. The sacred and the profane mix, and never have the dead felt so alive. And if you allow Tarkamt to hook himself up to a necropolis near you, he may just end up playing a live show that’ll blast the gigantic stone nose right off your face.

Live at the Necropolis by Tarkamt

Premiere: Mukqs – “ゾッド”

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You already know all about Mukqs’ new tape 起き上がり arriving on Doom Trip later this month, right? Well, if you’re one of the few who don’t, here’s all the info you need.

This particular write-up is here to exclusively present the new visuals for “ゾッド” (“Zod”, if Google translate is to be trusted), track #2 on the aforementioned tape. Made by Christine Janokowicz a.k.a. Armpitrubber (cool name), the video is a glitchy, psychedelic trip, and an ideal accompaniment to Mukqs’ epic techno workout. Clocking at almost 10 minutes, “ゾッド” grooves. I mean, it really grooves. 4/4 kicks, groovy bass lines, meandering synths, ever-developing textures, plus the trippy video: this is one to get lost in.

Enjoy via Vimeo, which I assumed wasn’t a thing anymore. But who am I to know, I’m just ABD. OH! Full tape drops January 29.

Mukqs tries his best to keep us upright with new album 起き上がり on Doom Trip Records

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Mukqs, the moniker of Max Allison — who otherwise fills his time playing music with Good Willsmith or releasing trippy music on his label Hausu Mountain (or, formerly, writing about music) — has announced a new album called 起き上がり.

Huh. If you put 起き上がり into google image search you will see this:


…and this:


While these images in-and-of-themselves probably say enough, we’ve gone ahead and chucked “起き上がり” into a translating app and been told that it loosely translates to “self-righting doll.”

What does this mean in terms of Mukqs’ new album called 起き上がり? Well, let’s see: it’s a collection of improvised electronic experiments which sit atop beds of broken beat sketches and smooth techno that will promise to discombobulate and then make that discombobulation feel normal…like a self-righting doll perhaps?

See if the analogy works with the lead single “Al Saiduq,” streaming down below.

起き上がり will be released January 28 via Doom Trip Records. If you’re feeling self-righteous, Pre-order it here.

起き上がり tracklisting:

01. Al Saiduq
02. ゾッド
03. Marble Gallery
04. Ronaldo Kuriki
05. ヘヘリット
06. Redfield