♫ Listen: Various Artists: PRIMORDIAL VOID – Primordial Chaos

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Let’s primarily focus here on the Primordial Chaos compilation being the first release on MMJ’s new imprint, PRIMORDIAL VOID: a Massive debut compilation release collecting 20 electronic and live recorded works, featuring Jeff Witscher, Gobby, HKE, Olan Monk, Mukqs, Lockbox, Sentient Gyre, Terribilis, Oxhy, Emamouse, LXV, Theodore Cale Schafer, Angelo Harmsworth, M/M, Waterhouse, Constellation Botsu, Yolichika, Kazumichi Komatsu, Snakepiss, and Modelock & EMBASSY. No-lie, every track is worth it. Told Marcel a while back that he’ll be someone people expect to product/recommend good shit as we all get older. Primordial Chaos is living up to that standard. And sets a potential above ground. In a spastic, paranoid, and tru-g0D mode sonics. Stream and explore:

Music Review: emamouse ✕ yeongrak – mouth mouse maus

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emamouse ✕ yeongrak

mouth mouse maus

[Quantum Natives; 2018]

Rating: 4/5

A little mouse twitches its whiskers, opens its tiny lips, and squeaks forth some prospective pop that scuttles, bumps, hides, seeks, hacks, hurls, seesaws, and tee-hee-hees all the way home.

While an ampersand symbolizes one kind of collaboration, the “X” that links emamouse and yeongrak’s names marks this album as an exploration of the remix. ema assembled the release by listening through yeongrak’s extensive self-released discography and collecting specimens to rework relative to her own post-apocalyptic cartoon sound. The resulting petri-dish of songs toys with bits of yeongrak’s garbled juke, barely-there mutterings pitched to prepubescent heights, and freeform electro-acoustic collage, the latter of which, befittingly, sounds as if it’s leaching into my ears through a shared wall.

Both artists occupy plastic thrones of stardom in the dedicated network through which their releases circulate. This community might be comparable to the one surrounding jelly bracelets: youthful, incredibly loyal, and happy to unabashedly indulge in an aesthetic culture of fandom, which, especially in ema’s case, gains its traction through merchandise. (I have an emamouse t-shirt and have posted about it again and again, so I’m to be included in this mass of super fans.)

If you buy one of ema’s t-shirts and send her a selfie in the shirt, she will send you back a portrait drawn in her distinct manga style. Each time I see these portraits reposted in my Twitter feed, it feels like a particular instance of love, and ema’s work with this release feels similarly personalized and affectionate, although less one-to-one. Here, she challenges herself to engage in multiple, intertwined dialogues with her own creative practice, with her relationship to yeongrak’s back catalog, and with a more conceptual form of music making that I’ve not heard from her before now.

As she writes, “The work of yeongrak is like a foreign land and one’s internal organs. Both a deep relaxation and an ominous pleasantness miraculously coexist.” Tokyoite ema hears a kind of PC-based folklore, full of homely ballads and alien myths, in New Zealand-native yeongrak’s work, and when these sounds are placed in conversation with her own skittering rhythms, helium-heavy vocals, and signature quacking synth, the result attempts to create a “new foreign country” that they, and all of the rest of us involved in the digital dissemination of this work, can inhabit and develop. Utopias can only emerge out of collectivity, and considering Quantum Natives’s own efforts at world-making, mouth mouse maus adds solid acreage to QN’s cooperative, decentralized, and borderless biosphere.

As I click through QN’s world map with mouth mouse maus as my soundtrack, my thoughts seep to slime. Much of the album undulates like a wobbly dome of jello — mouse-shaped dome, slime green jello: a sickly sweet dessert. Too much sugar stings my tongue. Piled into my stomach, it bounces back up into my throat with a queasy smile — slime a kind of public bile made cute to the touch. ema and yeongrak twist this nausea in their fingers and let it sing in such a way that I want to swirl it around in my mouth for a while rather than swallow it back down. They splash around in sheets of slime as if in gorgeous waterfalls. We’re all getting slimed, but they’re the ones loving it the whole time.

Feature: 2017: Favorite Cover Art

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Absurdity’s dead, and we, the citizens of the digital sphere, killed it. What good is Pynchon when our president’s penning a postmodern novel in real time, weaving all-caps interjections and sporadic entanglements with B- and C-list celebrities into his fragmented Twitter narrative? Does James Ferraro’s work still spark the imagination like it did in a world before real-time ridesharing startups founded their own cryptocurrencies in order to eliminate tipping in the service industry? Do vaporwave’s neo-classical busts feel that lifeless among the animated emojis we use as virtual masks? Even the most surreal, depraved nooks and crannies of the internet feel like home.

“Looks like I’m in the weird part of YouTube again,” reads a comment I’ve read a hundred times before. Maybe it felt that way to the user who posted that four years ago. I wish I could feel unnerved by hyperrealistic CGI or creepypasta lore. But how can I when I feel like I’ve been a voyeur all my life, peeking into the collective Id of the post-industrial world?

The album artwork that populated year-end lists past has proven prophetic: to fill 2017’s top 20 countdown with PC Music’s CGI-scapes and Babyfather’s pseudo-nationalist iconography would feel like a cruel joke, too reflective of our pessimistic times. Instead, I’ve sought out earthy pinks, blues, and greens — smeared by brushes or scrawled in pen — to sow future-primitive dreams of happier times. I hope you don’t mind some prescriptive color in lieu of the bleak descriptivism I originally planned on listing. We could all use it.


20

chivo carnada – choxxo /koyote

Artist: Agus Wussy

[Self-Released]



19

Los Campesinos! – Sick Scenes

Artist: R.N. Taylor

[Wichita]



18

Dillon Wendel – Pulse

Artist: Anne Tetzlaff

[The Trilogy Tapes]



17

Alex G – Rocket

Artist: Rachel Giannascoli

[Domino]



16

Lil Wop – Wopavelli 2

Artist: HOODxGHANDI

[Bases Loaded]



15

Swept – Cult Desire

Artist: Mason Lindroth

[Self-Released]



14

Communions – Blue

Artist: Tea Palmelund

[Fat Possum]



13

Jessica Says – Do With Me What U Will

Artist: Unknown

[Chapter Music]



12

Minogame – Lemongrass

Artist: Minogame

[The Worst]



11

Jean-Michel Blais & CFCF – Cascades

Artist: Dan Wilton

[Arts & Crafts]



10

Lina Tullgren – Won

Artist: Unknown

[Captured Tracks]



09

emamouse – holiday of tiny coffee shop

Artist: Jesus Belluci

[Belluci Enterprises]



08

clipping. – The Deep

Artist: clipping.

[Sub Pop]



07

Thundercat – Drunk

Artist: Zack Fox

[Brainfeeder]



06

i-fls – wasted

Artist: i-fls

[Self-Released]



05

Robert Soleto – Cusp

Artist: Daniel Sean Kelly

[Upset the Rhythm]



04

Planning For Burial – Below the House

Artist: Thom Wasluck

[The Flenser]



03

Various Artists – The Downward Spiral

Artist: gei

[The Worst]



02

Daniel Saylor – Spring Rain

Artist: John Zobele

[Bedlam Tapes]



01

Stuck in November – First Visit to Camp Telepathy

Artist: Stuck in November

[Self-Released]


♫ Listen: Various Artists: STAFFcirc – STAFFcirc vol. 3⥮: CARDINAL VIRTUE

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Since 2015, UK-based “esoteric frog-based clique” STAFFcirc has been bouncing out chirpy chiptune compilations for the nu era. The first half of volume 3, TERMINAL VICE, was released back in April, and is now completed by CARDINAL VIRTUE, out rn.

The compilation features 36 artists, musicians, designers, engineers, coders, characters, and gamers* sharing sounds that squiggle, doodle, wiggle, weevil, bop, twinkle, sparkle, levitate, coast. Think big plastics, health packs, secret doors, comic books, speech bubbles, talking cats, winged rats, flying through a pink sky on the back of a giant bat on the way to meet friend, foe, boss, oracle, master.

*Emilia K. ~ Chimeratio ~ zabutom ~ Maxo ~ FLOOR BABA ~ nysnamovois ~ stunkbug ~ Vince Kaichan ~ nelward ~ Fearofdark ~ kfaraday ~ mrbuttercup37 ~ Moose ~ Darius ~ Shnabubula ~ Jangler ~ Sean Han Tani ~ Ordinate ~ ✧٩(•́⌄•́๑) ✧ ~ commandycan ~ sylcmyk ~ Red&Green ~ tobyfox ~ Zackery Wilson ~ Kimihiro Abe ~ emamouse ~ mushbuh ~ akaobi 赤帯 ~ Cryptovolans ~ aanaaanaaanaaana ~ Tancla ~ Dream Position ~ Tony Thai ~ Jayster ~ DJ SONIKKU ‘06 ~ effoharkay ~ Josh Cottam

♫ Listen: emamouse – “Tiny mice rice”

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Lil mousies scamper through the walls, always outwitting the cat—so fat. They nest in the cupboards and chew through the bags. A hand shoots into an over-stacked cabinet and feels around for a box of cereal. Rushed morning, missed alarm, hunger! the mousies squeak hehehehe while dodging the groping fingers, fuck, what was that?! What?! I thought I felt something. Find the cereal box and the back’s been chewed out. Stale flakes and freeze-dried fruits spill all over the floor. Mouse in the house, mouse is the bookshelf, mouse in the sink drinking the dirty water that pools in the drain. What do we do? Drown it?! No don’t. So down goes an overturned bowl. Stillness, then it rams its little body against the side, and a tiny claw shoots out from under the gap, grasping, wahh, keep it steady! The sink’s uneven!! Ok, ok, one of us has to do something. Quick bowl up gloved hand I’ve got it! Nooo. A tail disappears under the gap in the molding; a single grain of rice softens in the sink.