2019 should, for all intents and purposes, be the best year the Wu-Tang Clan has had in a long, long time. They have not one, but two TV shows and are touring the country celebrating the 25th anniversary of their 1993 landmark Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). They’ve survived public feuds, … More »
Hasta El Cielo
[Dead Oceans/Night Time Stories; 2019]
No topic is ever exhausted. There is always another voice, another way to voice. An iteration might literally arrive on the wispy tail of a reverberation or inspirationally from the ghosts riding that same trail. We wonder, what was its origin? And from where? And/or. In the space of that dash, in one more laterally elliptical, Hasta El Cielo stretches out as/in an unending echo.
This album has multiple and mutable origins. One is Khruangbin’s career-defining 2018 record Con Todo El Mundo. (If you’ve not yet heard that one, please stop reading now, head here, and then return to us after that informative break.) Hasta El Cielo is made up of dub remixes of its precursor’s 10 slow-burning instrumental funk tracks, which forefront a bare-bones setup of drums, bass, electric guitar, and occasional vocals, all awash in the countryside and a host of “world” influences.
Iranian music is a key influence for Con Todo El Mundo, while Thai and other Southeast Asian musics guided their debut release, 2015’s The Universe Smiles Upon You. But it’s Jamaican dub that exists/persists as an overwhelmingly central authority across all of their works — another form of beginning.
In an interview with 3voor12 Radio, Khruangbin explain how they initially intended these remixes to be released on cassette and only available for purchase at live shows. As guitarist Mark Speer explains, they wanted to make specialized impressions “for the heads.” The project then grew and formalized beyond the band’s initially humble intentions; but even with its current size and scope, it still exists in intimate relation.
The remixes on Hasta El Cielo are not so much tweaked tracks or noodly B-sides as solid reliefs melting into air — sound sculptures in their own right that, déjà vu-like, take the sonic stories of Con Todo El Mundo and spin them out with heavy tongues in traditionally resonant drum and bass-heavy dub fashion. They describe dub as a stylistic “prayer.” They sink deeper into the idea. They use the aesthetic surfaces of dub as conceptual hinges to explore memory, and memories of memories — memories that spin out into spacey, yet still beautiful, noise.
I am not interested in this work as “prayer.” I am interested in how they characterize dub legend Scientist’s work — who contributes two of his own remixes to the album — as creating an idea of “frozen time.” Because this is what they have done: cryogenically locked themselves into Con Todo El Mundo as if in a town with 1,000 slowly shifting walls from which they will at some point emerge. They want to stop and re-mesh with the place of their work in space and texture. They want to send an oozing bass riff, a heavy guitar lick, a drum-shivering boom down the plane of Con Todo El Mundo and watch the sound waves merge into that album’s horizon. Their work bounces back to them like a memory with the old details warped and displaced.
As dub creates stripped canvases to then be used to host further expressions, so do these versions. They encourage engagement and further remixing by projecting the past and present into an unknown future. Planes for more tinkering. Plowed fields. Fertile ground. What might grow there?
A city with a vibrant music scene and appreciation of electronic music, Mexico City has become a hotspot for touring electronic artists in recent years. Returning for the 2019 iteration of the event, Mexico City’s Ceremonia Festival has announced an exceptional lineup including performances from Massive Attack, Aphex Twin, and more.
In addition to the exciting headliners, Ceremonia has brought an eclectic array of electronic and indie talent to their esteemed festival. Jon Hopkins, Kaytranada, DJ Koze, and Modeselektor will provide a day full of grooves, as rebellious Russian punk rockers Pussy Riot and the unbelievably funky Khruangbin will hold down the fort with live band performances. With acts crossover acts like Yaeji, Rosalía, Ambar Lucid, and serpentwithfeet rounding out the lineup, Ceremonia is bringing a variety of must-see talent to Mexico City this April.
H/T: Consequence of Sound
Rumor spreadin’ ‘round…in that Texas town…
The rumor is true: Marfa Myths is back in 2019 with a line-up that makes other weekenders look like a turn spent fixing the lawnmower followed by a jaunt to Baja Fresh with your boss and his step-son. Established in 2014 by non-profit organization and cultural arts space Ballroom Marfa and Brooklyn-based indie label Mexican Summer, Marfa Myths is a multi-disciplinary festival, curated with care and now entering its sixth installment.
If you need a reason to visit this lovely far west Texas town (three hours south-east of El Paso), here’s SEVERAL: Marfa Myths 2019 will take place from April 25-28, 2019 and includes performances by Khruangbin, Deerhunter, Annette Peacock, Cass McCombs, Vivien Goldman, Tim Hecker & The Konoyo Ensemble, Träd, Gräs och Stenar, Photay, Jess Williamson, and more. Additional acts are expected to be announced in the new year.
One of Marfa Myths’ more inspired features is its musicians in residence program that pairs two amenable acts to play and record. 2019’s MiR will present none other than skilled psych-boffins Drugdealer and Tim Presley (White Fence). Along for the festivities are visual artist in residence Natalie Anne Howard, and respective painter and woodworker in residence (and fabulous musicians in their own right) Connan Mockasin and Cate Le Bon. A portion of the festival’s proceeds will be going to support the very worthwhile local nonprofit organization Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA).
Early bird tickets are sold out, but full-price single day tickets and festival passes are available here. A quickie trailer and the line-up so far are shown below. All the info you need for Marfa Myths 2019 can be found here.
Have mercy…a haw, haw, haw, haw…
Marfa Myths 2019 Lineup:
Tim Hecker & The Konoyo Ensemble
Nadah El Shazly
OG Ron C & The Chopstars
Träd, Gräs och Stenar
Kate Berlant & John Early
Superstar & Star
The Space Lady
Emily A. Sprague
Musicians in Residence: Drugdealer and Tim Presley
Visual Artist in Residence: Natalie Anne Howard
Painter in Residence: Connan Mockasin
Wood Worker in Residence: Cate Le Bon