Music Review: Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones – Vicious Circles

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Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones

Vicious Circles

[Planet Mu; 2018]

Rating: 3.5/5

What is “maximalism”? The question is a vexed one, but the medium of music may help clear it up:


Whatever it is, it was once very much out of fashion in alternative music circles enthralled only by authenticity. But those days are long dead, buried deep in the shady crevasses of the uncanny valley, with the rise (and rise and rise and rise) of the “post-rave” aesthetic well and truly dawned and casting long shadows over the landscape.

Vicious Circles drinks from that hyperreal well. It bears more than a passing kinship to PC Music, but situates itself somewhere in the middle of PC’s opposing poles of lashings of syrupy kawaii, facing down experimental in-your-faciness. Fractal Fantasy, Hawke and Jones’s label/platform, creates 3D environments that are the pristine face of body horror and the video game aesthetic, like a paradoxically updated version of the 80s future fantasies beloved by the vaporwave kids. Both artists have a penchant for collaborations — Hawke’s including vogue/ballroom legend MikeQ and Kanye West, and Jones’s most notable being with Jlin.

Vicious Circles by Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones

So it’s all about the tendrils and tentacles, and they twine together in the tough, shiny tunes on Vicious Circles. In the past, Hawke has mined a vein combining intense-but-cerebral dance music with a certain melodrama and architecturality that’s atmospherically, if not sonically, reminiscent of post-rock — as on 2017’s stunning “They Can’t Love You.”

Developing this vein into weirder territories, one of Vicious Circles’s highlights is the ultra-dramatic “God,” which mutates a Bulgarian choir sample into a catchily deconstructed hook with an orffully Orffian impression. This unexpected juxtaposition brings two genres into a relationship that coaxes out and reveals something in each that existed before, but invisibly. In doing so, it reflects the organic chromium aesthetic of their project.

Ironically, this maximalist work can feel a little slight elsewhere, a little “instrumental” — not an EP, not yet an album. But then emotive closer “And You Were One” flutters, hiccups, and coos its mercury tears into your system… intravenously.

Baauer and Miquela deliver lyric music video for unapologetic new single, ‘Hate Me’ [Watch]

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Baauer and Miquela deliver lyric music video for unapologetic new single, ‘Hate Me’ [Watch]Baauer Sus Boy E1458523018412

Baauer and rising Internet phenomenon Miquela exude a collaborative edge on “Hate Me.” A spunky, no-holds-barred production that confronts Miquela’s meteoric rise to online notoriety, the single’s video shuffles between images of Miquela screen grabbed from the starlet’s Instagram, and a colorful patchwork of grabby video clips of the featured vocalist. Baauer’s latest delivery comes by way of the track’s accompanying lyric video, which is also remarkably Miquela’s first moving on screen appearance.

While Miquela provides the video visuals and vocals, Baauer chips in with an eccentric, snappy trap beat that lends a grit to the unapologetic number. Baauer and Miquela’s careers bear a number of notably resemblances. Both are children of the internet who rose to viral fame — propelling Baauer to a league only otherwise occupied by Drake with 100 million streams in a week. Considering neither collaborator is a stranger to the dangerous dichotomy of internet notoriety, Baauer’s latest, “Hate Me” rides a narrow line, coming through with some considerable viral appeal of its own.

Disclosure – “Moonlight”

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DisclosureAt the beginning of the year, Disclosure revealed that they were working on their third album, the proper follow-up to 2015’s Caracal. The British production duo announced last year that they were taking a little break from music to rejuvenate and regroup, getting out of the studio and off the road. More »

Watch: Brother JT – “Zabriskie”

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You guys out there might be asking, “Ryan, what is up with your bizarre infatuation with Brother JT?,” to which I’d reply, “Hey, none of your business, you nosy person.” Of course, come to think of it, it actually and literally IS your business, because you’re here, reading this right now. Taking time out of your day to pay attention to me.

So I guess I owe you guys an explanation, and probably an apology.

Apology first: I’m sorry I upset you. Let’s move past it, if we can.

Now, the explanation: You saw the “Hey boppa re boppa” video, right, the other video from Tornado Juice (Thrill SUPERFLY Jockey)? All that acid-head stuff, all the trippin’ balls? You know Brother JT did a song once called “Sweatpants” and another one called “Muffintop” (among thousands of other things, give or take)? You know he’s from eastern PA, just like me? Do you know what comes out of eastern PA besides acid-head garage popsters and transcendent music writers and, like, crayons?

Nothing good, probably.

So when something worthwhile does come out of there, you take notice. Take “Zabriskie,” a NEW video, in which the good brother portrays Count Orlovsky (Russian émigré) in an Ouija-enhanced encounter with Diamona Lil (clairvoyance). Spoiler alert, he gets William Tell’d. But not quite. Figure that one out for yourself — which is surprisingly easy to do if you just WATCH THE VIDEO.

“Zabriskie,” also a prime Tornado Juice cut, is another slab of Bro JT’s patented blend of leery lysergic rock, fit to slime its way into your earholes like an unbusted, hot-dog-eating poltergeist.

Yes, you read that right.

Stream Whitney Ballen’s Debut Album You’re A Shooting Star, I’m A Sinking Ship

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Whitney BallenYou’re A Shooting Star, I’m A Sinking Ship is a mouthy album title, an apt declaration that matches up with Whitney Ballen’s emotional state on her debut full-length. She’s concerned about saying too much all the time, and then not saying anything at all when it really counts. Her songs are sweeping, cinematic expressions of … More »

Disclosure return with another surprise original work, ‘Moonlight’ [Stream]

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Disclosure return with another surprise original work, ‘Moonlight’ [Stream]Disclosure Live Credit The Grammys 1

Disclosure are officially back in action. The Lawrence brothers announced an indefinite hiatus at the beginning of 2017, and it has been three years since their sophomore full-length offering, CaracalNow, the UK duo appear to be firing up the engines once again, following up a surprise release in May, “Ultimatum,” with a brand new original work premiered by BBC Radio 1‘s Benji B and Annie Mac, called “Moonlight.”

The latest face to get the signature Disclosure silhouette treatment is that of Victor Young, famed 20th century Chicago-born composer and violinist. Among his lengthy list of credits across the 1930’s is “Moonlight Serenade (Summer Love),” and judging by the title of Disclosure’s new work, the pair have drawn inspiration from the late composer for their newest fizzy, mid-tempo house groove. While there aren’t any further details on a formal project underway from the “Magnets” producers for now, they seem to have had a productive studio stretch during their hiatus, which now may be coming to a permanent end.

Featured Image: The Grammys

♫ Listen: Bamba Pana – Poaa

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Thankful for Soe Jherwood for reminding me Nyege Nyege Tapes is on the ball, because their most recent release of Bamba Pana, Poaa, seizes the moment like law jaw. Almost in mid-air, the beat grabs you and twist around muscles from skin, levitating two-time; two-time levitation, when flesh rips from sinew, amid beat blunders of the right mix. Same way movement connects physically to the sound and practice of improvisation, Bamba Pana displays an understanding of DJ culture in the art of sound production, connecting the similar mediums as a playful frolic in Poaa.

Jumanne Ramadhani Zegge a.k.a. Bamba Pana is one of the core producers, alongside Jay Mitta and Sisso himself, of the Sisso studio – a central hub for MCs and producers of the Singeli scene in the Mburahati ghetto on the outskirts of Dar Es Salaam. Along with his peers, Bamba Pana uses a laptop and software to update the local, usually acoustic and instrumental style of Singeli, computerizing its hyper rhythms and zinging melodies for the needs of younger, contemporary crowds in an upfront, direct way that has translated far beyond its East African roots.

Lil Yachty & Donny Osmond Drop Chef Boyardee Jingle

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Lil Yachty Donny OsmondIn a bizarre product marketing concoction, Lil Yachty and Donny Osmond are featured together in a new jingle for Chef Boyardee. The collaboration is part of a campaign surrounding the canned Italian food’s 90th anniversary. The song, which is called “Start The Par-dee,” is patently ridiculous, of the so-stupid-it’s-funny variety. It finds Yachty rapping lines … More »

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu finally announces her new album Japamyu, entire planet just grins and blinks

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I know, I know…you all read Moshi Moshi Nippon every morning while sitting seiza TOO. But, look, just HUMOR ME, alright?

Because I just learned that Japanese “singer, model, and blogger” (thanks, Wikipedia) Kyary Pamyu Pamyu — hot on the heels of a world tour and the release of DISTRESSINGLY FUN new single “Kimino Mikata” — is now about to do the only other thing left to DO besides touring and corrupting the youth with infectious videos: release her “long-awaited fourth studio album.”

Japamyu (which I guess is sorta like “Japan” + “Pamyu,” which sounds about right at this point in Pamyu’s stratospheric career) is due out on September 26. And while I’m not really sure what the full tracklisting will be, apparently we can all can REST the fuck ASSURED that it “includes hit songs like ‘Sai & Co,’ ‘Harajuku Iyahoi,’ and ‘Kimino Mikata,’ as well as a cover of CAPSULE’s famous song ‘Koi no Hana’ (2001).”

In addition to the ever-durable CD version, the album’s initial limited-edition CD+DVD pressing will include a special photo book featuring the artwork (created in collaboration with Art Director Mitsuo Shindo and viewable below), as well as “a DVD of Kyary’s final 23-song performance of her 2017 KPP Japan Iyahoi Tour at NHK Hall.” You MIGHT be able to pre-order these things over here somewhere, but I don’t really know! I can’t really tell!! But I’m not worried, are you?!

But, so…what the heck took her so long to collect all these jams and more onto a new record, you ask? Don’t worry; Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has a typically unimpeachable explanation for that:

Sorry for making everyone wait so long, My first album in four years Japamyu is finally here! You can look forward to enjoying an oriental vibe. There’s lots of songs that are going to be fun live, so definitely listen to the album and come to the hall tour!

Aww! So ADORABLE! I just love her! WHAT “hall tour?” I don’t know! But who cares!! I just can’t disagree with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu!! Can you!??!

Watch: RAYPHAZE – “Moe Shuffle (Odd Nosdam Remix)”

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Oh hey, didn’t see you there. Now that I know you’re lurking, care to peep this RAYPHAZE video, “Moe Shuffle (Odd Nosdam Remix)”?

You do? Great! Just go on and press play. It’s easy. I promise.

Thing is, this video is pretty transformative, so be careful not to time travel or somethin. Dome shifting is a real thing. Take caution.

You know what, if you do time travel, take me with you. Plz.

“Moe Shuffle (Odd Nosdam Remix)” is a cut off RAYPHAZE’s (a.k.a. Ray Phaze Tropic) new tape, Wobbler, out now on ((Cave)) Recordings.