This is why not everyone is well-suited to the artist life. Unlike most hapless civilians, when presented with a Hawaiian holiday interrupted by atypically cold and windy weather, synth maestro M. Geddes Gengras didn’t get all bummed-out and kick a pineapple. Nope. Being the resourceful electronic music obsessive that he is, Gengras decided to turn the downtime into art-time.
Transforming his hotel room into a miniature studio, Gengras had stowed a tiny synth and handheld recorder in his luggage (like you do when you’re a resourceful electronic music obsessive) and used the limitations of climate and equipment to produce a suite of minimalist, improvised sequences…and viola: the Hawaiki Tapes were born.
Harking back to the early ambient masters (think Eno Budd et. al.), Hawaiki Tapes is like a sonic postcard of chilled-out Hawaiian soundscapes on a frosty evening. And lucky you: you can picture yourself in those chilled-out soundscapes on June 15 when Umor Rex unfurl Gengras’ hotel based synth excursions on cassette and via digital sorcery.
Practice your sonic assisted mental projection with the track “Kīlauea” (whose namesake is actually erupting right now in a genius bit of viral marketing planned out by the Umor Rex crew).
Ugh. I just HATE having to listen to one artist’s goddamn album at a time, don’t you? I just get this feeling like: there’s so many great records out there that I’ll NEVER have time to really dig-in and get intimate with nearly enough of them — hell, I barely have time to listen to enough digital snippets from them to impressively namedrop them in front of my hipster-idiot friends!
Luckily, Umor Rex has got my back. They’ve just announced the impending release of Exit Future Heart — a three-for-one MONSTER consisting of “improvised sessions by the conjoined ensemble of Tokyo-based abstract pop duo Dustin Wong and Takako Minekawa and Chicago’s free music trio Good Willsmith.”
Recorded entirely live at Good Willsmith’s cozy, Chicago digs over the course of a single night when Wong and Minekawa were passing through on tour, the six-track free-for-all “showcases a program of spontaneous compositions that flow through mutated tropes of rock music, focused ambient/kosmische synthesis, and expanses of raw textural sculpting. The singular performance styles and improvisatory gestures of each member of the quintet fuse into a delicate interplay charged more by open spaces and deep listening than by overload or abandon.” Uh…hell YES, please. How’s that for “bang for the buck?”
Speaking of bucks, Exit Future Heart will be available in both limited-edition vinyl and and digital iterations when it arrives on May 11; but since I’m all about cutting as many corners as possible when it comes to expanding my musical cred, I think i’m just going to pre-order Exit Future Heart right here, right NOW and stream the album’s first taste “擬感情物語” (Gikanjoumonogatari) down below. That way, I’ll have the EDGE, baby.
Rafael Anton Irisarri has always had a knack for conveying emotion in his music, and for his newest album on the Mexico City-based label, Umor Rex, he’s making clear that the feelings delivered aren’t contrived from a Spock-like stoicism. A series of circumstances, including a reported “near-death experience” in 2016, led to the now NY-based musician and engineer to consider his own mortality. That moribund mindframe was then compounded by the American presidential election of 2016; and together, those led to a relative flurry of activity at Irisarri’s Black Knoll Studio, which ultimately became the state-of-the-art setting for musical catharsis. Mind you, this all took place before Trump’s actual inauguration, when fears among many were at their paralyzing peak of potential. Be glad that Raf got this out of the way beforehand!
And by “this,” I mean The Shameless Years, the aforementioned new release, which is out August 25 on the Mexico City-based Umor Rex label. The album’s title is said to have been borne out of reaction to the current political climate; although, musically, Irisarri was anything but “ashamed” to utilize software tools from Native Instruments in conjunction with his collection of guitars, pedals, amps, and various analogue gear. Iranian artist (and Umor Rex mainstay) Siavash Amini assisted on the tracks “Karma Krama” and “The Faithless,” which are being billed as marginally more sorrowful than the likely-sorrowful rest. So yeah: The Shameless Years seems to be aiming for nothing less than a truly superlative cohesion of sorrow! (Fun choice for your end-of-summer beach bash?)
You can pre-order the whole doleful caboodle right here and check out the video for the track “RH Negative” below. Also, here’s our review of Irisarri’s prior solo effort, A Fragile Geography. (Another solid option for your beach bash.)