Music Review: GAIKA – Basic Volume

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Basic Volume

[Warp; 2018]

Rating: 2/5

This is what Batman would sing, alone, to himself, in his Batcave on a night where no Bat-Signal signals, if he could sing, which he can’t.

This is what the white man’s world doesn’t want to know. Of the black body within a country that doesn’t recognize it. Of the black body being scanned and feared and exploited and shot and killed. Of the mouth that tells it it can’t be British.

This is the false hope that all of this racial and political strife will turn into tears and tears and tears drifting down every cheek in England, of every color, and we will, amid our tears, recognize that we have more in common than we thought, and that life is but a dream.

This is what it sounds like to be rid of your body but still have it, and love it; to transcend it.

This is sound as a form of rebellion, resistance. Of the bodily, of the body’s energy held in a lightness and shedding a soft, unspeakable tone: a light frequency you can’t see.

This is an inner emptiness. An identity mistaken for nothing. Something glossed over as nothing when in reality, it was something. Karmic imprints in our bodies. Traces of the past. Scorpions glowing at night from the moon’s ultraviolet light.

This is how to resist the temptation of a supposed utopic, post-racial space.

This is coming to terms with the beauty of anxiety, stress, physical pain, depression, and thoughts of inadequacy.

This is the sound of having something that they don’t want you to have and that you can’t get rid of. Something sinister, drifting quickly toward nebulousness. Something powerful. Something that you can’t speak of. Something unnameable.

This is how to repel the Evil Eye. How to allow your melancholic restlessness to morph into angelic postulation. How to start praying again. How to restart the ability to imagine who you are. How to redefine your limits.

This is the sound of a thin stench of burning bone coming from a kebab shop’s dumpster.

This is the sound of no end in site.

Aphex Twin announces new Collapse EP in his typically totally straightforward manner, shares new song and video

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Great SCOTT!

The heroic and charismatic Richard D. James is o-fish-ally back from the future with a new EP entitled Collapse and a new video by Weirdcore for the track “T69 Collapse.”

The thing is out September 14 via Warp.

I’d like to tell you more, but the press release LITERALLY looks like this:

All I can get out of that is that the Collapse EP is gonna be… “fun”… “beautiful”… and full of rhythms that are “like cake.”

But still! Rest assured that THIS SHIT IS REAL. Because Warp has the nice, tidy tweet to prove it:

Know what, though? Screw all this.

Here’s the video for “T69 Collapse,” followed by the EP artwork. Draw your OWN conclusions and write your OWN Aphex Twin news post about it (and maybe send it my way when you’re done, okay?):

Collapse EP artwork

The hype is real: Warp Records teases new Aphex Twin ‘Collapse’ EP, which may arrive Aug. 7

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The hype is real: Warp Records teases new Aphex Twin ‘Collapse’ EP, which may arrive Aug. 7Screen Shot 2018 08 05 At 10.37.39 AM

Aphex Twin‘s built considerable hype behind his next project with the appearance of his logo on posters worldwide —including London, Italy, Hollywood, and New York City. Now, a teaser that was posted on Aphex’ record label’s Twitter account, Warp Records, suggests fans might just reap the benefits of the escalating anticipation after all. The cryptic image contains some text clues, and while most of the decipherable words are broken up, a few words do appear multiple times — Collapse EP.

A potential tracklist even seems to make its way into the teaser, which the r/aphextwin subreddit suggests is premiering this Tuesday morning, on Adult Swim via a screen-captured programming schedule.

The hype is real: Warp Records teases new Aphex Twin ‘Collapse’ EP, which may arrive Aug. 7Screen Shot 2018 08 05 At 10.36.17 AM

Could Aphex Twin be planning to release new music?

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Could Aphex Twin be planning to release new music?Aphe Twin Face

A 3D logo eerily resembling that of the renowned IDM producer Aphex Twin has sparked considerable speculation after surfacing in London’s Elephant and Castle Underground Tube Station.

Since surfacing on Instagram, many have grown to believe that Richard D James may be using the posters as promotional material for his seventh album, or at the very least teasing out the possibilities of some upcoming 3D London shows. Speculation is largely based on the fact that the guerrilla marketing campaign closely resembles a similar trail that led to Aphex Twin’s 2014 album, Syro, which was announced with a flying blimp in London as well as logo stencils in US cities.

Further support for the new music, comes from the fact that Aphex was said to have resided in a former bank vault in Elephant & Castle, following the release of his seminal Come To Daddy EP — making the location choice for the posters a considerbly eerie coincidence.

H/T: Resident Advisor

♫ Listen: Yves Tumor – “Noid”

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Yves Tumor is a trickster, deftly perverting the conventions of soul, a beautiful corruption that produces unease as well as fascination. His first single since signing to Warp Records about a year ago, “Noid” recalls that other trickster, the pizza-ruining motherfucker from the Domino’s Pizza ads (yes…I’m sure that’s what Yves was intending). Seriously though, Yves has fashioned an accessible standout here, complete with shuffling breakbeat and mangled strings. The song is an illustrated cacophony, Yves repeating the lyrics like a mantra, anxiety ablaze as sirens and screams launch around him.

Don’t avoid this “Noid!”

Oneohtrix Point Never announces The Station EP, exclusive 12-inch, more Myriad shows

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Imagine electronic music as old people music. In 50 or 100 years, oscillators and filters may very well have gone the way of the dodo in favor of Aural Mindmapping. But maybe the genre will persevere in a repertory form, sorta how some classical and jazz has today. Decades from now, the best concert halls will transform electronic performances into listening events dripping with intellect.

At Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Myriad” show at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, the future had arrived. The gorgeous venue mutated Lopatin’s bleak conceptual meisterwerke Age Of from a mere concert and into a sublime listening experience. Outside the ornate playbills, the show was a peek at electronic music’s potential. Let’s move toward these full-bodied happenings where we exhibit sounds as we display paintings — and there ain’t nothing wrong with keeping it smart.

If you thought you missed “Myriad,” fret not. Oneohtrix is taking the show global to some of the best cities on the globe (shout-outs to Tokyo, Paris, LA) this September and October.

AND on July 27, ‘Trix will be releasing a new EP called The Station, named after a familiar Age Of track and bundled with three unheard ones. This release coincides with an exclusive 12-inch called We’ll Take It, which features the same three new tracks plus a t-shirt bundle if you’re so inclined.

Among the songs is “Trance 1,” a ravey melancholic number reminiscent of Ital Tek or Burial. In other words, pretty Oneohtrix-y. Listen to and/or download “The Station” here, and look out for an accompanying video for “The Station” in the next few days, a song that began as a demo for Usher. (See? You learn something new every day.)

The Station (Digital/streaming) tracklisting:

01. The Station
02. Monody
03. Blow by Blow
04. Trance 1

We’ll Take It 12-inch tracklisting:

01. We’ll Take It
02. Monody
03. Blow by Blow
04. Trance 1

See “Myriad” live:

09.12.18 – Tokyo, Japan – O-East
09.24.18 – Paris, France – 104 Centquatre (Presented by Red Bull Music Festival Paris)
10.22.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Disney Concert Hall

Gaika announces debut album, leads with ominous new single ‘Crown & Key’

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Brixton-born Gaika has announced his debut album, Basic Volume, will be released on July 27 on Warp Records.

Steeped in gothic multitudes, the forthcoming LP is rich with high-concept imagery and futuristic beats. Gaika wants to shift where “normal” is for black UK artists, and as a result, his music is severely distinct, far from the grime, reggae, or coffee table music he explains defines his region.

Basic Volume will feature production work from modern pop’s greatest provocateur, SOPHIE, as well as Jam City — who worked closely as an executive producer on Kelela’s debut —  as well as Dre Skull, Nick Leon, and others.

According to the artist, the LP of “gothic dancehall and industrial electronics” is influenced by “academia, British reggae sound systems, philosophy and political theory… [intersecting] with meditations on his own identity.”

“My thing has always been: be yourself—whatever you are, be that—and people will walk towards it,” it continues with Gaika saying. “I am whatever I say I am. And I want that to apply to all people of colour, all black people. This idea of what we like, make, do and how our art can be defined from outside of us is something I will actively try to disrupt.”

So far, Gaika’s led Basic Volume with the severely sociopolitical new single, “Crown & Key.” “God save the roadmen, goons, and thugs, and the youths beggin’ boots, get their racks from drugs,” he half sings. Evidently refraining from genre limitations, “Crown & Key” is a meeting of industrial dancehall and gothic grime that is unique to Gaika and Gaika alone. His free-thought is carrying an unmistakable air of refreshing British grit, and that’s another incredibly compelling defining feature in itself.

Music Review: Oneohtrix Point Never – Age Of

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Oneohtrix Point Never

Age Of

[Warp; 2018]

Rating: 3/5

“Time begins to emit a scent when it gains duration; when it is given a narrative or deep tension; when it gains depth and breadth, even space.”
– Byung-Chul Han

“One has to become a cybernetician to remain a humanist.”
– Peter Sloterdijk

That thirst, that desire. To present us multiple worlds that work indirectly, circuitously. To create sounds as sensing machines — shredding machines. To wander in a liminal or in-between space both fleeting and graspable, like the tangible heaviness of air on a humid day that fades after rain. Or fog lingering on the mirror after a hot shower. Or the dizzy feeling when blood rushes to your head after getting up too quickly. Age Of overflows with moments like that. Of caught between the between. Of experiencing two emotions at once. Of those that are twin-headed, two-hearted, bivalved. Connected, disconnected; utopian, dystopian.

Even after multiple listens, the songs on Age Of have a strange not-yet quality built into how you access them; they still possess an airy, weightless, featherlike, and withdrawn quality, unable to reveal themselves completely, working through a hiddenness more than an exposure. They act sloppy, in an excessively casual manner, pockmarked and oozing with inconsistencies and anomalies, like the human body, and, more broadly, like humanness. They want to eat your brains, like “We’ll Take It” or throw you down the elevator shaft, like on “Warning.” But sometimes they wrap you in a warmth that only fairy tales can vivify, like on “Toys 2” or “RayCats.” In other words, for the first time, we’ve got a Oneohtrix Point Never record that’s a bit all over the place conceptually. It’s erratic. It doesn’t come with a grand concept. It eats its cake and vomits it up, too.

There’s nothing wrong with the erratic quality; because of it, timelines and simulacra crisscross all about the record. A cyborg-sublime beckons for you to experience it. So do vast, elaborate, unnameable infrastructures ordinarily invisible to ourselves. (But for what purpose do these infrastructures come to fruition? And how do we experience them?) A historicity — straight from the timbre’s mouth — pours forth. Like the harpsichords on the opening track: how they conjure visions of knights throwing serfs into the jaws of moat-crocs for fun; cherubim circulating around the heads of choir singers; sculptures at rest in well-manicured, royal gardens. Woe be on us if we forget about all that Gruyere eaten in awesome grottos all about the Swiss Alps.

Then, with one wave of a magic wand, the historicalness of the music vanishes and 2018 looms in. We’ve been here before. If Garden of Delete was at odds with the male body’s transformation during its adolescence, Age Of is at odds with the permanency of genre and the permanency of composition, hence why it sounds more like a compilation than an album. Case in point: OPN’s performances operate iteratively, treating his songs as fluidly mobile parts able to be assembled and disassembled as he sees fit, thusly confounding the frozenness of his records. Performing live, he allows sound to wiggle and jiggle; to fatten or soften or inflate or deflate; to become violently infected — via gut bacteria or nuclear sludge or botched field recordings — thereby changing the route and direction they take, and especially their behavior; to lead to other sounds that weren’t, and oftentimes couldn’t, be there, but now are, and by the constitution of their being, highlight another possibility, another window onto another landscape, another selfie from another angle, another spell cast in the Magic: The Gathering duel, another tweet written from the cryo-chamber. At its best, Age Of tiptoes around the idea of being completely one with timeliness. At its worst, it can’t get the motor up and running; the dopamine never transfers. It’s why, in a recent interview with The New York Times, he can admit that “things have to become other things, or else I feel unsatisfied and/or like a con man.” It’s also why, in that same interview, he says he “like[s] to take chaos and structure it so it has a kind of comprehensible pulsation.”

Iteration keeps OPN’s dream of a comprehensible pulsation alive and healthy. The chaos and impermanency spawn cyborg-cowboys, alien-cowboys, grunge-guys sitting in dive bars wondering when’s liftoff. (Cue in the deadbeat bass riff of “The Station” for those dudes.) It’s why he favors anti-automation over quantifiability and, by doing so, forms an extreme resistance toward social media’s quantification of our desires and capitalism’s need to accelerate. The whole world can fuck with that resistance. Mark Fisher was right about capitalism when he wrote that it’s “an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie-maker, [and] the living flesh it converts into dead labor is ours, and the zombies it makes are us.” Fuck being a zombie! Age Of suggests.

Anti-automation also favors privacy over publicity, recuperation over speed. Because to be a musician — and I can add here, to be alive — is to view invisibility as a superpower. Music doesn’t have to participate in the language game of life. We are alive on Age Of’s aesthetic battlefield, in the trench of the unshackled referent, between the limits of timbre and the limits of how malleable that timbre is; between OPN’s ability to use the tools in his toolbox and his ability to hear something that isn’t audible yet has a toward-being-audible quality. It’s like a music that you can describe but not play, that nobody could play because of its impossibility, that can only be conceived through the temptation of just how out of reach it is. Again, we’re in that in-between. Because the album can’t be one complete thing, Age Of is its own archenemy; its own princess stranded in a high castle; its own climb up the Holy Mountain. A radical incompleteness haunts it. Moreover, a radical incompleteness completes it. Like when a relationship is a thing but not really a thing. Or when nothing goes as planned. Or our browser history: the mark of ourselves that we leave behind on devices. Or overheard conversations, at once ours and not ours.

Or the space between another’s pain and your acknowledgment of it. Peeling the plastic cling wrap off an electronic screen. Wrapping a piece of blue cheese. Cracks in old leather. Dolly, the cloned sheep. Veggie burgers. Faux fur. Open secrets. Spanglish. Skin peeling after a sunburn. Traces of pheromone altering a bee’s flight trajectory.

Because of its incompleteness, this album will stick with some but detract others. To just have the MIDI be a kind of scent-trail, to have the songs dawdle and lollygag: that’s OPN’s Achilles’ heel. All of their tracings and slivers and dregs and anti-memory and timbre-clouds of speculation and multi-scentedness and overloadedness and trauma and paranoia and violence and primal rush for communication and nuclear DNA and ugly feelings and sonic apophenia and extreme closeups and obsession with performance and intimacy and sloppiness and perfectionism and bizarre techno-sexual energy. All of that malfunctionality: where sound combusts, destabilizes, falls off, become unaware of itself and engages with unncanniness, paranoia, and ambiguity. It’s too much of too much sometimes. But sometimes it’s fucking amazing.

Where does this lead, it coyly suggests. To another world than this, from a cut to coagulation. A fatty, sticky musicianship that forms a resistance against the techno-semiotic chains of automation that autocorrect our texts and organize our thoughts into the digital spaces we’ve come to accept. Then, as it always does with OPN, it goes back to the bodily: an auto-tuned voice embodying the dismembered and the fractal. A voice envious of the desire to be another voice — yet still being. A voice that functions as a sneak peek into its own existence. A voice like a Snapchat filter over your face, making it more attractive. Life’s muck; the memories of an Alzheimer’s patient; a relaxed hyperattention. And then back to the internet begging you to surf it, calling out to you, whispering.

But where does this lead? The problem with Age Of is that it doesn’t make it immediately clear what it wants. That’s also its strength. Once again, we’re in that in-between. The songs have presence yet also reek of the absence of their own selves, of what they could have been. (This could have been a pop song, this could have been a theme song, this could have been the song played at our wedding, this could have been the song we bumped while driving in a spaceship through the galaxy.) Some of them resist the temptation of becoming an earworm, while others, like “Babylon” and “Black Snow,” have the desire to be one.

Because if it doesn’t play in your head time and time again while you try to sleep, did you really listen to it? We need no prophets, we know what is coming, but can we live with that? The parking lots are infernos of yellow light. A green dragonfly glints with the blue of a cloudless sky, blending in with the lake’s edge, like an intro scene to the movie you’ve always wanted to star in. An invisible seed sprouted in the void attaches itself to your DNA while you keep on dreaming your surreal, magnificent dreams. That song you shouldn’t have listened to right before bedtime, just stuck. That internet search that never really ended. Your eyes, even when closed, bathed in computerized light.

Oneohtrix Point Never reveals collaborations with James Blake, Prurient, Anohni on Age Of; shares first single “Black Snow”

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Oneohtrix Point Never is releasing his new album Age Of on June 1. We all know this. But today, we get to know even more, as Daniel Lopatin has revealed further details about the record, including contributions from TMT favorites James Blake (keyboards, mixing, additional production), Prurient (voice), ANOHNI (voice), and Eli Keszler (drums), with additional help from Kelsey Lu (keyboard) and Shuan Trujillo (words).

We’re also treated today to a Lopatin-directed video for the album’s first single, “Black Snow,” a finger-snapping pop track with words by Shaun Trujillo, vocal assistance from Anohni, and lead vocals by Lopatin himself, including a text excerpt from Harmony Korine’s (excellent) Julien Donkey-Boy. The song is inspired by Nick Land’s Cybernetic Culture Research Unit, “a 1990’s collective of artist-philosophers that produced works of performance art, poetry and fiction.” More from the press release:

The original text is detourned into a lyric that equates the incomprehensible hugeness of nuclear war to UHF fuzz, whilst addressing the idea that we are a species destined for confusion. The song’s breakdown is courtesy of a uniqle instrument invented by Hans Reichel in 1987 called the Daxophone, and the outro is dominated by a house music-inspired organ riff shot through waves of noise. An extremely catchy, mutated pop song whose ancestry might fall somewhere between the mood of The Seventh Continent and Bruce Cockburn’s “If I Had A Rocket Launcher.”

Age of is out via Warp on June 1, the same day as Kanye’s new one. Whoa. Pre-order Age Of here, and watch the video for “Black Snow” below.

Autechre deliver second session of their NTS Radio residency

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Over the years, electronic music duo and seminal Warp Records signees Autechre have become one of the most respected IDM acts of all time.

Formed in 1987, Autechre explored techno, electro, and hip-hop prior to shifting into their more experimental IDM style of today. Autechre’s music stands apart in its complex rhythms and subdued melodies. Oversteps, their most recent album, was released in February 2010.

Earlier this month, Autechre announced a widespread release of their new month-long NTS Radio residency which features all new music throughout the month of April.

Their NTS Sessions consists of four two-hour shows, one for every Thursday in April. Now, the second installment is here and it’s a captivating dive into the mysterious world that is the best of swirling IDM. Both entrancing and enticing, it’s plenty easy for listeners to get lost in. Luckily, when all is said and done, the collection will be available in a 12-LP and 8-CD boxset, as well as digitally in MP3, WAV, or FLAC formats.

Stream it here.