Mexican Summer Archives – Telekom Electronic Beats

Videodrome 104 – This week’s best videos

Please accept this as your weekly invitation to explore the newest and coolest music videos. Today they come fresh from the likes of Dean Blunt, Lace Curtain, Die Antwoord and Disclosure, plus many more.

 

#1 Dean Blunt – “Felony / Stalker 7”

Isn’t that hilarious?

 

#2 METZ – “Get Off”, directed by Chad VanGaalen

A nice animated video for METZ‘s punk rock tune entitled “Get Off”, directed by label mate Chad VanGaalen. “Get Off” is taken from their self-titled album released last autumn on Sub Pop.

 

#3 Lace Curtain – “Falling”, directed by Daniela Velickovic & David West

Australia, again. Here it’s Mexican Summer‘s latest signing from Down Under, Lace Curtain, who teases his Falling/Running 12-inch.

 

#4 Dense & Pika – “Move Your Body Back”

Sorry folks, not a music video but the production is kind of killer. Don’t miss it.

 

#5 Die Antwoord – “Cookie Thumper”, directed by Ninja

They don’t stop, do they? Ninja and ¥o-Landi Vi$$er have done it again and dropped a pretty intense video, which is once more NSFW because ¥o-Landi gets naked and a lot of weed is smoked.

 

#6 Roedelius Schneider – “Hohner Omen”, directed by Detlef Weinrich

Ambient’s not dead, and when it’s served with such classy imagery then it’s double the fun. Taken from the soon-to-be released album Tiden this video is directed by Krediler’s Detlef Weinrich.

 

#7 Stellar OM Source – “Polarity”, directed by Christelle Gualdi

Up for some underwater fun? Then try out Stellar OM Source‘s video for “Polarity”, taken from their RVNG Intl release Joy One Mile.

 

#8 Disclosure – “F For You”, directed by Ben Murray & Ross McDowell

Looks like they’re unstoppable at this point. The latest groovy dispatch from Disclosure‘s debut LP comes correct with another cool video.

 

#9 Josep Xortó – “I Remember”

Cool power pop with the usual VHS visuals for Josep Xortó’s “I Remember”. Produced with a little help from Mikko Gordon who worked as an engineer for Atoms For Peace.

 

#10 Matmos – “Aetheric Vehicle”

A psychedelic video for the dreamy soundscapes of Matmos‘ “Aetheric Vehicle”, taken from their recent Thrill Jockey LP The Marriage Of True Minds.

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Editors’ Choice: June 22, 2013

Rather than operate as a music news source, Electronic Beats operates as a music information source. We want to share with you; we want you to know what we’re hearing, what’s reverberating our cochleas and sending broader vibrations throughout our bodies, and by extension our audio-addled souls. Down with that? Welcome to Editors’ Choice.

 

Lisa Blanning (Online Editor)

Ben Aqua – “Ass Kicked Later”

The Austin-based producer—you might have heard his track with Zebra Katz “Red River”—comes correct with a fresh-sounding club roller using a Missy Elliot vocal sample as a hook.

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Louise Brailey (Deputy Online Editor)

M.I.A. – “Bring the Noize”

Look, I’m as confounded by this as you are. After the iconoclastic mega-pop of “XXXO” and “Bad Girls” nobody really felt like a summer holiday back to 2006. The bone-clattering staccato production and dodgy sloganeering is all well and good, and Switch’s pawprints are all over this thing, but I have a feeling it’s a red herring. Intriguing.

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Moritz Gayard (Online Duty Editor)

Vessel – “Court Of Lions” (Prurient Remix)

Extraordinary rework of Vessel’s “Court Of Lions” by Dominick Fernow, better known as Vatican Shadow and Prurient. Roll it, press play, light it up. Relax.

Ashrae Fax – “Pointbreak”

Up for some goth/ethereal/synth pop stuff? Then try Ashrae Fax’s 2003 album Static Crash. You can pre-order the re-release, courtesy of Mexican Summer, here.

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Daniel Jones (Contributing Editor)

Kanye West – New Slaves (Brenmar Club Edit)

Brenmar posted this slick, sick remix of Kanye’s politicized anti-consumerist rant (this is the guy whose clothing line sells $300 t-shirts, remember) over the weekend and turned a growling beast into a purring kitten of a track. “For my DJs”, his Facebook page proclaimed, and this DJ couldn’t be happier.

V▲LH▲LL – LIKΣ ▲ NIGHT IN THΣ F0RΣS7 [✞JOhN D3nVΞR✞ C0V3R]

In my wildest dreams of pimping out the idea of witch house around 2009, I never imagined John Denver covers. Is this even witch anymore? What is anything, who knows. Just so long as we can finally move past the ‘post-genre’ term, which is the least sexiest description for music ever. That said, I kind of dig this. My mom does too.

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Read previous editions of Editor’s Choice here.

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High Anxiety: An interview with Autre Ne Veut

Autre Ne Veut is more than enough answer to the concern that there isn’t any sincerity in today’s pop music.

Sincerity and high emotion force their way out of his music’s every orifice, twisting its shape to manneristic excess and blasting the listener with new heights of feeling. Since his first self-titled album in 2010, this fearsome expressive urge has made him one of the most innovative songwriters around, pushing beyond any historical connotations his synthesizers and samples might once have had into a strange new 21st century message splayed across electronic fragments, uneven rhythms, and obsessive falsetto refrains.

Yet the success of Arthur Ashin as Autre Ne Veut is in making the message so immediate and human, as well as so mutant—much like Edvard Munch‘s painting The Scream, which features in the earlier video to the single “Counting” and is conspicuous by it absence on the cover of Ashin’s new album Anxiety. We’re surprised to find ourselves sympathizing with the monster because the monster is actually a most human of beings; it’s us.

One of the common symptoms of an anxiety attack is ‘derealization’, the sense that your body is no longer real, that your face and hands belong to someone else. This terror is vertiginously resolved into pure ecstasy on tracks like “Ego Free Sex Free”. In just this way, the portrait becomes a mirror, through which Ashin beckons us to join him staring the trauma of death and self-dissolution in the face (especially on “Gonna Die”), making these emotions not just safe, but sublime to behold. So, it’s unsurprising that when I interviewed Ashin, he described the album as “cathartic.” I’d go one further: it’s therapy.

 

What do you think makes Anxiety different from your other releases?

I would say that there are two primary differences, with considerable overlap. Previous recordings were done completely alone with the occasional guest vocalist. All were done at home, and as a result, there was really only one mind to bounce ideas off of or to play/program anything. This tended to make the earlier recordings a bit more myopic in scope and leaned toward more concise songwriting where there was no open musical space, just an incessant barrage of ideas and stacked sounds. The new record, in contrast, was more collaborative, with other vocalists and players; it is also a bit more sprawling—though the songs themselves were written in advance and more thoroughly conceived—and most of the sounds are given their own little place in the mix.

The studio setting, complete with engineer, allowed me to capture every sound at a much higher quality. There were software instruments used, which was an exclusive feature of the first two releases, but most of the sounds on Anxiety were actually hardware, recorded through high-end analog outboard gear, so there is live space and transistors adding character to each sound. This lent to a subtractive, rather than additive approach to the sonic ebb and flow of the recordings, because I felt more confident in every sound’s quality and value.

Why give the album the title Anxiety? Is the music a representation of anxiety or a response to it?

The album is titled Anxiety as a response to an array of social and professional anxieties experienced over the previous few years. So, ultimately the entire project, Anxiety included, is a sort of cathartic release.

The album cover shows a picture frame. How did this come about, and what is its significance?

Initially the cover art included the image of Edvard Munch’s The Scream within the frame. It was a recreation of the sale of the image. This placed perhaps the most famous modernist representation of anxiety within a capitalistic framework—arguably more anxiety-producing than the image itself. When the image was stolen we were left only with the symbolic exchange and all of the residual tension.

Do you consider your music a ‘portrait’ of yourself or of someone else?

The music is a portrait of my anxieties and frailties, and in that sense it’s very personal, but what I’m also looking to get at is a shared sense of humanity. These sometimes mundane but dark subjective experiences that we all succumb to from time to time.

Many of your songs reference the body. What do you see as being the relationship between music and the body? How does the one affect and influence the other?

I would argue that all of art and culture and science are an exchange between one’s body and the world or society. I just find the mind/body divide to be essentially artificial, since our sensorium so heavily informs the mind and the notion of mind itself is simply a function of the body (brain) working. Music is this sometime-ephemeral non-thing that affects the senses and impels the body to respond.

Two of the songs on Anxiety touch on mortality. Do you think art and music can help us cope with these ideas?

Yes and no. In a lot of ways, I think that ultimately creating art of any medium is a selfish act. Nobody does it if they don’t want to, exceptions being those who feel they do it because they have to (as a profession). The creation of music can be extremely cathartic to me and if it impacts others in that way, that’s terrific—magical, really. But I don’t set out with an intended response.

Your songs are fascinatingly orchestrated, spread in such interesting ways across different sounds and instruments. How do you go about making them?

This record is very different than my previous recordings. It was an extremely subtractive process, where I initially threw everything at a song, creating a sort of rough slab. Electric guitar over an entire track, sax blurts across an entire track, synth lines, etc. Then I just stripped large chunks away, developing the basic dynamics of the arrangements. And continued chipping away until things felt right to me.

How would you characterize the sound of the label Software? What might be your part in that?

I think that the Software ‘sound’ will emerge over time. Daniel [Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never]’s tastes are extremely eclectic, but I think that there are certain threads throughout that tie things together for him. He’s a sentimental guy in a lot of ways, and I think that attracts him to emotional music, but he also values artists that are idiosyncratic and push the boundaries of what is comfortable for the listener. I guess on some levels I do that, and others less so. I have no idea where I fit in exactly, but that probably says more about me than it does Software.~

 

Photo by Jody Rogac. Autre Ne Veut’s new album Anxiety is out now via Software. 

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Videodrome #39 – This week’s best videos

Videodrome #39 - This week's best videos Right, last week was a big week for music videos and we already shared our love with the new videos from M.I.A., Madonna, Miike Snow and Dylan Ettinger, plus celebrated the premiere of Kris Menace’s Falling Star video. But there is much more to explore in that vibrant music video genre:

#1 Holograms – ABC City (dir.?)

This rocks. Holograms are from Sweden and still unsigned. If you run a label go and sign them: NOW.

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#2 Light Year – Moderation (directed by Costa Vakas)

Aussie producer Light Year is clearly one to watch. His sound is about true acid house with sweet vocals on top. His debut EP dropped earlier this month.

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#3 Warm Ghost – Myths On Rotting Ships (directed by Jay Buim & Paul Duncan)

If you can handle some puttering synths and a good dose of soothing chill wave, then Warm Ghost could be your desire. Track is from his last year’s album Narrows.

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#4 Los Llamaradas – Too Late The Possible Lab (dir.?)

Monterrey’s most wanted musicians Los Llamaradas are about to close down their music business, thanks to the bloody drug-war going on in their neighborhood. Have a final listen.

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#5 Napolian – False Memories (dir.?)

Distorted beats by 19-year-old Los Angeles producer, Ian Evans aka Napolian taken from his Rejoice EP, which is out today via Software/Mexican Summer. This newcomer has definitely got some talent.

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#6 Dubkasm ft Rudey Lee & Solo Banton – Emotion / Are You Ready (directed by Gary Thomas)

This is Bristol’s Dubkasm and Rudey Lee, who recently linked up in the studio to produce this groover, which is part of forthcoming Emotion EP on Sufferah’s Choice Recordings.

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#7 Lil B – I Own Swag (dir.?)

Lil B aka The basegood is back with just another funny video from the sunny US-westcoast. We can’t count the amount of videos the L.A. rapper has already dropped but one thing is for sure; we just can’t get enough.

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#8 2morrowsvictory – Parallels (dir.?)

According to 2morrowsvictory facebook, this band hails from southwest London. This lovely video, made for their ‘Parallels’ track is their first visual statement from the upcoming #Odeon EP.

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#9 Jazzanova – I Human feat. Paul Randolph (dir.?)

EB-favorites Jazzanova just released their first video from the forthcoming full length entitled Funkhaus Studio Sessions which will be released through the reanimated Sonar Kollektiv label in may.

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#10 Krazy Baldhead – Surabaya Girl (directed by Flashbacker)

The highly-anticipated single from Krazy Baldhead came out today on Ed Banger Records. The EP includes remixes by MYD (Club Cheval), Tropics, and Victor Aime.

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Beyond Beats Vol. 4

Beyond Beats Vol. 4 2012 is still fairly young and strictly speaking, musically there hasn’t that much going on till now, the year is kicking off rather slowly this time. However, the coming months will bring a lot of exciting stuff and there already is enough mouth-watering material to sift through.

First of all, allow me to make a probably bold prediction. After Olde English Spelling Bee shaping 2010 and Hippos In Tanks and Tri Angle conjointly dominating the last twelve months, 2012 is going to be the year of RVNG Intl. At least it could become their year (in that tiny niche of the universe we’re examining here, that is), as it seems the Brooklyn label has made quite a few right A&R decisions as of late. First, there’s Oberlin alumni Zach Steinman and Sam Haar aka Blondes. The duo’s long-awaited proper debut is set to arrive with a breathtaking compilation of remixes, and the two discs combined will surely be considered one of this year’s most essential efforts of experimental dance music. The self-titled LP will hit the stores on February 6th.

But as I’m not exactly entitled to talk about beat-centred music here, let’s quickly move on to two other forthcoming RVNG records that really excite me. First in line is the second proper album by Julia Holter, Ekstasis, the follow-up to one of 2011’s most stunning LPs, Tragedy, the album for Leaving Records that simply can’t be appreciated enough for its breathtaking complexity and flawless beauty. Now the classically trained (virtually no one ever fails to mention that, so why should I?) artist has already finished the successor, and you only need to listen a couple of seconds into album opener “Marienbad” to be reassured that more likely than not it’s gonna be another masterpiece. The song itself is named after the 1961 French movie L’Année dernière à Marienbad, which is famous for its oneiric and enigmatic structure, more than a mere hint that we’re again dealing with heavily referential and deep topoi here – after all, Tragedy was a take on Euripedes’s epic Hippolytus from 428 BC. Listen closely: if “great art takes us to a place that is between Earth and Utopia, between the ‘real’ and the ‘unreal’”, as Adam Harper asserts in his monograph on John Maus, then Holter surely is a great artist. But the most amazing thing about her utterly complex and sophisticated work is that no matter how much profundity she puts into it, the result invariably is pop music that sounds effortless and almost weightless. Ekstasis will be out March 8th.

Finally, RVNG Intl will continue its terrific FRKWYS series which pairs contemporary artists and their progenitors by way of remix, reinterpretation, and original collaboration. The ninth instalment has brought together our beloved Cameron Stallone aka Sun Araw and his mate M. Geddes Gengras with The Congos in the latter’s hometown in Jamaica. The psych and dub-heavy result Icon Give Thank won’t be out before April 9th, but I thought the thrill of anticipation wouldn’t hurt, so here’s “Happy Song”:

Enough with RVNG Intl. for now and back to those labels whose output is the default material for this column. Sometime next month, Not Not Fun is going to drop the second full-length by Indiana’s finest synth-wizard Dylan Ettinger, Lifetime of Romance. This highly anticipated LP is however not New Age Outlaws Pt. 2, which might be a disappointment for those who’ve been waiting for more thrilling stories about the NYC ex-police officer Gordon. On the other hand, it’s also not 2009/2010 anymore, and the hypnagogic diction has lost its original momentum, so from an artistic standpoint it almost feels inevitable to move on, or rather move back to actual songwriting, as Ettinger recently told Tiny Mix Tapes. Lifetime of Romance now marks a creative turn towards heavy and mind-blowing classic synth-pop, something the exponents of early eighties cold wave would have been proud of to accomplish. Ettinger’s voice is mostly slightly distorted and rather distant in the mix, giving way to lush, exuberant excursions with his synthesizer of choice, the Moog Rogue, and highly propulsive rhythms, as perfectly exemplified by the first single “Wintermute”. The record’s true standout track however clearly is “Maude”, an eight-minute, crystal-clear wave banger that in a way blends the artist’s more song-based concept with the otherworldly, soundtrack-informed synth meanderings of New Age Outlaws, all put on a whole new level with the help of the stunning, eerie saxophone work by a friend. A highly recommended record and a huge creative leap for Dylan Ettinger.

There are also exciting things happening over at Software Recordings, the Mexican Summer subdivision that we’d already dealt with briefly the other day. Brooklyn’s Bill Gillim used to be better known as one half of synth pop duo Tigercity, together with Joel Ford (now one half of Ford & Lopatin). Now I don’t know what has happened with Tigercity, but it honestly doesn’t matter anymore since I’ve come across some of Gillim’s latest solo material under his Megafortress guise. His forthcoming self-titled LP on Software is pure bliss, a slow and mesmerizing listen that almost entirely relies on the artist’s masterful vocalization, a fragile falsetto in countless layers that is only sparsely supported by restrained, gloomy instrumentation. The truly astonishing record will be out January 31st.

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