Hold on to yer butts, kiddos, cuz the hands-down best album of the summer has arrived. I’ve got one word for you, & that’s: VISIONARY. First let’s take a detour (yet again) into the cover from Keith Rankin: Seriously. Wow. How can your cranium not explode looking at that? That’s my favorite thing I’ve seen in a long time. But now for the main course: the music. I am pleased to inform you that the sounds on this record live up to the art in every way. It’s f*cking insane. The album is an absolute masterclass in how to design a brilliant record from start to finish – I just double-checked the blurb on the Bandcamp & realized I subconsciously copied that wholesale from their description, but it’s the truth so I’ll state it again. Koeosaeme caught my attention 2 years ago with 2017’s Sonorant. Now he’s on vinyl, & his sound has hyper-evolved into an absolute Laserbeast alien mutant monstrosity ready to march across the oceans like Godzilla & take over the planet. It is my pleasure to award it the coveted Golden Mike – the highest possible honor it is my power to bestow. If you aren’t losing your mind over this record, there’s not much hope for you, bud.
Albums like this come out once a year. Obanikeshi reminds me of 2018’s An Exploded View of Time by Andrew Bernstein in its utter raw mind-annihilating power. Lots of other brain-scorchers on either of these labels recently, too… kind of a golden age if you ask me. This is an album I can play on loop for hours. It’s perfectly in sync with my brain, & a whole goddamn lot goes on up there. Queue this up & write some fuckin’ C++, man. Wile the fuck out. Actually – controversial opinion – I would say this album is more like C#, because it’s actually well-designed & fun to listen to. Just don’t compare it to Java. If you want some fucking Java go to the fucking YouTube for “Miracles” or something (actually that song whips & is more like BASIC). Class dismissed. Grab this record.
Well, well, well… seems like this “Mike” guy has been getting a little famous if you ask me… after months of inactivity on this humble blog, I have been contacted once or twice by artists hoping for coverage. I’m happy to oblige – especially for queer trans artist Argiflex, who has been a personal homie of mine for a couple years. On a whim she contacted me for coverage on her new album LIQUIDPUNK, out now on Asura Revolver, a vaporwave-adjacent label from Norway that seems to specialize in experimental electronics. This coulda been a pre-release write-up at that time but I wasn’t ready to jump back into the game yet. I have previously owned Argiflex’s cassette Throatless on Bedlam Tapes, not least because it was yet another music grip graced with the visionary art of Keith Rankin, possibly my favorite contemporary artist – seriously, these things are going to be collector’s items some day, next time he puts out some prints you should snap ‘em up – LIQUIDPUNK is more Argiflex goodness along similar lines. Kind of a weird ‘flex, but okay.
So, first things first: Whatever I say – this thing is name-your-price on Bandcamp, so of course you should check it out. The physical (a CD) can be yours for £8 + shipping. It’s hard for the album art on any of your subsequent releases to live up to what came before after you’ve received the Rankin treatment, but I like it – & she made it herself! Nice stuff. The Yin-Yang intrigues me… this release is for people who like techno, acid house, & all that good shit. For me, the opening beat of Track 3, “SUNFLOWER DISCO”, is when things really started to heat up, & it ends w/ a trippy wall of electronics. The beats are skewed & chopped all through the album. I like it when it gets noisy. There are some really great-sounding moments that will annoy your acquaintances with no taste. Make ‘em squirm!
The music on this album was performed live, giving it parallels to the brilliant & prolific Mukqs et al. That’s enough to bump the tunes like three whole points on the vibe-o-meter for me. I’d like to see more improvisational work from this artist. The last track is a colossal 16 minutes & 18 seconds, so make sure you go to the bathroom first. Towards the halfway point it transitions into ambient, & I really like how it sounds. Then it devolves into noise, then like ambient noise for a real Dao moment as closure. Argiflex is a great person, so consider throwing a couple dollars her way. Link here.
DISCO, BLAMOLAMBO (for the name), all
of the repetitive noisy parts
A supreme “new age” release, tho actually that’s not an
accurate label cuz this is just great electronic music. Lots of
synths in the World of Mike right now, what w/ Mother Earth’s
Plantasia by Mort Garson, The Expanding Universe by Laurie
Spiegel, etc., etc. Well, this 2xLP retrospective of ethereal artist
Pauline Anna Strom’s entire career just might “take the cake.”
Sorry, I’ve been told I shd avoid clichés like the plague in my
writing, but as you can see I can’t even get through this sentence
w/o ‘em. Trans-Millenia Music is celestial sounds; if you
saw the words ~new age~ at the top of this paragraph &
thought that’s not yr bag (tho it shd be, tbh) I encourage u to
scope this collection anyway ‘cause it’s excellent by any
standard. It’s not the cheapest, but the digital is not too much
higher than the typical pricepoint for an LP – especially since
this is 2 of ‘em, + a pair of digital-only bonus tracks.
One of the tracks is literally called “Mushroom Trip”. I’ve never indulged, but this music sounds to me exactly like the visual stimuli I would see from kneading my eye-orbs instead of paying attention in church – definitely an unhealthy thing to do, but hey, I was a kid. Kind of the same thing as a mushroom trip, right? When you’re a kid, you got a natural high. I’ve been told I have one as an adult… Well, just call me Major Tom (haha), ‘cause I’m lost in space over this release – DANGER, DANGER! [[ALERT:]] ABSOLUTE RIPPERS. Cop it over on Pauline’s Bandcamp. If you’re a size small t-shirt & loaded w/ cash, you can grip it w/ a dope t-shirt – wd be a killer combo w/ the awesome Mort Garson shirt(s) associated w/ the Plantasia release.
Based on the fractal evolution of their sound & the cover art of previous LP GT Ultra you might be forgiven for thinking these heads have been dosing on acid every single day since the release of their first LP Gay Disco, one of several releases graced w/ the prog-a-licious visual art of underground visionary Keith Rankin who remixed their tunes in 2016 on the mind-bending, bouncy Giant Claw VS Guerilla Toss except this review is about Twisted Crystal – but that’s not true, your music [or art in general] doesn’t bleed into an adjacent layer of consciousness like this through non-stop substance use – instead, it takes non-stop practice. These cats’ chops are tight, & the vibes are out of control on this LP, so much that it pummels my brain into alien goo & I’m stone sober every moment I can help it. As usual, you can grip the physical + digital in one integrated swoop over on Bandcamp, where a significant chunk of everything interesting in music is happening right now:
File this in your record collection next to Interventions & Ege Bamyasi as jam band music for the cognoscenti. I love it when a band or artist jumps ahead w/ virtually everything they put out, & Twisted Crystal is this outfit’s best yet. The whole thing goes down so smooth, it’s 30 minutes long – I wish it were longer! – but feels like 15 cuz time flies when yer having fun. Yeah, it does sound like disco; on Alpha Centauri. Maybe in the alternate timeline of Bernie’s America the government uses this music to reprogram people, but not to thought-control them but free their minds – so their ass will follow. Guerilla Toss have been putting out full-lengths every single year since I first discovered them, & my DNA quivers at what psychedelic recombinations might be in store for it in the time to come. So take a Chill Pill & bliss out. Guerilla Toss oscillates on a frequency us ordinary humans don’t deserve.
Track(s): Jesus Rabbit, Come Up With Me, Walls of the Universe
Originally from 2007, this tape offers joys similar to Dilloway’s monumental 2012 LP Modern Jester, at a much humbler price. Aaron Dilloway is possibly my favorite “noise” artist of them all; he simply has a sense of it that is leagues above anyone else in the genre. The abrasive loops he cycles through are supremely cathartic, much more cathartic than anything by Merzbow the v. first time you “got into him.” There’s also one rather prolonged period of completely empty space on this tape, & I’m not sure why, but the sounds of nothing except tape hiss are kind of brutal in their own way. Perhaps the harshest form of noise of all – you got nowhere to go during it ‘cept ‘round-‘n-‘round yr own skull. After this silence, the loop that opens the second track (my favorite) – “Ain’t you got no candy,” it goes sing-songly – can be genuinely disturbing for the unprepared. Then darkness takes over, & there is another period of very little sound. Then gradually it gets even sicker. These sounds revulse me the closer I pay attention to them, but that’s exactly what I came to this tape for. Nerds of a different stripe won’t understand. Disappointingly to me, the tape’s final track feels more epilogue than climax, but altogether this is the finest Dilloway tape I’ve personally gripped so far. Side B repeats the same program. Perhaps we have reached the end of an era, because Dilloway’s Hanson Records maintains its official online storefront on Bandcamp. Look for this tape there.
One of my favorite kinds of jams is, uh, “composed electronic music” – a release that made my brain light up like it hadn’t in a long time is Deep Thoughtsby Giant Claw – & while I don’t listen to him much anymore, I can’t help but think this interest was unconsciously sparked by my youthful phase of Dan Deaconfanboy-ism – & before that DEVO– but I don’t like it too highbrow – Expanding Universe, by Laurie Spiegel, while super great, teeters dangerously close to “above my intellectual pay grade” – well, the classic 1976 platter Mother Earth’s Plantasia[non-Bandcamp link here] by the delightful Mort Garson is getting reissued by Sacred Bones later this year & it fits this bill perfectly. Now, wait a tic – nerds in the audience might notice that “Concerto for Philodendron and Pothos” sounds awfully familiar – Yes! It sounds exactly like “Zelda’s Lullaby” from Ocarina of Time. How peculiar. Who knows how it happened, but it seems like ol’ Nintendo ripped Garson off. Wow!
This is music designed to help plants grow. Heck, Raymond Scott made three whole albums for babies – how much different is a plant?? Your own enjoyment might be bolstered through the use of some kind of plant, too… wink wink. Not for me though, I’ve got a natural high. These bucolic Moog symphonies are sure to arouse any living thing, though perhaps they must have ears. Once upon a time, this LP was quite the underground zone, & I was only hipped to it through the tireless deep study of my most meaningful college friend, the gonest head I’ve ever personally known. Now everyone’s heard of it. The same youngsters eating up S U R F I N G and ESPRIT 空想 records are all over the pre-order. Fashion comes full circle, but I was hip to the oldies just a little before everyone else. I wish Gen Z would just acknowledge this. Pre-ordering it on Bandcamp gives you the FLAC version straight away, & the label’s website has some dope-ass t-shirts.
Halt the presses!!!! “Mike” (owner of this humble blog) is still hip & w/ it!! This LP has seemingly caused a lot of buzz, & in a moment of profound impulse, I laid down a heft ah’ change to buy the physical all the way from Europe. And I didn’t like it at first! I actually tried to have my purchase partially refunded (the difference btwn the physical minus the digital) & cancel the order. The label ignored my entreaty, & I’ve got plans to pawn it off to a bigger fan, but it wouldn’t be so bad if I was stuck w/ this record after all ‘cuz I’m starting to come around to it. Though I generally don’t listen to lyrics, it still alienates me to hear unintelligible (to myself), foreign words on an album obviously intended to be heard by western ears – & maybe that’s the point. “Rapping is a lifestyle, you know what the fuck I’m saying?” one of the few English choruses goes, but I don’t – forgive me. Since I can’t understand ’em, & they’re all spoken-word, the vocals aren’t what I find interesting, but the production, & the way the words bleed into it. Producer Palmistry seems like a trend-setting guy. His suave electronics sound like a world exhausted by the Information Age; there’s something kinda weary & wistful to them, like the twilight years of a species overloading itself w/ its own nature. The meandering murmurings of Triad God, too, sound resigned to an era of post-post-post-modernity. Oh this fast-paced post-modern life… when my physical husk is discarded & the phenomenon of my consciousness uploaded to the cloud (sponsored by Amazon), please ask Triad God to give my eulogy.
The label’s official online shop is its Bandcamp page, & this specific album can be found thus: Voilà!?