This new trailer from mysterious auteur Cosmotropia De Xamwas just released in anticipation of his upcoming experimental full-length feature Allucinazione!, which is due out at some point in July 2011. Its dirge-like score comes courtesy of Mater Suspiria Vision, who are best known for their dark, haunting take on trance music. The visuals are well-suited to De Xam’s visual style, which is no surprise because he’s a member of the group. Cosmotropia De Xam is responsible for all of Mater Suspiria Vision’s past video work, including their last feature film, Surrealistica Uniferno.
The trailer has a distinct witch house aesthetic and looks like an lucid underwater nightmare shot through a mirror. It’s sort of reminiscent of your worst acid trip – remember, the one where you thought your best friend had tricked you into it in order to murder you slowly? That sucked. Luckily, this one appears to be happening exclusively to someone else and you get to watch the visually-complex results without being certain of your imminent death. Thanks, Cosmotropia De Xam!
RIP King Robert – you were a whoring drunk whose death seemed rather pathetic. But we’re not stupid. You weren’t just gutted by a boar. We know foul play when we see it. You were fed drugged wine by your squire, Lancel Lannister. You’re dead now, though. Something a lot of people have been eagerly waiting for: your wife Cersei, you “son” Joffrey, and your brothers Renly and Stannis. The problem is that all of these people feel entitled to the throne (while the real heir works as a blacksmith’s apprentice) and civil war is about to break out any moment. Martin didn’t choose the title of his book because it sounded pretty.
And while the beginnings of a continent-wide civil war build up on Westeros, little do they know that the most dangerous threat of all comes from Khal Drogo and his Dothraki across the sea. Dany’s happy marriage to Drogo is short-lived. An assassination attempt on Dany sparks the rage inside Drogo and he vows to sail the ocean – on wooden horses, hur – and rape and pillage his way through Westeros. Actor Jason Momoa was beyond intense while delivering that dialogue. Dany has been fleeing in one form or another her whole life. She’ll enjoy being on the offensive for once when the Dothraki cross the sea.
Up at the wall, away from the chaos and infighting down south, Jon Snow has graduated to the Night’s Watch. Congratulations, bastard. The somber festivities are cut short when his direwolf emerges from the brush with a severed hand in his mouth. This hand, which could possibly belong to his missing uncle Benjen, does not bode well for the newbies of the Watch. It also gives weight to something Theon’s wild woman warns about: the White Walkers are returning. Now add to the board another outside threat to those vying for the throne. The Dothraki are planning their journey to Westeros and the White Walkers are beginning to emerge form the Haunted Forest. Damn.
Another solid episode but I do have to quibbles. First, no Peter Dinklage this week? Nuts! Second, as I mentioned in a previous Re-Up, enough with the gratuitous nudity. The writers are talented enough to make listening to lengthy exposition engaging – we don’t need two naked chicks fingering each other in the background. “Play with her arse” was pretty funny though. I admit.
Listen up! Tonight marks another Check Yo’ Ponytail 2 soiree, which takes place courtesy of Мишка in partnership with IHEARTCOMIX, Media Contender, and LA Record. It features a sick French duo called Stereo Total, and they intend to blow your minds with a mixed-up set that includes just about everything good in this world: punk, disco, electro, psych, baby animals, beach balls, birthday cake…well, you get the idea. It’s going to be ridiculous in the best possible way, if last month’s insane party with Drop the Lime, Classixx, and MNDR was any indication.
It’s bound to be excellent, so you best get on it lest you miss it and get all pent up and anxious until the next CYP2, which is a whole month away in July. The party takes place at Echoplex below the Echo in Los Angeles TONIGHT, and you can still buy tickets in advance here.
A circle has no beginning and no end. It’s a form that suggests movement and embraces unity. Both in concept and sound, it’s the shape of White Denim’s fifth studio album, D.
Combined influences have been the most prominent aspect of White Denim’s sound. Across their catalog, the band has melted together psych, jazz, punk, dub, blues, and garage rock, in an ambitious slew covering every structure from upbeat and hook-heavy, to languid jam sessions. They’re musicians’ musicians; the kind of band whose mastery is immediate to anyone who’s ever studied music theory, or played in a band. With its gentle, classic rock leaning sound, D is the most muted, but structurally elevated of the band’s releases. Rambling guitar lines chase from one track to the next, uniting the album in massive, intertwined crop circles.
Each track employs a varied level of a certain cache of sounds; chugging bass, bright strums, rock riffs, considered percussion and occasional well-placed string and woodwind bursts. Which combine and shift into different styles; jazz meets classic rock on “Back At The Farm”, the twang of country blues lightened by folk sweeps on “Keys” and the world fusion sounds of “River To Consider”, to name a few of the many. The stylistic shifts naturally unfold, in what is a slow-morphing, ever-moving, sonic mass.
White Denim are just as agile vocally as they are capable of complex instrumentation, but D is a showcase of the latter, and most of the vocal dexterity that made Fits stand out, is missing here. The vocals act in soft tones, bolstering the instrumentation, creating a mood of relaxed drifting. The band make easy instrumental shifts from mellow to bold rock, but seem hesitant to follow suit vocally. “Is And Is And Is” tries the format out with rousing results, giving the added oomph that if had appeared more often, would have taken D from a really good album, to best of the year contender.
I have to admit I totally rushed this week’s CIY. I usually have these planned in advance, sometimes a few weeks worth but I just dropped the ball this week. I was planning on doing a Horror one but couldn’t quickly settle on two classics to pit against one another and this one kind of quickly sprung into my head.
Two great recent horror debuts that were written and directed by two promising guys in the world of horror. Both are homages/revivals of bygone eras in Horror cinema… Human Centipede of the Cronenberg’s Biological Horror of the 80s; while House of the Devil takes on the Supernatural 70s-80s. Plus both were IFC championed releases. So… What if only one could exist between the two, which would it be? Choice is yours…
This past weekend was the Odyssey BMX Texas Toast Jam here in Austin. After my flight got cancelled to Milwaukee on Thursday and all other flights were delayed or overbooked going out of AUS, I decided to just stick around town and document this unprecedented BMX event.
I say unprecedented because Austin’s BMX scene is heavily rooted in street and dirt. So much that when Odyssey announced they were throwing an event like this, the locals began to get stoked. All the big names would be there and even some of the old school riders were going to show up. Then, you’ve got Taj designing all these weird ramps for the Gauntlet of Death to add some fun into the competition.
The Gauntlet of Death was a hodgepodge course designed to knock riders off their bikes as much as possible. Out of the 100′s of attempts at completing it, only a handful made it through unscathed.
There was a bunnyhop contest with the winning hop at 49″! That’s taller than the width of a sheet of plywood!
But the show-stopper was the pro dirt challenge.
All the heavy-hitters were present, including Mike Aitken who recently awoke from a coma and Chase Hawk, the local ripper.
Chase ended up placing in the top 3 and killed it! Seeing BMX riding at this caliber was impressive. I shot a ton of photos, all of which are at my blog, Prolly is Not Probably so head over and check them out!
In the beginning there was Party Trash. According to Scripture, the Genesis of the true Witch House sound started promptly with those early Disaro releases. In years to come, those ghettofied handwritten CD-R’s may be as collectible and coveted as DJ Screw’s Gray Maxells. Along with artists like ///▲▲▲\\\ (VOID) and White Ring, Joe Volmer’s work as Party Trash helped to solidify the most common sound to be found among thee Triangle Cult. His love of dark musical landscapes and Southern hip hop served as the drawing board for plenty of artists to come. So why is it that he seems to be putting some distance between him and the new spooky kids now?
Rather than go with Disaro, Party Trash chose to release his new LP Alone on Bandcamp. The choice had nothing to do with any Soap Operatics or financial situations. Instead, Volmer just felt the need to distance himself from the more obvious and base misconceptions surrounding Witch House. It was the right decision. Stripped of pseudo gothery, Volmer’s new album more closely resembles early Warp than it does early Salem. Composed of short and slow sketches of sound, it is reminiscent of older Aphex Twin played at 16 RPM.
This seems to be a trend among the artists associated with Witch House in the early days. As a new crop of artists emerge, all with strict and stringent ideas about what Witch House is supposed to sound like; many other artists seem to be pulling back from the fold. The usual suspects keep on releasing the usual music on the usual net labels, but all the interesting sounds seem to come from the periphery.
Once you gaze into the looking glass, you find a virtual nanoscene, complete with a mainstream of its own. For a microgenre of music that can probably only boast at most 10,000 worldwide fans, it is pretty intricate stuff. As if grown from a petri-dish containing music industry DNA, the little Witch House sub-scene keeps growing at an enormous rate. My guess is that the encouragement for EVERYONE to participate helps the community to flourish. To this day, new names pop up in the social networks daily, some will get bored, as their tracks get passed over; but others will stay and grow, make connections and attempt to progress within the game’s unscripted environment.
I’ve taken to calling it RPG Funk, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s like WoW coupled with Soundcloud. The real magic lies in the fact that in order for the game to work, people have to create actual art to talk about. Due to this, there actually is some really tremendous work coming from what is, essentially, a fabrication. A fictitious genre of music made to fuel the strangest MMORPG on the internet today.
This is also what holds many of the artists back. It is hard to take a movement seriously, when the movement itself admits to the joke. This is also where the divisions lie. The fracture that exists is not simply a difference in opinions, but the result of too many diverse influences stuffed into one very small room. Some of the artists involved seem happy to give the public what they want, carefully crafting a fictitious “sound” based upon the model of older Disaro, Mater Susperia Vison but almost totally devoid of any of the urban or hip hop influence that made the original sound so exciting. Another faction seems intent on fucking it up. Artists like iJesus Khrist, Witchboy and Haruki Tamesue revel in the dichotomy of extreme reverence and almost utter obscurity. A third faction, consisting of artists like ▼▲▼Vagina Vangi and Unison are carefully trying to elevate the sound into something very closely resembling synthpop.
There is no real animosity, although there is a festering sense of territorial disputes. Those with dreams of turning the sound into the next dark chillwave have a constant fear that the iconoclasts will forever cast a shadow of chaos and disarray, making it almost impossible for the scene to progress into a mainstream movement. At the same time, the wreckers of sound find it almost offensive to actually consider opening the game up to the general public. In their eyes, the entire gameboard was created to keep away from the norms, who would ruin the fun with boring and pedestrian ideas. It really isn’t a matter of who is going to win, because the game is so open ended that there are many ways to reach the final boss battle. In a lot of ways it is a weird mirror of late ‘80s and early ‘90s tagging crews, where rival crews judged their merits by either going all city or becoming the most notorious or hated (by hitting harder spots, being known as brawlers etc…)
But back to Party Trash. His self released album was so good it gained the attention of Clan Destine Records, perhaps the only label around dedicated to producing quality music regardless of genre-lisms. Clan Destine decided to release it as a limited edition cassette, proving Joe’s theory that he did not need to dwell on the past to prove himself today. Those of you tied to the digital world can pick up MP3s or FLACs for $5 via Bandcamp (check the player below).
He recently released a series of YouTube Synthesizers. The concept is simple, let them load and used the number keys to ‘play’ foreboding and dramatic witch house sounds (you will have to click and play from within the You Tube website, as the function keys don’t work on the embed.) He assured me he made them simply for fun, but I personally see them as a commentary on the disposable sounds that threaten to destroy what was once a pure vessel of experimentation and creativity.
There are lots of fatalistic questions that we all think about on occasion, but that most people, if they’re lucky, never have to answer in real life: What would your last meal be? Who is the one person you’d choose to live with if you were stuck on a desert island for the rest of your life? What things would you choose to take from your home if it were burning down around you? An intriguing new photography project, The Burning House, asks people to submit visual answers to that last question, along with a brief profile of themselves and a description of the things they chose to “take.”
The result is a cross-section of how different people’s possessions affect their lives and an interesting look at what, when it comes down to it, is important. The meticulously-arranged bundles of objects convey a sense of how what we have speaks to who we are…and also how it doesn’t. For example, would you have guessed that the things in the last photo belong to a 40-year-old guy from Maine? Nice skirt, buddy.
With that said, it’s also kind of funny to think about the fact that most of the people who submit these lists probably spend waaay more time carefully selecting each thing on them than they’d actually have if an actual fire took place. Some also just try to take too much, like in that last photo. The person, a 29-year-old woman from New York City, has got to be kidding me. Yeah, that Ursa Major bag is big, but you’re crazy if you think you can fit those two framed pictures in there and then pile all that other stuff on top, lady.
I’m really not one to talk, though. At least she’s got some idea of what to take! If I were given five minutes to grab the most important things I own, I’d definitely crack under the pressure of figuring it out and rescue all the wrong things. I’d probably end up standing on the sidewalk with the scrambled contents of my desk hoping I got something important, only to find receipts from Duane Reade, scratched-up old CDs, and a discarded pair of 3-D glasses. Wow, I really hope my apartment never burns down. I know you guys would save your Мишка gear first, but what else do you think you couldn’t part with?
It’s May 21st, 2011, 6:35pm as I’m writing this. The supposed Rapture came and went and you said, “What a bunch of malarkey! Glad that’s over. I’m going to go back to the hotel pool and relax.” You enter the elevator, you’re the only one on the ride and the doors close. You press G, which stands for “Ground Floor” where the gym, pool and gift shop are located. Yet instead of simply highlighting G, all the buttons illuminate and the emergency call button disengages. The elevator starts moving and it’s unclear whether you’re going up, down, sideways, diagonally or anywhere at all. It feels like minutes since you’ve been in this crisis, but for all you know it could have been hours, weeks, months or years since you’ve entered the elevator. The soundtrack to this scenario is Andy Stott’s Passed Me By.
Passed Me By is a disorienting experience to say the least. Each track has a beginning, middle and end with some sort of entrance and resolution, but once you venture into any of the songs on this release, let alone the album as whole, you’re immediately lost in a timeless vortex. The opening track “Signature” could very well be Morris code made by Predators, just as much as it could be made by an Alaskan mummy communicating telepathically from Saturn. Every song on Passed Me By is a seemingly endless loop with no distinguishable time period or origin. Was this made yesterday? Was this made today? Was this made by cockroaches who survived the apocalypse? Was this made when Pangaea was still intact? Throughout the entire release, it’s unclear.
If you listen to Passed Me By without this open mind, uncertainty or approach it with any expectation, you’re not going to like it. To me, that’s what’s enjoyable about it…it’s confrontational and doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not, which to me is an exploration of loops, arrangement, sonic texture, disorientation and patience. Also after DJing with Demdike Stare last year (Modern Love peers and collaborators) and experiencing one of their sets first hand, you can almost assume the Manchester production ethos is one of audio assault in the form of collage. Each song…movement, track, piece, whatever you want to call it…can also function as a fragment, a piece that may individually seem abstract, but put into some sort of context creates a story.
The best qualities of Passed Me By ranging from disorientation, confusion, relentless repetition and gritty sound design are not part of your typical “enjoyable” listening experience. Most people, including myself, prefer music with a discernible beginning, middle and end with melody, a familiar rhythm and lyrical clarity. Passed Me By has none of this deliberately. To me, Andy Stott is expected to be an explorer just as much as the audience is, which comes across as refreshing and honest. If you only have time to listen to individuals tracks, however, I would recommend the more melodic adventure “Intermittent,” and of course its most polished piece to the puzzle and title track, “Passing Me By.” When you’re ready to embark on voyages into uncertain voids, I highly recommend joining Andy Stott on his trip. He wants you to join him into worlds unknown with no foreseeable resolution, and for any listener eager to embark on this adventure, the journey is well worth it. I just wish it was longer.
Jasmine Solano is young, fly, and covered in glittery freshness. The ghetto princess has performed at large-scale hip-hop concerts as well as local NYC events where she is known by all and loved by most. Haters gon’ hate. Her newest video features Chicago-born MC, Hollywood Holt. Not gonna lie, the guy looks like a Taylor Gang reject with a pretty obnoxious, not to mention back to basics, flow.
Glitz and glamour soak the female rapper as she spits tough lines with charming yet thunderous delivery. Bringing the party to the backroom V.I.P. sections of downtown nightclubs, Solano flashes her chains, although I bet some of you wished more, packing with it a nice helping of bad girl attitude. Keep an eye out for more from the Brooklyn bombshell because she’s, beyond a doubt, on the up and up.
The song “Turn It Up” is the first single off her upcoming EP to be released this summer. Bluntly put, Jasmine Solano restores my faith in the potential sexiness of the side ponytail. Respect.