Nine out of ten music nerds agree, Warp Records is king. Since its inception and initial release in 1989, the label that defined intelligent electronic music has witnessed a wave of advancement in sound production, a rode it all the way to July of 09, marking twenty years of great tracks, cutting edge producers, and (more recently) experimental bands. Titled Warp20, the anniversary is being celebrated with a number of shows featuring acts like !!! and Battles, as well as a really dope T-shirt and a box set chronicling the history of Warp. There’s a whole lot going on with this label right now, and it’s spanning continents. Check out the site for full details.
Though they’ve been described as a militant Islamic punk band, there’s a much more satirical quality to the subject matter of The Kominas songs than first meets the ears. Moreover, it’s not exactly punk. After an album that musically sounds like something between Fresh Fruit and Rotting Vegetables and Mr. Bungle’s California, the kids from Boston got a loud response, if not a varied one, from those listening. The band’s renegade shows in Pakistan were aimed at one end of the polarized population; common people and not the social elite, those whose affluence allows them time for music. Their intentions sparked controversy, to say the least. With the innaugural tour and album behind them, the Kominas are currently on the road for a second round of intelligent yet fist pumping shows. And yes, a second and equally shocking album is in the works.
For a full history of the Kominas, their influences, and the beginning of the burgeoning Taqwacore genre, check out their wikipedia page, or simply google their name for all the press. Tour dates are on their Myspace.
I’m absolutely loving the latest addition to the site For Orchestra!, a site put together by music composition graduate Walt Ribeiro. Users tip him off to songs they want re-arranged as an orchestra piece, and he goes to work. Check out this beautiful rendition of Radiohead’s Reckoner above.
When I choose a song, I understand that I'll be spending alot of time with it. There are times when I dislike a song I'm arranging but have to live with it, or eventually get sick of it. Luckily, Radiohead "˜Reckoner' grew on me pretty strongly. After a few days I began looping it for hours while I was walking somewhere or was waiting at the train station. I started depicting the lyrical meaning of the song and really getting involved in their song structure and repertoire. Into it? Keep reading.
Lee Memorial’s new album took me by surprise twice over. First off, I’ll admit that I can’t think of a single Australian act that struck me since I heard Yeo and the Fresh Goods last year. Secondly, a mellowed out acoustic sound with poetic lyrics is not style of music that often captivates beat snobs like myself. You may be familiar with Sodastream, a duo that’s dropped releases in this vein for a decade before breaking up. Half of that now-defunct band, Karl Smith, assembled a band with a decent resume and put together The Lives of Lee Memorial, possibly named for a hospital, is fraught with Smith’s mystifying whines layered together. If you doesn’t sound like your taste, you’re probably not sold, and you’ll just have to take my word for it. It’s not out for a couple of weeks, so you’ve got time to conduct your research.
Deciphering samples is a skill that every DJ and producer hones in order to boast when that original song comes on. Ever since a few cats took the art of sampling and went crazy with it, it’s been harder and harder to breakdown. Take Girl Talk for instance; despite the pop value of every song used in his collages, bet you can’t name every single one. And furthermore, how does this patchwork Lego set of beats and pieces actually come together to form a coherent track? Thanks to Wired Magazine, there’s a translation for folks who consider themselves more on the visual tip. A deconstruction of 30 seconds of a the Girl Talk Song ‘What It’s All About’ reveals 35 samples assembled to create that signature dancefloor crack sound. Great visualization via Wired.
All this chatter of Mos Def and his album on a t-shirt makes us happy. Music Tee’s we spotted last week are coming out in full force. My next question is simple though: What stops people from taking a camera phone picture of the download code on the t-shirt without purchasing it? Similar to the days kids used to bring razor-blades into the record store and slide out the CD quick and undetected. I hope we don’t ever have t-shirts locked up behind security as records and other hard media (DVD’s etc) have now. I’m excited to watch for sales figures of the Mos Def T-shirt ($40) to see if it has legs.
Philadelphia often spits out something unconventional and intriguing. Bahamadia the whispering lady rapper, G-Love the hipster-ahead-of-his-time, and a band like no other called Black Landlord. I started hearing their name around town a few months back from a few heads gushing about their killer live shows and now there’s a full album to be had. The nine-piece band includes everything but the didgeridoo and gives an instrumental style like a funked out Soil & Pimp, with vocals laid down by founder Maxx Stoyaoff-Williams. Clever, funny, and inherently heavy, Addicted to Distraction kills it in every respect. In regard to album cover, I preferred the pimped out Redd Foxx on their myspace page, but I can see why they went another way with it.
Before the melding of organic hip hop with glitchy processing in Prefuse 73, Guillermo Scott Herren messed with ambient jazz and the chillest nooks of latin music. Many forget that Savath and Savalas brought Herren to Warp Records, leaving many of his records under this alias overlooked. Well, if you haven’t heard it before, now is the time to warm up to it, as we find ourselves smack in the middle of two releases. Stones Throw put out La Llama two weeks ago, living up to the expectations with an array of soundscapes and vocalists. Out in exactly two weeks is Golden Pollen, coming out on Anti, will showcase Herren’s own voice and instrument talents.
Still not convinced? Listen to a track on YouTube.