Thursday, June 20, 2013

Trabajo- Gamelan to the Love God (2013)

Gamelan to the Love God
Two piece Trabajo’s focus their plunderphonic style on Indonesian Gamelan recordings for their most recent EP.  Only six tracks long, Gamelan to the Love God is a very short listen, clocking in at under 14 minutes.   

At first, I found myself wanting/expecting more bass drum mixed in to the tracks (especially the opener/ title track).  By track three, however, I began to warm up to Trajabo’s sound.  These tracks aren’t meant to be experimental hip-hop beats and rarely hold the bass-backbone those beats typically do.  At times, the tracks do resemble the wonky style Flying Lotus popularized, especially when the drums kick in in the second track.

It is difficult with an album like Gamelan to the Love God to write a lot about the music.  Its samples are so focused on Indonesian recordings that there isn’t much western music I know of to compare it too.   That said, the loop choices in '23 Skidoo' were probably the weakest part of the EP.  the following song, 'Udan Mas', is probably the strongest track.  It is this track where the mix of bass, synths, and vocal samples works the best for the duo, creating an atmosphere that is almost psybient (think Sphongle, OTT).

Overall one of the better EP’s I have heard this year, and possibly the most original.  If you were a fan of Onra’s Chinioseries, than I especially recommend this to you.

Listen and download (name your price) Here.  Be sure to pick up one of those 7" while you are there.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Quttinirpaaq- NO VISITORS (2013)

When I received Quttinirpaaq’s record in the mail a few weeks ago, I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  I hadn’t been expecting a package, and had never heard of Quttinirpaaq or its member Matt Turner.  Taped on the cover was a short self-review throwing out names like Brainbombs, Skullflower, and Les Rallizes Denudes.  So, I sat down, plugged in my headphones, and put the record on.

The first track brings feedback and static vocals at the cost of songwriting, and I found it quite an off-putting introduction.  After this intro, though, the album falls into a great noisy, industrial rock sound which it carries throughout the rest of the tracks.  Many of the tracks have a focus on repetition in all of the layers except for a top layer of feedback and effect-muddied vocals.  Some tracks, like “Malvert” definitely show glimpses of Skullflower styled guitar, and others, like “Ex-Batts” have a controlled feedback guitar sound similar to the guitar approach taken in Sightings. 

Despite saying that the album ‘falls into a noisy, industrial rock sound,’ this sound is very varied track to track.  Unilke, say, a Liars album, where every track feels part of a larger theme, Quttinirpaaq allow their songs vary track by track.  An almost ambient interlude (“Travolto”) is followed by a riff centered track (“Dmtbrigman”) only to place an electric industrial track after it.  While this switching styles is not necessarily bad, Quttinirpaaq could have given us one of the albums of the year if they had focused their sound and had every track capture the buildups and intensity found on “Malvert” and made the repetitions more stylized to those in “Golden Needles”.

Overall, NO VISITORS was a great surprise to me.  It’s short, noisy, and isn’t afraid to try to mix electronic elements into feedback focused pieces.  The standout track, “Malvert”, is definitely a contender for a noise rock songs of the year list if I ever bothered to do that (I won’t).  While I wouldn’t compare the sound on this to Brainbombs, this album is worth checking out if you are a fan of Sightings or Keiji Haino or just want to try some new noise rock from Austin, TX.

Stream and buy Quttinirpaaq's NO VISITORS Here.