Dâm-Funk

Dâm-Funk, who just dropped his epic 2cd debut album Toeachizown on October 27, is set to explode heads through the end of the year and beyond with funky electro-boogie workouts the likes of which haven’t been heard since Prince and the Revolution erected bangers for the new millenium two decades early.  I’ve barely had time to absorb the 2+ hour set, much less give it a proper writeup, so here’s the video trailer featuring psychedelic space visuals and a selection of tunes from across the album.  In no way does this do the massive set justice but it’s a tasty slice to whet your appetite, and a heads up to anyone still sleeping on this guy.

Keep your eyes on Optimistic Underground, as I’ll be unleashing a full album post within the week.

-note that the spelling is *not* Dam-Funk, on the artwork-

[available on CD now at the Stones Throw store, or pre-order the ungodly gorgeous 5LP vinyl set available January 10, 2010]

Boredoms – Voaltz/Relerer

Boredoms are one of the greatest living bands on the planet.  Here is an obscure, tangential testament to that unavoidable fact.

This highly evolved tribal psychedelic rock juggernaut exists on their own terms, in their own world, above and beyond the perceptions and ambitions of mere mortals.  Frontman Yamantaka eYe is reported to be at least 200 years old and fueled entirely by advanced nuclear photosynthesis – not to mention a mould-shattering, epoch-defining musical genius.  Birthed in the chaos-as-art nebula of 1980’s Osaka, Japan, Boredoms grew from noise-assault pranksters with more than a hint of potential to the Weird Kings of the original Lollapalooza with a little help from American fans Nirvana and Sonic Youth in merely half a decade.  Eternally restless, they next entered the experimental cocoon of Super Roots, emerging at the tail end of the 1990’s as a sun-worshipping tribal-drone-trance monolith, devouring lesser bands and bridging the gap between primal violence and avant garde jazz like an acid-frenzied Colossus of Rhodes.  Throughout the current decade, the band has danced extensively with electronic manipulation and outright reconstruction through eYe’s increasing flirtation with DJ culture, and Voaltz/Relerer is one of the many joyous, dance-floor ready permutations they’ve birthed lately.  Consisting of percussion-centered tranced out remixes of two tracks included with the Live At Sunflancisco DVD, this 12″ rarity is essential listening for anyone with even a passing interest in the band; or anyone still reading for that matter.  Give it a spin (via the album artwork above) and try resisting the sorta exorbitantly priced copies available below.

(Special thanks to Ackibear for bringing this to my ears!)

 

[highly sought after and extremely rare, this 12" can be procured on the discogs marketplace and few other sources]

Shackleton – Three EPs

Yeah.  Adventurer Shackleton

Shackleton first came to my attention late in 2008 via the sublime mix album Uproot (which I posted here in April), produced by one of my absolute favorite beatmakers, DJ /rupture.  Almost exactly one year later, this collection – entitled Three EPs – drops the definitive word thus far on his (already stellar) burgeoning career.

Earthquake-level bass lines slither beneath evasive percussion maneuvers throughout every moment of this disc, providing a cavernous bottom end to support the origami skyscrapers of of sampledelic dexterity, all wrapped in loops of pulsing synth candy.  The palpably soupy atmosphere creaks and groans like an old ghost ship refusing to sink, far removed from the climate of foggy London alleys of dubstep to altogether more obscured and claustrophobic (not to mention exotic) environs.  Sitar drones ride lines of tablas and salt shaker cymbals, disembodied vocals drift through the mix spectre-like, and a time machine’s load of futuristic effects beam us from deep underwater through the Oort cloud and back.  More than anything else, this is music to disappear into, be swallowed up for an hour and dropped out with faint knowledge of where, exactly, the journey took us.

With a darkly romantic night drift more akin to Burial‘s pitch black monster Untrue than anything strictly dubstep and a calculated iciness echoing nothing less than Muslimgauze himself, Shackleton stands neatly alone in his world.  This melange, spiced with minimal techno, middle eastern percussion tapestries and a truckload of straight dub effects, is truly a unique proposition – something felt more than heard, a necessary experience for anyone still reading.  Don’t be left out.  And, if you’re still unconvinced, merely try out There’s A Slow Train Coming, directly below.

Exactly.  Right?

 

OK, here he is for real, artist Shackleton.

 

[get familiar with this incredible set at boomkat or norman records on vinyl, or at amazon on cd (boomkat also carries the cd edition)]

Rumskib

Rumskib are a Danish shoegaze outfit making the kind of straightforward gauzy guitar love spiked with dreamy female vocals that simply hasn’t been attempted, much less achieved, since the beloved genre’s first trip around the sun nearly 2 decades ago.

rumskib

The fact is, the band does nothing truly new on this, their debut LP.  More importantly, they don’t need to, as far as I’m concerned.  These 12 tracks run the gamut from billowing dreampop confections in the vein of later Cocteau Twins to the shaggy rock paeons to feedback of Ride or Swervedriver.  Never as dark as Codeine or bright as Chapterhouse, they seem to hold some imaginary locus of the shoegaze galaxy.  I’ll put it in terms I’d describe to a friend before slipping the disc into my car stereo:  The most obvious launch point for these ideas occupies the monolithic elephant in the room:  Soon, the stoccato dance-drum propelled, bubbly synth laden closer of Loveless.

Don’t expect the band to top that particular juggernaut and you’ll be well on your way for appreciating this rare gem for what it is:  an extremely solid shoegaze epic the likes of which simply aren’t made these days.  And a great stopgap while we all wait for Kevin Shields to stop pretending he’s in a coma.

[please check this out on amazon or the band's own website]

Star Guitar

The Chemical Brothers exploded with Star Guitar in 2002, resulting in one of my favorite music videos of all time.  Ever.  Of all time.  It’s easily one of the most hypnotic, addictive, and straight up cool videos anyone will ever see.

And it’s got a delicious aura of “how the fuck did they do that?” – since the clip’s nearly a decade old.  The simplest explanation is to note the genius who conceived it:  Michel Gondry.

Yes, the man behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, one of the best films of this century so far, and The Science of Sleep (La science des rêves to the hip and the French), a personal favorite of mine for reasons yet to remain mysterious.

I know the clip isn’t viewable here, but that’s a good thing.  Click, go to the youtube page, and watch it in HQ to get the full experience.  You’ll emerge a changed person.  Or at least smiling.

[this song is available on the album Come With Us, as well as the excellent 2cd Brotherhood compilation]

Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

Charles Mingus is an absolute deity of 20th century jazz…

blacksaintsinnerlady

…and this album proves it beyond any doubt.  One of the towering achievements in modern music, this is perhaps my favorite jazz album, and certainly one of the most wildly ambitious, mold-breaking pieces of music recorded in the 20th century.  Not only is the music here spasmodically orgasmic, scaling heretofore unheard-of heights with reckless abandon; it’s mind-warpingly catchy, telepathically moving hips and nodding heads.  The crescendo swells practically cry out for hands raised in ecstasy.

I could, and have, listened to Black Saint and the Sinner Lady several times in a row and could not possibly tire of it.  I love all of Mingus’ work, but this suite in particular seems to have struck some vein of godlike power, conjured through the four movements presented here as “dance” pieces.  Building organically from the first short Solo Dancer movement through the final blasted frenzy of Trio and Group Dancers, each additional layer is a natural evolution on the basic theme – expanding, soaring, dipping, roaring, and simply freaking out, Mingus never relaxes his kung fu grip on the proceedings.  Covering so much ground in such a tightly wound coil would be impossible for most musicians, but the group assembled here sets off the aural fireworks like they’re genetically engineered to do so.  The virtuosity on display here simply must be heard, over and over again, to fully grasp.

[obtain your soon to be treasured copy of this landmark at cduniverse (only $4 digital!) or amazon]