Jakub Alexander curates the music selections here at the blog. He also runs his Moodgadet record label out of Brooklyn, NY and does A&R for Ghostly International Records.
Links:Moodgadget RecordsJakub's Tumblr
If you live in NYC and walk with your eyes open, you’ve seen Katsu’s skull grinning at you- from fire escapes, bus stops, urinals and now rooftops. In this chunnel exclusive, Red Bucket Filmmakers Nick Poe and Alex Kalman team up with the elusive Katsu to take Charles and Ray Eames’ 1977 classic “Powers of 10″ from outer space to the street.
Now Katsu, we can’t tell you much about, you know how it is. Red Bucket, we can say, have been featured in the NYTimes Magazine looking fly in vests and bathing suits and have been to the Cannes Film Festival twice with feature films. Working out of a downtown sweatshop, the crew turns it out, always fresh, never fancy, always burning the midnight oil.
– Chunnal TV
The other night i’m sitting on the computer and Mux Mool sends me a picture and starts laughing and talking about how there’s a Moodgadget car driving around. In my mind I always thought if I get enough money together one day I might buy a white Honda Element and turn it into the Moodgadget Logo. I might even put the generic man as a tint on the window but now no need because the Nissan Cube came into play. LOOK AT IT! I mean WHAAUUUT IS GOING ON!? who does that with a back window? only the Moodgadget logo.
Let me give a little background about the Moodgadget logo, a lot of people call it MOONgadget maybe because it looks like something that would land on the moon or I can’t pronounce my D’s because I might mumble sometimes but really its a dreamt up idea I had that involves my obsession with pods and early early Radiohead covers, the old Royksopp video, and those cube shaped rooms that take you up a mountain that are used mostly by tourists. The Moodgadget logo was designed by 3 friends of mine: Adrian (Creative Director of the silhouette iPod commercials), Danny (Art Director at Ghostly), and Adam (co-owner of Moodgadget) and the idea came from a dream that I had about these white pods what were controlled by these generic business men sitting inside them that floated almost assembly line style out of a glass dome flying by these row of trees and straight into the sun except for one that was in color meaning still black and white but the glass window was light blue and the guy inside had pigment to his skin. This guy wasn’t in the assembly line he was floating around exploring but not too smart of a fellow because he always questioned everything since it was all new to him and he was just overall really curious. I think that dream of the logo kind of symbolized the music industry back then for me which was a lot generic music and compilations that we’re very specific and what we do at Moodgadget is kind of break down those barriers that were up and share music that is all over the place but still catchy in a way, kind of like the music on the blog that we pick but still educates hopefully and makes you want to try listening to something new.
Let’s get back to the Nissan Cube, not my style because of how bad their commercial was for it which if I remember correctly was probably geared toward break dancers that pop n lock in their cars, people that love glowing LEDs filling their stereo screens and those people that go out to the club with a fedora hat on tipped to the side because they’re soo “street” it hurts. To be honest Nissan should of hired on a creative like Scott or some of you that send in great pieces that Scott reposts and not this Mitsubishi Eclipse regurgitation of a car commercial that probably could be sold to people like me if it was delivered to us in a way that doesn’t make me feel like a soulless 20 year old that can’t speak for himself and wants to dance to Soulja Boy or whatever ringtone Rap is popular now(the stanky leg? I dunno i’m so lame when it comes to the hot tracks on the radio) or Tiesto talentless trance music thats played in the bigger metro clubs around the world.
Either way, I’d like to see a song off this blog make it onto the next Nissan Cube commercial, maybe we’d post the commerical and the 4th generation Nissan Cube get a little help from a design firm from Sweden and we might sell a few of these cars.
Bibio has really stepped it up on his new album Ambivalence Avenue, his older LPs don’t get me wrong are gorgeous and exactly what i personally want to hear but what a way keep your sound and it becoming more inviting for a newer audience that i’m sure will now start searching for his back catalog. Abrasion has a hints of Jannis voice from Choir of Young Believers and I even think Neil Young would be into this and that makes me pretty happy to think about.
My friend last night shared this Rachel’s song with me called Systems/Layers which is from an album that’s a collaborative dance/theater piece with the New York ensemble SITI Company. It’s perfect to collect yourself too, I have a feeling its going to become a nice go to song if you ever feel too distracted and overwhelmed.
You know I had to sneak in something dubby and techno-ish into this post so there is something 4/4 involved, I couldn’t think of a more gentle way to follow the Rachel’s track then including something by debut dub techno artist June from the UK, a real heavy yet elegant track. Languor has these moments where you feel like the song is just going to flutter by and float off like some dense gas that just decides to vaporize.
The same friend that suggested to listen to the Rachel’s also told me to listen to Moving Units, not really my cup of tea because usually I don’t listen to what people are singing about since I listen to mostly instrumental music but in the last minute I do like how he sounds.
Recently I posted a debut track by Slow Hands which is coming out on Brooklyn’s Wolf+Lamb label, you may know Ryan from New York’s DJ duo Worst Friends which our Tom Croose is the other half of. I asked Ryan to focus on something eclectic and something for designers and creatives to listen to while working instead of something a little more dance driven and Ryan really delivered by using everything from Slum Village to The Steve Miller Band to DFA’s Woolfy.
Once you get to the Project Sandro track you’ll end up in a slow and steady groove — it slays actually — I’ve been waiting for something like this for awhile and the ending movie sample is pretty sweet.
Look for the next couple of mixes to be non-genre specific and melodic and hopefully something that exposes the diversity in electronic/rock/etc music.
The iPhone photo was taken while Ryan was asleep and then Scott came in and made it proper.
TRACKLIST Alice In Wonderland (Soundtrack) – The Garden & All In The Golden Afternoon Slum Village – Fourth and Back Sade – Sweetest Taboo (Slow Hands edit) The Steve Miller Band – Fly Like An Eagle Soulphiction – Prison Song (Feat. Marcin Oz) Aldo del Lago, Tolousse y Alain Junot – La Isla Bonita Ab Orchestra – La Isla Bonita David Bowie – Magic Dance Project Sandro – Blazer Woolfy vs. Projections – Isabella Trus’me – Drilling Wareika – Belonging (Vocal) Tensnake – Holding Back (My Love) Slow Hands – Fast Tongue Chateau Flight – Instand Replay Talking Heads – Sax And Violins Dan Auerbac – When The Night Comes Princess Outro
Niagara Falls has a composing genius in their hands, hell, burn down that wax museum they have and make a stage close to the water fall and let Wisp play live weekly, the town needs something fresh and cinematic and Wisp would never disappoint for one moment, he could be their Blue Man Group.
Reid Dunn might be known to some of his close internet friends as someone that plays fantasy video games, hangs out on the WATMM forum and leaves polite comments once in a while, works the night shift, and might not jump onto AOL messenger until 3am every night until morning sending you clips of tracks he makes thru the day. All that is great and all but he has reached some musicians dream which is to release on Richard D. James’ record label Rephlex and pretty much put everyone to shame in the IDM world.
If you haven’t listened to his new LP The Shimmering Hour then you haven’t heard Aphex Twin served to you on a silver platter with some of the finest tweaks, iron man marathon speed and maximized sound quality. Honestly, I put it on this record and I feel like i’m about to ride in on a horse into a village and burn that whole thing down, which isn’t a bad dorky thing its just that epic and fantasy filled. Some songs I feel like i’m feasting with foreign kings and riding on dragons that have 3 heads as a level 60 Gunslinger Destromath but thats besides the point, its Reid the kid that I thought since 2004 would be huge one day and after 5 years he has become a favorite composer of many electronic fans and seriously not to plug him but for any video game company that needs a sound designer and you think Amon Tobin or Richard Devine is the top of the line well then you need to give Reid one day to compose you something for any scene and i’ll bet my left arm(i’m left handed) he’ll make it perfect. Alright, i’ve gone overboard and thats what happens when you’re listening to this record and writing about it.
(please note the artwork above is only partially the final art used for the release, I just enjoyed that section of the cover a lot more)
I was going to save this Juno song for the perfect ending for a mix because I think it blows a lot of similar bands like Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, etc out of the water if you compared best song to best song. The recording of the vocal could be one of my favorites, the builds are not too drastic but still have these epic parts to them. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
How did I miss The Autumns? probably because i’m not a fan of the guys vocal but lyrically and sonically they’re outstanding, what do you think? I can’t imagine how they sound now though.
Tom Croose’s partner as Worst Friends goes under the name Slow Hands, he’s a classically trained guitarist that makes slow house/disco that pretty much sound like it’s inspired by Sade which might be the best direction for the future of slow disco and comes so natural to Ryan’s style of making music.
This Herrmann & Kleine song could calm anyone with its digital fake waves in the distance, child toy melodies, and dreamy keys, all that comes to mind is taking a calm nap in a foreign city.
Juno – The Great Salt Lake / Into the Lavender Crevices of Evening the Otters Have Been Pushed
Brooklyn has a lot of talented musicians, some of them follow the trends that keeps a room of sweaty hip people moving but usually it’s never original or very formulaic and similar sounding. One group that i’ve been lucky to see a handful of times is Body Language which does a catchy amount of soulful harmonic indie dance. The 3 piece consists of Matt Young, Grant Wheeler, and Ang Bess who all share the workload of entertaining us by bringing out old synths, voiceboxes, and xylophones on stage. If you want to see them they open up for Passion Pit and Miike Snow this week in New York.
Cassettes Won’t Listen has been stuck in my head all week long, I am trying to figure out who he sounds like, maybe its what I want video games to sound like or its kind of a mixture of if Eliot Lipp made 4/4 material instead of hip hop and he invited IDM specialist Wisp to help make the music and they had to use studio instruments, I know thats a odd comparison since i’m name dropping but it is what it is.
Proem is just one of those musicians that surfaced during the IDM boom and grabbed a lot of the attention of fans during the mid 2000’s and now kind of goes down in my mind as an important piece of keeping that genre afloat. he has a similar sound to Marumari which is that melodic and dreamy Aphex Twin sound with tons of texture on his notes and each one kind of flutters by kind of like this Arovane song.
You may know Tim Saccenti for his unreal spacey Battles video or his wild Animal Collective videos or press photos for Flying Lotus and Jimmy Edgar but his live visuals this weekend for School of Seven Bells were jaw dropping, not only did School of Seven Bells play a gorgeous live show but Tim Saccenti nailed the visuals and captured the sound perfectly, I almost felt like I was experiencing something that was on some other level. Below is a great review of the night:
Timothy Saccenti’s Visuals andthe School of Seven Bells
The question that immediately comes to mind as one looks into the silky black voids of photographer/director Timothy Saccenti’s mind, manifested wonderfully in images of black expanses occupied ironically by an artist or an object beyond one’s capacity for reaction, is this: What possible world am I occupying and how am I existing in this space and time? With the School of Seven Bell’s visuals, Saccenti (in conjuction with Flame artist Alvin Cruz) achieves, brilliantly and originally, the apex of what all artists can hope to achieve; as the mirrored yet chaotic colors begin to rise up on the screen, the viewer relinquishes control of his or her consciousness of the moment and enters the beautiful, black, colorful, numbing minds of Saccenti and Cruz.
So what makes these images so otherworldly yet familiar enough that one can fall into them so whole-heartedly? The peice mixes familiar epiphenomenal stimuli (shapes and images) with powerful digital distortion, creating a space that is paradoxically common and foreign. The experience places the viewer at the precipice of human comprehension and tethers them to the rock of humanity with fibers so inconspicuous that it is hard to know when one might fall into the black abyss. It is exhilarating. Paired with the ambient, submissive music of The School of Seven Bells, an audience is treated to complete perceptual experience involving the lyrical mastery of the band and their interstellar sound.
There is a diamond shape that occupies the screen for much of the piece. Besides being a spatial image that one can clearly identify, it suggests another, semi-erotic, human form that boldly stares back at a transfixed audience. It is difficult not to see a vaginal, pink shape in the diamond. It is natural and digital, surrounded by a hazy distortion and heavy digital sounds that are reminiscent of television snow. Watching the two female singers, it is hard not to feel lulled by a kind of siren song.
One of the more powerful images, a white face with dark eyes, exists as a kind of character throughout the piece. It comes and goes as the viewer’s ability to make it out is realized and lost. The face is mirrored on both sides of the screen as one’s own face so commonly is. The face swings back and forth with an organic fluidity that is imperfectly natural and correct. Amongst the computerized movement of box shapes and spheres, this face stands out with its organic movement that, at the apex of its swing, faces the audience and becomes black (with white eyes). It is an eerie and fantastic moment as the echoing voices of The School of Seven Bells rise and fall to the metronome of the huge face.
The image that most dramatically drives the feeling of nature is the wilderness at sunrise; however, in digitally transcendental fashion, the piece juxtaposes the desert grasses with outstanding digital effects. The sunrise image sits inside a sphere that seems to rotate as the image remains still. The sphere fits inside the skeleton of a neon cube in an eclectic picture that moves with a more perfect, digital, fluidity. The circle is also seen in another major part of the piece. Inside of a large, white circle are numbers that follow around the circle’s circumference, similarly to that of an ancient calendar. Here, Saccenti seems to be exploring the most seamless connections between man and nature. Time is a human invention developed to understand the most fundamental engine of nature. It is a similar idea that drives the image of the Hindu deity, Ganesh. Here, the audience explores the human invention of religion as a tool for understanding the impossibilities of nature. A statue of the deity rotates slowly, giving a reverend importance to his presence.
The pairing of these two artists could not have been more perfect. The School of Seven Bells creates an original sound using a similar juxtaposition. Soft voices and flowing guitar riffs round out the heavy digital sound that backs up each song. These two elements collide to produce a sound that is otherworldly.
Throughout the piece, we see the majesty of nature and the boundless imagination of humanity. Represented beautifully by digital displays, the viewer enters a possible world that can only exist with the imagination of this brilliant collaboration, through the conduit that is their talent.