“The underground has historically been a place where artists and musicians hone their craft before emerging onto the mainstream, however in today’s age, where the term Hip-Hop can mean a variety of things to a variety of people, it has become a subgenre of its own, a place some artists choose not to leave… But rather remain, perfecting their craft forever.
Yugen Blakrok has been on the South African Hip-Hop scene for the last decade or so. Originally hailing from the Eastern Cape, and after featuring on various projects throughout SA, she began rocking mics in Johannesburg in 2007 in a crew called Recess Poetry, which quickly gained a strong following throughout JHB…”
Splendor & Misery is an Afrofuturist, dystopian concept album that follows the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship, and the onboard computer that falls in love with him. Thinking he is alone and lost in space, the character discovers music in the ship’s shuddering hull and chirping instrument panels. William and Jonathan’s tracks draw an imaginary sonic map of the ship’s decks, hallways, and quarters, while Daveed’s lyrics ride the rhythms produced by its engines and machinery. In a reversal of H.P. Lovecraft’s concept of cosmic insignificance, the character finds relief in learning that humanity is of no consequence to the vast, uncaring universe. It turns out, pulling the rug out from under anthropocentrism is only horrifying to those who thought they were the center of everything to begin with. Ultimately, the character decides to pilot his ship into the unknown—and possibly into oblivion—instead of continuing on to worlds whose systems of governance and economy have violently oppressed him.
Good articles digging into the lyrics & story here: Part I and Part II.
“Psychomagia” is the new album by the fabulous quartet of Abraxas, the acclaimed tribal rock arrangements for the Book of Angels series. Here they perform a complex new suite of music written expressly for them by Downtown alchemist John Zorn. Drawing inspiration from the magical writings of Giordano Bruno and Alejandro Jodorowski and others, Zorn has written a bold collection of compositions that challenge the musicians to the breaking point. With a program ranging from some of the most intense ritualistic sounds you are likely to hear to tender minimalistic odes, this is a surprising new volume in Zorn’s mystic series that matches the intensity and power of Moonchild, PainKiller and Naked City. Recorded at Orange Music and mixed by Bill Laswell. Essential.”
“Fred Frith was a classically-trained violinist who turned to playing blues guitar while still at school. In 1967 he went to Cambridge University where he and fellow student, Tim Hodgkinson formed Henry Cow. While at University, Frith read John Cage’s Silence: Lectures and Writings, which changed his attitude to music completely. He realised that “sound, in and of itself, can be as important as […] melody and harmony and rhythm.” This changed his approach to the guitar, “just to see what I could get out of it” and initiated a long period of experimentation that continued throughout Frith’s musical career.”
Animistic fantasy hip hop? With dinosaurs? It all goes together surprisingly well. This guy’s creativity is off the charts – indie video production and home-made creature costumes… How does this only have 11,000 views on Youtube? More of Historian Himself’s work below.
Accompanying the first track of the anticipated collaboration, Soused, between avant-garde crooner Scott Walker and sludgy noisemeisters Sunn O))) is an arresting short film by French director and choreographer Gisèle Vienne. Walker’s music — with or without Sunn O))) — is the stuff of waking nightmares, and Vienne’s dream-like film matches it fuzzed-out chord by fuzzed-out chord. A house in the mountains, a blonde-tressed woman moving in slow-motion epilepsy; a teenage boy (her son?) locked in tremulous horror; a car crash?; and a sudden appearance by French novelist, theater artist and dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet… it’s eerie, disquieting, and, with its narrative elisions, entirely hypnotic.
Additionally: NYT article on the album, focusing on Scott Walker. Red Bull Music Academy “lecture” with Stephen O’Malley from Sunn O))).
Quote from the NYT piece:
“Once a romantic hero, then an existential one — blond, narrow-hipped, unsmiling behind sunglasses — Mr. Walker no longer has a stage persona. He hasn’t performed in public since a television appearance in 1995, and hasn’t played a concert since 1978. Whatever his music is now, it’s not pop. He’s a composer who happens to use his voice, a semi-operatic baritone pushed to high and quivering extremes, as an instrument to serve his meticulous texts, which on the new album, “Soused,” include words like “bliaut” — a 12th-century European overgarment — and “bescumber.” (Look it up.) And maybe something else: a maker of abstract dramas with tones as characters. His work demands that you come more than halfway toward his isolation, his need to do things differently, and perhaps his story of turning from light to dark.
I would argue that “Soused,” which comes out Oct. 20 on the 4AD label, might be the first music Scott Walker has made in a very long time — maybe since his contributions to the Walker Brothers’ final record, “Nite Flights,” in 1978 — that can be absorbed into the body and enjoyed as a thrill, without needing to learn a lot of other context about his aesthetic transgressions, without attending to the Myth of Scott. Rather than withholding musical or emotional payoffs, which has long been his way, there’s a sort of constant payoff here: no orchestra this time, but the steady electric-guitar and bass drones of Sunn O))) (simply pronounced sun), rich and distorted and marvelous.”