50 Days of Soundcloud #15

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“Empire’s Comin’ Now We Gonna Get Blessed”

Another entry in my series of “songs that use synths to make something approaching heavy rock and/or punk”. Noisy, ravey, and I really like the coda.

The death of Soundcloud made The Pitch a few days ago!  Also of note from that article:  the phrase “broken embeds, dead links, and lost sounds” sounds like a stellar name for an album that I’m totally going to do now.

As always,

BUY MORE BOOKS

50 Days Of Soundcloud #12

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“Formula Modernia”

BUY SELL BUY SLEEP

Feel free to check out some books:  today’s featured titles include Disappearance, only 99 cents, which if you enjoy the action bits in books and you like apocalypse fiction you’ll enjoy; What You See Is What You Get, which manages to combine the specter of ag-gag laws with criminal trials that look more like reality TV than anything else; and 9th Street Blues, about a kid delivering cobbled-together drugs in the near future ruins of Woodward, OK (and is also the jumping-off point for my new serial novel, coming soon from ATM Publishing).

50 Days Of Soundcloud #11

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“Waiting For The Sign”

I want to say this was 2005, at the tail end of doing these sorts of faux-guitar sludge-heavy electronic tracks with creepy Apple Talk forced melodies. At the very least I remember it being the last one of them I ever really did. I still like the reversed beat that threads through parts of it.

Feel free to check out some books:  today’s featured titles include Disappearance, only 99 cents, which if you enjoy the action bits in books and you like apocalypse fiction you’ll enjoy; What You See Is What You Get, which manages to combine the specter of ag-gag laws with criminal trials that look more like reality TV than anything else; and 9th Street Blues, about a kid delivering cobbled-together drugs in the near future ruins of Woodward, OK (and is also the jumping-off point for my new serial novel, coming soon from ATM Publishing).

50 Days Of Soundcloud #6

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“Singing Plastic Songs”

44 days to go…if no one buys Soundcloud, people will wonder what the people of the mid-teens meant when they used the term “soundcloud rapper”.  “What does it mean that Lil Uzi Vert was a Soundcloud rapper, daddy?” they’ll ask.  “Not a goddamn thing, you ungrateful little bastards”, I’ll answer.

“Singing Plastic Songs” has this fun little drum n bass break over some sludge-synth work.  It also has more of that Apple Talk vocal work, which means I probably wrote it 2003-2004 or so.  It’s marked off as being on Goodbye To Welcomesville, which was the name I gave my non-political stuff, so that’s probably 2004.  It’s a little three-minute pop song, not much more.

Aluminium: 10 Years of From Here We Go Sublime

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The Field – From Here We Go Sublime

Released March 26th, 2007 on Kompakt Records

Axel Willner – The Field – didn’t do anything revolutionary on From Here We Go Sublime.  It didn’t progress his chosen field – although the exact nature of that chosen field can be a little blurry at times on the record?  Is it trance?  Is it a more European techno?  People at the time were enamored with the term “microhouse” and there’s definitely something to that term here.  It’s certainly in a broad sense house music:  the 4/4 beat, the hi-hats on the twos, the looping instrumentation, the arpeggios.  However, it feels like house music that has been compressed and blurred until it fits in a small, compact space; it’s the perfection of a form that existed for a nascent moment in time, the epitome of microhouse and a bangin’ good album.  Every sample Willner uses is piled on top of the last, layers piled on layers until you can no longer see the bottom; shot through all of that is a tight, thumping bass that pushes more air than the next six house records combined.  It’s the very definition of minimalism in EDM, and it’s textured, treated hooks burrow under your skin and stay there for life.

 

Purity Ring – another eternity

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Purity Ring – another eternity

“stranger than earth”, the fourth song on the Calgary synth-pop band’s sophomore album, is a trap song, an EDM song, and a 90s-tinged electronic club ballad, all at the same time.  In the quest to figure out which cutting-edge, contemporary pop trope to incorporate, it chooses to go in every direction at once.  Its big-synth heroics conjure up latter-day Metric, and this is a big, big problem.

Like Metric, Purity Ring staked their initial claim on layering melted-butter vocals over a fresh take on the sounds of the day.  Where Metric rode in on a wave of sunny, troubled indie rock in the wake of Broken Social Scene, Purity Ring chose to pair Megan James’ ethereal voice to an electronic soundscape that bore more than a few resemblances to witch house, a meme-genre the internet had a brief fascination with in 2010-2011.  The songs were a bit twisted, oddly barbed; they sounded like the jagged edges of a broken dream where everything seemed normal but you were left feeling faintly disturbed.

Like Metric, Purity Ring have made a fumbling grasp for a more widescreen acceptance.  Metric followed the gigantic-sounding Fantasies with the boring synth-pop rigidity of Synthetica.  Purity Ring follows Shrines with its opposite as well; the debut album’s danger and disturbing dream pop are replaced with a much safer, more straightforward pop.  Pop, full stop:  this is an album of modern hip hop, Avicii, David Guetta, and sub-indie balladry.  This is not a band that ever took cues from Salem, or oOoOO.  It takes no chances, and increases opportunity for market penetration.

I cast some aspersions on Imagine Dragons’ take on modern arena rock recently and the same goes for Purity Ring.  It’s reaching to rock as many people’s faces off at once as it can, and every song feels like a forced moment.  “push pull” comes the closest to their old sound, with its waterfall of arpeggiated synth notes tripping over themselves; everything else could be interchangeable on some indie rock radio DJ’s Saturday night club playlist.  Everything is still on the verge of drowning under hazy reverb, but it feels contrived this time out and causes the tracks to simply feel not loud enough for the desired effect.  Megan James can still sing like a stoned angel, of course, but Corin Roddick’s production is both pandering and lackluster.

Don’t even get me started on the conceit of stylizing everything in lowercase.