A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Mixes are some of our favorite way to consume music. With the endless silveren waterfall of new music coming out every second, it’s nice to have a way to check out random music. From flowing DJ mixes, to expertly curated mixtapes, mixes are all about the love of music, connecting previously unrelated synapses, and creating a journey of sound.
In the world of electronic music, whether dance (yr not gonna find me using the acronym EDM) or hip-hop, mixes and mixtapes are an essential ingredient, one step before the EP, where artists can share their current ideas, research and infatuations, without the commercial pressures of a single, EP or album. As we’ve stated many times before, a lot of the real action in electronic music never makes it’s way to a full album, which sometimes can end up feeling like a slice of revisionist history: viewing a scene through rose-tinted lenses. Mixtapes, soundcloud, bandcamp & live shows are where a lot of the real action takes place.
For the first weekend of the new year, we offer up two mixtapes, for yr pleasure, from two of our favorite producers of the last couple of years.
i first became aware of Clams Casino with a fanmade video for “I’m God”, featuring scenes from the Jean Rollin film Lost In New York. In it, a lithe and graceful figure sports a blank, featureless mask, hanging out in the margins and peripheries.
It’s a good analogy for Clams Casino’s production style, which stands at the crossroads of soulful, old skool party beats and the New Vibe autism of Internet Musicks like vaporwave & trap music. On Instrumental 3, CC blends the tense aggression of pitched snares with warm & glowing chillwave grooves. This is music for dancing on the beach in slow motion, as it cycles rapidly from tropical to slate-gray.
This is important terrain to explore, in my opinion, as my main criticism about most virtual styles is the harsh, airless, dry nature of the recordings. Its TOO uncanny, it reminds me of watching corpses trying to dance a jig, or even worse, trying to bump & grind. On you. In the middle of a grotesque and crowded dancefloor.
The intersection of the real and the virtual is one of my predictions for the new year, or maybe it’s just a hope. I’d like to see producers using the tools and information at their disposal, with the internet and powerful software, and blending it with classic values like mood, vibe, artistic vision & taste. It’s the difference between smooth and endless 4-bar loops and hand-cropped, personally selected samples. They’re a bit woozy and off-centered, at times, but apparently that is what it is, to be human.
These tracks are all instrumental, and i also predict that these will be going viral through thousands of homemade rape choruses. I hope they do, as they’re damn good. If yr looking for a primer on how to make good instrumental hip-hop, or how to blend the human and the machine, check out this tape!
Lorn – Self Confidence vol. 3
We’ve written about Lorn several times on these pages. Although we’ll write about anything, with plans on assimilating the entire globe into these primordial forests, our personal tastes err towards the nocturnal: dark, romantic & dangerous. Lorn’s blend of downbeat bassweight, tasteful sampledelia & ’80s decadent futurism makes us drool.
Self Confidence Vol. 3 takes you on a journey, from funky mausoleum dance parties (“Bye”) to Brad Fiedel back alleys & meanstreets (“Frifunk”) to haunted houses (the plaintive piano-only “My Device”). The most striking thing about Lorn’s music is that he covers such a wide range of styles and tempo, while staying recognizable; every second suspended in black tar & formaldehyde.
Lorn’s music is the sound of REAL danger, the soundtrack for a revolution or post-apocalypse, rather than the safe commodified violence of a metal show or generic horror flick. This music is truly EPIC, life & death, romantic, despairing & hopeful. It’s almost ridiculous that this is a mixtape: 25 songs, released for free around the time of his last EP. He’s got more ideas in his sock drawers than lesser producers have in their whole life.
Similarly to Clams Casino, Lorn also occupies a liminal grayzone: in this case, between dubstep, minimal synth, and downbeat instrumental hip-hop.
Like i mentioned in yesterday’s review of Bay Area producer Zachary Sid, it’s a welcome intersection, as i truly adored dubstep as it was coming out, when it was newer and artier. It damn near broke my heart when it became such a cartoon-like parody of itself. There’s a universe of possibilities, in the sheer aggression of bass frequency sculpting.
Equal parts soothing & menacing, Lorn’s music defies deconstruction, inspires a state of nearly religious awe.
Very much recommended, as is every other note he bleeds out.