A coherent transmission from the Realm of Boards of Canada…FINALLY, as it’s only been eight years!

Well, well, well.  Looks like all the tricks in the past few months have finally, and truly, led up to something!  This evening on BBC Radio, the first ‘single’ (funny saying that about something BoC releated) off of the new Boards of Canada album was officially released over the air.  This subsequently spawned a load of Tweets and Blogging from anyone and everyone paying attention including, but not limited to: XLR8R, Helios, Warp Records (duh), Richard Devine, Tycho, Bleep (duh), Detroit Underground, AND even Boards of Canada themselves (who all of a sudden have a Twitter account with around 16,000 followers and growing, which you can find that account here: https://twitter.com/boctransmission.

Along with the announcement comes the ability to purchase the single digitally from Bleep, which can be done here: https://bleep.com/release/44127-boards-of-canada-reach-for-the-dead .  NOTE:  If you pre-order the album in either format (Vinyl or CD) you will instantaneously get a download of an MP3 of ‘Reach For The Dead’.

Even further, and more exciting, was the drop of an HD video of your usual nostalgic visuals to accompany the new track on BoC’s official webpage: http://boardsofcanada.com/.

Though, since I love you all, here is the video, embedded, so you don’t even have to think about clicking away from TravelsAndTuness:

The track itself…how is it?!  It’s Boards of Canada.  I mean, I’ve only heard it a few times now, so I’m not going to spout out some random nonsense of an opinion after hearing this so recently.  Something I’ve had to learn over and over with new music I’m excited about is simply to not expect anything!  Let it flow over you, and form an opinion later!  That said, the track is very moody (surprise?!), has a bit more crispness to it on the drums then many BoC tracks I’ve heard, and is full on deep in synth (surprise?!), riding throughout almost the entire five minutes.  It’s fantastic.  It’s Boards of Canada.  There’s a whole album coming out we can all process and think too much about very soon…in about two weeks!

This is where I would normally say: WINNING!

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Jeddah International Airport. It’s like jail, but with AC.

You take off from Indira Ghandi International Airport with the destination of NYC.  You’ve found this incredible deal for the flight, Delhi to NYC, for $530.  The airline is Saudia Airlines, which recently just joined SkyTeam Alliance, meaning that’s got to be a decent airline at this point.

Leg one of the journey: Delhi to Riyadh.  Quite surprised at how pleasant the trip is.  Friendly and helpful service, big clean cabin, they even took my request as needing more legroom due to my knees.  Foods decent enough for airplane food, they even have a veg option for those of us that don’t eat animals.  So far so good.

Quick stopover in Riyadh to let some humans off and clean the cabin quickly and take off for Jeddah.  I knew already I was going to have an 11 hour layover in Jeddah, so I was prepping myself for the whole airport forever task.  Here comes the fun.

We land in Jeddah after another quick and easy 1 hour and 10 minute flight.  Simple.  Walk into the Jeddah airport, look for the transfer desk to figure out what gate I’ll be departing from, and you get this really odd looking face from a guy who just hands you this random piece of paper saying that you’re a transit passenger.  No gate information, it’s dated March 30th, and it’s actually May 1st.  Okay?  He says to proceed upstairs.  I do so, find myself going through a thick security detail (of course) and end up walking through a duty free area (no alcohol, of course, it’s Saudi Arabia), and once through the duty-free zone, a bunch of chairs,a large amount of faces covered women, and sheiks everywhere.  Fair enough, it’s a Muslim country.

I walk around for a maximum of about two minutes to discover that the transfer/transit area is maybe the size of the tiniest wing at a normal airport (but smaller than that even), with 10 gates, all leading underground, as it’s all bus to plane here for international travel apparently (they’re in the process of building some ridiculous $40 billion dollar airport through the means of crazy corruption according to a guy I chatted with on the plane to NYC).  There is three shops to buy things at.  One coffee shop, one snacky sweet shop, and one fairly under-par ‘restauraunt’.  Fair enough, if they have water, and something half-way decent to eat, I can deal for 11 or 12 hours.

Here’s the catch.  I just flew in from India.  I have very little cash left on me (on purpose), as it’s all in Rupees, and I don’t like getting ganked for exchanging currencies at airports.  I plan these things accordingly for a reason!  But here in this very small confined space there are NO currency exchanges, and NO ATM’s.  I ask around about this and they all shove me off semi-rudely saying, ‘No this is a problem, they are all outside the passport control area, where you can’t go’.  Specific quote: “This is your problem.”

Okay…so I start to ask what I can do about it, as I’m here for 12 hours and I need water and probably some food at some point.  They wave me off, somewhat rudely (mind you these are security guards).  I head back in thinking of course that one of these three shops will take credit cards, as it’s an airport.  NOPE.

Great, so I have a 12 hour layover with no Riyals, no water, and no food.  There are no comfortable places to sit, basically no power outlets for charging anywhere, no free Wifi, and I’m fairly at a loss at this point.  It makes no sense!  Don’t places like this WANT you to be spending money while you’re waiting around for 12 hours?  Then why is there no ATM or currency exchange, or simply, why don’t they take credit cards?!??!?  Mindnumbing.

Thank gods for the $100 bill I keep for crazy random circumstances like this.  Apparently, I figure out, if you buy something at the duty-free shop with American Dollars, Euros, or British Pounds, you get Riyals back in change.  Wow.  This is the only option.  If I wouldn’t have had this bill, I’d be in this chair filled room, with no water, no food, no nothing (let alone place to kind of rest or wander around LIKE EVERY OTHER AIRPORT IN THE WORLD – at least that I’ve been to), for 12 hours.  Absolutely incredible.  It’s like  jail, but with AC and a place to pray – if you’re Muslim.

The first few hours just kind of drudgingly go by until I figure out you can purchase 30 minutes – 2 hours of Wifi from the ‘restaurant’ for about 15 Riyals, which is around $4.  Ok, normally, I would never do this, but at this point I’m down for the charge, as I for whatever reason do not usually succeed to well at reading books or novels in airports.  Success on one front.  Next I see one of the guys from the plane handing over the same type of slip (that I got from the information booth guy as I stepped off the plane) to the restaurant, and they’re giving him food!  I head over and ask about what’s going on, and apparently this slip is good for one ‘free meal’!  Wow, exciting, and kind of amazing to me at this point in the whole experience.  I hand over my slip and get back a tray with a tiny bottle of water, a huge bread bun, two strips of airport chicken, some rice, and an apple.  Beggars definitely cannot be choosers, and as vegetarian as I am, I’m hungry, and down the hatch it goes!

I go over and purchase a coffee and finish my water, and life is slowly returning to my system.  I find a decent table in the corner near one of the only power outlets I can find to huddle around for the next 8 hours.  From then on it was the same sort of routine over and over again.  Any backpacker or Westerner within a certain frame of mind would head to the restaurant from getting off the plane, see me, and start up the, “Did you know there’s no ATM or currency exchange or place to smoke or alcohol or…” conversation with me.  The delirium has set in already and every single one of these interactions I have becomes excessively hilarious until I finally get asked about power outlets by this man that appears to be a fairly young and chilled out Indian!

Turns out he is (from Mumbai), and we end up having a brilliant chat about my last months in India, where he’s from, what he does (he works on shipping boats in the Mediterranean for nine months out of the year), what I do, and then has a load of tips for non-touristic spots to hit with the Enfield next time I’m in India.  STOKE.  Exactly what I needed.  A little taste of India, and a little sliver of feeling like I’m not going back to the States.  Perfect.

The next single-serving friends I run into happen to be a Canadian and a Columbian, coming off an excursion through the Philippines headed to Istanbul.  Obviously the American (myself) and the Canadian have a fair amount to chat about, and Kelsey and I end up chatting and sharing some music while Edgar somehow takes a nap on the hard-as-a-rock bench chairs in one of the sections of the prison.  This definitely passed a lovely chunk of the rest of the time, and before you know it, my plane is boarding.

Having been through a fair amount of airports in the world and the States at this point, I couldn’t have imagined anything like this existed.  I later find out that Saudi Arabia has NO tourist visa!  Absolutely incredible.  They are so wealthy, that they literally don’t care about making money from tourism.  The wealth is also at the top 4% of the people or something of the sort, with King Abdullah heading up that department worth around $18 billion (interesting side read on rich royals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_richest_royals).  Corruption is thick, and widespread.  If you’re not Muslim or have invested business in the country, you’re basically not welcome.  These types of circumstances just keep piling up.  Rather unfortunate as well, as even though I want nothing to do with Islam, I have a fascination with world religions, and would love to see Mecca someday – not possible…unless I convert and have proof of it.  As I’d say in India, “SANAKI!” (crazy).

Boarded my flight tired like I hadn’t been in a while, immediately passed out, and the journey back to the States continued…

Some further reading on the craziness of Saudi Arabia I found from trotting through Wiki articles after writing this:
Mecca, Saudi Arabia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecca
With this fort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajyad_Fortress
Built to protect the Kabba: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaba
Destroyed to create: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraj_Al_Bait_Towers
Built by: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Binladin_Group
Who will eventually build: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_Tower

Insane.

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The Catch-22 of Traveling…

Narita

(Click for an enlarged view.)

It’s days like today that really remind me of the whole Catch-22 of traveling.

Will start with the weird.  Riding through the spectacular hills around the Solan and Shimla area in Northwestern India today on my way to Mandi, the Endfield Thunderbird 350cc started acting up again, as it had the previous night.  When throttled to a certain point the bike starts spurtering.  Knowing a bit about bikes I had an idea what was wrong, but wasn’t sure.  Thankfully, I made it safe to Solan last night, and hadn’t broken down in the middle of no where.

Today after making it through the crowded Highway 88 through Shimla, the bike started to spurted again while driving.  At this point I was a good 30ish clicks outside of  Shimla, and there was not much around in sight except the grey-purple-bluish hills and greenery everywhere.  Then, Narita (she, the bike gave herself a name yesterday) just decides to putter a few spastic times while slowing down in 3rd, and comes to a halt, and shuts off. Ahem.

(Quick insertation to note that about twenty minutes before this I had just pulled over for almost an hour to fix it a first time, replacing the spark plug, fuel line to the carburetor, and cleaning the carburetor itself for 100 rps,  I tipped the man, who really knew his stuff 40 rps.  Narita seemed like she was fixed…)

I’ve had plenty of issues with bikes traveling in the past years from the obvious flat tubes in the tires to bald tires to crashes to beyond crashes to fuel lines bursting to driving into a restricted area and spending the night at military barracks to…having your bike decide to completely quit on you no where near a shop, and especially an Enfield shop (which are politely enough placed around India, but mostly in larger towns/cities).  Trying a few quick fixes put me no where.   Next step: find someone and see if they know anything about bikes.

There just happened to be this odd, decently sized building about a fourth of a click back.  I walked over to find a few security guards hovering around, one of which spoke decent enough English to have a conversation about what was going on.  He tells me to roll the bike over to attempt to get it going near the shop and off the road.  After pushing it over, a few tries of the same sort were gone over, and the fuel was checked, as for some odd reason, they were convinced I’d been given kerosene even though I’d told them I’d gotten petrol at a real station.  Strange.  Through this process, I noticed smoke coming from the carburetor, obviously not a good sign.

Narita would not start whatsoever, she’d give a few turns of the engine and that was it.  Next step: see if they know anyone they can call for me to pick-up truck the bike back to the Enfield shop I’d seen in Chakkar, right before Shimla, for a fee.  A little chat between the guards, and they decide on a number, give it a call, and the guy agrees to come out and take me where I need to go.

By this time, the usual crowd of watchers and/or participators has happened.  This is a phenomenon here in India that can happen anywhere at anytime as a traveler.  You can be going about your merry business of whatever, and this action easily could turn into something that will have a few to a load of spectators just staring you down silently, or asking you in broken English where you are from and what is going on.  If something is wrong, a few of these people may help you out in some way.  The case today was that the 6 or so men that happened to come out and check out the issue all helped out, which was great, as it required all of us to lift the bike into the back of the truck.

Loaded and strapped, Narita sat in the back and I gave many handshakes and said many thank you’s to them all, then took off for the Enfield shop.  The driver spoke no English, so the ride was mostly silent except for a random call from a friend traveling through Thailand, which ended up being a perfect little dip out of what was going on to chill out for a moment while driving through the hills.  Being around half past six or so, you never know if whatever destination you’re going to will be open unless it’s a hotel or a restaurant – and even then…places just close whenever they want out here.

Pulling up to the Royal Enfield shop, we can already tell they’re packing up for the night and shutting down.  The driver explains in Hindi what’s up from what he knows, and I give my version in English.  Turns out one of the mechanics speaks the language rather well.  He takes off his gloves and and sets down his backpack and we grab the bike out of the truck and double wheel it upright inside the garage.  Two gents quickly get to work on taking apart the carburetor and fuel filter assembly.  The fuel filter is basically black, and the carburetor is cleaned, and the bike reassembled.  The main guy (can’t remember his name) takes it for a spin, comes back, and isn’t satisfied it’s working.  At this point it’s either the carburetor, or they’re not sure.  A second-hand carburetor for a Thunderbird is found, implemented and she’s driven for another test.

Success.

This is great news, even though at this point the day is basically a wash.  You never know if the shop will have the part, how expensive it will be, or a multitude of factors, though you can pick up how much some items are after a while of buying them over and over.

The whole process ended up taking about five plus hours and costing somewhere in the 3000 rps range (the shop also did not charge me labor fees, while the two gentleman and lady were working after hours), which in reality is only around $55, though in travel talk that is a day’s worth spending, or when speaking to the right person, four or five days worth of budget.  At this specific moment in time I’m a bit tight, so I wasn’t too excited about all this.

Begin the Catch-22 of traveling.  I’m traveling around a foreign country, literally half way across the world, riding a gorgeous motorcycle that most Indians would dream of owning once in their life time, eating wherever I want, doing whatever I want, and living it up the fullest.  Those around me, besides the occasional other backpacker, are mostly earning anywhere from 100-400 rps a day, with your exception every so often depending on their line of work.  Today I spend a month or more‘s worth of someone’s income just to deal with fixing my motorcycle so that I could continue on to meet some travelers from Isreal and the UK that I clicked with well in Rishikesh days prior.

Right.  Perspective.

I notice while traveling in developing countries this notion of a Catch-22…the in-between point of being so overwhelmed with emotions of the positive nature, while plowing through neighborhoods of very poor human beings, who only many times, have this idea in their head that coming to wherever it is that you come from is a much better place than where they reside.  In some cases, this is absolutely true.  I’ve seen slums so humbling out here in India and other countries in Southeast Asia, that I was silent for hours.  Coming from white, middle-class America in Edmonds, WA, places of this nature were as unknown as walking on the Moon until I saw them, breathed the air, and felt the energy of their people.

This notions will always remind that while my country, the United States of America, is not perfect by any means (mostly due to the government and the people paying the government), it is a country where you more than likely are driving a car, saying whatever you want, own a laptop and an iPod, go through smartphones all the time, and hey, you even have a shower head and a toilet to sit on!  So many in Westernized countries forget that most of the world does not have these leisures that many would freak out if they did not have.

I am extremely fortunate for what I have been able to see and witness in countries far away from where I am from, and usually reside in.  Tell the larger percentage of Indians or Southeast Asians how much a plane ticket costs to the States, and you just get a smile and laugh, with the vibe that they know they’ll never be able to afford it, or afford the trip with enough space to be able to take a ‘holiday’ or even better, live and work in instead.  I am humbled a thousand fold by this, and when the travels get tough for whatever reason, need to remind myself exactly what it is that I am able to do because I was born in the United States to a loving family with a solid income (thanks Mom and Pop for everything!).

Tomorrow I will ride on towards the Dharamsala area and continue to smile heavily towards every single sentient being wherever it is I decide to stop or stay.  There is reportedly 7.1 BILLION humans on Earth, and we are all special in our own way.  The views and the beaches and the motorcycles and the food (gulab jamun!!) and the ashrams and the temples and the backpackers and the lifestyle of traveling are exciting, stunning, and breathtaking – but being able to meet human beings that have a different set of beliefs and lifestyles through the planet – this is life changing, and I will forever take to heart how massively unique this our rock flying around the Sun truly is.  When we figure out how to unify as a planet, as a species, something magnificent will take place.  I have hope.

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Four Tet Randomly Drops New LP of Old Material!

Four Tet Randomly Drops New LP of Old Material!

WOW.  If you’re a music lover in the electronica or jazz world and don’t know Four Tet already, then, this is a great place to start!  For everyone else that hasn’t been hiding under a rock for the past 20 years or so, THERE IS A NEW FOUR TET RELEASE!

Apparently this is all material written from 1997 – 2001 or so, meaning – more tunes that sound like ‘Rounds’ (which is hands down, one of the best pieces of contemporary music to date)!

It’s currently available for a FREE DOWNLOAD on his Soundcloud ( https://soundcloud.com/four-tet/0181-1 ), so get on over to it and soak in the bliss!

Injoy!

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Music for the Ear…as of late. The Third.

August 15th, 2012

What what.  Seems I can’t keep up with myself on these.  Ah well, been busy!  In the headphones and on the Mackie’s…noise, psych-rock, some steppin’ thing called chillstep…it’s all over the place As of Late.

: Speck :
: Harmonia : Echotourist : 2012
:
~ ambient, drone, noise, experimental, modern.classical ~

Over the top excitement on this one!  I’m currently on some sort of third or fourth listen of this new album from who seems to be a fairly new artist, Speck.  I am utterly floored.  Inside of ‘Find Me, Find Me’ I am completely lost, yet drifting in a sense of my own dismay, and enjoying it!  The distortion on the guitars throughout this album is not for the faint of heart – Speck requires all of your attention and will to hold on.  Moments of intensity almost unbearable at times will float right into pockets of beauty, often lead by a grand piano, or maybe a harp.  Breathtaking.  Very remniscent of Christian Fennesz’s various works, yet even drier on the noise sections of the pieces.  I am taken aback by how well put together this entire 41 minutes are.  The two ‘Harmonia (Hymn)’s are particularly standout, although the length of the album really runs together as one piece quite smoothly.  Through the pieces lush riffs of melancholy vibrations lurk in the foreground, while pieces of what may be Speck’s life come twirling out at you in random patterns, making for a very disorienting ride…ride the waves of static, if you will.  I’d never heard of the new Echotourist label before, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them.  If you’re a fan of noise, drone, field recordings, or of course, all three – this is not to be missed.

Catch free downloads from Echotourist at their Bandcamp page: http://echotourist.bandcamp.com/

: The Black Angels :
: Passover / Directions To See A Ghost : Light In The Attic : 2006 / 2008
:
~ psychedelic.rock, garage.rock ~

What can be said about The Black Angels?  They are by far one of my favorite active bands of the time.  I was introduced to them through a friend and was instantaneously sucked into their swirling tribal spiral.  The on-point repetitive drumming through many of the tracks add an element of hypnosis, pulling you in even deeper to the realm of the late 60’s and early 70’s guitar heavy era.  Groovy at times, if you will.  Guitarist Christian Bland’s guitar lines are wet with pedals as can be, continuously.  Flange, distortion, echo, and more…classic elements sounding fresh and inviting to your ears.  Alex Maas’s vocals are soothing to the ears, pulling feelings of Morrison through your brain again.  I had the pleasure of seeing them live (finally) this year in their hometown of Austin, Texas during their annual festival the Austin Psych Fest.  Four days of 8-10 hours of non-stop rock music bliss.  Their set was definitely a highlight out of the 50+ bands.  While the group now has three full length’s, the first two are just enough in a different direction to really hold them in a special place in my heart.  I will continue to follow this incredible project until they quit or disband, and know I will listen to these albums over and over for years to come!

: Stumbleine :
~ chillstep, chillwave, lo.fi, electronic, shoegaze ~

Alright, think of taking a bit of Burial, Baths, My Bloody Valentine, Boards of Canada, Shigeto, and maybe even a bit of newer BT, smashing them all together seamlessly, and rather politely.  That is the best way formulated to describe the sound heard from this project.  Almost 40 tracks I’ve gone through from Stumbleine now and I’m sucked in every time.  This could easily the closest sounding to what may be true chillstep.  Lush fields of nostalgia and new found love right after you lost a love are all around you.  Bask in it, if you will.  ‘Glacier’ from The Night Before is quite possibly the most listened to selection at the current moment.  The soft echoing vocal calls you into the state of mind being spoken to you throughout this uplifting three minutes and forty four seconds of pure joy.  Catchy popped riffs elegantly executed on top of the triple-clapped, crunched, and extremely wet snares; a style that has been becoming more and more of a standard within certain brands of subgenres of dubstep.  Not much information has come out so far about Stumbleine.  I honestly couldn’t find much intel out there in the good old World Wide Web besides the facts that the project is from the UK, joined Crackbook on 12/14/2010, and has a ton of music on their Soundcloud for you to fall in love with.

: Sensiva :
: Giosun : Sensotech : 2005 :
~ downtempo, idm, ambient, pre-glitch ~

This has to be one of the most amazing albums of it’s kind.  Every time I listen to it, which is somehow not more often, I am taken aback by mesmerizing beauty unfolding in my ears.  Each track is carefully gliding right through your senses, filling them with another land, not far off, but just within reach over the horizon.  The weather is beautiful, if you will.  Being the only release on Sensotech, Russian Artem Galukhin (Артём Галухин) delivers a true masterpiece, one even the brothers of Boards of Canada, whom it seems to be partially inspired by, would appreciate.  The pieces are synth haunting heavy throughout, yet always reminding you at all times how beautiful life actually can be (and is).  Multi-layered drum sections allow you to gently ride the river down this immense drone filled cavern.  Unfortunately Sensiva hasn’t been heard from in years at this point, but one can always hope that more material may surface someday.  Definitely can sense this one being a favorite for many many years to come.

Phish
~ rock, jam.band, folk, space jazz ~

This may surprise some of you to read this.  Well, be surprised, be very surprised.  I absolutely LOVE Phish.  My first girlfriend ever introduced them to me through the “A Live One” live CD on Elektra back in 1996 or so.  Since then I’ve had my waves of going in and out of listening to them non-stop, and this summer has been one of those IN times.  Massively addicted with no end in sight, if you will.  Along with the incredible collection of live shows that what.CD has to offer, and working outside (Phish goes great with the outside, don’t ya know?), there has been “way too much” Phish going on around the property according to my roomie.  Beyond that I will say nothing, but I will list off a few of the selections I’m listening to on repeat lately:

Hampton Comes Alive – Wading In The Velvet Sea, Sabotage (Beastie Boys), Mike’s Song
“A Live One”: Gumbo, The Squirming Coil
2012/07/01, East Troy, WI: Gotta Jibboo, No Quarter (Led Zeppelin), Farmhouse, Happiness Is A Warm Gun (The Beatles)
2012/07/08, Saratoga Springs, NY: Foam, David Bowie, You Enjoy Myself
July 4th, 2010, Alpharetta, GA: This set is over the top!  Bowie, Jibboo, Ghost>Waste, and a Mike’s Groove with Mike’s Song>Tela>Harpua>KILLING IN THE NAME OF (Rage Against The Machine)>Harpua>Weekapaug Groove.  Encore with First Tube.  Incredible show!!
Field of Heaven, Fuji Rock Festival, July 31, 1999 – Niigata, Japan: 2001

Wen
: Unreleased/Soundcloud :
~ post.dubstep, minimal, 130bpm, bass.music ~

Glorious.  Stumbled across this thickness through a good old friend of mine who knows more about the true sounds of dubstep as a whole more than anyone I know.  He sent me over to his Soundcloud page, and the evening I decided to check it out, I ended listening to everything he has posted up, possibly multiple times.  Extremely minimal, lush, subtle, cleanly dirty, and at a different than normal speed than most songs in what’s subgenre.  Some of the best dubstep I’ve really…ever heard!  Reminiscent of Kryptic Minds’s extremely clean yet spacious sounds, yet bringing in more of a light tough of Eastern influence instead of locking you away in the basement the whole time.  Completely blown away.  Wen has no official releases yet, but the mind’s behind Dusk + Blackdown seem to be keen on the youngster, with rumors of some output on their Keysound Recordings.  We can only hope.  Until then I will continue to soak in whatever he puts up on Soundcloud, which by the way is at this link: http://soundcloud.com/w3n/tracks  Excited to see what the future hold’s for this newcomer!

Badaboom.  ‘Till next time.

~S~

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One of the most solid blog posts I’ve come across in a while! Dive back into the epic nature of 1995 with Headphone Commute!

Headphone Commute

1995… It was the year of Oklahoma City bombing, launch of Yahoo!, Windows 95 upgrade, Nasdaq climbing over 1000, and the acquittal of O. J. Simpson. It was the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb, the announcement of DVD format, and the launch of eBay. But for me it was a year of newly reborn music. It was the commercial success of electronica, the acceptance of IDM as a genre, the underground warehouse parties, and the letters PLUR smudged on my sweaty wristband.

In this article, I wish to commemorate the year of 1995, remembering the monumental albums and the artists that continued to build up on the foundation of electronic music. My purpose is to honor the contributions that still retain their quality and the position on my playlists. Take a look and see how many of these albums are in your collection. Pay attention to…

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~ CRAFT BEER REVIEW for DOGFISH HEAD’s NEW ‘POSITIVE CONTACT’ ~

3.6 out of 5

AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20 Well, you got to give it to them.  DFH continues to pump out some really odd and wild ideas with their brews.  Some really hit it, some do not.  After hearing this one was going to be more on the actual “limited” status (aka 66 cases of 6 to the state of Washington, with many stores selling one-per-custy), I hopped on it as soon as I caught wind when it was going to be released, as I just happened to be in a larger city (Seattle) when it dropped.  Found one at Whole Foods downtown, they got 12 bottles total.  What made this interesting was that the beer guy at WF didn’t know what was coming with Positive Contact.  I informed him that inside each case, in his case twice, was a brand new 10″ from Deltron 3030’s Dan The Automater.  Gangster.  Anyways, I attempted to score one of the two records, failing unfortunately.  Grabbed one of the twelve for $12.99+tax (thankfully not any more than that) and went on my merry way to an epic weekend of glamping upon glamping in The Meadow. Upon opening the bottle in the Meadow, a light apple esther comes wafting out the bottle, speckled with hints of yeast.  A deep pale gold pours into the glasses. Hints of the spices start to hit the nostrils a bit more once the brew sits in the glass, but these notes are not overpowering.  Once the brew hits the tongue an overall sense of many flavor notes step in slowly one after the other: citrus, green and yellow apples, muffled peppery spice, and straw…which transmute into what mainly seems to be a light cider.  Definitely don’t believe I’d tasted anything quite like it before.  That said, the flavors, while noticeable, were unfortunately faint in their delivery.  The cider note takes you through the finish with a polite hint of the 9% ABV, but does not linger for all that long.  I was happy that the token malt characteristics of many DFH brews over the past 5 years were not present for the most part!  A novel idea mostly pulled of once again, but it could use just a tiny kick in general for my tastes.  Nice work to whomever got a plate with their brew!

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| Craft Beer Review | Stillwater Import Series Vol. 2 ’A Saison Darkly’ |

3.9 out of 5

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20

skoisirius (1072) – Earth, USA – JUN 30, 2012

11.2oz from Belmont Station in Portland. Pours a deep dark brown, barely able to see through at all. Aroma is roasty toasty with gentle hints of banana, rose, and the hibiscus. Flavor is sweet up front with the rose (and the berries?), and gets spicier with the hibiscus as the flavor settles on the palate. Remains fairly roasted throughout. Has a nice kick to it. Lingers. Quite a thick brew, lips smacking for sure.
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Music for the Ear…as of late. The Second.

June 29th, 2012

Music, music, music, Life, music, music, MUSIC!  It doesn’t stop.  Overload the ears, but be nice to them with a safe listening volume.  Brain swell.  Incredible.  Little mix of old and new on the ear drum As Of Late:

: Meshuggah :
: Catch Thirtythree : Nuclear Blast : 2005
:
~ metal, progressive.rock, doom 

Pure, unfiltered, and in your face.  Sweden’s Meshuggah step up their game quite a bit here with the experimental 47 minute opus “Catch Thirtythree“.  The band’s 5th album, and only piece of this nature to this date, has always been quite the difficult listen – but can be extremely rewarding beneath the heavy and more often than not darker undertones of the piece.  Stepping into a more texturous flow inside themselves, layers and layers of guitars come whirling out at you, with electronically sequenced samples of the drummer (in place of the drummer physically playing the kit) for the first time in the band’s career.  Jazz elements present themselves at times.  The album is lyrically said to float through specific paradoxes, hence the title “Catch Thirtythree (as in the phrase ‘catch twenty-two‘).  Complete with an intermission or sorts during ‘In Death – Is Death’, this is the one space on the album where everything isn’t driving at full speed metal ahead.  After death or course is an awakening, and you’ll definitely find one if you’re able to push through this opus.

: BT :
: If The Stars Are Eternal So Are You And I : Laptop Symphony : 2012 :
~ ambient, glitch, experimental, modern.classical ~

BT.  The man has simply been all over the place with his music, and all over the world because of it.  I used to see him back at NAF Studios, full on rave status Dj, blowing up trance like there would never be an end to that style of synth line (is there yet??).  He’s made dance music, soundtracked, and he’s also put out some extremely beautiful experimental works.  2006 brought the first of these more experimental works, “This Binary Universe“.  I’d never listened to BT‘s music on the regular until that point, but that album, along with the incredible video work from LA’s Scott Pagano, one of my favorite visual artist’s, had me as a quick convert.  “ITSAESAYAI” is said to be the follow up to the beginning of a new direction for BT.  ITSAESAYAI” provides you once again with beauty from all ends of the spectrum.  With seven tracks ranging from the 7 – 14 minute range, the journey  had me sucked in the entire time the first listen (which proceeded to be three full listens the day I got it – something that very rarely happens around here).  The disc is mainly comprised of gorgeous waves of ambient pads fluttering with organic instrumentation, glitch of the most precise nature, and every once in a while, bassy beat driven sections spanning from dubstep, to chilled out techno, to glitched out breaks.  I can definitely see this being on my ‘Top 10 of the Year’ already.  Even though I believe the whole album is incredible, ‘Our Dark Garden’ has been standing out quite a bit – one of the more vocal driven tracks on the album, it brings you to a place of pure bliss if you let it, gliding through a land of harmony…with loads of fluffy clouds to lay on.  A masterpiece of an album…highly recommend checking this one out.

: Broken Social Scene :
: You Forgot It In People : Arts & Crafts International : 2002 :
~ indie.rock, experimental.punk, art.rock, ambient, post.rock ~

Broken Social Scene’s second album witness’ the band changing up a few aspects quite heavily – one being adding numerous members to the group, and two being to start pumping out forward rock jams, a drastic change from their mainly post-rock ambient styled first album “Feel Good Lost“.  One might think this could get quite messy.  Well, they pull it off, and it’s done so well that it’s still my favorite album of theirs!  Starting off where “Feel Good Lost left off, the album starts off with a post-rock ambient piece, and then leads directly into where the sound has grown up – rock based grooves with plenty of experimental noise of all sorts going on underneath.  Horn sections, waves of ambience, static based noise, tons of guitar distortion, and epic amounts of screaming through plenty of filters of many types.  This almost sums up the album, except you end up with pieces like the widely known ‘Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl‘, ‘Pacific Theme’, and ‘Looks Just Like The Sun’, hitting elements of ambient based indie folk tunes, making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  ‘Anthems’ specifically has a special feel to it – they’re not joking around with that title – you feel like a seventeen year old girl hanging out in her room starting at the mirror and wondering about her emotional state.  ‘Pacific Theme’ takes you on a drive on Highway 101 through Northern California and Southern Oregon, exploding in on itself in one of the grooviest grooves ever right around the 4:10 mark.  The album consists of segments of similar sounds, usually three to four songs at a time, which makes the whole journey feel extremely conducive.  All in all, absolutely spectacular album, and now a for sure classic for the books!  Have to toss out another shout out to my old friend Steve Salisbury for turning me on to these guys (and this album) way back when!

: True Dream :
: The Night Again : 4×4 Records : 2011
:
~ pop.rock, doo-wop, folk, indie.rock, ambient ~

Seattle based Danny VanHollebeke comes marching out of the ether with his first full length LP under the alias True Dream.  The layers of which this pop masterpiece consist of make it easy to tell that nothing but the utmost consideration, concentration, and careful attention to detail have been placed into this work. Having spent seven years putting the album together with all it’s finishing touches, a story is woven here, a story of life, feelings, and consciousness at it’s level of striving for love.  The album presents itself to you in the form of pop, but boasts elements of waltz, ambient, metal, 60’s, 80’s, dream pop, doo-wop, and indie rock – all enveloped by a layer of light experimentalism to infuse it all together.  As Todd Hamm of the Seattle Weekly said, “think doom-wop”.  Even deeper we find out that all aspects of the music, including the vocals, are played and made by VanHollebeke.  At only 32 minutes, the piece will quickly bring you from happiness glee to reverent melancholy, keeping a fairly moving undertone throughout.  Personal favorites?  The whole thing!!  From the moment the title track reached my ear, and all the way through to the Brian Eno inspired ambient ‘Decomposition‘, Danny’s album has me captivated and invested, repeatedly.  I purchased the finished product sometime last year, it has been through constant rotation on all my players – at home base, and on the road.  You can find True Dream’s The Night Again on iTunes here:  |— CLICK —|  Fantastic work Danny!

: Demdike Stare :
: Elemental : Modern Love : 2012 :
~ dark.ambient, industrial, drone, techno, witch.house, experimental ~

Since 2009, the illusive Lancastrian outfit known as Demdike Stare have been birthing into the Universe some of the world’s most unusual and forward thinking sounds inside of the dark ambient/drone, witch house, and experimental realms.  Really though, their music is flat out at times, indescribable.  Hinting on elements of tribalism, folk, and neo-paganism, it seems as though Sean Cantry and Miles Whittaker are attempting to call back in the witches who were once running around rampant in the area the group comes from, especially with the “Demdike” name hailing from Elizabeth Southern, the supposed leader of the Pendle Witches.  After their three part release in 2010, I knew never to miss anything from the duo again.  Released as four parts on colored vinyl, with a full double-disc CD release in 2012, this new collection of works leaves you feeling as though some sort of ancient underworld Earthen being has gobbled up your thought processes, and spit them out into a dark new reality that makes you feel…haunted!  Even as OCD in describing genres as I love to be, this disc leaves me so floored that it’s hard to put into words.  Take the track “Mnemosyne” for instance – their is a backbone of some stripped down 135bpm dubstep styled beat in there, but beneath that, you feel as though you’re in the middle of a longhouse in the 1600’s and the coven you belong to is about to sacrifice some sort of lamb or goat or small furry animal – AND it’s a joyous occasion.  Elements of dark drone plaster the album, taking over sections of otherwise beat oriented music, out of no where.  Little nods to Aphex Twin’s more twisted and disturbing sound experiment works come out of the woodwork at times, making me think back to a track off 2001’s “Drukqs“, ‘Gwarek2‘, by far one of the more perverse 6 minutes of sound my mind can really think of.  All in all I could sit here and try and describe “Elemental” to you all day, but really you just need to bust out your best pair of speakers, turn off all the lights, sit next to a fire (inside or outside), and let yourself immerse into another world.  Genius work!

 : Scuba :
: DJ-Kicks : !K7 Records : 2011 :
~ 2-step, dubstep, techno, bass.music, ambient, glitch ~

If you haven’t heard of Paul Rose’s Scuba at this point, you’ve definitely been hiding under some sort of rock underneath the top layer of soil of the Earth for the past…oh, five years or so.  Probably more.  The official headmaster of one of the most forefront running labels out there today, Hotflush Recordings, Rose has been helping advance the sound of 2-step and dubstep alike now for over 10 YEARS – amazing really!  Everything this man touches that I have found, I have been into (minus maybe two or three songs on his latest LP, “Personality“).  This edition of the DJ-Kicks series is absolutely no exception.  Starting off with a lovely deep ambient piece to set the mood, from Hotflush’s Sigha, the mix begins with a churning of techno cross bred with 2-step influences and does nothing but pick up and get groovier from there.  Sitting around 132bpm for the length of the mix allows the blend between the crossover of styles to mesh flawlessly .  Track selection, programming, mixing – PERFECT.  You’ll notice that each song tracked out lasts for just over a minute to just under three minutes (with a few exceptions) – proof of the generous amount of layering going on between selected tracks for the majority of the journey.  Notable tracks to dig for on their own: Peverlist’s Sun Dance‘, Trevino’s Shorty‘, Boddika’s ‘Acid Battery‘, Scuba’s M.A.R.S.‘ (made specifically for the mix), Jichael Mackson’s Gedons‘, and Sepalcure’s gorgeous ‘Inside‘, which provides the mixes outro and end point.  This is how it’s done properly people – Know This!

Injoy.  See ya hopefully sooner than later this next time.  I’m going to attempt to do this once a week at this point, as well as randomly posting interesting bits of all sorts of finds from the net and beyond into this Blog, so, stay tuned!

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~ Headstash Bassy Party Mix From XI ~

Found this fantastic 46 minute mix from XI last night on Hotflush Recordings website!  Party bass vibe, but Toronto’s dubstep brain child does it right by also making it proper for your dome!  Includes the incredible reconstruct of Sepalcure’s Love Pressure” – a track is worth seeking out on it’s own.  The edits made to the track are remarkable!

The podcast can be found by clicking the picture below:

Injoy!!

~S~

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