Karamika (self titled)

There’s about 10 shows I listen to regularly that make my wishlist increase every time, and so much enjoyment am I having going through their old shows that I haven’t actually listened to the full albums in question yet…

So I did this one, and despite it being at the more expensive end of the digital albums available, I’m still seriously considering bumping this to the head of the queue. It ticks all those buttons that make music conducive to catatonia, I mean, it’s trancey as all fuck.

This is one of those albums where you actually can just refer to each track by its number. I mean, the whole thing works as a cohesive whole, but say you wanted to highlight, say, track 5, you don’t have to worry about remembering the title.

There may be a whole academic treatise available to someone in this observation – back when I bought vinyl, I used to know the name of every song on every album I bought, same with tapes. Once I moved into CDs, that became slightly less perfect. Now I’m digital only, I struggle to remember song names at all until I’ve heard them about 20 times unless the name jumps out, and that’s just the albums in English. Quantity may have something to do with it, but there’s something else at play as well. I remember reading some while back the suggestion that human memory started to atrophy with the advent of writing because before we could write things down somewhere we needed to have epic memories in order to remember things. As the amount of storage for memory has increased over the years, with books and then TV/Film, and then digital with all dem server farms, so we don’t need to remember anything any more, we can all just look it up. And then forget what we just looked up. Did someone say progress?

Anyway, ignore my ramblings and listen to the music.

Elsewhere VXIII

Many years ago – about 15, I think – I was chatting with someone who was guesting at a library I was working at and the subject of the fact I make music came up. When describing his own approach to music, he said that unlike me, he only consumes music…

It is impossible to consume music. You can engage with it or you can ignore it, or somewhere in between, but you cannot consume it. The music will remain unchanged, although your perception of it won’t.

Imagine thinking like that? I was too nice to debate with him about it, plus I think my thoughts on it took a while to become coherent even though it jarred me immediately. But it speaks to a mindset that believes it is only in existence to consume things because of much larger sociological factors that are not even wrong, that would be giving them waaay too much credit.

I was reminded of this exchange by all the giddy hype about what AI (sidebar: it’s all A, no I) can do for us to save us from the drudgery of, like, leisure and stuff, and reading, and writing, and creating, and making, and, and, and… all we have to do is give some prompts and it do all that for us! And then what do we do? More free time to merely consume things, I suppose.

A compilation like what I bring to your attention today simply could not be made with that kind of approach to music and discernment. There is a thread running through this that can only be done with human judgement. And indeed, DJ soFa, for it is he who has compiled this, has made several compilations and all of them have a particular feel to them though it would be an insult to insinuate they are in any way the same as each other; they are not.

This is why an algorithmic approach to music discovery will never throw the surprises at you that other humans can. You simply could not build in the coherent unpredictability required. In fact, all the best compilations, DJ sets, mixes – what they have in common is a coherent unpredictability. And probably all great art, for that matter.

If you want merely functional, then go ahead and knock yourself out with your AI approach to creativity and novelty, which will be neither creative or novel unless you assign a depressingly low value to what you consider creative or novel. But if you want the great, the sublime… you need the human touch.

Ivan the Tolerable – The Aleph

This one came from the bandcamp feed, someone I follow had bought it and I salute them. They have impeccable taste.

Looking at the blurb, there is a connection to the wonderful Haress, but there is very little similarity between their sound and this. This comes under umbrella term of ‘jazz that I like,’ which is a small but growing field. I think ‘jazz that I like’ is where jazz meets psych, drone, groove and repetition. In fact, any genre that has a party in that area will probably do it for me.

This fella’s catalogue needs exploring, I feel. Just as well I haven’t got much else to listen to at the mo… oh, wait…

And also, this is the first time I have used ‘Middlesborough’ as a geographical tag.

Oneida – Success

Whereby ‘Success’ is defined as doing what you do really, really well. By me, at least. And this album lives up to the title.

My love for Oneida – which I still don’t know how you pronounce – is a long-lasting one. One of my very favourite pieces of music ever is ‘Sheets of Easter.’ One of my very favourite albums ever made is ‘Rated O.’ These boys have form, and here do they bring it.

Stylistically, this is more like their early, garagey stuff, kind of a return to earth from their incredibly out-there explorations in the post ‘Rated O’ era.

Pixvae – Cali

Pixvae we like. As I mention all too often, I don’t keep up with things. In some ways, I like that. Makes for a nice surprise later.

Case in point – I posted the above link in 2018, and they followed it up with this in 2019, only I didn’t clock it. It was when I was going through the history of this thing, which I do on occasion as many of these are posted to remind me I liked these things as I don’t have the budget to buy all or even many of these, and having played and thoroughly enjoyed it, I decided to see what else, and this is what else.

If you like the first, you will like this. Also, if you liked Combo Chimbita you may like this. Equally, if you like this, you may also like Combo Chimbita. I’d love to know of any other artists playing in a similar vein to these, so if you know of any, drop me a hint somewhere.

This music sounds like it just loves being alive.

Naujawanan Baidar – Khedmat Be Khalq

So I did the first thing they put out under this name, but forgot to keep track. You know how I am.

So listen to this one as well, as it’s well good, innit (technical musical description). Then listen to the ones I missed in between. And given that this one is more overt in the anti-imperial tone, I urge you even more. Just because The Empire Never Ended, doesn’t mean it can’t.

And then go and listen to The Myrrors, with whom there are ties, and who are also well good, innit.

François Robin & Mathias Delplanque – L’ombre de la bête

It may be my browser, but I’m having right shenanigans writing this post.

Anywho, you ever hear of a veuze? Me neither, but then I’m not from the part of France that these bagpipes are a traditional instrument of. And I’ve heard of it now.

I discovered this by actually engaging with the bandcamp app on my phone for once, trying to run the battery down so I could charge it (long story, don’t ask) (actually not that long, though it was because of a separate long story).

Is all very hypnotic and propulsively meditative. Is that a thing? It is now.

Wael Alkak – Live

I don’t know if this is ever going to be available digitally* – sometimes labels make the download impractical until they’ve sold their physical things. I do have a tape player, but it’s got a permanent sound as if the tape is being chewed up, even though said tape actually isn’t being chewed up.

So this is basically a mixture of traditional Levantine rhythms/songs with electronics and beats, albeit quite mellow ones, improvised some or all of the way. It is nice and hypnotic, and that’s why it properly grabs me.

Even though the approach and source material is very different, it reminds me somewhat of Saint Abdullah. Saint Abdullah? Ah yes, since we’re on that subject…

*yes. yes it is.

Million Brazilians – Wet Dry Jungala

Million Brazilians is probably a better artist name than Three People in Maine. There may be those who don’t like surprises, though, so I feel it only fair to warn you that a) they are (probably) not Brazilian and b) there are not a million of them.

This is an early album by them. All their subsequent ones, except for one I found on Juno Download, can only be listened to in excerpts and I’m not one to buy things I’ve only heard excerpts from. The excerpts do sound good, but I’d need to be better off than I am before I start buying things I’ve only heard excerpts from.

There may be genre descriptors relevant here but if there are they are words I am yet to hear. This album sort of vaguely puts me in mind of 936-era Peaking Lights, but only sort of vaguely. Track 2 is frankly legendarily good. It’s vaguely tribal, I suppose, vaguely jazzy, vaguely soundtrack-to-a-film-that-doesn’t-existy, vaguely trancey, vaguely droney, and very good.

Sula Bassana – Loop Station Drones

Sula Bassana is part of Electric Moon and therefore needs no introduction, and yet what you have just read is an introduction, albeit quite a lazy one.

Sula, or possibly also known as Dave, put the first track of this out a bit back with commentary on the page that this would just keep getting added to until finished, and now it is finished. Well, it was that one track that did it for me, but the fact that it’s now an album, and a nice long one, well, what’s not to love?

So when he do solo he do motorik, electronic, kosmische-y stuff with loops and drones an’ ting, and when he do solo, I do like to listen. It’s very possible that I’ve missed posting some of his stuff from the last few years; not purposely but because I just keep forgetting I have this blog thing. The point is, though, that all the things are worth listening to.