GP's music picks

Questions and comments about living in Japan, chit-chat, or whatever else goes in here.

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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:15 pm

Crapton of unreleased Aphex Twin tracks from an anonymous Soundcloud account that may or may not be RDJ himself: https://soundcloud.com/user48736353001 Some are definitely legit and have been heard/played before, and some apparently go as far back as the Hangable Auto Bulb era.

Listened to the first single from the new Michna, and it's quite good. I hadn't really listened to his stuff before I heard the Moving Mountains E.P., but that was pretty fantastic and so now I'm a believer. Would order the record now, but I need to stagger my purchases a bit. Just did a Ghostly order a few weeks ago when they were having a sale on physical media; picked up one of the limited vinyl copies of SMM Opiate and the CD of Aeroc's R+B=?, which I could have sworn was out of print. Really great album of all acoustic sounds twisted into IDM-esque beats.

The local record store is tremendous for being in a town of only about 20,000 people, and I'm trying to funnel as much of my music buying as possible through them. I don't mind paying a little extra coin compared to Amazon or wherever since they're always so awesome about ordering stuff for me (and have managed to hook me up with some pretty obscure releases, like Gas' Nah Und Fern boxset when I lived here a few years back. Got Computer Controlled Acoustic Instrumentals pt. 2 on order from them now.

Moving out of the realm of electronica, I just picked up the new Sleater-Kinney, which is every bit as good as everyone says it is. Also grabbed The National's Alligator a few weeks back as I slowly continue trying to fill in the holes in their discography. They sound nothing alike, but I sort of think of them in the same vein as I do R.E.M., two incredible rock bands that just have a sound and style entirely their own and tremendous lyricists that have managed to transcend the often insipid, 3rd-grade reading level that is the standard for rock songwriting. In this case, old sad bastard music never sounded so good.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:36 am

Cheers for the tip on the Soundcloud account. Will check it out. I'm playing SAWII as we speak. I got the vinyl for a fucking STEAL. On track on the last side has a scratch, and thus some noticeable popping, but whatever. I think I got it for 2800 yen.

There's a few record stores here... one downtown that seems to have some decent stuff. I stumbled upon one not long ago and picked up a few oldies (Rick James, and Flock of Seagulls) for like $6 each. Figured why not. Both easy and fun.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:44 am

So I managed to find a zipfile a while back that someone had made with the contents of that (now pretty much assumed to be legit Aphex) Soundcloud account. It was still before the number of files posted broke 100, but all the files were created through some Soundcloud ripping utility that saved everything at 128kbps. That's nice, I thought, and went back to wondering why it's taken over a goddamn month for my record store's distributor to get stock of Computer Controlled Acoustic Instrumentals pt. 2 back in. I would have ordered direct from Bleep if I knew this was going to happen!

Then I went back to the Soundcloud link yesterday, and saw that not only was the account up to 173 files, but they all have downloads enabled at 320kbps. This is absolutely insane.

Can't remember where I stumbled across the new Inventions album first, but I liked the preview songs so much that I ordered the album immediately after I finished them. My non-electronic music interests are veering more and more deeply into the whole spectrum of post-rock these days (not that there isn't a significant overlap between those two camps of music), and this felt like the best of both worlds.

Speak of post-rock, I am so very excited that there's a new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album on the horizon.

So there are actually two record stores in town--the one that I was gushing about in my previous post, and this incredibly bizarre, kitschy place that I rarely ever set foot in. The store is half dedicated to music and the other half to kitschy crap like Doctor Who t-shirts and Sheldon Cooper bobbleheads. The two guys who run the place not only seem like they would rather be doing anything but running a record store, they seem relatively clueless about the whole endeavor as well. The high school-aged daughter of one of the owners is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen: she's a full-on, mouth-breathing, Japan-idolizing American otaku, and her influence has distorted some aspects of the store so much that I can't tell if the whole thing is some sort of bizarre performance art piece. I've frequently seen her prancing about in a really low-quality seifuku costume, and she's affected this piercing, childish vocal pitch that would set her right at home among the young ladies of Tokyo. The store's DVD section is filled with Malaysian Studio Ghibli bootlegs, the two store cats (cats! In a record store!) are named "Miso" and "Mochi," and the display windows are filled with these fucking terrifying Chinese knock-off items: Good Neighbor Toroto or some shit.
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But I keep poking my head into the place every two months or so because they have a larger selection of used vinyl than my first choice and the stock changes frequently, and because they sell used CDs at a decent price. They've had the same copy of SAW II since before I left for Japan and I consider buying it every time, but it's the US Sire release that's missing one track and there's a not-huge-but-concerning scratch on one of the discs. Anyways, my latest excursion there yielded a brand-new copy of the Music has the Right to Children repress, and the price was about the same as if I'd ordered it off of Bleep, but without the chance of the mailman ruining it. I'm pretty excited; I just need Geogaddi and I will be very, very happy.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby EOJ » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:09 pm

The new Swervedriver album is really good.

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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:48 pm

but it's the US Sire release that's missing one track and there's a not-huge-but-concerning scratch on one of the discs. .


It's missing Stone in Focus though, which is the reason you would buy this album in the first place. Unacceptable to have a copy with out it!
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:17 am

Some new Casino Versus Japan! https://attacknine.bandcamp.com/album/damaged-errata

Also this Record Store Day was super disappointing, but as I was browsing Bleep to see if I couldn't drown my sorrows in mailorder, I spotted this gem. The same mysterious (potentially unofficial?) Binyl label the repressed the Akira soundtrack last year is doing the same for Kenji Kawai's Ghost in the Shell soundtrack!
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:32 am

A friend of mine sent me the link to the new CVJ. I'm curious if it's new material. Nonetheless, I will take it!

Tempted on the GiTS, but I need to watch my funds these days. Too much leakage... and I've not attacked some old bills.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:53 am

Yeah, I'm a little tempted but it's not calling to me the way the Akira release was. It does help that Amazon has the digital soundtrack available as well; I may just bite on that and call it good.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:57 am

Still want a repress of the full Akira soundtrack. Pissed I missed that. Can't bring myself to pay $100+ for it.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:45 am

My favorite record label, Bark & Hiss has some goodies added to their Donation based archive. The two biggies for me are the releases by Lejsovka & Freund. Don't let the name fool you - it's the duo as Trouble Books, but doing a whole new genre: DIY Shitty Classical. Excellent stuff. So glad I grabbed the vinyl while they were available. At 100 pressings each, they didn't last long. There is a youtube video available for what I think is the best piece, put against Das Triadische Ballett.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:11 pm

For anyone that was late to the Aphex Twin: Syro vinyl club like me, you can get the vinyl from Amazon for $13.42, inclusive of shipping with Prime.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:27 am

Holy shit, it was down to $11.66 when I looked! I bought the FLAC on release and thought about picking it up on vinyl someday--the local record store has a decent selection of electronic music (including, unfortunately, the inferior 1972 pressings of SAWII, RDJ Album, and I Care...) but this was a no-brainer insta-buy. The local place will get enough of my money eventually anyway.

I'm a little conflicted since I was already planning on pulling the trigger on the new Kode9 today as well, and really shouldn't be buying two records in a week. I justify it as school/work have been killing me and my social life has taken an absolute nosedive, and so I'm not actually spending money on food and beer.

On that note, I'm starting to patronize Bandcamp more and more. It's really great to start seeing some otherwise out-of-print or hard-to-find artists/albums show up in DRM-free FLAC for generally reasonable prices. Casino Versus Japan is apparently dusting off some archives, 12k is always a pleasure for the more drone/field recording end of things, and a good amount of Susumu Yokota's works are up on his British label's page (including the limited repress they did of Sakura for their 20th anniversary. The cover has their logo embossed on it, unfortunately, but actually being able to own the album on vinyl was totally worth it).

Also, new Com Truise vinyl incoming, GP.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:18 am

Yeah, got my eyes on the new Com Truise... the shirt looks good but I think the package is a bit much, and I've been buying a lot of records.

Wish CvJ would make a new album... love his shit. Via is cool... it was 7" only until this. I've had it for a while.

Eluvium just put out Life Through Bombardment Vol. 2 which at 3 records in, is amazing. Well, one was only okay but the other two were dope and I've got 4 to go... and I know at least one more in there has the track in the trailer which hooked me. $150, but I like these packages. I missed the first one and had to hold out for a "cheap" copy which I eventually got. This one has a signature by the artists, as we as my name hand-written on the card.

I will go hit Reckless Records soon and pick up Odd Nosdam's latest efforst, Sisters. And how do you know when you're a hardcore motherfucker? When you get Boards of Canada to Remix your track and only release it on 50 VHS tapes (and I guess thankfully on Youtube). :-/
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:16 am

Wow, BOC haven't surfaced for remix duty in a long time. Video even looks like something they'd make. I should probably add Odd Nosdam to my list to check out eventually, especially since you've talked his work up before earlier in this thread.

I hadn't even known Com Truise had shirts available on his site--I had just been looking at the Ghostly Store. I've got a pair of shirts he did for the Galactic Melt release (ordered one in a bundle, got the other later in a mystery sale) and really love them. They're American Apparel, and as horrible as the company is they make a fantastic fitting shirt. I'm a little bummed that the brands he's using in his store are from the boxy, Hanes Beefy-T school of t-shift construction. Then again, none of the designs really grab me, so I guess it's for the best.

I've never listened to Eluvium (probably should), but you may dig Inventions, the duo he plays in with one of the dudes from Explosions in the Sky. I haven't had a chance to listen to their first album or their recent EP, but their second album may be something up your alley.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:25 am

I've never listened to Eluvium (probably should), but you may dig Inventions, the duo he plays in with one of the dudes from Explosions in the Sky. I haven't had a chance to listen to their first album or their recent EP, but their second album may be something up your alley.


Most definitely -- thanks for the tip!
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Sun May 15, 2016 8:25 pm

Got the new Radiohead. Not thrilled w/ the way they're distributing the vinyl, but oh well. It's a long, dark tunnel for those that haven't heard it. If you like long dark tunnels, you're in for a treat. If you want another OK Computer, you'll likely be upset.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:05 am

Got the latest by Coma, on Kompakt. Better than their first. 2x10". Get it if you can.

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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:11 pm

Tycho's latest LP Epoch has just been released. Have not listened to it yet. Mixed feelings on the last one, but the remix album of it was fantastic. I've been following Tycho for ages... stumbled upon them on eMusic. I definitely do think he/they got somewhat big, but for the most part, I think the music is solid.

Rustic Bullshit by Talons' has been re-issued by Broken Circles. The print run is a mere 300. This originally appeared on the amazing Bark and Hiss label, and is long gone. Used on Discogs, you might have found a copy for $100 if you were patient. The 10 year anniversary repress is a mere $14. I got a couple of gifting copies as I'm sure this will go fast. Midwest folk at it's finest!

For an ambient fix, Eluvium has released False Readings On. I've only had a few listens through, but it is quite good. Having not listened to any of his stuff between Life Through Bombardment Vol. 1 and the recently released Volume 2, it took a while to go through the second box set and figure out what I liked. Most of it is great. Some just good. Static Nocturn has gone immediately to the top 10 of my ambient list... maybe even top 3. It's on repeat in my house now.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:00 am

Incoming text dump. Tl;dr I haven't talked about music with people for a while and there are a few neat things that have been simmering in the back of my mind.

The unexpected Tycho release was a nice surprise--I caught wind of it on Twitter before going to bed the other night, and of course had to get my order in right away. Sucks that the vinyl won't be out for a few more months--apparently independent labels are really starting to feel the backlog with the limited presses as the majors scramble to repress every crappy item in their back catalog to cash in on the vinyl resurgence. The Awake remix album had a similarly long wait time.

The album itself is pretty interesting--definitely an evolution in style from the whole-band direction that Awake was leading. It's not as immediately catchy as Awake was, in my opinion (I forgot how much I liked that one), but a couple of tracks are really starting to grow on me. One criticism that I do have is that the style of guitar playing is pretty similar from track to track, which felt a little monotonous the first time I listened and wasn't paying full attention.

There are some fairly exciting releases coming up soon, though. You've no doubt already heard about this, GP, but Casino Versus Japan has announced a new album, out in about a week and a half. No decent physical release thus far, just two sold out cassette pressings. That's a physical media I don't understand the forced nostalgic affect for--in some ways it's even flimsier than vinyl, and sounds like shit with very little effort. It's like getting all hard for VHS tapes, hipster bullshit or something. :whack:

Browsing Bleep the other day, I happened across this magnificent-looking 10 LP vinyl box set for Wolfgang Voight's Gas project. Far too rich for my blood, and I'm pretty happy with my copy of the Nah und Fern box set, but damn if this isn't exciting. Some odd decisions made in the selection, though--the Oktember 12" is included but the self-titled Gas album is not. However, if my Discogs trawling leads me to understand correctly, this set should correct some of the problems with Nah und Fern according to vinyl-owning fans--apparently some of the tracks were either mastered differently (not in a good way) or were quite different in length/style from the vinyl originals. The version of Gas in the set had a few tracks replaced entirely, another downside of its absence in this release. So, if this sort of inanely detailed minutia is your thing or you're a huge Gas fan, this should be a pretty sweet set.

I don't really have the money now to spend on much physical music nor do I really have the time to listen as I once did, so I've climbed back on the eMusic train as cost-effective way to check out new music or catch up on old releases. I was doing pretty well without it, but they sent me a no-strings-attached offer for $100 in free credit if I re-subscribed (even at the dinky $11.99/mo level!) and that was pretty hard to pass up. I'm not sure if this was an eMusic change or if it varies by label, but lots of releases from the last half of 2015 or so are now in 320kbps instead of the mysterious VBR setting they used to use! Older music has not been updated, and one of my big gripes with the service is they don't tell you what encoding settings were actually used on the tracks. I bought the first Basic Channel compilation to find the files were all encoded at 192kbps, which is totally unacceptable. The selection isn't quite as good as it was when I was last a member in 2012, either--there's more slightly mainstream stuff, but some of the smaller indies are nowhere to be found. Apparently after Pete Namlook's death the whole Fax catalog went iTunes exclusive, which is frustrating because I have no use for Apple. But the labels I am most interested in now--Hyperdub, Warp, Ghostly, Blackest Ever Black--are all fairly well represented, so there's still some value to be had.

Finally, one album I've really been enjoying lately is 2814's 新しい日の誕生. It seems to come out of a recent scene/trend called "vaporwave," which seems to be some kind of stupid millennial nonsense where the music+art design is supposed to harken back to some sort of partially imagined 1990s vision of global technology and like cyberspace etc.--lots of Japanese font and bad 90s computing design decisions. The whole thing seems pretty dopey and contrived, where the supreme focus on this design narrative is there to cover up the fact that the music itself is pretty so-so. But this is a damn good album regardless of the aesthetic trappings, all swirling ambient that in a few places reminds me of SAWII without seeming, thankfully, like it's trying to be a ripoff. This all probably sounds like a pretty backhanded compliment, but I really do like the album--it's been some time since I've found an ambient release that I've kept in heavy rotation.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:01 pm

Oh and hey: Rez soundtrack to be re-released on vinyl to coincide with Rez Infinite. This is a gorgeous package but I'm having a hard time reconciling the price. Something has changed on the website, too--at first there was mention of a 320kbps digital download as well, but now I don't see that anywhere. Still--fancy. Some swanky t-shirts too.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:31 am

Definitely out on the Rez soundtrack. It was good, but only for a game. The VR release of the game is the only thing that has me thinking, "having a VR set might be cool".

I knew Casino Versus Japan had something coming out soon but didn't know it was this month. Cheers. I will get it, even though I'd rahter see a physical release, and wouldn't mind something a bit more traditional. Whatever though, glad he's doing something new!

I dig Epoch... more than Awake. Having come from the days of Past is Prologue, I can generally say I like most releases, but I'm not super enamored of them. I think each one is quite good, and about what I expect. They also get quite a bit of playtime around these parts.

I snoozed on the latest Odd Nosdam, which is probably my next purchase if I'd ever get off my ass. :)

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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:37 am

I really like the Rez soundtrack, but I'm not sure I like it enough for a $75 vinyl set. One of my biggest shopping regrets from my first tour of Japan was not picking up a copy of the Gamers Guide to... soundtrack CD. I ran across it a few times, and I want to believe it was only something like 3500 yen in Super Potato back in those days!

I've grown into a pretty intense Ghostly otaku over the past few years, but aside from the Epoch release there hasn't been much on the label that's excited me recently. After teasing it for several months, however, they finally put up the preorder page for their vinyl reissue of Telefon Tel Aviv's debut album, Fahrenheit Fair Enough. The former duo's third album (Immolate Yourself) has been a slow burner in my digital collection for a while, one I occasionally return to and marvel at just how much I enjoy it.

I've given that Odd Nosdam release a few listens on Bandcamp, but haven't quite been convinced I should buy it. There are some great songs (the title track, in both its original and BOC remix forms), but a lot of them don't stick for one reason or another.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:56 pm

I pre-ordered the vinyl months ago, and have yet to download the album (might just wait for the vinyl) but Sensorimotor by Lusine is out on Ghostly.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:30 pm

A rare copy of A Certain Distance by Lusine is up for a mere 27.99 EUR on Discogs. Shipping to the US is pricey, but even so, it's almost half of what I just paid for a copy, and a fraction of what it usually runs on Discogs.
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Re: GP's music picks

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:46 am

I hope you didn't pay too much for yours, because Ghostly just repressed it. They don't often do represses, and a lot of their older vinyl was limited to something silly like 1000, so this might be a good chance to get an extra copy before prices go nutty.

I need to give that release a couple of plays again, because I don't remember it really doing much for me. His following release, The Waiting Room, was sort of a slow burn--I didn't think much of it at first until one day it finally clicked, and it's had a regular place in my work rotation.

I feel like I've listened to some good stuff lately, and there's an avalanche of exciting releases on deck in the next few months (first ever official vinyl pressing of the GitS movie soundtrack, new Gas, Slowdive, Com Truise) but I'm just too fucking exhausted to write anything or even give a deep listen to the new releases I'm excited about. I'll try to muster up some energy and rave about some recent purchases soon.
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