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.
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.