Tag Archives: experimental

Song-A-Day: January 9th

Happy 71st birthday to Scott Walker whom my dad just recently made me familiar of, and who has gone through an absolutely bizarre career arc starting out as part of the very successful Walker Brothers and proceeding on to an extremely experimental solo career as a recluse artist. Our Song-A-Day goes to a tune that Scott Walker released back in 1969 off of Scott 4 entitled “The Seventh Seal”

Anybody seen a knight pass this way
I saw him playing chess with Death yesterday
His crusade was a search for God and they say
It’s been a along way to carry on

Anybody hear of plague in this town
The town I’ve left behind was burned to the ground
A young girl on a stake her face framed in flames cried
I’m not a witch God knows my name

The knight he watched with fear
He needed to know
He ran where he might feel God’s breath
And in the misty church
He knelt to confess
The face within the booth was Mr. Death

My life’s a vain pursuit of meaningless smiles
Why can’t God touch me with a sign
Perhaps there’s no one there answered the booth
And Death hid within his cloak and smiled

This morning I played chess with Death said the knight
We played that he might grant me time
My bishop and my knight will shatter his flanks
And still I might feel God’s heart in mine

And through confession’s grille Death’s laughter was heard
The knight cried No you’ve cheated me!
But still I’ll find a way
We’ll meet once again and once again
Continue to play

They met within the woods the knight his squire and friends
And Death said now the game shall end
The final move was made
The knight hung his head
And said you’ve won I’ve nothing left to play

The minstrel filled with visions sang to his love
To look against the stormy sky
The knight his squire and friends
Their hands held as one
Solemnly danced toward the dawn

His hourglass in his hand his scythe by his side
The master Death he leads them on
The rain will wash away the tears from their faces
And as the thunder cracked they were gone

Connor’s Albums of the Year

22. Atoms for Peace- Amok

Thom Yorke and Flea jam out. Cool electronic vibes with a new Radiohead sound. Dank bass riffs. If you love Phish, this might be your #1, or #2 if Phish released an album this year.

21. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

7th grade me would’ve been a lot more pumped for this. It’s good experimental rock music. Nothing will beat Songs For the Deaf in my eyes, though this is an interesting take on the Queens’ sound. Rock on.

20. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris

I was hyped for this all summer, with “Whoa” and “Chum” having been out for a WHILE, it ended up being that those were two of the best songs on the album. Those are great songs that are hard to top, but I was hoping for more consistency. The song featuring Frank Ocean is sick though, and the “Centurion” beat is crazy. The rest is so-so in my opinion. The Earl Mixtape is better.
 

19. Yo La Tengo – Fade

This is really great and should probably be a lot higher on my list. It came out in the very beginning of the year. The vibe is mellow and melodic. This thing is endlessly listenable. I can’t see how anyone would dislike it. I’ve always enjoyed Yo La Tengo, but I’ve never been super passionate about them. That being said, I would recommend this to ALL

18. Owen – L’ami Du Peuple

Another solid release from Owen. My favorite song is “The Burial”, which is one of the few Owen songs not to feature an acoustic guitar. “Tonight, I’m a priest/ Shrouded in your quilt/ And you will see/ Truth in me/ So f***ing say something.” OOOohhhhh. “Who Cares” is great too.

17. The Story So Far – What You Don’t See

Pop/punk angsty songs about girls done right. I wish I was 15 again so I could get a girlfriend, get dumped, and listen to this all the time.
 

16. Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

I saw NIN with my dad last month. They were my favorite band as a youngling, and I still hold TR in a very high regard so this meant a whole lot to me. Hands down the best light show I’ve ever seen. You can check out footage here if you’d like. Unreal stuff. The music is leaning on electronica, but in a good way. Still \m/
 

15. Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven

This is weird stuff that sounds abrasive and terrible to most people I know. It’s all instrumental, experimental, synthy, electronic music. It can take you places though. I wish I could explain it better. This could easily be your nightmare. I think it’s incredibly interesting. Listen and let your thoughts wander.
 

14. Tim Hecker – Virgins

Very similar to Oneohtrix as far as genre and style are concerned, though the sound is very different. This was made with live instruments and manipulated later which makes for a very organic experimental sound. There are so many layers and things going on here. Enthralling. The first track sounds like the earth is ripping apart. Close your eyes and imagine%%*&!)@*&^^&^%%{}”{“}{}”}{}”}{“”{}”{}”}{}”}{}}{}”}}”:]
 

13. Volcano Choir – Repave

Justin Vernon does post-rock stuff. Same old cryptic lyrics that could be interpreted a bunch of different ways. Thumbs up. This is my favorite song from the album and the best music video of the year (besides “Wrecking Ball”)
 

12. Touche Amore – Is Survived By

You can feel the passion behind Jeremy Bolm’s voice as he screams every line. This album is about leaving something meaningful behind after you die. Congrats dude, cause you did.
 

11. The Dismemberment Plan – Uncanny Valley

The Dismemberment Plan will always have a special place in my heart. Emergency & I is one of my favorite albums ever. I was beyond psyched when they announced a new album and tour. Shoutout to Ted for seeing the show with me. They definitely have not lost any of their talent or songwriting ability, despite not having the same emotional overtones of depression, isolation etc. When bands reunite to make a new album, I’m always worried it’s going to suck based on countless examples. Not only did this not suck, it’s very good.

Continue reading Connor’s Albums of the Year

WCDB Hip Hop Department’s Top 10 Albums of 2013

Acid Rap

1. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap

Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper dominated the internet and hip hop scene with his highly anticipated Acid Rap project. With his experimental sound mixing with hip hop roots, Chance delivers one of the most original and successful projects of the year.  

Available for free download > (http://www.datpiff.com/Chance-The-Rapper-Acid-Rap-mixtape.483826.html)

Born Sinner

2. J. Cole- Born Sinner

J. Cole’s sophomore major label album combines insightful story telling with compelling instrumentals to provide a standout album. Born Sinner delivers what some (Nas) felt his debut was lacking.

Yeezus

3. Kanye West – Yeezus

The most controversial figure in music today unsurprisingly delivered one of the most interesting albums of 2013. With production help from the likes of Daft Punk and Rick Rubin, Kanye heads into uncharted territory.

My Name Is My Name

4. Pusha T -My Name is My Name

After much delay, one half of the Clipse released his major label debut as a solo artist. His debut is concise collection of some of the finest crafted verses 2013 with orchestrated beats by Kanye West, The Dream, and more.

Run the Jewels

5. Killer Mike and El-P – Run the Jewels

The continued pairing of  these hip hop veterans has lead to one of the finest works of their respective careers and of the year 2013. With production almost entirely by El-P, this project delivers for true fans of lyricism.

Nothing was the same

6. Drake – Nothing Was the Same

The native Canadian and best-selling artist released his 3rd major label album in 2013. Combining stellar production,  lyrical insight, and some of the catchiest melodies of the year. Drake proves why is he the only artist who pressures Kanye West’s position.

The Beauty In All

7. Oddisee- The Beauty in All/ Tangible Dream

Hailing from Washington D.C., Oddisee shows why he is truly a hip hop ARTIST. In 2013 he released The Beauty In All, which had the instrumental style behind it. While The Tangible Dream exhibited Oddisee’s lyrical prowess.

Almost Home

8. Masai – Almost Home

Metroland’s 2013 Best Rapper in the Capital Region released his the third album in his “Almost” series titled Almost Home. The album delivers an introspective look at his life with  fresh lyrical delivery. Check out the video for his single “Dear Masai” > (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk3g78gLlZ4)

marco-polo-pa-2-the-directors-cut

9. Marco Polo- PA 2: The Director’s Cut

Hip Hop produce extraordinaire Marco Polo released the follow up to 2007s Port Authority this year. The project features some op the top lyricists in the game laying vocals over some of the finest boom bap of 2013. Features include Talib Kweli, Masta Ace, Styles P and The Doppelgangaz.

Pete ROck

10.Pete Rock & Camp Lo- 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s Pt.2

Hip Hop veterans Pete Rock and Camp Lo deliver another barrage of hip hop with features by Talib Kweli, M.O.P. and Ab-Soul

The Full Picture: Animal Collective

This is the second edition of a new series of posts here on Airwaves. In The Full Picture we will look over a notable alternative artist’s entire discography and note how the sound evolved from album to album, as well as pointing out each album’s best tracks using the magical powers of hindsight. This edition’s band is a bunch of dads who make extraordinary electronic music: Animal Collective

Animal Collective- Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished
Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished (2000)

The earliest Animal Collective release has the chaotic and experimental features that the band has become known for today with far less production and pleasantness present. Animal Collective does some weird things in their music, it’s a part of their appeal, and on Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished things are pretty close to being at the extreme end of that spectrum. There’s some very ambitious long tracks, and many which are difficult listens, but the project is consistently interesting in laying down the groundwork for the band which at this point was only Panda Bear and Avey Tare.

Track Picks: “Bat You’ll Fly”, “April and the Phantom“, “Penny Dreadfulls

Animal Collective- Danse Manatee
Animal Collective- Danse Manatee (2001)

Geologist joins the band at this point as Danse Manatee takes the band which was near the extreme in weirdness another step closer. This is the sort of album which could spark a dumb debate in a room about ‘what music actually is’ because the tracks are gradual, experimental, and seemingly random and uncategorized. At this point with the band it becomes pretty clear that although the lyrics can be fascinating and mean something that the ultimate meaning of the song has to be something beyond them because of their cryptic nature. The music gets interpreted as a mindset rather than a meaning from my viewpoint, and Danse Manatee can be a difficult viewpoint to adopt.

Track Picks: “Essplode”, “In the Singing Box“, “Bad Crumbs

220px-Campfire_Songs
Animal Collective- Campfire Songs (2003)

Honestly I feel awful doing this in a post, but I don’t know enough about this album to discuss it and it’s not in my iTunes music library. I’ve read that it compares to the other early works are mentioned in this post very much, and that’s discouraged me from prioritizing going back for a listen because I prefer Animal Collective from Sung Tongs onward.

Animal Collective- Here Comes the Indian
Animal Collective- Here Comes the Indian (2003)

Some of the sounds on Here Comes the Indian are downright scary to listen to, like the track “Panic” which gets placed in the middle of the album and features the vocals of a yell being repeated for the first two and a half minutes of the track. The chaos feels dark and potentially threatening on this album leading you to wonder what exactly is it that they are trying to portray to you through their music here. There was a defined fan base for the band at this point who focused upon the band’s strengths: Their energy, their originality, and their freedom to turn whatever they’d like into music, but it’s an incredibly difficult sound for me even as a self-proclaimed fan of the band

Track Picks: “Native Belle”, “Infant Dressing Table“, “Panic

Animal Collective- Sung Tongs (2004)
Animal Collective- Sung Tongs (2004)

A very important album to understand in the context of their discography, Sung Tongs is the first time that you could look at an Animal Collective and it’s importance doesn’t lie in it’s odd and experimental methods. Those qualities didn’t disappear, in fact they still haven’t in the band’s modern releases, but on Sung Tongs the weirdness all of a sudden becomes a pleasant listen and surprisingly understandable. Compare “You Could Win a Rabbit” to any song that came beforehand and the difference is astounding, and “Kids on Holiday” is a track where the focus is actually turned onto the vocals over a dull guitar strum. This is the birthing of a more accessible version of Animal Collective, and this is the album which a lot of people should trace back to when trying to place where their favorite Animal Collective sounds came from.

Track Picks: “Kids on Holiday”, “Who Could Win A Rabbit“, “Sweet Road


Continue reading The Full Picture: Animal Collective

Essential Albums: Boards Of Canada- Music Has the Right to Children

Quick Band Bio: Boards of Canada is the moniker for two Scottish brothers, Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin, and it serves as a project for them to experiment with electronic music. Their discography is a confusing mix of official and unofficial albums, cassettes, and EPs, with the earliest known release being a cassette recording of Catalog 3 in 1987. Music Has The Right To Children was released 11 years later in 1998, and features samples from numerous sources of inspiration to the band, including The National Film Board of Canada which inspired the band’s name.

Music Has the Right to Children is very different from the other albums mentioned in this topic so far because of the genre difference alone. To classify it as electronic is a bit scary because my target audience for this article will read that and dismiss the album as outside of their tastes, but alternative rock kids will find fascinating experimental sounds with psychedelic and ambient qualities displaying themselves. It’s smooth electronic music that would work perfectly well as background music and even better if you decided to analyze it for every reference the duo creates.
Continue reading Essential Albums: Boards Of Canada- Music Has the Right to Children