Friday, November 30, 2012

Black Marble, Telefon Tel Aviv, and Mortality

With it's minimal-synth/coldwave sound, the music of Black Marble is pretty catchy. What hooked me initially was some similarity between his track "A Great Design", and Telefon Tel Aviv's "Your Mouth.

"Your Mouth", and the 9 other tracks on "Telefon Tel Aviv's "Immolate Yourself" were so very different from their previous IDM-ish tunes. This was the final album by TTV, as Charles Cooper (who did the vocals, and mixing, if I remember correctly), died in 2009.

Music, and people's attachment to particular songs or albums are often keyed to specific events, sights, and feelings, anchored in time. In January 2009, I was working in a seaside town in South Korea. I would finish work each night around 11pm. During the walk home, the streets were empty, and my mind filled with uncertain feelings about decisions I'd made, and the path forward. Listening to the tracks on 'Immolate Yourself' gave me a great sense of peace during that time, reminding me of how much I loved my life. At the same time, the somber, dream-like nature of TTV's tracks made me feel nostalgic for the present - a reminder that nothing lasts forever. 

I found out about Cooper's death while listening to this track, standing in an empty street, staring at my phone. It was an odd experience - a reminder of my own mortality, certainly - but it reinforced my desire to treasure the present, rather than preemptively mourn it's passing.

I listened to TTV's final album, (and the remixes they released during that time) consistently throughout my time overseas. For this reason, I'm always excited to come across new music that carries certain similarities to the tracks on "Immolate Yourself". While Black Marble is far more minimal wave, with harsh, highly sequenced '80s synth, I really appreciate the vocals and mixing style.


Another track that trips similar somber newwave sentiments with me is Belong's "Perfect Life". It holds hands with English Shoegaze & ambient, evoking bits of New Order's "Elegia", or Joy Division's "Atmosphere".

Belong @ SoundCloud:

Black Marble @ SoundCloud:

Telefon Tel Aviv's Immolate Yourself @

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Displaced mix by Memory Tapes [update]

[Update:] This is odd - the original mix, titled "Displaced Mix" was removed by Memory Tapes, and replaced with a similar mix, same artwork, but titled 'Replacement Mix'. No idea why, but it's equally good, if not better:

[Update 2:] Got a reply from the artist, and he removed the original 'Displaced Mix' because one of his remixes was of another artists work whose album was still unreleased. All the same, I wish I'd had the foresight to save that mix. It worked really well together.

Still, 'Replaced mix' is a nice combination of of rarities, B-sides, remixes, and unreleased tracks by Memory Tapes. Check out his music blog that has a surprising amount of free music.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

COM TRUISE - Yxes (No Sexy Edit by Blayne)

COM TRUISE's IN DECAY album is excellent. However, one track 'Yxes' ('Sexy', backwards) has  particularly jarring breaks with a retro sounding "Sex-eeeee!" soundclip. I also wasn't a fan of the funky break it has near the end - so I chopped the song up, looped, reordered, re-EQ'd, and filtered it.

Remix and custom track art by Blayne Scott. Enjoy. :-)

Here's the original, for comparison:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A reflection on distorted memory

An excellent video mix for a Com Truise remix:

Just in case the culture-killing content removal police do succeed in axing this video-mix, here's the original track as well:

I have such an attraction to this sound/visual combination for a number of reasons. Foremost, I think it's gained traction among myself and others born in the '80s because growing up, were too young to actually *live* in the era. As a result of television, film & radio, we internalized much of the sound, images, and texture of the decade, right down to that desaturated, blurred VHS look everything seemed steeped in. I associate that feeling strongly with my childhood, as I'm sure others do. Every time I see a modern cellphone photo turned into a faux-polaroid by Instagram, I'm seeing a modern emulation of older media forms: we're reaching back to the pre-internet age 'golden age'. Why though?

Style and nostalgia, I think. Older things have that warmth that the cold digital age did away with. Looking at vintage computer ads from the 1990s, I can see the transition from one to the other. It's unsettling: What will be is presented in the typography, color and style of what was.

The affinity I have is a product of my own distorted memory. It was the mass consumerism and media saturation of the 1980's and early 1990's that generated so many of the symbols I associate with retrowave music: 'futuristic' concept cars, driving, lasers/"space!", neon pink/purple, specific fashion styles, variety shows, static, softened analog edges, laughably archaic video effects, etc.

Most people I've talked to who were teens or adults during this era didn't have much to say about it. In the same way, most of us aren't exactly nostalgic for the span of time between 2000 and 2010. It's just another sequence of time - the meaning we draw from it is constructed - a pastiche of remix of a pastiche. I'm content to realize that the deep love I have for the visuals and 'sound' of the 1980s are a desire for something that never truly existed.

Beyond the Black Rainbow + Com Truise

Two of my favorite things, together:


A video mix of the delightfully weird film 'Beyond the Black Rainbow' with a track from the upcoming Com Truise album IN DECAY.