Short Circuits 15 - By Volume

Got our poster on her wall so every boy that she brings back will see my best side. Johnny Foreigner - Stop Talking About Ghosts
Holly_Herndon_Chorus_Artwork

Short Circuits 15

In this edition of Short Circuits: Antiquated 3-D Landscapes, blistering percussion, understated beauty, SONAR, and of course -- excellent music. Author: on February 3, 2014
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Holly HerndonChorus (RVNG Intl., 2014)

The video for “Chorus” opens with a prescient smattering of glimpses into what it can be like to spend so long connected through digital portals (and most likely, pieces of the effort that went into making the song and clip). At first it seems to depict Holly Herndon’s desktop experience, before director Akihiko Taniguchi extends these connections into exploring the quirks of how the rest of an internet-savvy generation approach their online experience, steering a camera through environments rendered with textures like melting plasticine. This reflects the reanimated nature of the project, which at first hints to be some sort of Frankenstein’s Monster borne from the sounds of countless bedroom producers. Okay, conceptually straightforward, right? Then the two-minute mark passes and Herndon throws in a beat full-swing, this chorus of spliced voices vying to keep pace with each other in the most intriguing piece the year has revealed yet. Herndon plasters together fragments of worlds virtual and real until they form a symbiotic existence, such is the reality of the situation which we must accept in this age. The depth within each moment, and the multistage structure that never tires, betrays the strain to produce something like this; though the irresistible fluidity and flourish illuminate Herndon’s ability to make the trip feel effortless.

ModeratLast Time (Jon Hopkins Remix) (Monkeytown, 2014)

Jon Hopkins’ resurgent Immunity was one of BV’s favourite albums of last year, vaccine-like against other, more stale electronic long-players that hit the big time last year. The aftermath of such a big splash involved an extensive, even heroic live show touring filled with Kaos-synth madness. It seems Hopkins channels it all into this overhaul of Moderat’s bonus track and now single “Last Time”, doing away with Apparat’s vocals up until the climax in a move both unexpected and optimally impactful. The remix feels like a strange meeting of worlds, akin to the relationship between Cosmin TRG and Hessle Audio with its dubstep-siphoning one-and-three kick-snare beat re-purposed for an extended techno countdown. It’s more of a plodder than a roller, but the sheer magnitude of momentum it picks up isn’t to be ignored, hitting hardest at the wake as the analogue synths are brought to boil as sinister atmospheric chords pound at the door.

BWWWOYSWebcam Pussy (self-released, 2013)

Post-internet music culture has meant that international borders might be less of a boundary when it comes to consuming material as well as putting it out there. Perhaps unexpectedly, the platform communicating between places has become a nation of its own right, one which producer-duo BWWWOYS feel right at home in. It defines the pair’s approach to juke and ghetto house on “Webcam Pussy”, though it’s nothing out of the ordinary if you’re familiar with LOL Boys and Shlohmo. What’s great about “Webcam Pussy”, aside from saying the name aloud over and over again, is its gung-ho transitions and its straight-to-the-point set up. The percussion makes for a wonderful deep end to get lost in, the vocal grafting is fairly simple and it doesn’t spend long messing around with risers, which ultimately results in an admirably kinetic strikingly ordeal.

MetristLeviathanks (Fifth Wall, 2014)

The Brooklyn-based Fifth Wall have pretty much found their feet after launching only last year. Sure, Metrist’s “Leviathanks” sounds as fuzzy as anything coming from New York right now but it shares much less with the city than it does London, pile-driving industrial techno aesthetics into stutters in the vein of grime. Amongst the crackles, alien sounds whir past, pinging and droning like a submarine’s SONAR, twenty leagues deep. Musty hi-hats threaten to lose their temper, kept at bay by a bass-kick combo that warrants a freeze each instance — “Leviathanks” doesn’t take no for an answer.

VermontMajestät (Kompakt, 2014)

Motor City Drum Ensemble’s Danilo Plessow leaves the kicks in Detroit for his collaboration with Marcus Worgull as Vermont. Their forthcoming self-titled full-length consists of the duo’s first productions together, supposedly without a target product in mind and simply the result of playing together. “Majestät” feels like exactly that, aimlessly wandering through sequences of vintage synthesiser loops, ticking over and discovering themes as they present themselves. The beatless escapade is self-liberating, swimmingly able to be lost in, toying with komische aberrations and even a sliver of soulful jazz. “Majestät” would sound right at home in the middle of Four Tet’s Pink compilation, which is to say, Vermont paint a beautiful, shimmery soundscape on “Majestät” and there’s no reason not to believe their album won’t match its charm.

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