Degree Zero: Untitled 170524

It would be a dream to get the vox-only stems of Jaala’s latest album. Her shrieks and shouts and tempo changes and overall chaotic vocal beauty would be used extensively.

You can listen to it here on Bandcamp.

I’m pretty happy with what I was able to eek out of Jaala’s “Junior Spirit” (the lead vocals for the track), Motion Graphics’ “Vistabrick” (which produces that great echo-y crack and bass beat), and a small smattering of Death Grips’ “Anne Bonny”, the 160BPM heart of the track, providing a driving foundation for the slowed pace of the other parts.

Jaala’s voice is beautiful: seductive and rough; high-pitched but with the subdued energy of an alto. It’s not easy to extract some vocals from her tracks what with the band’s usual frenetic guitars and drums. But “Spirit” has some isolated vocals, and luckily it’s one of my favorite singles. I jumped on the chance to cut her voice up into something so different – to insert her voice into the universe of Motion Graphics.

I’m not good at mixing – it sounds terrible on portable laptop speakers and barely sounds together on better headphones. However, I still feel the “justification”: Jaala’s voice may not belong on a dance album, but is at home as a red-hot knife searing through ambient electronics. It would be a dream to get the vox-only stems of Jaala’s latest album, Hard Hold. Her shrieks and shouts and tempo changes and overall chaotic vocal beauty would be used extensively.

For You: Lorenzo Senni’s “Persona”

For You: Lorenzo Senni’s “Persona”

Lorenzo Senni - Persona

Dear Anthony,

Persona nearly falls into the rave cliches that it is so determined to subvert, but I think the cheesiness of its sounds add to a soundscape that is honest in its simplicity. And really, it’s not nearly dance music: “Angel” utilizes dated 80s and 90s synths to imply dance music, yet it can easily be interpreted as concise ambient music. It has the capability to move people, yet demands nothing except engaged background listening.

Going back a track to “One Life, One Chance”, we find much more dance-like sounds, including a shrieking synth that desperately wishes to be the voice of Cyrus or Spears. But what is missing is the percussion, and what is missing is the build up. Instead we are left with the sinew and nerves of what could have been “electronic dance music”. There is a distinct deconstruction of the genre that deserves to be heard; it is an album that revels in what it is not; it is in love with dance but keeps it at an arm’s reach.

Perhaps I am overly influenced by the album cover, but Senni’s interpretation of “non-dance music” is in itself fetishistic: it revels in the delights of dance but just like someone who wishes to hold off the ecstasy of orgasm, it never quite gets there, where I and probably you believe it should be. Because arriving there would set it so far back, into something completely forgettable.

Love,
Aleks

On The xx’s “Say Something Loving”

On The xx – Say Something Loving

January 5th, 2016

I.

The machine-like,
omniscience
Departs the depths
of silence.

II.

Machine-vocals
intertwined with
The jungle’s own.

III.

The jungle has lost
silence
A beat of the heart,
warmer, filling.

IV.

The message I received,
whether or not
it sourced from the earth
Arriven and arisen in my heart.