Best of /mu/ Contest – Vol. 2Posted: August 10, 2012
Better late than never. I continue to believe /mu/ is the best music board on the Internet. Meanwhile, /mu/sicians make some of the most interesting homemade music I have heard on the Internet. I personally think it beats most of “mainstream” independent music, that is, music released by labels and positively reviewed by Pitchfork and the such, and this compilation proves that shit. Now let’s get down to business:
Rekapper – Tripcrop
It’s a trip alright, not only the track but listening to Rekapper’s stuff in general. He is capable of anything in electronic music, and everything he does is absurdly well made and polished, always surrounded with very good taste and synth play. It’s a work of obsession and long hours of hard work. After listening to hours of his music, I have come to the state where when I listen to electronic music, I immediately compare to his music. There are many electronic musicians on soundcloud, he’s the best, most interesting and inventive I have heard.
This track in particular has many beautiful and interesting details, laid down on a soft, sleepy carpet of dreams. Listening on good headphones is probably recommended, but I bet it was mixed to perfection on any setup you have at hand. The track develops nicely, slowly building interesting juxtapositions, than deconstructing them unexpectedly, always unexpectedly. It’s a feast.
The MACHINE – Building a New House for Skrillex
Interesting experiment in making music with noises, mostly raw and unpleasant, fitting the witty theme. This can be silly and awful, like this piece of shit, but halfway through the track you forget the joke-like substance of the collection of sounds, because it fits together in a a musically sound way. It’s by no way a mess, it follows a structure, develops and changes in the right times and in interesting ways. Cool track, not the sort you forget easily, not the sort you only listen to once.
A Problem Like Maria – Eviction Notice
The world-famous A Problem Like Maria, rapping. Yes. It’s a very un-street cred sort of rap though, it’s “cute rap” with ambitious lyrics. The beats are very simple, but effective and fitting with the voice. The chorus is nice. The rapping itself rings true, it’s full of personality and sincere intonations. It lacks in that gripping and powerful flow that generally marks good rappers, but maybe that’s not really missed. All I can say is every element fits together nicely, it’s a nice track.
Collaptic – <3 & Luck
This is a sort of dubstep that doesn’t feel, to me, like made to be played loud in a room full of people. It’s a feast on headphones. At the same time, all the hooks and transitions work well in a crowd-pleasing way. It’s a good track, good exploration of sounds, with definite sections that come and go.
Kingtommen – Based
A work of subtlety, small sound works and gentle development. Gorgeous in its simplicity, conveys a very specific sort of feeling effectively.
Flying Batteries – Tonight
One of the best bands on /mu/, and a member of The Hai, a group many of the best acts who used to frequent the board around a year ago have joined. The first track I heard from them, when they were still called Cold Haze, is still one of the best pop tracks I’ve seen come out of this whole mess.
“Tonight” is a charming track, as usual playful with the whole 8-bit synth style. It’s catchy in it’s own way and just cool in general.
Snailhead – The Photographs
1, 2, 3, Bitches! Snailhead, another The Hai guy, who always makes very distinctive music, he has his own style. The whole album the track comes from is a pretty interesting listen, reviewed by Rekapper right here on inb4track. This is an awesome rock track in every aspect I can think of, the guitar work is good, the vocals are distinctive and cool sounding, the lyrics are interesting and enigmatic. Check out the album, it’s worth it.
New Motive Power – Breathe
New Motive Power is another guy* who has been making interesting music for quite a few time now. All his* albums are cool and worthwhile a listen. His* previous collaboration with The Flying Batteries was reviewed by my fellow inb4track reviewer redntoothnclaw, but my favorite is still Copper & Zinc, his first.
*some sources claim that NMP is actually made up of two people, the truth of the matter is yet to be arrived at.
.\\BOOMGLITCH – Nobody
This is glitch, it’s well made and not really completely limited by the glitch aesthetic. The sound play is interesting, the overall result is as well. I’m no specialist, but it clearly takes a decent amount of hard work and exploration.
Water Gun Water Gun Sky Attack – Out from Underground Alive
This guy is my favorite homemade musician right now. I still haven’t gotten trough this fucking beautiful track, from the The Hai album I reviewed some time ago. His style is gorgeous and enticing, his lyrics are beautiful and full of feeling, and the same goes for his singing. It almost makes you forget the careful and tastefully done work with the electronic music on the background. It’s all pretty much perfect as far as I can tell.
Somnitone – Juvenilia
Another The Hai member. I guess if you like this compilation you can just head to their page and download all their main releases because you’ll like those too. It’s a shame the soundcloud page crowd from two years ago never got together in a similar group, guys like Alfheimr who unfortunately I haven’t seen there much anymore.
Anyway, this track is beautiful. This is another guy who also has a pretty distinctive style. It’s great to see he has evolved much that general style since his track on the previous best of /mu/ compilation, where he nailed it with another beautiful track. I love his singing style, his voice inflection, the sudden change midway through, the casual contemporary lyrics. It’s a great track.
Spoonty – Mukakami
This is a cool track. I like the way it develops and the general feeling it brings. Maybe it overdoes a little too much the main theme, but it’s a short track, it never gets to be boring or annoying. The minimalist vocals come up at the right times. I like it.
Mascara Hera – Phaethon
Beautiful track, very good work on the singing and voice manipulation. The sound background is gorgeous, everything fits very nicely. Very good work.
Mattir – You Trusted Me
Another beautiful track, very gentle and delicate interpolation of melodies and synths. It’s a pretty little track, very relaxing but with pleanty of subtle changes and synths coming in and out all the time. For the focused and serious music listener.
Musik Herzeigen – Boy
Oh wow, an acoustic track, how nice and refreshing. I’m hardly an IDM guy, how nice to hear instruments again.
Beautiful song, the singing is full of emotion, the musical work is wonderful. It’s a work of perfection in it’s own way, the sort of thing you try to do and can never pull off because it takes being a different person to actually do it. The guitar playing is top notch, the development of the track is absolutely fitting. I had never heard of this guy, I’m glad he’s been hanging out on /mu/. This is a very good work dude, I’m following you on soundcloud as of now.
The Sifters – Goodbye Waves
Wow, how nice, a sort of retro song. The guitar bassline is priceless, the vocal work is funny in its nostalgic ways. Just a note, the vocal clips at a few points of the music though. Push the microphone away or take a step back when you sing louder dude.
Anyway, it’s gorgeous, with a funny element because of the whole early rock style.
Qualia – Light Pillars
10 minutes? OK, let’s go. A post-rock track, and a pretty good one at that. I think the main theme, though nice and pretty, repeats a little too many times. The epic arch the track goes through neutralized that to a point though, and it fits well into the genre anyway. The songs detaches from the theme around the last minute or so, arriving at a nice “whale sounds” kind of section. Overall the main impression it gives me is of a hypnosis kind of state of mind, beautifully hypnotic, which, if it was all recorded live, must have been an incredible gas to perform, a wonderful jam session. Very nice work dudes.
Amanita – Home?
Another post-rock, jam session sort of track. Really nice work with the drums and of course guitar interpolation. The singing has a sort of screamo style, I always think it’s a bit forced, but it goes with the style, so it’s all good. I don’t see what’s up with all the clicks though, is there something wrong with the recording? Are those picks on the guitar strings or what? It has a aimless sort of structure, but it works well, it fits the song.
Caves of Glass – Barren Earth
11 minutes, let’s do this, it’s the last track. This one has a text-explained development:
Pt. I – The Storm Begins
Pt. 2 – Red Skies, Black Water
Pt. 3 – The Downpour
Pt. 4 – The Storm Recedes
It’s an old theme, not only Beethoven but other composers tried the same thing before him, it’s just that he did it so well, everyone else had to give up on it probably.
Well, the best I can say about this track is that it’s jam-session driven progressive metal, and it’s very, very well made. The metal bands of /mu/ are very well represented in this. It’s a gorgeous, larger than life track. I’m impressed.
Now what can I say about the album as a whole? It’s very good and to my great surprise, it’s even better than the first contest’s result. There are some big omissions in my bool, such as Victor Florence and Less Deceived, but I guess that’s how it works, the general soundcloud thread crowd seems to have changed and the names have changed with it. Some of the best acts from the previous compilation have since formed The Hai, which I think is a wonderful thing, but to tell the truth I felt relieved with the last tracks, reassured that there still are great old-fashioned /mu/sicians on the board.
It’s an impressive release, really really, very impressive. Fuck yeah, there has to be another one in the future, this shit has to continue.