So, the musical elite of the Internet is having a contest of the best music produced by the community. There is an essential /mu/sicians chart on mu essentials archive, but it’s not updated, has too few releases and in general I don’t see many people caring much about it, so this contest is a good thing.
At the moment I’m writing this there are 99 tracks there already, each person being allowed to upload only one track, and the deadline for additions is in 2 days, so it’s quite a large material we have here, but fuck if I’m not going to listen to and review a huge part of it.
The order will be quite idiosyncratic though: I’m following on soundcloud 19 of these people and that’s where I’ll start, in order of subscription to the contest, the reason being because it’s easier for me since I know their work already, some I have even reviewed here. Before I start though, I’ll mention that I have added a track of mine there as well:
Carpeaux – Gilgamesh, fifth king of Uruk
Now, let’s do this!
MaximiliaN – I like it black
This is dubstep done with taste. It’s a bit repetitive, but the track is quite short, so it doesn’t get the chance to get boring. I also figure there must be some repetition so it’s more danceable, so it’s not really a problem. It has a very satisfying intro as well, the outright dubstep only starting about 1 minute in, so what you get here is a gentle, classy play of synth and rhythm, and then a gentle and layered dubstep that simply works. Nice wordplay between the vocal sample and the name of the track as well, I remember I lol’d when I first listened to it.
Lunaire – Pale Beneath a Brilliant Sky
Earlier today I saw someone compare this to a shoegaze The Smiths, which is kind of spot-on and actually very thoughtful, since the similarity to The Smiths applies more to the feel of the chord structure than to the singing. It’s farther away from punk than The Smiths though, closing in on gentle, dreamy shoegaze with Ethereal vocals with loose melodies and that distinctive guitar tone, it just feels satisfying and good, even if not too much stylistically intriguing. The tracks in their soundcloud account are kind of old, but they will record some stuff later this year, I wish them the best of luck with that.
Ven Wede – Looking into Myself
I’ve seen people complaining about just about anything in this guy’s music. I have complained about the vocals myself when I reviewed the album. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen people cursing about the same thing. I remember I guy telling him to give his drummer a metronome, for example. Even so, every time I post it somewhere someone says it’s great, and I agree now even more than when I wrote the review. Give this three or four listens, each one a week apart, and I guarantee it will grow on you, even the singing.
Most people probably listen to the few seconds of singing and rape the stop button. Don’t you do that. Three minutes and a half in this track, when the singing has succeeded in scaring off half of the listening audience, the song changes completely. In the end you have a bunch of different sections, solos of both synth and solo, build-ups and build-downs, three styles of singing, the whole shebang. It’s wonderfully varied and complex, I love it.
The Flying Batteries – The Start of Something
The killer first track to the album I reviewed here, choosing this for the contest was certainly a no-brainer. This should be on MTV, fuck. Great track. Just put it on loud and dance around the bedroom like a teenager.
Le Honeybadger – Turn Around
One of the prominent electronic musicians of /mu/ playing around with the witch sound that is going on right now. I like the style, it’s harsh and heavy but tries to be danceable, it feels like the whole goth scene might be having a comeback soonish. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but it sure was already implied on the whole dubstep craze. It’s a powerful track alright, short and straight to the very distinctive stylistic point, the sort of experimentation you can expect from /mu/sicians in general. Cool stuff.
Snailhead – Things I Hear in the Streets of Manchester in the Early Hours
Fuck, finally some rock n roll. Feels like an updated version of the back to basic rock n roll scene of the early 2000’s, i.e., with more synths. I don’t think it’s just the Manchester on the title that makes me feel like there’s a strong influence of the whole Manchester Post-Punk scene of the 1980’s, the harsh use of synths that is reminiscent of punk while being danceable (in a creepy Ian Curtis way maybe). The vocals are pure Sex Pistols. Great stuff.
Djiti – No One
I’ve heard some insane stuff from this guy and he dabbles with completely different styles, you wouldn’t expect different from his tripcode. Apart from the freaky vocals on 1:31 (I agree with Rekapper, that shit could be even longer) this is a very well-behaved song though. What I like from this guy is that he is prepared to do very strange stuff, so you get a nice feel of “anything could happen” and it always sounds so natural because for him that’s just normal. I love to go through this guy’s tracks every now and then, certainly recommend it.
Manyara Impala – Factory Floor
Always struck me as a classy act. Everything is very well layered and the sound play and development is always on the musical level, truly expressed through music itself, melody changes, classy harmonization etc. It takes huge balls to make instrumental music like this and few can pull it off without feeling like normal music but lacking vocals. You can’t have too much repetition and the emotional punch from the singing is gone, so you have to really work with your music and develop your melodies properly. All of this applies to this track. Great stuff.
New Motive Power – Christine
A hopefully future contributor to the blog, always there on the “Reviewers” section and never actually reviewing anything. Write a fucking review and I’ll review this shit.
Just kidding. This is somewhere between dance punk and dubstep and I quite like it. Great synth interplay, absolutely ready to rock people out. Some of the other tracks in the EP have a The Killers feel that make it even more awesome, but not in this specific song. The singing is great and makes it closer to radio friendly pop of the 80’s, which is also trendy at the moment and he manages to pull off with taste. Very entertaining piece.
Devon Flaherty – Beaver Dam Road (traditional)
Oh thank you, NMP was quite intense and I was subconsciously longing for something more relaxed. This is a dude with a banjo singing about a Road or something? If you’re in the mindset for it, go for it right now, it’s very feelgood and laid-back. The banjo intersections etc. are nothing out of the ordinary if you are accustomed to banjo-playing already, since apparently every banjo player is a virtuoso, but it works absolutely well with the traditional feeling of the song. You just have to smile when you hear a pretty young dude saying something about a “Chevrolet car” or “nobody’s going to pay my bail”. Quaint and nice.
The Dreadful Horoscope – You Take Furiously
Laid-back folk, pretty stuff. The kind of thing that makes you want to listen to the whole album, it feels a bit awkward in a “best of” compilation, but maybe that’s the idea, having more people listen to their other stuff. Anyhow, this track delivers this “deep stuff” serious feel that grabs you and forces you to try to pay attention to the lyrics, which are vague and filled with strong emotional verses. I quite like it, easy recommendation.
Awake in Sleep – Flowing Seasons
Reviewed it here, when I said it’s the closest to Progressive of the EP. You get both nice guitar riffs and quieter sections that are very tastefully layered and show great development. Like I said on the review, it’s a purely musical experience, the singing is sporadic and the fun to be had is mainly in the instrumental sections, though it would certainly feel pointless without the straight-up metal sections, which function as a destination point for all the stuff going on.
That’s it for now, I have to stop now but will try to continue later. Who knows, I just might review absolutely everything and never have to give feedback in the threads again.