Heccra – Heccra​-​Kazooie

Heccra - Heccra-Kazooie

With every new year comes a catalogue of great music, yet I always find that I am surprised by a few releases, either from musicians I am already familiar with or at least aware of and sometimes from a few entirely new acts but rarely does a project seemingly materialize out of nowhere and really grab me quite like the one man experimental post-hardcore project, Heccra did when it released the out-of-the-blue debut, ‘White Eagle’. After the stunning short-but-sweet debut Heccra went beyond expectations with a solid follow-up EP, ‘The Last Weekend of Summer’. Both albums were well received and gained the project a growing following in a matter of a few months. The project made a name for itself for its short to-the-point songs packed with an energetic presence and a combination of daringly unorthodox production choices along the likes of triggered drums, bubbly synths, glitchy bits of electronics, and the projects signature chipmunk-esque vocals, all of which are a combination of things that shouldn’t work but in Heccra’s case couldn’t have work more perfectly. Earlier on in the winter it was announced that the project had began recording for an upcoming full length; ‘Heccra-Kazooie’ being the result of those sessions.

If you are unfamiliar with video game culture, or more likely, you had a miserable childhood the title, ‘Heccra-Kazooie’ takes its name from the classic Nintendo 64 game, Banjo Kazooie, in which themes from the game are lightly applied to the music, mostly in the form of a few samples.

Where ‘White Eagle’ was an album that focused on the harsher aspects of post-hardcore and ‘The Last Weekend of Summer’ showed Heccra transitioning  to a midwestern influenced sound, inspired by bands such as Algernon Cadwallader, it appears that this latest effort attempts to fuse the two contrasting styles together in a way that only Heccra can, with catchy songs and glistening glitched-out electronics that will have you re-listening to the album like a playlist of top 40 tracks (that’s a good thing). The album’s opener, a track that is brimming with flavorful synths and an anthemic chorus practically begs for repeated listens while the melodic roller-coaster that is ‘Homemade Halloween Costume’ make it difficult to not want to listen over and over just to let the weaving guitars wrap themselves around your ears.

With ‘Heccra-Kazooie’ there are plenty of notable stylistic changes to be heard, particularly toward the end of the album with the last two tracks, ‘Smelling the Vents with the AC On’ and ‘Life Sux Pt.2’, those of which are completely clean tracks that discard the thick scooped distortion and replace the aforementioned with gently strummed acoustics and sung vocals. For me, it isn’t really a favored changed but it is certainly one that I welcome, as with all forms of experimentation. Although this new set of tracks is yet another in a series of Heccra’s constant search for a style of his own the project still retains the familiarity of previous works. If you’re here for the more abrasive side of Heccra’s music you’ll be happy to know that there are a few tracks, namely ‘Corium Leak’ and the end half of ‘Pissed Off Kids in the 90’s’ that go back to the teeth-gnashing screams set alongside the helium induced Alvin in the Chipmunk style vocals that gained the project it’s attention from the beginning.

While this new release still sounds just as fun and fueled as the project’s past work, ‘Heccra-Kazooie’ is an album that sounds just short of finished. The few samples that make an appearance don’t add to the music as much as they detract and while it is nice to hear all of this variation, this new set of songs doesn’t feel like as much of an adventure as the name of the album alludes to.  For new listeners I recommend either starting with ‘White Eagle’ or ‘The Last Weekend of Summer’ but for those who have been listening this album is still a decent collection of tracks that continue to take a stab at breaking up the convoluted state of post-hardcore music as it is today.

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Overall Rating: 7.0

Favorite Tracks: ‘Banjo-Kazooie’, ‘Corium Leak’, ‘Homemade Halloween Costume;

Recommended: Check out Algernon Cadwallader

Released: 02 January 2013

Links: Hear it here.

-Tyler Thompson

New Motive Power / Flying Batteries – Snescore split

New Motive Power and The Flying Batteries are two electronic acts who produce electronic chip-tune infused rock music both of which are affiliated with The Hai,  a collective of musicians spanning from different parts of the world whose expansive roster of artists have been consistently producing, promoting, and releasing a variety of different styles of electronic music since 2011.

New Motive Power

New Motive Power’s appeal is defined by the versatility of a smooth mix of chip-tune and various other electronic stylings with the progression of modern rock. ‘The Escape’ starts out strong with a very stripped down video game sound that develops quickly into a firm dance beat. The track shows plenty of good progression; these processed almost robotic vocals come in over the beat that helps to tie it all together giving it a sense of completeness before mellowing out and transitioning into a short solo. The production is spot on with everything coming through so crisply but although I think the vocals help give the music a sense of completeness I would enjoy these songs a lot more without the addition of vocals which are unfortunately hit and miss for me. Sometimes they fit in perfectly and other times they come off as sounding unsure and sloppy with the vocal effects obscuring the performance of New Motive Power’s ability to sing, or lack of. Seeing as the music featured on this release is primarily electronic, reflecting the music and sounds of old school video games it makes sense as to why the vocals are processed but I think there are better ways to get the vocals across. New Motive Power definitely has it’s strengths in capturing a listener’s interests with loud rock-inpired electronic music that throws a ton of catchy hooks at you but the execution is a detractor that ends up overpowering the otherwise great production.

The Flying Batteries

I enjoyed the vocals much more on The Flying Batteries side of the split, they just seem a little more passionate and overall more authentic, specifically on the track ‘Passion’ which is this sprawling arena sized track that draws influences from shoegaze and tastefully implements them into a very likable package that is reminiscent of the Crystal Castles cover of ‘Not In Love’ featuring Robert Smith. The partnership between these sounds, this unlikely combination of electronic music and shoegaze is so particular that it no longer becomes a combination of the two but is instead unified as one sound. This unity is further exemplified in the track ‘Rabbit Hole’, a thunderous bombardment of electronic bliss that includes some monolithic guitar work at the end, a nice surprise for an album full of bleeps and bloops. Although the way these tunes are assembled, their dependance on pop melodies is what makes them so likable for some but for me it is this straightforwardness that keeps me from enjoying them as much as I think I would if the were just a bit more variety.

On a side note, how awesome is that album art?

Overall rating (New Motive Power): 5.7

Overall rating (Flying Batteries): 6.3

Favorite Track: Rabbit Hole

Recommended: Check out The Hai’s back catalogue of releases.

Released: 04 February 2012

Links:

New Motive Power Bandcamp

The Flying Batteries Bandcamp

The Hai on WordPress

Redntoothnclaw

Organic Computer – The Tangerine Initiative EP

It took me a whole 3 listens to enjoy this album, it has this odd pace to it that keeps you moving along with the relatively simple rhythm and chipsounds.  In one sense it’s almost as powerful and uptempo as YMCK but with an additional bass line and a hiphop feel from a modern rap group.  In one way this is not that great of an album in fact it is very annoying to listen to too often in a row because it’s really missing the organic feel of overtones.  At the same time this album has a wide variety of sound that gives the album the light of day; in fact I wish he would make more music like the acoustic version of A Place Where Things Turn Out Alright.

  Individual tracks worth listening to:

A Place Where Things Turn Out Alright – by far the best track on the album, the bass line blends with the melody and the beat just bangs out in this slow track.

The Internet Says – Such a dark and meaningful track, the vocal samples just lead the track in to this dark feel.

A Place Where (Acoustic) – Such a Nice free and open recording sound for this track, a track that is truly organic and living feel to it.  If there was one song to listen to on the album it would be this and then it’s non-acoustic version.

Download the album for free through this link    http://organiccomputer.bandcamp.com/album/the-tangerine-initiative-ep

Rekapper Overall Rating: 4.143/10

Adam Vs The Machine – The Flying Batteries

Synth Rock mostly, with a post-punk feel – specially from the tone and style of the vocals. Most of this stuff just screams 80’s influence, not only from post-punk, like the sort of innocence in the use of synths to make up pretty danceable tracks, probably a footprint of the “snescore” they used to categorize their sound on bandcamp.

It’s not all like that though. The 80’s feel, this time leaning towards serious Bono on serious U2 moments, is there in the first part of “A Place to Hide”, for example. This track comes up in the album in just the perfect moment, just after the first three tracks which aim to be hits – and with a pretty good aim. The first track on this is so catchy, vibrant, feel good, danceable, I can’t figure out why this isn’t on MTV or at least making people dance somewhere. If you are just here for the ride, seriously go listen at least to that first track, it’s golden, and A Place to Hide would be the perfect, “serious moment now” second single.

I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing fillers at this point, but even though the immediate satisfaction of the radio-ready first track is still in some sense the best moment of the album, the album doesn’t go down in breath or energy. But they do allow themselves a cool, always-changing instrumental track , “Adam”, which is really enjoyable and samples Final Fantasy 6. The second part of “A Place to Hide” also comes up, but it doesn’t have the same feel as the first part.

Great stuff, first track is a potential hit, I hope these guys the best of luck with this stuff.

-Carpeaux

CHANALOG – A New Way With Old Things

Genre: MUTHUHFUCKIN' CHIPTUNE/DANCE, BITCH

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

COOL! a download link!:

A New Way With Old Things by CHANALOG

Chanalog is california producer out of san diego or santa barbera, I cant remember which. He got his start playing bass and keyboards(despite being much better at guitar than the people he was playing with) for various garagebands at his school But that’s not the point. Shit goes down when he touches an 8 bit gameboy sequencer, and it’s not the kind of shit that comes out of your butthole. I would go as far to say that if all shit was this tasty, I would probably be a cocrophiliac.

All the sounds you’ve come to know and love are here(note: if you were born after about 1995, this aspect might not do that much for you) and his composition skills are at maximum. Every track(excluding the I Get Wet cover) sounds like it has been lifted from some kind of adventure game on a gameboy, and it takes me back to when I was ten years old

there I am, under the covers, playing my gameboy with a flash light. I’m sweaty, the screen is fogged up and i’ve just turned the volume up so I can barely hear. The sounds are magical, and they take me away tostrange lands.  koholint island, metroid, and pallet town are not just mere digital conversions of zeroes and ones anymore; they’re real. And while I cant hit on samus or gary’s sister yet(i havent hit puberty, besides there’s no button combo for it) it feels like anything I can do in the real world, I can do in there

but the someone rips the sheets off the bed, shattering the illusion. My eyes are ill adjusted to the light, but I know who it is.

“what time is it?”

I keep as still as I can.

“I said, what time is it”

I lean my neck past him so I can see my digital clock

“suh- seven thirty”

“I thought I fucking told you no gameboy after 6”

“im sorr-”

SMACK

the force of his hand against my face hits with such surprise I drop my gameboy onto the floor

SMACK

I see a flash of green light as my head hits the bunk bed post. My father picks up my dropped gameboy and throws it out the window of our 7th story apartment

“Dont EVER disobey me again. Now go the FUCK to sleep”

head throbbing and tears streaming down my face I wait until he’s left the room, and then I giggle and muster a smile. Jokes on him, fucker. I just ordered three more gameboys using his credit card number

Anyways where was I? Ah yes, the variety of sounds is enormous given the method of which they were produced. He makes good use of every exploitable aspect of chiptune sequencing and seemingly wanktastic passages are actually upon a closer look quite well thought out and delicious. A good example is Halloween Overdose, which I can see as a dungeon level in a castlevania game or something. On this track especially, he shows an excellent ear for tension build up and release. In fact there’s so much dissonance and “evil” intervals being made going on it sounds like a shitty attempt to make a “spooking sounding” track, trying to cash in on the mall cyber goth crowd or something. But once the release comes, it’s so gradual and well written you almost wont realize it, it just flows so naturally you will swear the release had been playing the whole time, ansd that by the second time around you are not only ok with the dissonance, but you relish it and are begging for more

he’d probably make a good rapist, that CHANALOG. Just sayin’

every one of these tracks is made with a dance pop sensibility, and if these songs got a live analog instrumentation, they would feel at home at any rave/frat party/high school dance. In fact, I want this to happen so much, I think im going to stalk and kidnap CHANALOG until he does this.

Overall, this is a well written and wonderfully listen-able album, especially for the crowd raised on the crunchy electronic low-res sounds of the game boy and the nes. The only pause I have is that the hooks and melodies are not immediately clear(at least not to a pleb like me) they are buried under countless arpeggios, 8 bit crunchy sounds, and bouncy octave passages. It took me a while to really “get” and enjoy every track(and I did end up enjoying every track) it just goes back to the whole accessibility vs. depth of content bullshit I keep talking to myself about probably. If this album had more of a sense of minimalism, I would scored it higher(maybe)

Pros: WELL WRITTEN CRUNCHY 8 BIT NINTENDO DANCE BEAT SOUNDS!? IM SUCKING SOMEONE’S DICK FOR THIS ALREADY

Cons: 2deep4me sometimes(fuck this sounds like a cop out)

Best Track: Dot Matrix Heart

The perfect mix is interesting 8 bit tones and whimsical melody, I was fuckin’ rockin to this jam from day 1

Worst Track: You not listening to this album

seriously, the quality is fairly homogeneous throughout the album, plus i totally pussied out on deciding what my least favorite track was

Grower: Halloween Overdose

for reasons I have already explained. The whole rapist innuendo and stuff

Best Andrew W.K. Cover: I Get Wet

-Love Doctor