The Hai – In & Out

Review of their previous album, Pop Songs, here.

Just recapitulating, The Hai is a sort of internet music supergroup, a handful of people from all over the world who met by posting their music on the Internet and being some of the very best at it. It’s unfortunate that I can’t review their output as fast as they can release it. After this album there has already been another one called Temperatures, and that’s not talking about the individual albums that keep coming up. The always wonderful A Problem Like Maria has just released Saudade, a very touching album, some of the best music I have listened from her. Before that, Mattir, The Flying Batteries, Water Gun Water Gun Sky Attack (reviewed here) and other members of the group have all come out with interesting albums that I can’t recommend enough. It’s all in their website.

Now let’s start the proper review.

The theme of this album is sex. As usual, it doesn’t mean that every track will be straightforward about it, specially the EDM tracks. Something has to be said about the track order selection in both albums I have reviewed though, it is optimal in balancing out the different styles of the musicians, in such a way that even if the EDM tracks don’t clearly deal with the overall theme, they always sound like an intercession, they just fit nicely in the overall progression. Perhaps this is one of the most subtle qualities of the group’s output: how can all these different people from these different places come up with something that feels whole and balanced? It can’t be a simple affair. And that’s not dealing with the same happening in the tracks themselves, carved by multiple sets of hands apart from each other.

These guys are bursting with creativity and they keep it in a tight leash of perfectionist music-making practices, every synth that comes and goes is perfectly tailored, specially in the EDM tracks. It all sounds anything but home-made. StratosFear’s Approaching Summer is a shining example,  as well as Rekapper’s When and MaximiliaN’s chilling track, adorned with equally chilling vocals by A Problem Like Maria. I was also impressed by her own track, Slow. It’s about sex alright.

Meanwhile, every single one of the straightforward songs has a satisfying feeling of inspired, well-made mainstream music. Somnitone’s closing track might be the winning song this time around, I figure it’s absolutely radio ready. Musically, there’s no reason why these people couldn’t take over the world. Everything is so fucked up in music though, who knows what will happen. If these times were like up to the early 90’s, they would be selling millions by now. It’s already good enough to be released by a regular label, that’s for sure.

-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