ATH IT Department – Try Some Stuff

I’d asked a while back about how people listen; ear buds, headphones, through TVs, bluetooth speakers. It actually spawned me to do some tweaking. I moved my speakers a bit further apart and into the room, tinkered with toe-in (no benefit as my kids and highs are concentric) and then reran DIRAC room compensation. If all that sounds technical, it is. However, a little effort yielded a nice benefit. The music now extends further out past the rooms walls. I know that sounds strange and pretentious, but if you ever hear it, you chase the dragon. We love our music and you should enjoy listening.

Anyway, on to some new/recent tracks to listen to intently and critically. Well start below with the latest from Lindstrom, a four song EP titled Everyone Else Is A Stranger. Syrene is the opener, a rather joyous, but tempered study with guitars joining the party a couple minutes in as the build up progresses through to the minor chords and break before smoothly flowing to an elegant end. Solid way to start the weekend.

Click through for a couple more can’t miss songs that may have been missed.
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Day For Night: Saturday In Photos

day-for-night-sat-201Nathan has our summary post duties. Nailed it.

Day for Night is a very ambitious festival; it over-reached a couple times this year, but all in all, it was a success. We’ll be giving the organizers some real talk feedback, but hot damn, last weekend was photogenic AF. The giant LED backgrounds used either for artists synchronized art or for excellent festival graphic design or complimentary colors to appease the lighting directors whims, all with a Houston skyline looming.

Aside from tons of environment pics, Saturday’s gallery features Lower Dens, Jesus and Mary Chain, Blood Orange, Tycho and Aphex Twin. I mean, look at that list. And this was the easy and chill day.

Click through y’all. Please?

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Day For Night Preview: Aphex Twin

aphex-twin-logoEvery music festival will have its share of legacy acts that are there for the nostalgia factor. It seems strange to say that any of the artists at Day for Night are a “legacy” act. When you are years ahead of the industry, how do you ever have the throwback tag? Indulge me as I wax poetic about the future past. Let’s start with the 800 lb. headliner, Aphex Twin.

In my eyes and ears, Selected Ambient Works 85-92 is a mandatory record to have in your collection. Fact: Die Antwoord’s Ninja has the Aphex Twin logo tattooed on his arm and they have recently sampled songs from the Selected Ambient Works 85-92, good enough for me. Elegant and grating, challenging and soothing, all at once a collection that utilizes textures and samples to accent the underlying melodies. One recently poignant sample is Gene Wilder’s line from Wonka, “We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of the dream.” Later records saw an evolution to harder edges with foundations of drum and bass beats. “Come to Daddy” and “Windowlicker” both cemented the permission slip from me for any future evolution Richard David James wants to undergo.

But with all of that aside, some of my favorite works by Mr. James is under his Polygon Window moniker. There was a compilation in 1992 curated by Warp Records that started the disc with a track called “Polygon Window” by The Dice Man. I loved it, read the liner notes and made the connection to Aphex Twin, cuz, yeah. A year later, I found an import of Surfing as Sine Waves BY Polygon Window during a browsing binge of a tiny record that I doubt exists anymore, can’t recall the name, used stuff only, on Parmer, not Buybacks, somebody help me remember. Anyway, this was recorded shortly after Ambient Works landed and it features another fave track “Quoth”.

The aforementioned compilation is called Artificial Intelligence and was re-released in 2005 so that is floating around and features one of my favorite songs ever, “The Egg” by Autechre. You should own it, too.

Probably one of the coolest aspects to his being at Day for Night is that we really have no idea what is on the agenda. He released Sygo in 2014 and the Cheetah EP mid-year, but never really was out in support. Aphex Twin is showing up on several Euro summer festivals lineups, so it seems we get the scoop. As a teaser, this showed up on the intarwebs a few weeks ago.

Smooth Song From Aphex Twin

10629809_10152385483439952_4360575686812864847_nIf you don’t own Selected Ambient Works 85-92, get thee to a nunnery.

I put an Aphex Twin song on my end of year playlist. The new EP lands tomorrow courtesy of Bleep, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt. 2, but you can get a freebie today.

This song is “Diskhat” blah blah blah and can be downloaded. It is also a very accessible version of Aphex Twin. Pleasing.

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Four Tet – There Is Love in You

four_tet_there_is_love_in_youRating: ★★☆☆☆

Kieran Hebden has been at this game longer than most, so it’s no surprise that people expected big things from his latest effort under the Four Tet moniker.   There Is Love In You has already garnered a lot of interest over the Internet, though one must look at it through their own looking glass in order to fully evaluate where this record falls.

For me, I’m not one to fall easily for Intelligent Dance Music, and it really has to be something to knock me off my feet in order me to appreciate it, let alone even contemplate trying to understand it.  I remember Aphex Twin videos blowing me away, but that was based more upon twisted imagery in the videos.  DJ Shadow blew me away, but at the time, I had a faint interest in hip-hop.  But now, I’m not really into that sort of thing, especially since it lacks solid vocal involvement, which is one of the main reasons I listen to the stuff I do.

Now, as far as this album goes, I’m going to have to stand on the sidelines and watch the rest of the adoring fans as they chase Kieran Hebden around.  Song after song just seems like really simple loops being placed atop each other at certain intervals.  At times, like during the aptly titled “Sing,” you get some fearful moaning of sorts in the background, but nothing worthy of latching onto as a whole.

For me, there has to be some sort of sharp shift in the music, some sort of influential piece of movement within a song, and this, by and large doesn’t really seem to have that sort of craftsmanship to it.  Given, the use of space and timing here does seem to accomplish the affects that Hebden is associated with in his work, but I can’t lie and tell you that any of it is all that interesting. After more than a dozen listens, this album only made me focus more on my immediate surroundings as opposed to this record, which I suppose is a lot to say for an album.

The duration of There Is Love In You allows for the listener to look within himself (herself, if you so choose) while the content of the loops and layering of sounds only makes things appear more cosmic, in a sense.  You can feel yourself being absorbed into your surrounding, sinking within yourself, and that is entirely due to the non-invasive quality of the music on Four Tet‘s latest album.  It’s perfect for what it is.  It allows you to successfully pass the time while being absorbed in your own world.  Perhaps my anxiety about the world’s plights have always served as a blockage to my understanding of IDM, and for that I apologize.  Remember, this is just one man’s opinion of walking alone with this album, absorbed in himself for once, thanks to this album.