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Entering into his fifth decade as a solo artist (sixth, if you count his time as member of a little known band called The Velvet Underground), John Cale can pretty much do whatever he wants. From an extensive FILTER tribute earlier this year to a European tour this summer and fall, Cale's legacy as an artist that continues to reinvent himself year after year is undisputed. It then should come as no surprise then that today Cale has just announced plans to release his sixteenth solo album this fall.
Recorded entirely in his Los Angeles studio, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood will be released on Domino’s imprint label Double Six and will be available October 2nd. It features a jam session collaboration with Danger Mouse to create the album's opening track "I Wanna Talk 2 U." You can check out the full track listing for Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood below.
Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood track listing
1. I Wanna Talk 2 U
2. Scotland Yard
4. Face To The Sky
5. Nookie Wood
6. December Rains
8. Vampire Cafe
10. Living With You
11. Midnight Feast
12. Sandman (Flying Dutchman)
At Music Tech Fest in London last month, I gave a talk and did an afternoon-long workshop exploring ways of connecting visuals to sound. We worked with pen and paper, with patching (in Pd), with code (in Processing), and via a survey of some interesting recent work, in this case all connected to drawing. A theme of the conference had been “synesthesia.” But it’s important to note that synesthesia goes beyond just making music visual. It deals with people actually having a sensory experience in which one input (like sound) triggers a different sense (like smell or color). Sure enough, someone who attended had a student who experiences quite strongly that nonvoluntary reaction.
This short film explores the extreme, visceral connection that cross-sensory sensation can produce.
Clinical sensory phenomena aside, the surreal and strange world that emerges is to me a perfect metaphor for all the symbols we use for music and sound, for all the (wonderfully) bizarre feelings that arise as you try to grasp something as unseen and fleeting as music and musical emotion with your brain. It’s long hours in the studio trying to understand what you’re doing, it’s the user interface for computer software, it’s notation. It’s, in a word, impossible.
And basslines are definitely cats.
(Not news, but too wonderful for me to care — found via Meiko Kanamoto.) By Terry Timely:
syn·es·the·sia syn·aes·the·sia (sĭn’ĭs-thē’zhə)
A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.
A sensation felt in one part of the body as a result of stimulus applied to another, as in referred pain.
The description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another.
It’s my belief that Matthew Dear is truly the electronic trouvère of this generation. Beams, from the Ghostly label he helped establish, isn’t due until the 27th of August. But “Her Fantasy” is enough to make you prick an ear up. His rough-velvet voice surfing a thickly-layered electronic groove, the track channels Brian Eno’s collaborations with David Byrne, from the calculated electronic ostinati to the self-aware, quirky, hyperreal-punk poetry and vocal style. But Dear takes it all around the next bend: those rhythms, informed by his time on the dancefloor, are more unapologetic, and his voice, doubled-up and dense, takes on new, seductive authority.
It’s all so good, all so perfectly-calculated, that it can slip into monochrome: this is a track on one level, musically, with additions and substractions still sounding like an endless loop. So, I hope we see some new diversity in Beams, as that would clearly establish the songwriting and production diversity on the level of the technical and musical technique that’s all so well-proven.
“Crimewaves” is another good sign. Dear almost seems to go from recalling Byrne to bringing a little old-school Thomas Dolby influence, with clipped electronic brass stabs and fresh, sing-song, unexpected refrains of lyric and tune reminding me of some of Dolby’s best early work, if unmistakably dripping with Dear’s own musical soup. That DNA cross-breeds as the song develops into something unique, an irresistable rhythmic collage. (Dolby? Eno? Byrne? I don’t think I’m just being lazy citing those; they seem part of Dear’s upbringing, back to this generational question. And they seem re-molded into something that sounds like his voice, and this year. They certainly aren’t bad influences to prod. Here, though, they become almost atomic ingredients in a bigger dance groove.)
Even based on these two tracks, I suspect this latest effort will add to the pile of evidence that Ghostly International is one of the major labels, having endured the strange dramatic twists of the electronic scene over the past years. Oh, yeah, and, of course, yet again, the release itself looks visually gorgeous. (see below) Ghostly’s stuff looks nice enough, consistently enough, to make them practically annoying, like that person you meet at parties who always makes you rolled out of bed and didn’t put in any effort. So, speaking of which, other labels and app makers and whatnot: you might want to put in some effort, rather than rolling your releases out of bed.
Oh, and another thing: much lamentation is heard about the fact that “EDM” (that acronym, long disused, bizarrely making a comeback) has suddenly become commercial and pop-dominated. It seems the natural evolution, for things that aren’t simply pandering to massive festival crowds, to again embrace songwriting. Indeed, with so much good underground stuff, you wonder what people will have to say if they do bare their souls and sing what’s on their mind. Imitating Dear is an exceptionally-bad idea for an emerging producer. But picking up a microphone, and really crafting lyrical expression rather than just adding vocals as decoration? That’s a great idea.
Single release for these two tracks, on vinyl and digital:
“Her Fantasy” @ Ghostly Store
There’s a tour, as well, but limited to New York, LA, and DC. (Rest of the world, fret not – Ghostly sent an email today in which Matthew Dear promises to tour this album around the world.)
05.27 Brooklyn, NY @ Loreley (DJ Set)
06.16 Los Angeles, CA @ Avalon Hollywood (DJ Set)
06.30 Chicago, IL @ Montrose Beach (DJ Set)
07.20 Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall (DJ Set)
07.21 Long Island City, New York @ MoMA PS1 (DJ Set)
11.17 New York, NY @ Webster Hall