Archive for why?

Trading Post °1: Axe to Vox

Posted in essays, music, The Trading Post with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/24/2012 by alex c

This is the first installment of The Trading Post, what hopefully becomes an ongoing series in which I trade albums with fellow writer friends and then we proceed to dance about the architecture with which we’re presented. This project stems from the many discussions through which it became undeniably clear that my musical tastes are vastly different than most of my literary friends; I thought it would be fun and enlightening for us to both share what we love with while hearing new music we might not otherwise encounter. Though there will likely be a decent amount of hating on stuff (from myself at least), that’s not the point at all. Rather, much like my encounter Lynne Tillman’s novel American Genius: A Comedy, I appreciate wrestling with work with which I don’t have an immediate affinity and then trying to understand why I might hate it so much while also recognizing important qualities such a work may possess. Having said all that, these aren’t going to be deep analyses, either, merely thoughtful reactions or something along those lines. I guess we’ll see what happens and that’s part of the fun!

For this first installment, Seth Graves decided on a simple trade based on vocals and guitar. He gave me albums by Why?, Danielson and Destroyer. In return I made him listen to albums by Gorguts, Krallice and Vektor. We’ll start with Seth’s responses because I flipped an imaginary coin and won the toss. Follow us after the jump!

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Them — “It’s Them” & Rap Maths

Posted in math-rock, music, people to watch for with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 08/04/2011 by alex c

For the past couple years I’ve been involved in a decent number of long conversations about stagnation and conservatism in hip-hop. I’ve always identified more with that weird d.i.y. late-’90s/early ’00s sensibility exemplified by anticon, rhymesayers, def jux and probably a handful of others I can’t recall anymore. Frankly the affection grew mainly because it was way weirder than any other rap I’d ever heard.

One of the main issues I’ve had with even some of the most innovative rap is the tendency for emcees to hew too closely to the 16 bar lather rinse repeat formula. I guess it could be the “sonnet” of rap or something. It’s refreshing to hear emcees do something fresh with a classic form, but I also wanna hear beats in odd time signatures and irregular verses!

Slowly I’ve started to track down newer material that strays into bizarre territory (I recommend checking out Death Grips), but I’m also in the process of digging through older stuff to unearth any shards I’d missed or forgotten. Dose One could always be counted upon to bring your head to a new place (see also his work with Why? and Odd Nosdam in cLOUDDEAD) and with Jel on beats he had a producer equally willing to be that kind of tour guide.

“It’s Them” doesn’t get super crazy, but at the very least it varies between 4/4 and 6/8 with some slightly irregular transitions between parts. A few people have told me that a few groups have ventured into 5/4 and 5/8 territory, but they’ve yet to recall what tracks and I haven’t found them on my own yet. . .