Monday, 29 September 2014

Mixtape Vol.1: Cronkite

This is our first post-erase mixtape. It’s called “Cronkite”. It has a few twists to make it more fun to listen to. We spent the weekend making it. It turned out OK, we suppose. Hope you enjoy it. If you do so, please do the like and re-whatever. That’s the only way we know there’s life outside our HQ.

Mixtape Vol.1: Cronkite by Gxhxoxsxtxfxm on Mixcloud

And yes, we decided to go with MixCloud for our mixtapes. It has pretty much everything that makes things work.

By the way, we would like to send love to taggrt, twointhemorning, nyetscape and juanalikesmusic for being our most active supporters during September.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Hola sweet ghosts!

We are about to start making our first mixtape very soon. And we were thinking of MixCloud.

But do you have better suggestions?

Friday, 26 September 2014

on how interpol as a band is a million miles away from what mr. fitzmaurice thinks aka stop bullying and play the hits somehow!

I read a Pitchfork review. It made me sad. Because it was terrible. And here is why:

I have been listening to Interpol’s new 5th studio album El Pintor for the last two weeks or so. This is not my favorite album of the year and it is not going to be my favorite Interpol album, either. That being said, I am enjoying it and it has reportedly received favorable reviews by critics as well as universal acclaim from many of us. Of course it is not everyone’s cup of tea and that is understandable. I think one totally has the right to rate an album (if one really has to scratch that itch of assigning numbers to things) low or find it average. The problem starts to manifest itself only when we bring a journalist’s work down to rational grounds. I saw something similar happening to the new Alt-J album when Juana Likes Music (@juanalikesmusic) wrote about it yesterday.

Now, this should not be mistaken for any sort of guard against Pitchfork per se. This is the website in which people like Mark Richardson open new horizons to discover new and old music. They have changed the way we listen to music and have looked at it via brave new alternative and spectacular lenses. What I have problems with is when one turns this influential platform into a war zone and pens only to spread hatred and disdain based on emotional reactions and personal enmity with a successful (and now) mainstream rock band. And to do so, alas, adopting logical fallacies has seemingly been the easiest approach.

Therefore, for the very first time in my seven-year blogging life, I, an enormous lover of music strongly would like Pitchfork to stay away from this kind of destructive behaviour in their future existence. This is not the first time they are unjustly demolishing a musician’s work and we all know that. We all probably remember those reviews for Jet and Tool. We bury them in our memory but we surely do not want them to be repeated. Knowing that a writer is completely entitled to her/his opinion, there are, whether we want or not, lines. A football match commentator reporting a dull 0-0 game does not tell the fans to stop going to stadiums and paying to see their teams. All they can do is hoping they play better next time. This is how we live our lives peacefully.

Before we continue, it helps to read Mr. Larry Fitzmaurice’s review of El Pintor. This is of course not the first time you read a bad review, but let us brick by brick ponder over this black wall the writer is trying to build between us and Interpol. I am only going to mention the parts on which I would like to comment.

Larry starts his review by bringing us back to Interpol’s first tour of their debut album Turn on the Bright Lights (aka Pitchfork’s No.1 album in 2002) and what Robert Pollard tells the band’s drummer:

When Interpol went out on their first tour behind their 2002 album Turn on the Bright Lights, Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard imparted some prophetic advice for drummer Sam Fogarino at an Ohio stop: “Don’t sell more than 50,000 records or you’re in trouble.” Nine years later, the album was certified Gold by the RIAA—that’s 500,000 units sold in the U.S.—and trouble has, indeed, followed the band since their star-making debut.

My dad is a dentist. He always wanted me to be a dentist, too. But I did not follow his path. Only last year he, in a very nice and fatherly manner, protested against my refusal from his suggestion and told me it was the biggest mistake I have ever made. Looking back, I think I made the best decision of my life not listening to my dad back then as a sophomore high school kid. I became a software engineer and have been loving every moment of it so far. I love my dad and I admire Guided By Voices. But I am very happy that life for Interpol did not go exactly as how Robert Pollard wanted it to. I am not sure if Interpol’s Sam Fogarino even asked for a parental word of wisdom from Robert Pollard. Either way, Paul Banks and other people in Interpol’s lineup during the years have mostly become wealthy musicians. And I, for a fact, think they deserve it. Unlike Robert Pollard, I enjoy it when a good band with such a firm fresh start makes money from the art they create.

The wrongness of Larry’s paragraph is called Appeal to Authority. That is, it’s true because Robert Pollard says so. And now that it has actually happened, Interpol should not have gone certified Gold! But what would have been the parallel universe in which the null-hypothesis of Interpol’s fast fade-out and retirement becomes reality? Would it have made Larry any happier as a journalist? I don’t think so. He has loads of other Black Keys and Coldplay albums to rate very low to attract even more readers.

In the very next paragraph, he makes another bold inference that among the few reasons that Interpol was taken seriously back then was having Suede’s Brett Anderson as a fan of “NYC” and R.E.M. covering it. “NYC” is possibly the most beautiful Interpol song. But Turn on the Bright Light's aesthetics do not end with “NYC”. The post-modern melancholia of urban life is scattered almost evenly on its pallette. It starts with the ray of hope in “Untitled” and extends to existential confusion over a relationship ennui in “Leif Erikson”. This is far from the one-hit-wonder band you so fiercely are trying to establish my friend! But let us go on.

The 12 years following Turn on the Bright Lights’ release, however, have only proven that looking to Interpol for profundity makes as much sense as installing a diving board in a kiddie pool.

And then

If we’re being real, the band’s ankle-deep tendencies started with Bright Lights, and that’s not necessarily an insult: like many bands surfing the new-rock wave at the time, Interpol turned shallowness into a kind of goofy virtue.

Proven? To whom exactly? And calling somebody’s songwriting “ankle-deep” should definitely not be taken as an insult. No! In fact, I think Paul Banks should take these meticulous calculations as life lines and change his goofy and shallow philosophy and stop fooling around with these hooks and riffs. Stop being a phony and listen to whatever Larry Fitzmaurice is telling you, Paul! Chances are, he only wants the best for us. He even, at the end of his review, very politely is going to want your band to stop existing which is also very generous and kind.

I am holding a teapot in my hand. What you do not know, however, is that at this moment, this teapot is in orbit around the Sun between Earth and Mars! This is the absolute truth. Because no one can prove it wrong. Neither this, nor the fact that Interpol’s standards are based on goofy and superficial virtues supported only with sunglasses and suits. That is how high me and Larry have flown in our righteous path of immaculate logic.

There was, and still is, nothing inherently original about what they were doing—Peter Hook cheekily applied to be the band’s bassist in 2010, only to be rejected.

Things are getting very exciting here. Larry is trying to reach the other end of this tube by cunningly swimming against causality. Let alone common sense! Wait a minute! So, the fact that Peter Hook, the co-founder of Joy Division (and a New Order bassist) was rejected by Interpol as a member can be concluded to Interpol lacking originality? Plowing the barren Sahara of reason! That was new. In other news, if you got an “A” in math, that is indeed very retarded and incompetent of you. And that’s not necessarily an insult! Neither is Larry calling Interpol “trolls” a few lines after that. Come on Interpol! At least be grateful for all the vibes you are getting from just one person. I mean…

The years passed, and it became clear that Interpol’s talents could be listed on one hand, which was, again, not initially a bad thing.

See?

Antics from 2004 lacked the enveloping, cohesive atmosphere that made Turn on the Bright Lights such a striking debut, but the songs were definitely there.

And apparently that does not help at all! “The songs being there” has nothing to do with the quality of an album. You need things that are not merely “songs”. Even if they are “there”, you still need those things. Well, you know? Things! Like Soylent. Like a Jack Kerouac scrapbook. I don’t know. Otherwise you will end up like Picasso. You don’t want that, do you? He was just this goofy Spanish horny dude. But the paintings were there. And that’s not good enough.

What follows in the next three paragraphs is Larry putting Interpol’s music in boxes with labels such as “pesky”, “ill-fitting”, “stale”, “slavishly unoriginal” and we also learn about an “empty-headed” band called Duran Duran and how wrong it was of Carlos Dengler to wear one of their T-shirts during rehearsals. After describing their eponymous effort as the worst album in the band’s career, and therefore completing clearing our heads on what is about to come, it looks like the proper time for us to approach El Pintor.

There’s considerable energy in these songs, with just enough melodic smarts for El Pintor to rank as the fourth-best Interpol album—a dubious achievement, sure, but the failure of Interpol makes even that surprising.

All good, except this infinitesimal glitch called “Failure”. Never mind!

Next stop, Larry is about to draw analogies that will once again “prove” that most songs on El Pinto are desperately trying to be dead ringers to other songs in their past. For instance, he thinks the opening song “All the Rage Back Home” resembles Antics' opener “Next Exit”. I spent some time listening to both. In the same trend of our aforementioned “failure”, I failed to find a single connection between the two except for them being played by the same band! After some other connections, Larry seems to grow weary of his own burden of proof fallacies and resorts to calling “Anywhere” the album highlight. It is not! As relentless as he has become, even this highlight is trying to sound like “Obstacle 1” from Bright Lights. And once again, it is not! How this sophisticated music-loving genius is connecting these dots together, I stand in awe. This sacred journalism is just too prophetic for my blurry vision. But shall we go on?

The sole surprising moment arrives two-thirds of the way into “Ancient Ways”, when Banks breaks into a brief falsetto that shatters even Randy Jackson’s definition of “pitchy”; it’s quite possibly the most embarrassing thing Banks has ever done on record.

You know there is this rumour that Jeff Buckley was never drowned in Wolf River Harbor, right? He committed suicide because of his embarrassing pitchy falsetto.

A few hints at Banks’ middle-school-poetry and his state of being a punching bag lyrically before Larry pulls the curtains together with “it’s a miracle that Interpol still exist in this capacity at all.” Phew!

A few more of these Larry reviews and we will hopefully get rid of this "mode of creative expression consisting of sound and silence expressed through time" for good and get on with our lives so free of Interpols and Arcade Fires and Kasabians.

For the record, this is not a review my prolific journalist friend! This is a hate mail. What you are doing is a million miles away from criticism. You are lacking the “constructive” aspect of your day job and they are paying you for this. You are mistaking your publishing platform for a battlefield in which your sole purpose is to strive to discourage passionate fans from liking their favorite band’s new album. Your well-motivated argument is bereft of logical thinking, filled with hazy generalizations and poignant for the wrong reasons.

What we tend to forget is that we are not here to abhor music or musicians. On the contrary, we are here for the pleasure. Sometimes it’s bright, playful and optimistic like tUnE-yArDs and Jack Johnson and sometimes it’s dark, nihilistic and challenging like Colin Stetson and Interpol. Let us put an end to this bitter ridiculous idea that because a band is getting distant from its heyday, they should quit being a band! I don’t listen to Nine Inch Nails anymore. Only occasionally. The last two NIN albums was not as good as others in my humble opinion. But a solution to that is not Trent Reznor retiring music. Asking people to quit what they love to do contributes to nothing but making the world a hopeless cold place. Profane and superficial as I can get, if I am putting my effort into something that does not cause others any harm, what is the point of stopping me from doing so? So yes! Interpol should keep on making music the way Woody Allen should make more films and the way you should write more reviews. But don’t you dare tell me to stop listening to Interpol because you hate them.

Keep on writing every one! But if you happen to make claims, make sure you at least cement them with justifications. If it does not work, go out and have coffee with a friend and then come back behind your laptop. Write your reviews! Rate the things you find unfavorable low. Tell us you are disappointed with this album. Tell us it was not as good as others. But do not murder hope in our lives. Hate is the most unnecessary element in your daily chores. It’s not that Jet album that gets a 0.0! It’s you spreading hate. Don’t do that!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

We’re glad with our nocturnal film habits. They sometimes nurture our brains with what is to come during the rapid eye movement hours. Last night, we sailed our bedship into a Dostoyevsky ocean of duality pushed forward to the architecture of Eastern Bloc buildings in the ’40s and, for the sake of an hour and a half, tried to sympathise with a man too invisible to himself to tolerate the burden of a mysterious doppelgänger and an unrequited love. Richard Ayoade’s The Double made us completely change our skepticism towards Jesse Eisenberg who portrayed possibly the strongest role of his career.

And not only that, the movie also reminded us of “Ue o Muite Arukō” aka “Sakamoto” aka the only Japanese song to have topped the Billboard charts. We’re talking 1963 Billboard. No Chris Browns!

Kyu Sakamoto died during the Japan Airlines Flight 123 disaster at the age of 43. The lyrics - written by Rokusuke Ei - root to the failure of a protest, quite like the anti-hero in Ayoade’s cold dystopia. And we’re not even done with movies about dead ringers. Already queued for tonight is Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy.


The song was "Ue o Muite Arukō (上を向いて歩こう I Look Up As I Walk)"
performed by Kyu Sakamoto
from Memorial Best / The Double OST
Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Only 45 seconds into this computer tape music from Paul Lansky recorded in 1973 is when it hits us at the right spot. Before we know where “Who’s in bunker, who’s in bunker? Women and children first. Women and children first…” comes from, it helps to know these idiosyncratic frequencies are straight from an IBM 360/91 mainframe and it is written using Barry Vercoe’s Music360 computer language. And yes, we all heard it on Radiohead’s “Idioteque”. But bringing you an original sample should not be synonymous to any preference. Kid A is still what Kid A is. The same album no one has ever dared to put as #2. The uncriticizable omnipotent that changed the way we all listen to music. It is a bold statement to claim if one disapproves of what these guys from Oxfordshire did at the turn of the century, then that person is actually disapproving of music and is better off, well, listening to whatever he was listening to. But it’s true!

I have memories from both sides of this 27-year-old spectrum (from when Lansky conceived it to solitary disco of “Idioteque”). On Radiohead’s side, the first time I rotated Kid A, it was only when Thom Yorke started singing on the third song “National Anthem” that I figured this is actually the new Radiohead album! I literally thought they have sold the wrong CD to me. On Lansky’s side - as he has humbly penned it on The Music and Art of Radiohead I have a weird first encounter with punch cards. Lansky’s briefs: 

This IBM mainframe was, as far as I know, the only computer on the Princeton University campus at the time. It had about one megabyte of memory, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (in addition to requiring a staff to run it around the clock). At that point we were actually using punch cards to communicate with the machine, and writing the output to a 1600 BPI digital tape which we then had to carry over to a lab in the basement of the engineering quadrangle in order to listen to it.

I remember I was in complete denial of what punch cards were when I first found packs of them in my uncle’s drawer. So I used them as scrapbooks. They had holes in them, but they looked too random to convey anything to a teenager. And then I became a software engineer! And I never figured if even my uncle knew that using those weird yellow rectangular papers we can make Donkey Kong. Or later on we could have made Mortal Combat III. 


The song was "Mild und Leise [Snippet]"
performed by Paul Lansky
from (Paul Lansky's Computer Tape Music 1973)
Monday, 22 September 2014

We don’t know how people lived in the medieval times. But sitting behind a 27” iMac and typing on the screen so that we could reach you through the most peculiar tunnels makes us feel that the deurbanisation, immigration for the fear and the most unnecessary depopulation of societies were probably not as quite cosy compared to the comfort of this QPad pro gaming gear keyboard that broadcasts music to you. And there is no sign of violence around here. Every for years people put a piece of paper in boxes and they go home. And there’s milk. There is a lot of milk. So in that sense of the word, we are radical futurists. We believe nothing was quite as good before. Nothing, well, with the exception of music.

In fact, we (and we are including you in this royalty) have become too spoiled and subsumed in Minecraft canyons and our FTL: Faster Than Light vessels have become too sophisticatedly brilliant that we have created our own post-modern and post-modern-aftermath longings. And anything that revibrates what made us dance some 30 years back has become a sweet source of modern joy. Anything from the early years of Depeche Mode to Mark Hollis’ sensational moanings on Talk Talk and other beautiful distractions of the darkwave cassette age.

Speaking of which, we were enjoying Empire State Human’s latest album The Dark released via Werkstatt Recordings (@werkstattrecordings) when we got hyperlinked to somewhere where someone told us that Glass Dancer, a side project from ESH’s Adrian is about to surface. We gave 5 of the songs a try and that’s all we ever get from it so far. We got hooked by the synthed cyberpunk of “Escape Is Not An Option”. In the same vain as Ghost FM’s soundtrack to non-existent 80s cult classics, this serves as a great addition and we are waiting for the release. So s/o to Glass Dancer if he is hearing us out, we are as huge Philip K. Dick fans as you probably are. This will be the Dubliner’s debut. It’s called Humanoid.


The song was "Escape Is Not An Option"
performed by Glass Dancer
from Humanoid