by James Calvet
Much like you and your family Radio 1190 will be celebrating Thanksgiving! Tune in on Thursday Nov 26th for our "Plymouth Rock Playlist". We will be going back to where it all began by playing an awesome selection of electric blues and early rock music. Then on Friday Nov 27 we will be playing "Live In-Studio Leftovers" where we will be playing past in-studio sessions from Brothertiger, TOPS, Death Valley Girls and more straight from the Radio 1190 Vault. Tune in!
After doing production for Kanye West and FKA Twigs Venezuelan producer Arca gained recognition for his critically acclaimed debut Xen. Come 2015 after doing production on Bjork's newest record and a few incredibly mesmerizing singles, Arca had a lot to live up to on his newest record Mutant.
In his distinct style of cacophonous waves of noise, Arca finds beauty in the grotesque. The title track on Mutant is a 7-minute formless noise piece that focuses on walls of sound that build and collapse quickly with only a few seconds in between to save the listener from the madness. The track then finds melodic synthesizer leads underneath that eventually bubble up to the top sounding akin to a post-apocalyptic electro hook.
Unlike his first album, Mutant foregoes the energizing stop-and-start compositional style for a more fluid, cascading sound. Though this record is not for everyone, the textures and production of Mutant make it just as good as it's predecessor. For the listener that is looking for something that has the same maximalist qualities of Kanye West and FKA Twigs but totally off the deep end, Arca's Mutant may just be the 2015 album they've been searching for.
Los Angeles based avant-garde music producer James Ferraro made a name for himself by making ironic and plastic electronic music that would later be cited as the starting point for the micro-genre known as vaporwave. He then progressed into a more vocally and conceptually driven style of avant-garde R&B and hip-hop that is simultaneously off-putting and soothing. Following up his 2013 release NYC Hell 3am, which was an observation of the city it's named for, Ferraro takes his focus across the country for his Los Angeles themed 2015 record Skid Row.
Much like NYC Hell 3am, Skid Row opens with text-to-speech samples that bluntly name off characteristics of the city such as "Home Security", "Gated Housing", "Desert", "Gardner" and "Burning Prius on the Highway". The album is a hazy, opaque look at crime and capitalism in a stark portrait of Los Angeles. Unlike his previous efforts, Ferraro focuses on hooks and melody to make it more enjoyable for wider audiences. Though most of the compositions are incredibly esoteric and synthetic, a lot of the instrumental, more ambient-based tracks are incredibly pretty. Ferraro's vocals are low and whispery throughout the whole album. Though he may not be the most skilled singer, his ability to be unnerving is greater than or comparable to the text-to-speech that opens the record.
Undoubtedly, for the casual electronic music listener, this will be an incredibly polarizing record. But for those that are willing to look deeper into the imagery and concept that Ferraro is presenting will be greatly rewarded. Tim Presley from White Fence is a busy man. Not only has he recently been releasing music with Cate La Bon as DRINKS but also he now has a new experimental beat project under the moniker W-X.
Unexpectedly, the self-titled album's first official track "The Lurk" sounds like a 90's trip-hop track akin to DJ Shadow but a tad bit more psychedelic. From there, the album is much more varied and touches down upon weirdo psych rock closer to White Fence's original sound and even lo-fi pop gems that sound close to Ariel Pink. Halfway through, it sounds more so like a mixtape or a collection of B-sides than an official album.
What we find through the record's diverse 19 tracks is that Tim Presley is an incredibly talented, multi-faceted singer-songwriter with great sensibilities on strange pop music. If anything, the extremely entertaining self-titled album from W-X is a great way to hold you over until the next White Fence Record.