Exclusive: DoublePlusGood “You Can Remaster Life” Remix EP

16 Oct 2014 — Henry Schiller

DoublePlusGood are a pop group from Portland, Oregon, and last month they released their first album in three years, You Can Master Life, on SoHiTek Records. Now, the group has collected some of their best Portland music pals to remix four tracks from the album for an EP titled – perhaps cleverly, certainly playfully, and maybe even a little bit obviously – You Can Remaster Life. You can listen to the exclusive stream of the EP after the jump.

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Recap: Decibel 2014

15 Oct 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

While studying Sadie Plant's brilliant Zeroes + Ones, I came across her interpretation of how net programming and social media are rearranging our uses for hierarchical structures. Plant establishes that hypertext is a non-linear, weaved form of footnoting. By surfing the net and following hyperlinks, one does not abandon a main text but instead is presented a macrocosmic idea and its backing details in a more spiraling way. Such easy-access cross-referencing has begun to lessen our thinking rectangularly, limited to the edges of the page.

Hypertext programs and the Net are webs of footnotes without central points, organizing principles, hierarchies.... Such complex patterns of cross-referencing have become increasingly possible, and also crucial to dealing with the floods of data which have burst the banks of traditional modes of arranging and retrieving information and are now leaking through the covers of articles and books, seeping past the boundaries of the old disciplines, overflowing all the classifications and orders of libraries, schools, and universities (Plant 10).

If hypertext is another form of narrational text and editing protocol, it is safe to say that telling the same story through a different lens, or sending the same information through a different grid, is indeed informative as well as expansive. Undoing the straight and narrow, single-strand perception as the standard doesn't only benefit our experiences as perceptual beings; it also speaks to the circularity and mysticism radiating off of the internet, which is being absorbed by this eager stage of cultural history.

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Unsound Preview: Janus / Kablam

15 Oct 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Krakow's Unsound Festival started on Sunday and so far it's been a Golden October dream, perhaps despite that true nightmare that was the early afternoon showing of Andrzej Żuławski's 1981 relationship drama-cum-horror movie "Possession" that I'm still trying to wrap my mind around. "The Dream" is also this year's festival theme – described by the curators as "a symptom of a world where self-expression and experience are increasingly mediated and commodified. It plays out on laptops used for work and leisure, in networked coffee shops, airports, international 'artistic enclaves' and nightclubs. Anxiety is its underside: those Living The Dream often do so in precarious financial situations, while in the background, ecological, political and economic systems lurch towards collapse; war looms on the horizon, threatening to escalate."

In more than one sense of the word, in the past few years Berlin has become The Dream for more and more musicians from all over the world, who mostly seem to come to the city in the search of exactly that: a place that is somewhat detached from the troubles of globalised late capitalism, where artistic expression is still possible due to a still comparably reasonable cost of living, and an overall attitude just liberal enough to not become an obstacle. Whether Berlin really is or has even ever been that dream place is one question, the other more pressing is in which way the expat community itself has started a process that's fundamentally changing the dynamic of the city's social geography. Soon, it'll be time to reflect on the sustainability of the dream. Artists have already started leaving Berlin again, moving to Leipzig or further east, with Krakow among a growing list of cities that now embody the illusion of a culturally rich location that willingly provides the means to devote yourself entirely to creative activity, without being forced to compromise. Which begs the creeping question – has it ever been about Berlin at all? "How do ideas of locality – or the lack of them – affect culture?," asks the panel "Place/Displace/Non-Place" at Naodowy Stary Teatr on Friday at 3.45, featuring some writers who should have to say something about that as expats in various European locations themselves.

However for the time being, legitimately focusing on the upsides of Berlin's evolvement into a truly global creative hub, the Musicboard-funded Berlin Current poject by CTM Festival has started to showcase some of the exciting aspects of the expat scene along the Spree. Over the past two years the Janus night has certainly become the epitome of New Berlin. Still, considering the aforementioned, it isn't entirely clear whether the scene around Janus is even a Berlin thing – or merely something that was started here by accident. After its first Berghain night last Friday the Janus crew is coming to Unsound Festival this week. In anticipation of the event and in order to explore some of the topics just mentioned, we spoke to resident DJ Kajsa Blom aka KABLAM via email. Read the interview after the break.

CTM's Berlin Current showcase featuring the Janus crew is part of Unsound Festival's night "The Ticket That Exploded Part 1", happening at Hotel Forum on Friday, October 17. More information on the event is available over here.

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Interview: Peter Sagar (HOMESHAKE)

14 Oct 2014 — Henry Schiller

Cold weather, warm showers, slick grooves, capital letters: HOMESHAKE (the pseudonym of Montreal-based Peter Sagar) has one of the most full-bodied aesthetics of any act I’ve had the pleasure of covering. The former Mac DeMarco guitarist's debut album, In the Shower, came out last week on Sinderlyn / Bad Actors. I chatted briefly with Sagar over email about his album, his friends, and his influences: both musical and meteorological.


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Halasan Bazar and Tara King th. “Rot Inside”

13 Oct 2014 — Henry Schiller

“Rot Inside” sounds like it’d be the music that plays during Serge Gainsbourgh and Jane Birkin’s daytrip to hell. It’s the soundtrack to a Halloween party where everyone comes dressed like John Wayne and is of the opinion that Pink Floyd could never recapture the magic of Piper at the Gates of Dawn. “Rot Inside” is evocative of a damp New England backyard on a crisp autumn morning; it is evocative of a rodeo clown come back from the dead, and gunning for the cowboys that tortured him. It is French New Wave meets the American Old West.

Whatever sense it sparks for a particular listener, there is no denying that “Rot Inside”, the product of an unlikely collaboration between the groups Tara King th. and Halasan Bazaar, must reside in the polarized space between different, even contradictory musical forms.

Every moment of psychedelic revivalism is bookmarked by woodland-oriented Scandinavian guff. Every burst of western guitar has lilting around it the sneaking suspicion that Belle and Sebastian has been listened to, absorbed even, by the people playing this song.

Halasan Bazar and Tara King th.'s debut collaborative LP, 8, is out October 13 on Moon Glyph; expect further coverage.


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Watch: Half Waif “Ceremonial”

08 Oct 2014 — Henry Schiller

Half Waif's “Ceremonial” was one of my favorite tracks of the summer, so I’m very pleased to be able to share director Grace Gardner's rather autumnal video. Gardner brings Half Waif’s carefully crafted ode to the dark magic of monotony in a video that is perfectly evocative of the song’s themes and tone. It is filmed in a grimy, hand held-style-- almost Dogville-esque-- and degenerates into instagram filtered, slime-gulping voyeurism. The gonzo approach is offset by the synchronized movements of the dances behind Half Waif's Nandi Rose Plunkett, who sing-lurks at the bottom of the screen. The ceaseless repetitions of daily life are a choreography of sorts: one best captured on handheld devices and filtered into a demonic oblivion. The struggle between the humdrum of the everyday and the vile otherness of breaking even the most banal of habits is on full display in both Rose Plunkett's song and Gardner's exceptional accompanying video.

Give this a watch and check out Half Waif’s debut album KOTEKAN here.


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Win Tickets for the CTM Prelude with Suzanne Ciani at Volksbühne

08 Oct 2014 — Henning Lahmann

The 16th edition of Berlin's cherished CTM Festival will kick off on January 23, 2015 under the theme Un Tune, but already on October 24 you can have quite a significant foretaste of thing to come when American synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani plays Volksbühne to improvise on the legendary Buchla synthesizer for a collaboration with Neotantrik aka Andy Votel and Demdike Stare's Sean Canty. Having released some of Ciani's early work on their acclaimed imprint Finders Keepers in 2012, the two already built an intimate artistic relationship with the composer before launching the current project together. The video below shows the trio at a performance at Lincoln Center in New York City in April. The evening will be completed by another stunning joining of forces, Mark Fell coming together with Keith Fullerton Whitman to coalesce their approaches to electronic music radicalism.

We're giving away 1x2 tickets for this highly recommended show. Just send an email with the subject "Suzanne Ciani" to submissions@nofearofpop.net before October 20, 12pm CET.

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Clark “Unfurla”

07 Oct 2014 — Dave Power

I was first introduced to Clark in 2006 when I checked out Body Riddle from my local library. I was drawn to the cover and thought it was worth a shot. I’ve been into electronic music for a long time now and can sometimes guess by an album cover when an album consists of some variation of electronic music: intense new IDM, mesmerizing new minimal/ambient, or ecstasy-inducing EDM. In this case I was right, having found myself in the temporary possession of an amazing new IDM album. Sort of. IDM stands for “intelligent dance music” and the term has no real meaning anymore, if it ever did. In interviews Clark has said that the term doesn’t make much sense to him and has always thought of his music as techno. I listened to Body Riddle obsessively in 2006 and have since procured every one of his releases. About three weeks ago he released “Unfurla” and will be releasing his eighth full-length, self-titled Clark, on November 3rd.

“Unfurla” is thrust off of the starting line with an aggressive pulsing kick pattern and a frantic synth line. The throbbing beat and unapologetically persistent melody gives way to heavily reverbed piano for a matter of seconds only to spiral back into the same groove, most likely having drawn at least a small amount of influence from Aphex Twin (but what modern electronic musician hasn’t?) Near the middle of the track a deep reverberating synth bass echoes like a choir of Hans Zimmer-style french horns, trombones and tubas, gradually decaying after every burst. “Unfurla” is a relentless dance track, built and composed for the most exclusive of sweaty clubs. If it's any indication of what the new album will sound like, it will be the most dancehall/“techno” of all of his releases, possibly my personal favorite. On the Soundcloud page for the track Clark writes, “Music is like sculpture. It’s like trying to capture a moment of ultimate momentum, and distill it forever.”

Clark will be released on Warp Records on November 3.

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