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NSB 3x3 // January

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2014 is already killing it. I love a lot of music that’s largely lacking vocals. Apologies to louder bands like Against Me! and The Lawrence Arms, who both returned with some nice albums (especially the former). Those were great and all, but they’ve been overridden in this little corner of the internet by an ambiance-busting banger, world-encompassing atmospherics, and some of the coldest, slickest grooves to slither off the space superhighway. I can just let these albums happen to me, let them lead me on a journey through other astral plains of existence, man.

And yes, this monthly feature will usually go up earlier. 

Albums

Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

We’d been looking forward to this one every since it was announced. Sam Ray takes another hand at his Ricky Eat Acid moniker, creating a pretty album of nuanced ambiance. There is this one song, though - “In my dreams we’re almost touching.” It’s as enthralling as any song you’ll have heard on a 2014 album, a masterful concoction that will never leave your brain. Three Love Songs is precise, tasteful, and transportive.

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"Chorus" - Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon received a fair amount of acclaim for 2012’s Movement, a fascinating album that helped vault her to a much wider audience (including us!). It was abstract and somewhat askew. Full of disarming, subversive compositions that were as much food for thought as they were for ears, it was somehow physical, visceral, and viscously tangible.

This continues, somewhat evolved, on new single “Chorus.” It feels like a wormhole or fluid space in a fifth or sixth dimension, bringing to mind comparisons to Oneohtrix Point Never’s R Plus Seven even before seeing that Pitchfork did just that

Herndon “sampled her daily browsing experience, channeling YouTube, Skype and other audio sources across the web for data that freely forms atop a bumping beat.” (via RVNG). Again, Herndon fascinates with her playing with form.

The video for “Chorus” (a title one could write a mini think piece on) plays around with the subject just as “Movement" did. YouTube, Skype, communication. Our computers, the cluttered desks they stand on, the things we see when we communicate with each other in these ways. It’s arresting as it cycles through these still lifes, even if the meaning each of us derives is different. 

The video was directed by Akihoko Taniguchi, and the single is available as a 12” and mp3 from RVNG. The 12” is backed with “Solo Voice,” which was tracked in a single take. 

- Tyler Hanan

"Fade" - Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon is buzzing right now, for good reason. The highly experimental electronic music bends sounds in blissfully unnerving ways. There is an edginess here; a heavenly eeriness; a subliminal perversion; a dark, shifting shroud. There are so very many different interpretations that can and will be derived from these sounds, a plethora of complex emotions to be shaped by the movements. I wish I had more time to listen to the album stream on NPR right now - alas, this is my only window in the next 36 hours to do nothing but listen and form contradicting nonsensical descriptions of what I hear. I only hope the rest of the album is as intricate, as rebellious, and as intriguing as this.

As is reported in every piece on her, Herndon graduated with a degree in electronic composition who DJed in Berlin for several years. Her debut album, Movement, is streaming now on NPR [link] and will be released November 13th via RVNG Intl. [link], which always seems to have a wonderfully bizarre release on the horizon.

- Tyler Hanan

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