fit for the summer (4)

as the summer knocks once again at the door – in an elusive manner however – and the lily sparkles with new flowering pitch-black bulbs, time has come to pick up the pen again and train a brand new series of movements concurrently. just for the pleasure of regenerating the leaping machinery of our hips. but you should make no mistake about it, for, today, you will be taught astute and very accomplished movements. your teacher is a professional hoofer that participates in street and club dance culture, and also contemporary dance and performance, no less.

the dancer and choregrapher is Amy O’Neal, a physically multi-lingual movement artist.
the video was made by Rick Farin, a director whose website should be visited urgently if you care for space-related contents.
the music is Dancers, a dreamy wrap-around tune taken from Plaid’s latest album, Polymer, released on Warp at the beginning of the month.

speaking of pollutants, the band specifies that the visual, made using motion capture and in a games engine, is inspired by the ‘strength, endurance, and troubling persistence’ of plastics.

needless to say that you do not have to collect as many as plastic containers, bottles or whatever piece of synthetic polyethylene compound to execute a convincing ballet. just let the movements flow and evolve in an aloft manner, making sure to land on your feet again. note that the pond shall not be responsible for any accidents that may arise while practising. would you decide instead to use the plastic parts you collected on the beach, you may somehow relieve the oceans of a suffocating burden. well done, this is a non-zero-sum game.

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Black Midi’s bmbmbm

surprisingly, some fresh air aroused today from london city, offering a pounding noisy flavour to the brexit’s current bustle. conveyed by a young 4-head band named Black Midi, one of new British music’s hottest properties according to NME, this may be the opportunity to raise the tone of the debate. Black Midi evidently made quite an impression at 2018’s Great Escape Festival in Brighton, one of the best scouting festivals for batrachians who are hungry for fresh musical blood. bmbmbm demonstrates a certain level of rage and explosive temper. an obsessive guitar line sets the tone, supported by drums that quickly distort the linearity of the rising melody. the musical bed is dessicated, a voice appears, spoken words backed up by a woman’s screams taken probably from a film sequence. passions flare quite quickly and evolve in a noisy tornado of tempers, where the four gentlemen lose their nerves with a certain elegance.

no one seems to know yet much about Black Midi, with the exception maybe of the lads’ names, i.e. Greep, Picton, Kelvin and Simpson, that’s already something. the band starts precisely today a short British tour, among which six gigs are already sold out, so we assume we should hear very soon again from them. no dates outside the UK are announced yet but luckily enough, KEXP offers us a full session of the band’s performance, recorded in late november at Kex Hostel in Reykjavik during Iceland Airwaves 2018. this might be needless to say that your speakers should be at the maximum, of course.

Mogwai’s KIN soundtrack

the tireless and amazing Mogwai announce today the forthcoming release of KIN: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which is due for release on 31st august via their Rock Action Records label. the band invites us to discover already two very appealing new songs, on one hand, the very shoe-gazing We’re Not Done, a new contagious, and cheerful, singalong melody,

and also the dreamlike, but very intense, Donuts that sees Mogwai carrying on their beguiling journey to the outer space.

the original score was made for Jonathan and Josh Baker‘s debut film, which release is also expected on 31st august. available on CD, digital and heavyweight black vinyl, this new soundtrack is available to pre order now at mogwai.co.uk.

Sällskapet’s Disparition

last evening we were rummaging about in one of our record shops, when the recommendation section appealed to us through an alluring cover. a black and white beauty showing punctilious geometrical sketches of buildings, strongly inspired by the darkest hours of humanity. a sticker displayed on the plastic packaging revealing the participation of german artist Andrea Schroeder convinced us that the discovery of Sällskapet would be the most remarkable finding of the day. and, as a matter of fact, it was.

founded in 2003 but kept secret until 2007, the brainchild of Joakim Thåström, Pelle Ossler and Niklas Hellberg, seem to have received almost an immediate critical acclaim, at least in their homeland, in sweden. Sällskapet (which may be translated by “a small group of people” or a “small society”) released the very same year a debut single Nordlicht, named after a bar in hamburg, and two ambient-industrial albums respectively entitled Sällskapet (2007) and Nowy Port (2013). it must be said that both of them evinced already a strong appetite for highly-enjoyable dystopian flavours and murky shadows. with 2018’s Disparition published a few days ago via BMG, the band that no longer consists of Thåström who appears however as guest singer, further widens the furrow of desperation and propounds a disquieting suburban wander in an oppressive, uninviting wasteland – served also by Andrea Schroeder’s eerie voice. Hellberg resides currently in berlin and this explains logically the relevant presence of Schroeder on this third album, and the singular hopelessness instilled through the nine meaningful pieces offered by Disparition.

the heart-rending (german) lyrics of this breathtaking songwriter and musician, whose discovery a few years ago had hooked us on for months, pair superbly with Sällskapet’s haunted airspace. together, they collide with the disruptive disappearance of both people and time, the fugacity of our lives that fly away like impatient birds, and the needfulness to enjoy each moment, as they arise.
all this might sound quite distressing and tragic, but the warmth of Andrea Schroeder’s undaunted voice suggests to withstand, even if time remains elusive eventually. in Die Zeit vergeht (time is flying by), the piano and violin notes, and Schroeder’s mellow lalalas magnified by Thåström’s upper voice,  make every effort to soothe the palpable tension but are quickly rejoin by sultry and threatening humming. the end of the song sets clearly the tone anyway, since “es ist zu spät” (it’s too late). an obvious magnificence emanates from this inescapable despair through Ossler’s roaring guitar, which howl acts as a cry wolf in a puzzling winsomeness.

Westerplatte and Tiefenrausch, the both unspoken songs, confirms the inevitability of the verdict in a very beguiling spectral way. this might be the very end, but this is a very beautiful one. with Walzer, Schroeder breathes nerve, shows that all this is bearable, provided that you/she hold tight to someone – “an Dich” (to you), this very you that may be a lover, a friend, a compass, a lifeline, indeed something, someone of upper importance. in Wandler, Andrea Schroeder tells about her stroll in ghostly streets. she dreams about life, about death, she states that this is only a dream, yet it conveys a bitter aftertaste that this is an inescapable loophole.

in the end, it makes no difference whether you understand Goethe’s language or not, because Sällskapet’s music and surroundings, together with Shroeder’s cogent interpretation, speak for themselves and deliver the message intended quite plainly. unquestionably, Disparition is the ideal spacey companion till doomsday and has already entered the competition for the best album of the year. because never before had the quietus been so inviting.
Disparition can be purchased here.

Loscil’s Boreal

in 2016, Monument Builders, Loscil‘s 11th album to date, had shaken the pond with a boundless, high-spiritual beauty. Scott Morgan, who acts behind the moniker of Loscil and was also the drummer of the amazing indie band Destroyer, has been writing experimental, ambient music from his homeland in vacouver, canada, since 1998. unsurprisingly, his contemplative music is housed at Kranky, one of best labels, if not the greatest, dedicated to this very kind of music that scorns confined boundaries and wanders towards puzzling, yet appealing, unlimited landscapes.

Loscil has just released a graceful composition entitled Boreal. this beautiful piece of reverie and escapement was created using samples from Glenn Gould’s former Steinway Piano – CD318, which is currently housed at the National Arts Centre in ottawa. Boreal is an excerpt from a set created for Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Glenn Gould gathering held in tokyo in december of 2017 and we sincerely hope it may spark off a new captivating album.

Pale Grey

bosom friends of melancholy, heady bum-swinging melodies and musical experiments, they will for sure greatly rejoice to discover Pale Grey‘s music. the pond got hooked today by the band’s most recent song entitled Late Night featuring the terrific voice (and phrasing) of Serengeti, one of the pond’s favourite rappers.

the four-headed belgian band published last year a very elegant EP entitled Ghost via Jaune Orange and has just released Waves, a very inspired second album on which indie pop, electronica and groove pair admirably with hip hop, but also abstract notes and evident spleen. the band’s new album is a logical follow-up of their 2013’s Best Friends that contained already very valuable and peerless melodies. Pale Grey’s post-rock stimulus has been evidently eclipsed by more incisive shining indie tunes and thoughtful compositions.

Waves is a sparkling wonder, the perfect nonesuch to wait for the spring. you can listen to it entirely and purchase it here.

Jóhann Jóhannsson 1969-2018 — a closer listen, a tribute by Richard Allen

to commemorate Jóhann Jóhannsson’s early death, we invite you to read Richard Allen’s tribute on A Closer Listen. as you may know, the pond and A Closer Listen share more or less the same taste for music, especially when it goes to ambient and post rock music. and especially when Richard Allen takes up his pen to sublime the music we also enjoy.

One of our favorite composers, Jóhann Jóhannsson, passed away on Friday in Berlin at the age of 48, and we already miss him. In addition to producing some of the finest music of our time, he was also a wonderful conductor and humble performer. His notes speak directly to the heart, which is why our hearts []

the pond was devastated as we heard about the death that the wonderful, unique, magnificent Jóhann Jóhannsson. we had the great chance to meet him personally in 2004 in Reykjavik after the release of his very first, already brilliant, album, Engläborn, which had kept us company on our road tour in iceland.

the loss of this incomparable composer is pretty disheartening, but his music will keep our soul and body together, possibly until the end of time.

Mogwai’s eternal panther

while listening to a few albums on Temporary Residence’s bandcamp (that generously offer a free streaming of their almost entire roaster), we discovered the single of Party in the Dark released by Mogwai last summer prior to the release of Every Country’s Sun, which we didn’t know nor had heard of.

this single contains one of the most singalong melodies written by the band and is accompanied by Eternal Panther, a very interesting B-Side that doesn’t appear on Mogwai’s 9th album. for the first time, Stuart Braithwaite (guitarist/vocalist) sings well-hearty, uncovered, unfiltered, without special effect but his only voice. interpreted with an apodictic determination, the message provided by this seldom-heard voice is intensified by distorted, hasty guitars, heady keyboard notes and very frantic drums. 2 minutes and 43 seconds of eruptive la-la-la-rock, with a striking New Order touch.

APTBS announce Pinned


oh joy, A Place To Bury Strangers released today a new song on their bandcamp page entitled Never Coming Back that announced Pinned, a new album coming out april 13rd via Dead Oceans. any enlightened ears will for sure notice the female voice contributing to Ackerman’s usual chocked (mesmerizing) phrasing – a voice that belongs to Lia Simone Braswell, APTBS’s new drummer.

 
explaining Braswell’s arrival in the band, Ackerman pointed it out (that)

“being a band for ten years, it’s hard to keep things moving forward. i see so many bands that have been around and they’re a weaker version of what they used to be. this band is anti-that. we try to push ourselves constantly, with the live shows and the recordings. we always want to get better. you’ve got to dig deep and take chances, and sometimes, i questioned that. it took really breaking through to make it work. i think we did that.”

Pinned‘s both LP and CD bundles can already be pre-ordered here and here. the tracklist so far is the following:

1. Never Coming Back
2. Execution
3. There’s Only One Of Us
4. Situations Changes
5. Too Tough To Kill
6. Frustrated Operator
7. Look Me In The Eye
8. Was It Electric
9. I Know I’ve Done Bad Things
10. Act Your Age
11. Attitude
12. Keep Moving On

as usual, the band will tour extensively in the USA and in Europe, with as essential stop at the pond on May 7th. all the tour dates are available on Dead Oceans website.

and, last but not least, Never Coming Back exists also under the form of a video directed by Oliver Ackermann himself and Ebru Yildiz.

No Age’s Send Me

No Age’s Randy Randall and Dean Allen Spunt unveiled Snares Like a Haircut, a new album released a few days ago on Drag City.

taken from this new upper-class noise-rock record, Send Me shows that No Age’s witty eloquence is still in great shape. the video was directed by Jonn Herschend and the connoisseurs will recognize both Spunt and Randall in the leading roles.

at the end of february, the band will start an extensive tour in both the USA and Europe, so be prepared to welcome them in the pond on march 22nd. Snares Like a Haircut can be purchased here, here and here.