Watching a singular man or woman perform behind a stack of electronic equipment can sometimes really fail to really pull the heartstrings; it's easy for a showgoer to disconnect when there's a lack of connection between musical output and the actions a performer is making onstage. To combat this, electronic musicians have, in recent times, turned to innovation in the multimedia sphere to add an extra bit of oomph to their live sets. On Flying Lotus' latest tour for Until The Quiet Comes, he worked with long-time friends and animators to create Layer 3, a one-of-a-kind audio-visual experience that takes showgoers through three-dimensional worlds of tunnels, silly cartoons, metaphysical imagery, and biological forms. But more on that later, for his set with Thundercat had much more to offer than just a visual experience; it possessed a massive amount of novelty all-around.
May 24th, 2013 @ Roseland Theatre - Portland, Oregon
"I think as we get older, that idea of magic is just taken from us. There's just less of it and less of it... I really try to just kind of dabble in things that feel magical." -- Steve Ellison of Flying Lotus

 

Michael Noer is a gritty realist, concerned with the unstoppable inertia of the city. Crossing back and forth between documentary and fiction, Noer sees no line between the constructed plots of his films and the real-life social fissures in Danish society. His depictions of the malfunctioning systems that entrap youth into a life of crime and poverty are starkly grounded in reality, which makes the characters in his films all the more believable and tragic.

 

An abysmal effort in attempting to bring meaning to style, Computer Chess goes no further than a tedious exercise in stretching (bad) ideas until they tear. The film's major selling point is that it was filmed using ancient video cameras, documentary style, in order to capture the spirit of the wild frontier of technology in the late seventies. But spirit seems to be the farthest thing from the filmmakers' minds in this case; instead, C-grade characters with B-grade potential are burdened with a D-minus concept. And we're given the raw result.

 

SALTLAND I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us Constellation Records (2013) On her debut album, cellist, vocalist, and composer Rebecca Foon -- otherwise known as SALTLAND -- creates a cosmic wasteland of sound and feeling. Through freeform string parts, spiritually reminiscent vocals, raw, distorted backdrops, and tribal percussion, the desolate and beautiful world of I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us emerges, entrances, and encourages contemplation.

 

Black Moth Super Rainbow make music for maniacs; misfits that don't fit in anywhere but a Black Moth Super Rainbow show. The combination of lo-fi, surreal visuals with muscular funk rhythms and a battery of cosmic sci-fi synths transport listeners to a grainy interzone of abandoned playgrounds, rolling cemeteries, and haunted shopping malls. The music of Tobacco (vocals/vocoder), Seven Fields of Aphelion (synth), Iffernaut (drums), Ryan Graveface (guitar), and Pony Diver (bass) is both nostalgic, romantic & playful, while maintaining an air of menace and danger.
In an insert that came with the album Dandelion Gum, there was talk of "vocoders humming amongst the flowers and synths bubbling under the leaf-strewn ground while flutes whistle in the wind and beats bounce to the soft drizzle of a warm acid rain". This sure sounds like technopagan nature worship, but then you have track names like "I Think I'm Evil" and "Psychic Love Damage", and you're just not sure what to think anymore. In a recent interview with Paste Magazine, Tobacco (real name: Tom Fec) spoke of the apparent contradiction:
"This is not a hippie band. It was never meant to be. I've always felt like, whether you can hear it in my music or not — and I'm sure you couldn't — almost like a punk asshole. People thought I was this gentle weed-smoking kid tripping out in a field somewhere. I think I'm more of like a dickhead prankster."
He then went on to describe backlash he received for the Sun Lips video from irate fans because the video "wasn't psychedelic".
"[All those expectations on what I'm supposed to like] are part of what I call the Black Moth box. You create this thing that's outside of the box, right? And the second you do that, people build a box for it. And it becomes an even smaller box than any box you were trying to not be in. And I feel like that happened to Black Moth."

 

At the start of Our Children, a young couple frolicks about, madly in love, over-the-top saccharine, full of wordless smiles and child-like naivete. Soon, an elderly doctor, clearly a father-figure in the young man's life, appears. He warns the young man against a serious relationship with the young woman, citing the cultural difference of her being Belgian and him being a Moroccan immigrant as a prime reason. This disapproval offers the first signs of strain, hinting that the young man is somehow indebted to the older man, though the reasons are unclear.

 

Wolf Eyes No Answer: Lower Floors De Stijl (2013) In their rather prolific career, Wolf Eyes have developed a near-cult following in those who want something louder and more abrasive, yet don't have the energy for hardcore nor the patience for Merzbow records. They inhabit a very specific alcove in the world of independent music, but this alcove is very relevant, as it is both inaccessible and accessible at the same time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the band, Wolf Eyes create unique textures of layered noise consisting of synthesizers, guitars, vocals and other random madness, mixed through an array of effects and modules and placed over steady beats; they only follow loosely the format of conventional song. That being said, there is nothing new here, which in the case of Wolf Eyes is a very good thing. In a way, their latest album, No Answer: Lower Floors, is a return to form -- a term I despise yet is quite fitting in this case. Their more recent albums, such as Always Wrong and the Moods in Free Time series, flowed in the direction of the lack-of-boundaries noise; the tracks on No Answer, on the other hand, are more reminiscent of the band’s break-through albums, Burned Mind and Human Animal, which follow more standard song and album structures without losing the free-form noise.

 

ENGLISH TEXT & INTERVIEW BY VIVIAN HUA
In line with my persistent belief that an artist’s creative output is reflective of who he or she is as a human being, I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous to meet Seattle photographer Frank Correa, and it’s because of pre-conceived judgments. Correa’s images almost always feature well-dressed and attractive models that American Apparel would approve of, often placed in awkward poses that Vice in the early 2000s would definitely approve of. They could easily be considered “hipster” by any stereotypical or isolated viewing. With my only hints into his personality being our overly-friendly internet communications and his off-the-wall photographic work, my mind reeled through possible iterations of what Correa might be like. By most accounts, I gathered that he would be fairly friendly – but I must shamefully confess that I was torn on whether or not Correa would be genuine in his artistic pursuit – and considering his extremely definitive style, my sometimes docile self also wondered if he might be bigger-than-life and over-the-top, or pretentious and intimidating. As I wait outside of Correa’s apartment in Capitol Hill, which he shares with a member of Seattle electro-noise band Crypts, the feeling of nervousness persists. Correa arrives minutes after I do and greets me through the thin cloth of a purple shirt, its attached facemask pulled up past his nose. Mysterious. Inside, though, Correa quickly makes it obvious that he is hiding nothing; he raises the blinds immediately, to shine light upon the impressively sparse and tidy living room, which also serves as a creative workspace. Lining its walls is an analog modular synthesizer rig for his roommate, and for Correa, a desktop and giant TV screen doubling as a computer monitor. He immediately proves himself a thoughtful host. He offers me Perrier on the rocks almost as soon as I sit down… and as I easily and comfortably settle in, I note to myself that I am a douche. Previous checklist of reservations? Completely off-base and unwarranted. Correa’s animated, yes – and talkative, extremely – but intimidating or over-the-top? No. Genuine? Without a doubt.
SPANISH TRANSLATION BY TANYA E. ORELLANA
De acuerdo con mi constante creencia de que la producción creativa de un artista es reflejo de quien él ó ella es como ser humano, tengo que admitir que estaba un poquito nerviosa de conocer al fotógrafo de Seattle Frank Correa, en mayor parte debido a nociones preconcebidas. Las imágenes de Correa casi siempre muestran modelos atractivos y bien vestidos, del tipo al que American Apparel le gustarían, muchas veces puestos en poses fuera de lo común, de las que la revista Vice al principio de los 2000s definitivamente hubiera aprobado. Podrían ser considerados “hipster” por cualquier visión estereotípica o aislada. Siendo mis únicas pistas de su personalidad nuestras conversaciones súper amigables por internet y su extraordinario trabajo fotográfico, mi mente imaginaba las posibilidades de como podría ser Correa. Por lo que había escuchado, parecía que seria lo suficientemente amistoso – pero debo confesar de que no estaba segura si Correa seria genuino en su propuesta artística – y considerando su estilo extremadamente absoluto, mi lado dócil se preguntaba si él podría ser un tipo de personalidad exagerada y desmesurada, o pretencioso e intimidante. Mientras espero afuera del apartamento de Correa en Capitol Hill, el cual comparte con un miembro de Crypts, un conjunto de electro-noise de Seattle, mis nervios persisten. Correa llega minutos después de mi y me saluda a través de la delgada tela de su camisa morada, la cual incluye una máscara que le cubre la cara hasta la nariz. Misterioso. Pero adentro, Correa hace obvio que no esta escondiendo nada; abre las cortinas inmediatamente para iluminar una sala impresionantemente vacía y limpia, la cual se presta también como espacio y taller creativo. Decorando las paredes se encuentra una instalación para el sintetizador modular analógico de su compañero de apartamento, y para Correa, un escritorio y una pantalla de televisión gigante que también funciona como monitor de computadora. Inmediatamente me demuestra que es un anfitrión atento. Me ofrece Perrier en las rocas casi inmediatamente después de sentarme… y mientras me voy acopiando de manera fácil y cómoda, hago una nota mental a mi misma de que he sido muy mala onda. Mi previa lista de dudas? Completamente fuera de lugar e injustificada. Correa es animado, si – y hablador, al extremo – pero intimidante y exagerado? No. Genuino? Sin duda.