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.

 

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.

 

As the mountainous ribs of southern Siberia, the republic of Tuva breathes with a culture of inherent symbiosis. The expansive region rests at the true heart of Central Asia, brushed by the ancient carcass of the Sayan Mountains that rumble alongside the eastern steppe, the rigid Altai peaks that hover over winding plateaus to the west, and the Mongolian border to the south. At this intersection of Asian lands and traditionally semi-nomadic cultures, a legendary form of music continues to cultivate creative expression, spirituality, and, through adaptation, modern experimentation.
The music of any region is the skin of its culture. Its texture, wrinkles, and colors stretch over flesh, bone, and spirit. Within the open palm of Central Asia, Tuva holds a musical tradition that has been quietly capturing the imagination of the world and which is among the most awe-inspiring vocal arts to have persisted to this day. Also known as overtone singing, and colloquially as khoomei, throat singing is a style of vocal performance that allows a singer to deliver two or more notes simultaneously, while the pitch is naturally controlled by the lips and throat. Overtone singing can be heard in many cultures: for instance, in some isolated regions in Canada's Arctic; within the Xhosa communities of South Africa; among the Chukchi; and in the memory of the Ainu art of Rekuhkara. Tuva's throat singing, however, is unlike any other in the world.
Jump to: 1. From the Lungs of Central Asia 2. Between Political and Folk Narrative 3. Transcending Place 4. Music as the Frequency of Spiritual Experience 5. Continuing Exploration and Growth Alash River, Tuva Republic. Photography by Konstantin Mikhailov
"For Tuvans, I would say, khoomei expresses thought within the field of sound. And that is why, for the majority of Tuvans — even those who do not sing but only listen — it evokes associations with the sounds of nature, while for the performers, as they sing, it would be native lands, mountains, steppe, taiga, and so on." - Choduraa Tumat, Tyva Kyzy
"Но у тувинцев, я бы сказала, хоомей выражается как мышление в звуковом пространстве. И поэтому у большинства тувинцев, даже у тех кто не поет а только слушает, при слушании возникает ассоциация со звуками природы. А у самих исполнителей при пении явная визуализация природы: родные места, горы, степь, тайга и т.д." - Чодураа Тумат, Тыва Кызы
 

In Julian Lynch's music video for "Gloves", bizarre idea after bizarre idea is executed in fairly mundane settings. All of it might be a bit harder to swallow or a bit more trite if the video were just slightly more static -- but its glittery lighting brilliance and creeping zoom shots somehow make its awkwardness beautiful rather than overdone. This beauty extends even to its slow-motion Macarena-meet-zombie-walk dance routines and longing exchanges between the music video's main character and a mangled stuffed bunny rabbit. Stream the video or read our review of Lynch's latest album, Lines.

 

Leven Signs Hemp Is Here Digitalis (2013 Reissue; 1985) Some records are made before their time. Many things have changed in the 28 years since Hemp Is Here was first released – but even now, with an additional 3 decades of ethnomusicology under our belts, its thrift store Hindustani vibrations still sound freaky. This must've been entirely far out when it was first transmitted. You can hear strains of what would become hypnagogic pop, like James Ferraro's funny globe-trotting uncle returning from Marrakesh with a stack of weird, sun-warped cassette tapes. Perhaps the finally time is right for Digitalis to rescue this one from the dustheap of history.

 

Fat White Family Champagne Holocaust Trashmouth RecordsMy first listen of Fat White Family's debut, Champagne Holocaust, left me thinking of notorious criminal Charles Manson. No sense emerged from this until my thoughts turned to the stark contrast, chasm even, between the monstrousness of Manson and the majesty of his music: deranged yet lucid, at once pretty yet horrific. A subsequent visit to Fat White Family's Tumblr page displayed the visage of Manson whose own Family, it turns out, partly inspired this British band's name. Like Manson's, their odd charm is seductive, and among the accolades they've accrued is The Quietus' Tomorrow's Cult Star Today award at BBC 6 Music Blog Awards. Some have attributed this popularity to their live show antics. Duly noted, but it's the aforementioned contrasts in their songs that might account for this, for therein lies the captivating appeal of this debut.
 

Maria Minerva Bless EP 100% Silk (2013) On her website, Maria Minerva (née Juur) tells us that once she left home, it was easy to do it again. Indeed, for her, home is wherever she lays her head and finds a wifi password. This impermanence and transience hovers above her music like a ghost, belied by the Euro disco and dance pop stylings that she deploys. It is this combination, of the fugitive and the substantial, of the common and the uncommon, that gives her music both its reach and dynamism.

 

The music video for "Crescent" is a bizarre piece of work, minimal and almost Lynchian in feel, without much going on save for slow movements and small textural or geometric changes. Directed by Nick Criscuolo, it opens with what look like paintings roaring, like unbridled fires, to be followed by the slow morphing between some unusually magnetic characters (a Frankenstein-like mortician and a space cadet?). The entire music video is largely in greyscale, tinged only by carefully-placed red accents -- but such a color scheme seems appropriate for the melancholy sense of mystery that ERAAS seem to prefer (they'd rather not speak about their music videos, for example). In the full post, you can view the music video for "Crescent", along with the band's previous video for "Ghost". Both live in a similar dreary universe of beautiful confusion, but "Ghost" incorporates some more traditional music video shots of musical performance, well-timed to rhythms, and some fluttering cloaked figures. Directed by Major Jass, a husband and wife duo.
 

Decades in the making, the musical duo Matmos have built upon their noisy and experimental past to create increasingly conceptual albums that collide together many worlds of thought and style. On their latest album, The Marriage of True Minds, M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel have properly outdone themselves, this time basing their project on a concept so well-crafted that its exact specifications shall never be known by anyone save for the band members themselves. At the heart of these vagaries are experiments in extrasensory projections -- that's right, ESP -- though be not fooled: Matmos are skeptical in their own way. Daniel is quick to drop the fun fact that belief in ESP is still considered a symptom of schizophrenia, so outlandish it seems to scientific professionals -- but all that hardly matters in the context of Matmos' project, for they aren't looking to shift any scientific paradigms. No, they are looking to shift their own musical paradigm, and five years of conducting artistic ESP research and synthesizing its results have led to what may perhaps be the band's most exciting record yet. What's more, Matmos have proven that growing with age and experience have not made them any tamer. Their apparently unyielding desire to explore the strange and experimental is as strong as ever, even if it is taking on many different shapes along the way.

 

Miguel Baptista Benedict Super(b)-Child-Ran Alpha Pup Records (Brainfeeder), 2013 Often, when an album arrives pre-labelled with the epithet "outsider music", one has to brace oneself for what might be an incoherent and self-indulgent cacophony. Mercifully, this is not the case with this collection of tracks tracing the musical evolution of Miguel Baptista Benedict. Summarizing and collating the work of Benedict between 2008 and 2012, Super(b)-Child-Ran is a compilation gleaned from some twenty-five albums produced during that period. Citing the cut-up technique of Brion Gysin as an inspiration for his music, Benedict is an artist of maturity and depth, capable of marshaling and coaxing the colliding elements of field and digital recordings into music of subtle beauty and intriguing complexity.
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