Tag Archives: THOED MYNDEZ

Recommended: Ron Hardly – The House Sound of Chicago

If this man ever stops cranking out music, I’ll have to assume that he’s either
a.) dead
b.) lost several limbs
c.) dead of blood loss related to removal of several limbs
d.) nearing triple-digits in age and taking a well-deserved sabbatical.

Introducing Ron Hardly, whom several of you already know as Nattymari. Paying homage both in name and in primal, hammering house track(s) to Chicago house DJ, Ron Hardy, The House Sound of Chicago is 5 tracks(x) worth of old fashioned, bare bones, strobelit, straight-up house.

Briefly, Ron Hardy was one the founding fathers of house music, taking over The Warehouse after Frankie Knuckles left in 1982(!). (Just to give you some idea how far back house goes… Back far enough that Hardy made his own reel-to-reel edits and then, you know, played them back on a reel-to-reel as part of the mix. He also was one of the first DJs to seriously fuck with the EQs when DJing, bottoming out the bass to drown the high end or dropping the low end to ride the treble. And he devised his own method of playing records backwards, which involved rotating the needle upside down and dropping the wax on a cylinder that allowed the record to rest on the needle. So, shove that in yer noise-hole, everybody who’s ever said “DJs just play other peoples’ records. I don’t see what the big deal is.”)

To set the scene for Ron HardLy’s work, here’s the original Ron Hardly behind the decks (including the inverted one) and reel-to-reel working his magic. (The reversal happens at the 3:20 mark).


And here’s one more, which leads off with the mechanized, minimal banging that we’ll see tribute being paid to below:


Back to Ron “Nattymari/CurtCrackrach/NetNanny4.0/theaGitator/toomanytolist” Hardly.

The title says it all. Hardly gives off the same sweat-pouring-down-the-walls vibe that Hardy exuded during his sets, relying on a mixture of deep, soulful house and brutal, simplistic beats, the latter of which is sometimes dismissed by critics as “track-y.” As in, more a “DJ tool” than an actual “song.”

The pioneers of house, however, had their hands full producing even simplistic, “track-y” shit. Early drum machines were anything but precise, requiring the operator’s full attention to crank out anything resembling an unwavering 4/4 beat. Cobbling together a rudimentary drum track often meant several hours of dicking with presets and hoping nothing would wobble out of alignment.

Case in point: DJ Sneak’s anecdote about the genesis of his classic house track You Can’t Hide from Your Bud:

“One day in 1997, Sneak promised his friend and fellow Chicago DJ Derrick Carter a new 12-inch for Carter’s label Classic, then spent hours fruitlessly laboring over a basic, bustling four-four beat. Finally, Sneak gave in and smoked the J he’d had stashed for later in the day. When he came back inside, he carelessly dropped the needle onto a Teddy Pendergrass LP, heard the word “Well . . . ,” and realized, “That’s the sample, right there.” He threaded Pendergrass’s 20-year-old disco hit “You Can’t Hide From Yourself” through a low-pass filter to give it the effect of going in and out of aural focus, creating one of the definitive Chicago house singles. “An hour later,” he says, “I called Derrick and played it over the phone: ‘I’ve got your track.'”

Nattymari/Ron Hardly has never been shy about his preference for music to work out “wrong,” so despite today’s handy toolboxes and their metronome-like precision, he’s paying homage to the “basic, bustling four-four beats,” the track-y result of dozens of man-hours.  And track-y or not, it makes the house move:


While the whole EP is worth a listen, the standouts are tracks 2-4, each one of them a simultaneous throwdown/throwback, enjoyable on their own terms, but even more so with a little history behind them. For an artist best know for destruction and distension of other peoples’ beats, it’s a bit of a blast to hear him deploy something at full speed.

Check out the full EP at Aural Sects. While you’re there, admire the fully stocked digital shelves and pick up something for the kids. (I recommend the Thoed Myndez, the Nattymari:Obliterated and the Aparition. This is not to disparage the other artists on the roster, but for every album I listen to on the back nine, another release [or two] has been uploaded to take its place. [OK, here’s a couple more: DJ Deathray and the mammoth, 61-track Icepunk compilation.]

/s/CLT

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The Best of 2K11: THOED MYNDEZ – THOED MYNDEZ

Witch house/drag was never meant to be discovered, much less go mainstream. Artists associated with the scene shrouded their faces (often literally) and chose unicode-laden, google-breaking names in an effort to keep this underground from becoming the next dubstep, or whatever.

But scenes, as scenes often do, fall apart, often as much from internal pressure as much as from unwanted outside examination. The witch house label, more of an in-joke than an actual genre, is being left behind and many of the relentlessly productive artists are continuing to push forward, leaving the scene for the tail end of the bandwagon. Even the catch-all term “drag” fails to pin down anything more than a penchant for pitch shifting, leaving many of these artists free to make their own rules and craft their own genres.

THOED MYNDEZ features two artists who have orbited the witch house/drag explosion (and resulting implosion), often overlapping small areas of the scene’s imaginary Venn diagram without ever seeming to fit the construct enough to wear the label comfortably. THOED MYNDEZ is Nattymari, a dub and DJ Screw acolyte whose Youtube channel currently hosts over 200 of his tracks/videos, and Party Trash, another productive-as-hell artist who has released 9 albums and EPs in little over a year, in addition to several collaborative projects.

This witch-house-but-not tag-team cranks out an inordinate amount of oppressive noise. Sure, there’s some touches that bring the witch into the backyard, if not into the house proper at times and, yes, the love for DJ Screw shifts the vocal samples into sizzurp territory now and then, but the overall EP bears more resemblance to early industrial tape experiments and the faulty analogue equipment of hundreds of electronic forefathers.

There’s also brief glimpses of buried beauty scattered among the sonic wreckage. The title track opens with a few cracks of tonal daylight before the darkness sets in, sounding for all the world like a Last Rights bonus track, right down to the metric tonnage of doom-laden chords and interspersed aural damagers.

DAILY ROUTINE also features some brighter keyboard work, but with an underlying bad vibe, giving it the feel of a John Carpenter soundtrack cut, the sort of intermediate piece that supports the scenes between the horror. There’s nothing particularly comforting about the fact that NO ONE IS DYING RIGHT THIS MINUTE because odds are, it won’t be long ’til it happens again. And again. And again.

[Not included on the album, but well worth a watch/listen.]

But for the most part, THOED MYNDEZ is a batch of brown acid. Dangerous shards of noise rain down on a bed of distorted drums and pulverizing sub-bass, occasionally punctuated by punch-drunk, pitch-shifted vocal samples. It’s disorienting and uninviting, but in the best “no one gives a shit about yer precious genres and self-imposed limitations” sort of way.

Download full EP here.

/s/CLT

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