Tag Archives: Witch House

Recommended: FREEDOM – A Revolving Door Records Compilation

Revolving Door Records, home of the incomparable Cult of Mr. Light, have just (and by “just,”I mean it’s been a couple of weeks now, but IN THE WHOLE SCHEME OF THINGS) released a mind-bogglingly large compilation (53 tracks, 500 mb approx.) of multi-genre electronic noisemakers.

Ostensibly an offshoot of Der WitchHaus (along with netlabel Aural Sects and Baku Shad-do), the restless denizens of The Internet have moved far beyond the clicks, drones and nodded-off-on-the-Korg limitations of the genre into arenas as-of-yet mostly unexplored. There are new genres to made, named and discarded at the first hint of a Village Voice profile! Time waits for no man, woman or ambisexual set of Unicode characters! Where we’re going, we won’t need genres!

Granted, a half-gig of music, even at today’s prices ($000) is quite a haul, so rather than attempt to break everything down into specifics, I’m just going to give you a brief overview of my favorite tracks from the comp. On your own time (and your own dime), you can click over and download the entire set. I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff that needs a half-dozen listens before clicking in and others that will beg to be replayed over and over after being subjected to, well, subjectivity.

To the list:

DISC I

Cauzndefx – Pills (Prod. by ƸC†OPL∆SM).mp3

Spacey, off-center hip hop, lying somewhere between El-P and Kool Keith, especially their more ethereal moments (although without the latter’s occasional scatological fixations).  Lyrically rolls out a red carpet that leads straight to your medicine cabinet, namechecking Adderall (among others) and circling back to a chorus of “Dextromethamphetamine/For your black heart,” most memorably after this bit of rhyme-slinging:

Frolicking in different dimensions
dementia
found in synapse pressure the doctors
couldn’t measure
Maxine’s last breath was that of 
an ordinary type ledger
bloody journal
page 7
explained ideals on heaven
and in the margarine
was doodled spacecraft to take her away fast
forged pills with mama’s scribbles
just feel better a little
Maxine’s worst was asking for time off from this earth 

More Cauzndefx at Bandcamp.

Cult of Mr. Light – Incomplete.mp3

Given my affinity for their debut album, it’s little surprise that the CoML have turned in another brutally strong track. Comes howling at you like the Jesus and Mary Chain covering a Stooges dirge in an underpass a few hundred yards away. The vocals are tortured to maximum effect by a variety of effects, distorted and submerged into near unrecognizability. The instrumentation doesn’t fare much better, pitting a domineering bass against tones approaching the Chain’s omnipresent feedback-as-lead-guitar wind tunnel blast.

The Cult of Mr. Light on Soundcloud.

DISCOLETTE – I Want U.mp3

Pops out of the speakers covered in only the latest, brightest tones, like a bilingual Erasure, complete with mandatory superfluous drum machine breakdown with about 1:30 left in the track, which instantly confers upon I Want U the right to be referred to as the “12-inch Mix” at any point in the future.

DISCOLETTE on Soundcloud.

ƸC†OPL∆SM & Sortahuman – Smoke to This.mp3

Revolving Door man ƸC†OPL∆SM joins forces with Matt “Supa” Solley for a bit of spaghetti hip hop with Sortahuman delivering the hotboxed goods over some Morricone-esque instrumentation. Moves along at a pace that could be described as “mosey” provided a.) you use a barely-disguised Italian accent and b.) have “smoked to this” for long enough that any pace above “mosey” sounds damn near impossible/hilarious.

Sortahuman on Soundcloud.

Flash Arnold – The Final Chase.mp3

Namechecks one of Moroder’s most epic tracks and provides one of the better approximations of the Moroder experience I’ve heard in awhile, which is good, seeing as he’s off rapping on Daft Punk albums now. Contains the classic electro-drum tones that let you know they’re not afraid of telling you just how fake they are and some vicious keytar strumming.  (Or not. I’m really not much of a technical expert. I’m just telling you what it sounds like, and what it sounds like is the picture directly above this.)

More Flash Arnold here.

DISC 2

Girl Posse – Garf Vom (Bad Boy Cat).mp3

Speaking of approximations, Girl Posse garf (Words with Friends informs me that this is NOT an actual word, so I have deleted the app from my phone… assholes) up something approximating a glitching NES cartridge*, one that works just well enough to get you through the opening “cinematic” (OH HO & a bit of a LOL at the technological limitations of an 8-bit system) but no further before locking up and requiring the player to perform the Cartridge Resurrection Ritual which, much like the Libido Resurrection Ritual, involves a whole lot of blowing.

*Or more accurately, a Gameboy cartridge, as Girl Posse’s (ab)uses a Gameboy as his glitchy chiptune-crafting weapon of choice. (Words with Friends informs me that half the words in the previous sentence are “not in the REAL dictionary, you nerdish fuckwit.” I have responded with a resounding “Unsubscribe to all updates.”)

Follow the Girl Posse here.

mrL1ght – Ayro Ecto, Ayro Ecto.mp3

mrL1ght is all of 17 years old. Thanks for making my 3727-23-year-old ass feel underproductive and late to the game. I’m really not sure what “ayro” means but the internet has coughed up this definition (and has conveniently cited no sources [like a slated-for-deletion Wikipedia entry]): “Something or someone that is awesome, incredible, impressive, etc.” If this track title is meant to be a shout-out to ƸC†OPL∆SM, then I am completely cool with that.

You will be, too (cool, that is) as mrLight leads you to somewhere refreshingly summery and blissful. The tones may have a slightly disconcerting vibe to them, but as the track pushes and builds, it becomes something that exudes both innocence and joy in a way that focus group-crafted pop rarely can, but artists with a deft touch and a true love for their work find to be almost second nature. (See also: Leann Grimes.)

Brighten up with mrLight here.

(O)THERS – Last Swim.mp3

Turn this one up loud enough and you’ll probably wake up trapped in limbo with your doppleganger on the loose. We in the music writing biz call this sort of thing a “soundscape” and believe you me, it is wall-to-wall stocked with fucking sound.

A beast made of tangled wires and blown speakers roars incessantly, baying for blood in a language only the denizens of the underworld can understand. (Or David Lynch.) They get their blood, too, as the samples clearly attest. It doesn’t matter where we’re headed. Only one of us is coming back. The sound of remorseless violence, jammed right into your skull with malicious intent and a practiced precision.

Blow your brains out your ears with (O)THERS.

DISC 3

Perturbator – Disco Girls.mp3

Well, if the art above doesn’t give you some idea where this track is headed, PERHAPS I CAN BE OF SOME ASSISTANCE. Yes, it’s the eighties all over again except this time Perturbator is driving the Delorean/time machine/drug mule. Nothing laidback about this track. A pumping 4/4 that was deemed “2Future4U” by cuties wearing nothing but neon, chrome and feathered hair kicks the door wide open, allowing the rushing electronics to plow right over your imported white carpet and begin making themselves overly complicated drinks while admiring your Nagel prints and precarious haircut.

There’s a few well-timed pauses here and there, but what really sells it is the cascading glockensynths and faker-than-a-spray-on-tan cowbell highlights. (The tastefully-sampled moans of underclad sexytime women doesn’t hurt.)

More Perturbations available here.

Tommy – Overdrive.mp3

Oh, fuuuuuck. This shit right here is the shit. Tommy gives you no idea where he’s headed with this one. The intro is a head fake built on a murky near-breakbeat and a dentist’s drill of a buzzing drone (the latter of which immediately reminded me of Joey Jupiter.)

Once you’ve sensibly arrived at the conclusion that Tommy’s going to bust out some sort of UNKLE-esque groove, the buzz hits the top of the scale and suddenly, we’re in synth heaven, surrounded by Daft Punk’s better decisions and Jan Hammer’s brighter moments.

It’s a good place to be. Tommy’s not just going to rest on his laurels, no matter how impeccable and impossibly cool they are. Instead, he treats us to unexpected bits of angular noise periodically and an escalating melody that says, “If I had a ridiculously powered cigarette boat and was tearing up and down the coast, THIS is what I would be listening to if I thought I had any chance of hearing it over the 450-hp engine.”

Tommy: Quite Possibly the New Kavinsky. (Related: page contains a Kavinsky remix.)

[THE INTERNET HAS FAILED. Here is the Joey Jupiter track I was hoping to simply link to.]

Joey Jupiter – Fructose.mp3

TR££B£∆RD – Traphouse Ghosts.mp3

After hearing this track, I have come to the conclusiong that I’M NOT LISTENING TO ENOUGH TR££B£∆RD. It’s got a Dub Narcotic Soundsystem feel, what with all the dubby bits and the murky bits and kling-klanging, ping-ponging noises. But it’s definitely its own thing as well. TR££B£∆RD knows how to build a track that has plenty going on but never seems busy just being busy.

Drums catch, hang and stutter like shitty operating system. A vocal sample that you know will never coalesce weaves in and out of the smoky ether, completely devoid of clarity-providing treble and chopped into unrecognizable bits. Everything vibrates and echoes. A few times the whole thing threatens to fall apart, but miraculously holds together like a high school senior’s ’73 Dodge Challenger, all primer, rust and dents. File under: Shambolic.

EVIL TREE? More info available here.

/s/CLT

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AIDS-3D: Witch House Forerunners or Pitch-Shifting Anomaly?

This post has been on the back-burner for awhile now. I originally planned to write this up more than a month ago, but when I dove back into it, certain links and references I was planning to use seemed to have just… disappeared.

I was first clued in to the existence of AIDS-3D via Wikipedia’s “Witch House” page. On returning (Wire ref, yo),  I found the skeletal remains of Wiki’s take on witch house and any references to AIDS-3D and their connection to the scene excised. That’s the first oddity.

So, veering away from that dead end, I decided to revisit their official website, aids-3d.com, where I had previously downloaded several of their freely distributed tracks. But that trail has gone cold as well. At some point during the last couple of months, the site went dead, leaving me with the dozen or so tracks I had helped myself to months ago, but not much else in the way useful information.

What remains on the web deals almost exclusively with their physical art projects. There is little to no information on their music.

Here’s what we do know: AIDS-3D is a two-man art collective composed of Americans Daniel Keller and Nik Kosmas, both of whom now reside in Germany. In addition to the OMG Obelisk featured above, AIDS-3D has also done several other art installations, including one in which they re-purposed sneeze guards.

There’s also this video, which features a alightly different mix of Spreading Love All Over the World  (found below) as interpreted by a dancer. (The video itself is part of a Vimeo group called “NOS: Naked on Stage,” so keep that in mind if clicking thru at work.)

We also have a little information about the group’s charming name itself: AIDS-3D. Definitely a provocative combination, but charmingly enough, the algorithmic output generated by a piece of software used by brand consultants to develop brand names — in this case, the brand consultant was… Daniel Keller’s mom.

Dan’s mom, is a well-known brand consultant, and she helped develop the AIDS-3D trademark for us. She uses a fairly complicated computer program to develop ‘brand-idents’ for her clients. This program (I can’t remember the name of it), simulates suggestibility/response levels in various microdemographics using a huge amalgamation of data like google searches, brainwave scanning, credit reports, numerology, psychoanalytic statistics, etc. The program suggested AIDS-3D as a perfect fusion of our mutual interests in contemporary art, social activism and state-of-the-art technology.

Now, there seems to be no direct link between the pitch manipulations of AIDS-3D’s remix work and the DJ Screw emulations of several members of the witch house genre. The most probable explanation is that AIDS-3D performed these deconstructions on their own and witch housers found something they liked — a kindred set of tempo-fuckers and welcomed them unofficially into the fold, as a sort of after-the-fact association.  The dates listed on their former mp3 page (page is dead, but oddly enough, hosting still seems to alive [or archive.org does a much more thorough job than I thought] — most of the tracks are still downloadable) range from 2007-2009, putting them very slightly ahead of the witch house curve.

AIDS-3D still maintains an active Soundcloud page but the tracks featured there include none of the work that was archived at their now-dead website. One of their uploads is the improbably titled North Face® Winter 2012 Mens SmartPhone Demo, which is, in fact, none of the things listed in the name. It’s a mixtape that flows like a DJ set played on the world’s shittiest set of belt drive turntables. The tempo shifts up and down, going from “walking underwater” speed to post-happy-hardcore 200 BPM freeform techno.

No attempt is made to “normalize” any of this set (bpm, vox, etc.), because, honestly, when you’re already this far beyond the “DJ set pale,” why even bother. It’s an experience that many would dismiss with the left-handed compliment “interesting,” if not bypassing niceties completely and dismissing it as “fucking annoying.” It is (“interesting”) and it isn’t (annoying). And it is definitely worth a listen. (It runs at 666.0 BPM, apparently):


Now that we’ve explored this dead end, let’s move on to the music I (apparently) salvaged from the defunct aids-3d.com, most of which was filed under the heading “11 Songs I Like More When I Slow Them Down.”

AIDS-3D – RushRush.mp3

Skyscrapers and ultraviolence, cruising at warp speed in a faux NYC, driving a faux sports car, looking for faux trouble, Radio Flashback cranked All The Way Up. “Rush rush get the yayo.” Cocaine makes the world go ’round.

AIDS-3D takes one of my favorite tracks from the Grand Theft Auto III soundtrack and sedates the hell out of it. Throwing the brakes on Blondie’s ode to the Drug of the Eighties, AIDS-3D turns Rush Rush into the zombified shuffle of a burnout. It still retains some of its reckless cheerfulness, but the pitch-shifting turns the vocals into the time-stands-still molasses drip of forced withdrawal (and takes them right up to the edge of farcical “Techno Vocals.”)

AIDS-3D – Spreading Love All Over the World (Moore’s Law Remix).mp3

There’s a bit of a nerdy joke contained within this track. Familiarity with the law itself is a bonus as it explains AIDS-3D’s insistence on spinning the dials to infinity, taking the bpm from “casual stroll” to “Six Million Dollar Man.” Not completely unprecedented (see also: Moby’s Thousand) but still enjoyable.

Much like blogging, fucking with electronics to build yourself an in-joke is its own reward: the joy of expression that is (mostly) undeterred by a lack of attention. “If nothing else, I’m amusing myself.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

AIDS-3D – Girl

AIDS-3D takes on Suicide’s Girl because musical antagonists make the best music, especially when combined. Confrontational minimalists Suicide get confronted by transplanted Germans with a knack for running the pitch well below zero. Alan Vega’s gasps, moans and half-croon/half-choke vocals take on even more weight as they’re dialed back into hellish invocation territory. At 11 minutes, this one might run a bit long, but that’s the way AIDS-3D rolls, but rest assured, it doesn’t seem anywhere near that long, perhaps do to the fact that the audio drops completely out around the 6-minute mark.

AIDS-3D – I Just Wanna Fuck.mp3

If several minutes of a remixed Suicide threnody is too much for you, why not unwind with whoever the fuck this is being unwound even further by AIDS-3D? Nothing fancy going on here. Just a screwed loop repeating over some beats that make click tracks look positively ostentatious. Again, not for everyone, but it does hold a bit of brutalist allure. Turn it up loud enough and you’ll hear some unexpected guitar strumming kick in about halfway through.

AIDS-3D – ZOMBIE.mp3

We’ll leave on a relatively high note. AIDS-3D takes on Zombie Nation’s colossal club hit Kernkraft 400. Oddly enough, the beat seems to pick up exactly where I Just Wanna Fuck left off, leading me to speculate that some of these tracks may have been part of a larger mix at one point.

Like every other track here, it’s nothing as simple as simply turning the dials to the left. Most of AIDS-3D’s reworks sound as if they’ve actually done their own drum programming, rather than just rely on the pitched-down tempo to do all the heavy rhythmic lifting.  If you’re interested in more, well… I’m not sure what to tell you. Normally, I’d say something like “go to AIDS-3D’s site to pick up more” but all that would get you is your favorite browser’s impersonation of an Alzheimer’s patient. (Save yourself and your browser the embarrassment and sneak up on it via archive.org.)

If nothing else, AIDS-3D will continue on as an artistic entity, while their musical efforts will apparently be largely secondary. Travelling slightly ahead of witch house makes for some entertaining theories but beyond that all we’ve got is a chunk of speculation and a dead website. THESE THINGS HAPPEN. I’m going to keep poking around. If I find anything, I’ll be dropping it off here.

/s/CLT

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Filed under Electronica, Remixes