Heathered Pearls' Jakub Alexander has been one of the more interesting musicians I like to follow. He recently did a collaboration with Dirty Beaches lad AlexZhangHungtaibro, is tinkering away on his Moodgadget project and of course his role with Ghostly International. Oh, and his album Loyal was pretty amazing; so it's pretty sweet that there is a remix album coming out soon!
Hear the albums in full via Spotify here:
Around a month into my stay in New York, I decided to be somewhat productive and purchased an easy-to-use action video cam to document my various misadventures around town, as well as Europe and beyond. The result was almost 10 hours of footage varying from absolutely unusable to barely usable. One of the most sad things was probably not capturing 80% of the beautiful and trivial moments I wanted to capture, either due to not whipping out the camera quick enough, not having the balls or simply too enamored at the time.
Anyway, this is the first piece of rotten fruit borne from all those hours of annoying camera-pointing. Don't enjoy it.
One of the little guilty pleasures I had when I was in Tokyo was hang around Tower Records and sample some of their local talent. It's a bit challenging to scour the interwebs due to the language barrier, so it was fun doing it the old fashioned way with their listening stations in my own free time. One of the good things with their mainstream music scene is that they don't quite accept a lot of bullshit with their music; the good stuff covered a lot of estate in their stores. Fuji Rock was just around the corner, so all the high foot traffic areas were filled with some great CDs. I was even pleasantly surprised they gave Boards of Canada its own little corner, recommending Tycho, Bibio and Aphex Twin just to name a few.
Whilst in Europe, it smacked me in the face how much of an impact your environment had on your creative endeavours. It kind of made sense that the UK's gloomy weather and Berlin's post-wall vibe inspires some of the interesting stuff we're hearing today. And I guess the same can be said with Reykjavik as well considering their isolation and liberal lifestyles, and anywhere really.
So in saying that, what impression did Japan leave me with?
Neohachi's Lovecadio Hearn is a bit more upbeat but a nice departure from my usual stuff. The first track, 'Dog More Than Cat', was quite hypnotic, 'Good Music' a 12 minute joyride fitting of a slow-motion journey from space to the local circus and 'Eternal, Eternal, Eternal' ending the album on a high note with an M83-esque blare which makes you think, 'what's next?'
The soundcloud embed above is a cut-up preview; you can stream and subscribe to the full album through my Spotify playlist here.
Intext's Book belongs on the other end of the spectrum of intensity and looked after by interesting label Shrine.jp. 'Strange Onomatopoeia' starts off ominous yet holds back teasingly throughout the track, whilst the quiet space-transmissional (is that even a word) sounds amongst a backdrop of beautiful drone in "Multilingual Chant" is suspending and wondrous.
I stayed in Tokyo for 2 weeks and by the end of the trip, Tokyo left me feeling like there are still so many stones left unturned, alleys and corners still unexplored, signs I wish I could read and my sense of curiosity and wonder ablaze - what the fuck else is still out there?
Landed in the States in the morning of 8th March to be confronted by the notorious customs queue. Grilled me a bit, considering I had a June return ticket (what are you doing in the States for 3 months boy?), but got by fine eventually. Igorbro picked me up from LAX and drove me around for the day and getting some admin done i.e. sorting out my data sim for my phone. Some notes for that:
1/ Make sure your phone is unlocked; if it is locked, ask your provider to unlock beforehand or you'll end up making awkward calls back home.
2/ Keep an eye out for wifiz and use unlockit.co.nz to change your APNs.
The iPhone and data sims have an interesting relationship. I got an AT&T US$60 prepaid sim but had some problems getting it activated and couldn't really get set up until I hit New York :/ The guys I spoke to in downtown LA didn't quite know what to do and were gonna charge a fair bit to do something I did in 10 minutes after I found some solid wifi and Google. Lesson learnt, move on.
We later swung by Santa Monica Pier and lapped up the beautiful water views and caught up with monkeypuppetlad before I had to dart out.