Guest Mix #001: psychic surgery

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Banner art by Christina Liu.

I’m very happy to present you with the inaugural installment of the Chickens Don’t Clap! Guest Mix series. For this feature, I’ll be tapping some of my favorite artists, producers, and DJs to provide intermittent respite from my ramblings with some mixes of their own curation. I hope that each mix will help provide a fuller picture of the current musical landscape and that this series itself can bridge the gaps within my own eclectic appetites.

First up, we have one of my favorite composers who also happens to be a true homie, San Francisco’s psychic surgery. A bedroom producer who doesn’t share nearly enough of the music he makes, psychic surgery has gone by many names and composed tracks in a diverse range of styles and genres, but has consistently maintained his unique approach to songcraft and a deft command of melody across his various projects. As the both of us have become increasingly enamored with electronic music in recent years, it’s of no surprise to me that this mix explores those grimy club sounds that have helped to shape his current tastes.

The mix is packed with stellar, effortlessly-blended tracks from Instra:Mental, Lone, Martyn, Bambounou, Gesaffelstein, Helix, and others. Shed‘s “44A (Hard Wax forever!)” provides the perfect ride in, its initial celestial shimmers ultimately building into a hypnotic bounce of surging synth chords and shuffling percussion. The energy continues to crescendo until R-Zone‘s “Hardcore Track” settles the mix with a cool, classic rave groove. Unabashedly grounded in rich synth and pulsating rhythms, psychic surgery’s Guest Mix successfully unites a myriad of styles on through the closing brilliance of Das Ding‘s soaring “Hyperinformed Superconsumer”, a befitting bookend that carries this diverse blend to its satisfying conclusion.

In his own words, psychic surgery says of the mix:

A selection of artists from the last seven or so years who bring back dark and stripped down techno music. There are some true analog warriors in here though they aren’t particularly precious or fetishy about the sound. You shouldn’t find any sort of analog-as-a-standalone-statement thing here.

Includes some classical electro, dirty house and hints of rave— wherever rhythmic texture is the prime objective while melody and aesthetics are secondary.

Thank you to Derek and Chickens Don’t Clap! for giving me the place to put this together. Hope you enjoy it!

You can stream and download this excellent mix below. Be sure check out some of psychic surgery’s own productions over at his SoundCloud.


Download: CDC! Guest Mix #001: psychic surgery

Tracklist:

  1. Shed – 44A (Hard Wax forever!)
  2. Instra:Mental – User
  3. Lone – Cobra
  4. Stigmata – Crawlspace
  5. R-Zone – Hardcore Track
  6. Martyn – Forgiveness Step 2
  7. Emptyset – Completely Gone
  8. Bambounou – Challenger
  9. Silicon Scally – Process (Morphology Remix)
  10. Legowelt – Fundamental Superstition
  11. Clemens Neufeld – Eternal Spheres
  12. Gesaffelstein – Video Exposition (Original Mix)
  13. Unspecified Enemies – Insurgency Soul
  14. Helix – Whoosh Ice Dispenser
  15. Das Ding – Hyperinformed Superconsumer

ON REPEAT: Main Attrakionz – “G.O. Style” (prod. by Friendzone)

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FRIENDZONE & MAIN ATTRAKIONZ: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN. LIKE, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A CUMULUS CLOUD.

ON REPEAT is a feature at Chickens Don’t Clap! that draws special attention to my favorite, faaaavorite tracks. It’s all love here, but these jams are the cream of the crop in my world right now.

It may only be mid-March, but it’s 90 degrees in San Diego right now. As our state plummets further into the throes of a mega-drought and continues to warm along with the rest of the planet, I suppose we’ll have to get used to summer coming a bit earlier and lasting a bit longer here in Southern California. Any good summer needs a soundtrack— before we all slip into the Pacific Ocean, at least. I, for one, plan on keeping this new shimmering, Friendzone-produced Main Attrakionz jawn on repeat until I’m six feet below sea level.

I’m not sure if Friendzone are on that same kinda west coast vibe up in the Bay, but the beat for “G.O. Style” burns like the sunset at the end of some imagined RPG epic. Interlocking arpeggios flitter across reverbed claps, steady trap cymbals and snare flicks, grounded by a chord progression that swells with the kind of triumphant nostalgia and emotional immediacy that feels like the culmination of something that you desperately don’t want to end. Thankfully, “G.O. Style”  is just a taste of a new chapter for Main Attrakionz and Friendzone, two Bay Area cloud rap pioneers who were made to make tracks together. Following their impressive collabs on the landmark 808s & Dark Grapes II mixtape, each duo received a much deserved nod of respect from A$AP Yams (RIP) and his protégé A$AP Rocky. The influence of Main Attrakionz’ and Friendzone’s Bay Area-defined sounds went on to stretch well beyond their respective guest appearances on Live.Love.A$AP and Long.Live.A$AP. Both camps have been relatively quiet over the past couple years, but have now delivered beautifully on “G.O. Style”, taken from the much-anticipated 808s & Dark Grapes III, which we have learned will be produced entirely by Friendzone.

Squadda B and Mondre M.A.N., joined here by their fellow Green Ova affiliates Dope G, Robby Rob, and Lo C4, supply an equally anthemic vocal performance for Friendzone’s soaring production. Emotions pour out of Main Attrakionz and crew on this gem, the hook and its repeating, plaintive cries of “We zone out / That’s a G.O. style” serving as confirmation of their unwavering passion and as a rallying cry for every talented, stoned overachiever to immerse themselves into their own productive haze. Through tales of struggle and determination on their path to inevitable flyness, the Green Ova team assures us that the wait is over. This is their year and they plan on getting it completely on their own terms. A commendable goal, certainly. And with this much blood, sweat, and tears on the track, it’s hard not get completely caught up it in that proclamation yourself. By the second listen, I was ready to join in on Squadda and Mondre’s raw and unadorned vocal work, my own near-caterwaul of “spectacular and debonaaaair~” colliding with their charmingly off-key harmony.

Stream “G.O. Style” below and look for 808s & Dark Grapes III to drop on Neil Young’s Vapor Records (wtf?) on May 12th.


Stream: Main Attrakionz – “G.O. Style” (Feat. Dope G, Robby Rob, Lo C4)

[via Noisey]

Things I Loved in 2014, Pt. 2

For me, 2015 is a year dedicated to completing the projects that I start. As such, here’s 7000 or so words about some of my favorite music from 2014— accompanied by a whole bunch of streams, links, and shouts out to a number of honorable mentions. All in all, a pretty excellent year. But, then again, it’s hard to look back on any year where D’Angelo comes out of hiding to put out his first full-length in over a decade and be upset.

In reading this list, I hope you discover something you hadn’t heard or maybe even hear something you had in a new way. Look for some new content on Chickens Don’t Clap! very soon… including the unveiling of a new feature! Until then, enjoy part two of my favorite things from 2014 (you can check out part one right here).

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PC Music

If I were to choose each individual offering from the PC Music movement that I loved in 2014, this year-end list would be completely inundated. As such, I’ve decided to keep it simple and give a big-up to the entire crew. As it is, PC Music operates almost as a single organism, producing countless artists whose works each reflect a different take on their inimitable and improbable balance of self-aware, saccharine-sweet and at-times trashy pop aesthetics, and a bold, forward-thinking approach to production and songwriting. Skewed expectations abound, the collective continues to sharpen their focus and relevance somewhere between the increasingly intertwined electronic and pop music landscapes. Building on what can only be called a huge breakout year in 2014, label founder/mastermind A. G. Cook has already kicked off 2015 with a high profile remix of Charli XCX’s “Doing It”, cheeky future-pop princess GFOTY dropped the astounding “Cake Mix” last week, and PC Music queen Hannah Diamond is back in the studio as we speak.

Check the best PC Music jams from last year and the rest of the 2014 list after the jump.

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