March 11, 2013

Decoder Presents: Print Delays & A Much Beloved Relaunch

See that shiny reflection? Hypnotically glossy, right? Well, although we've had proofs of the magazine for a little while now, attempting to explore a few other options with our printer was a more challenging preposition than we anticipated. I can say with certainty our printer has dealt with us in good faith, but ultimately our take away is that next time we'll need to start the boll rolling with them differently. The incidental lesson is that in the future we now know how easy some of those arrangements will be to make and we're excited to say... funding and publishing a magazine is definitely still doable, even in West Virginia. The spirit of hugs and an open internet lives in everyone that facilitated our little self-published weirdo-arts magazine in the mountains and beyond, wherever a Decoder writer's fingers meet keyboard.

Having said that, the magazine will ship before the end of the month and right now web development is on course for a re-launched Decoder website to land around the same time those do. We're finalizing some of our web graphics right now, but the skeleton of the website is in place and  content is already spontaneously migrating; including plenty of the old Foxy Digitalis prose and as much from our own backlog as we can manage. To insure clarity up until then, we'll be shuttering the blogspot here and I suppose this has the potential to be the last post we'll get to push through that system, as the new site runs on Wordpress.
Update: Read our latest public kickstarter update here. Unfortunately, our final layout was not properly marked in our printer's workflow and our first print run has come to us still containing the handful of errors we laboriously corrected earlier this year. Until we hear again from them directly (24 hours since our first delicately irate emails sprang forth) we can only assume what's at fault here, but we're still confident of a resolution.
Keep in touch with us on Facebook and more importantly keep emailing! We're still connecting demos with writers even in the interim - the advantage of the new site's bread and butter being full length reviews. You may not know all the former Foxy Digitalis writers yet, but they're an amazing group.

In the interim, thanks for all the support! If it wasn't clear already, the "magazine" is really a lot more like a book, so hopefully the wait still seems justified. It will not happen again ;)

Dwight P., Decoder, & Co.

March 1, 2013

Gamelan to the Love God

Brooklyn duo Trabajo got in touch to show us their new EP Gamelan to the Love God just as I was covering Digitalis' reissue of Leven Signs' classic 1985, very Gamelan-influenced album Hemp is Here; though members Yuchen Lin and TJ Richards have approached their music differently, making an oddly more accessable sample based refraction of Indonesian Gamelan music in the electronic cosmopolitanism afoot in parts of the US. It'd also probably be pretty safe to say that Peter Karkut and Maggi Turner didn't have Geinoh Yamashirogumi's Gamelan-influenced soundtrack for Akira in mind when they made Hemp is Here, but the differences don't end there; as much as the atmosphere of Hemp is Here takes from the culture, Trabajo less willfully avoids immersion in their concept and the anxiety of artifice. It pegs itself like the Javanese love God it honors. One of his names (in Telegu) is Manmadhudu, a nice apparent phonetic match for "man made hoo-doo", which makes the band's Gamelan missive to that particular divinity all the more appropriate.

Download Gamelan to the Love God from Trabajo's bandcamp page.

February 23, 2013

eaT biskiT

Thanks to a prying Google search and the unexpected arrival of Gut Nose's eaT biskiT ep in the mail last week, I know that Biskit is a Python based open source software package. Moreover, I'm treated to a reminder of those Chicken Biskit snacks that for some reason only I detest. After shuddering at that for a moment, I discover that eaT biskiT is the debut beat-tape from the New York based Gut Nose, the product of I'd imagine at least a decade's worth of his associative engine churning discretely at all hours. Self described as a "groovy dystopian sci-fi soundtrack", I can't help but wonder what grooves in a dystopia. The standard in this one is surprisingly structured and casually immersive, repeated patterns keeping Gut Nose's distortion and noise moving with a more familiar sounding swing; all and all, the exquisite artifice of eaT biskiT makes for unusually comfortable spectatorship, in spite of its innovative deployment of sounds and samples.

Update: An intrepid commentor seems to have clarified the "biskit" reference, putting a name (and web presence) to the little plated "OTO Biscuit" synth on eaT biskiT's cover art. The more you know!

Purchase a copy of the extremely limited eaT biskiT cassette edition from Gut Nose's bandcamp.

I daresay this is the reddest post that's ever graced the blog.

February 22, 2013

Marble Low

Feast of Violet is the solo moniker of Atlanta-based musician Allen Taylor, though he is also a member of Mirror Mode and plays synths in Lotus Plaza. He's lately released a lovely new collection of songs titled Platform EP; it’s been two years since Taylor has released anything not in an EP format, and the four tracks on Platform EP serve as a first taste from his upcoming full-length album, Chelsea Psychic. Additionally, he’s working on a handful of tapes, the first of which is a self-released split cassette with friend and fellow musician Warning Light. If that wasn’t enough, Taylor is also a visual artist exploring the intersection of sensation with various mediums, his next project in that vein being “an ambient art book" in which each two pages corresponds to a different soundscape.

But, first things first: Taylor's Platform EP sees Feast of Violet exploring finely-tuned soundscapes in absorbing detail; the tracks are like a series of meticulous landscape paintings created by the same artist. Never quite ambient enough to become totally awash in abstraction, each song builds on subtle beats and unique synth/vocal loops until you suddenly realize you’re caught up in the swell of a perfect, multi-layered wave. I’m pretty obsessed with “Marble Low” (which is unfortunately the shortest track on the EP, coming in at 3:36). It starts slowly before morphing into quite the catchy home office jam, with idiosyncratic, squeaky rhythms, and gorgeous layers of vocal looping.

MP3: Feast of Violet - Marble Low
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on Chelsea Psychic and Taylor’s other projects, but for now you can download the Platform EP for whatever you like here.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Commissioned by the Walker Art Cetner and its respected Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Study Collection to develop a new score for the 1920 German silent horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Minneapolis' Brute Heart presented their creation last August during an outdoor screening at the Walker's Open Field. Though Minneapolis born psych-label Moon Glyph is now approaching a fully ear away from the city and in their new Oakland, CA digs, the imprint was probably still an easy choice of label to issue the haunting new soundtrack. The new music itself is a more than effective update that draws beautifully from the film's strongest evocations and the classic scores that have come since Giuseppe Becce composed Dr. Caligari's original soundtrack. Moon Glyph proprietor Steve Rosborough's treatment of Jonathan Kaiser's photographs for the tape's packaging layout seems like the perfect way to round out the Walker's commission, yielding a product as complete as the original film, even divorced from footage.

Stream: Brute Heart - "There Are Spirits (Reprise)"

Buy the cassette soundtrack from Moon Glyph. Take a look at this German trailer for the film, below; might give some impression of the animal that Brute Heart agreed to wrestle with when they took the Walker's job offer.

February 21, 2013

Molly Drake

As little as I knew with any conviction about Nick Drake before hearing his mother Molly Drake's home recordings, a "missing link in the Nick Drake story" according to a press clipping, I'm heartened to read that wikipedia has him known for his "gentle guitar-based songs" (thanks for keeping it mellow, Nick). Less heartening that he was short-lived, but even thirty seconds on youtube (after half an hour with Mrs. Drake's album) makes me wonder if more than one member of the family missed the chance to fully explore their calling. Preserved for more than half a century on tape by Mr. Drake, in spite of my lack of acquaintancy with Nick Drake, I'm eager to hear how others "read" the character of this type of Western traditional music - "intimate" and "confident" are two words that leap to my mind as much as they have other reviewers, an attempt to reconcile the nature of the songs as family recordings and Molly Drake herself as a "performer" performing, speaker speaking, etc. In that sense, this new collection is particular timely, transmitting a capsule view of a different sort of America and a family that shared richly in its creativity. A welcome missive as the world and humanity continue their slow turning into something.

Update: It's been rightly pointed out that the reason the view seemed from a different "sort of America" is because it was really an English "capsule" to begin with. Thanks Tristan!

Stream Molly Drake's recordings on bandcamp and check out the CD + poetry booklet being offered through Alimentation.

Now This

The mission statement for a new kickstarter project from Orlando, FL based beat-maker Omar Laracuente, aka Amable...
This project is to fund my first vinyl release called "Now This". The EP will be a 4 song instrumental record which are remixes of songs from my previous album titled "And Now". The record will be pressed on transparent blue vinyl featuring artwork by Ryan Fleming, who has done artwork for the likes of Stones Throw Records, Count Bass D and many others. There will be a limited number of 50 screen printed album covers using glow in the dark and metallic inks. All proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to master the tracks, press the record, print download link cards, print the label and cover artwork and ship it to your gracious hands.
$4 gets you the digital tracks, but $10 is the reward threshold for what will surely be some immaculate vinyl - Ryan Fleming's work on this one looks gorgeous, but his credentials say almost as much about Laracuente's aural milieu. Though I hadn't heard of Amable before Omar zapped us a link to his kickstarter, it was an easy intro; his last album, The Bundle, is available for free on his bandcamp. and you can stream its predecessor (which includes the tracks that inspired the Now This instrumentals) is streaming. Stream one of the new instrumentals below and head over to the Amable's soundcloud page to explore the rest of the EP.

Stream: Amable - "Afterwards"

Premiere: DOM - Hot Limit

It's been almost a year and a half since we've heard anything from sometimes Massachusetts, sometimes Brooklyn based DOM. Since our last encounter with the man's Family of Love EP, he's finished a tour, retreated to the studio, fired his band, and started working on something different. DOM's given us the opening track to his forthcoming H Y P E R F A N T A S Y . X L LP, something he's keen to call his debut, despite his previous work. The opening track, "Hot Limit" immediately dives into DOM's new focus on larger production aesthetic, a sound we heard a little of early on in "Living in America". That idea is finally getting fleshed out, and we're excited to see what DOM 2.0 has in store. Listen to "Hot Limit" below; and keep it tuned here for more on the upcoming H Y P E R F A N T A S Y . X L LP.

Stream: DOM - Hot Limit

February 18, 2013


The extent of posted information on this beauty from DC's Peoples Potential Unlimited: "Milwaukee disco funk holy grails right here. From the forthcoming LP [Made in the Shade] on PPU Records... Should tide you over". Though I'm genuinely excited at the prospect of Milwaukee becoming more than just the quintessential mid-Western locale that occasionally staying in Chicago can bring you close to, but not really into contact with, I'm sad to say that Dazzle is like many hometown heroes circa 1980; that is, still less that well documented. I can find out that Dazzle wasn't their first name and that the previous, C on the Funk, was in honor of band leader Charlie Smith. Fortunately, the music speaks for itself and PPU is being generous while Made in the Shade is properly prepared. This teaser 12" contains four songs, several of which can be found online; two can be found streaming online easily and instrumental stand-out "Explain" is being showcased on the label's soundcloud. Though I can't say with 100% certainty whether PPU's preparations for Made in the Shade involve reissuing a dead band's opus or helping a reformed band - I assume it's a re-issue, but I can't verify the name or tracks, etc. Like I say though, the music speaks for itself, so let "Explain" "do all the talking for you", or something insipid sounding like that.

Stream: Dazzle - "Explain"
Grab the new 12" here and sign up for PPU's mailing list to keep informed.


Fuzzweed was recorded in Spectrasound, a recording technique that works in the same way that the new digital TV does, with its six Channel 36es and eight 42s, some in HD, but not constrained by plasma, or a tube, three dimensions. All the channels surf themselves, sometimes all at once, which makes it sound more chaotic than it is. The fact is, I can play this album when my wife is sitting on the couch, writing, at least side one, and I’ll probably play it tonight when our gay friends come over, a couple hours into the evening, after we smoke.

Side two, on the other hand, is a sidle-along song with three sidelong subsongs, the first being a distant folk song about a Poor Boy, with pretty singing and a slide guitar, and the voice sounds like it’s coming from far away and a long time ago, like from a long-gone lady in a daguerreotype, and a bass lumbers in and there’s a strong electric-guitar strum, and it resonates for a very long time, and we’re off, floating; clouds of snare drums beneath pedal steel plumes, and the sound of birds, and another strum, a poundsome thrust, knobs turned way up, thunder, and everything opens up: waves of drumroll, Ironman growling and bearing his lower teeth, feedback and lots of it, all stretching, the jazz and the acid rock and the dark energy that holds them both in place, all of it expanding, and it’s A Long Way from Home; but ol' Neil steps out from between two giant Marshall stacks, kicks away a whole state way down south, kicks away the whole South, stomps a president down, makes room for a raga, some nice mellow-microtonal Environments, and we fade out through a copse of wooden-skin drums, and there’s a point in the middle of all that where my wife clears her throat and says, Can you really write to this?

The record comes out on the 19th, and if you pre-order and toss in an extra $2.50, they’ll send you pro-press CD of a MV+EE live set built fantasy-style from their friend-filled run at the now-dead Zebulon.

February 15, 2013

Video: Tannhäuser Gate - Obsession

For anyone that's ever made a music video for their band or a film project for art class, it almost goes without saying that there are small, relatively easy ways to lend your vision structure; film at your rich friend's apartment, pose next to your rich friend... maybe use your grandpa's wall of hand-carved central European wooden curios as a backdrop to lend an air of textured dignity to your "ambiance". The video for Cape Town based synth-pop duo Tannhäuser Gate's song "Obsession" obviously wins some points for being shot at a well stocked (and very cool looking) Prop Art Rental space. They might add some just being from far-off South Africa, but the name Tannhäuser Gate is enough extra exoticism for me by itself; "Tannhäuser Gate" is a space region named in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, itself a reference to Wagner's opera, Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg. That particular installment in Wagner's enviable oeuvre (hah) depicts a legendary German minstrel as he cavorts with Venus before seeking forgiveness from the Pope. In an earlier legend, he at least once whips himself up to such a fine froth of minstrelsy that he begins predicting the future midway. Though how much of Wagner is deliberately invoked by the duo I can't say, the duality of Tannhäuser legend and Blade Runner, with its very Germanic protagonist in Rutger Hauer, remains with me as the video's patterns and images move through the rental space acquired for filming by director David van Rensburg.

February 14, 2013

Video Premiere: Filardo - I Don't Getcha' Kid

I should say straight off, here's hoping that Paul Arambula one day reprises his role as the "I Don't Getcha' Kid". Few people can do awkward that well; appropriately enough, Arambula's small suit and jerky perambulations make me think of David Lynch rapping about being "different" as a child. I don't know why in my vision he's rapping necessarily, but it would look as delightfully out of place as Arambula manages to in nearly every moment of Christian Filardo's killer video for his brother Tom's song "I Don't Getcha' Kid." Though Christian is perhaps the more prolific of the two Filardo brothers, Tom (presumably by virtue of seniority) uses the family surname for his entertaining art-pop project, Filardo. "I Don't Getcha' Kid" comes from Tom's latest LP, Falling Up, which is also the vinyl debut for Christian's Holy Page Records, one of two upcoming departures from their more familiar cassette format.

Preorder Fallin' Up here.

February 13, 2013

Hemp is Here

This month Digitalis will deliver its reissue of Peter Karkut and Maggi Turner's eccentric masterpiece, Hemp is Here, packaged in the above photo of some green algea (I presume) in order to continue the album's long edition history without any direct visual reference to hemp in its packaging, begun in 1985 by Unlikely Records and Cordelia. For those that support pro-hemp legislation, the original cassette will have looked depressingly abstract while a configuration of peacock plumage is the closest thing on the original LP's slip to the fanned leaves of a hemp plant. Like the oblique invocation of hemp, the clear international influences on Hemp is Here reveal the constructed world of Karkut's instrumentation. He makes a sort of deconstructed pop cast in the light of fundamentally "community" oriented music like southeast Asian gamelan ensembles, though an Eastern European flare in his composition furthers the album's distinctiveness. Gamelan traditionally involves primarily instrumental ensembles (individual gamelan being composed of integrated, more or less idiosyncratic instrument sets) of flute, plucked strings, and various metal instruments, a range that very nearly defines Leven Signs were it not for Turner's vocal contribution. Her vocals, however affected, echo the range of Karkut's compositions and their ambiguous mysticism. 

Stream: Leven Signs - "Prague Spring"

No official release date yet, but it's this month and I'm a week late with my announcement, so fair bet we won't have to wait too long for news - whatever the case, it will manifest on Digitalis' website.

Skin Period

A glittering piece of glam rock, “Skin Period” is the kind of song that immediately brings to mind a packed concert; people in bright clothing standing tightly together, shining with sweat and, in Dazzletine’s case, probably glitter as well. A steady undercurrent of handclaps and backup vocals reminiscent of Queen carries the track along as it shifts from stadium anthem to almost full-blown T.Rex stomp and back again. “Skin Period” is the last track off Pittsburgh-based Dazzletine’s album Heart, Mind, Bodies (which I wrote up last year), and it’s the first of a batch of songs they’re highlighting and expanding on throughout 2013.

Tomorrow, “Skin Period” and three brand-new “b-sides” will be released on Bandcamp for free (Happy Valentine’s!), and on April 6th, Dazzletine will be headlining a physical release show for the single at 6119 Penn Ave in Pittsburgh. The main man behind Dazzletine (Dan Koshute) tells me it’s going to be “a true Dazzletine experience” with psychedelic projections, lights, and other fun surprises. Following that, two other tracks off Heart, Mind, Bodies will be re-released with their own new b-sides over the next few months -- with the whole mess culminating in a handmade, hand-painted four CD boxset and booklet.

I got to preview the three new b-sides with “Skin Period” and they’re definitely proof that Dazzletine continues to refine their sound in a really unique direction, preserving its connections with multiple genres. I’m truly excited to hear the other b-sides as they’re released this year.

For a "limited time," you can grab Heart, Mind, Bodies in its entirety for free here, and don’t forget to check back there tomorrow for a new batch of goodies.

February 11, 2013

FauXed 'N Throwed Vol. 1

Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society...
Last week our homies over at Potholes In My Blog released a new album on their Potholes Music digital imprint. FauXed 'N Throwed Vol. 1 is a tripped out collection of remixes from Atlanta-based beat wizard Javis FauX. Featuring edits and head-spinning reworks of Child Actor, Frank Ocean, Flying Lotus, Miguel, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Hit-Boy and more, this collection of glitched out syrup drenched jams is perfect for that 2AM dance party after the club when everyone wants to keep the vibe going a little longer but can't manage to quite keep it together.

Stream/Download: Javis FauX - FauXed 'N Throwed Vol. 1