Conceptual April Fool’s – Nosaj Thing’s remix of 4’33

UPDATE: Boo, he took it down. Long story short, it was an mp3 of silence. The soundcloud comments all were adoring each nuance and “sick drop” of the satirical “remix”. This post likes “theoretical quotes”.

Nosaj Thing has produced what I can deem the most conceptual April Fool’s gag. Today saw the release of his remix of John Cage’s legendary 1952 minimal performance piece. This is probably the only moment in time when Sound Cloud’s usually godawful comment system plays perfectly into the joke.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen any good John Cage jokes, since the fake youtube copyright claim gag perpetrated by Married To The Sea author @drewtoothpaste

Get it?

On one level, I love a good John Cage joke, but on at the same time, I wish people would educate themselves to the playful history that Cage brought to the world. It’s easy to dismiss some of his contributions, as they feel old and simple, but put yourself in the context of the time and the magic is easy to see. Long ago, I read John Cage Explained, but it seems now out of print. Text gave a great sense of context to his life and work, so I highly suggest it.

Now I want to read John Cage books. Any recommendations?

Better Late Than Never – Best of 2009

Yeah, I know…it’s March. Presidents Day has passed and McDonalds is already selling Shamrock Shakes…a little late for the Best of 2009, but here we are. I never claimed to be one for timeliness, especially of late. For simplicity sake, the numbers associated with this list are just arbitrary…it’s pretty hard to rank things objectively, but the following is what I liked best about the shitty year that was 2009:

1. Dananananakroyd – Hey Everyone!

Cheeky band name aside, Hey Everyone! is an incredibly solid debut. The album is a fantastic shot of energy, bundling riffs that Le Savvy Fav wish they’d written with some of the weirdo sheen I loved so much about the sadly defunct Blood Brothers. One thing that kills me about the best songs on the album is that Dananananakroyd is one of the few bands kicking around that has the concept of a solid build and breakdown. “Black Wax”, the song I turned to most often when I needed to clear the bullshit from my brain, culminates in a fantastic riff & drum fill combination that would make anyone in the 80’s take pause during a line of coke.

Lyrically, you’ve got a weird split…there’s a song called “Totally Bone” which seems to be about emasculation and fucking, while the track “Hey James” has a lyrical riff on the Jungian concept of ego in the opening verse. This past year I came to the realization that sad bastard music does indeed contribute to your state as a sad bastard, so an album full of high tempos, tasteful screaming and good Glaswegan proto-punk riffs is ok by me.

And, considering I just rewatched Ghostbusters and it’s still a classic…I’m good with a Dan Aykroyd inspired band name.


2. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca

I think there’s been more than enough chatter over the last year about Dirty Projector’s most recent release, so I won’t linger here too long. If Beyonce’s little sister is covering your songs, you’ve hit a certain plateau and there’s not much more to say about what they’re producing.

That said, it’s hitting wide for a reason. The electronics of the previous albums has been replaced with a live band that can reproduce the weirdness in Dave Longstreth’s brain. It’s odd how simply putting their electro classical eccentricities in a band context made the whole affair more palatable. To pinch a reaction my dad had after checking the album out, “Bitte Orca is like listening to dyslexia” and that’s a mighty benefit in my mind. A perfect album to sing along to when nobody is around.

3. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

Again, another album that’s had enough press and sales to merit knocking it from the list, but it’s hard to deny that Veckatimest is an incredibly sold release that will have many imitators. “Two Weeks” is a brilliant piece of work and was my unofficial jam of last summer.

The freaky video helped too.

4. Dan Deacon – Bromst

Another album, like Bitte Orca that successfully takes a usually electronic core and does its best to transcribe it into the organic. I was already a fan of Dan Deacon and his green skull fueled live show, but with Bromst, I found myself appreciating the complexity more. Pitchfork had a fantastic, but but now pulled documentary on the making of Bromst that gave some wonderful insight into the production process that went into the album. No great album should need an accompanying text explaining it to add to the enjoyment, but it was definitely a great thrill to watch them tinker with a midi player piano for the parts too fast for human hands. Equally impressive was the accompanying tour which forced him away from his usual performance spot in the center of the crowd and onstage to accommodate the 14 piece ensemble needed to perform the new songs. It seemed like a very frustrating venture for Deacon who normal thrives being at the center of the hurricane that is his live show, but I think be it a personal success or failure for him, it was amazing to see him pushing his own boundaries. The show I caught at The Wonder Ballroom in Portland was probably the best show I saw all year.

5. Why? – Eskimo Snow

I’ve written about this band probably more than any other band in TTM’s spotty and short life. I did a focus on the album a few months ago, which you can read here. It’s a quality album from a growing artist…I’m not sure if it’s his strongest overall, but it definitely stands as one of the best of the year.

6. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

A comedown of an album, especially in the context of 2007’s doomy & layered Armchair Aprocrapha, the calming overall flow of Noble Beast is still a choice record overall. Like with Why?, I find it tough to pick an album I like best because the peaks and valleys of each of their discographies are something that never lines up with a complete album. Andrew Bird is another must see live…I caught him for the 9th time this past year and the evolution of his live show is an awesome counterpart to the music he makes. Finally backed by a full band, the work you get on the album comes closer than ever to what he’s performing live. Check out my writeup from back in February and give a listen to the most interestingly twisty song on the album Anonanimal:


7. Miike Snow – Miike Snow

I think on first glance, I had to give this album a few chances before I accepted it in. Given a few tries, you’ll find there’s a lot of polished hooks and lovely electronics layered into every song. In my continuing effort to listen to more upbeat music, this did a solid job of fitting the bill. Even the slower numbers, especially the broody Silvia, keep a great underlying beat and the accompanying video could be a electro outtake from the recent film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

Also, check out this clip of them performing the song live on KCRW is worth a look too, gives me some hope that they have a solid live show to back up a studio heavy album.

8. The XX – The XX

I know the pendulum has swung back and the time is now to shit on this once buzz-enswarmed band. This will often happen when your wikipedia page includes the following paragraph:

“Their song “Intro” is also being used in a promotional commercial for the 2010 Winter Olympics, the series Cold Case and Law & Order on the Dutch television network Net 5, and “VCR” was featured in a Lie to Me episode. In episode 7 of the online BBC EastEnders spin-off E20 their cover of “Teardrops” was used. Their song “Heart Skipped a beat” was featured in a 2009 episode of 90210 (TV series). The song “Islands” was used in an episode of the Golden Globe-winning medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.

Success is a bitch, and the blog hive mind really only loves you when your sales demographic isn’t the same as Grey’s Anatomy. That said, I still want to give this album credit where credit is due; minimalism is tough to do right and The XX have a pretty exceptional grasp on the simple, steely mood they do so well.

LA’s Nosaj Thing did a pretty fantastic remix of the album standout “Islands” that turns the mood murky with a lovely layer of analog wash.


9. Talkdemonic – Eyes At Half Mast

While I’m one to hold a candle for the quintessentially dead genre that is post rock, there’s still a handful of bands out there mucking about with the formula and creating something worth listening to. As a duo, Talkdemonic takes a slimmer approach than the usual GSYBE sized mob, giving you just a drummer and violinist. Their music is a swirling mass, Lisa Molinaro’s somber violin creeping around Kevin O’Connor’s clamorous drumming. With Eyes At Half Mast, the band mixes the tempo up combining slinky, atmospheric songs with driving, percussion fueled numbers that match the fire of their live show. Although the album was released in late 2008, I want to give some praise to the Portland duo’s fine release.


10. The Dodos – Time To Die

The simplicity of their music is a strength, relying on the warm vocal melodies of Meric Long to serve as the subdued hook. Drummer Logan Kroeber’s accompanying polyrythms keep their music at a more complex and interesting pace than most comparable indie folk, which often lulls me into a bored slumber. I could probably find some fault in the simplicity of Long’s lyrics, but most every other element on Time To Die does such a fantastic job at being memorable that the album earned a spot on the list.

Album closer “Time To Die” is a great summation of the overall tone of the album, beginning with soft vibes and acoustic guitar that jumps in with a drum propelled tone shift midway through.


Given my current pace, keep a lookout for my wrap up of 2010 sometime after the next presidential election.

Low End Theory has a Podcast!

Quite possibly one of the most fun things I did while in LA was to attend Low End Theory, a gathering of local and visiting electro-glitch-hop performers that was worth every penny.

Given the schedule, I held down while in LA I rarely did much of anything, but managed to hit up Low End Theory a few times…which says a lot. I got to see Daedelus do an amazing and varied set on his magical Monome, as well I got to see Jel (a member of both Subtle and Themselves) destroy on the MPC. It’s a chill atmosphere, with the wide back porch stage and additional upstairs DJ space. Plus, the outside sound system is one of the heaviest I’ve ever had the joy to experience. During Jel’s set, I was standing at the center of the stage and the bass dug in deep…every article of clothing I had on was buzzing. One of the friends I was at the show with got quite sick from the vibrations. Serious business.

Just today, they’ve released the first of what will hopefully be many podcasts. They’re waiting for approval from Apple to get the thing listed up on iTunes, but for now you can grab it directly from their site:

Low End Theory Podcast Vol. 1

This month, resident DJ Daddy Kev and the always excellent SAMIYAM split the 50 minute set. The whole thing is a fantastic blur of patented LA glitch and spacey post-Dilla hip-hop.

Since you just missed the awesomeness of Daedelus & already loved Nosaj Thing on the 25th, here’s two upcoming at Low End Theory nights noting:



I enjoyed both of them alot last year. Santa Ana’s Free The Robots is probably one of the best beat smiths to hit my ears in a long while. He’s got the same brilliant ability to craft real songs, the same that pulled me in when I first heard DJ Shadow all those years ago. His Free The Robots EP (iTunes link) is a fantastic piece of work that easily outshines a lot of his contemporaries. He’ll be hitting Portland on May 1st at the Crown Room.

Free The Robots – Diary

Finally, grab this free download of Lazer Sword’s Blap to the Future mix:

Free downloadable mixtapes are my favorite things lately. What mixtape do you love the best?

Glitchy Analog Hugs – Nosaj Thing

Los Angeles’s Nosaj Thing was quite possibly my favorite discovery of 2008. A new guy on the scene, with just an single EP under his belt, he’s still created a work of majesty that brings along definite anticipation for currently underway, full length. His tracks are capture a kind of warm analog wonder, peppered with deft drum programming and tasteful glitchy elements.

Nosaj Thing – Bach 1685

Purchase the vinyl from Turntable Labs

From the limited run Stussy x Turntable Lab compilation Beats, “Bach 1685” was the first track of his that I caught, and it immediately captured my ear with the 8-bit sounding washes and wandering backwards keyboard. The above video features the dance moves of Montreal producer Lunice (who, on a side note, did one of the best remixes of Kanye’s remixes of “Love Lockdown” that I’ve heard so far – download it here)

Nosaj Thing – Hearts Entire

Video by Dugan O’Neal
Purchase from

There’s rarely a person that I play him for that isn’t blown away. It’s safe to say that, in a year, a ton more folks will know about what he does. I’m sad that I left LA without catching his Low End Theory appearances, but from the looks of his myspace, he’s going to be playing out a bit this year. Be sure to catch his live show if you can.

Feb 5 2009 Fox Theater w/ The Gaslamp Killer, Pretty Lights – Boulder, Colorado
Feb 6 2009 Aggie Theater w/ Pretty Lights, Savoy – Ft. Collins, Colorado
Feb 7 2009 Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom w/ Pretty Lights & DJ Russo – Denver, Colorado
Feb 13 2009 OBEY RADIO @ The Crosby w/ The Gaslamp Killer – Santa Ana, California
Feb 20 2009 TBA – Richmond, Virginia
Feb 21 2009 BeBar – Washington, Washington DC
Feb 26 2009 Holocene w/ Eliot lipp and Michna! – Portland, Oregon
Feb 27 2009 STS9 after party w/ Free the Robots + the Gaslamp Killer – San Francisco, California
Mar 5 2009 Princeton: Terrace F. Club – Princeton, New Jersey
Mar 6 2009 Zot Bar – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Mar 7 2009 – Tribeca w/ Eliot Lipp + Pnuma Trio – Virginia
Mar 13 2009 11 Minna Gallery w/ Mochipet – San Francisco, California