Elijah Wood aka DJ Jamie Starr began the July 10 set at Amoeba Hollywood playing obscure disco and funk beats from the likes of Benis Letin, Kiki Gyan and Betty Padgett (thank god for Shazam), throwing in a little bit of The Jets and ESG to round it out. Heloise came out dressed in head-to-toe leopard print wrapped in a pink sequined fabric, sounding great despite singing along to just a backing track on “Perelandra,” from her excellent alt-pop album Diamond Dust. “Are you wearing comfortable shoes?” she asked before performing to jagged disco song “Dancefloor Destroyer.” “Let the music move you” she sang on the Kylie-ish "Dive In," shimmying around like the alternative diva she is, cooing in exotic ways and then played along on an iPhone-based electric organ — no one rocks an app-based instrument like Heloise! On the last song, “Vibezz,” she whipped around her microphone wire to the song’s slow synth chords and pumped her fist when the beat picked up, belting over the backing track and owning the stage with her one-woman show.
You know The Great 2013 U.S. East Coast Cicada Invasion is in full effect when local restaurants begin to tout cicada-centric menu items with hearty "if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em" gusto. For those unfamilar with the phenomenon, the Cicadageddon that emerges from the ground every seventeen years, North Carolina to New England, is a fleeting affair that has everything to do with sound and vision -- the pulsating reverberations of their billions-stong buzzworthy mating calls drowning out the din of daily life, outdoor concerts and all. But you don't have to live inside the E.C.C.S.Z. (East Coast Cicada Sex Zone) to get in on the sonic action as this sort of thing happens in other parts of the world and the well-traveled field recording gurus down at Sublime Frequencies want you to indulge your senses with their oh-so-timely vinyl release of Brokenhearted Dragonflies: Insect Electronica from Southeast Asia.
This limited edition LP pressing of the long out-of-print CD from 2004 presents for your listening pleasure the sounds of swarms of male dragonflies gathered together to join in choruses of high-pitched tones for one purpose: they're looking for sex. The ones that don't succeed in wooing and winning their mates eventually scream so loud that their chests explode and they drop dead to the ground, or so the legend goes. These recordings are a tribute to this legend.
Droning cicadas, dragonflies, and other insects display their charm as masters of the high frequency airwaves, recorded live and unprocessed by Tucker Martine in the lush settings of Laos, Thailand, and Burma -- the occasional thunderstorm included. Enter the supernatural world where entomology and electronica converge in a tropical hallucination of alien sound. Anyone who has ever wondered if these strange symphonies could be recorded or preserved as precisely as they sound in the field need look no further. Martine has done it and you will be transported to the exact experience one would encounter in these mysterious lowlands.
Back in 2008, after reading many blogs about a happening party in Buenos Aires, Argentina that played Electro-Cumbia music, one of the persons responsible for that party showed up at Amoeba Hollywood with CD copies of The ZZK Sound Vol. 1-Cumbia Digital. We were the first U.S. store to carry any of their product and it quickly became one of my favorite releases of that year. Since then, ZZK Records has released many great CD/LPS/Downloads from such artists as Chancha Via Circuito, Fauna, Tremor and last year's excellent compilation, The Future Sounds Of Buenos Aires, which was my favorite release of 2012.
The sound of ZZK Records combines several electronic movements, such as Electro-Cumbia, Dubstep and other forms of experimental Electro with a sound that goes back to the folkloric groups of Argentina's past. If Atahualpa Yupanqui and Mercedes Sosa grew up listening to Dancehall Reggae, Cumbia Villera and Electro, maybe it would sound like this.
That person that came into the store back in 2008 is Grant C.Dull, also known as El G. He is currently on tour promoting The Future Sounds Of Buenos Aires and has three shows in the Los Angeles area. Be sure to check out one or all of them.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is what is good and what isn’t. All those names mention above has its place in the creation of Nu Cumbia, Electro-Cumbia, Digital Cumbia, Moombaton and every-related sub-genre that was created to describe a new sound that mixed the barrios of Latin America and it’s counterparts from academia and entitlement. In the end, barrio kids and the college kids created a baby and that’s what we have now.
I am a searcher, never quite satisfied with music and sounds that already exist. There are many like myself out there. I am consistently persuing electronics-based records like these herein that testify to the pioneering spirit of those musicians, composers and scientists in search of the newest “musical “sounds available via technology of all levels of sophistication. Throughout history the primitive object or idea will lead the way to a monumentally sophisticated one, and visa-versa, as long as one is paying attention. Take the “fuzzbox” for example. That thing lead a revolution of little boxes that one plugs one’s instrument into to get big, wild (and conversely subtle) effects on said instrument ranging from fuzzy distortion to multiple octave voices to…God knows what now, huge racks of processing gear for a single riff. At the same time in another part of the culture, guys and gals in long white lab coats were fiddling with room-sized computers to get a single tone that was not produced by a musical instrument, but alas, hallehlujah, a machine did it! And other folks were stringing audio tape across rooms and cutting inches of tape recordings to compose new recordings (Musique Concrete) to make other recordings to manipulate and, well, you get it.
The sense of experimentation and the ability to manifest those ideas has never left the true creative artist. There are sonic “searchers” among us that will never be satisfied with what already exists in the known sound worlds, and it is this motivation that fuels records like these. The daring ones, without concern of peer’s criticisms or naysayer’s pessimism, have forged ahead with whatever tools available to take these ideas and run with…no, FLY with them to the edges of reality.