Genres, What Genres? – Life Elsewhere Music Vol 231

I’ve noticed recently, a plethora of new genres being affixed to the latest releases that have landed on my desk. They appear to be sub-genres of obscure genres. Confusing at best and only useful to serious train-spotters. You could get out of breath name-checking all the genre tags that appear alongside the music – i.e. slo-core; experimental pop; ambient techno; dub techno; experimental electronica; dark electro; shoegaze; minimal dub; math-rock; post-rock; math-core – and so on and so on. For this volume 231, I’ve curated a non-stop mix, defying the genres. If you feel the need, listen carefully and see if you can tag each cut with a genre. To begin, Athens-based DJ/Producer, Duckem gives us Eternal from his album of the same name. This one comes via the excellent Off-Switch Audio. A deft segue into Prism Lips from the LP, Silent Graphs by Survey Channel. “Conceived as “scores for an alternative TV broadcast,” they say. Survey Channel are based in the “chilly Rust Belt city of Buffalo”, (their words). Adding, “There’s no doubt the past year influenced my music towards a darker, more abstracted direction. It is hauntological in so far as I always aim to establish imaginary boundaries with the music; a place that exists outside of the mundane.” Over in Edinburgh, Scotland we find the delightfully-named, Letters From Mouse with The Divide a cut from the LP, An gàrradh. The title is Scots Gaelic for The Garden and “inspired by goings on in my back garden.” Says the author. This is a fine example of music that cannot easily be tagged with one genre or another. Most important, there is so much to discover on the LP. Up next is Shifting Darkness by Astrolemo from the Shifting Darkness EP. This one came with scant information except to say the place of origin is Antartica. You never know, of course. I do know you should check this one out carefully. Good songwriting and production. I like the vocals. The EP Libra from Belgium-based UMM is centered around the Zodiac sign. Engraved ventures off into a instrumental bridge that conjures up memories of bands that once upon a time would protest that they were not pop musicians. No matter, I think UMM are excellent at what they are doing. What Benny Sees is a young duo from Paris experimenting with folk melodies drawn from countryside views as well as contemporary pop production and modern hip hop influences, according to their PR blurb. They continue, their LP Room For Improvement was written and recorded in a country house where we stayed isolated for a couple months. This is a curio in some respects because NOFRIENDS (their caps) is atypical of the other cuts on the album. Luminol is the title of the new LP from Midwife, you’ll hear Christina’s World which Midwife describes as Heaven Metal (there you go, another genre tag). Madeline Johnston is Midwife, she lives and works in San Miguel, New Mexico. She says, “Luminol navigates themes of incarceration, locus of control, clarity, self harm, confinement, agency, and truth-seeking.” Adding, “Luminol is a chemical used by forensic investigators to reveal trace amounts of blood left at a crime scene. When it reacts with blood, luminol emits a chemiluminescent blue glow that can be seen in a darkened room. In the same way this chemical reveals evidence at a scene. I’m interested in profound truth – turning trial and tribulation into sources of light”. “Gaslighting” is a word that has been banded around rather a lot in the last year or so. Ginerva Nervi is aware of that in the same way she know that naming her EP, Klastós will invoke questions. Ginerva explains, “Klastós is the scientific name of clastic sedimentary rocks (from the ancient greek: κλαστός, klastós, “shuttered, broken, shredded”) or detrital rocks derive from sediments whose constituent elements in turn derive mainly from the accumulation of lithic fragments of other altered rocks generally transported by different exogenous agents (river courses, sea currents, winds, etc.) This broken pieces, little particles, grains of something coming from a “one”, represent a sort of “cosm” in which we’re all connected.” Based in Italy, Ginerva Nervi’s work is seriously worth investigating. Jaded Eye modestly says, “I make noise”, the LA-based producer should add, “really good noise”. The cut is Fool My Friends from What Day Is It [the EP]. More please! How about intuitive and genre defying approach to music that blends French poetry with Arabic textures and Brazilian grooves? Mozzaika gives us a mosaic of art forms and cultural influences with Free As The Chorus Lasts from the album LDN Pending… (LDN Pending is the result of a ‘London’ in suspension). She collaborated with South London alternative trap-soul producer DemDrums for this outing. Grime is the genre tag Jawnino uses. Not so familiar in the states, unfortunately. I would delay love to hear more Grime from a London-based producer like Jawnino gaining acceptance here. 40net from the EP of the same name would be a good start. Drea The Vibe Dealer gets straight to the point by insisting they are “genre non conforming songwriter/singer/producer mystic punk fairy. Blending post punk, trip hop, jazz and other bits and pieces”.  Drea calls her music “existential pop” and a “mosaic of sounds”. Priestess of Vibrations, Pt 3 is the Chicago artist’s latest offering, with Sacrifice being a fine taste of “intentionally blending post punk, jazz ,trip hop and existential lyrics and meditations on life and love”. A little jaunt back in time for the next cut courtesy of the Emotional Rescue imprint, a reissue label “specializing in lost or forgotten tracks, remastered and pressed on vinyl with love”. On a 7” this is the reggae guitar legend, Ernest Ranglin with In The Rain (Makatsuku Dub). Crucial. If you have not taken note yet of the UK rap, hip-hop and rap scenes, then do pay careful attention to Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn with Tears On My Window (ft. Eleni Drake). The duo from Brighton have over the past 9 years of friendship and musical partnership honed a unique sound. The result is emotive, original and unmistakably British on Dealing With It. Folktronica is another genre tag, this time attached to the work of Spanish producer, Baiuca. Embruxo his second album finds the Madrid-based maestro collaborating with Rodrigo Cuevas, the tambourine-cantareiras group Lilaina, the flautist-bagpiper Cristian Silva, and percussionist Xosé Lois Romero. Meigallo (ft. Lilaina) takes us to the close of this non-stop mix. Enjoy!

Playlist

  1. Duckem – Eternal
  2. Survey Channel – Prism Lips
  3. Letters From A Mouse – The Divide
  4. Astrolemo – Shifting Darkness
  5. UMM – Engraved
  6. What Benny Sees – NOFRIENDS
  7. Midwife – Christina’s World
  8. Ginerva Nervi – Gaslighting
  9. Jaded Eye – Fool My Friends
  10. Mozzaika x DeeDrums – Free As The Chorus Lasts
  11. Jawnino – 40net
  12. Drea The Vibe Dealer – Sacrifice
  13. Ernest Ranglin – In The Rain (Makatsuku Dub)
  14. Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn – Tears On My
  15. Baiuca – Meigallo (ft. Lilaina)

Artwork by Monica Faber 1950 – 2019 “What you see? 14” x 14” Mixed media – coffee, tea, fruit juice, toothpaste with ink on cotton rag paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection