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Deep Voices #71
I sell clothes on Depop and enjoy playing around while writing the descriptions. Canyon Ranch spa shirt with hiking boots? Goop meets Gorpcore. Black shirt with watermelons? Goth tropical. But I noticed, above all, the thing I do the most is call clothes “beautiful.” Polo shirt with a light sun fade? Beautiful. Blue patterned button down with the 80s Macy's clearance tag still attached? Beautiful! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Everything is beautiful.
As I began to think about this week’s Deep Voices mix, I kept thinking, “nice.” What a nice bunch of songs. I tried to bring an array of sounds after last week’s all electronic mix, and I was pleased how everything gelled. An overall nice effect achieved from all the nice music. Nice! Really, really nice. Am I the boy who cried beautiful/nice? I can see why a shopper/reader might think so. But I swear, there are wolves everywhere!
There are many ways to say something sucks. An ugly shirt may cause you to go cross eyed. A grating song may feel like wasps descending into your ear canal. But for perfection, for the rare glimpse at aesthetic sea level, the feeling of levitational relief is singular. A good song, one that hits your own sweet spot, it just feels so nice. A perennial itch, scratched. Really, what else is there to say?
Okay, there is a lot to say. I have been accused of many things, but shutting up is not one of them. Notes below on the nice songs of this edition of Deep Voices.
Thank you to all who subscribed to the paid edition of Deep Voices.A subscription to Deep Voices gets you access to two extensive playlists I use to build Deep Voices. To those who want to support my writing and the time it takes to put together these playlists, I hope you’ll consider subscribing too.
Chilean producer VNZO’s track “Adentro” is so good! It’s a dazed track, less fuzzy than sleepyheaded. In Spanish, “Adentro” means “inside,” and I wonder why he named the song that. I like being inside as much as the next guy, but that makes me think of, like, living rooms and meetings in the office. Claustrophobic music. The song is much more stumbling around in the woods. Dusk techno.
As an aside, I am listening to this song right now while inside in a conference room because the writing space I work at kicked me off the terrace so they could host a lunch for people who paid to rent the space. I’m watching them all eat their sandwiches in the open air through the window. Some guy came in here and turned the light on and it’s lopsided and my left eye is kinda twitching. You know where you don’t have to worry about halogen irritation? Outside. There’s no dumb lights outside. There’s the sun. Afuera for this guy please.
Muscut really has a fighting chance at being record label of the year (Futura Resistenza is gonna give them a run for their money, though). The Ukrainian label is equally focused on new music and reissues, the latter being strange and swirling sounds from the country’s ’90s independent music scene. The archival Oleksandr Yurchenko and Svitlano Nianio records they released live in this overlap of lo-fi experimentalism, classical, and electronic music from that era that feels organic, exciting, and very singular, a collision of past and future that settled into neither.
As to new music, the Bryozone album, Eye Of Delirious, they released earlier this year has a layer of hiss over many of the songs, but think more a warm hum than a cloying buzz. It helps the music feel part of the tradition of the older releases on the label, like they were dug up from the ground and are still shaking off the dirt. Some songs feel like dark take on the Fantasia score, some feel like what an octopus might play if it had a keyboard under the sea. All of it definitely sounds baked as hell. A journey!
Arguably my favorite of Muscut’s releases this year is Rezo Glonti’s Subtropics LP. It’s murky, somewhere between dub, drone, ambient, and those records where people freeze a contact mic in an ice cube and record the sound of it melting. The music took a little while to unfurl itself to me (headphones helped), but I’ve started to want to live in its world. The track I included here, “Mount Bay,” sounds different as a standalone versus in sequence on the record. It’s brighter alone, spiffier, blissed out take on dub rather than a dubbed out take on bliss. I like how it can shapeshift. That’s something all the releases on the label do well, move through space and time with wings spread, riding the wind wherever it blows.
I’m totally in love with Pink Industry’s “What I Wouldn’t Give.” “What I wouldn’t to feel your presence here,” the singer laments. It’s 1985 and she is prepared to make a big sacrifice: throw away all her Smiths tapes! “Morrissey in the bin if it would bring you back again.” That is the only offer she makes; the rest is generalized pining. So either her love hates the Smiths or she loves the Smiths. Either way, any relationship is definitely going to be better when it’s not a throuple with Morrissey. But I have a feeling that’s not how things ended up: the song’s single features Morrissey’s smug mug on the cover. Whether or not nice guys finish, they always finish behind Morrissey.
No-Neck Blues Band was such a beautiful enigma to me in the early 2000s. They cultivated their air of mystery carefully, releasing records in limited editions, never touring. They were part of the scene that was loosely dubbed “new weird America” with bands like Sunburned Hand of Man, Double Leopards, and Espers. The scene’s loosely unifying sound was a folky one, with some bands branching off into the outer stratosphere of drone, while others stayed close to Joni Mitchell’s overarching principles. No-Neck, a collective based out of New York, blended the jammier impulses of folk with outbursts of hippieish jazz percussion and atonal guitar for a concoction beholden to no particular true north. It was all journey, all the time.
I remember seeing the photo I’m using here for cover art so many years ago and being obsessed. Does the braid-beard guy have corn husks in his back pocket? What’s up with Dave Nuss, who is amazing behind a kit, but here has his hands full with one enormous drum? Is his headband a huge ACE Bandage? Did you see his Slayer shirt? What mystical land did these freaks beam in from? I want to go to there.
I heard so much lore via zines and message boards about No-Neck but I didn’t properly hear the band until I tracked down a copy of the only record of theirs I could find, Re: "Mr. A Fan...", which, to be honest, kind of sucked. At some point, a friend bought Intonomacy on CD and we listened to that a lot. Though I love noodling, I think I wanted to like it more than I did.
I hadn’t listened to them for years before they popped into my head recently and I was pleasantly surprised to see most of all of their music had made their way to streaming platforms. I’ve been poking around their discography to see if the music holds up, if it’s aged well over time. And I think it has! Their problem wasn’t one of invention, but really more one of editing. Or maybe my problem is one of impatience. These guys really just liked to let it rip. Sometimes they hit on a riff that sounds so sick you want them to repeat it for an hour (and they do). And sometimes one guy sings so out of tune that you beg him to stop and just hit that toy drum again for a little while so you can get some relief. But taken as a whole project, the dedication to experimenting is admirable. Maybe anyone actually listening to the music was besides the point from making it.
That’s what I’m taking away from the song I included here, “To You Too.” “To you, too, listener,” they seem to be saying. “But first, to us.”