UH-O and others

Starting the new year with some music recommendations. It's kind of superfluous in an age when so many sites tabulate user preferences and then eagerly wait to see what you click on. All this blog can offer is the promise that (i) this will be fairly abstract and below-the-radar and (ii) not to check whether you actually follow the links.

Unicorn Hard-on has evolved quite a bit since her Myspace days. Her new LP Weird Universe comes digitally and on vinyl. (Am thinking that a label's willingness to make a record for you signifies that you've made it, whatever its ultimate value as a commodity.) I actually purchased the vinyl but you can sample the work YouTubically: check out "Rock Salt" and "Mysterious Prism."
My impression on hearing this music was that she has been performing live steadily the last few years and that has honed her sound. Working solely with Electribe grooveboxes and FX challenges you to stay out of the rut of repetition the sequencer keeps dragging you into. Normally piling one track on top of another over the course of a six minute song doesn't work too well compositionally but UH-O pulls it off here. The tracks add depth and texture instead of just getting louder. Am guessing this has something to do with having a live audience, or a long succession of live audiences, and determining ways to keep their interest with limited means. Weird Universe may be classified as noise or industrial but it hews closer to early '90s techno-trance with its clap delays and 303-ish fillips. There's some pitch-bending and stretching of samples in there too. A solid effort, well-nigh mythological boner inducing.

Found Groenland Orchester in the late '90s but hadn't heard their LP Nurobic before yesterday. This YouTube has bouncy geometric graphics to go with bouncy geometric music. Not all of their work sounds that pop. There's some genre-bending, even though it's essentially sampler-based or synth-based electronics, but what it mainly is, is restless, changing meters and melodies several times within a song, or even within a passage. Much appreciated for the lush ear candy throughout: this is art music to be enjoyed rather than endured.

Am coming very belatedly to Mapstation, which is one-third of To Rococo Rot (i.e., Stefan Schneider). Am recommending on the strength of one cut ("When You Collide") from a Staubgold label compilation and listening to some teaser clips from the LP it's from (A Way to Find the Day, 2002).

Happy new year, all.