Posts Tagged ‘ Experimental ’

DJ Spooky – Under the Influence

DJ SpookyUnder the Influence

26 songs, 1 hour and 13 minutes long

DJ Spooky’s Under the Influence is long and badass. Released in 2001, I’m sad I’ve been missing out on it for the last nine years. Mostly remixes from other artists as varied as Amon Tobin, Sonic Youth,  Moby, and The Future Sound of London, DJ Spooky chills out each track and drops a sick beat. As each song is a remix, vocals vary from sung to rapped to nonexistent, but the album is coherent, with a laid-back attitude and great beats. Just a little too slow to be hip-hop, DJ Spooky lays out an album that is great to listen to with your feet up.

Buy Under the Influence at Amazon.



Pilot Balloon – Ghastly Good Cheer

Pilot Balloon – Ghastly Good Cheer

12 songs, 40.9 minutes long

Ghastly Good Cheer is Pilot Balloon’s first and only LP, released in 2004 on the 2nd Rec label. 2nd Rec is currently on an “indefinite hiatus,” and it’s unfortunate because this album is a gem. A darkened side of hip hop or trip hop, Ghastly Good Cheer straddles several genres. The album is unsettling, and the beats start and stop. There is a lot of empty space in the album, not in pauses, but silence between the beats. In many ways, Pilot Balloon is crafting beautiful silence among schizophrenic beats rather than drowning away the silence. Singing is muffled and quiet for most of the album, but suddenly lyrics emerge some twenty minutes in; the sudden introduction of rapping is as jarring as the rest of the album. Maybe Pilot Balloon was unsuccessful because it’s not music that would appeal to the masses, but I find it haunting and beautiful, like an abandoned cathedral.

You can still find Ghastly Good Cheer for sale at places like InSound but if you send an email to 2nd rec, they accept PayPal and then the struggling label will see more of the money that they need to keep promoting under-appreciated artists like Pilot Balloon. This album, more than the others I have posted, I recommend both because it is astounding, but also because if the artists don’t get any attention, it may be the last of its kind.


Experimental Dental School – Forest Field

Experimental Dental School – Forest Field

10 songs, 28 minutes long

Experimental Dental School is a 2 piece group  from Portland and their latest LP, Forest Field, has been released for free download, and it is a fantastic album. Experimental Dental School is a raw, noisy, catchy, and original band. Forest Field starts out raw and lo-fi. Distorted guitars and fast drums take over; very reminiscent of punk and early indie rock, but then the vocals come, which are catchy and dare i say pop-esque. The whole album is very diverse, from synth heavy songs with super catchy lyrics, to raw guitar driven songs that blur in to a big heap of noise.  This is one of the noisiest, yet most listen-able albums i have come across in a long time, and its highly recommended

Download Forest Field


Tera Melos – Drugs to the Dear Youth

Tera Melos – Drugs to the Dear Youth

6 songs, 20 minutes long

Math Rock is a genre that can be very hit or miss for me but occasionally I come across a band that blows my mind and Tera Melos is one of those bands. Coming from California, Tera Melos is a complex and spastic post-rock and math rock group. Drugs to the Dear Youth is easily my favorite album from them. Their older stuff has a much heavier and post-hardcore influenced sound, but Drugs to the Dear Youth is much more melodic and influenced by post-rock. Don’t get me wrong though, this album contains some very heavy distorted guitar moments matched by spastic drums, though it is parallel with jazz-like guitar lines  and ambient electronics. Completely instrumental, Tera Melos has managed to create a short, but satisfying album that I feel stands above most other math rock.

Drugs to the Dear Youth at Amazon


Maps & Atlases – Perch Patchwork

Maps & Atlases – Perch Patchwork

12 songs, 36 minutes long

After two amazing, albeit short, EP’s,  the math rock band Maps & Atlases finally released their first full length album on June 29th 2010. Perch Patchwork is exactly what I had hoped to see from this band. Its full of awesome guitar lines, weird time signatures, and catchy vocals. The guitar is fast and interesting, but not powerful and overtaking,  and the drums seem spastic and random at first, but quickly  the listener comes to appreciate the odd beat that is pretty standard with math rock. The album, similar to their EP’s, has a very folk like sound, mainly in the vocals, though the folk vocals mix perfectly with the standard math rock guitar and drums. This album is one of the best math rock albums I have ever listened to. Its engaging and easy to listen to, but remains complex.  Quickly it has become one of my favorite releases from any band so far this year.

Buy Perch Patchwork at Amazon