To anyone born in the ’90s, do you remember growing up playing Nintendo? Or maybe you watched Cartoon Network’s Toonami, which was heavily dominated by anime classics like Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z. Maybe you weren’t quite that nerdy. Maybe, instead, you were the cool kid in elementary school and had the largest collection of tamagotchis in your class.
It was almost exactly a year ago to the day that GKEN-E found me. It was a rough time – approaching the end of my senior year of college without any concrete plans – and I was thoroughly stressed; I spent a good amount of my free time listening to trip-hop, especially Bonobo. As I mentioned a long time ago, no other type of music styling can ever make me feel as free as the dreamy beats and sounds of trip-hop can.
So, I was both pleasantly surprised and shocked when, after posting a tweet about Bonobo, a random new musician began following me on both Twitter and Instagram. Usually I don’t pay much attention to amateur musicians, as they generally are only interested in getting ‘follow-backs’ and building their own base. GKEN-E seemed different; first of all, he was offering giving away all his music for free at his Bandcamp website. As of now, his music is still available for anywhere between free and five dollars – definitely a great value!
Often times, trip-hop can seem almost melancholically beautiful. Being stitched together from different samples, or created electronic sounds, along a single rhythm, trip-hop seems almost to embrace and circle around the notion of quietness – even though it is generally composed of multiple layers on top of each other. I suppose the general down-tempo nature of trip-hop could explain this reaction to the music.
GKEN-E’s version of the genre is different. While working within the loop and beat framework of trip-hop, GKEN-E added something that was generally absent – the notion of ‘positive beats.’ All throughout his works are the ideas of positivity and energetic beats, lending an uptempo sound to a genre that was generally more about chillness; although, to say that GKEN-E isn’t chill would be a disservice. His music, like all trip-hop, is still fantastic to put on and daydream to.
GKEN-E’s music does not fail to engage the listener. Like all great composers within this genre, he makes his music accessible yet interesting – the sounds continue to change, as he further orchestrates and has the sound build upon upon itself. The music never becomes too heavy or bogged down, however, and allows your mind to wander freely – as if floating peacefully through clouds of positive beats.
I was watching a movie in a seminar about Rumi last Fall semester, struggling to stay awake as always when in a three hour long class at night with the lights off, when something caught my ear. The film was a documentary about the role of music in Sufi practice and a particular Turkish sheikh – whose name I unfortunately forgot – was being interviewed about the vibrations of music. Although I can’t remember exactly what he said, the general impression was something like:
[quote style=”1″]All things in this world vibrate. Drums vibrate when you beat on them just as your voice box vibrates as you sing. Even atoms vibrate and spin, creating inaudible music as they take part in creation.[/quote]
The general idea of this message really caught me off guard. It suddenly made all the music I loved seem like much more than music; instead they became gateways to my soul. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that sometimes, in the exact right conditions, certain songs have extreme power over us. For instance, when I saw mewithoutyou last Friday the opening band – Buried Beds – closed their set with every member of the band playing a simple beat on a drum. The rhythm became so strong it simple washed over me and I felt very open, in some way, as if the music was freeing me. Continue reading The Vibrations of Music
How often have you been sitting in your torture shed – or, if you are particularly affluent, your torture dungeon – just to think: “Well, sure, this dungeon is pretty good, but I just feel like it’s missing a little something. It’s missing a soundtrack to match exactly what is going on here.” And sure, you’ve probably thought of all the typical soundtracks, such as playing Epic Sax Man on loop for eternity, but that just doesn’t quite fit…
Sure, maybe there’s nothing as existentially terrifying as hearing this over and over and over, but, I don’t know, it just doesn’t suit the chains and saws the way you would want it to, does it? “So, what else can I use?” you think loudly to yourself. “I’ve already considered Nine Inch Nails, Korn, and Nickelback but none of them has that certain something – that pizzazz – that you know you need to help separate your dungeon from all the others popping up on your block.”
Well, luckily for you – and all of us, really – I have the music suggestion that will undeniably separate your 5-star dungeon from everyone elses. Huoratron. Say it with me, now, Huor-a-tron. Very good.
“But, who is Huoratron?” you might ask. Great question! He’s the newest, coolest, grittiest and most badass electronic artist I’ve ever heard; however, to say that he is electronic wouldn’t be fair to him. Huoratron is special. It takes a special type of man to start of his career by creating music through two gameboys plugged into a mixer. He really should be given his own genre…something like Huor-step, or Huor-core. It’s hard to illustrate exactly what his music sounds like without listening to it – it is almost beyond words.
Unfortunately, two of his songs from his new album, Cryptocracy, that are most fitting for use in your dungeon are not yet on YouTube: the songs are called “Dungeons and Dungeons” and “Sea of Meat.” In light of this, I fully recommend buying his album here. There is really no time to waste. Your dungeon must be improved.
If, however, my review doesn’t quite convince, then by all means watch the video to his single – Cryptocracy.
It’ll work doubly well if your victim…I mean, guest…is also epileptic. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
However, if your torture dungeon is less about the torture and more about master-slave relationships, I also fully recommend “Male Bonding.” Just something about the sharp electronic soundscapes and the rough beats just yells sex dungeon to me. I hope you agree…
Doesn’t that song just remind you of your full-body leather gimp suit in your closet, and your door-frame hand cuffs?
Huoratron’s music really is something unique. I just can’t get enough of his glitchy sounds, rough beats, and extremely intense – though very sparse – vocal samples. His music is dark and gritty and is a nice contrast to all the other bro-step artists out there. He does Finland proud.
Favorite quote from his music: “Choke!”
I’m a big fan of dreams, and dreaming is definitely one of my favorite past-times. For a long time I used to keep a quasi-dream journal when I was younger, and I still remember some of my most vivid dreams all the way from elementary school – they really stuck with me, even though they had no reason to do so. There is just something about dreaming – it’s ethereal nature, sudden shifts, and the double-edged sword of extreme wish fulfillment and absolute terror – that inspires so much…
Just like this song:
Although not soley trip-hop, although what trip-hop truly is is up to debate anyway, this song captures both what is amazing about dreams and the genre. The sampled computer generated vocals, strong beats, and switching melodies are so beautifully enchanting and mesmerizing, they can only be compared to dreaming; which, as it happens, works out perfectly since Paprika (a must see movie too, by the way) is all about the intersection of waking and dreaming life anyway.
Trip-hop can do more than just function as the soundtrack for a fantastic movie. Whenever I feel contemplative and emotional, but in a way I cannot truly comprehend, I know DJ Shadow fits the mood perfectly. This song, Midnight in a Perfect World, for instance conjures up feelings and emotions I can’t describe. Unlike Afterhours, which makes me just want to fuck and rage, this song’s emotional response is deeper… it just makes me feel human.
I could go on and on, listing songs and how they make me feel and the reasons why trip-hop is my favorite genre even though I listen to it no where nearly as much as I do to other types of music. Really, just like dreaming, or really anything else for that matter, trip-hop is something that needs to be experienced to enjoy. So, I would recommend to everyone to just sit down, share this post with as many people as you know, and enjoy whatever emotions and dreams trip-hop elicits from you.
Also, I’ve realized that up until now there has not been much ‘trip’ in my trip-hop examples. This song will rectify that.
“Do you want to see my tits?” is probably something every girl wonders at some point when talking to a guy, probably, I blanketly assume.
With Deadmau5 you don’t need to wonder; he definitely does. Actually, listening to his album Afterhours by Melleefresh vs Deadmau5, it’s easy to believe that the only things either of them care about are tits…and fucking…and grimy grimy house music. And, you know what, that is completely a-okay.
Actually, it is way better than a-okay. It is fantastic – amazingly, disgustingly, epically good. If you were to press me on why this album is so great, though, I would be at a loss of words to explain it to you. So, please, bear with me as I try to explain what it is about this album that makes it impossible for me to stop listening to it. Even now, as I write this post in my office cubical, just thinking of the album is causing me to hum it obnoxiously to myself. To fully understand, check out the video below.
Do you understand why I am addicted to it a little more now? There is something almost hypnotically engrossing about the filthy (in the best possible way) sludgy beats, the highly processed female vocals, and of course the super explicit lyrics. The fact that Melleefresh also did voice acting for Star Wars: Ewoks only sweetens the deal – how can you not love someone whose career spans both Star Wars and progressive-house music, perhaps two of the best things ever?
All effective music should also evoke some emotional response. In terms of this album, I cannot help but picture myself dancing balls-out (literally) in a dank divey club – the best sort of club. Can’t you just picture the sordid atmosphere with traces of mist from the fog machines still floating in the air? Or finely dressed women dancing on couches for no reason? This song, and album by extension, captures that feeling of wanton abandon and sleaze perfectly.
When my friend Ryan first played this album for me I remarked about how it made me want to fuck the first thing I saw – in that case, my desk. I stand by that statement, and Ryan – not surprisingly for anyone who knows us – agreed with me wholeheartedly; although, to be fair, it is a fairly erotic desk. Apparently when Ryan first played this album for his girlfriend, her first response was to say she wanted to fuck to it too. There is just something about this that so successfully taps into people’s psyches that we all react the same way.
Or, maybe we’re all just horny stupid college seniors…nah, it’s definitely because its Deadmau5 and Melleefresh.
So, in short, this album is heavily recommended if you like: nauseatingly dirty house beats, explicitly sexual female vocals, moaning, sex, filth, clubs, Ewoks, and Deadmau5. Not a bad list, huh?