Monday, April 18, 2011

REVIEW: Kode9 & The Spaceape - Black Sun [Hyperdub]

Here's the review I wrote for Kode9 and The Spaceape's new album Black Sun, out now on Hyperdub. This review was published in the current issue of Big Up Magazine.


In the seventh year since the induction of "Sine Of The Dub", a forshadowing of the Hyperdub empire, approaches the second long-player from the magistrate of permutations of all things sub and bass, Kode9, accompanied by his partner in grime, The Spaceape. Its title: Black Sun, due for dispersal in April 2011. As if blown from a supernova, along with the once nucleic center of sound-crafters surrounding the birth of a sound called dubstep, have expanded into their own respective spaces and thus continue their pursuit of a unique atmospheric ambience, each their own manifestation of sonic
evolution. This has not been made clearer than in the case of Kode9 and Hyperdub, who have over the years displayed a metamorphic growth, needlessly dispelling passing imitators with its consistent diversity. With Black Sun, it is as if the music’s aura plays shadowboxing with an antithetical adversary, of a Sun from the other side, as Spaceape’s lyric urges, “we need to find the enemy…”

Wasting no time on introductions, Black Sun bursts through a cloud of smoke into an otherworldly soundscape of subterranean vibrations and analog electronic synesthesia. The percussion
is crisp and rhythmic, deliberate and calculated, often tapping into the recent schizothemia for Roland’s foundational drum machines. Add to this the return of lyricist Spaceape’s arcane subliminal
hybrid, fusing elements and tempossubjugation, and the presence of symbiotic synergy is undeniable. Stylistically, it stands as a transgenic floating between nodes of dubstep, grimey funk, and cosmic electronica into a unique blend of arcane tribal-futurism.

It traverses an invisible landscape of uncertain terrain; the listener has no choice but to trust the conductor of such an apparatus, making a journey with a certain suspension of temporal distance, into temporary dissonance, resurfaced by harmonic scintillation, harnessed by Spaceape’s subfocal
suggestion. Making an entrance on this album is also Chinese emcee Cha Cha, lending her own style to the album’s mesomorphic nature. The result is on the whole remarkably effective and inspiring of movement. Closing out the album is “Kryon”, a collaboration with Flying Lotus that resounds with
an alien tinge, echoing with a distant Spaceape: a beatless descent that tickles the dendrites, offering a glimpse into the vast panorama of possibility that awaits in the yet to be imagined.

Certainly unique, and at times simply weird, Black Sun is for the imaginative listener, the explorative dancer. Its progression from their debut album in 2006 is provocative and impressive; it manages to maintain its own identity and displays a personal transformation, the vital core remaining unsullied by the wear and tear of temporal and cultural propagation. The development is only natural: artesian, as if a foundation were lain to allow it. Whether or not this is the case in reality, it is the reason it captivates us.

-Alex Incyde

Friday, April 15, 2011

Things to remember

Three months on Maui. How do you describe that to someone? I've been pondering this ever since I got there, and now I'm back on the mainland, concluding that you really can't. You can, but not really. It goes like this: one day you're in New York, the next Boston, then Dallas, then on through the Maui time-warp, thousands of miles of ocean surrounding you in every direction, on an island grown out of volcanic lava, teeming with life everywhere you look, everywhere you listen. Three months have passed and what do you say??? I think the only way is to remember what stuck out, the bits and pieces you don't want to forget.

Remember: The Obama burger at Paia Fish Market.

Remember: The ridiculously coincidental meeting with Indi

Remember: The Cove at Baldwin Beach

Remember: There is a reason we love the beach: it is one of the most ancient things in the world, and the source of life as we know it.

Remember: Lockjaw, the 1990 Honda Accord.

Remember: "Simple and clear" - Raphael

Remember: Go with the flow.

Remember: "Shake out!" - Raphael

Remember hexagram 57: Sun - The gently penetrating wind, subtle influence

Remember: The Raphael Special 

and don't forget: "To heal is to make whole." - Raphael

Remember: "Tell me who you are."

Remember: True wisdom lies not in books, nor those who consider themselves to be wise, nor those who you consider to be wise. It lies in anyone and anything: in the experience itself.

Remember: "The ultimate ecstasy is in here." - Raphael

Remember: Polly the parrot
Remember: Manu the love-hungry jungle kitty
Remember: Indi the dog
Remember: Maggie, the alpha chicken
Remember: Wild Tina and her tiny egg

Remember: Teak temple sunrises 

and don't forget: Microcosm and macrocosm.

Remember: "Stop the world.
I am empty
I am absolutely empty
I know nothing, I receive everything
I know nothing, I receive everything." - Raphael

Remember: The music temple

and don't forget: Ti plant pipes.
"...Chuck Norris wrapped in bacon..."
"You turn my floppy disk into a hard drive" - Mark

Remember: "I am not fired, I am quit!" - Sergio

Remember: There is no right or wrong way of doing the dishes

Remember: "Feel your feet" - Raphael

Remember hexagram 53: Chien - Gradual development

Remember: Big buck hunter, Yogurtland, and Backgammon

Remember: Kids need hugs, not drugs

and don't forget: Romanesco - Fractal broccoli

Remember hexagram 32: Heng - Persevering, endurance, constancy

Remember: "Take what you get." - Raphael

Remember: Going all hunter-gatherer in the Ho'okipa cow pasture with Tommy

Remember: Flower farm party

Remember: Six hours work, six hours play, six hours sleep, six hours pray

Remember: "What you can't let go of still owns you." - Raphael

Remember: "If you want to make one perfect universe, you also have to make a million others." - Paul

and don't forget: Drinking the water straight from a coconut: nature's energy drink.

Remember hexagram 5: Hsu - Calculated waiting, preparation, patience

and don't forget: Safety meeting

Remember: Acknowledge your feminine side, your masculine side, your spiritual side, and your shadow side. All together, they are you.

Remember: The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Remember: In mystery there is beauty, and in beauty there is mystery.

Remember: Space creates time creates everything.

and don't forget: Build from the bottom up.

Remember hexagram 52: Ken - Mountain, keeping still, sitting quietly, doing nothing special. The action of no-action.

Remember: Looking for, but never finding exactly what we seek. As soon as we stop searching, there it is.

Remember: "Enlightenment is not something you achieve, it's something you remember." - Raphael

Remember: In the ancient Hawaiian tradition, "Before you can play a song, first you have to dance it."

and don't forget: Raphael's awkward massage class

Remember: It's not what you use, it's how you use it.

Remember: See yourself in everyone, see everyone in yourself.

and don't forget: The chicken sees

Remember: Existence and observation create each other instantaneously. Nothing exists before it's observed, and nothing is observed before it exists. They require each other.

and don't forget: The coral-eating fish caught by Tommy the fire-spinning spear fisher.

and don't forget: Josephine's delicious kiwi banana bread.

Remember: Embrace change like a mirror embraces its reflection.

and don't forget: Pushing one of the guests' brand new Mustang up Kutira's lawn

and don't forget: John C. Lilly's magical dolphin sheet

and don't forget: Where's Waldo?

and don't forget: Malio!

Remember: Snorkeling at Molokini crater

Remember: Iao Valley

and don't forget: Mustache party

Remember: The seven chakras

Remember: Life's most important things come in sevens, and sixes, and fives, and fours, and threes, and twos, and ones.

Remember: "What you maintain, also maintains you." - Paul

Remember: Humanity is not unnatural. It is in perfect accord with the evolution of nature.

Remember: The wise don't go out of their way to tell you so, they just are.

and don't forget: the whales at Little Beach

and don't forget: "Superego? More like stupidego!"

Remember: Create, refine, arrange, process

Remember: "Everything is a reflection of my own consciousness. I don't get what I want, I get what I am." - Raphael

Page of Pentacles - Optimistic beginning
Ten of swords - Having nowhere to go but up
The Star - Hope and possibility lies for those who seek it.
The Tower - anything built on an illusion will crumble.

Remember: The impermanence of all things.

and don't forget: Danny in the waterfall throne

Remember: Sweat your prayers - "Do you have the discipline to be free?"

Remember: the road to Hana
Remember: The accidentally perfect dinner party at the tree pavilion
Remember: "There's no snobby rum drinkers." - Amanda
Remember: Nick's showdown with the baby black cow tied to a rope by the ocean
Remember: The black sand beach
Remember: The secret rainwater cave 
Remember: The red sand beach
Remember: Nick crashing Lockjaw into the guard rail... "The Vannigan"

Remember: Human sacrifice to the gods of Oogoogaga

Remember hexagram 29: K'an - Plunging in, acclimating, flowing consistently, sincerity to oneself. The water period.

and don't forget: Polly doesn't know how to say goodbye.

and don't forget: "You guys wanna smoke some hash?" - Nick

Remember: "Bog indictment, ocean vindication" - Amanda

and don't forget: The world is alive, and you are in it.

Always remember: Be here now

and don't forget: Aloha!