“Micah’s new release, Shapes, is a personal series of songs written and recorded in his mobile solar-powered a/v laboratory/van, aptly named ‘Vincent Van-Gogh.’ His playful and deeply moving approach to song-writing is embodied in seven tracks, equal parts hyper-textural ventures through inner-dimensions and somber lo-fi lullabies. Shapes represents Micah’s first professional release under his pseudonym Particle Kid. -Alpha Pup Records”
Visual and sound artist Particle Kid is releasing his debut album Shapes on the imprint Brainfeeder artist Strangeloop created Teaching Machine. It’s a beautiful experience that dives into two very different sides. Highly textured and experimental with forms of composition that stretch many limitations, it also includes a joyous, personal home grown approach that makes the album a very unique statement. Micah Nelson aka Particle Kid comes from a long line of musicians who have put in a lot of work into the music community and he has technique in a multitude of instruments both electronic and acoustic that reflect this background. The joyous spirit of his father Willie Nelson is definitely heard through out Shapes.
The landscape of music is phenomenal on Shapes, revealing a misty garden of psychedelia that relies on the top end of things more so than the heart of the drum and percussions. Outside of a few moments on the album, the record is devoid of percussion. The album does encounter a lot of rhythm despite the lack of percussion. When tracing back the type of influence that can be drawn, I immediately think of the many artists who were a part of the Anticon and Mush labels when hearing the lush modern electronic psych of Particle Kid. The track selection is very interesting, beginning with an instrumental and trading back and forth between songs with vocals and those without. The music submerges into deep sonic shapes of the future and of another dimension while the songs with vocals give the music a charm that makes me think of old gypsy stories in books and summers while hanging with friends. It’s these transitions of the cosmic and earth bound realms of music that make the record as rewarding and unique as it is.
Beginning Shapes with the instrumental song “Aftertaste”, this is a heavily layered and cosmic start to the record. A synthetic tapestry of sound moves in a weaving pattern and the sonic bliss of this artists abilities takes full view. With a pair of headphones, it’s a world all its own and shows how active the music is inside of the mix. The self titled song “Shapes” is another instrumental that is highly imaginative and surreal in form. With a processed core of percussion and backwards tracking, the short lived piece drops into another dimension of existence. The building and layering of tones on this song is mind blowing. It’s the type of track that puts perspective on how much attention to detail Particle Kid put into this record. “Attics” is the second instrumental of the record and reveals a more traditional side to Particle Kid’s musings. Mandolin presents a large sense of identity to the song with lush staccato runs that push over a beautiful underside of strings. It’s the most delicate idea of the record and sets the music into a distant time.
This is a really strong debut from Particle Kid in Teaching Machine that will be pressed in a limited edition vinyl format along with cassette tape and digital formats. The oddest album of the year so far goes to Shapes from Particle Kid, definitely worth the time.
Order a copy HERE
New York based Earnest Blount is one of the newest musicians and producers to surface into our stream of reviews with the EP Other Directions. Released with the audio/visual imprint created by Strangeloop of Brainfeeder: Teaching Machine; this four song EP is a ride into so many fields of electronic music that result in one of the most atmopsheric and smooth albums this year. Progressively shaped into intricate components and styles of music, I feel like I am in a club where psychedelia, experimentalism and fusion jazz are just as important as hard hitting bass tones, jagged harmonies and drum patterns that shatter the room from rapid movement. Other Directions feels as otherworldy as it does earthly with a futuristic tinge that dives into glitch beats, experimental-electro grooves and lush organic drum breaks that trace the pulse of what the world is dancing and meditating too collectively.
As a member of the WEDIDIT Collective with Shlohmo, Groundislava and many others, Earnest Blount is one of those producers whose vintage essence in production is brought full circle with the futuristic beat world that is dominating the electronica scene right now. With jazz inflections, soulful overtones and a pallete that extends into the outer most territories of organic electronic music, the drum patterns, bass work, melodic layers and processed vocal samples bring it far into the 21st century and leave little trace of the past after all is said and done. With a long musical association in one of the most talented experimental jazz keyboardist out and another member of the Brainfeeder family, Austin Peralta, you can hear the influence of the world that Austin Peralt brought to life all over Other Directions but in a much more electronic format. Shimmering sounds drain out of the rhythms like a bucket of water being emptied back into a moving river.
The energy and beauty of the album is cleverly smooth yet large in shape with drop outs that make me feel like I woke up from a dream and am in a foreign place, unsure of how I got there. There are all of these small moments on Other Directions where one added layer of vocals or synth makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Rhythms fall out of place and tones are maximized in resonance and scope in these special places. The self titled track “Other Directions” takes my senses to the highest place on this album, glowing with a bright light as synthesizers, vocals, drums and the rest create a web of so many emotions. The rhythm is very lively and when it all crashes out and leaves room for the synth, I find myself completely encased inside something I know I don’t want to depart with. Once the beat comes back in, the vocals create one of the most dreamy affects of the album and it’s these little savory moments in the album that really make Other Directions stand out. After this song, when initially hearing the record, I called it a night and I entered a world of complete peace because of it.
“You Tope, Ya?”, the first song on Other Directions, starts the album off with the essence of what experimental electronic music is up to right now. An electro-groove takes shape over criss crossing vocals and melodies and as the song becomes digitally enhanced, the overtone of a wind instrument pushes the song into a much more relaxed and organic state. The shape shifting has now begun in full effect and the drop out moment with no percussion that ensues after this section sounds like the mystic calling of music well before the recorded age. The track becomes a smooth and burning escape into down tempo and illustrious tones in the remainder of the piece. Producers can’t even fit this much diversity in a track let alone entire albums. It’s a remarkable time travel into different shades of what electronics offers in the big picture. Mirrored melodic layers jump around the mix as the beat moves on with an airy breath. When the vocal sample interlude comes in close to the end, the bass is hypnotic and shows how organic and lush the album can transition to at the drop of a dime.
The last track “Looseleaf Head-Full” is as an intoxicating and timeless song and has one of the most menacing and driving bass lines of the set. It is the most unique song of the set with its surpirsingly smooth though layers of synth that unfold every bar. It’s a true headphone exeprience that reveals itself in full detail only if the listener can process it all. “Looseleaf Head-Full” sounds closer to Squarepusher than it does any of the Brainfeeder stuff coming out right now that is a nice depature from what’s sprouting out in these times. “Topgurl (Jondy’s Lady)” feels like one of the most twisted and sonically juxtaposed songs of the record. It feels like multiple songs were placed over one another in a sequence where nothing trips up over anything else yet the emotional impact shows both sides of the spectrum simulataneously. The sax layer that is sampled in brings a whole different aspect to the song with the down south grimy futuristic beat that keeps the song moving forward. Psychedelic tones wash out the ending of the song as machine gun like drum patterns splash into this haze of sound. It’s hard to process anything after a song like that, something I love feeling in a world where paths become easier and easier to trace with the newer artists.
The vocals, drum patterns, synth lines, samples and wind instruments are of the most angelic and futuristic nature on this record and make me come back to Other Directions time after time in complete awe. Every section is fitted with sheets of endless sound, something that flows with how my mind loves to process art the most. It feels like DJ Nobody, Teebs, Nosaj Thing and many others have set out masterful blueprints into the connection of beauty and the beat and Earnest Blount finds his own seat on this expanding panel in Other Directions.
Below is one of the latest tracks Earnest Blount uploaded to his Soundcloud page.