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Stream of the Crop: 6 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

The first week of January is always pretty quiet—so that means we dug into some weird shit.

by Colin Joyce
Jan 4 2019, 6:42pm

Angel Marcloid photo by Angel Marcloid / BE3K photo courtesy the artist.

Every week, the Noisey staff puts together a list of the best and most important albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days. Sometimes it includes projects we’ve written about on the site already; sometimes it's just made up of great records that we want everyone to hear, but never got the chance to write about. The result is neither comprehensive nor fair. We hope it helps.

Nedarb: Amity

One of the chief sonic architects of the Soundcloud-born crossover between trap production and hermetic guitar music (he’s the one who sampled the Microphones for Lil Peep), offers a full-length statement of his own, both expanding and complicating his sound. As ever, Nedarb favors darkness, trading largely in murky guitars and curdled 808s that echo the malaise of his buds like Wicca Phase, Brennan Savage, and Lil Lotus that spill their souls over the top. On Amity, he pushes both into outright bleakness—with the Alice Glass-featuring “Eat Me Alive,” on which the ex-Crystal Castles singer screams over grayscale ambience—and into more colorful realms. “Throwaway” is a mumbly party track over a bubbly synth line, and the moments in which Bootychaaain makes her presence felt (on “Freak Show” and “Triflin”) are outright rave-ups. It’s exciting to hear him in both molds, perfecting the heavy shit, and learning to smile through it too.

Various Artists: Happy New Year! We Wish You Happiness!

There is something optimistic baked into the very form of techno, even at its heaviest and hardest and most gnarled—it’s reliable, a familiar centering force pushed forward on the back of a brawny kick drum. It is this spirit that informs the new record from Nina Kraviz’s Trip Records, a concept release themed around the new year. Sternum-shattering drum production might not seem like the clearest way to say “We Wish You Happiness!” but in the constant locomotion of tracks like “Rostokino Acid” by the Russian producer Buttechno—usually a mutant of sorts but here playing it straight—there is some calm and quietude. Or at least there’s enough momentum to keep you pushing forward.

DJ Healer - lostsongs vol. 2

Here are some more ore womblike electro-concoctions from the maker of 2018’s finest weepy dance record. This is the second half of a mix of all-original compositions, corraling dusty breaks, digitalist hymns, and blissed ambience. Healer’s last record was 2018’s best record for throwing on in the middle of a long flight, when the clouds were streaming below you and you were a little emotionally vulnerable from the weird oxygen situation up there. This one’s no different. Play. Cry. Repeat.

Tavishi: মশ্তিষ্কের কণ্ঠশ্বর | Voices in my head

The sound artist and scientist Sarmistha Talukdar’s new album as Tavishi covers a lot of ground, both in sound and spirit. মশ্তিষ্কের কণ্ঠশ্বর | Voices in my head is a nine-track of distended drones, hoarded field recordings, and piles of instruments both sampled and played. It’s tracks are often diffuse and murky, there are melodies, but they tend to float around each other rather than coalescing into anything especially songlike. There’s bits that sound like shoegaze, passages that play like misty new age records, and prickly, atonal passages that are straight up noise.

These are familiar textures, but there is something about the way Talukdar moves through them that feels personal. Take “I Eat Myself Alive”—one of the record’s standout tracks—a claustrophobic drone that swells into discordant string-like sounds. It’s moving without any context, but even more so when you learn that it draws on her work as a scientist—parts of the track are a sonicification of research data she produced about cancer cells eating themselves to survive, which she says is “a reflection on how marginalized members of our society have to often erase parts of themselves to just survive.” It’s heavy and beautiful, and it’s hard to imagine that it could have been made by anybody else.

BE3K: NO FAK3 FRI3NDS* NO FAK3 LOV3

It is good to start the year with a purge, to try to leave all the bad shit behind. That’s what the Mississippi producer BE3K, NO FAK3 FRI3NDS* NO FAK3 LOV3. It’s title a mission statement for the year ahead, and its contents a tense exhalation of a year of “negative energy” and loss on both a personal and existential scale. BE3K’s whispery paranoiac rapping—or anxious pitch-fucked singing, as on the creeping breakup ballad “WHY (Over M3)”— set is to slow-moving club beats, a reminder of the dancefloor’s properties of rebirth and renewal. Rather than make a bunch of tweets about what you’re leaving in 2018, listen to this record—it’ll offer all the catharsis you need to make it through another year.

Angelwings Marmalade: World Music

As Fire-Toolz, the Chicago musician Angel Marcloid makes mutant electronic music informed by a long history in noise scenes and extremely online. It’s heavy shit, but the material’s largely song-shaped. The weirder shit she saves for other monikers, like Angelwings Marmalade, under which she just released the head-spinning new tape World Music. It’s opaque, glitchy, and foreboding as a rule. Tracks either sound like skipping hard drives or glow haunted CRT TVs, or like recent Autechre releases, if you were keeping a magnet too close to the CD box set. There are also more blissed moments—like the key-agnostic swirl of “Stopping” or the screwed moans of “Gifty’s Grin”—but even those have a nauseous energy to them, like putting on a new age tape after chugging too much over the counter cough syrup. Point is, this one’s strictly for freaks. If that’s you, dig in.