scallops hotel – sovereign nose of (y)our arrogant face

– featured image courtesy of kristina pederson –

album of the fortnight” is a bi-weekly feature that digs into a recent release of note.  the articles will run roughly during the middle and at the end of each month, always on a friday; the album or body of work in question will have been released at some point during that two-week span.  this column focuses on art that resonates deeply, on pieces that necessitate more than just a knee-jerk reaction.  first up this year: scallops hotel.

The annals of rory ferreira can be found scattered throughout both this website and the greater ether.  since 2011, ferreira has charted a course under the moniker milo that seems nearly unparalleled in quality of creative output and do-it-yourself success; for almost as long, ferreira has also released more intimate, improvised, and largely self-produced efforts as scallops hotel.

sovereign nose of (y)our arrogant face, released in the hours preceding the new year, rests in the latter camp.  the mixtape’s eleven tracks are brief but potent snippets of consciousness, laid down in brooklyn over the course of an early autumn weekend.  like previous scallops hotel ventures, the instrumentals across sovereign nose are supplied by ferreira himself, save for co-production by host steel tipped dove on “sedan,” and dwell largely on the symbiotic relationship between sustained, contemplative piano chords and the wisps of silence following their release.

that aural theme is speckled with flittering motifs and concrete boom-bap pulses, a versatile canvas that allows ferreira to easily run a gamut of emotions in verse.  ferocity wanes to reflexiveness on opening number “a terror way beyond falling” before waxing back to full strength, while playful turns of phrase dot the brief spell that is “leisure.”  the mixtape’s lone guest spot displays perhaps the most blatant juxtaposition of vocal and instrumental timbres, as youngman delivers an abrasive, searing whirlwind of a verse over tinkling keys on “private temple hours.”

sovereign nose scallops hotel

lest its brevity suggest that consumption should be quick, sovereign nose comes packed with ferreira’s wealth of pop culture nods and his affinity for vocabulary; a studious listener would do well to sit down with any required reference materials and parse out as much of the mixtape as possible.  amidst the aforementioned and his pledged allegiance to ruby yacht lie straightforward truths like “i find myself in the same place / aimlessly wandering systemic violence with amazing grace,” the opening couplet on “the method (jawgems pausing in the hotel lobby)” and the mixtape’s title as mantra, coming to a head as the beautifully-mumbled cadence in “rank, title, pressures.”

sovereign nose of (y)our arrogant face is billed as the second in a trilogy of mixtapes, following last summer’s over the carnage rose a voice prophetic.  while the latter is peppered with vocals manipulated by effects processors, the former is comparatively clean, and, consequently, a bit less sonically disorienting.  listened to in succession, sovereign nose plays an even more explicit foil to over the carnage, making the aural structure of the trilogy’s impending final installment that much more intriguing.

at this point, every release involving rory ferreira is appointment listening.  sovereign nose of (y)our arrogant face, out now via ferreira’s ruby yacht label, is admirable work and sets the bar high early in 2018.  stream the mixtape in full below.

ness nite – “expectations”

– featured image courtesy of derrick koch –

after a string of impressive standalone singles, ness nite became fully realized on her debut extended play, last summer’s nite time.  the title served as both a declaration of arrival and a nod to a decidedly nocturnal aura; there are sly bits of swagger inserted throughout, but nite time is largely tender and mood-oriented, the soundtrack to a comedown.

shortly thereafter, ness nite signed to the nascent passion of the weiss recordings and decamped to new york, her sights set on a full length.  relocation proved fruitful; ness nite retained the services of co-producer mike frey throughout the writing process, and enlisted alex tumay to handle the mixing and mastering of dream girl, her first album-length collection of songs.

ahead of the album’s arrival lies “expectations,” a chilly, potent cut that distills ness nite’s aesthetic into an easily-digestible concoction.  two subsequent hooks develop over sparse, atmospheric production; a quick pause to steady herself, and ness nite dives into the verse, leaning back on her triplets before leaning in and subdividing her delivery as the content becomes more confident.  if “expectations” is any hint, dream girl should find an incredibly gifted artist meticulously honing her craft even further this time around.

dream girl arrives in early 2018; get acclimated with “expectations,” streaming below.

websterx – “blue streak”

– featured image courtesy of damien blue –

websterx is a slightly enigmatic figure who holds court in milwaukee, a sometimes-overlooked yet increasingly vital hub for rap music in the midwest.  he’s also been rather quiet for the past year; his last single, “kinfolk,” an invigorating collaboration with fellow midwesterner allan kingdom, arrived in october of 2015 and was followed the next month by his kidx ep, but there’s been radio silence – in terms of new music – ever since.

“blue streak” endeavors to do a couple of things.  one is to saturate a fanbase parched of thirst after eleven months without another websterx track; the other is to usher in the next chapter of his career.  after culling a following based off of the strength of singles and vivid videos alone, websterx has signed a distribution contract with chicago-based closed sessions as he looks towards releasing his first full-length album.

websterx links with the producer four giants on “blue streak” for an end result that’s as rigid and militant as can be spacious and pensive, an amalgam of aesthetics that simultaneously seems to reject any sense of genre confines.  the title and release date of his debut album are pending; for now, float away with websterx on his long-overdue – and much-welcomed – new single.

 

saba – “church / liquor store”

featured image courtesy of bryan allen lamb –

chance the rapper may be the most visible entity in chicago’s vibrant, multi-faceted hip-hop community, but so many integral cogs in that machine exist just beneath the surface.  three such cogs collide on “church / liquor store”; the track may bear saba’s moniker at the forefront, but it hinges just as much on cam o’bi’s liquid production and noname’s dexterous guest verse as it does on the west side native’s vivid word painting.

in a year that has already delivered coloring book, mick jenkins’ the healing component, and noname’s indispensable telefone mixtape, the latest cut from saba’s forthcoming bucket list project feels like a warranted punctuation mark, another visceral examination of adverse daily life.  take a listen to “church / liquor store” below.

most anticipated albums of fall 2016

– featured image courtesy of minimally minimal –

the home stretch of each year always provides a plethora of new albums vying for contention in year-end best-of reviews.  invariably, at least one heavy-hitter holds onto a project until the quarter is almost over before unleashing it and messing with the internet’s ballots by proxy (here’s looking at you, the weeknd and lorde).  the full list for this fall is exhausting; google searches and metacritic are good tools to keep yourself in the know, but we’ve also compiled a handful of albums we’re especially itching to dig into.  read on for more detailed explanations.

mick-jenkins-the-healing-componentmick jenkins – the healing component
september 23rd (free nation)

after years of building anticipation, mick jenkins will finally release his long-awaited debut album, the healing component, tomorrow.  if early looks like “spread love,” “drowning,” and “fall through” are indicatives of the album’s tenor, then the healing component should more than clear the high bar jenkins has imposed on himself.

jenny-hval-blood-bitchjenny hval – blood bitch
september 30th (sacred bones)

only a little more than a year has passed since jenny hval released her excellent apocalypse, girl, but the norwegian composer and songwriter has already completed a follow-up album, blood bitch.  hval’s new effort is billed as an about-face from its predecessor and has been bolstered by the strengths of lead single “female vampire” and “period piece,” a standout component of this year’s adult swim singles series.

unnamed-1moses sumney – lamentations
september 30th (self-released)

moses sumney’s live performances are a wonder to behold, and his recorded music is nearly emotive.  after thriving off of a handful of singles and his debut ep, mid-city island, sumney will self-release his latest extended play at the end of this month, but be on the lookout for his much-anticipated debut album sometime soon after.

takuya-kuroda-zigzaggertakuya kuroda – zigzagger
october 7th (concord records)

those not familiar with japanese bandleader and trumpeter takuya kuroda would do well to pick up his 2014 album, rising son, a perfect union of jazz, hip-hop, and r&b.  kuroda and his band continue to hone that aesthetic on zigzagger, his fifth studio album and first for concord records.  for a primer, start with the album’s lead-off single, “r.s.b.d.”

ricky eat acid talk to you soon.pngricky eat acid – talk to you soon
october 28th (terrible records)

sam ray will return to his ricky eat acid moniker at the end of next month to release the project’s first full-length in over two years.  2014’s three love songs is a timeless masterpiece, and ray’s divergence from its ambient magnetic pull on subsequent singles, mixtapes, and eps suggest that talk to you soon may be broader in scope and ambition, but almost certainly as uniquely emotive as its predecessor.

– other notable releases –

bon iver – 22, a million (september 30th)
danny brown – atrocity exhibition (september 30th)
s u r v i v e – rr7349 (september 30th)
ahem – just wanna be (october 7th)
jagwar ma – every now & then (october 14th)
american football – american football (october 21st)
the radio dept. – running out of love (october 21st)
forth wanderers – slop (november 11th)
the weeknd – starboy (november 25th)
childish gambino – pharos (tba)
chromatics – dear tommy (tba)
vancouver sleep clinic – tba (tba)

 

 

mick jenkins – “spread love”

– featured image courtesy of lawrence agyei –

for mick jenkins, the end game has always been the healing component.  the chicago-based rapper began garnering widespread critical acclaim with his cerebral 2014 mixtape the water[s] – though stalwart fans recognize his catalogue dates back even further – and punctuated that success with last summer’s wave[s], a comparatively lighter collection of songs that also served as his first commercial release.

while both the water[s] and wave[s] are impressive, fully-realized bodies of work, they serve as precursors to the healing component, jenkins’ frequently-mentioned magnum opus that will double as his proper debut album.  today, jenkins erased the final smudges of ambiguity surrounding the project; the healing component is set to drop september 23rd via free nation, and accompanying the album’s announcement is its lead single, “spread love.”

the track hinges on producer sango’s combination of swirling electric piano presets and stuttering drum programming, which together carve out ample pockets to accommodate jenkins’ rapid-fire bars.  but “spread love” arguably reaches its full potential when jenkins eases into its titular hook, elongating syllables in a descending cadence that echoes his propensity for low-key melodic exploration on prior works.  take a listen to the song below.

ness nite – “sigh”

– featured image courtesy of derrick koch – 

ness nite should already be on your radar.  vanessa reliford’s output this year has been nothing short of outstanding, and the minneapolis producer and singer has now bottled that momentum in the form of nite time, her debut ep that was self-released digitally on monday.  the project’s half-dozen tracks are a mixture of both familiar and unexplored territory – joining “yes,” “reverse,” and “lilith” are a trio of previously-unreleased songs – but its sequencing is paramount, resulting in a cohesive, dusky soundscape that retains an enormous amount of elasticity.

positioned at the forefront of nite time is “sigh,” a track of such caliber that a truncated live rendition performed this spring already read as one of the strongest singles of the year.  the finished version arguably doubles down on this claim; the titular sighs are evident in both reliford’s cadences and in the flat-out exhausted state her lyrics convey, but it’s her haunting wordless, melismas that glue the track together: eerie interludes punctuated by rubbery bass interjections and a hypnotic sample, reversed and perpetually looped.

the final minute of “sigh” is purely instrumental, a chopped and screwed coda that’s as much a nod to reliford’s production prowess as it is to her capacity for patience.  after such a saturated introduction to every facet of her aesthetic, the end of “sigh” allows nite time a crucial moment to breathe, to collect itself before fully submerging.  listen below.

 

premiere – wealthy relative

– featured image courtesy of justin sengly –

today, forke picks the microphone back up for “sage bundle,” the lead single off of a forthcoming wealthy relative ep and the first in a series of songs scheduled for release every wednesday over the next four weeks.  handling production this time around is the elusive relative newcomer goth fieri, who has likewise spent most of 2016 posting beats to soundcloud when he’s not busy collaborating with other underground electronic artists.

“sage bundle” is predicated on a woozy, cyclical sample – a gravitron coming to a halt on an endless feedback loop, its patrons forever trying to steady themselves.  forke is trying to steady himself, too; a pair of wandering verses seek solace in the cascading arpeggios that eventually saturate the foreground, priming isolated moments of clarity as forke delivers the song’s quixotic, mantra-esque hook.  “sage bundle” premieres on the dimestore, below.  try to find some nicer magic.

ness nite – “yes”

– featured image courtesy of derrick koch –

ness nite’s output in 2016 has been sparse but powerful; three singles form a composite sketch of the sensual, nocturnal atmosphere vanessa reliford has fastidiously cultivated from scratch, each pairing downtempo production with a chameleonic vocal delivery system capable of transitioning from melismatic hooks to rapid-fire bars at a moment’s notice.  throw in this impeccable live rendition of an unreleased track, “sigh,” and it becomes even more apparent that ness nite is poised to ascend the steps of a higher platform.

while we’re still a couple of months out from a full-length ness nite project, today does mark the arrival of the music video for her standout cut, “yes,” which features a guest vocal from nick jordan and extra production from collaborator mike frey.  reliford flows through grassy fields with a supporting coreographed cast in tow in the conner evert-directed clip, though the scene’s unassuming consonance is slowly consumed by a nighttime ceremonial bonfire of sorts.  after only aurally experiencing ness nite for months, this video for “yes” is the perfect visual accompaniment.  watch below.

mick jenkins – “the artful dodger”

mick jenkins
photo courtesy of the artist

chicago rapper mick jenkins has been hinting at his debut album for years, and now it appears that the healing component will arrive sometime in 2016.  for now, jenkins has shared a new track called “the artful dodger” that boasts a deep, who’s-who roster of prior collaborators; kaytranada, thempeople, and badbadnotgoood tag-team the samples and production that serve as fodder for jenkins’ rapid-fire verses and languid hooks.  listen to “the artful dodger” below.