“Surreal” doesn’t even begin to describe it. “Dalí Jazz” signals a detour for beatmaker Rapunzel8083, who has recently been focused on making straightforward tracks. This latest song, though, is anything but straightforward – it’s nine minutes of discombobulated thoughts strung into one number, the sort of madness you’d expect from the dream logic of Un Chien Andalou. Listing the directions “Dalí Jazz” takes reads like an exercise in listing various musical genres – it jumps from 1920’s crooning to glitchy electronica/jazz to sad Spanish horn sounds to a fragile section that could have come from Camelot (the one with knights). Asking “why” seems a bit pointless, just sit back and go with it. Listen below.
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This shouldn’t be so majestic – most of it is just the same beat repeating, and it lasts just over two minutes. It is, for the most part, not complex. But Rapunzel8083 hints at what’s coming from the start, how the beat and stray waves of synth are joined by trilling strings, which at first just add an air of refinement to the beat. Yet after about a minute, they go away for a few beats only to suddenly gush back as…something powerful. It’s a moment suited for a Terrence Malick movie, not a beat tape, and the fact it is a fleeting gesture of beauty, one that soon vanishes into the void, makes it even more poignant. Thankfully, the “play” button is right over there. Listen below.
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The first time I listened to Rapunzel8083, it was a seven-minute song zipping all over the place, an interstellar epic told in under ten minutes. “Soul Scream” sounds “epic” in a different way, not defined by technical length or the same criteria used by a large chunk of the Internet (“just ate an epic DQ Blizzard YOLO”). No, this sounds like a three-minute version of the Tale Of Gilgamesh, the sort of epic noise reserved for a Roman emperor or at least a legend. Or, like, Khal Drogo from Game Of Thrones. The big draws of “Soul Scream” are the Middle-Eastern samples, from the throaty vocal sample to the music surrounding it. Rapunzel8083 lets these huge sounds dominate the song, save for the weird touch of what sounds like two people clearing their throats to one another. Every epic needs small details, though. Listen below.
UPDATE: Welp, the above song isn’t online anymore. Rapunzel8083 did post another…briefer!…track, which you can hear below.
I don’t know whether Rapunzel8083 pulled the vocal sample at the heart of “指の呪文” out of this clip or another recording of a song featuring the same name as her latest track, but wherever it comes from it ends up being one of the more attention-grabbing sounds I’ve heard in a Japanese song this year. Whereas most electronic artists in this country and beyond pull voices from R&B, Rapunzel8083 summons one from the world of classical singing, a voice with the sort of timbre to be cast as a chorus in some Greek tragedy. Oresteia this isn’t though, as Rapunzel8083 harnesses that dramatic voice and sews it into a hop-scotch beat, one filled out by appropriately moody piano and a few digital wrinkles that remind us this isn’t a song for ancient Athens, but rather Earth 2012. Like her previous works, “指の呪文” ends up twisting into a new form late in the track, piano pushed to the forefront and the general drama of the whole song upped quite a bit. It’s not quite as mind melting as some of Rapunzel8083’s other uploads, but one that is much more patient and refined. Listen below.
March ended up being a bit of a strange month, at least by the looks of the mix. There are moments of straight-forward pop, like on TalkingCity1994’s “Long Hot Summer Remembered” and The Mari On The Beach’s “AM Boy/FM Girl.” Yet even those otherwise pleasurable cuts go through filters that turn them into stranger things. Elsewhere, Madegg acts like Madegg, while Tokyo’s DUB-Russel offer up a cacophonous number that is far more than just noise. Finishing the mix is Rapunzel8083’s constantly morphing “月光,” a journey all its own.
Below is a list of artists and songs appearing in this month’s mix, in chronological order. Click the links to read more about them and find out how to buy/get their music. All artists featured gave me permission to include their music in this mix.
TalkingCity1994 “Long Hot Summer Remembered” – From the I Can Feel Your Soul EP. Free download here.
Madegg “Zudon” – From the Teach EP, on Flau Records. Buy here.
The Mari On The Beach “AM Boy/FM Girl” – From Get Out Of Making Music. Buy it here.
DUB-Russel “Choose Low” – From Prank Poles. Buy here.
Rapunzel8083 “月光” – Online upload. Listen to more here.
Thoughts upon first finding Rapunzel8083: “Oh, look here, an artist somehow connected to everyone’s favorite all-over-the-place beat scene INNIT. Not sure how, but this artist with a name worthy of a YouTube user knows Madegg so good enough for me. Hmmm, that probably means I know what to expect – Brainfeeder-esque beats with out-of-time digital burps and a general out-of-this-world vibe that, hey, I really like, I just hope Rapunzel8083 finds a way to carve out a unique identity like most of the INNIT crew instead of becoming wannabe Flying Lotus. Welp, lets click play on this track.”
Thoughts upon hearing “Gekkou” (translates to “Moonlight”) for the first time: “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”
Thoughts upon gathering myself: “Well, the seven-minute play time should have hinted me off that this wouldn’t be a typical beat…but even then, other INNIT folks have gone over the five-minute mark. Thing is, they usually stick to one main beat and make some minor changes over the course of the track. Rapunzel8083 made a space opera, like whoever this is listened to Cosmogramma and said ‘this is great, but I bet I can condense it into seven minutes.’ I mean this thing starts with disembodied opera voices lost in a void before lasers blast all over the place and then…it just keeps taking turn after turn. Tie-Fighter sounds give way to skippy vocal samples to what sounds like interstellar bat howls. Then…more lasers, but different! Clanking percussion and…is that a Portishead sample emerging from whatever nebula we’ve just flown by? Doesn’t last long, replaced by screaming I would normally associate with the alien from Alien bursting out of someone’s chest. Finally, a soft, 8-bit landing. Whoa.”
Thoughts upon a few more minutes of thinking: “How does INNIT find these people?”
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