Articles by "Speaker Snacks, Author at PORTALS"
m_o_d_e_s or “modes” is an anagram of “demos” and was originally supposed to be just that; a bundle of orphan, rough-cut outtakes. Instead, Marten Roork (a.k.a. Tomemitsu) decided to run with them, reshaping the tracks until they had some noticeable cohesion. And with the help of mother nature and a number of random occurrences, he was able to do just that. What’s left in its wake is a timeless 8-track album that shape-shifts and transforms with each and every listen.
Stream m_o_d_e_s, and read Tomemitsu‘s breakdown of said release below:
About two years ago I moved to Echo Park in Los Angeles and started playing in a band called Basement Babies and another, now defunct, band called Free Camp. I had also been doing cello drones with my friend Tim aka Tenstairs in a project called EagleScouts. All the while I had been writing some solo stuff on the side for myself and would give songs to my close friends for their thoughts. My buddy Andy, who used to play guitar for Basement Babies, was always really enthusiastic about me doing something with the songs. I had sent him “Thinkin’ Bout the Word” and he told me he made out with a hot girl to it, that was really funny and cool.
In the spring of 2011 I wrote “In Dreams” one day after coming home from work, feeling pretty melancholy about a recent failed relationship and exasperated from LA traffic. I laid down a very simple beat and recorded some guitar over it. I remember making an effort to keep the music simple—I mean it’s only 3 chords, so that when I wrote the lyrics they would have more freedom to roam. They ended up being pretty personal. I guess many of my songs are, but this had much more readable lyrical content than songs that I had written previously. I wanted the lyrics to be something that stuck in your head, so I tried just repeating one line like thirty times and changing the lyrical responses. It was a really fun and fruitful exercise.
That coming summer I came across the post for the PORTALS Summer Mixtape and decided to give submitting a shot. After the very positive feedback I received from Tripp (PORTALS) I became more confident with the idea of releasing my solo work. I wrote a few more songs that were like weird keyboardy pop songs and at the same time was also making weird beats because I also love house music. I had chosen the name “modes” because it is an anagram of “demos” and I thought that would be neat to have all these different ideas grouped together, but I was wrong haha. Originally I had intended for ‘m_o_d_e_s’ to be kind of like a sampler of the things I was doing, but after careful consideration I decided to go back and make something more cohesive where the songs had similar elements rather than many different styles mushed together.
To achieve this cohesion I listened back to “In Dreams” and tried to think about the things that really clicked for me when writing that song. Aside from being purposefully simple and catchy, one thing that I was proud of from that session was the amount of ambient and environmental sounds that you can hear on the recording. I was reading a biography on Brian Eno at the time (on some faraway beach) and was really into the idea of using random processes to come about with answers to my problems.
I became enamored with this method of recording with the doors and windows open, hoping to pick up any outsider sound. I would do things like turn up the input volume on my Macbook to the the max and whisper the words into the mic, or go outdoors and sit on my stoop to record guitar parts. Just a lot of counter-intuitive things and people would say “that’s a no-no” if you were trying to record correctly. It was a blast and really liberating actually. Doing things like that gave me inspiration every time I would sit down to record. There was this element of chance during recording that made every take exciting. Like, oh I can hit record and all these other elements besides my music will have their place, even if I have no control over those elements. One instance of this is when you hear the sound of an airplane in “In Dreams”, and I’m singing, “I only want to feel the flight before the fall.” Things like that are magical and give me goosebumps. You can’t plan that.
The latest single from Mexican Summer darlings No Joy, “Hare Tarot Lies”, first rattled my eardrums late last month at Austin Psych Fest. Playing to a semi-packed tent of glossy-eyed twenty-somethings, No Joy showed poise and maturity, playing one of the best—if not the best—shows at this year’s 3-day gathering. Since, I’ve had “Hare Tarot Lies” on constant rotation. I simply cannot recommend this track and their new album enough.
Snag No Joy‘s Wait To Pleasure LP—featuring “Hare Tarot Lies”—here.
And watch the accompanying music video below:
Over the past couple months, up-and-coming Chicago producer Spectre Waltz—a PORTALS favorite—quietly released not one, but two stellar remixes on his otherwise sparse SoundCloud page. One is a dance-sensible remix of Justin Timberlake‘s “My Love”, and the other is a synth-drenched remix of the Michael Jackson classic “Lady in my Life”. I generally steer clear of remixes, but these are simply too infectiously good to overlook.
Oh, and if, for whatever reason, you haven’t heard Spectre Waltz‘s debut EP yet, I recommend you stop whatever you’re doing and listen to it.
Stream both remixes, and read what he had to say about each track below:
For the Justin Timberlake remix, I tried to combine my love for 808s with some house type shit. JT has always been a huge inspiration since I started making music, so this remix happened really naturally. I think it went well, I’m super happy with it.
I’m obsessed with chopped and screwed music and pretty much anything that has a slow, slimy groove to it. I seriously can’t get enough of the stuff. Since I was a child, Michael Jackson was prominent in my life, so this remix also kinda just happened. The slowness of it feels so right.
Single Lash is a lovely, uber-talented 3-piece noise/shoegaze outfit out of Austin, TX that I’ve recently become quite fond of since my recent inception into Austin’s burgeoning music scene. They are intensely reserved and thoughtful individuals, yet they’ll annihilate your ears with undeniable rhythms and cavernous vocal hooks at the drop of a dime (aka with each listen/during every show). Their debut full-length, Almost Breathing, is a tried and true testament to the above, highlighting the intensely emotional tug-of-war I feel when ingesting their aural offerings.
Enter Austin’s Mellisa Cha, the director, videographer, and visionary behind Single Lash‘s brand new music video for Almost Breathing standout “Recurring Dreams”. She effortlessly creates the perfect visual companion for Single Lash‘s sound—a realm that is both dark and majestic all the same.
via director Mellisa Cha:
All the footage was shot in an old tennis court and our living room, where we spent a lot of time playing with some lazers I’d rented. I wanted to experiment with organic visual effects during the shooting process that I could digitally curb or emphasize in editing. “Recurring Dream” has a really nice dynamic between hard and soft – machine driven rhythms cut through layers of shifting guitar and vocal textures. I tried to visually emulate this dynamic while complementing the overall emotional tone of the song. You know, like a music video!
via Single Lash’s Nick Nadeau:
‘Almost Breathing’ is our official debut album. It consists of ten predominantly downbeat aural structures given skeletal form by the subtlety driving rhythm section, fleshed out with reverbed guitar textures. It is currently available for download or on CD and It will be released on cassette by Whatever Forever early this year.
Introducing Pascäal, a new side-project from Austin, Texas via Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Peter Wiley. Formerly of Subvader—a PORTALS favorite—Wiley aka Pascäal draws undeniable inspiration from all known corners of European dub, trance, and vintage house. Both “Lamborghini” and “Apollo” are viciously addictive, overflowing with heaps upon heaps of pulsating percussion and mesmerizing rhythms. These tracks are beyond description…and that’s just the way I like it.
With that said, let loose on these bad boys–you’ll thank me later.