Friday, December 30, 2016


MARIELLE V JAKOBSONS was (is?) in the band Date Palms who I'm wondering if I ever actually heard. I remember people talking about them, and I see they released a record on Thrill Jockey in 2013. Ms. Jakobsons has just released this 2016 solo record Star Core on the same label. At first glance I might call it a synth record, as that seems to be the basis of the sound, and the sci-fi atmosphere is thick, but it's thankfully not that simple. Much more is going on; no drums or anything, but gentle heavy bass guitar on each track, Far East strings and/or melodies sprinkled throughout, occasional ethereal vocals that threaten to pull the whole thing into a dream pop category, all hovering at a near-precise midpoint between light and dark, earth and space, etc. Another winner from Thrill Jockey, who've been at it for almost 25 years now, still releasing more and more diverse and interesting stuff at such a high rate that I simply can't keep up. Take just this Jakobson record and add one more like the Circuit des Yeux record from last year; I can barely process that much heaviness in so short of time; I need years for these two records, let alone all the other stuff Thrill Jockey has put out like Rhyton, Jackie Lynn, Oozing Wound, Thalia Zedek Band, Mary Lattimore & Jeff Ziegler, Kid Millions, Lightning Bolt, and that's just in the last 2 years... (P.S. I just used the popular streaming service Spotify to listen to the Date Palms release on Thrill Jockey. It's called The Dusted Sessions, and to me it sounds a lot like the Marielle Jakobsons solo record... all the elements described above are already in place. I'm not sure how many others are involved, and what they might be doing, but it would seem to be Jakobsons's vision.)

POSTSCRIPT: I'm always picking up the Chicago Reader when it comes out on Thursdays and finding out about something amazing showing or playing in town that very weekend, in just 24 to 48 hours... how am I gonna get the momentum, not to mention childcare, to go to something like that in some far corner of the city? That happened last weekend when I read about this year's iteration of the EYEWORKS FESTIVAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION. Their feature presentation was a 74-minute 1979 animated film called Habfurdo by Kovasznay Gyory. You can watch it without subtitles on YouTube (see below), and it's a dazzling, crowded, always evolving vision of a rather simple Hungarian big-city love triangle, so simple that it's confusing and Fellini-esque as your eye keeps following the dazzling animated psychedelic design tangents instead of what the characters are saying or doing. The Eyeworks Festival also showed a couple of really nice-looking shorts programs, but alas it only ran for two days and I missed it all. They do have a really cool tumblr though, and maybe I can plan better next year.

And while we're still in the 'eyeball kicks' section, I don't think we've officially recommended the new ROBERT BEATTY book Floodgate Companion, as beautifully published by Floating World Comics. "Otherworldly" doesn't even come close as you turn the pages and go through portal after portal, many of them playful and beautiful, harshness brief and intermittent, but weirdness constant. Although, I could swear Belial from Basket Case (d. Frank Henenlotter, 1982) is lurking on every tenth or fifteenth page, which is kinda creepy.

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