Listen to the Floom Sounds Spotify playlist here! We'll update it with every new instalment.
In The Trees (Carl Craig C2 Remix #1) - Faze Action
Detroit techno don Carl Craig did a few remixes of Faze Action’s cult classic track - I’ve picked the first version to launch this week’s Floom Sounds with a refreshing bang. For just over ten minutes, Craig let’s loose with blaring synths, nervy strings and a stomping beat that offers crescendo after impossible crescendo. The intricacies and subtleties of Craig’s output may be more apparent in other examples of his work (don’t think I’ll ever tire of his stunning Delia and Gavin rework) but sometimes simple pleasures are just as rewarding. Simultaneously smile-inducing but also perfectly suited to dark basements filled with sweaty, writhing bodies, it’s relentless dance floor fun.
Nature Without Man - Minutemen
Far more than just the band whose song got used for the Jackass titles, Minutemen were always one of the most interesting bands to come to prominence during the indie/punk explosion of 80s America. Like most of the tracks on their seminal Double Nickels On The Dime, ‘Nature Without Man’ is a short, sharp stab of Mike Watt’s post-punk bass-playing and D. Boon’s obtuse, highly charged lyrics. I can’t help but end with an excerpt from Michael Azerrad’s excellent book, This Band Will Save Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 (which also takes its title from a Minutemen song:
“I’m not religious about God,” Boon agreed, “I’m religious about Man.” “We believe in average guys,” said Watt. “What happens is, the system makes them all fuckheads.” “And I want to try to snap them out of that,” said Boon. “That’s why I write these songs, OK?”
Napping Under The Echo Tree - Milo
So The Flies Don’t Come by Californian rapper Milo was one of the most criminally underrated records of 2015. Maybe it’s his deceptively laid back style in an era of hyper-manic Young Thugs and righteously angry Kendrick Lamars, but in the right setting Milo’s beautiful and intricate lyrics are transportative like few other rappers out there. ‘Napping Under The Echo Tree’ is one of the choicest cuts: woozy, organic sounds weave in and out of phrases like:
That devotional organ, my memory, I remember
The riddle written on my rib cage
The eternal recurrence of the same
The being of all becoming
The hammer and the heaviest thought banged into absurdity
I wasted my life microwaving jalapeno poppers
A love song for whom socks represent eudaemonia…
Wildflowers (Long Hair With Stocking Cap) - Prurient
I should probably preface this with a warning that the music of noise pioneer Dominic Fernow is not for the faint of heart. Prurient is probably the best known of his many aliases, achieving (very) minor crossover success with the black metal-indebted techno of 2013’s Through The Window and last year’s straight up opus of experimental noise Frozen Niagara Falls, from which this track is taken. It’s pretty representative of the album as a whole: distorted blast beats and piercing feedback fight for the foreground with Fernow’s tortured, barely decipherable howls. Succumb to it completely however and you begin to pick out elements of cathartic beauty amongst the despair: churchly synth lines appear and the white noise becomes a wash of glorious cleansing. Frozen Niagara Falls was arguably my favourite release of last year and nothing fills me with more joy than exposing his work to a new (albeit unsuspecting!) audience.
(Also, if it makes you feel any more comfortable, even Pitchfork, your totally-independent-recently-acquired-by-Condé-Nast cool music overlords, gave this record a great review…)
Mahogany Dread - Hiss Golden Messenger
After what was one comfortably the most challenging track to grace Floom Sounds to date, I thought it best to finish up with something from a genre as far removed from the noise scene as it’s possible to get, yet one that I’m just as much of a sucker for… Mahogany Dread is a perfect dose of uplifting/wistful Americana, carried by the voice and lyrics of the eternally underrated M. C. Taylor aka Hiss Golden Messenger. This track was the lead single from his 2014 album Lateness Of Strangers, but if you want to explore further I can’t recommend 2012’s Poor Moon highly enough: a deeply personal and thoughtful exploration of Christian faith that even resonated with a heathen like me.