By: John Gaudes
Every month, John Gaudes (@johngaudes) writes about a new release from the previous month and spins a mix based on the artist’s influences and peers. We call it the SP Mix.
So, Vine died last week. The app that popularized six second videos got the axe from Twitter, and now it exists in some weird flux –- users are either saying goodbye or Vining, Vining against the dying of the light. Heck, I’m still Vining my TV screen when something cool happens in sports.
Vine, of course, was more than my dumb Norman Powell videos. The app was sincere in its limitations –- your videos have to be square and six seconds long –- and was always captivating for being different things to different groups. Each will have reason to miss it.
For sports fans, it was the delivery method for highlights –- where you could loop Zach LaVine dunks like you were snorting lines of cocaine. For entertainers, it was a creative space –- where you could simultaneously show how funny you were, and how you could operate within the app’s constraints.
In its eccentricity, Vine was a community of sorts. It was rewarding to be a member; if you scrolled enough, different corners revealed themselves to you. It got easier to find the weird underbelly after 2014 too, when the app’s user base contracted slowly, giving in to Instagram video and Snapchat. Vine didn’t mind. Its users birthed woozy 8mm nature videos, remix threads where different users would create music collaboratively, even feature-length movies told six seconds at a time.
One of the stranger forms that I got into was one off in its own safe space, where American and Japanese beat-makers would put their minimal electronic music to film, TV clips, and anime.
The beats themselves aren’t quite electronic enough to be vaporwave, and not quite muscular enough to be hip hop. The mixtape creators that bore these Vines are a strange offspring of J Dilla; with thick, dusty beats laid under piano, jazz, and lightly painted soul samples –- ending shortly after they begin.
Of course, this music exists outside the app and has grown in popularity as the months have gone by. This fall, a few releases shone, and stood out to me as good introductions to the genre. You won’t have Vine much longer, so you’ll have to start here.
flavors – autumn
flavors’ latest is a look at how warm this genre can sound. Appropriately titled autumn tape, these songs are the musical equivalent of a down jacket. They benefit from the backbeats being low in the mix, so the instrument bits can really shine.
Each song on the 11-minute tape starts soft, eventually blanketing you with warm horn and piano sections before disappearing. “palette” makes good use of a Spirited Away sample, sounding like a modern Debussy interpretation.
lee (asano + ryuhei) – fwl
Ryuhei Asano – aka Lee – has a decent history with organic beat-making, featured in Pitchfork’s Rising series back in 2014. His song “TANHA” from that year is an example of his cut-and-paste stylings, where samples are blended with Japanese dialogue over piano and simple, slow beats. He also does his own cover artwork, which resembles the patchwork nature of his music.
Lee’s work has been prolifically uploaded to Bandcamp over the past four years, where he has 19 mixtapes available. The latest is fwl, which delivers some stunning vocal samples on tracks like “forget” and “goodbye”, all pitched and warped in disorienting fashion.
eli filosov [ p h i l o] – 2007
Long-anticipated from Eli Filosov, who grew in popularity on Soundcloud under the p h i l o moniker, is the 48-minute 2007 mixtape. Filosov’s strongest asset are his beats, which turn old-school hip hop rhythms into dark, plodding footsteps. Those beats and his wobbly samples come together to create a disquieting sound, as haunting tracks like “oneofone_rwrk” are perfect for rainy day drives. The only jolting moments are his “philo” producer drops, which stick out in an otherwise mesmerizing tape.
eli filosov [p h i l o] – oneofone_rwrk
eli filosov [p h i l o] – artifacts_stbb357
tomppabeats – the girl next door
flavors – stokes
tomppabeats – darling
flavors – world
eli filosov [p h i l o] – someonelikeyou
Gene Autry – You’re My Only Star (Nils Frahm ‘78’ Recording)
tsun dealer – aqua typa
Boards of Canada – In a Beautiful Place Out In The Country
lee (asano+ryuhei) – forget
lee (asano+ryuhei) – TANHÂ
submerse x lee (asano+ryuhei) – primm
lee (asano+ryuhei) – goodbye
lee (asano+ryuhei) –三