Categories
Miscellaneous New Album Review

What’s New in Afterhours?: Feb 2024

It’s been a while since the last one of these, hasn’t it? Tragically, the start of 2024’s been pretty dry for new electronic releases, but here at WKNC, we push through to find only the best. Here’s a few that have been added to rotation in the past month!

Spencer Hodo – “deafness”

Genre: IDM

Tracks Added: “follaiseach,” “altwithdrawdeemedW.A.M.I.O.A,” “utqiagvik rockstar”

Yeah, this album is IDM, but Spencer Hodo plays around with what that means. Most notably is the amount of ambient techno influence on it – tracks like “follaiseach” lean hard into that territory, while still keeping some more straight-up IDM tracks, like “absorball.”

Regardless of what genre it is, “deafness” feels mechanical, with just enough ominousness to make an album that deserves its cover art. It’s a strong album, and good for those who like their electronic music on the more technical side.

Shygirl – “Club Shy”

Genre: House, pop

Tracks Added: “thicc,” “f@k€,” “4eva,” “mute”

Shygirl isn’t reinventing music in this EP, but it’s a solid 15 minutes of club-ready bangers. It’s house-y, fun, and most importantly danceable, and while a little more straightforward than some of her previous music, it’s a worthy addition to Shygirl’s discography.

“Thicc” is my personal favorite track, and exemplifies a lot of what I think is best about this release. It’s perfect to put on at just about any party, unless you go to really weird parties where you stand in complete silence or something.

cluli – “CLUECORE!”

Genre: Hyperflip

Tracks Added: “tf we gon do in our thinking chair,” “i was never book smart im clue smart,” “they besties”

Yes, we added a song that samples both Jay Eazy and the line “sticking out your gyatt for the rizzler.” But also, consider: it is, in fact, good.

Cluli brings their own take on the popular-if-you-are-a-very-specific-type-of-person microgenre of hyperflip here, leaning more into the “brostep-indebted extreme production bangers” side of things rather than the “meme sample-heavy” side, though it still brings plenty of the silliness. The result is a potential new classic, and a new artist to look forward to new releases from.

Conclusion

New music is always awesome, and these are no exception. Watch out for them playing on WKNC!

Categories
Music Education

Niche Online Genre Time: Mineral Ambient

On the internet, it has been incredibly easy to find incredibly niche music if you know how to look for it, or even if you just accidentally stumble into it. One of my favorite recent instances of this has been a scene referred to as mineral ambient, or simply mineralism.

Mineral ambient is a form of ambient that focuses on atmospherics based off of ambient dub and dub techno, which means lots of echo, layering, and a very nocturnal sound.

Unlike these, mineral ambient has a strong focus on creating an organic-yet-surreal atmosphere – I’ve personally described it as “primordial ooze music,” which I still feel is a good descriptor of the vibe.

The unusual name comes from the label West Mineral Ltd, which describes itself on its website as “an Audio-Mineral exploration company.” Founded by ambient artist Huerco S, the label is considered the originator of the sound.

That said, after development by artists outside of it, there’s now a wide range of albums that would be considered mineral ambient or adjacent to it. So let’s get into some!

Categories
Miscellaneous

I’m Really Sleepy, So Here Are Some Albums for Sleepiness

As of writing, I have not had a good, full night of sleep in two days. The fact that the weather has been sub-freezing has not helped, either. There is naught that I desire more at the present moment other than pillow, blankie, and, of course, bed.

I also have a wide variety of music that I listen to regularly before bed to get me into the mood for being cozy and ready for bed. However, I don’t listen to music when actually asleep for fear of what it could do to my psyche, and also because I feel like it’d be weird to wear earbuds to bed, and also because I don’t own any earbuds.

Today, I dare to ask the theoretical question: what if I did listen to this while asleep? What would that do to myself while dreaming? Would it even work at all?

Categories
New Album Review

Three 2023 Albums to Put on Your End of Year List to Look Cooler

It is now past Thanksgiving. The year is now officially coming to a close, which means that it is also album of the year and Spotify Wrapped season. You, the article reader, may not have realized this until now and are now panicking. You’ve been slacking on the new music. You don’t have something on your best-of topster that none of your friends have heard of. You don’t have the music guy clout, but you need it. You need it.

Worry not, reader: I’ve been looking for this stuff all year. Here’s a few cool releases that I’ve found and pretend you found yourself.

Categories
New Album Review

Fall 2023: What’s New in Afterhours?

Fall, as it turns out, has been really good for music. Here at WKNC, we’ve been scouring those releases for what’s been the best, and then adding it because we know and understand that you, the masses, want nothing more than the best niche music. Here’s what we’ve found in the electronic sphere lately.

Categories
Miscellaneous Short Stories

WKNC Goes to an Olive Garden in Orlando After Doing More Important Things

I, and five other of my treasured members of WKNC staff (plus our amazing advisor Jamie) had the special privilege of getting to represent the station at the CBI National Student Electronic Media Convention in Orlando, Florida from Oct. 19 – 21. While there, we scored three awards for how awesome we are, along with an even bigger prize: knowledge that will be applied to make the station better in the near future.

This blog isn’t about that though.

This blog is about Olive Garden.

Categories
Playlists

Afterhours: Halloween Edition

It is now officially October, which as we all know, means that it is now officially Halloween. Goblins and ghouls stalk the night, among all other sorts of horrific beasts, terrifying monsters, and that will scare the average WKNC blog reader to the point that I will not discuss them.

All this, however, is missing the most important of the season: spooky music recommendations.

“Bandit!” by Turkey

Turkey consists of William Sipos and Fletcher Shears, better known as one half of the Garden. If you know that band, you know their love of the Halloween spirit, and it is exactly as prevalent here.

This song opens and closes with a sample about a gargoyle in the infamous Denver National Airport, setting the tone for many haunted delights. The rest of it carries through, of course – the lo-fi production and old-school breakbeats makes a song that feels like you should’ve found it as an obscure YouTube upload of something from the 90’s. Perhaps a ghost of electronic past…?

“Don’t Look in the Closet” by VHS Head

Continuing on the retro theme, “Don’t Look in the Closet” goes all-in.

VHS Head makes his music out of old VHS tapes, and while not exactly leaning in to the more hauntological parts of that premise, the titular sample does more than enough to conjure your childhood fears of what could be lurking after a long night of trick or treating and subsequently eating way too much candy. He also also doesn’t hide the fact that this was made out of VHS tapes, adding a viewing of your choice of campy 80’s horror movie into that childhood memory. 

To keep it simple, this song is on the more fun side of the Halloween spectrum, and exceeds at doing that.

“Break Yourself (You Can’t Defeat Me) by DJ Rozwell

Combining the Satanic Panic, those shows about the supernatural that were on Discovery Channel for some reason, and swords & sorcery fantasy with instrumental hip hop is something that I think only DJ Rozwell can do.

This track feels like it could easily be a soundtrack to some old roguelike, which is perhaps the highest acclaim I could possibly give it – the album it’s from, “None of This is Real,” is intended to be played on shuffle as a roguelike album. “Break Yourself (You Can’t Defeat Me)” invites you to venture into terrifying crypts to face its lurking creatures… if you dare.

“Blood Magic” by Machine Girl

For me, it’s not a Halloween playlist without Machine Girl. To be completely honest, my own personal bias may be seeping into this specific pick in terms of my favorite albums, but it’s okay because I am statistically the biggest Machine Girl fan at WKNC.

That aside, the influence of horror movies on Machine Girl’s music is always extremely blatant, and that’s just as true here. The lyrics are about as gory as you’d expect from a song from them titled “Blood Magic,” and if any song in this article is the one that’s a straight-up horror movie, it’s this one.

“Epidermis” by Venetian Snares

Time for a throwback to 2003. Breakcore is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days, but this is arguably it in its purest – and most sinister – form. It starts with a simple yet menacing bass synth and sample before the breaks kick in and from then on out, there’s no stopping.

As for the horror, the way Venetian Snares makes sure to emphasize the word “skin” in the most repeated sample along with the iconic “throw your corpse into a pit of vipers” sample makes the song feel like being on the run from a particularly messed up serial killer.

Concluding Thoughts

I hope I have given you at least one new song to add to your Halloween party or perhaps trick or treating porch playlist this October.

There’s plenty out there that summons the forces of evil in audio form, and to me, these are some of the best and spookiest. If you wish to save these dark forces, below is a Spotify playlist of these five songs. Thanks for reading!

-chalcopyrite

Categories
New Album Review

Album Review: “Girls Love Jungle” by gum.mp3 & Dazegxd

Listen, I know. Every other electronic release has breaks and a Y2K aesthetic these days. I understand if you’re looking for something else. However, this is also why I need you to believe me when I say that this album is, in fact, really good. 

“Girls Love Jungle” is a collaborative album between North Carolina-based artist gum.mp3 and the New York City-based Dazegxd. Over its 31 minutes, the two fuse the style of both 90’s and modern electronic to create something that’s ultimately unique. 

The first three tracks best showcase this combination to me. Opener “Mania” leans more on the modern end, with the most obvious example being the prominent crash-police-siren sample that’s now irreparably linked to the very recent genre of hyperflip.

It’s then followed by “Bad 4 Us,” which has a higher focus on the smooth keyboards and vocal samples common to older jungle, but its production style is still unmistakably modern.

The last of this opening run is “Imitator,” which strips back the production to focus almost entirely on the breaks and a handful of sampled instruments, and the result feels timeless. 

The rest of the album continues playing with these ideas of new and old, and eventually ends on the duo each doing a solo track. Dazegxd’s, “Don’t You See,” is probably my favorite song on “Girls Love Jungle,” which is also a statement that makes me feel like I’m abandoning my local artists. The track focuses on its main vocal sample for most of its run, then turns into complex breaks that scratch an itch I didn’t realize I had for its last third.

gum.mp3’s solo track, “Mind Reader,” takes the opposite, moodier approach. It’s much steadier, and its vocals are front and center when compared to most of the other tracks on the album. It’s an interesting way to close out the album, but I’m ultimately glad for it.

Overall, “Girls Love Jungle” is a great addition to the ever-expanding list of modern albums influenced by the past, and especially another to the list of (in this case, partially) local electronic. Both Dazegxd and gum.mp3 have a lot of potential, and I’m excited for their futures.

-chalcopyrite

Categories
Music News and Interviews New Album Review

9/15 – What’s New In Afterhours?

There is just too much music on WKNC. This is especially true of electronic music. Luckily, I’m one of the people who are putting in the automated music queue for Afterhours, so I can tell you what I like to help you sort through it. Here are a few of those that are recent additions to the WKNC rotation.

Categories
Music Education Playlists

A Brief Guide to the Y2K Trance Revival

At the risk of making some readers of this article feel old: Gen Z has nostalgia for the early 2000s now. People are posting images of clunky technology and tagging it #aesthetic. Artists are selling CDs and cassettes as physical merchandise again. And, yes, this includes music genres too: Trance is back.

Many of these new releases are mostly confined to small corners of the internet, so to start on this journey into geometric fonts and really wishing they still made transparent video game consoles, I’ve selected a few landmarks in the development of the scene.