Grid of Points

Grid of Points

Grid of Points by Grouper; Bandcamp Link: Grid of Points

Number 40 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.

I’ve heard Grouper over the years, and always had the idea that I like them, or her, but I can’t say I’ve ever really sat down and listened to an album.

Grid of Points is very short, 15 or 20 minutes. (Shortness is seemingly a common thing among Wire Magazine’s picks this year. A lot of EPs.)

Initially, I felt like it was too short and wondered why it couldn’t be longer. It is kind of drone-ey and atmospheric. A drone-ey 4 minute some can easily become a drone-ey 15 minute song.

Then I listened back to a couple of Grouper’s other records, and realized that Grid of Points is less sonically diverse than some of her other work, so it probably made sense to keep it short, before it wore out its welcome.

As near as I can tell, the primary new factor on Grid of Points is that she makes extensive use of multi-tracked harmonizing vocals for the first time.

Other than that, it is pretty much the usual reverb drenched atmospheric mood pieces with spare instrumentation that you would expect from a Grouper album.

If you like that sort of thing, you’ll love it. If you hate reverb drenched vocals, it may not be your bag of cats.

#GridOfPoints #Grouper #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50

Grid of Points

Level One Oolong

Level One Oolong, Tie Guanyin.

Level One Oolong, Dark Roast, from Yin xiang hua xia tea. Origin: Anxi; Season: Autumn; Harvest elevation: 1200-1500m.

Working my way through green teas, it seems I cannot resist the siren call of Oolong!

There are different types of Oolong, but the most well known is called Tie Guanyin, also sometimes called Iron Goddess of Mercy. According to one of the legends of this type of tea’s origins, a humble tea farmer in Anxi County, Fujian, China, noticed a local temple had fallen into disrepair. He took it upon himself to clean it up, sweep it out, and then offer some incense to the goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. Shortly thereafter, the Goddess appeared to him in a dream. She told him that in the cave behind her temple a treasure awaited that he needed to share with others. When he investigated, he found the shoot of a tea tree. He planted the shoot in his field and nurtured it, the tea it produced was amazing! He gave cuttings of the tree to his neighbors far and wide. When all the tea trees came to fruition, they began selling it under the name “Tie Guanyin” to honor the goddess.

Whenever I’ve seen “Iron Goddess of Mercy” tea on a restaurant menu, I order it, I mean, who could resist such a name?

So I’ve sampled a few over the years.

But, I can’t say I’ve ever had any that even comes close to this one from
Yin xiang hua xia tea.

This is a darkly roasted Tie Guanyin. The base of the flavors and smells are similar to dark roasted grain, a bit like a dark beer or Japanese roasted barley tea. On top of that are layers of sweetness and orchid fragrance which perfume the tea pot and cup. The fragrance/taste of the tea is long lasting and haunting, but the perfume is not overpowering. Super elegant and incredibly well balanced.

Easily among the best Oolongs I have had so far.

#Tea #DrinkTea #Cha #Oolong #Fujian #Fuding #TieGuanyin #IronGoddessOfMercy #GongFuCha #YinXiangHuaXiaTea

Autobiography (Music from Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography)

Autobiography (Music from Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography)

Autobiography (Music from Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography) by Jlin; Bandcamp Link: Autobiography (Music from Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography)

Number 39 in the Wire Magazine (@thewiremagazine) Top 50 Releases of 2018.

I liked Jlin’s last album, Black Origami, so much, that, well, pretty much anything afterwards is bound to be something of a let down, in one way or another.

However, instead of releasing a next album, proper, she released this album, “…the score for her collaboration with renowned British choreographer Wayne McGregor…”

It is often atmospheric, relies more on synthesizers and melodic phrasing, than pure rhythm. But the rhythmic tracks, when they happen, feel more stripped down and less complex than those on Black Origami. On the edge of something that would pass for commercial electronic dance music (not that I am an expert about that!).

It’s an interesting document, but I don’t feel like it really stands on its own as an “album”. I wish I’d seen the dance piece that it accompanied!

#AutobiographyMusicFromWayneMcGregorsAutobiography #Jlin #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #WireMagazineTop50

Autobiography (Music from Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography)