Anybody that stupidly declares “PUNK IS DEAD” is clearly ignorant of Round Eye. This rag-tag band of misfits who are currently ex-pats living in Shanghai make some of the most avant-garde, subversive, aggressive, and incendiary punk out there. Making history or making enemies (both of which they have done in spades), Round Eye is a fearless example of pure artistic expression.
Their newest release Monster Vision is a psychedelic freak-out punk fest that drips with political commentary and just an overall satire of just how insane our society is. Some of the last recordings of legendary Stooges saxophonist Steve Mackay can be found on this record. His sax is a massive force that drives the band’s unique punk sound into the stratosphere.
Whether the band is making the first ever punk music video in the DPRK or pissing all over the concept of Trump’s America, Round Eye’s Monster Vision is punkest shit I’ve heard in a while.
Get Monster Vision at https://roundeyeband.bandcamp.com
The interesting thing about the electronic genre is that you find all types of styles. Some people are gunning for the charts, while others are all about pushing boundaries. Baltimore based artist lafflines (aka Alex Lippert) falls more into the latter category.
In his debut album “Arrest in Acquiesce,” there is what I would call a “sonic collision” of sorts. There is dissonance and consonance, melody and atmosphere; and all of this is a good thing.
The record experiments with beats, loops, and various samples to make a sonic experience. I wouldn’t really call these songs, that is far too simple. What is going on here is an experiment with sound that challenges the listener. You hear stylistic echoes of artists like Aphex Twin, John Cage, and Philip Glass; but ultimately you hear lafflines.
In the artist’s own words:
“I try to record…in an effort to stumble upon accidents and something that’s outside of my expectations…to discover and find something new. Many of my samples vary from elevator music, African disco/tribal music, religious choir recordings and classical pieces.”
If you are looking for a challenge where you are encouraged to engage in your listening experience; I recommend giving “Arrest in Acquiesce” a try.
“Arrest in Acquiesce” by lafflines can be found at:
Round Eye’s music is bonkers. I mean that in the best possible way. The self-described “experimental freak punk” group makes music that constantly pushes and questions what music can become.
In their self-titled LP you will hear the intersection of what sounds like Ornette Coleman, The Stooges, Circle Jerks, and Frank Zappa having a party and jam session simultaneously. Round Eye is a sonic exploration of what happens when you free music of its genre definitions and throw it into a chaotic display of artistry.
The record is loud, melodic, dissonant, fast, complex, and full of life at every turn. The uninitiated to the worlds of punk, doo-wop and free jazz may not get what’s going on, but that is just fine. It seems that no matter where the band goes they gain a following.
A group of expats based in Shanghai, China, Round Eye (a purposely self-deprecating name) has earned the love of locals in mainland China (numerous local Chinese musicians perform on the LP). They have also managed to earn the ire of the government as they have had to tour at times “underground where they held the secret gigs in bomb shelters around the country” due to their stage antics and more. The controversy has come at a benefit to the group, however, as the Ministry of Culture couldn’t shut down the punk spirit. The group is “a crucial force in bridging a wide gap between the eastern and western hemispheres of punk rock.” As a punk musician and “punk scholar” this is such a welcome thing for me to hear (because in the end fuck politics when we have rock n’ roll right?).
Ultimately there really isn’t anything like Round Eye. In the punk world they are pioneers of sorts, forging new ground for a sound of rebellion and camaraderie. Punk never dies and these dudes know that.
Give this band a try, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
Round Eye by Round Eye can be found at:
I can’t help myself when it comes to constantly creating, so here is a new song I wrote. Created entirely with Rev by Output Sounds, this track is a further exploration into the electronic/ambient/minimalist components of my music. It’s named “Pulsar” after the rapidly rotating neutron stars in the Universe. My music often draws on space for artistic inspiration, and this is no different.
Lots of cool things in the works for 2015 already. I’m doing new interviews soon with various musicians, working on some new music and, of course, going to continue to spill my thoughts out onto the cyberpages for you guys. Now back to the music, here’s a dude I consider a massive influence on my own artistic creations. Ornette Coleman is pretty much unmatched in musicality and pure artistry. I leave you with some of his words:
“In music you have something called sound, you have speed, you have timbre, you have harmonics, and you have, more or less, the resolutions. In most music, people that play what I call mostly standard music, they only use one dimension, which means the note and the time. Whereas like say I’m having this conversation with you now. I’m talking, but I’m thinking, feeling, smelling, and moving. Yet I’m concentrating on what you’re saying. So that means there’s more things going on in the body than just the present thing that the person’s got you doing. Like you’re interviewing me, although I’m doing more than just talking to you. And the same with you.
To me, human existence exists on a multiple level, not just on a two-dimensional level, not just having to be identified with what you do and what you say. Those things are the results of what people see and hear that you do. But the human beings themselves are living on a multiple level. That’s how I have always wanted musicians to play with me: on a multiple level. I don’t want them to follow me. I want them to follow themself, but to be with me.”
I released this a while back, actually one year ago on New Year’s Day. As you know, I have a diverse range of music interests from rock to classical to jazz to electronic/downtempo/ambient. This song really illustrates my electronic influences from people like Thievery Corporation, the Crystal Method and Jean-Michel Jarre. 9 minutes long, it was a really powerful experience to write it. The notes just pulsed in my brain, and once the computer transmitted what my keyboard was playing, something really incredible happened. Experiences like that are why I write music. You really can’t describe it, it is quite frankly a moment in time where you are out of your body and also completely focused. You are taken somewhere that goes beyond words. I guess that is why music exists, to communicate via sound waves something that cannot be translated to anything verbal. I described the song as so when I released it:
“In a moment of inspiration I wrote this today. I knew that the piece needed to be of an electronic strain, and eventually I created this as a result. It evokes a certain other-worldliness, as some of my pieces do from time to time. Step into my world for a while, and feel free to stay as long as you like.”
I plan on creating and releasing so much more music, but sometimes I have to reflect. The year is at an end, and I reflect on everything I have done musically in 2014. Maybe in 2015 I’ll start an electronic/ambient album that is entirely my keyboard synthesized with my computer. Who knows? The great thing with music is that it’ll take you places you never planned on going. Happy Holidays.
Some more explorations into the world of electronic composition and my guitar. After finishing my LP “Stochastic” I was considering a break from music. As you can tell with this new song, that break didn’t last long.