The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Gig #126: Of late 35: Ben LaMar Gay, Lana Del Rabies, SCNTST, Gnod, John Maus, RXM Reality, Anteloper, Aisha Devi, Kazuma Kubota, Mind Over Mirrors, Christina Vantzou, Destroyer, emamouse ✕ yeongrak, The Body, Nonpareils


Ben LaMar Gay
Lana Del Rabies
John Maus
RXM Reality
Aisha Devi
Kazuma Kubota
Mind Over Mirrors
Christina Vantzou
emamouse ✕ yeongrak
The Body


Ben LaMar Gay Muhal
‘There’s a palpable sense that Downtown Castles is true Americana, encompassing South and Central America as much as the US. In Gay’s music, the fluidity between the esoteric and catchy, the exotic and the familiar, is paramount. This is wide-open music in every sense, as much touched by Gay’s roots in the Chicago hiphop scene and his subsequent development as a jazz cornettist as his obsessions with visual and cinematic art.’ — The Wire


Lana del Rabies Reign
‘Lana Del Rabies sculpts her hazy sounds from darkness and melody. Dense synths and vocals from another world do as much to confound as reveal. On her 2nd album, ‘Shadow World’, deep horizons of intensity and beauty manifest in ways anyone that has seen her perform live knows she is the master of. “…a sensorial passion for modern horror soundtracks, to construct a terrifying collection of sonic hauntings.” – The Wire.’ — Death Bomb


SCNTST And Don’t Dis the Arp
‘Bryan Müller makes classy shadowy techno as Skee Mask on Illian Tape, but as SCNTST he focuses more on expansive and cinematic atmospheres, rich melody, and shifting timbres. As such, Scenes And Sketches From The Lab is a considered and cerebral affair that shows maturity and musicality across all fourteen tracks. It reimagines techno, ambient, bass, IDM, and electronica into new forms that are artful and highly detailed, and as such it works as well in headphones as it no doubt will in the club.’ — Forced Exposure


Gnod Donovan’s Daughter’s (Track)
‘Featuring a pulverising drop at the ten minute mark that should be transmitted to the entire globe for the enheavyment of all peoplekind and the most justifiable and well-earned ‘Space Is Deep’-style key change since… well… ‘Space Is Deep’, the always mutating and evolving GNOD are, on the evidence of this track, in full on black hole worshiping biker gang in dub, Godflesh meets Skullflower meets the Scientist meets Sam Neil in Event Horizon mode. The new album Chapel Perilous takes its name from the philosophically cosmic writing of Cosmic Trigger author, Robert Anton Wilson and is a follow up to their excellently caustic Just Say No The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine and stormingly heavy Radar Men From The Moon collaboration and trepanation concept album, Temple Ov BBV from last year.’ — John Doran


John Maus Pets (live)
‘John Maus is a master of his domain. His macabre mood pieces are sketched out with a consistent set of tools: sullen incantations, crystalline synths, carnivalesque organs, distant wailing guitars, commanding basslines and huge volumes of reverb and echo. It adds up to a heady hit of ’80s synth pop, with tasting notes of Hammer horror films and Castlevania games. Screen Memories, Maus’s latest LP, is much like his last, 2011’s We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves, in terms of its singular sound and oddball charm, but chimes more in tone with the times.’ — Gabriel Szatan


RXM Reality Grump
‘Is there something cyclical about panic? Are all feelings of overwhelming anxiety essentially the same, or do they vary between persons and situations? Somewhat ironically, producer Mike Meegan’s new album under the name RXM Reality complicates its own title. There’s nothing cyclical about the music at all, and often there seems to be a decisively non-repetitive nature to the composition structures. Things move freely between themselves, rubbing conflicting sounds up against each other in a jittering, hesitant fashion. Meegan makes panic-stricken music that, through a wealth of aggression and quick manipulation, aims to fight against some debilitating force of evil, even if that force is itself.’ –- Connor Lockie


Anteloper Seclusion Self
‘Anteloper is the electric brainchild of Jaimie Branch (Fly Or Die, High Life) and Jason Nazary (Little Women, Helado Negro, Bear In Heaven). Branch and Nazary have been playing together as trumpeter and drummer for years, since meeting at the New England Conservatory of Music in 2002, but in this duo both musicians include synthesizers to push further into the spectral spaceship ether. With deep rhythmic passages, telepathic improvisations and melodic negotiations, Anteloper pushes forward, swinging its horns all the while.’ — The Wire


Aïsha Devi Light Luxury
‘Most electronic music chases the motion of the body, but Aïsha Devi is more interested in the subtle noise that rises from the body in stillness. Since dropping her Kate Wax moniker and co-founding the label Danse Noire, the Swiss producer has intertwined her experimental computer compositions with her meditation practice. She doesn’t make dance music; she makes music that sounds like the body forgetting itself, losing feeling in the extremities as mind and breath conjoin.’ — Sasha Geffen


Kazuma Kubota & Scum Live at Sakuradai Pool / 21 Apr 2018
‘You probably don’t know it yet, but you need everything that Kazuma Kubota creates. Just in case you don’t believe me … how about Toshiji Mikawa: “This man is going to stand on the Japanese noise scene that have been dominated by old guys for a long age. Why? The reason? Just checking his albums. If this still shit for you, you should abandon yourself.”‘ — Bleak Bliss


Mind Over Mirrors Talking Knots
‘Three years ago, Jaime Fennelly first referenced an audacious project that would involve a full band, an album, and a live stage show. As he has often done, Fennelly decamped to a rural location and began writing, inspired by the setting and the work of essential American naturalist Henry Beston. Sketches in hand, he re-assembled a top-tier cast of Midwestern collaborators who had, in recent years, sometimes acted as his ensemble: Califone violinist Jim Becker, Freakwater singer Janet Beveridge Bean, and Death Blues and Volcano Choir drummer Jon Mueller. Together, they built what is essentially a sci-fi symphony—a seventy-three-minute suite of twelve seamless pieces, often interconnected by recurring motifs and cast from elements as far-flung as bluegrass and harsh noise. Commissioned in part by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Bellowing Sun is not only an album but also a mobile art installation. The quartet performs beneath a gigantic rotating zoetrope, an internally illuminated cylinder that spins overhead, casting a series of images and colors around a room. The space becomes an invitation to get lost in this magnificent sound.’ — Grayson Haver Currin


Christina Vantzou At Dawn
‘Christina Vantzou builds a kind of terrifying intensity through minimal change. This album is incredibly patient but also very intense, as if it was composed by a nihilist fly waiting hours in the same corner for one dramatic chance of swooping down and collecting its quarry. The subtle droning of the vibraphone, the sustained notes of the voice, an occasional twinkling of bells. Making us wait, an effect that works like an anti-effect, as we are forced to surrender to the music. Vantzou mixes sustained notes with the occasional unpredictable melody, building intensity with subtly different frequencies, and generating a sense of the uncanny. That sense of surrender, of relaxing into something unpredictable, a decomposition of the usual expectations of convention, is what produces the intense sense of reverie which make this album a pleasure to listen to.’ — Philippa Nicole Barr


Destroyer A Light Travels Down The Catwalk
‘I really do like playing and singing this song, which is probably part of what drove me to write more songs on the guitar. I tried it with the band for Poison Season, but there was a folk-pop jauntiness to the chord progression that seemed at odds with the lyrics, which were trying to describe a glamorous world in which Satan presents him or herself. Once a lot of the melodic movement was taken out, it really came alive for me, because it exists in really stark contrast to the vocals. It became apparent that the dark minimalism of the music brought out a brooding quality to the words that I didn’t even realize because, you know, I just write this shit.’ — Dan Bejar


emamouse ✕ yeongrak L-carbocysteine
‘While an ampersand symbolizes one kind of collaboration, the “X” that links emamouse and yeongrak’s names marks this album as an exploration of the remix. ema assembled the release by listening through yeongrak’s extensive self-released discography and collecting specimens to rework relative to her own post-apocalyptic cartoon sound. The resulting petri-dish of songs toys with bits of yeongrak’s garbled juke, barely-there mutterings pitched to prepubescent heights, and freeform electro-acoustic collage, the latter of which, befittingly, sounds as if it’s leaching into my ears through a shared wall.’ — COOKCOOK


The Body The West Has Failed
‘Constructed largely out of cut-up and processed samples of their previous recordings, the Body’s new album, I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer, combines noise with electronic music. The result falls somewhere between the harsh-noise body horror of Pharmakon’s Bestial Burden and the way Shlohmo turns his emotive synths and beatwork toward grief and loss on Dark Red. True to form, the record hides moments of grace within an impenetrably violent landscape, capturing a rupture at the boundary of what is bearable.’ — Nina Mashurova


Nonpareils Scented Pictures
‘One of the many things that has made Liars perhaps the most exciting American group of the last 15 years was the relationship between Aaron Hemphill and Angus Andrew. Was the former the technical wizard, leaving the giant Australian the space to do his shamen-of-the-bong flailing? Or was it less clear cut? Whatever the case, their undeniable mutual magic meant that when he and Andrew announced their separation last year, I was not alone in wondering how each would fare alone. If anything, Scented Pictures is perhaps unexpectedly even more whacked-out and weird than anything Liars recorded across the seven albums while Hemphill was with the group.’ — Luke Turner




p.s. Hey. First, let me explain how the blog is going to work for the next few weeks. Tomorrow morning early, I fly to NYC. So there won’t be a p.s. tomorrow. However, beginning on Friday, my plan is to continue to do the p.s. and run the blog fairly usually for the three weeks that I’m in NYC because I think I’ll have the mornings free for the most part. There may well be days here and there when I can’t do the p.s. And I’m pretty certain that I won’t be doing the p.s. from the 15th to the 21st. You’ll mostly be getting restored posts while I’m in NYC, and the posting time will different, six hours earlier than usual, I think? Anyway, that’s the plan, but, if things change, I will let you know from over there. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Having been friends with Edouard, I sure there is no bio pic, but, yeah, wouldn’t hugely surprise me. I read that piece in Mishima yesterday. Quite interesting. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. I did read something like that about Palahniuk, and maybe so, although it seems like that would be much bigger news if it was as simple as that? Oh, you were talking about the top ten of that poll, I see. Well, then that makes more sense. It seems like the canon is definitely in the early stages of being shaken up, but the long time arbiters will surely need to be met, matched, and eventually outnumbered by younger ones for the full effects to be clear in the official registers, I guess? Ah, I wish my flight tomorrow had WiFi so I couldn’t soothe myself with your playlist, but I try to stream it today or in the big A itself. Everyone, Here’s Mr. Erickson with some thematic fun for your ears. Steve: ‘For Pride Month, I made a playlist of music I like by LGBTQ artists running almost 3 hours on Spotify. I couldn’t be encyclopedic, or this would run 6 hours, and you can probably guess which historically important and/or currently popular queer singers I dislike from the omissions (although omitting someone’s music doesn’t necessarily mean I dislike them, I like every song I included.) As for the qualifications, some people might quibble about the ambiguity of Bowie and Tyler’s actual sexuality , but at least the lyrics to “Garden Shed” and “Queen Bitch” are relevant.’ ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh! As I think I’ve mentioned previously, before Edouard died, he was far, far better known in France as a photographer, and his books received minimal attention and sales. But that has completely reversed. His books are now revered, and his photography is barely talked about or exhibited. What great news that you’ll be in Paris! It’ll be so good to see you here and hear/see your talk and see the show. I’ll ask more knowing friends about possible publishers. I know a lot less than one might assume I do. My publisher, Editions POL, which is continuing with a new head, the poet Frederick Boyer, might be worth a try. When Paul O. was alive he barely ever published English language writers, but I’m not sure what Frederick’s bent is. I can find out. ** Nick Toti, Hi, Nick! I know, Leve is so great, right? I so agree. Thank you very, very much about the gif book. Yeah, the dark ride one is definitely way up there among the works in that book for me. Thanks, that’s mean a lot, man.  All good with you? ** Jamie, Hey, J! Yeah, I’ve read all four of his books. ‘Suicide’ is fantastic. You can definitely go with that one first if you like. It’s more bleak, obviously, than ‘Autoportrait’, but it’s as great or pretty close. Weird, I thought I had restored Jello Day, and I was going to link you up to it, but it turns out I haven’t. How strange. I will, of course. Did you ever think that when people look at you like you’re crazy it’s simply because you are beyond their limited, restricted comprehension? Because that would be my guess at why. You started a play! Welcome to the fold! Don’t sweat how it’ll work yet. Let theater become malleable to greet it. My Tuesday was … I finally got paid! I will not be kicked out of my apartment! And I can eat and so on in NYC! That was big. Otherwise, a lot of mostly pointlessly stressing out about my trip tomorrow. Which is typical for me in such instances. But today Zac and I will have the long waited serious editing and revising meeting re: our film script, and I’m extremely looking forward to that, or, rather, to getting the script to completion. It’s a hop, skip, and jump, all while sitting comfortably, from the big B to the big P, and Asterix plus Parisian other goodness awaits! May you think Wednesday is the most beautiful ever symphony only to discover it is only the preamble. Silk gloved love, Dennis. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hey, Ben. Like I say at the top of this, I’ll pretty much be doing the blog as usual from NYC, so, sure, you can send it to me on Friday, and I’ll get it up and ready to launch as soon as I’m able. Thanks! ** Paul Curran, Hi, Paul! Thanks, man. Great, great about your new piece being imminently available via XRAY. XRAY is a total boon. That’s wonderful news. I’ll watch their Facebook page for the announcement and/or give a shout when it’s up. Me too, re: Japan. I mean, we’ll get there soonish one way or another. We’re just anxious to get there asap, and late this year would be the soonest. We want to come when ‘Crowd’ plays Kyoto in October, but I think we might have to go to a film festival for PGL around that time. I definitely want to meet the current version of your amazing kiddo. ** Okay. Like I said up top, the blog will see you tomorrow, and I personally will see you in its company again on Friday. In the meantime, enjoy a gig of recent music I’ve been filling my ears, etc. with. See you very soon.


  1. Have fun in New York, Dennis

    It’s “Atlantis The Lost Continent” to me — living only in my memories.

  2. Dennis,

    Yes, things are good on my end! I went back to work full-time at the beginning of May (after taking time off to help my wife recover from her accident in January), which obviously means I have a lot less free time. So now my weekends are spent trying to juggle the three projects I’m currently working on with three different editors. So, yeah, things are a bit crazy but productive.

    I’m jealous of those people living in New York who will be attending your show. I hope it goes well. Safe travels!

  3. Hey rhodoDENdron!
    Ta for the Leve tips. The more I scoured the post the more I became convinced that I simply have to own Autoportrait, tbh.
    You got paid! Joy of joys. I’m dancing a mental jig of celebration for y’all. Phew, weight off your shoulders and now you can have a better time in NYC. Yay!
    How did the film script meeting go? Any surprises, good or bad?
    I’ve spent all of day writing my play, which is kind of inspired by these women that have been sitting in the back garden of the block next to us every day in the heatwave (don’t know if it’s an official heatwave yet, but it feels like it), chatting perpetually. I got to thinking about that line in the Fall song Neighbourhood of Infinity – ‘It was the time of the giant moths!’ & imagined they were sitting idly gossiping about things like that. So far it seems like a good idea.
    Have the best trip, man. Hope all the travel’s smooth & hassle free. Oh and let us know what you get to watch on the plane.
    May Thursday make you think ‘jeez, being in transit is absolutely joyous. I’m having one of the best days of my life.’ at some point.
    Bon voyage.
    160bpm love,

  4. Hi Dennis, hope this finds you very well. I know you’re off to NYC but could you please drop me a line when you get the time? I’d like to talk to you about a project I’d like to involve you in.

  5. Hi Dennis,

    Are you friends with Tao Lin? I’m reading Trip right now and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I had an aversion to his writing in the past, however Trip is really speaking to me. He finally sounds comfortable in his own narrative voice, if that makes sense.

    I hope your bank account is filled to the brim by now!

    Thank you for the Leve redux, I read both Autoportrait and Suicide a few years ago and both are quite amazing. I feel like what he does with serpentine sentences is similar to what Roger Lewinter does with serpentine, curlicue sentences, but maybe I’m off.

    Have a great time in NYC, Dennis! Are you and the venerable H getting together while you’re in town?

    Love from Seattle,

    • Hi James, I started The Trip this very evening and am also enjoying it a great deal. Never read any of Lin’s stuff before but this is a super engaging read.

      • I’ve taken it out from the library and have flipped through it. However, I need to finish J. G. Farrell’s THE SINGAPORE GAP and read another library book before I can start TRIP.

  6. The SCNTST track is cool. His Skee Mask project is getting a lot of acclaim right now and it’s good to know he has a few irons in his particular fire.

    A record I’ve been digging of late has been Galaxian – Paradise Engineering on Helena Hauff’s Return To Disorder label. It’s ridiculously overstuffed with drum patterns, samples and 303s but I just succumb and admire its sheer bravado.

  7. Dennis, Have a safe, comfortable flight. No jet lag! I’ll see you soonish.

    Yes, I hear you about people getting triggered by the least thing in Art anymore. I see it firsthand all the time. It’s sad. Art is supposed to be challenging, right? Maybe it’s not supposed to be, but it certainly can be, and I love Art that is challenging. It’s usually the best Art you can find. I wish more people would get out of their comfort zones and go and read and listen to and see things that aren’t “comfortable.” I think it makes the world better. As I’ve always said, Art is the only thing that can save us.

    Yeah, I read a bit on the Bowery. It was once a den of prostitution and thievery and toughness and all that, but it lost that well before Hell’s Kitchen lost its badassery.

  8. Hope the trip goes well, Dennis!

    I started with Ben LaMar Gay, and got stuck checking out his online clips. Very nice; where has he been all my life?

    Off to Berlin tomorrow; maybe our flights will cross…


  9. Jaime Fennelly

    June 7, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Dennis – if you are in Brooklyn Thursday eve (June 7), Mind Over Mirrors is playing at Brooklyn Bazaar in greenpoint. Part of the Northside Festival. Thanks so much for listening!

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