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James Ferraro is back with Skid Row.
James Ferraro is back with Skid Row.

Turkey tracks

Radio 1190 will be celebrating Thanksgiving next week with its “Plymouth Rock Playlist.” The staff will be taking it back to where it all began by playing a selection of electric blues and early rock music. On Friday, Nov. 27 the station will still be celebrating with “Live: In-Studio Leftovers,” which will be prior in-studio sessions from Brothertiger, TOPS, Death Valley Girls and more straight from the Radio 1190 Vault. Tune in!

Arca had a lot to live up to on his newest record Mutant. Aside from doing production for Kanye West, FKA Twigs and Bjork, the Venezuelan producer’s prior work is mesmerizing and has been critically acclaimed.

Now with Mutant, in his distinct style of cacophonous waves of noise, Arca finds beauty in the grotesque. Unlike his first album Xen, his latest foregoes the energizing stop-and-start compositional style for a more fluid, cascading sound. The 7-minute title track is a formless noise piece that eventually finds melodic synthesizer leads that bubble to the top, sounding akin to a post-apocalyptic electro hook.

For the listener who is looking for something that has the same maximalist qualities of Kanye West and FKA Twigs — but totally off the deep end — Arca’s Mutant is a good match.

Los Angeles-based avant-garde music producer James Ferraro made a name for himself by making ironic plastic-electronic music that has been called the starting point for vaporwave. He’s progressed into a more vocal and conceptual style of avant-garde R&B and hip-hop. Following up from 2013’s NYC Hell 3am, Ferraro took his focus across the country for a Los Angeles-themed record, Skid Row, released this year.

Skid Row opens with text-to-speech samples that bluntly spout off characteristics of the city. The album is a hazy, opaque look at crime and capitalism in a stark portrait of Los Angeles. Unlike his previous efforts, Ferraro focuses on hooks and melodies to make it more palatable for a wider audience. Though most of the compositions are esoteric and synthetic, a lot of the instrumental ambient-based tracks are incredibly pretty. Ferraro’s vocals are low and whispery throughout the whole album. For casual electronic music listeners, this record will be polarizing. For those who are willing to look deeper into Ferraro’s concept will be greatly rewarded.

White Fence’s Tim Presley is a busy man. Aside from teaming up with Cate La Bon, as the duo DRINKS, he also has an experimental beat project under the moniker W-X.

Unexpectedly, the self-titled album’s first track, “The Lurk,” sounds like a ’90s trip-hop track akin to a psychedelic version of DJ Shadow. From there, the album varies from weird psych rock (closer to White Fence’s sound) and lo-fi pop (like Ariel Pink).

Through the record’s diverse 19 tracks (which somewhat sounds like a mixtape or collection of B-sides), we find that Tim Presley is a talented, multi-faceted singer-songwriter with great sensibilities on strange pop music. If anything, W-X is a great way to hold fans over until the next White Fence record.

Calvet is Radio 1190’s music director. Read more of his reviews:

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