DJ Olive :: Coco (Record Blanks)

Coco might be taken as a sequel to Bodega (its cover mosaic of NYC mom and pop shopfronts succeeded by Graffiti Tags of the World), serving up sweet, round-hipped skank, with the odd sharp edge.

DJ Olive :: Coco (Record Blanks)

Songs of innocence and experience. Greger Asch, aka DJ Olive the Audio Janitor, is the most consistently interesting artist to emerge from the illbient moment, that singular, high-density, low intensity mutation of Brooklyn hip-hop, Jamaican dub and ambient music that captured and restructured the queasy chaos of living in an over-plugged in society, as a founding member of We™ with Lloop and Once11. The trio released its last album in 2000 while Asch continued to cut a swath through the alternative music arts – with the dark duo Liminal (which, hosting Liminal Lounge, also snuck in a mind-gunking live set with guests), ミュージカル パ一スペクティブ with Kim Gordon and Ikue Mori, jazz-classical genre defiances by Uri Caine (once liturgical, with a cantor in tow), a range of ambient sleeping pills and a new, sneaky-friendly post-illbient genre, roof music, with his label theAgriculture. Add to that countless turntable events, touring, remixes, and an appearance or two at the Whitney Biennial and Centre Pompidou, respectively.

Despite this musical profligacy, he seemed to go quiet in my ears after his celebrated, above-mentioned ambient trilogy. It turns out, he was mostly busy building a family and moving it north. His Williamsburg rhumba now echoes off the mountainside against which the arts friendly community of Nelson, BC, snuggles up. There he has cobbled together a new, do-it-yourself empire, Record Blanks, a cornucopia of data streamed and hand made physical editions, long and extended players, vintage material welcoming new. The most imposing item currently in stock is Balm, a collection of work spanning 1995-2008, all the ambience of DJ Olive’s sleeping pills Sleep, Buoy, and Triage stretched across four discs of versions, outtakes, alternate takes, lost and found songs and sibling songs and a few new songs. “It is a kind of medicine,” he advises, “good for meditation, relaxation, distress relief, detox, decompress, sleep, choreography, film, calming, art installations, radical anxiety termination…” and the drift. Which you get.

That long-duration, long-term experiment in the innocence of rest is complemented with his long experience of stirring you to move. Seven veils are shed Dancing on Hot Sand, an album length maxi-single floating on hot air (even the eaves-groaning “Snow Day Mix”). The already bulging burgeoning discography of Record Blanks further includes historical Crackerjack prizes, like a Caroline “Honeychild” Coleman (lately of THWIS) drifting in the mix of soulstream-of-consciousness Me So Free and a beautiful, shimmering thing from 1996 with We™ man Once11, on the by turns propulsive and reflective Moon Wax EP (favorite track: the twelve-minute long “Actually,” smooth Afrobeat jazz for mice with big boots on). Audio dumpster diving, Domino rescues goodies from the abandoned “Polk Street” album, recorded in San Francisco in 2005-06, which retains a lot of the dodging traffic rhythms, amphetamine Chinese delivery and Mideastern oudity of period illbient, with the added sweet brush strokes of “violin tools” recorded in Banff. All so richly, urban-pastorally produced.

Coco might be taken as a sequel to Bodega (its cover mosaic of NYC mom and pop shopfronts succeeded by Graffiti Tags of the World), serving up sweet, round-hipped skank, with the odd sharp edge. As always, no beat is foreign to DJ Olive—drum and bass, pachinko clink’n’clang, a Latin binge, expressed in a characteristic cadence all his own, mad, gritty dance that sinks deep into the amniotic fluid of circular ambient, then back out to play in traffic again—”Moon” is probably the most textbook example. Rambling over that classic reggae organ bubble, with production like fudge. “Fern” is such tranquil yet engrossing dub, “Sky” similarly cloud-watches but with a touch of restless leg syndrome. Coco is very much a walk through the old neighborhood with an old pal, noticing new things. Finally, on “Stream,” a few more philosophical cogitations percolated in the burble of the bong before the “Sun,” smearing its face with pastels, very reluctantly sets.

Coco is available on Record Blanks.

TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.