Karmelloz is no stranger to self-releasing music, having released a host of singles, edits and one-offs through is own channels over the past few years, and while official releases for the likes of 1080p and Purr Tapes have bolstered his name among certain crowds, his DIY credentials are as strong as anyones. So when a label he was working with dawdled on getting his next release out, the Portland-based artist decided to take it into his own hands and the result is Returning / Series. Functioning as an a/b single with remixes from Los Angeles’ D/P/I and Vancouver’s Matt Tecson, Karmelloz shows off a more subdued side to his production oeuvre, full of analgesic melodies, dusty drum programming and a good deal of strange vocal ephemera.
As the song titles suggest, the a and b sides have a strong dichotomy as “Returning a Different Person” gives off a hopeful, sunny disposition while “Series of Seizures” is all anxiety, an acid-tinged paranoiac number with an inside the machine feel. D/P/I and Tecson’s remixes offer wildly different takes on the originals as well, the former a shapeshifting effort that transforms from a mysterious drone into an off-kilter IDM burnout and the latter a beefed-up four-to-the-floor number emphasizing the track’s retrofuturist synth work and adding adding a nice dash of polyrhythm to the mix. The two originals from Returing / Series can be streamed below and the release can be bought here or after the jump.
In the sphere of internet-based art forms, the act of being prolific connotes more than just producing a large quantity of work. Prolificacy is often a comment on technology, means of production, industry habits and norms and much more than can be fit in these narrow pages. Adam Harper did a great job of surveying “The New Digital DIY Labels”, the web-focused outlets like 1080p, AVNL, Hoko Sounds which are all prime examples of this, for The FADER here. In terms of releasing a ton of music in terms of volume, hundreds of names could be railed off, but when you bring breadth of style, genre and form, the list narrows considerably. Oregon’s Karmelloz is one of the key names on the latter list, an artists who’s released on the aforementioned 1080p and Hoko Sounds and let loose more than a handful of albums, sketches and more through his own Bandcamp.
Whether he’s working in the confines of Hippos In Tanks-inspired hypnagogic pop, taking cues from percussive club forms or piecing together abstract sonic collages, Karmelloz’s work has come off as inspired and irresistibly candid. Almost always layered under levels of gauze and smoke, releases like Source Localization (for 1080p), Cearà (for Apothecary Compositions with C Plus Plus) and Bud Air could easily have been released under a half dozen different pseudonyms, but ignoring the possibility of historical revision, Karmelloz lets each and every piece, dating back to 2011, sit out in the ether. This allows the listener to sort through it on their own terms, following chronological directives or ignoring them altogether.
He lists his genre on Soundcloud as “psychedelic” and the Karmelloz sound often comes off as a tape edited version of the pages of your favorite magazine. Your favorite rap songs cut up and laden in echo effects, the kick pattern and breaks from a Bmore classic entering the fray and leaving just as quickly. It’s not a lack of patience that defines Karmelloz’s music, but an insatiable desire to filter, comment on and divulge the way he himself partakes in technological music and music technology. His Astral Plane mix is “based on a set I did at S1 in Portland last Saturday. Mostly special edits made at 140bpm with synths dropped out, and including a lot of unreleased/forthcoming material.” It’s reminiscent of much of Karmelloz’s past work and many bits will be familiar to fans, but like every successive release it offers a refreshing drive, this time by means of a concise tempo. Don’t expect him to fall into a 140 four-on-the-floor groove for more than a release or two, but for now this hat is fitting on Karmelloz pretty damn well.
As Apothecary Compositions has expanded from a small, cassette-focused club music imprint to a huge online store featuring releases from PAN, Tri Angle, Hyperdub and more. While a discerning onlooker might expect the label side of the operation, headed by Joseph Morris aka Druid Cloak, to look for bigger, more populist artists in tandem with the web store’s expansion, they would be mistaken. Instead, Apothecary is still one of the foremost outlets to find up-and-coming club music flexing their abilities. Portland, Oregon’s own C Plus Plus is the latest to join the roster, bringing the Cearà LP to the Apothecary shelves. Heavily featuring fellow Portland resident Karmelloz, the two have already released a joint 7″ for Hallowed Articles, the four joint tracks show remarkable chemistry, a blend of C Plus Plus’ driving club rhythms and Karmelloz’s elegiac house flow (seen on labels like 1080p and Hoko Sounds). “Gunshot Riddim” is our favorite of the bunch, a riddim flavor packed with ballroom energy and a cyclical vocal sample at once lulling and invigorating the track into the next bar. Cearà cassettes are shipping now so get yours before supplies run out.