Our Most Experimental Mix Yet

Experimental music - what other genre trades more in the accidental, in the unusual, in the surreal? Arguably the easiest music to create, it may also be the hardest to perfect. Experimental musicians aren't connected so much by a specific type of sound as by an approach to sound, and by an urge to sculpt, play with, and challenge the way we listen to and appreciate music.

That's why for this mix, we included not just laptop drone wizards or playful dance/electronica artists. We also have musicians whose approach to their genre of choice is different, unusual and thought-provoking. To that end we also included humorous hybrids of rap and nerd culture (MagiTek, Kondor Krew) and unconventional interpretations of the folk genre. We hope you enjoy these artists, and make sure to check out our Religious Rock and R&B, Country Music, funk, Reggae Music and folk/bluegrass playlists!

1. mr_funandgames - “ep00604”

mr_funandgames is a California-based artist who cites "old warp records, drugs" and "pessimism" among his influences. Part of the Terminalstation staple of artists, mr_funandgames's ep006 album was the 27th release by the label. A static-ridden intro segues into an insistent drum part, eventually giving way to a distorted vocal take intoning something about "mr grumpy grumpy" and "pretty birds go tweet tweet tweet." Swells of noise and synthesizer rumblings absorb the rest of the sounds at the three minute mark, steadied by what sounds like a looped acoustic guitar track.

2. Krondor Krew - “I Play D&D”

Thanks to The Wu-Tang Clan, the worlds of kung-fu and rap are forever interconnected. Taking it an additional step into niche territories, Krondor Krew push their karate hip-hop into worlds of geekdom and comedy. Off their album Five Deadly Cuts, "I Play D&D" begins with a spoken word introduction wherein the members of the Krew are deep into the namesake roleplaying game. A growling beat drops, and then a double-tracked rap leads us through the worlds of "knights, wizards, and thievery." Considering the dweeby territory at hand, this four-piece manage to make a board game sound as menacing and serious (almost) as riding dirty through a police station's parking lot.

3. MagiTek - “Armagetdown”

Like Krondor Krew, MagiTek call Orlando their home and tend to rap about geeky stuff...hmm, wonder if there's some crossover here? Nah. We last spoke to MagiTek two years ago, and this song "Armagetdown" comes from their latest record, Distorting Reality For Better Perception. A dance track with a party vibe, we've also got a curious mix of saxophone loops and ambient noise underscoring the rhymes.

4. Elements of Noise - “Intro to Nothing”

This track from Elements of Noise begins with a somber acoustic guitar line and is quickly greeted with what sounds like pieces of birdsong and floating electronics. At a minute and three-quarters a piecemeal drum track lends the composition some shape. Also of note, this artist has created remixes of songs like Cat Power's cover of "Wonderwall," all available to check out on his page.

5. Jon Logan - “Ode to Uncle Wes”

"Ode to Uncle Wes" begins with pretty piano flourishes mixed in with the sound of a sprinkler system. The piano gradually builds to a more urgent strain at about a minute and a half in. Atonal in some parts and more recognizably harmonious in others, this is the closest track on our mix that blends the worlds of classical and experimental music.

6. Za Zas Menace - “Welcome to the World of A.I.”

Beginning with scattered conversation and what sounds like a stapler being used over and over, this song gradually stomps into stripped-down industrial territory...until that's joined by a bleeping, fast-paced string of electronic instrumentation. At three and a half minutes more drum tracks and somewhat-sinister noise pushes us into the conclusion.

7. Phill Marshalsea - “Taste of Victory”

Phill Marshalsea says his music has "no set genre," so we'll respect that and just tell you what we hear. We begin with cascading synthesizer melodies blending into something of an electronic symphony - highs and lows represented - and a kind of voice modulation pushes to the forefront. Things drop out and get downright near ominous and the mid-point of the song, but soon the theme from the beginning returns. Peaceful.

8. Chris Savage - “Bf109”

This track is named after a German World War II fighter plane, and proceeds with a leisurely drum track, softly sung lyrics and a pretty guitar and bass track all cut into with a swath of distortion and electronic noise. It's almost a relaxing number, save for the no doubt purposeful sonic reminder that even the bluest and most serene skies can be cut with something sinister.

9. Pan Galactic Straw Boss - “Ingen er Våken. Ingenting er Virkelig. (an introduction).”

With the sound of static this song - replete with odd punctuation in the title - slowly crawls to life. From the album Whirlwind, Flash and Heat, this number concentrates on the sound of manipulated guitar sounds played in reverse. No percussion to speak of, aside from some distant clanging.

10. Colors of Lights - “The Machine Breaksdown”

A guitar solo transmitted from some unknown place, "The Machine Breaksdown" also encompasses a growling synthetic bass part and a rolling run of drum machine hits. Guitar transforms into synthesizer and back again. Maybe it's just us, but the track sounds like a lonely satellite coming into contact with the hugeness of some gas giant after hundreds of years in the cold of space...or something.

11. Anthony Gio - “Plastic World”

You have your acid jazz, and you have your jazz on acid. Scatting vocals are placed over a shuffling drum and bass beat, then drowned in the sludge of feedback and noise during what could be described as the chorus.

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Krondor Krew and Magitek songs are awesome!

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