: A seeming newcomer to the San Francisco electronic music landscape, National Park System is Bay Area resident Nicholas Yu, a producer of interstellar atmospheres, moody beatscapes, and the occasional leftfield pop hook.
On his latest short-format release, A Visitor's Guide (pictured above), Yu offers four songs that highlight each of his stylistic strong points—sometimes all at once. "Silver Miner" melds together heavy industrial rhythms with brooding synth washes, audio snippets from otherworldly source material, and a hint of psychedelia. National Park System's music explores an eclectic range of styles that interplay quite effortlessly, setting him apart from most of the other production work coming out of San Francisco lately. You can hear the rest of National Park System's A Visitor's Guide before it's released in June, here.
20 Jazz Funk Greats
: In these days of such recording trickeries, where lo-fi records made on $4000 Macpros are re-recorded into tape recorders bought at cash converters, and Daniel Bedingfield makes a number one hit in this bedroom (how did he get that string quartet in there?), it becomes increasingly difficult to tell with what means a record has been made.
For instance, we thunked this record by National Park System was made by bleeding a blurry photograph of Spacemen 3 over a washed out slide of Flying Saucer Attack with a glass of some psychedelic potion that would have made Timothy Leary weep from every pore.
But actually, according to our research of analysis department located deep in Plymouth University, the above piece was conceived using an algorithm which controls a cloud of a billion nanoscopic Kevin Shields across a variable grid constructed with a thousand Mary Chains. So there you go, its best not to make assumptions. This has already done ‘the rounds’ but we are fascinated with these kinds of appliances of sciences, and it’s amazing to get an amazing drone track because it happens so rarely in this day and age. A beautifully accurate binary recreation of whacked out teenagers in love in 1991, ‘A Visitor’s Guide’ is places the ghost back in the shell with the upmost love and attention. Not only that, but it’s also being put out by 20JFG pal Nihiti on the lo bit landcapes label. Someone else who controls beauty on a microscopic level is Steve Moore….
: Aquarius Records : We know nothing about these guys, other than this is the latest release on LoBit Landscapes, who released the recent aQ Record Of The Week from Nihiti, For Ostland, and while there are some sonic similarities, NPS is a much more beat driven, dancefloor driven affair.
Although from the opening of "Silver Miner", you might be forgiven for expecting something much more murky and abstract, beginning as it does with a weird pulsing landscape of squelches and swirls, a blurred smear of textures, but one that quickly blossoms into a weird sort of future funk, all motorik groove, and noisy, super distorted melodies, which almost sound like wild animal cries fashioned into tones, the result is something at once electronic, but also dense and psychedelic and a bit noisy.
The second track too lays down a crumbling, distorted beat, and lays sheets of distorted electric guitar buzz over the top, and this time weaves in some mumbled vox, buried in the mix. It's a hard sound to classify, it's a sort of gloomy electro pop, but one that's both a bit gothy, and a bit noisy.
"Flying Penguin" unfurls a weird barrage of metallic melody, before in swoops a fractured, and convoluted stuttery beat, as well as swirling synths, and some alien vocodered vox, the end result being equal parts dreamy electro pop and experimental avant electronica, but with a definite caustic crunch.
Although the closer, the awesomely titled "Sad And Fucked (Not Moving)" might be our favorite of the bunch, a swirling squall of metallic buzz, and dense chordal shimmer, seriously kosmische, the sounds airy and ethereal at first, but gradually growing more distorted and blown out, only to seemingly melt before our ears into a woozy, keening, droned out murky drift.
: National Park System is the sound of Nicholas Yu, a guy who went to Princeton and MIT.
Don't know if that's pertinent to his music making, but he's got a new album coming out on lo bit landscapes in June and we get to share one of the tracks. Though the four song EP doesn't seem to care much about what genre of electronic-based sound it's pulling from–anywhere from Aphex Twins to Fennesz to late night Skinemax softcore–we're feeling the Fennesz side of things, during which we keep waiting for Jason Pierce to start singing something dreamy but remain satisfied with the “not moving” iciness of the mix.
Tiny Mix Tapes
: Is this what Supersystem were supposed to sound like after they branched out from El Guapo and failed to live up to the legacy? National Park System remind me of Psychobuildings and King God, but they will remind you of, you guessed it, the 1980s.
The two Side A cutz bring it pretty gosh-darn hard and will make you yell OH MY HECK (had cousins in Utah), dressed in the daze of fluttering synths and imaginative soundscapes. “Sad and Fucked (Not Moving)” walks along the ocean shore like that super-old M83 stuff used to, and decides to stay for picnic. Hey, where am I goin’, know what I mean? I’m confused by “Flying Penguin,” though. It’s too lounge-y to pass the smell test. I’m sure there’s someone in Brooklyn who would tell me I’m wrong. I just gotta be me. Nice thick vinyl, 45 RPM speed for the hearing-fortunate.