amusingmusings on Sudan Archives’ ‘Athena’

amusingmusings on Sudan Archives’ ‘Athena’

amusingmusings is a feature from Counterzine contributor, Secat, that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers ‘Athena,’ the debut LP from Los Angeles-based musician Sudan Archives.


*A PIG and a SECAT wander down a coarse dirt road.

pig: doo dee doo

secat: dum dee dum

BOTH: doo dee day!!

secat: oh pig! What a wonderful, cross-species friendship we have nourished, ever since our nice Jenny Hval discussion..

secat: what wonderful teatimes we have had together, in the dead of night…

secat: and thanks for letting me crash at your cozy forest bungalow for the past few days.. I really mean it..

pig: oh, it’s no trouble, no trouble at all!

secat: really.. there must be something I can do to repay you..

pig: well..

secat: anything!!

pig: ok. Tell you what. I have a task for you. Walk down to the stream at the edge of the forest, and gather up as much fresh MUD as you can from the banks. Just scoop it up in your arms

pig: I must say that a puddle of MUD is my only vice.. That, and warm milk before bed

secat: I can surely do that!.. Oh, but first, can I gush about an album at you?

pig: but of course, mr. secat!

secat: Splendid! The very latest entry into my “POSSIBLE CONTENDERS FOR MY ALBUM OF THE YEAR” club.. it’s.. It’s..


pig: “ATHENA” by SUDAN ARCHIVES. Ooh, it rolls off of the tongue.. [author’s note: do pigs have tongues??]

secat: oh, yes, God, yes, it does! And this album, it rolls smokily off of the various crevasses and frequency receptors of my ears and wiggles its way into my very SOUL. It is a svelte, simmering R&B cauldron boiling over with heart, charm, and inspired production and composition.

pig: ah.. Does that mean it’s good?.. you’re doing the thing where you say all the words at once again.. [author’s note: YES OF COURSE pigs have tongues. Get a GRIP, sec!!]

secat: yes it is GOOD. Good and PURE.

secat: this is like the kind of album that’s playing in the background when you smoke a cigarette on a hotel room balcony and watch the sun go down. only I don’t smoke, so.. maybe more of an album to enjoy a lollipop to… Sophisticatedly, of course

pig: “lollipop”?

secat: oh, sweet pig! A “lollipop” is a thing you lick and lick and lick. And you have a tongue, so you can do that. I’ll buy you a tootsie pop

pig: “tootsie”… “pop”?

secat: do not worry your brain about this. Allow me to go on.

secat: here is a Serious Music Review type statement: “Sudan Archives melds sharp, architectural string composition with airy, glossy production to create a babbling brook of elegant and moving sensuality on ATHENA.”

pig: goodness! How did you do that with your voice?

secat: hours of practice! And a lot of time watching crummy VOX videos

secat: I play the cello (poorly) and the work on this album makes me wish I had dedicated even a half inch of passion to my instrument while I was learning it in middle & high school. The string instrumentation sprinkled throughout is just lovely.. aargh.. It’s too late for me.. I wasted all my potential.. I suuuuuckkk…

pig: cheer up! You’ve still got plenty of time to improve, silly

pig: why, I’m quite an old pig myself, but I learn something new every day 🙂 for instance you have taught me an awful lot about which seasons of SURVIVOR are good and which ones are not

secat: ah, that I have, pig..

secat: this album is full of ebullient songs to sing along to very loudly with your head sticking out of an open car window, like a dog: take, for instance, “Iceland Moss” or “Limitless”

pig: a dog, hm?.. oh, I wonder how old Mr. and Mrs. Hound are doing.. it’s been an awfully long while since we sat down for tea together..

secat: I’d also like to highlight “Black Vivaldi Sonata” as a little moment for me on my first listen through where I really sat up and thought to myself, “oh, this album is GOOD.”

secat: something interesting, though, is that I almost found the little interludes and snippet tracks (“Ballet of the Unhatched Twins 1,” “House of Open Tuning II”) to be more compelling than the fully fleshed-out songs, ESPECIALLY “House of Open Tuning II.” There is real magic in the way the sonic hallmarks of the album express themselves on these interludes, and I only hope that they are further explored and followed up on in later releases..

secat: all in all, it’s a total wowza! Can’t wait to see what this artist does next. And I am also kicking myself a little for not exploring her work when it was introduced to me earlier.

pig: never you mind that.. Now if you’d please go gather up that nice MUD I was talking about.. :3

secat: right away, pig!


Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at

amusingmusings: Ratskin Records

amusingmusings: Ratskin Records

amusingmusings is a feature from Counterzine contributor, Secat, that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers new releases from independent label Ratskin Records, based in Oakland, California.


Hello hello hello!! Today I’d like to do a little bit of a feature on some recent releases from RATSKIN RECORDS, a very exciting label that puts out noisey, dazzling wonders on a startlingly frequent basis! frankly, this is the kind of label that I would love to be represented by someday; their discography is a highlight reel of some of the coolest, rawest material of the moment. we’ll take a look at two albums out now on their website: TYLER HOLMES’s “Devil” and XUXA SANTAMARIA’s “Chancletas D’Oro”..



TYLER HOLMES has gone and created something here that reads (listens?) as the aural equivalent of a horror film, a fascinating exercise in subversion; the 5-track EP opens with 4 understated, subtle beauties for string and synthesizer (my personal highlight of these being the title track) defined by remarkable tenderness and restraint, such that you expect them to build to a bombastic, beautiful closer; and then, he completely upends your expectations by instead throwing you into a pit full of snakes on “The Promise,” a 17-minute, ear-splitting noise/sound collage piece that evokes the work of Black Mountain Transmitter. “The Promise” is the monster hiding under the bed; it leaps out at you, pins you down, and then writhes in static and distortion on the floor. Frankly I feel a little bad mentioning it in this writeup, almost like I’m spoiling the twist at the end of a movie on my way out of the theater; but, as I can attest from multiple listens, knowing that it’s coming does not diminish its power.

My only criticism here would be that “The Promise,” for all its horror, grit, and excess, does lose a little bit of that power as it continues; after around the midway point, I think the sculptural qualities of its sound turn repetitive and produce slightly diminishing returns.

..also I have little baby ears and some of the high pitched noises in “The Promise” make me make a D:< face: ouch, man!!

Favorite Tracks: “Devil,” “The Promise”

Listen if: you don’t have 91 minutes to watch “A Nightmare on Elm Street” but you DO have 32 minutes to listen to an album


XUXA SANTAMARIA – “Chancletas D’Oro”

Boom!! Thud!! Pow!!! What a knockout this is, what a cool, cool, project

“Chancletas D’Oro” is a clubby, spunky, ethereal record that GLITTERS with passion and excitement; it is contagious; it is so large, yet so small! Every song (+ its accompanying lyrics) has a great deal of ambition and concept behind it and I have probably not listened through the whole thing enough times to divine all the layers that have been baked into the noise BUT..

Even if you leave all of this conceptual loveliness to the side, the sound itself: it is so enchanting! Economical, smart mixing that affords every element the precise space and presence it needs to make the impact that is desired.. the drums are strong and punchy enough to give me a chest cold, the lush synth tones make me astral project, and the vocals move in and out of the forefront so softly, so sweetly, like a puff of confectioner’s sugar (WHAT is that metaphor secat. Go to your ROOOOM!!)

Look, to sum up: I listen to this and I feel as though I am participating in something important; I feel echoes of things past and present refracted. It has all the rough edge and heart of something that is deeply personal, yet it still resonates very loudly and lustrously in my head; and you can dance to it, too. I think that’s very special. Check it out, if you’ve got the time.

Favorite Tracks: “Color of the Dark,” “River Neva”

Listen if: you are seasick on a boat and you would like to be transported somewhere else for a while; if you are a ghost and you would like to set your feet upon the ground.


That’s all for today.. Now.. Go out and GET LISTENING :))


Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at

amusingmusings on Joyero, Kim Gordon, and Special Request

amusingmusings on Joyero, Kim Gordon, and Special Request

amusingmusings is a feature from Counterzine contributor, Secat, that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers three recent albums from Joyero, Kim Gordon, and Special Request.


I feel a little bit behind on talking about what I’ve been enjoying lately, and these albums all speak for themselves quite nicely enough that a pared-down, “capsule” writeup suits them… So, today, it’s a secat TRIPLE FEATURE!, otherwise known as “sec pretends to be all pithy and Robert Christgau-esque”


Joyero – Release the Dogs

JOYERO (best known for being in WYE OAK, who secretly released one of the best records of 2018, “The Louder I Call, the Faster it Runs,” right under everyone’s noses) has sculpted a soft, bouncy, pretty break-up record out of pure loneliness; it is simultaneously the closest and farthest thing. The wall that you build around yourself in these moments is felt, palpably; you are separated from the raw emotion that clearly inspired it, but you are brought as close to the enclosure as you dare to tread; the record is snarling at you and scratching the glass, but the ferocity is tuneful and beautiful. It is heartbreak wearing a love-skin. It is also.. Wait for it.. one of the Best. Records. Of 2019!!!

Best tracks: “Steepest Stairs,” “Salt Mine”

Listen if: she still isn’t calling back 😦 aww man :((


Kim Gordon – No Home Record

KIM GORDON is all like “raaaah!!” and I’m all like “yeaahhhhh!!!”

She makes all this cool-ass NOISE and i’m just thinking You Go Babe!!

This is one of the most diverse records I’ve heard all year – it explores a huge variety of sounds and textures and moods and spirits, but remains cohesive by maintaining an intense, otherworldly energy;

This record makes me feel like a hyperintelligent alien being alighted upon our crummy little planet, studied our music, and said, “like this?” – its contemporary influences and references are rendered just the littlest bit askew, but it’s so beautiful and singular that you’re left wondering “wait, why don’t other people do it like this??” Its charm is unstudied, wiggeldy woggeldy, and immediately appealing!

Pick it up and your ears will immediately be shifted to Earth-2, the cool and interesting mirror universe where everyone uses HD DVDs instead of Blu Rays and the sun is a neat shade of chartreuse

Best tracks: “Paprika Pony,” “Cookie Butter,” “Hungry Baby”

Listen if: you’re looking for the kind of thing you can scream at, or to: it’s your choice!

No Home Record on the Matador Records website


Special Request – Offworld

Listen. Sometimes there is not much to say about a record beyond “this rocks my whole ass.”

…This is SPECIAL REQUEST’s third (!!) full-length release of the year. It is sublime technoambientelectronicawhatever.

And it rocks my whole ass. It boomps and thwoomps. Yup. There are crispy lil snap samples and female voices going “Ooooh” and “yeahhh” in my ears. Literally what more could I ask for on a Sunday afternoon .. except a glass of wine !! Haha naw stay abstinent yall

I listed tracks down below and everything but those are just shots in the dark honestly. “Offworld” is a gargantuan liquid mass of feelgood energy; I start listening to it and then 48 minutes later I emerge from the trance. It could be played at any volume in any setting and I would enjoy the very hell out of it.

Best tracks: “Shepperton Moon Landing,” “Front Screen Projection,” “Floatation (SR Offworld Mix)”

Listen if: you’re sitting on a chaise lounge and reading a self-help book about The Power of Learning When to Sometimes (But Not All the Time) Say Yes or some shit


I have to go now, but I hope some (or all) of these albums tickle your fancy. They’ll be your babysitters until next time.


Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at

amusingmusings on Jenny Hval’s ‘The Practice of Love’

amusingmusings on Jenny Hval’s ‘The Practice of Love’

amusingmusings is a feature from Counterzine contributor, Secat, that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers the latest album from Jenny Hval, ‘The Practice of Love,’ released on September 13th.


*a small PIG comes ambling down the road.

pig: dum dee dum dee dum

pig: *trot* *trot* *trot*

pig: what a nice day it is, to be an animal without much in the way of concerns or living expenses

*the PIG oinks in surprise as it comes across a LONE FIGURE sitting crosslegged in the middle of the road.

pig: oh goodness! You gave me a fright!

*the LONE FIGURE chuckles.

???: he heh…. The only Frightening thing here.. is how Frighteningly good.. the latest album from JENNY HVAL is..

*the LONE FIGURE raises their head: it’s SECAT!!


*the PIG’s teeth [author’s note: do pigs have teeth??] begin to chatter violently.

pig: are you that frightening monster I’ve heard about?.. The one who snatches up poor little woodland creatures like me and forces them to listen to their opinions on music and games?…

secat: the very same, heheh.. >:3

pig: oh dear.. I’m going to be late for teatime with Mr. Owl and Mrs. Badger…

secat: ugh! how TWEE

secat: what I have to say is FAR more interesting than THAT.

secat: look. Why don’t you listen to me talk about “The Practice of Love” by Jenny Hval for a minute or three, and then you can go to tea.

pig: won’t eat me, then..?

secat: yuck! Of course not. Goodness sakes

[author’s note: after some very cursory googling I have found that pigs have something called NEEDLE TEETH. That’s a little spooky sounding..]

secat: so anyways about the album. The album by Jenny Hval. “The Practice of Love” by Jenny Hval. It came out on the very same day as (Sandy) Alex G’s “House of Sugar” [read my thoughts on that here] and I think it has had much more staying power for me; and, conversely, is a little tougher to write about, because I think it means a lot more to me and has sunk deeper into my soul.

pig: what exactly is a “SOUL”?

secat: easy! A soul is the little warm spot at the center of your chest that you can feel late at night when you’re the only one awake

pig: oh! Of course..

secat: a soul is one of the best organs with which to appreciate music, next to the ears. Jenny Hval’s is very finely tuned and resonant, I believe. Her work is saturated with the kind of affecting, genuine artistry that is only developed through patience and deep intentionality.

pig: mm.. I’m very sorry, but I don’t know a lot of those words..

secat: oh! well, what I’m trying to say is that the music is good. Do you listen to music, little pig?

pig: of course! Sometimes Mr. Tomcat plays the fiddle while all us woodland creatures dance and sing in the field under the light of the full moon.. Mrs. Badger serves everyone warm milk.. Just a nice little get together

secat: argh your life is the most impossibly “Wind in the Willows”-ass shit my GOD

secat: can I hang out with you guys sometime

pig: no humans allowed! Sorry

secat: ah.. that’s fair…

pig: don’t look so sad! Tell me more about the music thing please

secat: of course..

secat: The songs on “The Practice of Love” are made up of pure trance throwback four-on-the-floor starlight, pulsating with deep cavernous thwobby synths, with jenny hval’s wonderfully versatile, shimmering voice floating calmly over top, singing about love, life, death, sorrow, forgetting, remembering (“Lions”)..

pig: what does “thwobby” mean?

secat: oh! That it THWOBS.. Like this.

*SECAT makes a nice bassy croaking noise with their mouth.

pig: OK!

*The PIG smiles.

secat: What a nice pig you are.

secat: The record is constantly playing with the transcendental; its beauty edges me toward a place out of time and fear..

secat: in particular, on my first listen, I was absolutely hypnotized by the title track, a fascinating collage of vulnerable, intimate dialogue; you could certainly argue that a spoken-word interlude like this affects the replay value of the work as a whole, but, personally, I haven’t grown tired of it yet; and I don’t think I will anytime soon.

secat: and consider, pig, the song “Ashes to Ashes”; one of my absolute favorite songs of the year. Music’s effect is so difficult to communicate sometimes; how do you turn the sound into words? A strange kind of alchemy, little pig..

secat: But when I hear “Ashes to Ashes,” I think of the saddest thing in the world.

pig: ohh 😦 what would that be?..

secat: My mother really enjoys this song: it was playing on the stereo at my parents’ house, and her eyes were closed, and she was singing along:

Ashes to ashes,

Dust to dust..

secat: her eyes were closed, and she was fully in the moment, her head was swaying; and then my father called her name from the kitchen. and her eyes flashed open and I saw a kind of light leaving them. She was ripped right out of a moment of such bliss. Isn’t that sad?

pig: it makes me think of the moon.

secat: hmm?

pig: well! The moon is new, and then it’s full: and how beautiful that fullness is; but the fullness has to disappear, right? It has to pass on. Because that’s how things have to be. Every state is a phase; transition defines existence..

secat: goodness!

pig: and I think that’s part of what your album is talking about.. right? Love and its.. ehm.. qualities of .. transitioning.. what’s a word..

secat: its ephemerality. The ephemerality of everything. Dust to dust.

pig: there it is!

secat: oh! you woodland creatures and your pithy little quotes! How come you all talk like Winnie the pooh

pig: oh.. sorry.. it’s just how animals learn to communicate.. you know?

secat: yeah.. I get it. Here. I have a wonderful thing I want us both to listen to. Will you listen to it with me?

pig: ah, well.. but, I’m already late for teatime..

secat: please?

pig: yes, yes.. for a little while, I’ll listen.

*In the waning afternoon sky there echo the sounds of oinking and “The Practice of Love” and tears and laughter.


Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at

amusingmusings on Big Thief’s ‘Two Hands’

amusingmusings on Big Thief’s ‘Two Hands’

amusingmusings is a feature from Counterzine contributor, Secat, that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers the new album from Big Thief, ‘Two Hands,’ released on October 11th.


[alec is typing . . . ]

alec: please for the love of God come out of your room

secat: will you just leave me ALONE. i am having a sensual, earthy experience with my favorite band, BIG THIEF !!

alec: youve been having a god damn sensual whatever experience since 9 a.m. and i am tired and i want you to turn the music down

secat: you want to be soothed.. ah, i have just the thing for you.. come listen to the soft croons of adrianne lenker with me in here… big thief will rock you to sleep, my child . .

alec: since when do you like big thief so much anyway

secat: since like forever!! i mean did you LISTEN to capacity. did you LISTEN to masterpiece. did you LISTEN to U.F.O.F. (and have you properly appreciated that big thief have put out 2 stunning albums in a single year!!!!)

alec: you know very well that i have not done any of those things my man

secat: come in and listen to Two Hands already. It is so good. did u know that big thief made TWO ALBUMS in a YEARR

alec: yes you have told me

secat: what a feat.. what an accomplishment.. frankly, big thief’s consistency is just marvelous to behold..

alec: whatever! it all sounds the freaking same

secat: it is so laughable. How wrong you are. My goodness

secat: like, Masterpiece is incandescent flame.. Capacity is dark, bubbling ichor.. U.F.O.F. is airy, fluttering light.. Two Hands is rich, crumbling earth..

alec: the 4 elements. I get it

secat: you see! this time, Big Thief have grabbed their shovels and dug raw mineral chords and timbres out of the black, black earth, and recorded them with the absolute WARMEST analog shit on the planet (seriously this album it is like a big down quilt and i cling to it fondly)

alec: when are u gonna grow up and stop using albums as comfort objects

secat: BIG THIEF RANKING uhh let’s see 1) capacity 2) UFOF 3) this one 4) masterpiece

alec: so you dont even like it that much!

secat: shut up!! im splitting hairs here

secat: literally everything they’ve done thus far is on a level above their peers. each project a treasured jewel in my, ehm, musical treasure trove

alec: can’t you listen with headphones at least

secat: oh, yes, i could! but i won’t.. if you don’t let this reverberate around the room a little, you’re, frankly, a little monster, and i will have nothing to do with you

secat: if you set up your space just right, it will feel as though the music is holding your hand. it’s a uniquely intimate, tensile record — an amazing feat of surface tension — a whisper that bends, but does not break, the surface of the still water

alec: so what’s the best song

secat: the BEST song! ha! hahah! i laugh! as if there could be a BEST single song, on this cohesive, wonderful recordingg,

secat: with that being said, it’s Not

secat: i mean, duh. a growling, towering pinnacle. ya know? it completely eclipses everything that comes before and after

secat: . . . and in fact, it has the effect of making the following songs (while still excellent) feel perhaps a little nonessential. after Not ends, you want its final, ringing squalls to sit in your room till the end of time — but then the next song starts — and you’re kind of like, “oh! album’s not done”

secat: so it might’ve been better suited as a final, closing track — but the album is still well paced in that those following songs feel very much like they’re being played in the gaping shadow of Not. the mood moves inward, becomes reflective; the space narrows..

alec: the only thing narrowing is.. My patience

secat: ha HA! good one. but you can’t get me to stop. i will never leave this room. I WILL DIE IN HERE

alec: i made croissants tho :((

secat: shitt why didn’t you say so! i’ll be right out


Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at

amusingmusings on Octo Octa’s ‘Resonant Body’

amusingmusings on Octo Octa’s ‘Resonant Body’

amusingmusings is a new feature from Counterzine contributor Secat that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers the latest album from Octo Octa, ‘Resonant Body.’ 


ah, Octo Octa, you motherfucker

Just when i thought i was over house-y club thumpers, “Resonant Body” comes to grab me by the ankles and drag me back into the fold

Your songs are class-B certified rump shakers

This album is full of the kind of schpit that someone shimmies to in the hip underground nightclub of my very wildest fantasies

it just kicks my god damn ass

Takes no names

I’m left on the dancefloor, sweating


one name on my lips—

Octo Octa . . .

Ah . . .

Remember that night, that warm September night,

When you left me speechless—

And your housy wonders, they entranced me—

Oh, Octo Octa! Let’s run away together . . .

The track that really gets things underway is the second one, “Move Your Body”—what the hell? what’s going on? Am i in 199X right now

Am i about to get arrested for dancing all night beneath an overpass

there’s a classic j-house vibe to this one – it feels quite a lot like a soichi terada // shinichiro yokota deep cut UNTIL this woobly lil sawtooth line comes in, and it begins to feel like something especially beautiful and out of time –

a little sheet of gauzy perfect shimmery Beats and Rhythms distilled from the fizzy ether of Clubland, where the sun never rises.

of course we have your usual “i’m a serious producer, look at my Ambient Textures” tracks (“Deep Connections,” “My Body is Powerful”) – but, hey! these are good-ass textures! I won’t complain

there’s a certain way people like to make dance records and Octo Octa is definitely (consciously OR subconsciously) sticking to a formula—

as such, nothing as it comes up is exactly surprising. it moves like a dance record does. it tells a familiar story with some very neat and bristly paintbrushes. it repackages influences cutely and charmingly!

there’s some absolutely sick sub bass on “Deep Connections” and then this CRUNCHY lil snare comes in—nice one

“Spin Girl, Let’s Activate!” is the only track that doesn’t quite grab me—there is a great moment in the middle, though, where it breaks wide open and gets wonderful and deep, kind of like, ehm, a chicken’s egg containing the Marianas Trench, or something

“Ecstatic Beat” and “Can You See Me?” both make me smile a whole lot, mostly because of the squarepusher, IDM-ass drums going on in the background, lol

Octo Octa has a wonderful knack for sampling—every vocal break, every shout (hey! Woo! Woah! Yeah! Alright!!) is worked into the track with aplomb

However, sometimes these wonderfully placed samples combine for an overall affect that i could perfectly understand someone else not enjoying; there’s a very teehee, knowing-smirk “haha these samples are goofy and antiquated-sounding” vibe to it all that could be described as “cloying” or “obnoxious” even

As a whole the album almost feels like a DJ mix more than an album project: it flows so well that it feels almost like Octo Octa plucked all these songs out of thin air to service her vision –

like, Damn Girl You Made All These?!

part of why it works so well is because every track evolves very naturally and with great care—i am never bored but i am also not forced to speed through every stop on the musical station.

Like, the album is like a train, and, uh

wait this doesn’t make any sense

look—overall? if you want to dance, and to smile, then frankly, it would be criminal for you not to give Octo Octa’s “Resonant Body” a listen, preferably in a dark room, even more preferably wearing a couple glowstick bracelets:

move those damn feet!! i wanna see you sweat, chief!! get groovin’, hoss!!!


:)) music is awesome


Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at

amusingmusings on Yakui’s ‘Imni’

amusingmusings on Yakui’s ‘Imni’

amusingmusings is a new feature from Counterzine’s newest contributor, Secat, that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers the album ‘Imni’ by Yakui.


Imni is interesting. Imni is one of the most interesting projects i’ve heard in a long while. i’m not sure if i can remember the last time i was so transfixed by what an album has had to say to me.

OKok hear me out. i’m flustered.

i’ve been sitting with This Damn Record (said record being Imni by Yakui) for about a month now and i’m still not sure if i’m completely ready to talk about it.

to sum it up, i think it’s one of the very best of the year – but in a way that i find incredibly complicated to transcribe. it intimidates me. Imni is a thing of great beauty; it’s difficult to touch. my ear-hands brush against the hot Imni-stove: yowch!

it’s like a great cosmic journey through a universe that expands and contracts as would a beating heart. a lifeblood of stuttering, looping fragments running through everything. i think of Imni sort how i think of stained glass. i’m not going to explain that.

a point of reference i kept coming back to as i listened (and relistened, and relistened, and relistened) to this record was Fennesz’s “Endless Summer.” i think the two projects share some similar strands of inspirational DNA.

see this is where that dumb “talking about music is like dancing about architecture” quote comes to smirk at me from the corner of the room, because i find Imni so hard to discuss. sometimes the very best shit you find is also the most annoying, because it defies easy categorization; because it alters your internal framework. Imni has taken charge of some area of my brain; i hear differently now.

and there are only so many ways i am able to tell you “hey this is really good!!” before i start wanting to punch myself in the face.

the moment this album really caught me the first time i was listening to it was at this wonderful transition point at the 5th track, “Radial Hardcore.” prior to this, the album is a shivering thing covered in rippling sheets of gauze (“Esky,” “Meltwave”); at “Radial Hardcore,” the sheets are ripped off; the groaning, grinding machine underneath is clearly visible. the project takes on a sharper quality. Yakui throws a glass of ice water at you.

and “Radial Hardcore” goes right into “Beltgate” which is this horrible grimey scream that makes me want to sell my car and go live in the woods outside my apartment complex –

“Interface” is the very best track, though, and it deserves to be beamed into every American home via high powered satellite array. it’s that good. if you listen to “Interface” and you don’t like it i’ll beat you up.

(that’s a gag, don’t worry, you’re allowed to like or dislike whatever you want, it’s ok, just know that you will put me in a beating-up mood if you tell me you don’t like “Interface” from Imni by Yakui)

after “Interface” displays the internal organs of the work, you are slowly brought back out through the other side of its body, through to the charming, autechre-y (circa LP5) fuzzbump epidermis of “Fairy Glen”;

finally, upon reaching “Earthworm”‘s twee halting vocal stutters, you are allowed to be an observer and not an inhabitant of the thing again; the thing that is Imni by yakui. and what an interesting form this thing has –

quite interesting, indeed!

look. i know i am probably overselling this to you. i can’t help it. i am overpassionate at the best of times. but i really do think this is one of the most sublime releases of the year.

ultimately what you get out of this record will be what you are willing to put in – you do need some degree of tolerance for a kind of looping aimlessness that permeates the work. i kind of interpret that as the sonic equivalent of anxiety. if you are not an anxious person perhaps this will feel very uncomfortable or irritating to listen to. i get it!

but whatever! if you don’t like this you’re WRONG

music is AWESOME



Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at

amusingmusings on (Sandy) Alex G’s ‘House of Sugar’

amusingmusings on (Sandy) Alex G’s ‘House of Sugar’

amusingmusings is a brand new feature from Counterzine’s newest contributor, Secat, that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers the latest album from (Sandy) Alex G, ‘House of Sugar.’ 


[alec is typing . . . ]

alec: i just think you do this every time a record you like comes out dude

secat: Do what

alec: you gush over it and tell me about how it’s the greatest thing ever and then in like a week you’re all like “oh yeah that albums fine”

secat: No dude this ones DIFFERENT i SWEAR

alec: ok whatever

alec: Are you coming to the movie w/ us tonight or what

secat: Listen

secat: House of Sugar by (Sandy) Alex G –

secat: It is a record made by someone who Knows What He Is Doing

secat: Every track contains at least 3 or 4 Shiver Moments where you get tingly and go “oooh”

alec: so is that a no for the movies then

secat: (Sandy) Alex G is a goddamn connoisseur of sexy, layered chaos

secat: The music is about to crack open like an egg onto your ear

secat: If you would just listen to “Southern Sky” you’d know what I’m talking about—

alec: what that dumbass country thing u played in the car

secat: NO!! it is a Tender Folk Banger you bitch

secat: And, God, then it goes right into “Gretel”?? What the hell. Best back-to-back of 2019, do ya feel me

alec: No I dont feel you

secat: Ok I might be hyperbolic with that one I just

secat: I just really like the two songs OK

secat: OK?

alec: yeah whatever

secat: There is NOTHING whatever about this music. It is composed entirely of GOOD THINGS

secat: Somebody smarter than me once said that (Sandy) Alex G’s work is like, Americana blues rock-y folk with an undercurrent of darkness at its core – like it embodies America, aesthetically

alec: Thats pretentious

secat: Do you even know what that word MEANS

alec: why are you so mad

secat: Im not MAD

secat: Im just PASSIONATE ABOUT (SANDY) ALEX G god dammit!

secat: There are lots of delightfully screwy little production choices—smeary vocal samples stretched out all granular-like, pitched up to accentuate the notes of a conventional instrument (“Taking”), chopped up with little clippy artifacts (“Project 2”) (—> this transitions into a Sick drum thing, holy goodness —> but then that doesn’t really go anywhere. What the hell (Sandy) Alex G)—and they all work together to weave a wonderful baroque little blanket of warm folky cocoa for the ears

alec: folky cocoa. Lol

secat: It just speaks to this really wonderful, current, exciting vision, and I just wanna crack open (Sandy) Alex G’s motherfucking brain and steal his talent !!

alec: That’s gross

secat: Ugh you’re so LAME

secat: Like have you ever even been excited about music in your life you dip

alec: Yeah I have

alec: Im just not weird about it like you

secat: God damn WHATEVERRR

secat: Just give House of Sugar by (Sandy) Alex G a listen. It is candy for the ears. It’s sugar. From the House of Sugar. It’s. It’s aptly named is what I’m trying to say. Aptly named record.

alec: what would u rate it

secat: I dunno like an 8/10 or something?? I don’t rate albums

alec: whattt

alec: No ones gonna read your shit if you don’t

secat: I know, I know

secat: Yeah an 8 I guess. It gets the uhh Secat Seal of Approval

alec: so Best New Music

secat: No nono!! Im not like frickin PITCHFORK ugh

secat: Im not a SELLOUT

secat: But yeah best new music

alec: cool

alec: so howsabout that movie then

secat: Okok I’m omw


Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at