So, I’ve finally figured out how to put music online for all S.N.O.B fans to access. I realized that if Bradford Cox (of Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, and blogging fame) can find time to be sober enough to post mixes (which are quite good, check them out), fuck if I can’t do it too.
Speaking of frail, avant boy/men, so recently I discovered Arthur Russell, whose experimental dance music is a beautiful blend of ambient sounds, disco beats, cello, and “golly gee the world is big isn’t it?” lyricism. Russell died in the early 90’s of AIDS in relative obscurity outside the artsy music circles in New York. Only recently has his music been opened to a wider audience with the reissue of some of his albums. Rolling Stone wrote in 2004, “If Nick Drake had lived long enough to make records with New Order, they might have sounded something like this” of the LP World of Echo and it’s not a bad analogy. However, I think it’s a bit more like if Daniel Johnston made records with Autechre, but it’s similar point being made about what a frontrunner he was in terms of hybrid music. Russell’s story is as fascinating (he played cello for Ginsberg’s poetry readings, was an early East Village pioneer in the 1970’s and collaborated with Philip Glass and David Bryne to name a few) as his music is original.
Arthur Russell is, as my friend Josh put it, “dance music you can’t dance to.” This brought me back to IBM (Intelligent Dance Music), a form of “electronica” which hit its height in the mid-90s, but is constantly being revised and revisited by artists such as Boards of Canada, Architecture in Helsinki, and The Field. The pioneers of the 90’s boom, like Autechre, Richard D. James (Aphex Twin) and Squarepusher, are still quite active as well. Here is a sampling of my homage to IDM and to Russell, a mix full of intellectually important bleeps, bings! and scratches. But with some faux world music from Williasmburg and a little neo-Italo Disco (hello Simian Mobile Disco!) thrown in there. Uh, and Daft Punk and Radiohead too.
Arthur Russell–Calling All Kids: This song is like if the producers of PBS’s Square One took drugs and hung out with Steve Reich (see below). Which, if you think about the early 80’s, is really not that improbable of a scenario.
Every Day—AFX: Richard D. James channeling Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby.
Wait for the Summer—Yeasayer: I tried describing Yeasayer the other night and I ended up saying something along the lines of “It’s like when Eno and Byrne collaborated, but uh, less Eno and more lesbian.” That’s totally not the right way to describe them (that actually sounds kind of like Thievery Corporation, come to think of it), but I love this sorta World sound, as made by post-TV-on-the-Radio (yes I am told that is a genre now) Brooklynites.
Neuschenee 78–Neu! : I am also a fan of Germans channeling world music in the 1970s.
Up the Ladder—Radiohead: Best track, in my opinion, off the second cd of the In-Rainbows package. “I’m a puhhh-ppet/you can almost see the string.” Oh Thom! You and your masochism!
Musique—Daft Punk: I have a lot of fond memories from high school of driving around in my first boyfriend’s car listening to Daft Punk’s Alive during the spring of the first year of the 21st century. He drove a Volvo station wagon. He also wore one of those backpacks that cross across your chest and fasten with velcro (does anyone remember those?). And once he wore man-capris (manpris?). I always thought he was a little gay for liking his Volvo and Daft Punk so much, not to mention wearing that backpack and those manpris, but I accredited it all to the fact that he is French. However, in my dating life post high school, I’ve been involved a lot of guys who looooove Daft Punk. Dudes who don’t wear man-pris. So, I guess I was wrong. I have come to realize it’s perfectly normal for straight guys to like Daft Punk, French or non-French. It still perplexes me a bit, but uh, Daft Punk is still awesome! Those backpacks, though, well, not so much. Ditto the man-pris.
End of the World—The Shocking Pinks: Newish dream-pop, distributed in the US from our friends at DFA.
Blue Jeans 2.0—Ladytron: I also like when 21st Century Germans channel the Bangles as well.
Electric Counterpoint/Slow–Steve Reich Enjoy! And please let me know if you have any problems.