Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
My inspiration, ironically, came from sitting at a bar watching some fellow regulars play a simple chance and dice game. They would pull out a sizable volume titled The Big Bad Ass Book of Shots and they would roll a ten-sided die a pre-ordained number of times correlating to the number of pages or entries in the book, consequently drinking the shot the numbers landed them on.
Well, seeing as that I am OCD enough to keep my record collection on an excel spreadsheet, I decided to utilize the random number generator app to select an album-a-day to listen to based on its numerical place on that list.
Today's pick, #458, is Esther Phillips Confessin' the Blues, Esther's sixth album on Atlantic Records, but first in a stretch of six years. It would be her last on Atlantic.
Her familiar, piercing Southwestern nasal smoke taking center stage on Side 1 for a batch of 'standards' like "C.C. Rider". For a 1976 release, this A-side is staunchly Jazz touched, almost flying in the face of the wave of Funk- or Soul-infused directions so many of her contemporaries were testing. The B-side, doesn't buck that trend, save for the inclusion of Fender bass and a Rhodes electric piano on some tracks (the B-side is a live recording with a different group than A-side's studio roster).
I may be decidedly influenced by the recording qualities and differences from side to side, but her voice sounds half as good on the B-side as it does the A. The mic for this live set in Los Angeles is a bit too flat and doesn't open up certain tones and qualities of her voice. The room 'appears' (through its sound) to be small and laden with thick fabrics, for there is a lack of naturally positive reverb. It also lacks the equal levels that the studio tracks on the A-side possesses. Furthermore, the version of "Bye Bye Blackbird" just feels too jumpy and up-tempo to me, which drains it of its inherent melancholy.
Overall, this album is a pleasure to re-visit for probably the first time since I bought it, but I don't feel guilty for that. Hopefully the random generator won't force me back here too often...once a year or so would be cool. Or maybe I just need a fuckin' girlfriend to play records like this for.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I just watched Scotty Pods here get an infield single based solely on his speed. For 98% off all baserunners, that would have been a ground out with the shortstop beating 'em by a step (or two) with a laser. So, it got me to thinking that maybe we should introduce a new, non-sabermetric stat to this statistics-rabid sport and fanbase. Ready for it?
The Stolen Hit.
Yes. The Stolen Hit (designated 'SH' on your score cards kids). This kind of infield single, which I see a ton of from my hometown icon, Ichiro Suzuki, is less like a hit (save for that it came off the bat) and more like a stolen base. It would still factor in normally to batting average, on-base% and whatnot, but not be included in the WHIP of the pitcher who just had to suffer through the ordeal of giving up a hit based solely on the speed of his opponent.
Let me know what you think folks. This could be a great new statistic!
Oh yeah...it's Joe Blanton.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
First of all, I'm not trying to pick at M's new manager Daren Brown, but why in the hottest reaches of hell did he pull Hernandez in favor of that hack closer Aardsma for the 9th?!? Felix was beating the shit out of the A's. He was cruising. And that also meant we had to endure that ridiculous metal intro for Aardsma that goes on waaaay too long and is a hype engine as full of crap as most political campaign ads. The heart of my argument is this: I enjoy, love baseball and going to baseball games, but the pastoral, meditative side of the game is being ruined by all the racket and noise. Every player has 16 different songs they walked to the plate to. Every 35 seconds, some retard at a sound board pushes a button to play an annoyingly stiff and hollow rhythmic noise, because we fans need to be prompted at exact moments to cheer.
Instead of bitching, albeit creatively, in endless ways about how there is too much over-amplified noise at a baseball stadium, I'd just like to posit that maybe it's time to cut out a bunch of the audio detritus and let people return to attending baseball games in the calm, intellectual and reflective environs of old parks.
Or maybe I should just start going to more minor league games.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
-"Noon Hill Wood" ~ Richard Skelton
-"Cielo" ~ Murcof
-"Flyktig" ~ Pjusk
-"White Lake" ~ Deaf Center
-"I'm Building A Bodacious Bodega for the Race War" ~ Mike Ladd
-"Murderah Style" ~ DJ Spooky
-"Songs in the Key of Tryfe" ~ MF Doom & I-Self Divine
-"Linoleum" ~ Company Flow
-"Foiled" ~ Yellow Swans
-"A Night Without Harm" ~ Svarte Greiner
-"Hathor's Dance" ~ Higuma
Guess I tried to make a little egg center of beats, protected, cupped even, between ambient and electronic shells.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
One thing I noted as a recurring theme in both the books and movies to The Road and No Country For Old Men: binoculars. In No Country, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is standing on a plateau scanning the barren fields below for his prey while hunting and also in spotting the injured dog. In The Road, 'The Man' is constantly "glassing" his environment for safety reasons; to see other people (potential predators) from a distance is a way to stay alive. But the theme to me seems to be for the narrator to have a feeling of distance from the rest of the world. His mindstate is one of being alone in the way he thinks and looks at the world, life.
One last bit. The movie was fantastic in all ways in my mind. The soundtrack by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis fits like a glove. The sound of the world in dissolution around them at all times is perfectly done. It is a sad, crying, aching world that is crumbling at all moments. The acting is fuckin' brilliant, but then what else would you expect from the likes of Viggo? The cinematography is just about bleak enough to squeeze tears out of anybody's eyes on its own. Well done.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I remember seeing Deaf Center at the Triple Door during Decibel Festival's Ambient Showcase two years ago. I sat there with my friend Scott and a couple of new friends (other performers at that year's festival), all of us having our minds splattered on the hard table top in from of us and our hearts liquified in some oozing molten melancholy. I've never felt closer to a male group therapy session; beating drums and yelling amidst campfire flung light. It was clearly a shared visceral, emotional evening.
In the time since then, Deaf Center has gone on somewhat of a sabbatical . Svarte Greiner and Otto Totland having moved on to other projects without officially announcing time of death on Deaf Center. Totland has not produced at the frequency of Greiner, but made an absolutely smashing breakthrough with Nest (see my review for The Silent Ballet). Greiner has continued to pour out his scratchy, steel wool mind on scattered, ever-darkening and more haunting releases. His latest is Penpals Forever (And Ever). His music really has progressed to a point where I feel I'm listening to the soundtracking of a truly schizophrenic and deranged mind, from within, not cinematically. It's an important distinction. I won't waste my breath attempting, at this late hour, to describe the individual peaces, as they seem only movements within a whole that is not dissectable. To communicate how it feels as if actually inside a truly sick (genius?) mind, is to say that there are many noises that make me check if my own environment is making them or if they are part of the music. Intermittent drum beats that made me inspect my turntable to see if it was clicking or knocking its motor (it certainly was not). Low bass rumbles that tricked me into thinking a plane overhead my house was unusually low on its approach to Sea-Tac Airport. This truly is disturbing music; most disturbing for its addictive quality.
Monday, June 14, 2010
spitting messages unconsciously
to audiences she's
beeping, chattering into the void
sweeping the vacuum
for the shattered remnants
of love or existence
that last touch, fading into
a cosmic echo
scan the frequencies
to see if she's still out there
floating less as a heavenly body
and more as a message or a hope
as she spins further into
the vastness, the full-to-overflowing emptiness
swallows her signal
a sip from some universal broth
she begins to attain
some sort of enlightened loneliness
flashing as some unexplainable nova...
Monday, June 7, 2010
working against the cold
most people suggest
making a fire
the creation of heat
but I strike hammers to wires
allow for their vibration
and resonance to
vaporize the arctic air
run a hank of horsehair
until they burst forth
in a volcanic sinew of a cry
with just that
I could stand naked
in the face of all
the world's glaciers
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Make sure you have your ears checked by your local audiophile before you listen to this record, as to make sure you can handle the bass tones and rumble.
In parting, what I think I love best about the Los Angeles explosion (Flying Lotus, Deru, Noasj Thing, etc.) is that some of my armchair anthropological theories have been proven wrong. I never thought the grit and wisdom of East Coast HipHop would be infused into the slangin' West Coast style. Oh, how wrong I am, but how happy can a man be for being wrong?!?
Friday, June 4, 2010
All serious listeners and music fans have a handful of artists they believe absolutely should be more popular; they obsess over the relative obscurity of some of their favorite musicians. Portland post-rock demigod Grails is certainly one of those bands for me. Yes, the band has certainly garnered a healthy level of popularity and success, but I sense that it has hit a glass ceiling (one it's sure to crash through anytime now). Then again, it rarely sets up camp on any particular label for more than a record or two. That can be advantageous for a band (it's not tied down), but it can also constrain an act to a tier below more successful and widely known bands. With Black Tar Prophecies Vol. 4 being released on Important Records, Grails may be leaning towards a more permanent home.
Black Tar Prophecies Vol. 4 was initially rumored to be material left off of the Vol. 1, 2, & 3 album, but to these ears, that can’t be true. It’s partly due to recording qualities and styles, but also playing styles. There’s a bit more polished sound to the final mix, scrubbing away some of Grails’ signature grittiness. In the same spirit, gone are a few of the droney, opiated sounds. Yet, this is, for the majority of the EP, not a bad thing, and it is still obviously a Grails record.
The zenith of Vol. 4 materializes in the groovy “Self-Hypnosis.” For a little over eight minutes Grails pays fantastic homage to the 70's psych and stoner rock that has influenced it. Wah-wah effects and disturbingly unassuming synthesizers place this jam firmly in the hands of Aerosmith circa “Sweet Emotion” (a huge guilty pleasure of mine, by the way). On the other hand, there are dueling Pink Floyd guitars dog-fighting through international airspace. As for the drums, I sense just a touch of Ginger Baker. What’s most impressive about “Self-Hypnosis” is how all these worn-on-the-sleeve influences are packed in together but the song still retains that surge and ebb style of build-up and release known to every Grails fan. This reveals another sterling quality of the band and its music: Grails has deftly avoided the trappings of both traditional and post-rock song structures. This attribute is exactly why “Up All Night” leaves such a bitter aftertaste.
“Up All Night” has the boys from the Rose City jumping ship and doing some sort of cinematic lounge act, sans the singing of course. As the song lacks the teeth and dark soul of everything else the band has done, it sounds as though it could squeeze into place on an 80's cop dramedy as one of the more serious, introspective songs. To get a true picture of what this means, imagine a B movie adaptation of Beverly Hills Cop. “Up All Night” also really shouldn’t be the closer for this EP, because it neither bashes its way to a grand finale nor hushes the last light out of the record. This was also a problem with Take Refuge In Clean Living. “Clean Living” trudged grudgingly to a finish line that “Take Refuge” clearly deserved. In the case of “Up All Night,” it might be better served on the cutting room floor with a completely new song written to take its place as the caboose. This may sound harsh, but focus on the fact that Grails’ sound has always laid firm roots in Americana (be it Appalachian or Frontier), and the loungey, clean aesthetic of “Up All Night” scrubs that grit away. It leaves, in its wake, a sonic Las Vegas; the promise of sin and hedonism in a sterile surrounding; the finely controlled illusion of chaos, which invalidates itself with emptiness and boredom. Another testament to the strength of the band is that, after all that “Up All Night” does to sink its own ship, it has still produced another first-rate release.
While some of the darker drone and drug haze is sublimated, the almost-as-scary-as-Svarte Greiner ambient pieces, “I Want A New Drug” and “New Drug II,” add a lovely dimension to the band’s sonic canon. They both feature the stark ramblings of a preacher, who happens to sound exactly like the one from A Silver Mt. Zion’s “Broken Chords Can Sing A Little.” “I Want a New Drug” also employs a warbly, drowning sample of a choral version of “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen,” making the opener spectacularly spine-tingling and dark. Whispered voices, one of which I swear calls my first name, whip me into the throes of a supernatural encounter with a wandering ancestral specter. And then, the preacher questions, “Can philosophy lift a man out of the cess pool of this life?………..it never has.”
Maybe that should be the closer. It would certainly be impressive to drop into silence immediately after that bleak line.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Normally, I cringe at watching Braves games; the racist team name, the insidious "Tomohawk Chop" and the fact that Chipper Jones has always annoyed me, for no good reason. But Jason Heyward compels me to watch. He's that good; on pace for a .290/30HR/100RBI rookie season. That's something that Mays, Ruth, Aaron and Griffey didn't do. Only Albert Pujols has done that (or better, of course) to my knowledge. So, I can put aside my murderous rage incited by bigoted white America's continued hate, intolerance and insensitivity towards Native Americans to watch this kid play ball. Hopefully, the Braves hit some hard times and are forced to trade the Say HeyWord! Kid (nickname of my creation, a play on his last name and Willie Mays's nickname, in case you're too stupid to figure that out).
Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
I was looking through an email advertisment from Ebbet's Field Flannels that I receive through their mailing list. This one concerned a sale on Pacific Coast League (PCL) team shirts, etc. That is not really the interesting part. What was so fascinating was the sidebar of the page displaying a "This Date in Baseball History" factoid. For May 28th, 1925: "Oakland Oaks pitcher George Boehler pitched 9 1/2 innings of no-hit ball, but lost to Sacramento on two hits and an error in the tenth." Baseball is certainly the only sport, and probably one of the very few realms of life, in which we celebrate tragedy in such a sense. Regardless of if we were rooting for one team or the other, what is most important is that true appreciators of the sport recognize the beauty in such an historical fact and tragedy. Boehler came close to an act of perfection, purity, godliness and immortality. Well, in a sense he's achieved the immortality part a bit, because 85 years later, people he never knew and wasn't related to are talking about him. Nonetheless, he came that close and still is pegged a failure. Icarus would've lit on fucking fire descending that quickly.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Just watched a discussion about poor offensive production (particularly from the DH spot) on the MLB network and even Sean "The Mayor" Casey ignored the elephant in the studio. All of the analysts spoke of how it may be a return of dominant pitching (which is certainly a valid factor). None of them conjectured about the effects of a downturn in PED use. So, this leads to two questions. First, regardless of testing regimens and harsh penalties for getting caught using PEDs, has there actually been a reduction in use? Secondly, assuming there has been a reduction in use of PED in baseball, would it really produce such awful offensive numbers in absentia and why the fuck didn't they discuss some of these possibilities? The silence leads me to suspicion that they know how little change there has been in PED use in baseball.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
- "Raagini Robot" by Ken Camden
- "Truth & Distance" by Concern
- "Hathor's Dance" by Higuma
- "Persistent Repetition of Phrases" by The Caretaker
- "Gathering Strengths/Silence Within" by Pussygutt
- "Arc of Wisdom" by Elm
- Side B of Francisco Lopez's Untitled #228
- "The Twelve" by Nest
As with almost everything I do, it's a work in progress, as I'd like to continue adding to the mix. But, I'll probably get distracted and do another mix before getting around to adding to this one. Gotta laugh at yourself, right?
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Trippy and ghoulish soundscapes thrust me back to recurrent childhood nightmares on Andrew Liles' An Un World. Am I turning into some HipHop-infused, 21st Century gothic weirdo? I remember ten years ago, all this ambient shit was detestable to me, but now it's almost soothing. Though, it's not in some self-mutilation blues kinda way, just that the transmissions from other dimensions is so tasty to me now.
A couple nights ago at work, my coworker threw on El-P's Fantastic Damage on my pod. I hadn't listened to it in a bit, but always love the cut "Dr. Hellno & the Praying Mantis" with Vast Aire on it. So then, naturally, I had to throw on Cannibal Ox The Cold Vein. In the end, this all got me to wondering why the fuck Vast Aire hasn't put out more albums. I mean, the dude is a serious talent as an MC and I love the tone of his voice and delivery. Give me more!!!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
More to come.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
In keeping with the Wu-heavy spirit and focus, I have to tell everybody I can about this excellent remix project from Tom Caruana. This lo-profile New York DJ has taken the 'mash-up' style project to a new level by using original Wu-Tang acapellas and setting them to his beats made from samples of Beatles songs. Hold the phones to your lawyer Sir McCartney! First of all, you're fucking rich enough you punk ass bitch and you know that the old version of you (with John) would abhor such material-centric principles and appreciate the artistic fortitude it takes to undergo a project such as this. Still never understand why you had to jack Danger Mouse for his Grey Album. Also, I believe that Mr. Caruana has learned from Danger's mistakes and utilized only cleared samples, meaning there's a lot of Jazz and Reggae music covers of Beatles songs being sampled here. Anyways, this record is awesome! The versions of "C.R.E.A.M." and "Daytona 500" might be superior to the originals...might. Even better? It's a free downloadable album and you can find it here. Also, make sure to explore the links on that page for the artist responsible for the cover art, he has a great graphic design eye. Cheers!
After a slew of funny books on baseball, particularly the one about all the unwritten rules governing behavior of players, managers, umps and even fans. I've come to realize that, while baseball's post as national pastime has given way to football and auto racing, these rules govern much of the sporting world and have even bled into the behavioral patterns of everyday folks. Well, those books no longer grace the windowsill in my bathroom. Now, a single tome, hardbound and black without its dust jacket sits there, quickly being devoured. Penned by Robert Diggs, better known as RZA, this book reads much more as a memoir than an instructional guide to HipHop life as the title suggests. Only thing is? That's not a problem. RZA drops numerous jewels of wisdom throughout his recountings, which are fun and frustrating (much as life can be). Well, anyways...I haven't yet finished The Tao of Wu just yet, but I can still give it a strong recommendation. I do, however, feel compelled to point out that it seems interesting to write a memoir this early for Diggs. Maybe it is just an installment with more to come?
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Danny Norbury Light In August King of the Neo-Classical giants that ruled the contemplative forests of 2009.
Hildur Gudnadottir Without Sinking Queen of the Neo-Classical giants. Cello dominated 2009's horizons and skies at all points of vision.
Elm Nemcatacoa The third eye sits upon a temple guarded by wolves of the highest intelligence and patience. Psychedelic wonders!!
Elegi Varde Gloomy, gloomy drone and Classical shards strewn about the floorboards of a Norwegian attic, or is that the storm cellar?
Dakota Suite The End of Trying A broken heart can repeat itself into the darkest corners of a bed mounded in blankets and tears.
A Broken Consort Crow Autumn Part Two Richard Skelton plants the seed of sorrow in a mix of Neo-Classical, Ozark meditation and Field Recordings.
Richard Skelton Landings Skelton sows those seeds and grows a crop of tribute.
Black To Comm Alphabet 1968 Holy Shit!!
Anduin Abandone In Sleep Drone done like I like it. I can sleep to this record or sit and read.
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto UTP_ I wish this record had come out before last Winter's snow storm so that I could drive around listening to it's dampened creepiness in the snow.
Klimek Movies Is Magic Soundtracks have rarely been cooler or more fitting (see Fight Club), yet there's no movie to go with this soundtrack. Dope atmospherics!
Kreng L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu When I first listened to Elegi's album, I thought it nearly impossible for music to get any creepier and haunting. Then this album came out and I've been scratching at the walls ever since.
Le Lendemain Fires More Danny Norbury and David Wenngren greatness. Don't fail to sit with "Lois" for some time.
David Wenngren Sleepless Nights The man behind Library Tapes continues to spew forth dream accompaniments with a deft touch.
Simon Scott Navigare The Drone and Neo-Classical hits just kept rolling in in 2009.
Wax Tailor In the Mood for Life French HipHop? Ya don't stop!
Rapoon Melancholic Songs of the Desert Loops of the world, unite!!
Paul White One Eye Open EP, The Punch Drummer EP, Strange Dreams of Paul White and Sounds from the Skylight Londonite Paul White dropped a whole sortie of funky HipHop bombs this last year. A sound of Jamaica, Southern California and England all dashed into this delectable stew of beats.
Nosaj Thing Drift The LA scene is hot right now and Jason Chung turned it up to blistering!
Nalepa Flatlands Also out of the LA scene, my boy Steve Nalepa rocks out the bubble bass and dub so clean, he could make a $3 suit look like it costs $300. No really, seriously.
Murcof La Sangre Iluminada I am in love with Fernando Corona. Now I just need to find a woman willing to have his babies for me. Then, I wouldn't mind seeing the movie that this album soundtracks so elegantly.
Moderat Moderat Yes, I like to dance. I like to dance to German techno.
Lusine A Certain Distance Seattleite Jeff McIlwain ups the ante on smart dance music. Listening to it live in the Seattle Art Museum lobby was a smashing good time. Or was it that I got smashed that night?
Lukid Foma Wow. This album makes me wanna crawl inside some magical vortex between bong hits and sweaty, all-night sex. A real treasure.
Giuseppe Ielasi Aix Vertical stacks of sound like bottomless library shelves make for a rhythmically controlled galaxy.
Dak Standthis/Standthis (Otherside) Again and again and again, Los Angeles is punching cards to the new cool beatsmiths' club. Weird, esoteric and stoned to his eyelids, Dak makes beats for Buck Rogers.
DJ Signify Of Cities A fabulous rebound from a sub-par previous release.
And, in keeping with tradition from lists and years past, I like to give attention to releases not from 2009, but that I discovered during the year. Artists like Onra and Populous have my devotion to their entire catalogue of releases and Aether's Artifacts is a tasty little morsel. Also, in a direct evolutionary step from Poets of Rhythm, the Whitefield Brothers kick out some greasy, spacey Funk. Well, I'm gonna leave it at that. So here's to an equally awesome 2010, with Deru exploding minds and a rumored Boards of Canada album set to come out!! Giddy with anticipation.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Good things come to those that wait, even if the wait is torturous.
The wait for Benjamin "Deru" Wynn's newest album has been nearly 6 years. Seventy-two months of agonizing, tantalizing anticipation, which seemed to have turned into a period of serious seasoning; a stewing in the musical mind of Wynn. With his first two albums, Pushing Air and Trying to Remember, many a listener and critic had spotted the heavy HipHop influence, but not until February 23rd of this year when their ears are illuminated with Say Goodbye to Useless will they hear the next evolutionary step in the sound of 21st Century HipHop.
Whereas his previous albums were a HipHop-centric stew of Glitch-Hop and Ambient soundscapes, Say Goodbye to Useless is a much more finely honed blend. Those elements still arise, but they are much more complimentary and don't stand in the way of the purpose statement. This album is where Instrumental HipHop was destined to go, in a mystical cornfield involving recluse writers and baseball sort of sense. It might be a fanciful tale, but you always buy into it as a possibility. Well folks, it has arrived. So, strap on your headphones and check the airbags on your easy chairs.
The album starts out with a super mellow, extra long sample-collage of an old French song where the singers lament different desires that almost hint at the universal yearning for powers beyond our terrestrial constraints. Then, with "I Want" Deru takes immediate flight into an album full of superterranean beats that leave behind some of the murkier, less-focused sub-terranean HipHop of before. I know what you're wondering, "Is he saying that 'sub-terranean' or 'underground' HipHop is bad??!?" NO. My word style is deliberate and poignant, much like Wynn's music. I use derivations of terranean to imply a certain feel to the music itself, not whether it is commercially viable or not. Much of Wynn's previous work, while lovely and high-quality, was occasionally smothered by the decay of bodies past. It was as if his music was still partially in an embryonic stage, but gestating under the decay of previous lives and ideas. Now Deru is plotting a course above ground. Spatially the music is more open, even while it is dark in some ways, that color and timbre is not the primary emotional theme. That's also not to say that this is some happy-go-fuckin-lucky sounding record. It's hard to describe. Let's say contemplative instead of brooding. On to the album, shall we?
One of Wynn's most noticeably improved attributes is his rhythm programming. While he has always been a solid rhythm programmer, I would now easily class him as an Elvin Jones of the HipHop/Electronica world. What do I mean by that? Well, his poly-rhythms are sick and slick, without making percussive mud or distracting the listener from the melodic and harmonic portions of the music (though, to be honest, much of his harmony & melody is syncopated to the rhythm, rightly so). This shines through most clearly in his cymbal patches and patterns. On "I Want" and "Peanut Butter & Patience", the cymbals are what really polish up the rhythm tracks and give it that real riding, driving feel. In fact, one other comparison is Amon Tobin. Tobin is keenly aware of good cymbal use, but has by and large utilized samples as his source instead of direct programming. Deru has a sniper's deadly eye for an ear for rhythm and has now hit his stride. This cymbal work does not, however, over-brighten the tunes or make them too metallic. It's as if you took the excitement of Funk and shifted its environs to be post-apocalyptic. They are still warm little organic structures squishing their way through a largely fabricated and cold world.
"I Want" has its haunting quality that scrapes the line with a surging, undeniable rhythm that could probably make Neo-Cons get up and dance. Okay, maybe after a scotch or two, but you get the picture, right? "Peanut Butter & Patience" carries this dance party on further, where layers of repose and pause give way to glacial calving of even more irresistible funkiness and butt-shaking goodness. And then this is where the major fault I find with record lay. The very next track, "Hello", drops that momentum. The song is still a quality track, that once it builds over time, becomes its own serviceable banger, but it does not let the listener down easily from the previous 8 minutes of ecstasy in motion. And to be honest, I sometimes find myself skipping past this one, more because of its placement within the album rather than an 'I don't like it' kind of thing. In fact, the swelling organ (musical!! get your minds out of the gutter!!) that takes it over halfway through gives this a touch of Post-Rock wandering. Now, when I normally skip past "Hello" I am immediately rewarded with the soul and rump shaking number called "Basically, Fuck You". This returns us to the mammoth rhythm made to alter the planet's axis that I so love. This song does a dance to the death with the Johnny Greenwood Monster That Eats Techno Sounds. That monster flosses its teeth with the garbled tape loop squeals of a lost future projection. I don't drop Mr. Greenwood's name in light jest, I actually feel like this could be a song made for Radiohead consumption and that Thom Yorke could start crooning his pale-ass Blues all over the place and it wouldn't be awkward. Though, I'm glad he doesn't, because this thumper is special all on its own. One night, I put it on repeat and danced to it for about 40 minutes straight. Another smashingly delightful highlight on this album is "Fadeaway". With a wavering dawn opening of reversed string notes, "Fadeaway" quickly hops into a Funkmobile of HipHop rhythm and sways gently onto a Jazz orchestra dance floor where the reeded woodwinds are prominently featured. These clarinet and oboe strutting flourishes immediately bring to mind one master of the weird, Moondog. It is, however, a simply gorgeous piece that begs to be the soundtrack to a late night bicycle ride around the neighborhood under a full moon. This is followed appropriately by the dark, Tyler Durden-esque growler known as "Days, Then...". In fact, I'd put it into a mix with any number of the darker tunes from Tobin's Supermodified.
So, with all that said, I am still allowing the larger energetic arc of this record to reveal itself to me, as, at times, it seems to deny its natural course (see my notes on "Hello"). However, I'm trying not to let this distract me from all the other great qualities of Say Goodbye to Useless, because I would be even more annoyed by a straight through-and-through non-stop thumpfest. Deru is not making dance music stricly for the dance floor or the dance party, no, this is music that you can dance to, but should also think and talk to.
A fabulous effort and the first great album of 2010.