Friday, June 15, 2012
1. Acid Trax - I wanted to make the leadoff track very compelling and think I succeeded. Featuring a classic acid house bass line, if this song doesn't get you dancing or your head bobbing, nothing will.
2. Here We Go - Mixing classic rock style piano and an electronic beat and percussion(with some judiciously placed oscillations)shouldn't necessarily work, but absolutely does and is the most popular track that I feature on Youtube. Easily as danceable and even more emotional than Acid Trax.
3. Predestination - This is a stately, ominous ambient track with a burbling bassline and some old fashioned record hiss at the end for added effect. If you like film noir or trip-hop or relaxed and sophisticated, this should do the trick.
4. Get Freaky - Fun would be the best way to describe this track. Full of 80's and 90's style hip-hop record scratches and turntablism, this track works simultaneously as a cut-up pastiche, experimental instrumental hip hop and one of the most intensely danceable tracks on the album.
5. Walk the Dinosaur - Based around a fuzzy bass line and insistent strings and cinematic in scope, this should appeal to people who love film soundtrack music and trancy sounds.
6. Evilsmell - Humorous and experimental, but grounded in pure groove, this track should appeal to people who like Frank Zappa and/or Parliament/Funkadelic.
7. Everybody... - Eminently danceable, this is kind of a collision of disco and IDM(intelligent dance music). With bits of my eccentric humor and variety thrown it for good measure, this should get you moving.
8. Remembrance of Things Past - Emotional and very danceable, this one will make you both nostalgic and tapping your feet.
9. Etherea - Different from any of the other tracks, this one is a mix of women's choir like voices. No beats or even instrumental or electronic sounds to be found here. This should appeal to both fans of relaxing ambient and classical music.
10. Melancholy Bliss - A bittersweet piano driven dirge with electronic flourishes, this song will appeal to those in the mood for reflection and contemplation.
11. C'mon Ladies - The most purely experimental piece on the album, this track features nothing like dance music and is based on found sound (musique concrete) and artificially produced sound (electronic/computer music) mixed together for maximum interest and impact. If you love experimental music, you will love this track.
12. Jaunty Palms - Jazzy keyboard and exciting rhythms make this one immediately accessible and fun. Bouncy and irresistible, with some nice surprises thrown in for good measure.
13. Surfing on Wav(e)s - This is a pure trance track full of burbling synths and a compelling forward momentum. Accordingly, its perfect for the dance floor or your headphones.
14. Nightcity - Also quite different than the rest of the album, this one might be called downtown ambient. Like taking a relaxing walk or drive through the hot city at night, you can almost feel the sweat dripping off your body with this one.
15. Dub Africa - Combining African rhythms with a dub aesthetic, this track is also very original in terms of the album. Danceable and involving, especially for fans of African and Dub music.
16. Dance Macabre - Another album anomaly, this track is a cinematic horror genre pastiche of sounds, complete with wind and low droning electronic sounds in the background. Perfect for Halloween or a Horror genre buff.
17. Marnobina - Synthpop heaven. Full of synths flowing back and forth and in and out of each other, with dance rhythms to back it all up. If good vibes and/or nouveau disco is your thing, you'll love this.
18. Evocation - Subtly creepy, with a hint of sinister, this ominous soundscape is pretty danceable too, but just as at home on your headphones.
19. Undul - Experimental and groovy. Based around static and other similar electronic sounds, it nevertheless is one of the most rhythmically compelling tracks on the album. If you like your grooves original sounding, step no further.
20. Swell - Explicitly synth oriented ambient that eventually morphs into something very different while retaining the original flow, this track ends the album on an epic, appropriate note.
Friday, June 8, 2012
10/10 Persona, -one of the the great film works of all time, by the one of the greatest directors of all time, Ingmar Bergman,- is, by turns, abstract, emotional, intense, cerebral, powerful, and disquieting. It challenges our very perceptions of what film art is, can, and should be. To pin one meaning down to this film would be like trying to solve a rubiks cube in one turn. Ostensibly, it involves a young nurse taking care of an actress who has decided to be mute. This movie isn't about plot, because it is about things much more important, namely character and ideas. At first the actress seems strange and abnormal, but as the film progresses, we see that the nurse is as emotionally unstable as the actress, perhaps more. In the very beginning and during the final third of the film, we are treated to a series of deceptively random images and scenes that are aesthetically, intellectually, and emotionally involving. Some of the many themes explored in the film include identity, loneliness, sexuality, envy, jealousy, the meaning and function of art and artists, and the eternal question of how to cope with living in a brutal, unfair world. It is one of the most brilliant philosophical films of all time, yet the sexual themes and emotionalism make it far more than just a cerebral exercise. If you are a serious film fan or interested in the themes I have mentioned, you owe it to yourself to see this film, because in doing so, you will reap the rewards of truly great art. Essential!
The White Stripes were one of the most important "millennial" bands and Elephant is one of the most important albums of the last decade, because it synthesizes the old and new into something fresh, original, and entirely compelling. The White Stripes defining statement, Elephant, does something that comparatively few modern albums even attempt to do and that is to make a cohesive statement over the course of an LP. As mp3s (and the loss of audio quality and attention spans that go with them) take over the listening market, its refreshing and even startling to hear artists who put their all into every song on their albums, instead of just a few highlights surrounded by filler. That, of course, does nothing to explain the eccentric, yet accessible experience of "Elephant". Stripped down to the barest essentials of guitar, drums, and occasional piano, traversing through the Americana genres of rock, country, folk, blues, metal, and punk, and featuring lyrics equally divided between bravado and doubt, and full of folksy, yet literate word associations, "Elephant" almost gives the impression of what punk-metal made in the rural south in the earlier part of the twentieth century might have sounded like, if it had ever existed. "Seven Nation Army" was the popular single, but every song on here is a treasure. The ever dependable Burt Bacharach gets the WS treatment on "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" to earnert and humorous effect. Meg White gets lead vocal duties on "In the Cold, Cold Night" and the final song "Well It's True That We Love One Another", sung by three different people, ends the album on a hilarious, fun note. The White Stripes have earned their place in popular music history and if any one album will convince you of that fact, it's "Elephant".