Sunday, April 9, 2017

Time only moves one way

Just a few notes and jottings here.

This article on Monoloc and production is worth hanging on to.  Some good stuff about the use of space, background noise.  And the tunes aren't bad either.

Prolific rapper Oddisee's got a dancey track, Things, on his latest album, the Iceberg, that I didn't want to get overlooked.  As usual  you can hear the entire album at the bandcamp page.

Another boring technical thing here -- Four Tet talking about how he does his thing live:

I've read that he does everything in Ableton when it comes to making music, but it's interesting how he changes things up to play out live.  I've seen him live, actually playing out the album that you hear bits of here, so it's extra interesting to see how he did it.

Finally, I've got around to listening to the third XX album, I See You.  Haven't heard it all yet, and I know I'm late to this track, but really like it -- it's got me looking up how-to bits on dub rhythms and bass lines:

Two things really get me on this track -- the lovely nostalgic feeling has me looking back to college and all that emotional up and down; and I'm really impressed by the singing -- both singers really displaying that they've got great voices when the raise the volume a bit.  Looking forward to seeing them next month.  

Friday, April 7, 2017


One thing I've long admired about Brits is their focus on fun and having a good time.  It's one thing i really (and unexpectedly) found missing when I moved to America at the age of 16 . The radio had multiple country stations, and rock/alt rock stations, and rap/RnB stations, but most of what was on MTV and so on wasn't fun -- it was rock, it was angst, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana (still), hardly hedonistic good time stuff (as an aside, this is why I got into RnB and some hip hop for a while, and watched a lot of BET -- that was fun and forward sounding w/cool electronic production by the likes of Timbaland and the Neptunes, while a lot of alt-radio was still playing tracks off of 'Nevermind'.  I didn't come round straight away, but I got there and have stayed there, kind of).  As for dance music, basically nowhere to be found, which was really weird as I was living in a Detroit suburb!  Clubbing was not mainstream at all, there was no funkiness, no dancing, not that I could come across easily anyway, not compared to the mid-90's UK I'd left behind where the Prodigy were already on Top of the Pops and the second summer of love had happened when I was around 10.  The school bus was (pretty) girls with goth make up and dyed hair, or wannabe gangstas with the pants falling off their bums (all the way back in 1995) who insisted on putting Bone Thugs N Harmony on the cassette deck.  Once we got cable we'd tape shows like AMP and 120 minutes on MTV, later on waiting for the one or two good videos to come on, while forwarding through the rest.  I remember being in shock when I wore a Prodigy beanie to school (ordered via a UK cousin, through the post) and the kid who sat behind me in maths knew who they were (really regret not talking to him more about that, but my social goals back then were pretty bizarre).  There were kids who liked some of what we liked, some of the UK indie stuff, but sadly those kids were mostly weirdos with no friends, and I considered myself somewhat normal, perhaps even cool.  Sometime later I started listening to pop radio, and made the most of what I could I find on there, things like the Venga Boys for instance... (I should note that there was a brief period in the later 90's and early 00's when things did improve -- not to UK levels, but still a lot better; Detroit gained a proper club in Motor lounge, and 89x started broadcasting live sets from there on weekend nights).

Where is all this leading?  Well, it's leading to Jamiroquai and a recent nostalgia-fuelled video binge I had.  I like Jamiroquai, always have, ever since seeing them perform 'Too Young to Die' on TOTP when it first came out.  I like that they're funky, fun, dance-orientated.  Some people seem to think they're uncool, or like them in some sort of ironic way, but I don't care.  The hats are dumb (but show an admirable lack of self-regard), the didgeridoo stuff doesn't do it for me (see previous bracketed note), but the rest is great!  So many great songs, such great sounds!  Jamiroquai exemplify that fun loving Britishness to me.  They represent to me the British desire to dance, and to explore danceable music in all it's forms.  Part of the history of British pop seems to be hearing cool danceable music, exploring it, and then putting it back out into the world -- from the Beatles to acid house, and yes, to acid jazz too.  I do wonder how all the modern PC types feel about that in the age of cultural appropriation and all that, but I don't wonder too much.  Jay Kay and the band are back with a new album now, and a tour, and I'm happy to report they're getting good reviews for both, with an appreciation of their past too -- writers have noted that the Jamiroquai sound can be traced to the latest Daft Punk stuff, as well to what people like Pharrell are doing.  Really, the acid jazz label needs to be dropped and replaced with something far more credible and honest -- Jamiroquai, Britain's greatest disco outfit.

Aah, good times.  Peak, peak TOTP, when live preformance was emphasised.

Fun.  Smooth.  Lovely.

Another thing to love -- great dance moves.  That man is 47 and he still hops around like that.