Wednesday, January 30, 2008

video #44: The Orb - Vuja De

Been in kind of a funk lately, too distracted to blog and now a month behind where I'm "supposed" to be with updates. This is one of the signs of a dying blog. Too early to say what's going to happen but hopefully before long I'll be able to get back on my feet again. But isn't that what they all say.

Here's the new single from The Orb. Decent song, decent album, I'd buy it if it was in shops here but I can't bring myself to make yet another online purchase without feeling shopper's remorse from making yet another needless charge. As for the video... no one seems to really appreciate the timeless charm of their early videos, but they could really do so much better if they returned to the simple, multilayered beauty of their classic rave aesthetic. I've never liked this kind of computer animation.

There's really nothing about this video that I like at all. I'd still love to see The Orb someday but now I'm hoping for a set with no visuals.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Brian Eno - Force Marker

Brian Eno - "Force Marker"

Why don't I like Brian Eno? Just looking at everything else I listen to, it doesn't make any sense. Not to brag or anything but somehow I own four of his albums and have heard three others (I realize this is just a fragment of his work, but still...), and there's just not much that I can get into at all. I mean, I respect him as a guru/innovator/activist, but I keep wondering just when I'm going to "get" him like everyone else seems to. Even his rock albums don't do anything for me; I'm sort of ashamed to say it to anyone but "Baby's On Fire" is one of the most supremely annoying pop songs I've ever heard.

Don't get me wrong. "The Big Ship" is a great song, and I like putting on Discreet Music on low volume whenever I get a headache, but that's about it. And I like "Force Marker," too, even thought it's a pretty late-period piece for him and not even close to being one of his signature tracks. I'm looking it up on Discogs right now, and it's only showing up on one release: the soundtrack to Heat.

I haven't seen the film in almost ten years, but I still remember the best scenes, which are all on the Internet now, anyway. Even the bank robbery scene, so perfectly scored by Eno. It almost sounds like a precursor to Clicks 'n Cuts, turn of the century glitch. Just watch the scene here and see what I mean. Or watch it with hilarious Journey music proudly dubbed over the shootout.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

video #43: Fujiya & Miyagi - Collarbone

Because the video for "Ankle Injuries" was just a ripoff of "Fell In Love With a Girl," I'm posting "Collarbone" instead.

Most of the drawings I made as a kid ended up like these do in the end. They haven't improved much but I'm up to using real markers now.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

World Class Wreckin' Cru - Surgery

World Class Wreckin' Cru - "Surgery"

The essential electrorap/freestyle single, should be background music in every VH1 special about 1984, but remains all but unknown outside of the Internet and in the memories of post-disco clubbers. The first casualty of homophobic gangster rap? As far as I know, Dr. Dre has disowned this amazing track and all his work with World Class Wreckin' Cru. No, they weren't gay! But tossing off effete lyrics ("my name is Dr. Dre / gorgeous hunk of a man") and posing for promo photos in sequined jumpsuits provides more than enough diss material for other rappers (case in point) that Dre's preferred to sweep under the rug. Unfortunately, there's no statute of limitations on these things, even when they're based on ridiculous and ignorant accusations.

I first heard this track as a remix by Hrvatski on the Tigerbeat6-released Attitude EP. I didn't hear the original until years later, as recommended by Erickkk.

Certainly needs to be used in a mix alongside some of these tracks. I'd try it myself if I had any idea where to start.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

video #42: Efterklang - Mirador

An epic journey through the cover of Efterklang's Parades. An unforgettable adventure. Fun for the whole family! Directed by Nan Na Hvass & Sofie Hannibal. I'd rather play a videogame of this than "Boy Soprano."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Boymerang - Soul Beat Runna

Boymerang - "Soul Beat Runna"

Why isn't Boymerang a drum 'n bass household name? You never see him mentioned alongside Goldie, Roni Size, Photek, 4 Hero, or any other big producers of the scene, or at least I never have, not on the internet or in any magazines. Graham Sutton was never going to earn much name recognition as part of Bark Psychosis -- neither in their prime or in the less productive but more respected years that followed -- but certainly should have once striking out on his own in 1994 with the original Boymerang EP. Just three tracks, but it's as perfect of a jungle release as I've ever heard.

More singles would follow, culminating in the full-length Balance of the Force in 1997. It was released on Astralwerks in America but never came close to crossing over to any kind of success that year like the Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, or the Wipeout XL soundtrack. But that's never really made sense to me. Balance of the Force was progressive and complex but also extremely accessible to anyone new to electronic music, as most people still were at the time (a sweeping generalization if there ever was one, but that's how I remember it). If it wasn't successful as a gateway release, then it still could have become an underground classic, but such status still seems to elude it today.

"Soul Beat Runna" is the opening track. One of the best breaks I've ever heard: so mellow but so kinetic. Too classy for the Wipeout XL soundtrack, perhaps. But maybe perfect for World Cup 98.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

video #41: The Willowz - Take a Look Around

When I was 16, I was playing lots of Street Fighter 2 and just trying my best not to crash my parents' car. Paul Gondry is 16 and is an accomplished comic book author. Now he's made a music video! A feature-length movie to come? Maybe soon.

It probably helps when your father is Michael Gondry, but still... fuuuuuck.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Kid606 - I Want to Join a Gang

Kid606 - "I Want to Join a Gang"/"She's = Defective"

Like Field Manual, this album has a robot on the cover and nothing of any real musical worth on the CD inside. But like the inner sleeve says -- "Real music is the sound of the past which today's youth has very little understanding of," -- it doesn't really aspire to. Kid606 heaps on the same kind of manic gabber/post-rave assualt of giddy breaks and huge slabs of laptop-treated noise as Bomb20 or any of his DHR comrades did, but this time it's all in good fun. There's a screencap of some anonymous anime mecha pilot inside the CD tray. His old website has catgirls on it.

Don't Sweat the Technics was my first Kid606 album, and even though it came out on Vinyl Communications, it lead to my obsession with the Tigerbeat6 label for the next few years. IDM and the sounds of Warp and Planet Mu were getting boring and the nerdy wunderkinds of Tigerbeat6 -- Cex, Blectum From Blechdom, Knifehandchop -- spoke to me, at least as well as laptop musicians making loud and obnoxious but undeniably personal music could. I was jealous of their creativity and success at such a "young" age and how they were able to do this while being themselves and nerver apologizing for being the complete nerds that they were.

Especially going by this song alone, there's not a lot to really "identify" with when it comes to Kid606. Somehow, that's pretty much what I ended up doing with his music (especially on later albums like Down With the Scene and PS I Love You) and other Tigerbeat6 releases (maybe none more than Role Model by Cex. I realize they didn't invent laptop techno but they had a DIY spirit to them that took electronic music out of the highbrow realm and made it something that anyone thought they could do, no matter how weird their ideas were.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

video #40: Bogdan Raczynski - Ahou Bouken

The best stop-motion video ever? Probably not, but it's my favorite one that I can think of right now.