Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Jesper Dahlbäck - "What Is The Time, Mr. Templar?"
I first came across this track sometime in 2003. An internet acquaintance had burned a mix CD for me and had tossed in an extra burned CD-R labeled "Ellen Allien" along with it. This was around the same time as the release of Berlinette, and I was eager to hear more from her. This disc turned out to be a DJ mix, however, and with no title or tracklisting, hunting down any of the songs on it was an almost impossible task. It would be a few more years before Discogs.com had a through and accurate listing of all her releases, or at least until I would be patient/desperate enough to comb through all of them to identify exactly what I had. The Flieg Mit Ellen Allien mix was released all the way back in 2001, and of all the great tracks on it (mostly deep house, German techno, etc.) I was most interested in finding out what track #10 was. And here you have it, but things get even stranger when I tried to track down its precise origins.
"What is the Time, Mr. Templar?" is not officially listed on any release from Jesper Dahlbäck, at least not until earlier this year, when it was reissued as a 12" single. While online retail blurbs allude to it as a "classic item from the 90's," even in 2003 it seemed like it was ahead of everything else I was hearing from the Kompakt/Playhouse scene and still does today. Further investigation finds this clue from his 1997 release "The Persuader." At only four tracks long, I'd only been able to find and download the first three from it sometime last year. The final track is listed as 5:13 in length, the same runtime as the full version of "Templar" I was able to download elsewhere.
If you love it so much, why not buy the record? The original? An expensive collector's item. And the reissue seems out of stock everywhere online. For now I'll continue enjoying this for free, the time I spent looking for it already feeling like more work and fuss than I've ever gone through for almost any single song before. And no, I don't think this makes me any kind of hard-working mp3 crate digger or anything.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Of course this sounds like Moby, or at least it's unmistakable when you go into it with the expectations laid out by Play, 18, or Hotel. Maybe even Last Night, but after its listless predecessor I gave up on the man and haven't attempted to give it a listen. But this new song, the first single from a surprisingly-quick follow up album coming out this summer, is blessedly free of any lyrical baggage and is just Moby doing what he does best. Chilled out, slightly mournful, but not sappy or trite. It all sounds a little too easy, perhaps, but it's a step back in the right direction for an artist whose past accomplishments should earn him a chance to redeem himself from recent disappointments. Even the album cover is a welcome return to form.
The video is directed, and apparently hand-drawn, by David Lynch!