Wednesday, April 22, 2009

curatorial opportunities

I forgot about the Congos! (listen) Political soul reggae suggested by this fine playlist by Jeffrey Rotter. Lee "Scratch" Perry demonstrating his production acumen with subtlety instead of the usual deep space probe hijinks.

Mainliner's Mellow Out is as subtle as an ambush tooth extraction performed with jumper cables. A battalion of unholy fucked electronics do battle with rust and accelerated decay brought on by the Human Condition, and no one/everyone wins/loses. Good stuff. Thanks, Philip! Here is a trusted voice on the subject of Japan + noise + rock = this album, referring to mainliner as "the Banana Splits of Noise"

In retaliation, or simply following the Hidden Order, I followed it with the polite piano trio plus of the new music quintet Build (listen). They are not quite drowning out whoever is the college rock band echoing across the parade ground through my open window, but their all encompassing genteel melodies and Copland-meets-Tortoise tonal palette are turning them into a pleasing kind of background static, resulting in something like if Vince Guaraldi had written a theme to accompany Charlie Brown having a mild anxiety attack.

I think I like Final Fantasy (listen) or at least cannot pinpoint anything unlikeable. It is charming and smart art pop, almost Broadway-level grand but with a marked postmodern bend toward introspection, and this sort of music is becoming my favorite. It is difficult music, but in the way that it is really difficult to figure out a good magic trick, or difficult to fathom how a trapeze artists keeps from getting dizzy.

Random (listen), this heretofore unheard collection of Gary Numan covers more miss than hit, as these sorts of things are. But why even try to techno up Gary Numan? You can't outshoot the coldest sniper of the Tubeway Army. I think the Nume is best pulled in folkier directions like this
version of 'I Die: You Die" by the Magnetic Fields.

Personally, I would love to hear Richard Buckner do a blunt force acoustic solo version of "M.E.", one of my favorite songs ever.

If there is a summary that can be made from all this, it is found in the singular and insular crepuscular magic of Felt. (listen). Not sure I've ever heard this album, but then there are countless collections and cross-sections in the Felt catalog. Felt mastermind Lawrence's plan was ten albums and ten singles and then out, and this he neatly accomplished, leaving a lot of curatorial opportunities for the various labels that have gotten their hands on the catalog over the years. Never have heard "Something Sends Me to Sleep" though.

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