Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I know, you know

I have not listened to the entirety of a new Depeche Mode album in two decades. I thought they lost the thread by Music for the Masses, or more likely, I realized I was following the wrong one. I remember Black Celebration sounding like the Greater Clockwork, A Broken Frame depicting teen indignity synthesized in the lab , etc etc. I heard everything in Depeche Mode in 1986. There is a touch of that in Sounds of the Universe (listen) static and odd strata of exhaust in the rattling pipes, space blips and Geiger counter beats, but, this is still complex music for sophisticated teenagers, or ones that believe they are. Which is, hopefully, all of them. I shall not be breaking my streak.

In some ways, Dirty Projectors have grabbed the baton that rolled out of David Gahan's hands during one of those blackouts. Their songs are loops of complication, tickering and tinging their way into becoming the kind of landscape through with actual soulful singing can flow. You do not need all three versions on this EP (listen), particularly the not-a capella "a capella version", but you need "Stillness is a Move."

This song is just gorgeous.

Which, as do all roads, I suspect, leads to Aphex Twin. I am not a subscriber of the genius many attribute to Richard D. James, but I do love the Richard D. James Album (listen), particularly the second greatest electro-acoustic pop song ever written that opens it. Ten years after being dumbstruck by it in Paradise Records, making the clerk play this song a second time before I bought it, it sounds just as good to me. I'm tempted to make a c-90 with just this song on it and leave it in my Walkman for two weeks.

The greatest electro-acoustic song ever written 9or more correctly, version of one to be realized) is the 9:31 video version of New Order's "The Perfect Kiss." Just to demonstrate its timelessness: at the 6:30 mark, you will experience the exact right amount of cowbell.

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