Friday, November 30, 2007


1. Courtesy of RKW. A Galliano runway show. Note the outrageous cover version of Prince's Jack U Off that shows up about 30 sec into it. It sounds like Daniel Johnston or something, and has a kind of wanton childlike perversity to it. R pointed out that it makes the whole show really bizarre, more like a happening than the kind of lifeless affair that promotes Roland Barthes' essential linking of fashion with death. Listen to the songs after Jack U Off ends: they're fucking boring. That is, they're completely what you expect to here, worthless club remixes.

2. Courtesy of like ten people who sent it to me. You've probably seen Snoop's new video for 'Sensual Seduction' already, because it went viral like two or three days ago. Viral videos are like jokes: who starts them?
Points of interest here: Snoop is using the very in-vogue autotune device to roboticize himself. It's more effective than that super annoying T-Pain song (aka every song).
Also, there are several close-ups to him with the pipe in his mouth, which looks as well strongly like a hookah pipe. It's an interesting image for Snoop: is weed smoke going in, or are electronically funky vocals coming out??
And around 1 minute the Snoop Dogg appears to be dressed like the Church Lady?

What's remarkable about viral video is how it radicalizes a logic of instant gratification. It has to be instantly digestible, even more so than a 30 sec commercial. Because for a commercial, you're already watching TV. But for an internet clip, most often you're in the office avoiding doing work or something and someone sends you a link via email, so in order for the clip to get your attention it has to shock your senses directly. Tarkovsky or Antonioni would never go viral. Viral clips are bits of media intended for the most distracted consciousness imaginable. In ten years they'll be underfoot, like dust bunnies, or fluttering along the street the way that tumbleweed does in Hollywood westerns.


Plus I really want you to notice the trance synthesizers in the background, which have been a significant element in Timbaland, Timberlake and Kanye tracks for the last couple of years: call it afro-rave.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I made my way out of the blind-drawn womb of Trey's efficiency into the broad, hot California sun. I was more lucid than I had a right to be, all things considered. Having been plied all night by a cocktail of deep Miami house and a netflixed DVD called Night of the Comet, an eighties vision of the apocalypse..

A well-deserved excavation given the film's robust staging of two of today's more resonant cultural phenomena: a kitschy fascination of the Reagan-era, and a widespread obsessional neurotic relation to the end of the world. Which marks the point when post-9/11 fears reach the intensity of psychoanalytic fantasy. Like Freud's Rat Man, society gets caught up in a psychic life of obsessive rituals to block out the fantasized disaster (in the case of the Rat Man, the thought of his father's death), which the subject is nonetheless inextricably bound up in.

Night of the Comet is set in L.A. You could render a lot of armchair West-East Coast comparisons irrelevant simply by comparing their respective stagings of the end of days. It's enough to think about two new movies, Southland Tales, and I Am Legend, alongside one another. There's a great scene involving some girls exploring an abandoned club/radio station that is of high allegorical value.

Then we jammed Neil Young's sole electronic record, Trans, which matches quite well with Night of the Comet:


From the sands of Hermosa beach I watched a volcanic plume of smoke billow out from Malibu and via the force of wind become dissipated into a long and dirty stretch of haze along the ocean's horizon. From the beach I saw the smoke from Malibu burning. Between myself now laying near prostrate in the sand and the distant wildfire the black wet fins of dolphins then breaching arced in passing above the waves.

Awake in this land at the same time Eden and Sodom. Where nature shows itself in mythic tranquility and Judaic wrath. I wandered with a sunbaked brain along the shore. Having removed my Clarks and long black jacket, endlessly humming this beautiful song by Brazilian musician Milton Nascimento, which Stina and I had played in her mother's hatchback the day before, cruising for Amoeba records, the Arclight theatre, and carne asada tacos from the Yucca hut.


If this track gets your attention, here's the album, given to me by JF


Finally, another discovery from TB, a contribution to the Screwed-
Country file. If country is the white folk's blues, it's a logical
Caucasian recipient for sonic DNA transplant from the
Houston rap scene.


Thursday, November 22, 2007


Because I love you and I want you to be happy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007



A beautiful, tender, Turkish psych-folk debut from 1974 with a wistful Nick Drake air to it. You've been going out with Bulent for about six months, whom you met in college. He takes you to Ankara to visit his mother and you spend the weekend there, drinking tea, reading Jorge Luis Borges, going on playful autumn walks, and generally being Turkish. In the night you go together to an old elementary school friend's house where there's a friendly jam session with your boyfriend on guitar and a few friends on horns and hand-drums, you drink wine and some local home-brewed stuff you don't recognize, and the boys play some traditional Turkish numbers, a messy, lively version of the Rolling Stones "Ruby Tuesday" with some made-up lyrics, and three or four songs by Bulent, including one that you think is probably about you but you don't want to be presumptious. Bulent song's are soft and melodically inventive and so peaceful to hear at the end of the day that you tear up a little bit. At the end everybody's sauced in a warm-spirited way and the two of you make it back to mom's house arm in arm, and before you go snuggle up with Bulent's beard you notice his younger sister, still in school, perched at the windowsill, looking out into the night in a moment of idle sleeplessness, thinking of something she will never say to anyone.

Here's Bulent with the boys. He's the second from the left. The guys have a collective kind of 70s sci-fi B-Movie style to them. For real though, they look like they're about to storm the Enterprise.

Sunday, November 18, 2007



A Mansard or Mansard roof in architecture refers to a style of hip roof characterized by two slopes on each of its four sides with the lower slope being much steeper, almost a vertical wall, while the upper slope, usually not visible from the ground, is pitched at the minimum needed to shed water. This form makes maximum use of the interior space of the attic and is considered a practical form for adding a story to an existing building. Often the decorative potential of the Mansard is exploited through the use of convex or concave curvature and with elaborate dormer window surrounds.

It was popularized in France by the architect François Mansart (1598–1666). His treatment of high roof stories gave rise to the term "Mansard roof" (toiture à la Mansarde). The spelling Mansard is not a correct form of the name. 1 Sections of the Louvre, such as the central portico of the Richelieu Wing, display this style of roof.

At a time when French houses were taxed by the number of floors below the roof, this feature had the added benefit of exempting the upper floor from taxation. A revival of the Mansard occurred in the 1850s rebuilding of Paris. The style of that era in France is called Second Empire.

Under the influence of the Neo-baroque revival of the French Second Empire (1850–1870), the mansard became a common feature in many later 19th-century buildings in Europe and North America. Another revival of the style occurred in the United States and Canada during the late 1800s as one of any number of expressive forms adopted by Victorian architects. This style of roof became very popular in Back Bay, Boston, during the 1870s. In the Second Empire style, the Mansard roof was typically used to top a tower element, rather than across the full width of the building.

In congested sites in cities, a mansard enabled builders to keep a decently low cornice line, while incorporating a couple of extra stories within the apparent roof. Mansards may be seen on New York City's former Grand Central Hotel (1869).

Many fast-food restaurants, including most McDonald's outlets, also incorporate a simple mansard roof, usually covered in a synthetic material.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


1. Two songs that somebody should cover.


This is the original piano demo featured on the From Brussels With Love compilation. More or less his first release, on 7" in 1980, recorded on a 4-track - at one point you can hear the backing tracks being played in his headphones as he's singing. A beautiful sci-fi piano ballad, not unlike a hybrid of Paul McCartney and Gary Numan, or what would be playing in a dive bar in Blade Runner.

Here's the video for the later version, which adds a dimension of Kafkan/Orwellian totalitarian noir.


This is a prime example of what the Germans call an Ohrwurm - ear worm. It is a ludicrous and hypnotic track and I would recommend not listening to it prior to certain events like funeral attending, speech giving or boyfriend breaking up with, unless in a moment demanding resolute composure and solemnity you want to be subjected to the insidious refrain in your mind RA RA RASPEWTEEN LOVER OF THE RUSSIAN QUEEN, IT WAS A SHAME HOW HE CARRIED ON.

When in the Book of Romans, Paul asks 'Why do I do the thing which I hate?' it is possible he means, why do I get that goddamn fucking song in my head all the time?

Boney M was a a product of German disco svengali Frank Farian, whose penchant for black music led him to write and sing all the parts to Do You Wanna Bump?, and then subsequently to hire a team of black singers to act as the group. Farian is also, it turns out, the dark genius behind Milli Vanilli. 'Rasputin' takes its musical core from a Turkish folk song and in long-winded, sensationalist detail spells out the infamous biography of the Russian mystic.

Note in the video that when the song changes from the intro to the first verse, the male singer magically changes into Rasputin, in his amazing beardedness.

Making 'Rasputin' in fact the secret origin of Beardo Disco.

2. Two really good unlikely cover versions by geeky white people singing 80s R&B

A. DUMP - '1999'.

A wistful cover of the Prince classic by a side project from the dude from Yo La Tengo that specializes in Prince covers - see their album, "That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice". Would work well in a gechoppt und geschrewt context.


A cover of the erotic Terence Trent D'Arby ballad, which in its razor-sharp sensitivity has an almost gothic tone to it. Really fucking good and sexy, lots of breathing vocal whispering, and a beautiful horn section at the end.

3. Two recent songs that sound like they are old, but as a matter of fact they are not.


Neither of these albums is really worth listening to as a whole. But these two tracks should be listened to by you.

Both of the albums succumb to some of the lamer tendencies of pastiche. The Lewis Taylor record is overwrought with Rundgrenisms, as if every song really has to have about five songs worth of musical ideas crammed into it. But the opening track, Listen Here, has a pretty great psychedelically smooth opening and remains the disc's most accomplished effort.


Map of Africa, despite its elite hipster pedigree, as it is comprised of DJ Harvey and some dude from ARE Weapons I think, and represents their testament to cheesy, trippy boogie rock, aka kind of like ZZ Top or Steppenwolf or something. Unlike Taylor, who worked too hard on his 21st century Rundgren resurrection, MoA sounds like it was recorded in a day, a fact which makes the record as endearing as it is ultimately kind of disposable. There are some jams on it, like 'Gonna Ride', which is a good song to put on your stereo when you're like, brushing your teeth in the morning or getting ready for guests to come over.

Friday, November 16, 2007



The sound of Screw is the sound of technology - of a confluence of turntable, automobile, and antihistamine. It’s the effect of a unique meeting of different machines and affects. Similar to the way you use two turntables to match the speeds of two different songs together, in the case of Screw what’s been matched up is the slowed-down voice, the pace of a car in cruising mode, most likely late at night through Houston’s urban sprawl, and the time-retarding effects of one or more chemicals – robotussin, marijuana, alcohol, etc, or the concoction most unique to southern rap, syrup, or that purple drank, a combination of codeine and promethazine.

The sonic effect is by turns ominous, mournful, monstrous, and naively cheerful. The last of these is especially the case for Mike Jones, a rapper whose litany of artistic trademarks, such the repetition of his stultifyingly banal nom de plume, and the habit of giving out his phone number in every song, together with his upbeat and affable voice, contribute to a palpable air of guileless enjoyment. Mike Jones is not trying to sell you drugs, or take your drugs from you, or hurt you in any way. He is like the Barney the dinosaur of Southern rap, teaching your intellectual white ass above all that there is no need to feel guilty about enjoyment – in that way he’s cheaper than psychoanalysis.

South Park Mexican, on the other hand, is usually not concerned with such curative measures. Instead he’s deep in the nocturnal trudge of the Houston drug dealer, a world which in Power Moves the Table has little-to-no baller glamour or romantic outlaw appeal. It’s kind of a stoned-out, sleep-walking urban nightmare, epitomized by the lines “Oh why must I sell drugs to live right? Well I must survive, so it’s hustlin’ through the night.” There are some lighter moments, such as the endearing glockenspiel’ed weed ode “Mary-Go-Round”, and the liquid velvet flow of “VIP”, but the most intense effect of the record truly lies in how the screwed voices emotionally emphasize the near-baroque world of the local Houston drug game.
The familiar Screw listener will note here that this record is pre-chop, that is, it pre-dates the invention of Screw’s other trademark technique, the chop, by which the same record is played on two turntables each enough distance in time from one another such that a quick movement of the crossfader ‘chops’ the track, doubling it in an intrusive, sudden cut that is the direct aesthetic counterpart to the languid flow of the slowed music.

When I was introduced to this record by my friend Trey, a house DJ and Screw aficionado, he remarked that listening to one single album screwed all the way, as opposed to a mixtape, was the ideal way to enjoy the genre. Power Moves the Table is a two-disc set, the second disc being Screw’s re-working, slowing down and re-ordering the tracks for maximum flow.
I have never heard this album at the ‘right’ speed. I don’t know what South Park Mexican’s voice sounds like, and I don’t want to. The effect of listening to enough Screw is that hearing the track once again at its original speed can be disconcerting, now it seems too fast. Screw is a very engaging style for those who practice a minimal aesthetic – the additional milliseconds of time between each sound allows the listener more of a chance to hear each snare, bass thump, and so on, much the same way that abstract painting reveals unseen details in color and shape.

South Park Mexican is currently serving 45 years in prison for child molestation. An in-depth article on his life and career can be found here

"I rap for all the crazy muthafuckas, for all the muthafuckas that need help. For all the muthafuckas that are lost," he said. "I let them know that I've been lost and needed help just like them, and I put that in my lyrics. That's why everybody who follows me are the sickest, craziest, most ill people in this world…'cause that's who I want to help and change."

DJ Screw passed away Nov. 16th, 2000, of a heart attack, either resulting from the cumulative effects of codeine in his system or, as some claim, by an intentional and malicious spiking of his codeine with metamphetamine.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007



Earlier we thought about some songs that would be a good fit for Rousseau in a state of hazy contemplation alone on his boat on Lake Brenne, with his 'eyes turned towards heaven.'

Now let's consider this scenario.

My girlfriend and I are looking for an apartment together. Yesterday I went to check out a listing in Boerum Hill that she had found on the wild west of real estate known as craigslist.
The building is pre-war and nestled on a quiet, inviting tree-lined block. The apartment itself was in need of some refurbishing but for the most part was amply-sized, with a view to the garden, and could comfortably accommodate a young couple looking to begin a domestic life together but who had become either too grown-up or too discriminating to live merely anywhere. My girlfriend had given me a list of questions to ask and I was instructed to take copious photographs.

The building owner, when she showed up a half hour late, was a brash, uncouth troll of a woman in a parka and large shiny silver earrings, with two sons, one grown and one infant, and father in tow. She appeared slightly out of sorts and preoccupied, but considering she was overseeing the renovation of the bottom apartment for her own occupancy while at the same time showing the one above for rental, this did not strike me as unusual.

We spoke about the place and it distinctly seemed like it might fit the idealized mold that Christina and I had in our minds for our apartment. There was a credit application fee which was exorbitant, 200$. As we talked about getting my gf to see the place after work and filing the application, a young couple descended the stairs on their way out the door and informed the owner that there was no hot water in their place, in fact, there was no hot water in the building whatsover. The owner replied that she would send the plumber to handle it, and as she moved past me in the hallway I felt a slight brush against my sleeve - I turned towards the girl on the stairwell who mouthed almost imperceptibly


It was so brief that I doubted at first whether I had seen it. But as the couple exited through the double doors the girl turned over her shoulder and, while gesturing with her hand in a cutting motion against her throat repeated


I was struck, I knew I could not ignore such an insistent and mysterious signal, one that was taking place without anyone acknowledging the fact, behind the owner's back. When the owner disappeared suddenly into the hallway closet looking for some hardware I dashed through the apartment doors and onto the street where the couple was already a few paces away.
Walking for a moment alongside the girl I said casually
-So..what's up..?
Her hurried response was
-Google the building. I can't say anymore, I could get in trouble...

I returned to the building to meet the owner again and finish our conversation, which I carried out now with only the most remote, automatic effort, so much did I want to escape and call Christina and inform her what had happened. We exchanged phone numbers again and on the sidewalk I instantly called my girlfriend and had her google the place, she instantly found a blog which was a host to a litany of complaints and lamentations from tenants, and which you can read for yourself here:


I suddenly felt that we had dodged a bullet and was laughing out loud with shock at the blog entries that she was reading to me over the phone, so fortuitous did it seem that I had had this brief, ominous encounter with one of the tenants.

The whole episode now seemed redolent of a Roman Polanski horror film, as he made a slew of them that center around urban apartment paranoia, fear of neighbors, and so on, beginning with Repulsion and culminating in Rosemary's Baby.

In honor of the horror that never arrived to us, knock on wood, I present a cut from Phillip Glass's soundtrack to the movie Candyman, entitled Candyman in the Kitchen, and I will let you play out in your own idle mind the appropriate images from DON'T LIVE HERE: THE BOERUM HILL TERROR


And should her eyes find this page, let me extend my thanks to the soul who gave the sound of warning, and that I pray her burden is soon lifted.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


are excited to share with you what is a very personal bit of music. It is an album of solo acoustic work by Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete.

It is maybe one of the greatest, greatest albums that is.

It is called Ocean Memories and is a reissue of an album by Bola Sete originally released on John Fahey's Takoma label. Bola Sete also played a lot with Vince Guaraldi, the composer of the theme song to Charlie Brown which you may know about.

It is not your job right now to think about that insidious Charlie Brown theme song.

It is a good idea instead to download this album by Bola Sete, which has been with me for years, and which is so expressive and nuanced and beautiful that



That you can imagine JJ back on his boat floating on the surface of the lake in Switzerland listening to it. It is serene without being kitschy and saccharine. Instead it is the tidal flow of the mind, and the swells and withdrawals of the soul in deep contemplation, which are paralleled in Sete's playing, which often begins at peace only to delve into darker, more turbulent waters, then returns, then departs again.

It is a spiritual record.

Dig it.


For more, be aware that you can download several live records of Bola Sete from the iTunes.


THIS new track posted below is EITHER a remix of 'A Violent Yet Flammable World' by Au Revoir Simone OR a new track which samples the aforementioned song.

Au Revoir Simone

Weekend Prince


EITHER WAY I can guarantee that it listening to it will make you a pleasure. It is a step forward for princes of the weekend everywhere.



Wednesday, November 7, 2007


'Yacht rap' is a relative of yacht rock.

The genre name yacht rock has been established by the highly successful and important and informative and very funny series of the same name which you can see on the Youtube.

'Yacht rap' is a term that I made up first.

It's rap music for yachting.

Before we can get into the specifics of such a rap, let us turn to its rock precursor, that we might hear and listen closely to the essence of yacht rock, as if for the first time. When we do, what we hear, regardless of instrumentation, composition, and so on, is universal smoothness.

What is this smoothness?

"In part, the term [yacht rock] relates to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, enjoying champagne and smooth music while out for a sail." [Wikipedia].

As the wikipedia entry figures it, this smoothness is concerned with a certain drifting, peaceably inebriated state of mind. A gently woozy, contemplative looseness.

in his poem 'Remembrance' Friedrich Hoelderlin figures this smoothness in this way:

"There, on feastdays / Brown women walk / the silky ground / toward March / When night and day are equal / and down leisurely paths / heavy with golden dreams / Drift lulling breezes. But someone reach me / A fragrant cupful of dark light / that I might rest; it would be sweet / to drowse in the shade..."

The impact of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Hoelderlin's poetry has often been noted, and it is clearly present here. We can say that Rousseau is the first yacht rocker. Were Rousseau to have had a stereo on the boat where he lay in the middle of Lake Brenne, he would clearly have been listening to Loggins & Messina. Or possibly, Steely Dan's magnum opus Aja.

the source of happiness for Rousseau in these days is an engagement with doing nothing, far niente, as he says in Italian. This doing nothing is bound up with a smooth satisfaction, a cessation of desire which is also the desire for the present moment to "last forever, beyond the flux of time and change, yet not in stagnation or lethargy" because "an absolute silence leads to sadness."

We can see how Rousseau's fifth Reverie permeates most of yacht rock, which is from a sonic point of view largely about satisfaction, satiation, and plenitude.

And doesn't the image of listening to Steely Dan on a yacht while drinking champagne a kind of ideal counterpoint to Rousseau's desire for a moment to last forever, but not in stagnation, that is, while sailing?

The difference in yacht rap is its transformation of smoothness. Instead of going out on the lake in a small boat to be alone with one's 'eyes turned toward heaven', yacht rap is about the smooth, smooth party; ostentatious displays, guiltless hedonism, fortune-fueled indulgence.

Jay Gatsby listens to yacht rap.

It is a celebration of success, and in a certain way is only possible now that rap is no longer strictly the aesthetic territory for poor inner-city kids but for millionaire entrepreneurs, who have diversified into clothing lines, shoes, ringtones.

In a sense, the rap-mogul has found a way around the dissolution of the music industry in the digital era. Your rap song is now merely your calling card - it is part of your CV, your demo reel, your brand. You can give away the song for free and still make a profit - not only still make a profit, but in order to make one.

The 'yuppie yacht owner' makes use of yacht rock to stage his moderate dose of woozy reverie, which maintains an exceptional status in relation to the rest of his life. The yuppie stages a double game - the scene on his boat with his smooth jams is about the smugness of middle-age success but it is also an expression of the romantic inner desire to leave it all behind. Fernweh, the Germans call it, 'Far-sickness', as opposed to Heimweh, 'home-sickness'. Yacht rap is never about 'getting away from it all', rather it is the sheer apotheosis of the desire to have 'it all'.


and includes
Cam'ron - Weekend Girl
Kanye West - Champion
The Re-Up Gang - Hate it or Love it
Child Rebel Soldiers - Us Placers
Twista - Chocolate Fe's and Redbones
Weekend Prince - On the Grift
Jay-Z - Party Life
Pharrell ft. Jay-Z - Frontin
Jay-Z - Excuse Me Miss


Only the track by Child Rebel Soldiers,(from Kanye's last mixtape) with its Thom Yorke sample, approaches the kind of darker, melancholic yacht rock which finds its apotheosis in 'The Lee Shore", by Crosby, Stills and Nash.


Monday, November 5, 2007


The general problem with minimal beats is that they are not conducive for headphones. You need to either ignore them and have them on in the background or have them loud enough that it's a visceral rather than intellectual experience. If you put them on your ipod even the sickest of minimal beats becomes not that interesting. You basically need to be doing something other than focusing on minimality while sober, which will not work.

Below I offer a brief overview of some minimal beats in late 2007.



Don't buy this album. It's a pretty uneven affair. Points to Michael Mayer and Superpitcher for making a least partially-concerted effort to extend the sonic territory of Kompakt records: if they don't know yet what the future sounds like, they're at least facing the right way. The problem is that the tracks that deviate from Kompakt's revered minimal palette are mostly the same ones that are not that captivating - they're a motley assortment of pop goofs. 'Two of Us' is one of the two or three tracks that stays deep in the minimal beat vein - it's a serious minimal stormer intended for loud play when your girlfriend isn't at home, or maybe while jogging.

2. Here's a tip for Mayer and Pitcher: instead of going pop, why not take a page from Brooklyn's playbook and go native? Black Dice's latest album, Load Blown, has a number of instances that sound like European minimal beats have filtered across the Atlantic and into some Bushwick basements - so that Kompakt's claim for futuristic, streamlined and digital has been swapped for BD's brute analog twitch. 'Roll Up' and others on Load Blown would be good soundtrack material for those documentaries in which the worlds of praying mantises and other alien microbiological entities are rendered in grotesque, uncanny detail.




There are instances in art when a single work stands in for an entire genre that doesn't exist. Sometimes those moments get followed-up on later on, and sometimes they are left as curious indexes of whole aesthetic paths never taken. Brian Eno has a lot of those moments - 'Third Uncle' from 'Taking Tiger Mountain (by strategy)' has Joy Division/post-punk relatively in nuce. Heavily-sweated minimal beat demigod Villalobos has his own such moment in this remix, which is of course good ground to come up with a non-existent style. If Screw House ever catches on, matching propulsive beats with the narcotic stupor of slowed-down rap vocals, it will have this track as its retroactive father. Good background music for the half German-half English art and architecture bookstore that you run in Berlin Mitte.

"When I see the towers fall,
It cannot be denied that,
As a spectacle,
It is a realization of the mind.

You see, I'm standing on a mountaintop
And letting out a scream,
It's the language of the earth,
It is the language of the beasts.

There's no point to look behind us,
We left the corpse behind,
Because flesh is weak and forms break down.
They cannot last forever."

This is a pretty intense sentiment. For a insightful take on the words go here for minimal beats expert Phillip Sherburne's piece on the track.

PS: If you are a fan of minimal and you don't have Villalobos' new Fabric mix then you are basically a gay loser that no bloggers will ever listen to.


Gui Boratto is still holding down the traditional Kompakt fortress pretty hard. Very recommended to put on in the background when you're tooling around at home and while working on your laptop you need a layer of steady, unobtrusive sonics to protect your addled mind from an unwelcome confrontation with the gnawing silence that is the sound of life in its sheer, brutish meaninglessness.

Friday, November 2, 2007



Short songs like these are unsettling. 'Awake' is over just as it's starting to sink in, and its Abbey Road-type harmonies and lyrics about spectral events stay in your ears in their sonic afterimage.


The ending at about a minute and a half of this track from Phosphorescent's 2007 album Pride is aimed right at your gut. This effect is amped up in a not-small extent by the fact that it's called 'at death, a proclamation.' You figure it out. Pretty cool drumline rhythm section. Now that tribal rhythms are coming to the forefront of young new york white people music, like Animal Collective, TVOTR, Yeasayer and such, the next step is getting rid of your drummer and getting a middle school drumline.


Bill Fay, Dylanesque British folk-rocker

Bill Fay, founder of FAYLITE NEON SIGNS

Of these four, only the Fay track doesn't make use of brevity for emotional intensity, probably because it's a demo, off the collection "From the Bottom of an Old Grandfather Clock." Instead it's the song's sense of airy longing that hits below the belt in its very lightness. To feed my lambs, to feed my lambs. 'Strangers in the Field' is over almost before you were able to arrive the world in the song, passing by like a fleeting thought that leaves its mark before you knew what was.


No one except psych nerds know what the deal with this track is. It's from a compilation called 'Psychedelia at Abbey Road 1965-1969'. It does not have a disconcertingly abrupt ending, unlike the others. But it is short. And compelling in a theatrical way. Like if you were going to do a Broadway musical about taking LSD. It could be from that Brian de Palma movie, 'Phantom of the Paradise'. Have you ever seen that?