Sunday, August 31, 2008

Soul II Soul - Back to Life (Acappella)

or, Don't Look Back (in Anger)

Soul II Soul - Back to Life
Soul II Soul - Back to Life (Acappella)
Superpitcher - Disko (You Don't Care)

Every time I return home to Texas, there is accounting to be done. I have become accustomed enough to reckoning with the detritus of my past that there is little left to confront, few remaining hoary ghosts or embarrassing reminders. The room I occupied through high school is now stripped of character, a carpeted repository for some plastic computer desks and, inexplicably, numerous pairs of doggie-shaped bedroom slippers.

Two days ago I found a box of minidiscs, recorded in college. The recorder itself, and thus the only way to play them back, having been long since thieved by baggage handlers at the Prague airport. The discs are labeled things like "Improv Todd's House Incomplete." "Mud and Buckets Vol. 1" etc. And concluded that the sorrow from lost time doesn't come only from a present disappeared, but from a future that never found its way, the sting of 'it might have been.'

Kompakt just issued its 9th yearly 'Total' compilation, including a jam by Superpitcher, one of my favorite Kompakt artists because of his ability to inject melancholic emotion into minimal dancefloor techno. "Disko (You Don't Care)" has a pretty recognizable vocal sample from "Back to Life" by Soul II Soul. This is one way that art can assuage the sting of searching for lost time - sampling is a way of dealing with 'it might have been' by turning the past into something else.

My girlfriend at the time these minidiscs, now lost and found at the same time, were recorded, gave me this acappella version of "Back to Life", where you can hear Carolyn Wheeler's soaring, soulful vocals unadorned. These versions along with the original are here for your enjoyment. Really the acappella is the standout, especially how the drums kick in as the heavenbound singing descends back to earth. It's featured in the opening to Hype Williams' 'Belly', to intense effect. It's such a killer track that you could use it as the opening to anything - 'Lord of the Rings', 'The Exorcist' doesn't matter.

Here's the intro to Belly, which as any youtube comment poster will tell you, is da illest intro eva. You'll notice that the Soul II Soul song has almost nothing to do with telling you realistically how to feel. Over images of a robbery, it's not tense and dramatic, it's not gritty and aggressive. It's done only to heighten your pleasure of the image. It's like in "Mean Streets" when the soundtrack is "Please Mr. Postman" during the over the top fight scene in the pool hall.

Belly - Intro

Mean Streets - Pool Hall Fight

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