ILM's 2005 collaborative mix project hoonja-doonja!
April 12, 2005
April 11, 2005
Thanks to all you spudboys and spudgirls who participated in or otherwise contributed to the ILMiXor shenanigans. Now that we've finished Disc 4: Maximalism, we're going to take a break, and possibly pick up again over the summer, if the ILMiXmasters are recharged and ready for more.
To recap, if you haven't been following along: We've been doing a series of collaborative mix CDs in the form of an mp3 blog called ILMiXor. Ostensibly, a group of ILM-ers would assemble in a queue, and each of us would take a turn posting an mp3 relating to the chosen theme (using our own hosting space or borrowing someone else's), and writing a blurb about the track. It didn't always work out so neatly -- our final disc was pretty much a first-come-first-serve free-for-all from the get-go. Somehow we filled four 80-minute CDs, almost all of them to capacity.
Many of these mp3s are still available here; if you missed a few the first time around, I'll be posting the whole works as a zip file or a torrent or something. Stay tuned while I sort it out. Artwork and liner notes for Discs 3 and 4 will be up soon as well.
Special thanks to Austin Swinburn for the idea, Elvis Telecom for the cover design, and Mike T-Diva for assembling the blurbs into CD booklet form (.doc file).
April 09, 2005
When it comes to maximalism, always bet on a guy who's last album made minimalism appear bombastic. The particular gift of Cornelius records in the late 90s was his refinement of the sound chaos he embraced on the final Flipper's Guitar album, Dr Head's World Tower, and his second solo disc, 69/96, so that by Fantasma the meat of the songs and the tiny details were all treated as equal. That you could hear a space transmission almost as clearly as a bludgeoning riff, spazzed-out breakcore, a verse, a hook, several backing harmonies, and half a dozen melodies without feeling like being beaten about your steadily disintegrating ears is a marvel no one else has ever truly approached, though not for lack of trying (hi, Basement Jaxx; yo, The Avalanches; lovely to see you, Plus-Tech Squeeze Box). Perhaps it's the control freak within, being a (mostly) one-man band and all, but his ability to make his music spray large funny sounds from your speakers without spreading samples in every spare place and still sound bigger than anything you've ever heard in any genre ever (again, even in his present "grandfather" stage) is what lets Keigo stand 50 feet above the heads of his peers.
'Ball In-Kick Off' is one of the loud ones, and almost certainly crazier and funkier than anything on Fantasma, save perhaps the toytown Mr Magoo theme and the arcade machine d'n'b Bach cover. Ostensibly about football, it precedes Shaolin Soccer by a few years and was probably all over Japan during the World Cup days of 2002. And it's easily as enjoyable, skipping gaily over musical forms with and without a care for any. He likes to tease, does old Keigo, but when you reach the payoff as he's putting the "multi" in "layered" and "crazy frickin' madman" in "schizophrenic", you know the ride was worth it, and anyway, your ass should have been moving too much to fritter your cares away into three big funk-metal riffs, two football commentators flipping across your speakers - one from Earth, one from the Cylon galaxy - a group of cooing Corneliuses, a tropical backbeat and a breakbeat that may have been inspired by throwing marbles on the ground and watching people lose their balance. Spector...Bomb Squad...Spector...Bomb Squad. He can scare you if he's so inclined. I've seen it happen.
He dares you, too. Dares you to deny its bounceability and its sense of adventure. Dares you to shake your pants, to rock out, to deny it's just a funny little pop song about footie. It's the beautiful game in his head, and it's an interesting trip, so won't you all step inside? Oh, and your headphones? Don't come without them.
When you get right down to it, Organum has been the perfect moniker for the loose collective of merry pranksters led by David Jackman. There is just something about all of the music released under the name. It puts one in mind of open sores, internal bleeding, failing endocrine systems. Something is slightly ill, something a tad seasick about the creaky drones conjured up by Jackman and his cohorts. Even amidst Organum's more serene material -- and make no mistake, Organum's work on the whole is leagues above the garden variety shit-spew of the squatters down the block with their "denatured" pedals and household appliances -- there is an intimation of looming dread. That's the feeling one gets from this scary and beautiful music made by human beings taking up instruments in their hands and blotting out the sun. There is one hell of a robust method to this madness.
I'm actually not very big on the whole British noizenik nutball scene; your Stapletons, your Tibets. Never really been my steez. I only have two NWW records! I'm certainly no fan of the cult or whatever that attends to this stuff. My hangup, my loss, I am sure. But I guess above all, I'm just so impressed with Organum's attention to sound. BIG sound. Big sound filling up all the available space on the sonic spectrum with slowly bowed strings and shreiking metal and other grumblings that advance like a plague of locusts. Or maybe it's worms? Put it this way ... remember that scene in Temple of Doom when Indy and the kid are in that vault with all of the insects crawling and tumbling all over each other? Lucas & Co. should have totally made that scene like 5 excruciating minutes long, used Organum as the music, and then we might have had some serious-ass DREAD on our hands.
Datach'i was something of an Autechre clone. His second album, "We Are Always Well, Thank You" contained multitudes of scatterbrained melodies and crunchy beats that would have been perfectly at home on Autechre's "LP5". The album was also relentlessly chaotic, featuring a crazed mishmash of soft synth sounds and rapidfire buckshot beats that would have been perfectly at home on Autechre's "Confield". Oh, except Datach'i released his album the year before "Confield". So maybe he wasn't such a clone after all.
Still, somebody thought that all of this needed to sound even more insane, so they drafted in the likes of Kid 606 and Mogwai for remix duty. All Mogwai did was deliver one of the best tracks ever associated with their name. They took a few basic elements of the original track and plastered a sensitive piano line with a migraine-inducing distorted bass line onto it. Then all hell breaks loose. A couple of tonality changes are thrown in, to heighten the drama I suppose.
Play it loud. It's good for you.
April 05, 2005
To say that this song reminds me of CBS’ classic sitcom, WKRP In Cincinnati, would be a vast understatement. Something about the strings (alternately wan and viscous), and the staggering desperation in Dawn Silva’s and Lynn Mabry’s voices when they sing, “In this world/all of my dreams/one by one/they all fell through”, really captures the sort of febrile weariness I felt while watching re-runs of the show as a kid. I would be lying if I said that, in listening to this song so intently over the past few days, I haven’t imagined intricate scenarios where Loni Anderson’s character, Jennifer Marlowe (covered in the perfume of loneliness), sings this song to a penitent and less sleazy Herb (WKRP’s advertising sales manager) amid a shower of Harvest Gold paint chip confetti (“When You’re Gone”: inspiration for delirious musings).
This is taken from the Brides’ (who were, pre-Funkenstein, backup singers for Sly Stone) 1978 debut LP, Funk Or Walk, produced by George Clinton. “When You’re Gone” is a piñata of a ballad, filled with thick, glossy fragments of guitar, bass (which throbs intermittently in such a big, yearning way), and wistful harmonies.
April 04, 2005
Scraps of what may be memory or remembered daydreams. Well, I personally grab hold of my folk's memories and stories every chance I get. The line that runs between. You know, Eduardo Galliano, the great Latin American writer, said there is no greater truth than pursuit of truth and I think there's a lot to that. Frantic concentration required to keep enough stimuli external so's the whole messy edifice don't squash the soft brain tissue. After the first excess of my grief was subsided, I desired to retire from a world which had tempted me only with illusive visions of happiness, and to remove from those scenes which prompted recollection, and perpetuated my distress. Where one drink is a victory, four's a party and ten's a cacophony. Politicians tend to move towards the way they perceive that political power is moving. It starts so slight and precise, then layer by layer the information piles up because you just can't not hear all that extraneity. The only way to avoid regressus ad infinitum, is to accept the fundamental theses of a science dogmatically, that is, without any justification. Do not realise. We want to evangelise but we don't seem to have found the right method. Was worse was that you might not hear, or mightn't hear the same way. And I am talking to you through other people. What if the particles got rearranged in transit? Certainly don't imagine that rubber souls will protect you. The logical conclusion is a kind of moot intransigence. One virtue is more of a virtue than two. I'm a-singin' like a fool.
April 03, 2005
From the 1994, critically trashed full length "Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age."
This song is the shit. P.E. have a live rhythm section throughout the album. This might be because they got their asses sued over sampling issues. Whatever the reason.. thank GOD they did. It sounds DOPE. It gave em this BIG, HUGE, POWERFUL sound. The live drums is what their first four albums were missing! Also: Oi! PUNK ROCK style shout choruses! I wonder if this is Flav on drums... that would be silly. But yah it's sad. Everyone slept on this album. P.E. were "tired" in the eyes of the consumer and the press. Fuck that. This is their best shit.
April 02, 2005
"Din Daa Daa" was a popular underground dance hit for George Kranz in the early '80s, and boy oh boy has he tried to cash in on it. If you take a look at his page at Discogs there have been 18 distinct releases of this single from 1983 to 2001. That's maximalism for ya! Of course the irony is that the best compilation to find this track, Tommy Beat's incredible series The Perfect Beats, is out of print at the moment.
What does it sound like then? Well, never mind the glaring synths and insistent motorik groove: the real thing that puts it over-the-top are the teutonic doo-wop/scat vocals! Basically, there is a bass vocal repeating "din daa daa, dan doo doo" over and over while George scats over it for five minutes with all the finesse of a sledgehammer. And I can't tell you how much I love the middle section where George mimics arena-rock drum solos with his mouth and then has the synth drums echo him in a similiarly tackless manner. Not to mention those hilarious chriping bird vocals at the end. It might all be a gimmick, but it sure is entertaining.
April 01, 2005
Don't let the two near-silences (at the mid-point, near the crawling bridge, and the fake fade) fool you: All those strings, horns, chorines, and most of all the Big E himself at his most dripping-with-emotion are freaking massive. How else would he have made his comeback? By not doing what he'd always done only to greater excess and with more finesse than usual? Also chosen because one of the greatest moments in ILX history occurred when several board regulars sang along with this at a Lower East Side bar after collectively ditching some drunken jerk.