Wow, it doesn’t happen too much but I just found myself in the midst of musical revelry. Instead of just standing there listening like some bankrupted imobile old Pink Floyd fan I decided to start writing about it, the state. I’m listening to Atom TM’s latest release on the high profile experimental/electronic Rastar Noton label, Leidgut. It’s a stunning work of sonic art, incredibly designed digital audio structures that in one moment make no sense and in other moments too much sense, all in a good crunchy glitched out low rez digital way. If you know German electro pioneers Kraftwerk then this is like the best synthetic voice effects and most atmospheric parts of their classic album Radioactivity expanded on.
While this record owes everything to Kraftwerk it is an entirely original work. Except for the final track on the disc which just so happens to be a vocoded sound poem from none other than Florian Schneider, founding member of Kraftwerk. Right now the rhythm I hear is based around that sound that used to happen when a cell phone was near computer speakers – remember that? It’s sonic detritus now and and when processed just right can be an effective sound element in a composition. It brings that retro futuristic aesthetic, although that phantom cell phone sound is all but a thing of the past now, I’m reminded about how weird that was. This is a great piece of music for those with more exotic musical tastes, even academic and conceptualists will find much interest in Atom’s latest work.
BTW Atom TM is also known as Atom Hart, Ewe Schmidt, and most famously Senior Coconut. Check it out, revelry moment 1, over.
Last night I went to the dubstep party at Plush. This sound is considered fresh because it’s just catching on over here but the truth is this thing has been evolving for quite some time. No Doubt there is some eponymous moment when the classic dubstep sound was identified and labeled for categorization, the fact remains that the genre continues to include even more experimental and minimalist ideas. Late night at Plush they drop the tough, heavy stepping wobbled out bangers but if you hang out a little early the Djs play a lot of really experimental stuff, where the focus is more on the sound as the dancers are not quite primed to hit the floor. When a genre of underground UK dance music is incorporating weird shifts in time signature, unresolved measures, and uncanny levels of consistent, repetitive, eye ball wobbling bass we know exiting new musical progress is in effect. Sure check out some dubstep on line or CD but what I’m saying is that the real meaning and significance of the music comes from a physical encounter with a booming soundsytem, hardcore sub-woofers. It’s a bit like getting a massage except you wobble around with other people instead of just laying there.
The other thing I like about going to the dubstep parties around town is that it brings out a very diverse crowd. Many different people are into this music because of the cultural diversity represented in the sound. The dance peeps love it, the hip hop heads love it, reggae enthusiasts, and of course those of us who love dub music.
Before I wrap it up dubstep has evolved more or less out of the jungle/drum and bass UK styles, and has a heavy reggae influence. Although the tempo seems relaxed, slow, the funk comes from playing with shuffled half time and off rhythms, which often mix well with minimal house or techno beats. It’s atmospheric and dark music, but once you find the groove it’s a stepper’s delight. Revelry 2, out.
Why did I think that it was important to hate bands like Pink Floyd ( I think I already mentioned them earlier…) or Bob Dylan until just recently? Why did I impose this ban on what I deemed to be “old” music. My parent’s never force fed me their music and what they did play back then I liked. My mom was a fan of mellow singers and we always listened to pop radio in the car. My dad liked rock. Not blaring, but he surprised me once by taking me to see the Police.
The early walkman was a great way to disconnect from the world and I used to listen to all kinds of music with one rule in effect: It had to be modern, if not futuristic. To me that included punk rock, hardcore, rockabilly, goth, etc. The genre was not so much the issue, it was the newness that made it vital. For whatever reason, the Violent Femmes sounded new. Skinny Puppy sounded new. Virgin Prunes sounded new, even when they tried to sound old. Not to mention, by the time I got to most of these bands they were old. This was pre internet when you actually had to do leg work to know about the underground sound.
I’ve always had a very open mind regarding music and I would say that my desert island disc would probably include Carl Stalling, choral music from Bulgaria, Chinese music is amazing, Motorhead, etc.
Sorry I have to stop and call bullshit on myself for that last musical revelry. First off I’m not even listening to music, the CD ended about five minutes ago. Obviously there is no such thing as a desert island disc these days, right? Now it would be a desert island ipod and you could pretty much put all the music ever on there so making a slim selection anymore is just dumb. I’m putting an end to all reveling right now but I’m happy I did get to mention Carl Stalling, Virgin Prunes, and Florian Schneider all in the same blog. Normally they get their own blog each.
Oh I forgot. I love Steve Martin’s banjo music.
Insane display of a dubstep quick mix. This is how it’s done.
Brilliant on every level – music by Carl W. Stalling.