Shopping Report, Music Review, Bitchfest, and More
More shopping, more clothes and CD's. I'm entranced by
Stereolab's Peng: the sequence of
tracks 1-4 really gives me chills. Here and there the
production reminds me of sounds Radiohead would use nearly a
decade later on Kid A and Amnesiac. I found it
hard to believe Peng was from 1992. And I love the
weirdness of Mars Audiac Quintet.
I also picked up the latest full-length from Aphex Twin.
Unfortunately, post-millennium, he has done exactly what
Autechre did: gone from being one of the major innovating
electronic artists of the 1990's to being a complete joke.
There are precious few tracks worth listening to on this
record, and none of them equal the melodic skill or
production quality of his "middle period". Aggressive sample
reuse gives the "ambient" tracks a very samey feel (vaguely
oriental chimes in the vein of "Nannou", a B-Side from
Windowlicker) and the orchestral piano pieces just fall flat.
The rest of the album is tired, mediocre drum-and-bass. The
originality in drum arrangement, rhythmic composition, and
sample creation that graced most previous efforts is gone
here---the drum sounds are ripped from some old tracker's
sample pack you might find on an obscure Scandinavian FTP
site. And that shrill, dissonant "sample-rate
conversion" effect is everywhere, hanging like a pall of
smoke over the melodies---the obsession with certain facile,
sonically homogenizing DSP effects that killed Autechre
circa LP5 has finally snuffed out the last of 90's IDM's
The awful truth for the elites who shunned melodists like
Boards of Canada in favor of more "difficult" music: the
glitch disease was terminal, the patient has died with the
release of this album. Glitch-fetish and DSP-fuckery sapped
attention from the first commandment of what we do---the
idea that melody is music---and led the greatest
electronic artists of a generation into the
sorriest work of their careers. Bouncing-ball percussion is
as worn-out as The Cher Vocal Effect.
Sitting in a dark, hollowed-out building somewhere under
the Manhattan Bridge last year, at a show where Ariane and I
had played a set earlier in the evening, watching kids
actually try to dance along to Richard Devine,
realizing that he'd been hovering over that PowerBook for
more than an hour without producing anything resembling
melody, chords, or steady rhythm----I knew, this can't
last. Well the iMac has crashed and all our Max patches
are lost. Our Metasynth license expired, the Kyma's power
supply burnt out, and glitch has imploded----in Helvetica
Bold, leaving an angular plume of smoke, rendered in cubist
fracture courtesy of The Designer's Republic (with a few
symbols of Katakana thrown in for luck). The stench of
burnt Atari or Decepticons logo t-shirts hangs over the wreck.
"Drukgs", like Autechre's awful "Confield", will probably
have its staunch defenders among the elites. But
don't be fooled--- don't waste your time with this flaccid
and uninventive record.
How to hack + school at the same time?