2005: almost done
Not that anyone ever agrees about which albums from each year have to be heard - there's certainly no fixed list of stuff you have to hear to be familiar with the year, unlike annual cineaste requirements, which are fairly clear - but, since the internet music geek group I belong to is having its top 10 awards and voting this weekend, I'll be quitting on 2005 soon. There's some fairly interesting stuff I have sitting around - Andrew Bird, Silent Alarm Remixed, The Russian Futurists - but whatever I haven't listened to by the end of January will probably fall by the wayside. Changes are coming to this blog - mostly because I'm bored with current music - but I'll figure them out in a bit. In a meanwhile, more 2005:
Matias Aguayo, Are You Really Lost - I'm just barely familiar with the work of the Kompakt label, but I find it almost comically intimidating, the kind of experts-only electronica that all sounds the same to me. I do like this guy though, because he sounds more sinuous than most: "De Papel" sounds downright seductive, even though the lyrics are gibberish (as with the whole album). The sounds are familiar ones - configurations of drum beats and loops and snare hisses and looped mouth sounds and so on and so on - expertly reworked in rhythmic configurations that keep changing in 4-measure cycles and toy with minimal resources to force you to listen closely. My favorite track is "So In Love," which jacks Angelo Badalementi's keyboards from Twin Peaks and is plausibly, if vaguely, menacing in the same way. A reminder (again!) that I really should listen to more electronica.
Jamie Lidell, Multiply - imagine Midnite Vultures with no sense of humor, or Prince without his irrepresible horniness and bizarre personality quirks, and you'll start to get the idea. This is straightforward, humorless soul crooner stuff - worked over with a wide variety of electronics, sounding like a less dated version of Prince's 80 production techniques - and it has "soul" and "authenticity" to spare. The stunt, of course, is that Lidell is a white electronica geek doing a flawless imitation, but it's a boring one, and I can't even begin to imagine why I should care. I fail to see why critics went apeshit for it, aside from that it played to their common jones for "real" soulful music, with a sheen of electronic innovation that made it seem noteworthy. As Blonde Redhead reminded us, fake can be just as good as real, and in this case it would've been preferred.