teh last sucker iz u 5

Posted by othiym23 Sat, 26 Apr 2008 01:33:00 GMT

After spending the week wrestling with my own bad conscience, trying to decide just how accountable to hold myself for the music I own by murderers, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, and other sorts of people with whom I do not hold, it’s something of a blessing to listen to something I can wholeheartedly support: the most recent Ministry record is loud, it is pissed, and it is pissed for all the right reasons. We are tangled in the thresher of a very stupid war, we are governed by mendacious, authoritarian idiots who have committed very real crimes against whatever morality we collectively share, and our society is beset by corruption – corporate, environmental, moral – on all sides. Al Jourgenson belts out all these sentiments and more with the same cartoony hard-edged clarity that has always been Ministry’s stock in trade.

The Last Sucker is a very fine Ministry album on its own merits, being at least as good as Psalm 69, and having one or two songs that are far better than anything on that album. Somewhere along the line Ministry transformed from an arty industrial techno parody of thrash metal into the real thing, and on this album they can stand toe to toe with Strapping Young Lad – the band who, in my opinion, took the latent promise of Burning Inside and converted it into something powerful and real, in much the same way that the Pinocchio at the end of the tale is more real than the puppet at the beginning. It’s not real subtle, but isn’t that the point?

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that Ministry is a product of Clan Bush. Ministry’s finest albums (StigmataThe Land of Rape and Honey and Burning InsideThe Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, of course) were a product of Bush I, and during the Clinton years, Jourgenson – and Ministry – sunk into a torpor that has only lifted in the last couple years of Bush II’s seemingly endless reign. There have been tons of distractions in Jourgenson’s life (smack, booze, swingin’ dick contests with ex-bandmates and miscellaneous others), but I have this pet theory that he takes the Bushes personally, and that’s what reignited his fire. They’ve fucked up his country, they’ve fucked up the world, and – most importantly – they’ve fucked up the reputation of Texas, and that shit will not stand.

Looked at in that light, it makes sense that Jourgenson claims The Last Sucker will be the final Ministry album. This time next year, the Texans will have left the White House (at least until the Jenna / Barb ticket in 2024), and the United States will in all likelihood have an entirely different set of problems to confront. Jourgenson’s bête noir will have retired to the ranch, obdurate in his refusal to take any responsibility for the wholesale fuckup that was the 43rd Presidency. In my mind I see Jourgenson with a bottle of Jägermeister in one hand, watching the George W Bush Library burn to the ground as the tears stream down his face, having come as close as he dares to facing down his own Colonel Kurtz at last.

2008/03/26

Posted by othiym23 Wed, 26 Mar 2008 17:35:23 GMT

Stuck in my head this morning: Mozart’s “Sonata in C Major” K545, as played by an Apple //c. I even found myself whistling bits of it in the shower. How dorky is that?

It’s a huge improvement over last night, though, when I had Throbbing Gristle’s “Hamburger Lady” looping its way through my noggin. The studio version is basically old Tangerine Dream with Genesis P-Orridge mumbling vaguely over the top; live, it turns into a truly disturbing portrait of trauma and pathology. Latecomers to Throbbing Gristle can be forgiven for thinking they were kind of tame or overrated, because on record they’re basically just a strangely diverse synth-driven noise unit. Live, though, everything take a back seat to Genesis’s insistently chanted / shrieked / growled vocals, and the darkness at the heart of the project becomes manifest. “ASSUME POWER FOCUS” live is a totally different animal. They remain strangely diverse.

Daft Punk, live at Even Furthur 1996 4

Posted by othiym23 Sun, 16 Mar 2008 02:28:08 GMT

I recently picked up Daft Punk’s Alive 2007. It’s pretty good, but has nowhere near the raw fury of the first time I saw Daft Punk live. That was at Even Furthur 1996, one of the legendary series of outdoor raves thrown in BFE Wisconsin by the infamous Drop Bass Network. That year, the main tent had sound by the Badger Sound crew, which meant that there was who knows how many watts going into 32 15” speakers along the front of the tent. The sound was very clean and LOUD. I’ve since decided it was the best sound system I’ve ever heard: it gave everything played through it a brutal, hard-edged clarity that was in keeping with the spirit of the weekend (15-year-olds on K face-down in the mud, 60-watt xenon lasers burning the sky over the tops of the trees, Deadly Buda playing a gabber rendition of the Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme at 220BPM at 7:30 in the morning, Dan Doormouse and friends keeping their Rottweiler with them in their smaller side tent as they rinsed out old Reload records and beat on their speakers with a wiffle ball bat, everyone bundled up against the rain in hoodies and huge pants).

This was before Homework, and Daft Punk were still a cult phenomenon known mostly to DJs and hardcore ravers, so there was a certain amount of anticipation among the crowd, but I remember the crowd were more excited for Phantom 45’s and Woody McBride’s sets later in the night. I think we were all a little caught off-guard when Daft Punk proceeded to throw up a set of headbanging, ass-shaking hard house and acid techno to rival just about anyone who’s ever played dance music live. They didn’t have the pyramid or robot costumes, their setup was minimal, and they barely acknowledged the crowd. That didn’t matter. It was a hallucinatory, blistering half-hour of loops, acid, and slamming electronic beats. I remember the high point of the set being a psychedelically intense version of “Rollin & Scratchin” that practically slammed its way into my head. I don’t know how much of it was the music and how much was the insane sound system, but now you can judge for yourself, because as I discovered today, some kind soul put the entire set online. You’ll just have to imagine the bass and the volume for yourself. And ignore the bald dude.

In my opinion, it’s mostly been downhill for Daft Punk ever since. Homework and the subsequent albums have played up their frothy pop take on French loop-house / electro-disco, and while that makes for awesome videos and it is, after all, what made them famous enough to afford the pyramids and robot suits, I was disappointed to find that the only remnants of the tough, abrasive sound I’d heard in Wisconsin were a comparatively anemic rendition of “Rollin & Scratchin” and a couple other b-sides to their early singles. I’m glad they released Alive 2007, because it shows that they still retain some of that 1996 energy. Still, finding that old set has made me a very happy boy.

2008/03/12

Posted by othiym23 Wed, 12 Mar 2008 23:51:19 GMT

Stuck in my head this morning: …I really don’t want to say. It’s embarrassing.

No, seriously. I’ve been bitching about these guys for years!

Oh, all right. I had uh Step On by Happy Mondays playing in a relentless, remorseless, jackhammer loop when I woke up this morning. MAN did those guys suck, but I guess that song had sorta a catchy guitar line.

Anyway, I did not wake up in a great mood.

But seriously, man, fuck Shaun Ryder. Just fuck that guy. His voice makes baby Jesus want to die.

*brrgblglabblgrrbl* *GASP* *brrglblrg*

Posted by othiym23 Tue, 04 Mar 2008 09:38:11 GMT

The problem with drinking from a firehose is that sometimes you asplode. This just happened to me, and I’m trying to deal with it by sharing my total insanity with you, the semi-random passersby on the internet.

As I’ve mentioned several times, I recently discovered the awe-inspiring zombie amusement park that is Blogspot’s coterie of MP3 blogs. I’d never really paid them much attention before, because most of my exposure to MP3 blogs had been through dodgy Eastern European metal blogs that were dedicated to scene rips of upcoming releases, and I’m really not all that into pissing all over the people who make my favorite music, which is basically what these blogs are all about (somebody has to pay for music, somehow, if it’s going to continue to be made).

However, Mutant Sounds and its brethren opened my eyes to the vast amount of music that exists in a twilit state with respect to copyright; thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act™, most of the recordings shared via these blogs won’t be public domain until the end of this century – if ever – yet the vast majority of this material can be had neither via love, money, nor diligent browsing of GEMM. Most of the artists involved really don’t seem to care, as the bloggers are all pretty careful to avoid posting material that is readily available, and in some cases the creators send the blog owners better-quality recordings of their own material to replace inferior rips.

It didn’t help that one of the first of these blogs I discovered, dualtrack, has posted nearly every record I deeply coveted between 1989 and 1992. I sometimes forget that I got my start as a major music nerd through RE/Search’s Industrial Culture Handbook, but when I was learning about this stuff, I was also your average broke college kid and therefore could only read about these records in The Ooze’s monthly new-releases newsletter, saving up for stuff I really, really wanted, like :zoviet*france: reissues on CD or the occasional bizarre overindulgence. Now that I’m all grown up, most of those records, CDs and cassettes are beyond gone, appearing only in Amoeba’s used bins or on eBay (sometimes for plainly hurtful prices). It was with delight bordering on awe that I discovered that almost all of these records I’d been searching for for many, many years were freely available, generally with high-quality scans of the included artwork.

So, armed with a not entirely flimsy rationalization, a sense of burning need, and a month’s Premium subscription to Rapidshare, I went completely bonkers. Most of the stuff on this list came from either dualtrack, The Thing on the Doorstep, No Longer Forgotten Music, Rusted Noise, Mutant Sounds, Phoenix Hairpins, Boomkat, Amoeba and Other Music Digital. (NOTE TO RECORD LABEL FOLK: My copy of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black is on a shiny aluminized plastic platter purchased new from Amoeba Records, with the latest lame cover art you have chosen for it. The original cover art was much nicer. Thank you for your attention.) A lot of it I even bought, as I took this opportunity to fill in long-standing gaps in my collection. As you can see, it would take me a very long time to even summarize what’s here, so I’m going to leave that to other postings. Suffice it to say that just about every weird kind of music you can imagine, and some you probably can’t (the Masstishaddhu record, in particular, defies description to anyone who hasn’t already heard it).

It’s going to take me weeks to listen to all this stuff, much less comprehend it. There’s a lot of amazing, weird and profound music in here.

  1. ABGS: Werkbeschallung: Live
  2. Abwärts: Amok Koma
  3. Gunter Adler: Minute Music
  4. Gunter Adler: Polysyntetica
  5. Gunter Adler: The Silver Book
  6. Ain Soph: Kshatriya
  7. Alpha Omega: Electronic Mind Project
  8. Au Revoir Simone: The Bird of Music
  9. Autonomic Computing: Mutantextures
  10. Henry Badowski: Life is a Grand
  11. Erykah Badu: New Amerykah, Part 1: 4th World War
  12. Biochemical Dread: Bush Doctrine
  13. Biota: Rackabones / Vagabones
  14. Bipol: Ritual
  15. Black Sun Ensemble: Black Sun Ensemble
  16. Blacworld: Subduing Demons (In South Yorkshire)
  17. Burning Witch: Crippled Lucifer
  18. Monte Cazazza: To Mom on Mother’s Day / Candy Man
  19. C-Schulz: 7. Party Disco
  20. C-Schulz: 10. Hose Horn
  21. Chrome: Alien Soundtracks
  22. Chrome: Half Machine Lip Moves
  23. Chrome: 3rd from the Sun
  24. Chrystal Belle Scrodd: The Inevitable Chrystal Belle Scrodd Record
  25. Coil / Zos Kia: Transparent
  26. Cold Sun: Dark Shadows
  27. Cosey Fanni Tutti: Time to Tell
  28. Cranioclast: A Con Cristal
  29. Cranioclast: Koitlaransk / Ration Skalk
  30. Crash Worship: This
  31. Crawling Chaos: Sex Machine / Berlin
  32. Helios Creed: X-Rated Fairy Tales / Superior Catholic Finger
  33. Crispy Ambulance: From the Cradle to the Grave
  34. Crispy Ambulance: Live on a Hot August Night
  35. Crispy Ambulance: Sexus
  36. Crispy Ambulance: The Plateau Phase
  37. Crispy Ambulance: Unsightly and Serene
  38. Crispy Ambulance: Live at the ICA
  39. Current 93 & HÖH: Crowleymass
  40. Current 93 / Nurse With Wound: Mi-Mort
  41. Daft Punk: Alive 2007
  42. Danava: UnonoU
  43. Danielle Dax: Pop-Eyes
  44. Danielle Dax: Jesus Egg That Wept
  45. Danielle Dax: Inky Bloaters
  46. Danielle Dax: The Janice Long Session
  47. Danielle Dax: Comatose Non Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career
  48. Amy Denio: No Bones
  49. Dead Meadow: Old Growth
  50. Dethklok: The Dethalbum
  51. Die Form / Asmus Tietchens: Face to Face, Volume 1
  52. Die Form: Duality
  53. DF Sadist School: Les Cent Vingt Journées de Sodome
  54. Doxa Sinistra: Via del Latte
  55. Drowning Craze: Trance / I Love the Fjords
  56. Frankie Dymon, Jr.: Let It Out
  57. Earth: The Bee Made Honey In The Lions Skull
  58. Einstürzende Neubauten: Kollaps
  59. Einstürzende Neubauten: Zeichnungen des Patienten OT
  60. Elohim: A L’Aube Du Verseau
  61. Erste Weibliche Fleischergesellin Nach 1945: Ferien Auf Dem Lande
  62. Étant Donnés: Aurore
  63. Étant Donnés: L’eclipse
  64. Étant Donnés: Re-Up
  65. Etat Brut: Mutations et Protheses
  66. Exterminator: Anna Blume
  67. Factrix: Empire of Passion
  68. Factrix: Scheintot
  69. Fanzine: 1980
  70. Fanzine: 1981
  71. Fanzine: 1982
  72. File Under Pop: Heathrow
  73. Brigitte Fontaine & Areski: L’incendie
  74. Brigitte Fontaine & Art Ensemble of Chicago: Comme à la Radio
  75. Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle: Telinehmende Beobachtung
  76. The Fugs: First Album
  77. The Fugs: Second Album
  78. BC Gilbert & G Lewis: Ends With the Sea
  79. The Gothic Archies: The Tragic Treasury: Songs from “A Series of Unfortunate Events”
  80. Bruce Haack: Electric Lucifer: Book 2
  81. Bruce Haack: The Electric Lucifer
  82. Hanadensha: Acoustic Mothership
  83. Hanadensha: Astral Pigmy Wave
  84. Hanadensha: Doobie Shining Love
  85. Hip Hop Pantsula: YBA 2 NW
  86. Lars Hollmer: Fran Natt Idag
  87. Lars Hollmer: Vill Du Höra Mer
  88. Lars Hollmer: XII Sibirska Cyklar
  89. Hoola Bandoola Band: Fri Information
  90. Hoola Bandoola Band: Garanterate Individuell
  91. Hoola Bandoola Band: På Väg
  92. Hoola Bandoola Band: Vem Kan Man Lita På?
  93. The Horrorist: Attack Decay
  94. The Human League: Being Boiled
  95. The Human League: The Dignity of Labour
  96. Hunting Lodge: Tribal Warning Shot
  97. In the Woods…: Three by Seven on a Pilgrimage
  98. Islaja: Meritie
  99. Kallabris: Considération sur / sous lé café
  100. Richard H Kirk: Darkness at Noon
  101. Richard H Kirk: Disposable Half-Truths
  102. Kotazo: Papy Mbavu / Papa Komanda
  103. Korpiklaani: Korven Kuningas
  104. Korpiklaani: Spirit of the Forest
  105. Korpiklaani: Voice of Wilderness
  106. Lava: Tears Are Goin’ Home
  107. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental: The Bridge
  108. Lemon Kittens: Spoonfed and Writhing
  109. Lemon Kittens: The Big Dentist
  110. Lemon Kittens: We Buy a Hammer for Daddy
  111. Lesbian: Power Hor
  112. Liquid Sound Company: Exploring the Psychedelic
  113. Machinic Indices: Untitled Kompositions
  114. Malombra: Malombra
  115. Masstishaddhu: Shekinah
  116. Men/Eject: Men/Eject
  117. Metabolist: Drömm
  118. Metabolist: Hansten Klork
  119. Metabolist: Identify
  120. The Metronomes: Regular Guys
  121. Mimir: Mimir
  122. Mimir: Mimyriad
  123. Mnemonists: Biota
  124. Mnemonists: Horde
  125. Moctan: Suspect
  126. Morphogenesis: Prochronisms
  127. Mysticum: In the Streams of Inferno
  128. nEGAPADRÉS.3.3: nEGAPADRÉS.3.3
  129. Joanna Newsom: Walnut Whales
  130. Joanna Newsom: Yarn and Glue
  131. Nocturnal Emissions: Spiritflesh
  132. Non: Mode of Infection / Knife Ladder
  133. Nurse With Wound / Spasm: Creakiness / Firemoon
  134. Nurse With Wound / Termite Queen: Nurse With Wound / Termite Queen
  135. Nurse With Wound / Organum: A Missing Sense / Rasa
  136. Nurse With Wound: A Sucked Orange
  137. Nurse With Wound: Brained by Falling Masonry
  138. Nurse With Wound: Crocodile Krazy Glue
  139. Nurse With Wound: The Musty Odour of Pierced Rectums
  140. Opal: Early Recordings 2
  141. Orchestra Terrestrial: Here and Elsewhere
  142. Organum: Horii
  143. Organum: Ikon
  144. Organum: Sphyx
  145. Organum: Tower of Silence
  146. Michael O’Shea: Michael O’Shea
  147. La Otracina: Fauna & Animated Floral Arrangements
  148. P16.D4: Distruct
  149. P16.D4: Kühe in 1/2 Trauer
  150. Penumbra: Skandinavien
  151. Permutative Distorsion: Brückenkopf im Niemandsland
  152. Pitch Black Afro: Split Endz
  153. Eddie Prévost / Organum: Flayed / Crux
  154. Problemist: 9 Times Sanity
  155. Project 197: IP001
  156. Pseudo Code: Europa
  157. Psychic TV: Allegory & Self
  158. Psychic TV: Dreams Less Sweet
  159. Psychic TV: Force Thee Hand ov Chance / Blinded Eye in Thee Pyramid
  160. Psychic TV: Mouth of the Night
  161. Psychic TV: NY Scum
  162. Punch Inc.: Fightclub
  163. The Raveonettes: Lust Lust Lust
  164. Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
  165. Steve Reich: Tehellim & The Desert Music
  166. Steve Reich: Triple Quartet
  167. Steve Reich: You Are (Variations) / Cello Counterpoint
  168. Robert Rental: On Location / Double Heart
  169. The Residents: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  170. The Residents: Commercial Single
  171. Graeme Revell: The Insect Musicians
  172. The Revolving Paint Dream: Flowers in the Sky: The Enigma of the Revolving Paint Dream
  173. Boyd Rice and Friends: Music, Martinis & Misanthropy
  174. Salon Music: La Paloma Show
  175. Sandoz: In Dub: Chapter Two / Extra Time (Under the Stones)
  176. Shock Headed Peters: I, Bloodbrother Be
  177. Shock Headed Peters: The Kissing of Gods
  178. Sielwolf: IV
  179. Sielwolf: Nachtstrom
  180. Sielwolf: V - Remixes
  181. Sigillum S: 23|20
  182. Sigillum S: Bardo Thos-Grol
  183. Sigillum S: Studs and Divinity
  184. Sixth Comm: Grey Years
  185. Smegma: 33 1/3
  186. SPK: Slogun / Meccano
  187. SPK: Live At Garibaldi’s, 1979
  188. SPK: Information Overload Unit
  189. SPK: Auto Da Fe
  190. SPK: Leichenschrei
  191. SPK: Angst Pop: Live
  192. SPK: From Science to Ritual
  193. SPK: Human Post Mortem (Despair OST)
  194. SPK: Live at Pandora’s Music Box
  195. SPK: Live at the Crypt
  196. SPK: No More
  197. SPK: Off the Deep End
  198. SPK: See-Saw / Chamber Musik
  199. SPK: The Last Attempt at Paradise: Live in Lawrence, Kansas
  200. SPK: Wars of Islam: Live in Rome
  201. SPK: Machine Age Voodoo
  202. SPK: Metal Dance / Will to Power
  203. SPK: In Flagrante Delicto
  204. SPK: Zamia Lehmanni
  205. SPK: Gold & Poison
  206. SPK: Compilation Tracks (2nd version)
  207. Snakefinger: Manual of Errors
  208. Snakefinger: Chewing Hides the Sound
  209. Snakefinger: Greener Posters
  210. Sol Invictus: Lex Talionis
  211. Somatic Responses: Digital Darkness
  212. Spektr: Mescalyne
  213. Sun Ra: HelioCentric Worlds, Volumes 1 & 2
  214. Sweet Exorcist: Spirit Guide to Low Tech
  215. Symphonique Elegance: Act One
  216. Syrup Girls vs Sick Girls: Shotgun Wedding, Volume 8
  217. Teenage Jesus & The Jerks: Orphans / Less of Me
  218. Thick Pigeon: Thick Pigeon
  219. Throbbing Gristle: AR-TT-010
  220. Throbbing Gristle: United
  221. Throbbing Gristle: DOA: The Third and Final Report
  222. Throbbing Gristle: Adrenaline
  223. Throbbing Gristle: 20 Jazz Funk Greats
  224. Throbbing Gristle: Nothing Short of a Total War
  225. Throbbing Gristle: Rafters
  226. Throbbing Gristle: CD1
  227. Tools You Can Trust: Again Again Again
  228. Tools You Can Trust: Say It Low
  229. Tools You Can Trust: Sharpen the Tools
  230. Trop Tard: Ils etaient 9 dans L’obscurite
  231. Tuxedomoon: Dark Companion / 59 To 1 Remix
  232. Tuxedomoon: Desire / No Tears
  233. Tuxedomoon: What Use? / Crash
  234. Tuxedomoon: Joe Boy The Electric Ghost / Pinheads on the Move
  235. Tuxedomoon: Une Nuit au Fond de la Frayére / Egypt
  236. Tuxedomoon: Scream with a View
  237. Tuxedomoon: Half-Mute / Scream With a View
  238. Tuxedomoon: Ship of Fools
  239. Tuxedomoon: The Ghost Sonata
  240. Týr: Ragnarok
  241. Ultravox: Slow Motion
  242. Vas Deferens Organization: Zyzzybaloubah
  243. Verhören: Death is Safe
  244. Vidna Obmana: Noise / Drone Anthology 1984-1989
  245. Virgin Prunes: Heresie
  246. Von Zamla: No Make Up!
  247. Vox Populi! / HNAS: Face to Face, Volume 2
  248. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
  249. Xasthur: A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors
  250. Damien Youth: Festival of Death
  251. Damien Youth: Fluttering Briar
  252. Damien Youth: The Man Who Invented God
  253. Z’ev: Elemental Music
  254. Z’ev: Salts of Heavy Metals
  255. Stefan Weisser: Poextensions
  256. Zahgurim: Moral Rearmament
  257. Zero Kama: The Secret Eye of L.A.Y.L.A.H.
  258. Zos Kia Meets Sugardog: That’s Heavy Baby
  259. v/a: 2005 Hands
  260. v/a: 4 in 1
  261. v/a: Ach Hanover
  262. v/a: Angst in My Pants
  263. Alban Berg / Anton Webern / Arnold Schoenberg / James Levine / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra: Orchestral Pieces
  264. v/a: Can You Hear Me? Music from The Deaf Club
  265. v/a: Colorado
  266. v/a: Dada > Antidada > Merz
  267. v/a: Devastate to Liberate
  268. v/a: Dokument: Ten Highlights in the History Of Popular Music, 1982-1983
  269. v/a: Earthly Delights
  270. v/a: The Elephant Table Album
  271. v/a: Er Ist Tief Und Dein Wasser Ist Dunkel
  272. v/a: Feature Mist
  273. v/a: Fluxus Anthology
  274. v/a: Für Ilse Koch
  275. v/a: A Gnomean Haigonaimean: A Compilation of Fantasies Intoxication Concepts
  276. v/a: Gut Level One
  277. v/a: Hare / Hunter / Field
  278. v/a: Harmony of the Spheres
  279. v/a: Hate’s Our Belief
  280. v/a: Iberico
  281. v/a: Internationalism
  282. v/a: The Last Supper
  283. v/a: Machines
  284. v/a: Masse Mensch
  285. v/a: Palatine: The Factory Story
  286. v/a: Passage du Trou Marin
  287. v/a: Perpetual State of Oracular Dream
  288. v/a: Riposte
  289. v/a: A Selection
  290. v/a: Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus
  291. v/a: The Virus Has Been Spread: A D-Trash Records Tribute To Atari Teenage Riot

make a note of it

Posted by othiym23 Tue, 29 Jan 2008 23:27:28 GMT

“Let’s Free Your Head From Your Ass And Worry About Tibet Later” is a near-perfect name for a song, especially when the band playing it sounds suspiciously like early Nirvana.

old darkness

Posted by othiym23 Mon, 28 Jan 2008 00:51:04 GMT

Dark White didn’t make much of a mark; they (or he, as only one guy is pictured on the sleeve) made 500 copies of an EP in 1985 and disappeared. There’s nothing that original about The Grey Area, either. If you’ve heard WaxTrax!-era Ministry or Visage or a;GRUMH you’ve heard the various pieces of their sound. Sometimes the vocals are out of tune, or not delivered with much confidence. The recording is clean but unremarkable. The songs have the bouncing-octave minor-key synth lines you’ve heard in a million industrial / electro / electroclash / New Wave songs.

Of course, I like old dance-industrial a lot (as long as it’s not the turgid, tuneless churning of Antler-Subway bands like Noise Unit), and the way Dark White put everything together is actually charming. “Charming” may seem like an odd word to describe death-obsessed darkwave, but the band that made these tracks was young, and as such all the moodiness comes across as direct and earnest, and the whole package is so utterly and obviously a product of its time and place. The total Americanness of it all appeals to me. Over at Mutant Sounds, the commenters compare some of the sounds on the record to Big Black, and I don’t really hear that, but I do agree that the vocal delivery is pretty damn Midwestern.

Apparently this record trades for hundreds of dollars on eBay, so grab it from Mutant Sounds while you can.

the dice man

Posted by othiym23 Sat, 26 Jan 2008 07:09:29 GMT

It doesn’t matter how many times I hear it, every time I hear “Polygon Window”, it gives me chills. Richard James made some genius music before he turned into techno’s very own Rumpelstiltskin.

from the east

Posted by othiym23 Thu, 24 Jan 2008 02:16:49 GMT

One of the many pleasures of the digital download revolution is that it means that people who like raw, tracky electronic music can get high-quality techno in a portable form without having to jump through hoops to get it. I haven’t ripped my vinyl yet, and may never get around to it, because doing it right is a lot of work. And a huge chunk of that stuff was originally available solely on 12” and 10” records which never made it to the west coast of the US. But who cares, when I can hit Beatport or Bleep and download acres of high-quality MP3s at more or less reasonable prices?

Especially when it’s stuff like Surgeon’s, or a release like East Light? East Light came out in the middle of Surgeon’s most fertile period of the end of the 90s, when he was running two labels (Dynamic Tension and Counterbalance) and putting out material on two others (Soma and the legendary Tresor). Upon first listen, it is a clinically dry collection of tracky dancefloor techno, unrelenting and very mechanically composed. All four tracks are pure percussion workouts, and this is precisely where their most appealing qualities lie: while they sound unremittingly electronic, almost all these tracks are made from carefully chosen samples of real percussion instruments, orchestrated into a smoothly ticking orrery.

Because these tracks were, after all, intended to be worked into a dancefloor set by a DJ, they don’t have the sophisticated progression and complexity of Surgeon’s dense, sui generis Force+Form, or the easy appeal of records by Model 500 or Underground Resistance, but first listens can be deceptive. I’ve had East Light kicking around my iPod for years, and it continues to grow more interesting and immersive each time I hear it.

why not cut out the middleman?

Posted by othiym23 Fri, 18 Jan 2008 20:48:26 GMT

So there was once this pseudo-band called The Dukes of Stratosphear, which is actually XTC wearing floppy shirts and playing British psychedelia that is the definition of “pastiche”. Which is to say that while I love their music for historical reasons, my enthusiasm for it is sapped after spending some serious time with Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, to which it is beyond indebted. The Dukes are one step above being a cover band, and while their ear for that style is uncanny, the resulting songs aren’t very strong. That said, I will yield to no one when it comes to “What in the World”, which is by far the finest song on the album. None of it’s bad, I just thought it was niftier before I knew what a clone job it is.