Saturday, November 24, 2007
I just picked up the new Burial album from emusic. On first listen, it's beautiful and genius. Trip-hop seemed to burn itself out fairly quickly back in the mid-90s, largely because the darkness at the heart of artists like Tricky got turned into premillenial lounge music in the hands of halfsteppers. But now we've got not half, not even whole, but even two-steppers, with their stuttering and woozy and delicate beats (as opposed to the monolithic slowdeath of the trip-hoppers). It's ghostly - as has been mentioned by many a blogger, haunted by what exists behind it, what is left out. The vocals are ripped out of context, one or two melodic words clipped and shorn of context, their meaning carried in semiotic echoes that are echoed by audio echoes (a self-enfolding tripling of signifying tactics).
An impolitic question - what are the chances that Burial is a black guy (or even girl)? The desperate and bereft emotion of the music is such that - well, rewind. The evidence is there in the music, a communication of the beautiful and totalizing loss and reclamation that has taken on the name "blackness." The sound somehow conjures images of shadows, of second selves and contradictory identities.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I’m not usually the guy at a show with a notebook, especially when it’s a show I’m actually hoping to enjoy. I really expected the Friday Hancher performance by DBR and the Mission, billed as a ‘hip hop orchestra,’ to be good, or at least interesting – so I took a girl instead of a pencil.
But from almost the first note, I knew in my belly that the show would be a spiritual, aesthetic, and moral clusterfuck - and, being the mean-spirited prick that I am, that’s exactly what inspires me. So there I was, stuck with no pen and paper (an object lesson for aspiring writers). Luckily modern technology saved the day, in the form of my cell phone, with which I clumsily hacked out a few sparse notes. I’ve left the original notes intact here, complete with typos and crude abbreviations, and added some clarification. I’d like to say thanks to Motorola for allowing me to chronicle the shittiest, most depressing concert I’ve seen in years.
Nobody is going to get drunk in the auditorium and smash a head in or grope a stranger Everyone will just get their little bit o the other and head on home
This was the textbook definition of music for people who are indifferent to music . Of course, Hancher Auditorium is this all too typical monstrosity designed for classical orchestras and piano recitals, a place whose every aspect tells you to sit down and shut the fuck up. We walked through a spacious atrium, past smiling ushers with spanking red vests on, to sit in plush red (fake) velvet-covered seats. And this is supposed to be a hip hop show, you say?
A mtg bt conservatory lab jazz and ca nine-five trip hop n i dn give a shit about witnessing that limp wristed sweaty palmed introduction followed by air kisses
These guys are full of book learnin’. The bandleader and composer, whose real name is Daniel Bernard Roumain, has dreads down to his ass and wears red patent leather shoes and a motorcycle jacket, but you can tell they’re all at home in the concert hall. After about the fifth song that duke announces as “Hip Hop Study in G sharp” or whatever, I come to the terrifying conclusion that he’s not being ironic.
It’s not the chitlin circuit it’s the triscuit circuit and it sucks the life out of the music w e it may have anywey
It’s not that I don’t think classical and hip hop have interesting things to talk about – I mean, I’m here, right? But this is a soulless gimmick, mostly lockstep violins faking the funk over tepid, played-out rhythms. The musicians smile out at the audience and trade solos. All the crackers in the audience love it . They’re just so impressed and excited you can feel it in the air. They whoop and holler, their voices breaking like they’re not sure exactly how yelling works. I feel my stomach sink into my testicles.
Noodly fake funk bullhit
The drummer and the bass player do an improvisational duet. It’s incredibly self-indulgent – lots of notes held too long as the bassist leans portentiously over his weapon, staring at the ground like he lost a contact. Plus, whoever’s running the show doesn’t have a clue how to mic drums, so the beats sound like someone’s hitting wet paper bags with paintbrushes.
When he shouts out some names in bt sng patter romney gets as many cheers as richardson wtf
Seriously, at a “hip hop” show, Mit Romney got cheers. And no, they were not ironic.
Talking about his composing process
A perfect example of how to tell the difference between something that’s actually good and something that got picked up because it fits the institutional needs of a huge, state-funded organization. The thing that really pissed me off about this warmed-over garbage was how many actually good musicians there are out there doing exactly this sort of thing. Put Dalek up there – their work is actually part of a conversation that people who care about music are paying attention to. They could have used the money, pleased the kids, and given the cultural tourists a little bit more of an experience. They probably also would have cursed, though, so they're out.
Omg theyre clapping
Make it stop
Clapping in rhythm, mind you, with their hands up above their heads, and inviting the crowd to join in! Just like an old Negro spiritual!
This one is really really funky he says
god save us all
If you have to tell people the shit is funky, you’ve already lost. These guys apparently have an album or two out on Thirsty Ear Records, and frankly they exactly epitomize what’s wrong with most releases on that label, which seems to specialized in releasing bricks of multicolored shit which they sand all the rough edges off of and masquerade as ‘future music.’ They even let him call the album "etudes4violin&electronix" - misspelling be mad dope fresh, yo!