Friday, January 04, 2008

Velvet Underground 3rd
Alice Cooper "Welcome To My Nightmare"
Alice Cooper "Love It To Death"
Theme Time Radio Hour w/Bob Dylan "Dreams"
Steve Martin "Wild & Crazy Guy" CD
Rhythm & Sound "W/The Artists" CD
Rhythm & Sound "See Mi Yah" CD
Rhythm & Sound "See Mi Yah Remixes" CD

Finally got Velvet's 3rd on my iPod.... stoked to now have Welcome To My Nightmare on there too... something might be wrong with me but I podded this album at the same time as stone-cold OG lineup classics Killer and Love It To Death and Nightmare is the first one I went for... this is the 2002 CD reissue with bonus tracks, and man, the alternate version of "The Awakening" is revelatory! Ghostly piano, a different vocal melody, and a previously lost Vincent Price voiceover! This digital version of Love It To Death sounds good, I sang along with every word of "I'm Eighteen," but overall it's kinda making me miss the scratchy vinyl copy I bought used when I was 13 or whatever. Specifically "Black Juju," turning off all the lights in my room and turning it up really loud to freak myself out during the quiet part... just not the same at work on the iPod. (Not to mention at age 37.)I still have the vinyl, maybe I should try and freak out the kids with it tonight... still on a Steve Martin kick after reading his Born Standing Up memoir. Let's Get Small and Wild and Crazy Guy are the essentials, with Small the real crowd-pleaser and Guy also filled with classic bits but verging on avant-garde with its constant discontinuous edits (both in post-production and in the routines themselves) and straight-up non-jokes. In fact, I am convinced that Neil Hamburger's genius first two full-lengths for Drag City, America's Funnyman and Raw Hamburger, are direct homages/reinterpretations of these two Steve Martin albums. Not only do they share the same overriding meta-joke, that of the inept yet strangely confident performer, but they also share many specific details: a very similar smug delivery, jarring edits, sudden fadeouts, lame novelty songs, mysterious non-verbal bits that do not translate via vinyl, a bit where a youngster in the audience is singled out and then told an inappropriately dirty joke, a bit where 'professional comic timing' is persistently interrupted by a horrible cough... and then you could always compare and contrast this video clip with this one.... (for the record I am not accusing Neil Hamburger of being a plagiarist...even if he is borrowing directly from Steve Martin he is redirecting and updating the material in a genius way).... look ma, I actually bought some CDs!!! I mean, sure, they were all USED, but...anyway, I've been so blown away by the self-titled Rhythm & Sound CD on Basic Channel, I searched Reckless to see if they had anything, preferably some VINYL. Sure enough, they had three things -- all of 'em were used CDs, but I zoomed over anyway and bought 'em right up, unknowingly walking right into some new territory, namely BURIAL MIX territory. I saw those words emblazoned on each CD and was like, "Huh? Burial is cool and all, but I don't wanna hear him(her) remixing Rhythm & Sound, I wanna hear the REAL DEAL." But, it turns out Burial Mix is a Basic Channel sub-label that specializes in what can really only be called a genuine new 21st century strain of straight-up reggae music. Maybe someone already has a cute name for it like techno reggae or electro reggae, but it consists of Rhythm & Sound creating genius reggae tracks (like some of the instrumentals on the s/t) and bringing in veteran vocalists to sing. Thus, you get everything great about R&S, the inimitable minimalism, focus, and sublime grime, but now it's combined with the timeless soul of true-roots singing and toasting. These two albums are fantastic -- I had to take out the trash while W/The Artists was playing and I was actually fiending for it during the 45 seconds I was gone, like running back down the hallway to my apartment in my flip-flops so I wouldn't miss more of it. See Mi Yah is just as good and even more focused, 11 songs made with one riddim mixed continuously for a mellow-but-driven hardcore trance dream. After the intense focus of these two albums, the See Mi Yah Remixes album seemed a little too flashy and frivolous. The only tracks I even noticed while it was playing were Rhythm & Sound's own "basic reshape," the pulsing/driving Carl Craig remix, and the lush sleepy Vainqueur remix. Even Ricardo Villalobos's track went right over my head. When that album was over, I quickly played the other two again. They'll both be stuck in the player for awhile.


Chris said...
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Chris said...

"Oh college, they said this was all bullshit!"

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