"Strikingly, they found 'the proportion of minor key songs doubled over
five decades.... a general reduction
in unambiguously happy-sounding recordings as well as an
increase in recordings with ambiguous emotional states.'.... While conceding that pop fans may not be consciously aware of a
preference for more complex music, the researchers speculate that
'musically untrained listeners may recognize quickly and explicitly that
a contemporary fast-tempo, major mode song (such as Aqua’s Barbie Girl) has something amiss about it besides the lyrics.'.... This
study suggests mass-appeal music is, on the whole, getting more nuanced
Not the impression I'm getting from listening to Top 40 stations here, that's for sure.
"I was afraid, coming back to the album and listening to it in full and
in sequence that it would sound tinnily dated and disappointing in 2012,
superseded by the sheer volume, capacity and weight of 21st century
recordings – that it would seem significant only as a pivotal, if
improperly acknowledged moment in the dialectical process. But no –
crank it up and immediately I experienced again the rush of blood I felt
as a young writer, having just interviewed the band in Zurich, heading
to a cafe in the city that had been a Dadaist hangout back in 1916 in
naïve search of psychogeographic inspiration, blackening a notebook
with screeds of adjectival frenzy as the album raged on my headphones.
It retains both its molten power and own, grandiose sense of purpose –
the fire that came along to torch an entire era of white-socked
hipsters, crewcut mumbling indie dullards, smirking ironists, lumpen,
Luddite grebos and post-Live Aid white soul hegemonists and Bono's
stupid big white hat."
"This year, somebody wrote of the Young Gods that 'occasionally they veer a little close to pomp rock'. Christ almighty, whoever that somebody was should have all his toes wrenched out and be made to eat them one by one. Obsessively afraid of hippiedom, of turning into Rick Wakeman, we giggle and scrabble on in our obsolete punkish ways, fiddling while Zurich burns."
the fourth and final instalment of my Greil Marcus interview is up at Los Angeles Review of Books and takes in the Death of Rock, Bill Clinton, Invisible Republic, 9/11, Van and Jim Morrison, and more...
then there was David Stubbs with the most entertaining piece I've read in many a month... taking on the Herculean, or to be more precise, Augean, task of reviewing for The Quietus the "A" shelf of John Peel's record collection (as now conserved for the ages in online virtual form, and howzabout that for archive-fever/retromania?). Or as Stubbs puts it, "venturing into the giant, holy sphincter of retention that is the Peel archive". The results made me nostalgic for the weekly music paper institution of the Single's Page: invariably a grim all-night ordeal for the writer, but a wholly necessary procedure of cultural hygiene, a ritual cull that converted the lead of redundant musical production (born of misguided ambition, or the after-dregs of a DIY ethos long past its salience point) into the gold of reader-amusement.
also at Quietus, there's Taylor Parkes interviewing Kevin Shields. And there's that man Neil K again, with the preface to the second series of A New Nineties, looking at the US underground rock that paralleled the UK p*** r*** he wrote about last time. Looking forward to this series unfolding even though hardly of any of these bands (Bitch Magnet? C'mon, be serious now Neil!) meant shit to me.
(Kulkarni's other Quietus multi-part epic "Eastern Spring" is set to become a Zer0 book I see)
fugitive criminals found the city of Mahagonny in the
desert, which is really a snare and money pit. Goal: make as much money
as possible off other people and gather a fortune without working.
Mahagonny wants to be "paradise city", a place of unbridled enjoyment, a
symbolic caricature of absolute freedom..." Could Guns N' Roses have possibly got that phrase from Brecht/Weill?!?
If so, the missing link, or even the conduit, might just conceivably be
As described above, Mahagonny sounds rather like Los Angeles (or Las Vegas)
And "caricature of absolute freedom" sounds a lot like Sunset Strip metal in the 1980s...
"For if we don't find
The next whiskey bar
I tell you we must die..."
aka Manny Scretching (aka Young Manny Scretching Jr)
who I learned only recently used to play in Sun Ra Arkestra before he hooked up with Cutting
presumably why he's called KING of the 'NUBIAN' BEAT! on the front of this 12 inch
I've written about the tripped-out vocal science on the "Closet Mission" and "Say Your Love" mixes of "On A Mission" in Energy Flash and elsewhere
it was this track, though, in its various incarnations, that had the IMMENSE impact in 1987-8
particularly impactful in the UK.... where it made the charts, twice, reaching #47 as
"This Brutal House" in February '87, and then #24 almost exactly a year
later as "Let's Get Brutal".
Scretching, in tandem with Cutting
producer-honcho Aldo Marin, forged a denuded lunar dance sound somewhere
between electro and acid house, and paved the way for Forgemasters,
Sweet Exorcist, Unique 3, LFO, and the rest of the Northern bleep mafia
cold and hard and cavernous... but also goofy... jaunty and haunting at the same time e.g. the
mad vocal-sample as trumpet solo bit that comes in about 5.30 (those
"On A Mission" mixes are that to the power of ten:
on this Dub Mix of "Let's Get Brutal" the vocal wikki-wikki-delia gets wilder still
i think the first version up there is my favorite, but they are all ace