Thursday, August 16, 2018

prayers and thoughts - soul and meta-soul

One of the first pop songs I noticed as a child - and liked.

Aretha had a comeback in the early Eighties  with a more contemporary club-friendly sound - this was one Stubbs used to play as a deejay.  Bass and synth from Marcus Miller.

And she was around in the culture then as inspiration and talisman

Michael Clarke providing the "dance deficit" left by Green (check out other Scritti videos for artful compensations and evasions - lots of sitting down - rivaled only by Whitney Houston's  craftily edited vids!)

Oh and there's a subtle Aretha nod in "The Word Girl" too -  "She found a place for you / Along her chain of fools"

Wrote about the whiteBrit thing for blackAmerican soul, with specific reference to Green, here

"Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" prefigured in many ways by these meta-soul beauties:

And this too, where the explicit citation is Percy Sledge

"A Slow Soul" though was a duff track on Songs To Remember - a song to forget!

"Soul" - alongside "funk" - was very much a highly libidinized term in the post-postpunk / early new pop discourse (from Dexys onward, if not earlier). So I had already been listening to Stax and JB (could only find a live-in-Japan-circa-79 album, everything else was out of print!) and other things (including an Aretha Greatest, naturally) for a while by the time I read this beautiful testimonial to "lost soul" by Barney Hoskyns  in June '82 - but it certainly propelled me deeper. Peaking really with buying into the whole Bobby Womack as "Last Soul Man Standing" oversell (see also this great BH profile from '84).

Monday, August 13, 2018

Departing Pitchfork editor Mark Richardson signs off with the final edition of his long-running Resonant Frequency column - a meditation about sound-cocooning, listening-in-motion, and silence.


Never was that big a fan of the "walk" bit in Walkman - I like to hear the sounds of the city, or Nature, not be sealed off or shielded from them. But I have enjoyed static outdoor listening (the beach - one vivid memory to match Mark's many examples would be listening to "Gesture Without Motion" by Neil Trix by the shore of Shelter Island). And I do love cocooned-listening while travelling, particularly trains and planes.

One problem with this private-yet-public listening, though, is that you can be so immersively  wrapped up in / rapt by the music, so affected, that some kind of physical response is demanded.  A facial expression, a gesture, a flourish of "air" instrumentation - guitar lick, drum roll - or some kind of sitting-down-version of dancing.  Perhaps even singing along or an MC / ad lib style outburst. But you are surrounded on all sides by strangers!  You can either allow yourself to be inhibited by their presence and listen in this sort of "internally turbulent", externally impassive, expressionless / motionless way -  which is  frustrating, possibly unhealthy even. Or you can go "fuck it, it's highly unlikely I will ever see any of these fellow passengers again" and allow yourself the odd physically demonstrative  reaction to the sonic peak experiences you are undergoing. Increasingly, I find myself going for the second of these options. This is a roundabout way of apologising to anybody who has ever sat in my vicinity on a train or a plane.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Three electronica conversion experiences + raptures of mine appear in this collective list-making effort (contributors include Scanner, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Jon Savage, Bobby Gillespie, Stephen Mallinder, Chris Frantz....) convened by Faber Social upon the occasion of David Stubbs's electronochronicle MARS BY 1980.

This is one that could easily have made the cut - from an album which, now I think about it, I probably taped off Stubbsy when we were students.