Archive for the ‘BT’ Category

More Random Electronic Music

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Lost Turntable news!

The long-awaited, incredibly-overdue, far-too-complex, incredibly-well-written Lost Turntable Guide To Recording Vinyl will be published here within one week’s time! Now, that doesn’t mean this week, that means a week from today (Wednesday). I mean it. It’s actually almost done. I’m just polishing up the rough edges and adding in screencaps/photos. It’s turned into a damn epic, well over 4,000 words, and I’m going to have to split it up into multiple parts (which will all be published simultaneously).

I really hope it doesn’t suck.

Anyways, time I got something off my chest.

I usually love The A.V. Club. I think it’s one of the best entertainment sites on the web, with a good balance of light “Top 10″ type articles and more in-depth quirky pieces that really examine pop culture in a unique way.

One of my favorite recurring features on the site is “Gateways To Geekery.” In it,  a writer looks at a fairly geeky piece of pop culture (Dr. Who, Pub Rock, Harvey Pekar) and breaks it down in a way that outsiders to the geekiness can understand, while giving examples of perfect points of entry for newcomers. It’s almost always just as educational as it is fun.

The latest Gateway To Geekery is on a topic that I consider myself a high-level geek on: 90′s ‘electronica.’ Like most people my age, I first got into dance and electronic music in the late 90s, cutting my teeth on stuff like Fatboy Slim and The Prodigy before discovering deeper acts like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and countless British drum and bass acts. A lot of the music from that time served as a major influence on my life, so I hold a great deal of nostalgia and fondness for it to this day. As such, I was very interested to read what the A.V. Club would recommend.

Oh well.

The article starts out decent enough, arguing that The Chemical Brothers are a good entry level band for those looking to explore the genre. But when the writer (more on that asshole in a bit) starts to talk about The Prodigy and Moby, things get a bit dicey.

First there’s this choice bit about Prodigy mastermind Liam Howlett:

“Liam Howlett earned his chart success with impeccably constructed tracks that showed off his ear for melody and drew from teen years spent gorging on hip-hop and jungle. “

As a commenter at The A.V. Club points out, Liam Howlett was born in 1971. Jungle/drum and bass didn’t exist as a genre until around 1990-91. Teenage Liam Howlett was not listening to jungle, as it did not yet exist.

From there, the author goes on to cover Moby (while finding ways to backhandedly compliment him along the way) and Underworld (oddly leaving out Darren Emmerson’s name entirely) before going on to Orbital. Most of this stuff is fine, if incredibly vague. It’s at the very end where the article falls apart.

First the writer concludes the main section of the piece by listing off other artists to make note of:

Leftfield’s dubby progressive house, Fatboy Slim’s lampshade-on-head chart pop, Lo-Fidelity All-Stars’ pub-Dadaism, and the jazz-noir of future Steven Soderbergh and Darren Aronofsky collaborator David Holmes are all worth exploring beyond the odd single or two.

All right on (although I don’t think this person knows what Dada is). But let’s take a look at what he says to avoid:

Almost anything called “big beat.”

You mean stuff like Fatboy Slim? The king of big beat? And while The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy were never strictly big beat artists, a lot of their early (great) stuff certainly has a lot of trappings of the subgenre. And by dismissing big beat entirely he’s also telling you to ignore Fluke, Lunatic Calm, Meat Beat Manifesto (partially) and the Dub Pistols. All acts whose discographies are well worth visiting.

The final bit of  the “what to avoid” section really takes the cake though:

A lot of the acts that arrived in the wake of The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy were the electronic equivalents of the dullard bro-rockers taking cues from Oasis at the time. Often lumbering, obvious, and oddly self-satisfied, acts like The Crystal Method, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Propellerheads, Death In Vegas, Groove Armada, and Apollo 440 now sound like relics.

This is stupid in two parts.

First of all, to dismiss an act simply because they came out in the wake of another, more innovative, act is ridiculous. Music scenes are built on the idea of artists drawing immediate influence from other artists. And yes, this does often lead to poor pathetic copycats (post-grunge, I’m looking at you), it doesn’t mean those other acts are without any merit.

But that’s not even the dumbest, most ignorant thing about that statement. The Crystal Method were taking cues from The Chemical Brothers? Let’s visit or discography timelines, shall we?

The Crystal Method’s first single was “Now Is The Time,” it was originally released in 1994. That’s a full year before The Chemical Brothers’ first single or album came out. (I know that they were making music as The Dust Brothers beforehand, but that didn’t really put them on the map).

So the idea that The Crystal Method were a Creed to The Chemical Brother’s Pearl Jam is nonsensical and chronologically impossible. Same for the Proppellerheads, their first single dropped in 1996, less than a year after The Chemical Brothers’. Groove Armada’s first singles were in 1997, far enough away for them to possibly cite The Chemical Brothers as an influence, but not far enough away for them to be second-generation copycats. Same for Death In Vegas and even Bentley Rhythm Ace.

(I can kind of give the writer Apollo 440 though.)

Sigh.

I get the point of this article, and why acts like Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher and Boards of Canada weren’t mentioned. It’s supposed to be an introduction to a genre, and nothing about a lot of the best electronic music of the late-90s is newbie-friendly. But to not mention The Orb, Goldie, Roni Size, Basement Jaxx or Faithless? That’s some of the best, most accesible electronic music of all-time! When you see those kinds of glaring omissions, along with the blatant factual errors that run rampant throughout the piece, it makes you wonder: what kind of electronic “expert” wrote this article? Who could be that clueless?

Then you see that the writer of the article was Scott Plagenhoef and it all makes a lot more sense.

Plagenhoef is the former editor of Pitchfork, the hispster online music mag. The place where music journalism and originality go to die, replaced with bullshit posturing and elitist second-guessing over what’s cool, what’s ironically cool, and what’s trying too hard to be ironically cool. How this asshat somehow got to be the goto electronic music expert for The A.V. Club just goes to show that you can bullshit your way into anywhere if you’re popular enough.

Even if portions of your article are nearly self-plagiarized from an entirely similar piece that you wrote for GQ just a month earlier.

Lazy fuck.

Lament the state of music journalism with me as you check out these great remixes, all culled from various 12″ singles.

Daft Punk
Around The World (Motorbass Vice Mix)
Teachers (Extended Mix)
Some of the commenters on the AV Club article bemoan that Daft Punk wasn’t mentioned. I can see their point, but it’s really not a legit complaint. Daft Punk only released one album in the 90s, 1997′s Homework and when you go back to that record now, it really pales in comparison to Discovery, which came out in 2000. Sure, “Around The World” may still sound great, even in remixed form, but a track like “Teachers”? It doesn’t hold up nearly as well.

BT
Mercury And Solace (Dub Mix)
Mecury And Solace (Quivvers Transatlantic Remix)
Another almost-but-not-quite act that one could consider for an “intro to electronica” playlist, BT’s body of work is just too damn diverse to serve as a friendly/easy introduction for anyone looking to get into electronic music today. At least nearly everything the dude has put out has been good to great. If you do know someone who you are trying to get into electronic music, you could do worse than this track, but I would also recommend “Blue Skies,” his rad collaboration with Tori Amos.

Orbital
Lush (1926 Trancedance Mix)
Orbital have a new album out don’t they? Any word? I want to check it out, but I knew they kind of ran out of steam when they called it quits before. This mix is early-90s Orbital. Prime stuff.

Moby
Go (Low Spirit Mix)
Go (Voodoo Child Mix)
So many people continue to hate on Moby and I just don’t get it. So he sold off all his music to commercials? So what? It’s not like he’s Rage Against The Machine or Anti-Flag, with some crazy punk rock anti-corporate stance. A Moby’s gotta eat! Let the dude make his cash. I’ve met Moby twice, he’s the nicest dude on the planet. Give it a rest already. These two mixes of “Go” are from a 1991 12″ single. Put them on your workout mix, it’ll work wonders.

The Crystal Method 
Busy Child (Taylor’s Hope for Evolution Mix)
The Dubeliscious Groove (Fly Spanish Version)
Now Is The Time (Secret Knowledge Overkill Mix)
Now Is The Time (Cloud 9 Mix)
Now Is The Time (The Olympic Mix) (Record Live In Atlanta)
$20 (or a cookie) to the person who can tell me how to pronounce “Dubeliscious.”

Electronic Music about Clouds and Math

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Off to Ohio for the weekend. Need to fill my brain with great electronic music if I want to keep sane, or at the very least – gleefully insane.

The Orb
Aftermath (Bus Mix)
From A Distance (Hybrid Mix)
Once More… (Mark’s Slide Mix)
Little Fluffy Clouds (Danny Tenaglia’s Detour Mix)
The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Underworld turned 20 last year. Feel old, ravers?

I have a lot of 12″ singles by The Orb. Nearly all of them are torn to shit and have been played to death. While that’s a brilliant testament to the longevity and massive popularity of the group, it makes recording the 12″ singles annoying as hell. I have two 12″ singles for “Once More…” but the Mark’s Slide Mix is the only one on either that was playable.  Figures that the the remix to “Aftermath,” one of my least favorite Orb tracks, would be in near-mint condition.

But whatever, you’re really here for the “Little Fluffy Clouds” mix. Download it, it’s quite good.

BT
Fibonacci Sequence
I feel that electronic music is the only type of music that can dedicate an entire song to a mathematical pattern. On second thought, no, I’m totally sure progressive rock can do that to. Shit, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mars Volta one day decide to an entire album dedicated to the Golden Ratio.

I love this record. Not only because it’s a wonderfully bizarre song that works as a great into to my jogging mix, but because I snagged it off of a single-sided vinyl, which I can use to calibrate my turntable’s anti-skate. No idea what I’m talking about? You will when I drop my guide to recording vinyl next week!

Masturbation Jokes and Blog Announcements

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The Official Lost Turntable Guide to Ripping Vinyl is coming! It might be a few weeks though, whenever I get going on it I find myself rambling for a bit before I focus. Look for it next week I hope.

But you know what you can look for right now? My new blog!

I’ve been doing this blog for about six years now (holy shit!) and while I’m going to keep doing it for as long as I can, I find its format rather limiting sometimes. Recently, I’ve become fascinated with bands so obscure that I don’t feel like they fit The Lost Turntable. Also, I’d like to have something that doesn’t host MP3s, so I can put ads on it and use it as a reference on the off chance I get another music writing gig.

So with that, I’ve started Random Record Reviews. It’s format is simple: once a week, I’ll grab a random obscure record that I’m sure no one has ever heard of and I’ll review it. My goal: to find a hidden gem that time forgot. I didn’t find it with my first post (thanks a lot Zamp) but I’m not going to stop until I do, and then I’ll probably keep going anyway.

Okay, now that I got all that out of the way, let’s listen to some electronic music. Small post tonight, I’ll have more electronic music tomorrow.

Also, get used to the electronic-themed posts for the next couple of weeks, I just bought $200 worth of 12″ singles.

BT
Smartbomb (BT Mix)
Smartbomb (Plump DJs Mix)
The Plump DJs Mix of “Smartbomb” is in my Top 10 list for best electronic songs of the early 00s. I first discovered it via SSX Tricky, and I’m ecstatic that I was able to track down an extended version on a 12″ Single. I don’t want to talk to much about it. Just download it, it’s great.

Meat Beat Manifesto
Prime Audio Soup (Vegetarian Soup by Boards of Canada)
Prime Audio Soup (Dub)
Prime Audio Soup (The Herbaliser Remix)
I can’t decide which is worse, a band named Meat Beat Manifesto or a song called “Prime Audio Soup.” Did I ever tell my joke about how I think that Meat Beat Manifesto should go on tour with the Circle Jerks? At the end of the show both bands could come onstage together and do a joint cover of “Turning Japanese.”

They could call it the Masturbatour.

Thank you! Goodnight!

I know what Somnambulist means, but I don’t know how to pronounce it.

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Tonight’s post is all about the beats! I’m totally dancing as I type this. Okay, not really, but I would be if I was standing up.

Moby
Hymn (Menacing)
Hymn (Dirty Hypo)
Hymn (Lucky Orgasm)
Hymn (I Believe)

The original version of Hymn is the opening track on Moby’s Everything Is Wrong album, and I think that it is one of the greatest opening tracks ever. It’s a quiet, beautiful tune that is almost zen-like. Of course, on Everything Is Wrong it is immediately followed by the freakishly fast-paced and upbeat “Feeling So Real,” so that feeling of oneness is pretty short-lived. These remixes are great, but they don’t have much in common with the original track, and are actually dance tunes for the most part. My favorite is the “Lucky Orgasm” mix…which is something I really hate saying.

What does that even mean? Does that mean you were lucky to have an orgasm, or that your orgasms are good luck? Never mind. I have more jokes/material on this topic, but my mom reads this blog.

BT
Somnambulist (Sander Kleinenberg’s Convertable Mix)
Somnambulist (Burufunk Mix)

I remember when this song came out. I was living in Toledo, Ohio (not something I recommend) and the city just got an awesome all-dance radio station. It was independently run, and if I recall I didn’t even have commercials! I remember the craziest thing about it was that it was owned by a Christian company. My friends and I all found it funny that a religious group was hosting a radio station that featured music made to listen to while heavily medicated. I think it only lasted about a year or so, but during that time they played various versions of this track nearly everyday. What’s really weird about these versions is that they strip out all the crazy stutter effects of the original, which was the biggest draw of the track when it first came out. Regardless, they still excellent remixes of a great song. These are from a 2×12” single, but I only have the second record. If anyone has the Junkie XL remix that’s on the first, I’d be very appreciative if they sent it my way.

Oh, and it means “sleepwalker,” in case you were still wondering.