Friday, February 24, 2006
> Northern wrongbeat
I was updating my top ten with Golden Acre Sleeps, the new album by RandomNumber (pictured), when I discovered the artist in question describes his music as 'northern wrongbeat'.
I respect self-appointed genres. 'Drill and bass' was a style of harsh techno pretty much invented for Aphex Twin, while De La Soul came up with 'daisy' to describe their flower-sniffin' anti-gangster rap. Even the guitar kids are at it: in Sydney, thrash metal dudes have called their local scene 'North Coast hardcore'.
You too can create your own genre with this create-your-own-genre, um, creator. Have a go and be inspired. I got 'thrashgrass', which is something to with challenging a spliff at a game of mercy and winning convincingly because a spliff doesn't have opposable digits. Or any other digits, which makes most playground games a bit of a foregone conclusion.
I lovingly call my record box 'electronica', but this is wishy washy and covers Moby and Fatboy Slim and not the uncommercial complexity of the likes of Venetian Snares. Ishkur's excellent guide to electronic music says 'electronica does not exist' and credits Madonna for pretending it does.
But wait! A quick Wikipedia search suggests I should call my style IDM or 'intelligent dance music'.
IDM is unconventional electronic music that aims to play on people's preconceptions that all dance music should be structured, predictable and chart-friendly. A trawl though the history of IDM throws up names like Rephlex Records, Richard H Kirk, LFO, Boards Of Canada and Squarepusher. I am rubbing my hands in glee singing 'this is me! this is me! this is me!"
It also brings up names like Emotional Joystick. Someone really ought to be sitting in the corner of the classroom for that one.
My problem with the phrase 'intelligent dance music' is it's a bit like 'born again Christian'. It smacks of superiority. Even Aphex Twin once said: "It's really nasty to everyone else's music," and he makes the nastiest music in the electroverse, so he should know.
So what phrase can I use to describe this cerebral form of electronic music I have wet dreams about? I've head people use the phrase 'listening techno'. This is soggy and vague, like Channel Five, and anyone who uses it should be drowned in their own spittle. No. Other people's spittle.
So electronica will continue to mean Chemical Brothers and Prodigy in the mind of the i-podding masses. There's me in the corner, in the spotlight, losing myself in a Plaid track, turning up my headphones while silently judging everyone around me. Four to the floor? No thank you. I'll have pi rather than four, and instead of a floor, I'll have a vista of emotional doorknobs. Or something.
I'll finish with a list of genuine forms of electronic music, any one of which I will claim as my own.
Drill n bass
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Nothing impresses me more than a man with an-- hold on, it's too cheap a shot. I'm going to start this post again.
Felix Kubin doesn't just play an organ, he is also listed as a Moog user on Wikipedia. I'd never set ears on him before, but I heard a record being spun at Sometimes Records' Volume night on Thursday and nearly spilt my drink in dribbling glee. Excited about a man with an organ. There you go, bringing the tone down again.
When Kubin was one hemisphere of German group Klangkrieg, he started his own label Gagarin Records to release what he called psycho sci-fi pop. It all seems quite DIY, and in that sense he seems to be a soul brother to Bill Drummond. In 1992, he created a pretend political party called KED or Kommunistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands if you're being formal. He then released a couple of singles as Liedertafel Margot Honecker to promote the party's policies. When the media attention became too much, LMH split. At the risk of typing too many triple-initials in one paragraph, I am bound to point out he would make the KLF proud.
He seems inspired by pop sensibilities but doesn't stick to one media, experimenting with animation films and radio broadcasting. He brings a sideways approach to electronica and acoustic music, for example, he describes his radio piece Nachtspeicher (Night Storage) as "club noise, field recordings, whispering silence, encounters with strange people and drunken angels." Beautiful!
His website calls him a "messenger of exploding lungs" and indeed if you Google that phrase, he does seem to be the only messenger of exploding lungs out there. In the same way that if you Google "trouser therapist", you get this blog. It's comforting to remember we each have something unique going on.
Feast your ears, your eyes and any other part of your body, let's say elbows, on these excerpts of a live performance by Felix Kubin. And expect to hear him in a Fat Roland set near you.