it happens for a reason

staying up late is easy.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

LISTENING TODAY:
VILLALOBOS- 'ACH SO'.
PAAVOHARJU- 'YHA HAMARAA'.
EWAN PEARSON- 'SCI FI HI-FI VOL. 1'
GENUWINE- 'PONY'.
THE STREETS- 'WHEN YOU WEREN'T FAMOUS' AND THAT RADIOHEAD COVER WITH THE SAXOPHONES THAT'S PLAYING EVERYWHERE NOW (BOTH HEARD IN TOPSHOP WHILE SHOPPING WITH MY GIRLFRIEND).
CALIFORNIA RAMBLERS- '1920'S FLAPPER PARTY'.
TONY VIBE FREEZE FM TAPE FROM LAST WEEK.


Morning all. i'm back you know. this blog will last for 365 days. the aim is to post every day about the music that i have heard that day. even if i don't manage to post every day, each post will record all the music that i have heard since the last post. each post will begin as this one does, with a list of the music that i heard that day. so, without further ado...

before today i used to listen to villalobos' new EP/album/whatever you want to call it 'ach so' in the depths of night. seemed appropriate. late night = time for convoluted techno. or so i thought. however, the best way to listen to 'ach so', i found today, is outside, in early morning sunshine. immediately, the music sounds...happy. simple, uncomplicated happiness. may be ricky V isn't some kind of alien at all. may be he's just a normal guy you wants some pretty sounds to listen to while he pops down the road for his sunday papers. the first track in particular, with those loping oriental strings, and the skittering skimming-stone beats, is the sound of an early sun-lit morning. the sound of things that are bracing but gentle. and the third track, with old modem sounds twisted into the shape of bird song is a techno dawn chorus.

rising out of the usual murky villalobos sound, which is generally like a mad scientist's laboratory sinking into mud, this is a gorgeous release, aiming for the clouds above: everything sounds much lighter, fleeter, more brittle than usual. i guess it's really like 'easy lee' extended out into into 40 minutes*, although there's nothing quite as poppy as 'easy lee' on 'ach so'...i can't imagine these tracks turning up on too many mixes. but taken together, each of the four tracks taking up a whole side of vinyl to itself, a structure of moods is gradually built up, and villalobos finally achieves what he seems to always have been aiming at: a self-contained, totally immersive world of sound. my favourite track is the final one, where he revisits the kind of aching beauty of 'dexter' and has fun with making this aphex-ish foggy melody flit around the track, rising and falling in pitch, dropping out and then drifting back in. listening to villalobos is sometimes, or rather often, a bit of a hard slog, but it's worth it just for moments like these, where all that time you've spent trying to get into where his head is currently at pays off, and, yeah, it is a lovely view.

today was a blustery day. apparently the 'perfect storm' is hitting the east coast of the UK as i write (the meteorological feature, that is, not that rubbish film with Marky Mark in...). i highly recommend listening to 'ach so' on head phones outside on such a day, when the music mixes with the linen-y sound of the wind hitting yr face: its very dramatic, and it sounds totally right, what with villalobos' music sounding all wind-eroded anyway.
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today i went in to Harold Moore's Records, which i originally found out about on a heads-up from Woebot. it's just down from Liberty in london: i think the street is called Marlborough Street, but i might have made that up. anyway, if you want to be tempted to spend a huge amount of money, you must visit this shop, and go down in to the basement, where Harold presides over the vintage records, wearing a cravat and a velvet jacket. he's awesome, and a lovely guy. it's maddeningly difficult not to come away with loads of records on a trip to Harold Moore's; today we were tempted by all sorts, from 13th century chants, to a boxset of recorder music, to a vera Lynn double pack...on and on it went. we settled on an album in the sale, by the California Ramblers: it's a compilation of 1920's dance music, the kind that played a 'flapper parties', apparently. obviously i know nothing about this kind of music, and so am not really qualified to comment on it, but to these ears it's quite delightful stuff. i like the way the guitars sound thick and scratchy at the same time, and i like the decorum of the melodies.
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oh, that new Streets songs is gash isn't it. he really, really, shouldn't try to write tunes.


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* do you know the story of 'easy lee' by the way? it's a lovely one. apparently it was composed after one of those infamous 'Perlon Parties' in Berlin, the ones that last an absurd amount of time, like 3 days or something. at the end of it, villalobos and luciano (i think) took refuge in a relative's old country house on the edge of town, and it was the height of summer, everything insanely green and lush. as their minds and bodies were gradually cleaned out in the summer garden, villalobos started singing into a vocoder and recorded the results on his laptop ( i imagine these techno guys take their laptops everywhere...). and that's the vocal on 'easy lee'. next time you listen to it, imagine villolobos and his pals, tired and happy, waiting for their strength to return in this shimmery, buzzing verdent garden. it'll make things make sense.

to make things more poignant, the house was being sold at the time, and so villalobos realised that it was the last time he's ever see this garden. joy, drugs, and a tinge of melancholia = rave classic. obviously.

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