s/o 311 SM
There is a moment in Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young where Duke Dumont’s remix of the Haim song “Falling” plays. The film is a model ship in a bottle: an older generation of creatives begin to hang with a younger hipster generation at the looking glass of sorts that is gentrified New York City. It’s a delicate and intricate situation that occurs in a microcosm at once parodying the thing itself by scaling it down and beautifying it.
While that may be an oversimplification of what the film’s about, it’s an analogue of electronic music itself too. Songs such as this remix of “Falling” are themselves oversimplifications: an original track boiled down to a glaze of vocals and its barest rhythm overlaid with juicy beats and melody.
It’s worth repeating, for it never wears on one, but something simple can yield a multitude of results. The simple is often transparent and direct. It’s the stuff of pop songs and twelve-bar blues. And as the above song demonstrates, demonstrably potent. Enough to get this kid off his high horse and admit the goofy remix is just plain old good.
In the musical genres older than those The Aftermath deals in, say, jazz, folk, or classical, catalogues abound. Whether it’s recording sessions, live performances, or a collating of an artists’s collected works, there are generous archives for whom the eager Django Reinhardt or Jelly Roll Morton fan could explore. Yet, the library for electronic music, to use the broadest of relative terms, is not so well-packaged. The Internet, however, can illuminate what for most contemporary music fans is otherwise a smattering of .mp3, Limewire, YouTube, iTunes and Soundcloud files.
Used cogently, the tangle of keyword searches and a general ear-for-things may eventually prove fruitful. Greco-Roman signee Roosevelt, is a Cologne-based musician who excels at a certain pouncing synth and looping-vocal jam. While we’ve enjoyed the beauties of Roosevelt’s touch here before, like anything worth raving about, you return to it continually. Enjoyed with the proper sound system, these remixes should enliven and inculcate the listener into not only Roosevelt’s motifs, but the sensibility of the Greco-Roman label writ large.
At any rate, here is a footnote for the databases, catalogues, and music libraries of the future.
In a bit of reverse engineering, this “short” Roosevelt remix which takes a ten-minute atmospheric song condensed into three finer ones of gurgles and echo.
How often do we come across new music while on the subway? I don’t mean by eavesdropping on a fellow straphanger as they click ‘next’ on their smartphone. Nor do I mean that if someone’s Beats are playing so loud as to make you want to cry out like your grandmama, “Turn that damn ratchet down!” is what I mean. This is something altogether different. Perhaps it’s a cover band playing for singles during rush hour, or a brass ensemble that’s taken to the trenches of late-night weekend train platforms. It’s just sometimes, a beautiful sound is overheard underground.
The band Sonia Dada formed after such a chance encounter in the Chicago underground in 1990. Band frontman Daniel Pritzker came across his future bandmates who were then busking for change in a subway station. While the band never reached such cultish adoration as their fellow Chicagoans, Wilco, today, they get some love here on The Aftermath.
Offered to appear on the Australian radio station show Like a Version, where the guest artist plays a cover of their choice, hometown hero Chet Faker lent his one-man-gospel-sound to Sonia Dada’s best selling record, “Lover (You Don’t Treat Me No Good)”. Now, this being the Internet Age, Faker’s rather pared down and acoustic rendition of “Lover” could not be left alone for long.
German producer WKND (no connection to the sexahaulic Canadian), has imbued Faker’s version of “Lover” with metal drums and a beat to dance to. The kid has flipped the cover into a remix – and I’m all the more grateful for having come across it @boycalledwknd. Yet, each of these versions are enjoyable in their own way; each a telling of a different time and circumstance, but of the same story.
Musical Proof: If Caribou’s “Can’t Do Without You” is a headfirst dive into a surge of romantic intensity, then Jack Garratt’s “The Love You’re Given” is the keening before a divorce. While its subject matter is something wretched, the intensity of the song is on par with Dan Snaith’s.
Remember Jack Garratt? The wünderkind is back with a scary good follow-up to his previous ballads. Bending a wailing vocal over what, in another lifetime, could have been the crux of a Kanye/Raekwon track, Garratt traces a dark arc here. A spooky twist comes about two-thirds of the way in, where what sounds like a downtempo Destiny’s Child belts something emphatic.
“The Love You’re Given” maps a faith counter to head-over-heels optimism. It leaves a chilly impression; like watching your Facebook News Feed at the moment you find you’re deepest relationship is terminal – the divorce that reels you back, spins you around and around, lest it feels like the stars are falling – until it’s settled in a crashing wave of pounding noise.
Or, does such an intensity prevent any separation, physical or mental? That a wail is only grief in its briefest of forms? A fading five minute looping sample?
Streets of Harlem intersect with alley-ways of Romania