Popmatic Podcast April 2009

By , March 27, 2009

Bryan brings us an exclusive interview with Ryan Hurtgen of
Nashville’s own experimental pop foursome, Telephant.

Music review: Collabs3000: Metallism

By , March 5, 2009

metalismCollabs3000: Metallism
By: Chris Liebing & Speedy J, 2005

4 stars

If you made to the Main Library in January you probably saw the staff’s favorite things display. Bryan, one of whose favorite things was electronic music, is yours truly and it is true, I like electronic music. Techno jumped ship from Detroit to Berlin in early nineties. It was in Europe that beats became fetishized while Americans still thought it was cool to wear a dirty flannel shirt. Jochem Paap, aka Speedy J, was one of a handful of producers who rose above an avalanche of bedroom beatmakers to create music architectural in form and hip-twitching in function. In other words, it’s arty but you can still dance to it.

A great example is Speedy J’s collaboration with Chris Liebing -Collabs3000: Metalism. This isn’t house music. This is TECHNO with grotesque sans serif capital “t”. There was a moment when the acid house movement had crested and DJs wanted their beats a little harsher, a little faster. They wanted sounds with a little more clank than the rubbery timbre of the Roland 303, producers then synthesizer of choice. Collabs3000 is definitely born from that moment. There’s a reason this album is subtitled “metalism.” If you liked the first wave of industrial music, but couldn’t stand when that genre became a parody of itself, this is where your muse should turn.

Collabs3000 was produced by the original artists, but if you’ve a penchant for banging the library owns some wicked DJ sets in same stylistic vein. Check out Carl Cox’s double disc explosion Global, and Danny Howell’s Global Underground: Miami, the later of which features Simon Ratcliffe’s soaring remix of Throbbing Gristle’s classic “Hot on the Heels of Love.”

- Bryan

Music review: Modern Guilt – Beck

By , March 5, 2009

modern_guiltModern Guilt
By Beck, 2008

4 1/2 stars

OK, Beck cruises in with a solid effort here, full of samples (sometimes it seems like he samples himself), techno beats, slurs, rhythms and sometimes post-apocalyptic lyrics. It grooves, twists, mashes, echoes and remains distinctively Beck. Some highlights (obscure reference alert) for me: “Gamma Ray” reminds me of the thrilling mid-80’s Buffalo, NY band the Celibates – funky pop grooving techno with suitably detached vocals. I love this one. “Chemtrails” has great thumping bass and vocal harmonies and treatments. Add psyched out guitar and propulsive drumming and away we go. The title track is just very cool with more techno trap drums, and electro bleeps in a very ‘80’s vein again. “Youthless” – classic Beck with techno flourishes – this would be a killer dance floor track! Following that is a real change of pace – “Walls”, a bit of dance hall style reggae/dub – think Bruce Cockburn meets Lee “Scratch” Perry and includes the aforementioned post-apocalyptic lyrics. Rounding out my favorites – “Soul of a Man” has a twisted groove that just gets inside my head. “Profanity Players” revisits the great techno/ drum laden underpinnings we once heard with Joy Division and early New Order. Well done. In short – 10 tracks – all good. Tip of the hat to producer Danger Mouse, known for his pop noir style which works well here with Beck’s multi-layered junk-pile dredging inventiveness.

- Phil

Popmatic Podcast March 2009

By , March 5, 2009

Bryan and Crystal feature music by Speedy J and Annie (not that Annie). Amanda and (newbie) Jeremy tell us about books by Kathy Reichs and George Saunders. Last but not least, Bill and Clint turn us on to the films Night Moves and Regular Lovers.

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