This lush and amazing rare-groove track by Lowell was the musical foundation of Massive Attack´s "Lately", and it came embedded in a great piece about sampling that Simon Reynolds wrote for The Guardian.
I think that everybody knew that "Massive Attack" were using tons of samples, more so that their whole sound and aesthetics revolved around sampling. So I guess that the current release of "Protected: Massive Samples", a collection of the original sources, won´t cause the same fuzz that surrounded a similar project that unveiled the foundations of many Daft Punk songs. It is still different how you use a sample, and especially how an audience perceives a song and the band that produces it.
With their huge, blown-up, stadium shows Daft Punk had turned into a rock-dinosaur, happy to regurgitate their own, limited repertoire over and over. Their boldness and twisted genius made them get away with lifting almost complete, fairly obscure, songs and making them their own.
Massive Attack on the other side made sure to work their samples around an idea that always tried to be something else. In the best case the end result would be something bigger than the sum of its parts. The question remains: which approach is more rockist? And why did it shock so many people when it was "revealed" that Daft Punk´s music was almost completely stitched together from old disco, funk and Barry Manilow records.
Did they see them as something "authentic" because they played to huge crowds which would normally not listen to "electro"? Maybe because they didn´t read the credits on the sleeves because they never bothered to buy the record?
Gee Mr. Tracy was a strange duo from Norwich, UK who had their very own idea of pop-music in the mid of the 1980s.
By 1985, the classic synth/vocal duo was on its way out. Soft Cell, D.A.F., Suicide, Sparks, OMD, had either disbanded, were on indefinite hiatus or were at low-points if their career.
Shortly before the Pet Shop Boys would seal this band model into a lasting time-capsule, Brick Smith and Vince Rogers took no prisoners with their minimal, electro-pop-punk.
At times Gee Mr. Tracy sounded like a parody of Suicide, with their monotonous, skeletal and very cheap sound. "Jet Girl" on their debut (and only) album was like a total piss-take on the Vega/Rev-sound and it could be seen as the missing link between Suicide and Sigue Sigue Sputnik (without the futuristic gadgets, the hi-tech production, the make-up and the hype).
The vocals were often shouted and apparently both band members liked to drink and singing about it.
In their short career as Gee Mr. Tracy (name refers to the "Tracy"-family of "The Thunderbirds") they actually wrote two fine pop-gems: "Permanent Swoon" and "Gee Mr. Tracy - You Make My House Shine", which I always wanted to hear in an updated house-remix.
What´s not to like in a song that has lines such as: "The doorbell plays Miles Davis, The biscuit tins are never empty, the milkman leaves us vodka (we drink it!)" and that starts with a dog barking in Japanese?!
Read two interviews, one with J.G. Ballard, one with David Cronenberg!
Both men were interviewed by Mark Dery for Rage Magazine in 1997 around the time Cronenberg´s vision of "Crash" hit the screens.
The Rat Race by James Clar
From the Website: "The Rat Race" is a piece jesting at the social ideal of the rat race, the idea that we are all rats in a competitive race to the top. Technology plays a key role in enhancing each rat but staying on top of technological progress (new software, programming languages, memes, etc) is a job onto itself. What technologies enhance our daily lives or make our work more streamlined? "The Rat Race" is a fusion of rat and technology.
Making things visible by blurring or obstructing them is a common aspect in Clar´s other works, which at times would love to have as light-objects in my home.
See "Circlesquare", "Square 2" and "Portal" which I would buy immediately. I also dig his Infinity Case and the idea to hang a black, semi-transparent curtain over a giant monitor over a busy Shinjuku-junction, calling it Tokyo Graffiti.
I still can smell the vanilla-scented fog that would sweep over the dance floor when "Cccan´t You See" was played. As soon as the first, thinly sampled choir would come up, everybody made a beeline to the floor. Poppers, goths, the fetish-set and the riff-raff of every sexual preference. Vicious Pink united everyone for a few minutes.
Aptly named "Techno Psycho Poppers" by the press, Vicous Pink were catering first and foremost to the clubs. They started out as backing performers for Soft Cell and just went with the sleazy image. They had quite the imaginative merchandise for a club act.
I am currently fiddling around with Blip.FM. Since I never bothered to follow anyone on Twitter, this new social music site passed me by. After playing around with it a bit, I must say that it is a much easier way to find music than on the deceased Muxtape.
I signed up this afternoon and I am now collecting a track list that is deemed to become very eclectic.
Make sure to drop by at StellaVista´s Outer Base. Slip into something comfy and pour yourself a drink.
The server seems to be quite slow and overpowered at times. You also have to wonder about the legal aspect of the whole thing. As soon as you upload anything you are practically committing a crime. I am expecting Blip.fm to be shut down in Germany pretty soon (now, that I have found it...)
The video to "Fire (Jimmy Edgar Remix)" by Codebreaker is one of the best examples of animated tilt-shift photography I have seen.
The heavy snowstorm in this clip from Erik West must be exactly the one that´s coming down in Berlin at this very moment.
The song is quite nice too.
The Annual Brit Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Pop-Excellence Goes To The Pet Shop Boys
A ten-minute medley (or potpourri as we used to say before the war) spawning the 25 year lasting career of the Pet Shop Boys was performed by the band at yesterdays BRIT AWARDS. PSB received an "Outstanding Contribution To Music Award" which justified this career mash-up.
In true PSB-fashion the show was a slightly odd and brittle performance of random imagery, unnecessary ballet, wacky wigs and Lady GaGa. All in all: A great success (minus the GaGa)
Make sure to watch in high-resolution
This is exactly the kind of late night programming that some German TV-programs would use to air: webcam movies from all over the world, vintage NASA space programs or station to station train rides through Siberia. Usually this would be better than the day time programming.
These guys here have put a video camera on a sushi conveyor and added some fragile music. This could go on for hours and I would only wish that the "creators" would have stayed out of it. Their presence is a bit annoying as is their "creative reasoning" why they did this. For once Youtube comments are bringing some focus to the table: "It´s just a camera on a conveyor belt in a sushi bar!"
Make sure to watch in high resolution
This charity campaign ad for "Shelter - The Homeless and Housing Charity" from the UK was done for free by Outsider and Framestore. Music was provided by Radiohead.
Even years after Pleix perfected this "dissolving architecture"-style, I am still amazed by these "drive-by" cgi effects. They are really getting better and better with these slo-mo, one-shot techniques.
New photos of abandoned future-ruins in Dubai? Tilt-shift photos of Brazilia? You guessed it, it´s just the real silicon valley inside your motherboard. Not a new idea as can be seen in the b/w pictures below, but these are nicely photographed and found here.
Enjoy some classic, proto-techno from Juan Atkins´Cybotron - Techno City (click arrow for embedded play)
One day I´ll meet you in Paris. I promise.
This 8 minute Ferrari ride through Paris in the early morning hours is a fantastic short film by Claude Lelouch. "C'était un rendez-vous" was shot in 1976. Watch it quick because the copyFight holders are quick to erase all links.
I was always fascinated by the bogus scientific stories about MUZAKs ability to turn potential shoppers into mindless consumer-robots. Never underestimate the power of subliminal easy-listening.
Originally invented in the 1930s to silence the creaking noises of elevators with soothing, nerve-calming music, Muzak Inc. soon applied the magic of pseudo-science to sell their background music. Make people stay longer and spend more, heighten the productivity of your work-drones, clear your train-stations of junkies: Muzak promised all this and now, in their 75th year of existence, they had to file for bankruptcy. The day the Muzak died!
To celebrate the company that would have loved to make us believe that they shaped the 20th century more than they actually did, have another listen to one of the only pop-songs that is about muzak:
Moonlight and Muzak by M.
And remember: Muzak mixed the bourgeoisie and the rebel!
Syncopation for the nation now:
Heaven 17: Name borrowed from "A Clockwork Orange", young professional socialists with the latest technology, penthouse and pavement, crushed by the wheels of industry, dreaming of saturday night, buy this, unterzeichnen sie hier..., the luxury gap.
Kaufen sie diese:
No, this is not the new Pet Shop Boys sleeve!
It´s taken from a funny and technically amazing viral ad-gimmick that turns you into a human beat-box. You can chose between four templates, upload your (or any) portrait and within a minute your avatar will perform some wicked things to your face.
Since we here at StellaVista Towers have no great entertainment value with a pot warmer on our heads, I tried to upload pictures of some iconic friends.
Both, Liberace and Warhol didn´t work that well. Once morphed by the progeam they looked like Thunderbird puppets. It´s amazing how exchangeable they look when their hair/wig is hidden by a hat.
Anyway, it was much more fun to use a J.G. Ballard picture and it worked surprisingly well. Click here to see and hear JG Ballard aka MC Crashbox putting a donk on it!
Well, it´s in b/w but the morphing program is very picky and it was impossible to find a usable colour portrait of the man.
Then I had the smashing idea to use a (fake) image of the Damien-Hirst-Diamond-Skull. But again, the program wouldn´t accept the picture. I tried to modify it several times, but it didn´t work. Too bad, it would have been such a great contribution to this great Hirst-bashing project. Thanks to Jocko for bringing this great Jimmy Cauty project to my attention.
Last try was a screenshot of Kraftwerk´s "Musique Non Stop", since I wanted to see how an early, literally beatboxing CGI would look make the transition.
Boing Boom Tshack
Below you can try your own thing. It´s mostly in German but I think that it is possible to navigate the site anyway. Enter your birthday and location and it will play the Kraftwerk-video. If you want to start your own creation, click on the bottom left "werde Beatologist".