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My Heart Goes Untz Untz Untz – My Love Letter to Electronic Music, Pt. 2

So there was the memory of the 1999 Chemical Brothers show burned into my memory that I described in the first part of my love letter to electronic music. That night is ingrained in my musical DNA like an aggressive gene therapy created by the beats and sights of glowsticks and dancing. That’s about as deep as the scar on my left knee from the two surgeries needed to reconstruct it. That’ll never go away.

My sister took me other shows afterwards of course and I was very lucky for some of those experiences. One in particular was seeing the sweat come off  Tiësto’s brow  in an incredibly small rave tent in 2002 as he waved his hand at these two blonde girls that had the even smaller waists. This was years before the dudebros and guidos in the Tri-State Area found him and Tiësto started filling up US arenas like he did the ones back home in the Netherlands.

High school shifted the taste dramatically. It was a change made from the  angst-ridden years where my mind and body wanted songs from men like Andre 3000, Christopher Wallace, Maynard James Keenan, Chino Moreno, and Jimmy Page. That big rock and hip-hop kick for most of high school, filled with all the introspection and manufactured anguish an introverted nerdy guy is generally known to have, washed out a lot of drum and bass and trance music  from my MP3 players and CD mixtapes.

It wasn’t that something switched in me overnight and I just hated EDM. What occurred was just that there was a mental disconnect, at least to me at the time, of being a fan of high tempo dance music while being a moody little shit, you know? And it was a bit hard to keep your headphones on playing Orbital while your friends blasted screamo and the pop-punk du jour. I stopped going to electronic shows, started going to rock concerts. I loved them as well, but looking back they’ve yet to burn into me like the raves tents and dance clubs.

What kept my body sing electronic, even though I sat in my room alone with my headphones on, came in the gust of one particular song – it keeps happening that way with me, as you’ll see in the next part of this series. That song  kept coming to me in small parts placed in scenes of episodes on TV or movies. The bass line crept up slowly until the snare drum came in, then the languid sample loops and fuzzy guitar riff in the background. Then the lyrics came on.

“You…are my angel…”

The song is menacing as all hell while maintaining a seductive cool from the juxtaposition of Horace Andy’s voice. And from there I delved into Massive Attack and by that path I found trip-hop, downtempo, ambient, and all the slower undercurrents of electronic music. Here’s  sampler of what I was listening to.

There’s a reason why I bring all this up. It comes because of my writing. As far as I can think of, most of my earliest writing came from the sounds of songs like the ones from the playlist above that came from Bristol or many other parts of the aural umbra. There are times when I hear the rhythmic drums in “Inertia Creeps” that take me to places to stories  that are far and away from the song’s lyrics about sex. DJ Shadow’s “Midnight In A Perfect World” served as the theme for a lot of my old poems, if that makes any sense.

Even if all of the stuff I made from that time was garbage – and it was, of course – the music helped start it all, and it was this particular type of music that was the hymn. That was my soundtrack when I was sixteen and an insomniac with too many things that needed to be poured out of my head and onto the screen.

I did eventually get to hear “Angel” live, in 2010 at the Warfield in San Francisco – luckily someone put up a YouTube vid of it.  The entire show helped me feel young since I remembered the album came out in 1998 and the crowd must have at least been 35-plus in age. I’m soon to be 27 and I’m listening to “(Exchange)” the final song from Massive Attack’s Mezzanine. Seems like a pretty good way to cap off the post.

 

 

 

Weekly Tumblr Dump – 5/3/2014

Via my friend Harmony, This is “Swoon”, a song from the Soul Visions album. It is a collaboration made by The Human Experience and Rising Appalachia. Buy the album here.

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And then there’s Kieron Gillen’s post on Sister of Mercy’s “Alice”, for his upcoming The Wicked & The Divine:

We’re all monsters, at least for a few seconds at a time. I don’t believe you if you’re saying otherwise. Everyone I’ve ever met have failed that particular test of being inhumanly humanistic. Especially you. Yes, you.

There’s music about how you wish you are. There’s music how you wish you aren’t. There’s music which looks the world in the eye and tells it exactly who you are, and asks if they want to make something of it.

I remember Warren Ellis reading the script for Aaron Sorkin’s pilot episode for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and saying something to the effect of having the urge to quit writing. I’m still trying to get my shit off the ground and This motherfucker drops a post that questions my goddamn skills.

AND I DON’T EVEN LIKE SISTERS OF MERCY. Just…fucking…ahhh.

Anyway, onward.

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I’m still bummed I didn’t get to meet Molly Crabapple at her talk with Warren Ellis in early April. She’s a great artist and this is a prime example of it.

From her Talking Points Memo article “Istanbul: Before the Tear Gas”:

Used to battling cops at games, football fans formed Gezi’s frontlines. Now, the police are so afraid they plead with protestors to please disperse. “Children of whores,” the fans chant back. It’s a sweet change from the last few years of New York demonstrations, where cops often forced demonstrators into pens, beat them, and arrested them like cattle. Next to hundreds of football fans spoiling for a fight, I finally feel safe from the police.

I dive to the front. Amidst the A.C.A.B. (All Cops Are Bastards) scarves and E-ticket fuck no graffiti spray-painted on the sidewalks, a masked boy holds up a flare. It burns neon. From Galatasaray gates, fans have hung a banner emblazoned with the words “There is no description for our love.” Flyers fluttered like ten thousand birds.

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This is from a Harbor Magazine photo shoot with model Dino Busch holding fancy owls in impeccable suits.

Source: http://evenghostandhorse.tumblr.com/

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I saw Massive Attack at the Warfield in San Francisco in 2010, and I remember seeing this during their performance. United Visual Artists took care of the lighting design of the Massive Attack shows, and they put up a lot of digital protests playing the back while they performed. There were some that I can recall, like the rising digital number of money spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the phrase ” WHAT THE FUCK, ARIZONA?” in digital typeface in regards to the recently enacted SB 1070 law.