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Can't Stop the Music

Rocco Ingala, Jr./Metastasis (for Iannis Xenakis)/Oil on canvas 36 x 48/2001I have high hopes for the new Beth Gibbons/Rustin Man album. For a lot of people, expectations must be running high for a collaboration between the Portishead singer and Paul Webb from Talk Talk and O.RANG. So far the Brits love it (I've seen reviews in The Wire and Q), but Pitchfork Media isn't so sure. I can't really make a decision based on the available audio snippets...

I don't know about the rest of it, but the first thirty seconds of Metastasis by Iannis Xenakis are rock and roll. It's just a long upward swoop on massed strings punctuated by woodblock percussion, and it freaks me out.

Elvis Costello got three Grammy nominations for When I Was Cruel, the vocals on “45,” and oddly enough, the odds and sods album Cruel Smile, which does have a cool beatbox-driven version of “Spooky Girlfriend.” Peter Gabriel was nominated for “Darkness” from Up. Meanwhile, progressive rap (Anti-Pop Consortium, Blacklicious, Common, Roots, Talib Kweli, the Def Jux crew) was almost completely ignored and N.E.R.D.'s record company reportedly didn't even bother to nominate them for anything. Not even for any production nominations as the Neptunes ! No vowel bands (Strokes, Hives etc.), too, even though, despite the media-driven-ness of it all, they have sold about nine million albums collectively.

And, befitting her status as a Grammy nominee, Avril Lavigne is enjoying other honorifics as well:

It's becoming somewhat of a rite of passage for teen idols to have their names attached to a virus. Tennis player Anna Kournikova, singer Britney Spears and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez are three of the celebrities who have had viruses named after them.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2003 09:28 am (UTC)
"I don't know about the rest of it, but the first thirty seconds of Metastasis by Iannis Xenakis are rock and roll."

Does that mean you found a 30-second snippet online? I couldn't find it via the link.

Similarly, Gyorgi Ligeti's Ramifications is a very dissonant piece for strings (I think there are two groups of players whose instruments are tuned a semitone apart from each other) and in several places the way the sound disintegrates and hums reminds me a lot of classic Sonic Youth. (Of course the actual chain of references is probably more like Ligeti -> Glenn Branca -> Thurston & Lee.)
Jan. 10th, 2003 11:09 am (UTC)
I was just looking for a reference on the web; I heard it in on the radio (remember that old thing ?) and the host said there were only two recordings of it and neither were satisfactory.

I've got Goodbye 20th Century by Sonic Youth, and it's actually pretty fun in places. For some strange new value of fun, I suppose ;)
Jan. 11th, 2003 10:50 am (UTC)
never ever use the grammys as an arbiter of what is happening in music.

Their honoring of Toto, The Starland Vocal Band, Milli Vanilli, Jethro Tull, and Christopher Cross come to mind.

On the Talk Talk front, I am always up for anything their diapsora has to offer. Spirit of Eden is the most compelling all encompasing sound world in a single album of contemporary "popular" music.

Added ya as a friend. Hope ya don't mind.
Jan. 12th, 2003 07:08 am (UTC)
OK, Buddy
Well, I know the Grammys are pretty ridiculous, but I'm still interested in seeing what the mainstream is picking up on. I'm a big Elvis Costello fan, so his nominations are gratifying, if only twenty years too late. My favorite Grammy stupidity, however, was picking A Taste of Honey over the Cars…

I love later Talk Talk; one of the O.RANG albums is really great as well. The Mark Hollis solo album was a little disappointing to me, though.
Jan. 12th, 2003 11:22 am (UTC)
Well Pharell got shut out of the nomination stuff, and he was about as avant as pop stuff got this year.

He even said something like, 'all the money I made for these executives anfd they can't nominate me?' or somesuch.

Speaking of production, Mark Hollis was *really* interesting from that stand point as it was allegedly recording using one stereo mic for the whole room.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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