player_pianoblog

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jeudi, septembre 29, 2005

i'm so then

Nick wrote on David's blog

"This (unflashy) sensibility is what makes, say, a Black Dice production sound so now and a Cornelius production (super-slick, hi-tech, computerish, pernickety, jumpy, tidy, flash, self-conscious) sound so then."

well i'm really then, then

what about in a two year time? which one is actually decently part of its age, which one is all convenient reaction(ary)?

all I can say is these slacky new-yorkers, despite the fact that their musical deliveries are often brilliant, are really getting on my nerves.

lundi, septembre 26, 2005

pretty indecent boyz



have you seen the list of producers involved in this teriyaki boyz album?

is this an ENTERTAINMENT HEAVEN or the CAPITALISTIC HELL of music industry?

it's really difficult when it comes to these damn j-poppers

PLASTIC

who doesn't love plastic

i just hope halcali found their way in the list of featurings

next is true theoretical shit

samedi, septembre 24, 2005

Spark two hammers

i'm just beginning to realise - i should have made a 12 track chart

there is not one single hip-hop track in this thing

so please add (in yer mind) Jay-Z/Ken Ifill's "Pop 4 Rock" (on "Vol.3", 1999, Rocafella)

I'd already mentioned it sometime before

vendredi, septembre 23, 2005

11

let's get all nerdy, let's talk about skill, once again

here is some kind of chart of eleven of I opine are ten among the better crafted and most amazingly produced songs of all time, trends and sonic hype put aside

I didn't think much, they all stuck in my memory as such and I'm infatuated with them

so don't bother me with history and George Martin and the billions of records which should be here but aren't


Lisa Germano "No Color Here" (on Slide, 41D, 1998)

I had to open up the thread with this one, because I've been studying it incessantly ever since I've discovered it, and because I've allegedly tried to copy the way it sounds on many songs of Hello Spiral. It is really Tchad Blake's finest achievement, his virtuoso use of analog compressors having really encountered Germano's own bizarre sonic senses (you can really hear she'd been trying to achieve something sonically alike Slide since 1993's Happiness), and it really shows on this simply arranged masterpiece. An acoustic guitar was recorded so close that its resonance gets multiple and really complex with the right exaggerated compression (don't know the details); at 1.30, some filtered and slightly reverberated percussive yet tonal sounds double the main notes, while a slight bass drone indorses the main resonance in the most discreet manner; the melodic percussions come back with the second chorus, to be heard in a subtly louder way; then some kind of bowed cymbals pop in to announce the drum and wind organ, yet not one of these instruments sound as an acoustic one - it is all confronting frequencies and cushions of compressed tones bumping into each others; eventually, at 3.14, an electric guitar plays an impressive hook out of some cloud of distorsion and parasites, before the song comes back to acoustic basics. This is not only skills, this is pure inspiration, this is scientific genius, this is sound-engineering epiphany!

Primal Scream "Accelerator" (on XTRMNTR, Heavenly, 2000)

So Kevin Shields had to be here, but Loveless never really made it for me, sonically speaking. Maybe because it's too damn rooted in its time, maybe because it's too much indie, maybe because it's too damn British. Maybe because it's so mysterious I could never say if I actually find it sounds amazing or just ugly and old. It never baffled me, it always remained beyond my understanding, beyond my reach. So do Eno's production for The Talking Heads and Bowie, for instance, and I really prefer the razzle-dazzleness of Scary Monsters, or of Magazine's Real Life if you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I'm simple-minded, and I like when a proven genius gets all showy and demonstrative, and Shields does just that on this very cool Stooges rip-off on Primal Scream's excellent 2000 album. It's a silly idea, Shields adding layers and layers of noise and static with every new bar, while a guitar or a machine mimicks a siren in the back. It gets noisier and noisier and you think it can't get noisier and still it does and yet it never gets confused or unreadable. That is, a technical tour-de-force, a sheer demonstration in noise.

Autechre "Lentic Catachresis" (on Confield, Warp, 2001)

I fell in love instantly with this track, on first listening. I even remember reviewing it at the time as a "pornographic" sound assemblage. Not much happens, at first, though - a few somber synth chords, some heavily processed voices (or, are they?) going in hazardous directions and pitches, and a crunching rhythm stumbling incessantly on tatters of its own matter. Matter, did I say? Oh yes, this track is all about palpable, actual matter, about textures taking over beats. I don't know how Booth and Brown achieved that, and I can tell you, I'm no Autechre otaku, but the percussive sounds just feel like patches of compressed snow, or sand, or dirt, or whatever, and it's just amazingly beautiful to hear. As the tempo accelerates halfway, they even start to dissolve, to run in some strings of semi liquid sonic slime while the ever lasting foundering chords and voices laboriously manage to make themselves heard from the puddle created by the slimy tatters of drums. Sorry about the poor metaphors, but the true thing is that this track remains an absolute mystery to me, and I have absolutely no idea about how they've done it. I like that.

The Kinks "Lazy Old Sun" (on Something Else, Pye, 1967)

One little detail made this Shel Talmy production distinct from other, more obvious Talmy favorites (anything on My Generation by the Who, The Creation's "Making Time" or "How Does It Feel to Feel", any track on The Pretty Things' two first LPs) - the double whining, feedbacking guitar that shrouds Ray Davies' words in absolute melancholy during verses. I guess you have to credit Dave for that, the crazy distorted guitar sound and the amazing feeling it conveys. Or maybe it's the way it converses with the rest of Talmy's frontal, sparkling and dirty at the same time, overall sound. The shakers provide the hushing cloth in the background, the drums are impossible to locate, far and close at the same time, Davies' lead is kind of close, but is doubled from yet another distance. There are also fake soprano routines happening in some fake reverberated room, but they are mostly impossible to discern, as are the rhythmic guitar, the organ washes, or the trumpets . Eventually, the whining blurry guitar swallows them all and takes them all in yet another state of indescernability, so that in the end, you don't know if the tone of the tune of the song is merry, suicidal, melancholic, or all of these at the same time, which is exactly what the song is about. This is one neat combination.

Ulver "Hymn 1 - Of Wolf and Fear" (on Nattens Madrigal, Century Media,1996)

I can already see your frowning eyebrows with this one, either thinking "who the hell is this" or "why is he excavating this awful trip-hop Norwegian band?". The thing, these weirdos used to be a Black Metal band, dear, and this impossible record, their third, is their only 100% BM album, and without a doubt the most bizarrely produced BM album ever. They turned into a trip-hop band just after (and working with Sunn O))) and being remixed by Fennesz or Meat Beat Manifesto but that's another story). There is one story going with this "Nattens Madrigal" that they got a lot of money from their new label and spent it all on booze, then recorded it on a four-track cassette. Another says that they recorded it in the woods. A third says that they really and willingly took the spontaneous BM aesthetics, born out of the actual poor means and non-skill-fullness of its instigators, say, Darkthrone or Burzum, and took it ten steps further (if you don't know, BM is the only DIY, lo-fi movement of extreme metal, and the most DIY - and evil - call it "true black metal" - true also often meaning racist, but that is yet another story). This gives a somewhat weird over-produced non-production, bursts of medium and overdriven guitars that are systematically equalized over the top confronting hi-fi ambient intros and outros in the most indecent manner. It is, if you will, super-calculated, almost arty BM, miles away from truly lo-fi BM where you actually can't hear anything except poorly executed drum parts and really pathetic shrieking vocals (Transylvanian Hunger by Darkthrone is the thing), and they've been both hailed and hated for that. But damn, it's weird. And it's really super, super wild.

Capsule "Super Scooter Happy" (on S.F. Sound Furniture, Contemode, 2004)

If you're a regular of this diary, you must know by know I've been obsessed with Tomonori Hayashibe's skills and talent for almost a year, now. This led me to put Plus-Tech Squeeze Box's Cartooom! at the very, very top of my favorite records of 2004. Some kind of crazy alter ego doing his own revival of every possible form of pop music at the same time, the guy manages to be supernoisy and super-laborious and super fun at the same time, cutting and pasting faster than you can pronounce or even think of the word "experimental". He blew my mind. Really. You have to realize, the kind of mixtures he can breed are not only about equalizing every single snippet of sound in the right way so that they mingle together harmoniously, they are acute mirrors of our era, they are amazing Dada products, they are post-modern milestones. Skill = substance. The thing is, I've listened to Cartooom! and Fakevox and every possible gem he mixed and/or produced (Marxy's Kyosho Nostalgia, Hazel Nut Chocolates' Bewitched, Macdonald Duck Eclair's Short Short...) so many times I think I'm starting to scheming out some recurrences and system out of his work. I'm sure he's already 3333 miles ahead of that and of anything I can imagine, so I'm eagerly waiting for the next step. Still, lately, I've been switching a lot to the simpler, robotic environments Yasutaka Nakata creates for Capsule's P5 rip-offs (and more). Not really interested in the songs themselves - which do really all sound the same, but it doesn't matter as Capsule is really all about industry and plastic efficiency - I've been really fascinated by the way Nakata rigidifies his calorific synthetic pop in sequenced perfection, just as he roboticizes and dummy-fies Toshiko Koshijima's voice with his systematic use of the autotune. Not leaving one loose space breath in his sugary heaven, the super-gifted producer thus fastens every single sound to perpendicular drum beats, which cross-rule the musical space as if it was a set of shelves from Ikea, but which never make the music sound cold or martial. The compression of the drum sounds seems to help, as does the heavy mastering, but there's more, and it's quite fascinating. The kick of the drums never get really bassy, for instance, so that the drum sound always stays clear and vivid and glossing, while the bassline stays in a semi subbass background that lead the melody but never take over. On "Super Scooter Happy", a song which is about, well, being happy with your scooter, the tempo is rather faster than usual, meaning, really fast, and the rigidity goes fascinating. It never gets loose or stumbling as in your regular superfast IDM or breakcore fav, as it's really focussed on melody, and the drum loops and breaks, which are continuing, never distract the rigid trademark drum pillars. Heavily panned melodic apparels (midi trumpet, accordion, string pizzicati, electric piano) kick in and out all the time, while bells and vibes indorse the main vocal melody, only providing acceleration or deceleration between the words. Everything except the busy bassline happens in the upper high and mid territories, including the heavily processed (autotune, compression, adequate equalization) voice, so that it's quite difficult to grasp the essential multiplicity of the arrangement, but really emphasizes the unison effect of both melody and groove, the plosives and hiss of the words even mingling with the texture of the vibes. It's really obvious at 4.36, when the main drums stop for a moment. Nakata treats and cuts all sound - rhythms, melodies, and even voices - as if they were all of the same nature, kind of making his point: his music is not about expression, it is about control, and the effects it can produce. It is freakishly inhuman and very effective at the same time. It says you can induce and breed emotion out of the most rigid kinds of effect producer. It says, music can be all about skill, and skill can produce any type of effect. You can even write a song about being with your scooter, for that matter.

Edith Frost "Wonder Wonder" (on Wonder, Wonder, Drag City, 2001)

I think this one really is the most persistent fucker of them all, as I've been thinking of writing about it for more than three years. For one, it is among Edith's rare would-be hit tracks. Then it was recorded by Albini, and you know he had to be there (yet he didn't produce the thing, Rian Murphy did, and I really didn't feel like putting some shitty math rock or post hardcore record in this list). Finally, it's just the perfect, most perfect combination of space (room space, with Albini's trademark drum sound working for weird childish percussions, then idiotic drums panned in a lovely 70s way) and closeness (Edith's frail vocals feel really, really close, and so do the funny clarinet showing up midway of the track). And, by the way, Wonder Wonder is probably the most satisfyingly produced American indie record of that period, so go get it if you haven't already.

Cristian Vogel "Mentol Pencil" (on Buscas Invisibles, Tresor, 1999)

Let's talk minimal, man. Cristian always managed to be, at the same time, the most outrageously talented sound craftsman, the most bizarre sounding, and the grooviest funker of all of them maverick techno producers. This track, from one of his finest straighforward (well, kind of straightforward) inclined albums, really defies production logics, as it combine super-pumping funk breakbeats with arythmics latin shakers that wander hazardously over the mid and high ranges while sub-basses occasionally pop in in the sub-low without disturbing them. Every percussion and bell is polished with sublime gloss, managing to get only magnified, never squashed, by the heavy compression, the whole sounding like one of the most beautiful digital drum ensembles ever assembled on record (Varèse, stay around, this is "Ionisation" funk!). No wonder everyone, Oizo, Jackson, Akufen and all, is looting and pillaging Vogel's crazy funk science these days.

Prince "Alphabet Street" (on Lovesexy, Paisley Park 1988)

Taking the supercold logistics of a stripped down, synthetic driven, linear-beatboxed funk music to its logical conclusion, Roger Nelson eventually took off all the bass on this one-time amazing single. Weird, huh? Still obsessed with the Roland-707 (accordingly not the most hyped-out of beatboxes) and sequencing techniques that made Sign O' The Times such a drifting, unhinged listening experience, Prince refocussed his songs composition-wise on Lovesexy, to greater (this song, "Dance On", "Positivity") or poorer result, and wiped ALL the bass sound that remained. Except for the bright thin thumping of a slapping bass, "Alphabet Street" is thus all robotic digitality, mid-range metallic clearness, super-groovy linearity, with occasional surprizes bursting in pseudo randomness (a superdense voice collage at 1.12, out of-tune trumpets at 4.30, midi bells at 4.45, car and other concret sounds bursting at 3,15, the supersexy, all glottal and humid "I love you" at the very end, and lead guitar and winds backing up from far, far, far away) and extremely rare lower frequencies kicking in with the soulful "yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah" choir hook that comes at the end of chorus. Who said you needed kick drums and sub-bass to get all aroused and dance-y? This is the thinnest dance tune ever recorded.


Sheena Ringo "Yami ni Furu Ame" (on Shouso Strip, Toshiba, 2000)

If there's something you can actually praise Ringo for, it's really the sheer excentricities of arrangement and production that she and her long-time partner Seiji Kameda put her lavished indie/ j-pop tunes through. It's nothing new, Shouso Strip, Karuki Zamen Kuro No Hana and even Tokyo Jihen's Kyoiku all happen with bursts of noise, heavily processed textures and Protools wizardry. Many songs on these records even actually sound much more daredevil and daring than your usual experimental indie electronica record, it's all over her albums, with the exception of her first Muzai Moratorium, and it can happen with an undermixed voice and constant parasites (the overall weirdness of Karuki Zamen Kuro No Hana) or pure experimental happy enthusiasm (the ever famous "Stoicism"). Yet the most daring track of them all glows even more peculiarly: with its distorted, overcompressed strings, its fumes of constant noise, its eroded vocals, its overmixed bass, and everything that happen in the interstices, song number five of Shouso Strip is really the thing. The song itself is quite nice, a true Ringo gem among her more college-rock-friendly regulars; it has a charming Beatles-ian inclination, and the chorus is really intense. Yet it's really the dirtiness of its pilings of strings and noise that makes it so special. True, the trip-hoppish break with the sitars is corny. True, the guitar theme that comes after the chorus is just a Beatles rip-off. But have you ever heard the way the guitar sounds themselves dissolve into white noise and digitality? And what about the introduction, where the dirty strings fight against a sub-bass induced drum programming? So many things actually happen in the upper frequencies that you could make a whole story just describing them. Don't tell Ringo, but I've actually made a whole song using the crazy granulous sound of these strings. So I guess she wins.

mardi, septembre 20, 2005

if you'd set your mind free babe maybe you'd understand

I'll get deeper into this thing later

but here's the intro

i NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER could figure out the whole roger nelson vs. michael j debate

i mean, one used to be an ok entertainer who made decent records because he had a genius producer behind (that's quincy jones, in case you're wondering), the other wrote, produced and performed at least 5 masterpieces (i'm tempted to say 7) and was without one dab of doubt the most interesting mainstream artist of the 80s

shawn, come on, you know what i'm talking about? or else you're just like everyone else, you just never listened to the actual records

snow capsule

il y a eu quelques moments décisifs cette semaine que je serai bien peiné d'avoir à vous relater

j'ai quand même pensé

au crâne de Phil qui lui sous les feux et qui rend tout illisible, aux musiciens qui ont des vélleités de COMPOSITEUR je deteste les musiciens qui ont des velleités de COMPOSITEUR qui veulent faire frémir la peau c'est étonnant j'y reviens souvent en mettant des GROS violons et des GRANDS pianos qui ont l'air d'être compliqué du coup je martèle dense dance et je mets des tambours de Penderecki pour me moquer d'eux, un anonyme a très bien dit mieux que je ne l'essayais le flasque fascinant pour parler de ce nouveau trend chez les COMPRESSEURS de son, je vie je viens à des choses simples comme sign o' the times surtout the ballad of dorothy parker avec ses croix de claviers désaccordés et puis if i was your girlfriend qui est la plus belle chanson du monde parce qu'elle est chantée par quelqu'un qui n'existe pas et qu'y a-t-il de plus beau que de faire croire à quelqu'un qui n'existe pas et qui pleure et qui pleure ou les bruits d'animaux inventés sur l'album de piana mais juste les bruits d'animaux digitaux autour ça coule sur les pieds c'est désagréable ou finalement encore toujours le génie de proximité de yukari et haruka mais il dit que c'est un trend indie aussi les TRENDS me suivent partout chez les gens de BON GOÛT du coup il ne me reste plus qu'à ergoter sur la façon dont TOUT LE MONDE pille allègrement Cristian Vogel ces jours et sur pourquoi c'est INJUSTE


mais je vois à la place des dessins d'ombre portée sur une main de peau et sur un crâne luisant et une lumière tellement jaune que les yeux ouverts ou fermés ça revient du pareil au même il y a trop de mot et DeLillo dit juste aujourd'hui ils ne servent plus qu'à envahir l'espace ceux avec le pouvoir préfèrent TERRORISER

j'ai décidé d'arrêter de faire brûler mon crâne quand je sors dehors pourtant parce que je me suis rendu compte que je retenais moins qu'avant et j'ai besoin d'espace pour retenir

mercredi, septembre 14, 2005

i major

lauching this superdense platform for super cool casts very soon, get ready

and actually enjoying late registration a lot

i'm turning into this pinky bitch always eager for speed and liquid girls and kumi was quite severe with me last night

oh well

lundi, septembre 12, 2005

bicho-bicho

the new poetics of sound-processing is that over-compressed post-prod trick that makes all the kicks and snares sound like that liquid shit that softly drips into your ears that catch it with such softness that it ends up feeling like being delayed so that your brain and your ears never work up sounds at the same time. there's a lot of bass, a lot of high hisses, no medium range at all. the best example i can think of is jackson's latest, smash.

is that a good thing? because it's really beautiful in terms of immediate aesthetics, and it really seems that sound engineers have reached some kind of crucial height in the commercial efficiency of production skills (i.e. immediate physical pleasure of the ear equalling big money)

problem is it swallows up every type of sound in the same way, making static sounds like a gentle thing, and killing all impression of dynamics or contrast, making it all flat and sparkling like a sagely undisturbed mellow flow of money

it's really difficult not to like it not to get seduced

it's really difficult not to give in and prevent your own music from sounding out-of-date in a two-year time

dimanche, septembre 11, 2005

happy life generator


it's rather impossible to explain why and so i've been ergotting non-stop about being on the wrong way and being unhappy but really i'm not i just feel like making sweet stylish noise from far far far away because it's like being on a plane

how bad is that

i used to like music

but the only smells i can think of are that of combini stores

vendredi, septembre 09, 2005

not enjoying french food

yet enjoying these netcasts

yuppa's radio

(she does hazel nuts chocolate and more)

antonin's polypunk

(he does digiki and more)

and david and utako's crazy radio mxut

(david does marxy and more)

so i thought it a good idea to spread the links

this is love

big life dilemma

do i want

do i need

frail trumpet and out-of-tune



approximacies


OR

do i want

do i need

super-controlled super-calculated super-skilled



efficiency

don't laugh

this might seems like trivial pebbles to you

but my whole life and future may depend on that

it's like

i know where i stand politically i know what art should be

the question is more where do i go from there where do i go where is the fun is fun frail or is fun massive can i tell you i love julius caesar because it's falling apart and i love basement jaxx because it's so damn crafted and maybe there's one type of intelligence that is made of carbon and another that is made of concrete you know?

only them have some kind of answer

i don't

DJ Bobo-Fete


no special comment on this one

you just need to love the man

jeudi, septembre 08, 2005

this could help



a little halcali vs. fannypack entry

and things could be bananas

i'm eager for some fun, for some fun, for some fun

mercredi, septembre 07, 2005

ekimae




do you know how many people it takes to change a life like this?

across six weeks

maybe more than fifty

maybe

four on top

one starry night

and i can't help myself

listening to those big chunks of sugar all wrapped up in noise







go to the shobus blog if you haven't yet, browse everywhere

try to imagine how deeply this can actually change one's life