Heavy Rotation 77August 10, 2011
[More fine tracks arriving at variable intervals, thanks to the stellar musical talents of the Moon Duo, Clive Tanaka and The Voluntary Butler Scheme. No longer can this blog be trusted to be updated in a timely fashion. Perhaps some sort of ur-blog fascism is in order, because if nothing else, it made the Italian trains run on time. With that being said, as long as I'm in charge of providing content, it's probably a forgone conclusion that as long as "things to do" continues to outpace "time available," this blog's tin-plated reputation will never rise above tin-plated. That additional thing being said, the tracks I'm featuring are really excellent. So there's that... Would you like to play a game/remove a track? Email me: email@example.com.]
Previous Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archive
Clive Tanaka (whom I’ve expressed adoration for previously) is back with a lushly moving track that threatens to shatter even the most jaded of hearts into thousands of pieces. As I’ve said before, it is written exactly NOWHERE that music needs to be made from all-organic components to have “emotion.” Those strange people who cling to some sort of Luddic ideal that prevents them from enjoying something made entirely of electronics need to be boxed repeatedly around the ears (and other sensitive areas) by Tanaka’s mastercraft until they can see the beauty behind the algorithms.
The track washes over the listener, with the beat serving as the only thing keeping it from floating skyward. Tanaka conjures up the kind of misery that loves company, which is the best kind of misery. It’s a larger-than-life feeling that is still purely, subjectively “your” experience, albeit one that everyone can identify with, even in the best of times/moods. When you can wring that sort of emotion out of bits, bytes and presets, you’re truly a “transcendent” artist and this track is, yes, exactly that: transcendent.
The SanFran bay area and psychedelia go together like acid tabs and orange juice. Moon Duo are no exception, filtering their Cali sun-kissed psych-rock through a variety of effects pedals and a Spaceman 3-esque chug-and-drone framework. While a few of their tracks push towards a mantra-esque repetitionrepetitionrepetition (i.e., Motorcycle, I Love You) that tend to preach directly to the chemically-altered choir, other tracks (such as this one) move beyond the attuned and welcome those who gather at the outskirts, wondering what the hell they’re missing out on.
This is not to say that Mazes completely forsakes the chug/drone/meander of Moon Duo’s more psychedelic outings. In fact, the entire track wraps itself around the rise and fall of some simple tones and while the guitar takes an exploratory run through a couple of effects, the tune itself ties together into a neat, tuneful, ultra-melodic near-romp that calls to mind a mildly-sprawling take on 60s garage pop. It’s a blast that rolls on charmingly, with four-on-the-good-natured-floor. It’s the perfect welcome mat for those wishing to dip into Moon Duo’s spirited acid rock revivalism.
Incredibly vibrant stuff here, and I don’t say that lightly (even the music itself edges towards that). The amazing output of one-man-band Rob Jones, The Voluntary Butler Scheme makes the kind of upbeat electronica that a million bedroom producers aspire to. Captivating, melodic and brilliantly evocative, TVBS is pure pop brilliance. Unfortunately, today’s pop world is less concerned with brilliance than marketability and there’s no chance in hell for this slice of immaculate joyousness to claim a place on the charts.
So be it. Now, it’s ours and we can take it places and show it to our friends and watch their jaws drops and be part of the “in-crowd” that is cool we don’t even give a shit that others refer to us as the “in-crowd.” When they do refer to us as that, we’ll express surprise and smile a little. Music isn’t about exclusiveness. Not if it’s done right. It’s about inclusiveness and when you’ve got something this amazing on your hands you’ll be dying to spread it around. Hell, it’s not even going to care if you shove it on your virtual shelves right next to your cherished Gap Band reissues and secretly-loved Kylie Minogue singles.
Music this good doesn’t need a pedestal. It just needs more fans.