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Heavy Rotation Vol. 22

November 8, 2009

In honor of all the twos featured in the post title, here are three (!) sets of two songs that either complement each other or bookend the albums they appear on. I won’t ramble too much in the intro as I have plenty of rambling (and some damn fine tuneage) below.

Previous versions found here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

vitalic

Vitalic – See the Sea (Blue)/See the Sea (Red)
Vitalic’s latest album, Flashmob, features these two companion pieces, with both follow the same melody to very different conclusions.

Here’s what I love about Vitalic. He doesn’t fuck around. He’s an electro producer who’s been around since the early 2000’s. As one of the forerunners for the short-lived and over-hyped “electroclash” movement, Vitalic put in a little time making his name in that scene with the assistance of the “vocals” of Ms. Kitten.

Once everyone got tired of electro mixing with rock and dumping monotone monologues full of “shocking” subject matter (Drugs! Blowjobs!! Drugs and blowjobs!!!), the scene disintegrated into a million shiny shards. Most were trampled under the fleeting shoes of a million bandwagon-jumpers.

Vitalic stuck to his guns and his true calling: electro. Freed of the deadpan vocal schtick, Vitalic hit the bedroom studio and perfected his niche. His last two albums (including Flashmob) have been solid, with only a few misses. They also operate well as albums, a rarity in the mp3 world.

But here’s the key: he does it without pandering. He does it without attempting to court the mainstream with a ton of guest stars. He does it without attempting to broaden his spectrum by introducing change for the sake of change. He just cranks out track after track of amazing, confident electro.

Obviously this makes it a tougher sell than, say, “hard rock” or “old standards.” But if you’re good at what you do, why dilute it by flirting with the mainstream or other people who are never going to give a shit anyway?

See the Sea (Blue) starts slowly, building on some low-key synths and vocoded-into-thin-air vocals before tangling with a 303 in a nightclub parking lot.

See the Sea (Red) starts out bruising before suddenly dropping the bluster and showing its sensitive side.

Blue

Red

front 242

Front 242 – Serial Killers Don’t Kill Their Girlfriend/Serial Killers Don’t Kill Their Boyfriend
Out of Belgium, which is close enough to Germany to fall under the “you can’t throw a rock in this part of Europe without hitting an industrial band.” Progressing from the chanting and martial beats of their earlier work, which often gave them the feel of a deeper Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 dropped two incredible albums in 1993: 06:21:03:11 Up Evil and 05:22:09:12 Off. (The numbers stand for letters…)

Off is their masterpiece. Full of stylistic experiments, sound collages and even occasional female vocals, Off transcends the “industrial” label. These twin tracks appear six songs apart on an album filled with variations on themes. The song Animal appears four times with the subtitles Cage, Gate, Guide and Zoo, while Modern Angels progresses from an aggro stomper (original) to pulsing techno (Happiness [More Angels]) before concluding the album with a hardcore raveup (Speed Angels).

If these songs are serial killers, Boyfriend is the swaggering misanthrope, heading down dark alleys, all knives and chains. Girlfriend is the shadow in the bushes and the creak on the stairs.

But you can leave
Your mother home
You know how much I like to be alone
And when I hear the sound of your voice
It leaves me no choice…

Girlfriend

Boyfriend

the-jesus-and-mary-chain

Jesus and Mary Chain – Reverence/Frequency
Taken from the Chain’s last good album (Honey’s Dead), these track echo each other and actually bookend the album, with Reverence (and its attendant blasphemy) setting the tone and Frequency providing a coda in half the time with all the blasphemy and a set of chords (and a refrain) jacked from Greg Kihn’s Roadrunner.

I wanna die just like Jesus Christ
I wanna die on a bed of spikes
I wanna die just like Jesus Christ
With the radio on

Reverence

Frequency

For comparison:

All files loaded into an Archive, two-by-two:
Heavy Rotation Vol. 22
(link opens in new window)

-CLT

[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to its high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com. Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]
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4 comments

  1. I thought I use to know JAMC, but once again you’ve showed me how sheltered farm life can be. Thanks for giving me a taste of the bright lights.


    • No problem, Rooster. They bright light of music is my gift to this particularly dark hellhole of the blogosphere. Bask in good health.


  2. Believe it or not….and this is going to completely blow your doors off; I was born on 2-22, which both makes that number even more awesome, and proves that I’m a Pisces with delusions of grandiosity.

    I loved the Jesus and Mary Chain! I don’t know what I enjoy more though, the music or your amazing critique of the music.


    • Sweet Jesus and Mary Chain!!! My doors!!!

      Quick, grab some twine and a few nails. We may be able to salvage this yet…

      Thanks for the door-blowing revelation and the kind words, Scott. Great to see you.



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