Heavy Rotation 75June 19, 2011
[Another three tracks submitted for your approval. This week’s lineup features Psychic Dancehall, Pepepiano and Pink Playground. No unifying theme other than the initial “P”, which is nothing more than a happy coincidence I just noticed as I was typing up these very words you’re reading. (Or glossing over.) Need a track removed? Just ask: email@example.com.]
Previous Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archive
There’s no shortage of love songs out there. Psychic Dancehall has a killer of a love song: an echo chamber threnody built on the belief that love exists and is wonderful but that this same love will rip the floor out from underneath you with alarming frequency. The music itself fades nearly away at points, leaving the vocals alone in the reverbed darkness, save for some fatalistic minor chords and an approximate organ tone that embeds itself firmly in the audio wallpaper.
If you can name this genre, than you can own it and charge other unimaginative musos for using it when attempting to describe indescribable audio tones without resorting to lazy shorthand like “ethereal” or “the Cocteau Twins on acid.” “Electronica” doesn’t really do justice to Pepepiano’s audio collage/collisions. I Understand You progresses like a series of jump cuts, from twee-ish charming to white noise Bomb Squadding (that’s a PE ref, yo) to nu-disco electro-jacking, all in under three minutes. On second thought, it’s less like “jump cuts” and more like an MPD sufferer falling down a long flight of tuneful stairs, each one triggering a burst of white noise or tasteful sample.
(To better help you visualize this song, imagine the “floor piano scene” from Big, only instead of Chopsticks, it’s late-70s/early-80s synth vamps and instead of Robert Loggia, it’s a hyperkinetic robot made out of day-glo and refracted sunlight (which is made out of radio static and a second-hand store boombox).
Even if you don’t know John Barry, you know John Barry. Houston’s Pink Playground knows John Barry, offering up a well-crafted ode to the composer of the James Bond theme. Capturing the neo-noir atmosphere of Cold War spy gaming via sonic craftmanship is no easy feat, but this track is done to perfection, taking you back to a simpler time when men were men and seduced women and shot a lot of foreigners with misshapen heads and drama!tic accents. (The “!” is intentional. And a potential punchline/punchsymbol[?]. However, if it doesn’t at least make you smile with bemusement, then feel free to consider it a typo.)