Plug: Back on Time (Ninja Tune)
After I first plucked Plug from my shelves, I assumed he was some new retro-electro guy, but actually he's minor techno legend Luke Vibert, who I've always preferred under his Wagon Christ moniker, just not so's I felt any need to testify about it. (Very) roughly speaking, say Vibert is trancey, Wagon Christ fanciful, and Plug‑-who in the mid '90s released the Drum'n'Bass for Papa album hard upon three EPs, all still findable as a twofer on Trent Reznor's label‑-a necromancer. Although the story is that Vibert stumbled upon 10 old Plug tracks and declared them an album on a whim, I'm betting they stayed in the can because they were just too all-over-the-place for 1997. But for those of us who find electronica too functional anyway, all-over-the-place equals content: the willful structures, sonic shifts, interrupted grooves, and goofy vocal bits are as eventful as a good lyric. For once drum'n'bass's impossible Conlon Nancarrow beats, which Plug does pretty well with on those EPs, are the bed where the real music crinkles, crashes, chimes, swoops, swells, squiggles, gurgles, cracks wise, and just generally hooks you. Start with "Come on My Skeleton" and "Back on Time." Then do yourself a favor and listen fore-to-aft. A MINUS
Seefeel: Seefeel (Warp)
The gears that never quite mesh in this disquieting but hardly apocalyptic industrial ambient may be metal and may be plastic but are probably both. Over steady drumming with a martial feel, they evoke two kinds of bum transmission, one automotive and the other an AM station breaking up on a late-night four-lane. Phones ring occasionally. Doors squeak. Pretty people murmur and croon. But that bird you hear chirping isn't‑-isn't chirping, isn't a bird. Think the part of a Tricky album that's no way funky. Stabilized by nary a foolish word, the unease is so unapocalyptic it's almost comforting. B PLUS
While they may not be about the music being reviewed above, Nicky is right to mention the overall context, because one of the reason this blog and the comments are so good is our host's writings have brought together a great group of insightful people, with a good appreciation of music, not least music that Xgau has reviewed in the past that has led people to explore and want to share their appreciation of other music.
I was trying to skirt this analogy to avoid national stereotyping (Irishman in alcohol related metaphor shock), but it's a bit like a bar. The Dean owns the bar, and of course he reserves the right to refuse admission. There are a few regulars, some people passing through. We're talking, having a conversation and a laugh, spurred on by what he's currently writing about but also drawing from the deep well of what he's written about in the past, and the knowledge of the other regulars.
My spur for this suggested poll is that Wussy is pretty much the house band of the Expert Witness Tavern, so I was interested to find out Witnesses' favourite Wussy tracks to see how they compared to the new best of. But we can confine this discussion to one table of the bar and I'll try to make sure we don't annoy the rest of you.
One way of doing this without cluttering up the rest of the site could be the reply button. I voted for JeffC's suggestion a few weeks ago that we eschew the reply button and comment as normal, but to avoid cluttering up the posts, when I get the results ready, if people want to post their own Wussy best ofs, maybe they could do it as a reply to my post rather than as a new post. Then they would be easily avoided by anyone who's not interested. Just a thought.
I thought of the Dean's Gubbels reference today when reading "Get Serious About Governing, Democrats," by Matt Welch at Reason magazine's website. Read it and you'll see the connection.
On a happier topic, news of a forthcoming Christgau book has made my day.
Obviously I had already considered Xgau's suggestion of reversing the rear cover art, but then the spine would read down-to-up instead of up-to-down....don't get me started...anyway Amazon replaced the defective one with a good one so all is well.
Concert news: The Flatlanders at BB King's June 25.....another EW meet-and-greet?
Fret not, my paranoid puppy dogs, The Big O cradles a Super PAC in his pants with a sling. Plus he just announced a new running mate. His name is Yon Yonson, he comes from Wisconsin, he works in a lumber yard there. Everyone that he meets when he walks down the street says, "Hello, what's your name?" Guess what he replies? Guess? You got it! "My name is Yon Yonson, I come from Wisconsin...."
Copyright, 2012 / Puppymaster, Inc.
1. He's damn catchy when he does the streets and the clubs but disappointing emotionally. Fun with words and sounds is one thing, but "**** these haters, **** these hoes" repeated over and over is just not a phrase I'm going to find myself using on a frequent basis. And anybody that does can excuse me while I move to another room, sorry to say.
2. His slower, more serious tracks, the ones the Billboard writer called his "thoughtful musings on society" are much my favorites.
3. On the one hand, a line like "The more we shoot each other down, the more we die" is universal, oh, so true and simultaneously why I despair over the hook to "I Got This". On the other, the more I listen to 2012 hip hop, the more I realize that this 60+ white male is so out of his league and over his head that any assessment of a texting, calling, jacking, balling track like "My Sub" would be a failure since it comes from such a different life experience. However, I do like the way the tone of the record shifts slightly with the crime scenario at the end of that one.
4. John Lennon was right, woman is still n!gg3r of the world.
5. The three verses of the B. B. King track are an excellent historical montage, and could only be improved by a fourth verse when one of the women in the earlier songs tells the guy to wrap his woolly worm (not anaconda) back up again and ends with "I stood up and walked away from my oppressor, forever ".
6. He is one H of a producer. Those are some varied, sumptuous, clever, broad spectrum, anything is possible sounds. I'll be playing it again today.
7. Selfishly, I hope it merits a review by Bob since, not all 60+(+) white males being equal, I'm pretty sure he can put it in artistic and cultural context for me.
Always thought Bradbury was the antimatter version of H.P. Lovecraft (or vice versa if you prefer).
Interesting prose/dorky ideas vs. Dorky prose/interesting ideas.
Fame during life vs. long-tail fascination.
Nabokov once remarked that certain writers like Poe and Wells and Conan Doyle didn't read the same to him as an adult, but they still retained a certain artistry, and informed both his writing and reading as an adult. I feel the same way about Bradbury, those he's not in the class of the the three mentioned in the first sentence. I began my life dreaming, which doesn't necessarily mean I didn't get pleasure from waking up.
Currently going back through a few new ones to try and get a firmer grip on my feelings about them. After a brief infatuation the Saint Etienne looks like it'll end up as a Choice Cuts farm. s/s/s is still sounding different with each play, never in a bad way. The Neil can go way up and way down from song to song...the between-song jokes about how sloppy they're playing is wearing thin fast, though. My wife is the big Patti fan in our house (her favorite artist in fact) but I'm not that far behind, and its always a great experience to hear the new one unfold together. She's got it as a firm A, I'm around A-/B+. Really wish she was touring with Neil on this coast like she's doing in the east...but that'd probably spoil your whole day, Nate. :) Los Lobos is an incredible consolation prize.
Pulled out Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Messin' (a.k.a. Get Your Rocks Off) on a whim and am enjoying myself.
"Determined not to encourage your fetishism in such matters. I cannot understand why your problem cannot be solved by taking the jewelbox apart."
Really enjoyed that last episode of "Game of Thrones."
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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