27 January 2009

all that crashing's makin' me glitch!

xxxxxxxxx grrrrrrrrrrr xxxxxxxxxx [_hib(er/[ror])nation terminated???////]

hey there, mincetapes faithful. happy belated january? it has been a fine oh-fine oh-nine so far, but an altogether wretched time to be my computer... my poor beleaguered little mnemo has been crashing, spontaneously, sporadically and often, for the last several weeks, and giving me a few other headaches besides... i won't get into the techy specs here, but the upshot is that it has not only functionally prevented me from completing the handful of computer-dependent (and blog-relevant) items on my projects agenda, it's also sapped a lot of my time, energy, and will, which i might otherwise have turned to barreling foolhardily through on those projects nevertheless... anyway suffice to say i have really not been as productive lately as i shoulda coulda woulda been.

primary among them said projects: making some final tweaks to the 2k8 new years eve dance mix to ready it for on- and off-line distribution, assembling my year-end favorites lists in img-enhanced blogpost fashion (as opposed to the ongoing-yearly side-bar fashion currently accessible, which i have been diligently updating and reshuffling) and attending to my stack of outstanding (in both senses!) to-be-reviewed records for AMG...

in other words, i've still got a lot of loose ends left over from 2008, even as 2009 is descending quite upon us... sorry me sorry you. soon i hope.

on a happier note: a hands-full handful of crashes over the course of the evening somewhat miraculously failed to dampen the goodvibes this past friday at feet active, the monthly dance'n'yogaparty (inaugurated last month) for which i am now co-dj (alongside with dj mr. rob't ginkgo)... amazingly, only one time out of the handful did a crash come when music was actually playing from my laptop (perhaps inauspiciously, it was during cocoa tea's smiley-silly "barack obama") - otherwise we were able to juggle our way around it quite nimbly; the convenient/circumstantial grace-save being that rob't and i spent most of the evening (nearly four-hour shared set) switching back and forth almost every song, with our nifty combined two-turntables/two-laptops/two-mixers setup. (like i once saw a-trak and diplo do...turns out you don't even gotta be a superstar deejay.) pretty seamlessly too, even though we'd never dj'd or even practiced together (i'd heard him spin once, that's it.) that was a lot a lot a lot of fun. more to come, i think.

of course, there were a few moments where one of us took the helm for a longer mini-set. my two most noteworthy strings were the (topical) bringin-it-back run of parliament's "chocolate city">"funky president" [title phrase looped>] aretha "hat" franklin's "rock steady" (and, a bit later, "jiggle it">"hold on i'm coming">"1 thing") and, to close out the dancing portion, more or less, will.iam's self-sampled "impatient" > kelley polar's "a feeling of the all-thing" (!) > the dø's "unissasi laulelet" (!!) > that radiobeat/alphaclit thang (!!!) (the de-facto feet-acto' anthem), with bonus obama speech quotesamples, and ginkgo then capped it with the new animal collective jam "brothersport," which i'm pretty sure i enjoyed more than i'd ever enjoyed an a.c. song before... woowoowoot!

and – on another note; last weekend i went to new york to see this guy:

that's max tundra, known to his mama as ben jacobs (and probably other folks too; i wasn't sure what to call him tho, so i just went with max), making his actual u.s. debut performance, opening for the rosebuds. which i didn't see. i saw him the next night, at was was supposed to be his u.s. debut, at le poisson rouge on bleecker st.

the venue, as predicted, was new and hip, but also quite a nice place to be, with cool stenciling work and especially on the two oversized and comfy thrones that are rather inexplicably situated in the downstairs entrance hallway. the djs spinning beforeshow (incl. philly refugee dave p.) weere no great shakes (this was ostensibly a dance-night; the nyc sister party to making time, but the floor was far from rocking – blame it on the djs, not the max tundra funs.) anyway, things completely shifted when m.t. took the stage. i didn't really know what to expect (owen pallett's ravings notwithstanding) but nothing about the set was a disappointment.

first impression: max is a very little guy...the word "homunculus" came to mind, not the nicest but one i could easily imagine him fitting into his lyrics and then singing it so hyperfast you'd never catch on to what he was saying in the slightest. he can sing quite fast, and also quite soulfully, and always with his arms out in an arresting declamatory posture, which looks commanding and preposterous at the same time, which is a fair description of his performance as a whole. sometimes though he couldn't sing quite fast enough, or at least he didn't get back to the mic in time and he'd miss a line or two (like in the nutso "merman," which is like in 19/8 or something) but again you'd never notice unless you'd paid some close attention to the recordings. but that was just part of the fun, watching him race against his own dizzying backing track, take a swig of water and rush to be in place for the next carefully timed mini-keyboard solo, or melodica lick, or, best of all, couple notes on the glockenspiel – his was in a plastic carrying case (sadly, he didn't remove the hinged lid, so we could only watch in silhoutte) and he'd take his vocal mic off the stand and hold it in one hand up to his mallet in the other, as he struck his couple of notes (just a tiny addition to the dozens whizzing by at any given moment) with tremendous precision.

he's a pretty sick one-handed glockenspieler, and also a pretty sick piano player, with some clear jazz chops. and he's a crazy spastic gesticulating dancer – his dancing and rocking out felt like as integral a part of the set plan as his actual playing. and, by the way, he writes some pretty incredible songs too. the setlist was basically everything i could have asked for, and more, drawn about equally from PEBY (see, if you haven't, my review) and MBGATE. last-album favorites like "lights" and "lysine" were all there, and most excitingly the great title track (which i put on fight them on the beaches ages ago), for which he picked up an actual guitar and jangled around a bit, and then extended the chopped-up disco-ey bit for a while in a way that made it seem like a sample (?) which doesn't actually seem possible. and he hit all the highs from parallax as well; opening with "which song," rocking us all with "orphaned" and "the entertainment," and closing (after ridiculous two covers, "so long farewell" and - was it - the "mortal kombat" theme) with "until we die," which felt like an actual cohesive song (albeit an extended, proggy one) and a real emotional moment in a way it never quite had on record. (with, if nothing else, some of simplest, most heart-tugging lyrics.)

and then the djs took back over, and were actually a lot better than previously; some of us stuck around to dance, but mostly the place cleared out pretty quick – i think everybody knew that no dance-party tunes (not even lindstrøm's remix of lcd soundsystem) could hope to match up to the excitement and exuberance of what we'd just experienced.

here's hoping max makes it back for that fabled "u.s. tour" he alludes to so off-handedly in "which song." (based on what he said to me after the show, sounds like a high likelihood that he will be back, probably as the support for an entirely appropriate and equally exciting act that i am not at liberty to disclose.)

tundra, as is much-remarked, spent the last six years making this album on his ridiculously antiquated commodore amiga (c. 1988) – every time he has a glitch with it he just buys a new one, since they're both incredibly cheap and impossible to get service for. still, you wonder how much time and data he's lost by stoically sticking to that set-up. makes me want to be a little more patient with mine. soldier on, little mnemo. hopefully we'll have those mixies and listies up for you in not too much longer...

1 comment:

g said...

ross! the world is random, and the internet is more random.

i've heard lots about you from my good, good friend and yours, emily. i'll be down in philly in a few weeks to do some recording, so maybe i'll get to meet you then.

also, did emily ever give you a palmyra cd, 'cuz she was supposed to.

hope life's peachy.