its always COMPELLING to learn about the INDUSTRY GATEKEEPERS that had a demonstrative impact influencing and effectively curating AMERICAN culture for a period, be they RODNEY BINGENHEIMER of 106.7FM KROQ in LOS ANGELES in the 1970s/1980s/1990s or MARCO COLLINS of 107.7FM KNDD THE END in SEATTLE in the 1990s. these DJs are in essence force-multipliers who communicate novel sounds and new artists to a much wider audience, essentially giving permission for bigger entities like MTV or national radio to add them to the rotation. in a pre-internet age, these GATEKEEPERS were incredibly POWERFUL and BINGENHEIMER and COLLINS cultivated such influence by staying true to their ears and sense of tase. this in the face of the industry practice of PAYOLA whereby RECORD LABELS courted RADIO STATIONS and program directors with massive amounts of money for airtime, which had been a thing going back to the 1930s. such was still the case with the competition for both BINGENHEIMER and COLLINS.
as someone who has a regular INTERNET RADIO SHOW on a much lower scale, i can assure you having that sort of EMPATHY and capacity to lock in with emerging cultural movement is a RARE gift. scratch that, an extremely rare gift. the recent documentary THE GLAMOUR & THE SQUALOR (ORANJE FILMS, 2015) follows the COMPLICATED LIFE and impactful career trajectory of celebrated SEATTLE DJ MARCO COLLINS who in essence gave emerging local bands in the early 1990s their first radio exposure. current and past local bands like SOUNDGARDEN, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, SEAWEED, ALICE IN CHAINS, HARVEY DANGER, SCREAMING TREES, PEARL JAM, SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE, MUDHONEY, THE PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and NIRVANA as well as national acts like BECK, THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, WEEZER, EVERCLEAR, THE CRYSTAL METHOD and GARBAGE and even international acts THE PRODIGY and DAFT PUNK. participants in this documentary include everyone from musicians like CARRIE BROWNSTEIN (SLEATER-KINNEY, WHITE FLAG), SHIRLEY MANSON (GARBAGE), MIKE MCREADY (PEARL JAM, MAD SEASON), PATTY SCHEMEL (HOLE), BEN GIBBARD (DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, THE POSTAL SERVICE) SEAN NELSON (HARVEY DANGER) and MACKLEMORE to MUSIC WRITERS and JOURNALISTS like MATT PINFIELD (120 MINUTES) and CHARLES R CROSS (HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN, ROOM FULL OF MIRRORS) as well as RECORD EXECUTIVES such as DEBI LIBETZ (EPIC RECORDS), MIKE TIERNEY (EPIC RECORDS), SUSIE TENNANT (GEFFEN RECORDS), SCOTT PERLEWITZ (SUB POP RECORDS) and ERROL KOLOSINE (ASTRELWERKS, CAROLINE RECORDS) among other INDUSTRY VETERANS.
all that aside, one aspect of this film i was particularly struck by was the argument that COLLINS' HOMOSEXUALITY gave him a sort of OUTSIDER STATUS that enabled him in his PROFESSION. it was almost an UNEXPECTED and UNINTENTIONAL competitive advantage in the sense that his very perspective and formative experiences as a GAY MAN surrounded by HOMOPHOBES (including his father) engendered him to go his own path and trust his instincts. surviving childhood in the sticks made the insular RADIO and MUSIC INDUSTRIES a breeze in comparison, although being 'out' publicly was another matter entirely. i just found it interesting that within a community of artists and musicians, COLLINS was excepted intrinsically due to his PASSION, INTELLECT and even his SEXUALITY. i wonder if there is something about being an OUTSIDER that resonated with the KURT COBAINs and EDDIE VEDDERs of the PACIFIC NORTWEST ALTERNATIVE ROCK scene at the time. interesting to consider when you take in the similar dynamics of BIGENHEIMER being an EFFEMINATE male, who likewise broke a whole platoon of HARDCORE, NEW WAVE and ALTERNATIVE bands a generation earlier.
less interesting was the drug angle and COLLINS coming to terms with his chemical addictions. i have no doubt that such were a massive DISAPPOINTMENT and PERSONAL FAILURE for him and dealt lasting blows to his work and close relationships. but such is not as interesting as his recovery which includes reintegrating himself in the current music scene and enabling new bands to get their initial exposure, much like he did nearly 30 years ago. that dedication to the here and now is what radio in my opinion is all about. its also nice to know that in years since this documentary COLLINS has been a regular contributor at the massively INFLUENTIAL 90.3FM KEXP in SEATTLE which has innovated the digital landscape with its high-quality recorded and mixed live performances at its dedicated multi-use CREATIVE SPACES. seems he is where he should be.
which is exciting for new music lovers and bands alike.
i thought the premise was INTERESTING: a book that recounted the life narratives of several women who raised sons and daughters that went on to become NOTABLE and INFLUENTIAL musicians. in practice unfortunately it came out a bit INCOHERENT and TEDIOUS, almost like reading a book report.
that is not to say that i have anything against the late VIRGINIA HANLON GROHL, mother of DAVE GROHL of FOO FIGHTERS / NIRVANA fame. like her, i was an high school ENGLISH teacher so inherently i feel a sense of obligation in and of that connection to support my fellow brethren. teaching is an identity and is something i have not been able to shake in the intervening years (this blog included), so i understand intimately that deep need to NURTURE, EDUCATE and ELEVATE others. as such, you can palpably feel the LOVE and EMPATHY that went into creating FROM CRADLE TO STAGE: STORIES FROM THE MOTHERS WHO ROCKED AND RAISED ROCK STARS (SEAL PRESS, 2017) and the intensive process of intelligently relaying the disparate paths of women in raising and unconditionally supporting musicians like MICHAEL STIPE (R.E.M.), MIKE D (BEASTIE BOYS), AMY WINEHOUSE, WARREN HAYES (GOV'T MULE), DR. DRE (N.W.A.), TOM MORELLO (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, AUDIOSLAVE), PHARRELL WILLIAMS (N.E.R.D., THE NEPTUNES), HAIM, ADAM LEVINE (MAROON 5), DAVE MATHEWS, MIRANDA LAMBERT, ZAC BROWN, JOSH GROBAN and KELLY CLARKSON among others.
one issue is that the narratives tend to bleed into each other and taken together become a bit PREDICTABLE (i.e. tales of ENERGETIC, RAMBUNCTIOUS kids that discover music or an instrument as a preteen and then become uninterested with formal their studies, yet maintain a near compulsory self-ingrained drive to create and explore music well into high school and beyond). there are variations to this script but those pre-teen years seem to be the through line in the lives of most of these musicians which makes EMOTIONAL and PSYCHOLOGICAL developmental sense. i appreciate how GROHL utilizes her own narrative with her son to anchor down a base narrative to compare all others to. that was a smart organizational device.
another issue is that the premise of this book very much downplays the role of fathers and men in the lives of their children. unquestionably women play a gargantuan part in the EMOTIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL and INTELLECTUAL development of their children, but men play some role as well. even in ABSENTIA as with the handful of musicians from divorced, single-parent households. i thought it was an COMPELLING choice to at least not pay lip service to the contributions of the fathers that were an ACTIVE part of their child's lives, but then that is outside of the conceit of the book. which is silly in retrospect. i suppose that was beyond GROHL's capacity as a mother to intuitively speak AUTHENTICALLY about being a mother and not a father. i am just point out the UNFORTUNATE omission.
far and away my favorite running feature of this book were the TOUCHING vignettes that GROHL wrote about her son that touch on his early years, musical development and later career highlights. these vignettes very much take you behind the scenes on his INCREDIBLE career trajectory from the perspective of his mother and how the choices she made regarding his upbringing and education impacted such, pre and post-fame, during high and low points therein. through such you get the sense that UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, SUPPORT and SECURITY is what she provided to a son that participated in an industry that is notoriously SAVAGE and CUTTHROAT. if anything, this sense of being a one-person support network is a common dominator of all these mothers.
somewhere in this book GROHL makes mention of the fact that she has nothing but TRUST and FAITH that teachers will find ways of bridging the curriculum and lesson activities to the varied interests of their students. this was something she took great pride in as an educator. case in point she allowed her students to rap a scene from a SHAKESPEARE play rather than act out the actual lines of the play in class to great aplomb, so much so that decades later she was sent the original handwritten lines of the rap as a gift and token of appreciation. this is undoubtedly a prime example of the MAGIC of the classroom and the potential for TAILORED instruction by a CONFIDENT, ENGAGED educator. what GROHL makes explicit soon after is her lack of TRUST and FAITH in school administrators who are distanced from the classrooms and student populations they are set out to advocate on behalf of. amen sister. the later was my experience in no uncertain terms, which is SAD and UNFORTUNATE.
and this is the related bigger point, the fact that our schools are FAILING students whose TALENTS and INTERESTS lay just outside the purvey of the curriculum. many of these mothers had intensely CREATIVE sons and daughters who just got by in school and saw the whole experience as TEDIOUS and a DISTRACTION from their true calling in life. DAVE GROHL didnt fail in his attempt to pass high school. THE EDUCATION SYSTEM FAILED HIM in not being able to support his gifts much like his family did.
pointing that SYSTEMATIC FAILURE is such an ASTUTE observation. this was undoubtedly my biggest takeaway from this book, which hitherto such seemed to not have a larger agenda. i should have known and expected such from a seasoned educator and colleague. ye of no FAITH that i am. GROHL in essence managed to neatly sum up all my deep FRUSTRATIONS and HEARTBREAK over the education system in a TIDY little bow. book report, indeed.
RIP VIRGINIA HANLON GROHL
"DEER GOD RADIO 194: DFA RECORDS" LIVE TONIGHT AT 6PM EST ON MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC
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in the wake of what was ultimately the most AMBITIOUS STONE TEMPLE PILOTS record in TINY MUSIC... SONGS FROM THE VATICAN GIFT SHOP (review linked HERE), singer SCOTT WEILAND basically had a series of drug busts related to his narcotics habit the effectively derailed any momentum the band had. which was a real pity since that album was the third successive culturally SIGNIFICANT record they produced that was followed by limited touring. in essence its an all too SAD trajectory that is all too familiar with ALICE IN CHAINS fans as well.
so during an extended hiatus the remaining members of the band decided to pursue another project with singer DAVE COULTS of TEN INCH MEN in TALK SHOW with limited commercial success. interestingly this was attempted again years later during an extended hiatus (when WEILAND was with VELVET REVOLVER) with FILTER's RICHARD PATRICK in ARMY OF ANYONE with similarly limited results. its an INTERESTING DYNAMIC because you really feel for the DELEO BROTHERS and their failed attempts to establish a viable project outside of STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and the chemically dependent whims of the late WEILAND.
but such was the circumstance and during that mid-1990s hiatus from STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, WEILAND wrote an album produced by BLAIR LAMB and DANIEL LANOIS called 12 BAR BLUES (ATLANTIC, 1998). the album was very much a sonic departure from his previous work and had elements of LOUNGE MUSIC, TRIP-HOP and DECONSTRUCTED POP a la BECK. in terms of quality it matched anything he'd done before and some critics even argue that it surpassed it. standout tracks include "COOL KISS," "BARBARELLA," "LADY YOUR ROOF BRINGS ME DOWN," "DESPERATION #5" and "JIMMY WAS A STIMULATOR." added to the track-list was also his recent TANK GIRL soundtrack minor radio hit "MOCKINGBIRD GIRL" that was originally attributed to his side project THE MAGNIFICENT BASTARDS. subsequent solo material suffered from what one assumes is a diminished sense of ARTISTIC ACUITY and FOCUS due to years of drug abuse. same can be said for the final STONE TEMPLE PILOTS record which found WEILAND in a DIMINISHED physical and mental state.
like everything related to WEILAND, his career and work feel incomplete given his undeniable TALENT and CHARISMA. 12 BAR BLUES was a great effort that showcased his VERSATILITY, but it also feels like a tombstone to such CREATIVITY. which is undeniably TRAGIC. this record is most definitely worth checking out though.
CHECK OUT THIS BAND | BLOODBATH
the SWEDISH DEATH METAL band BLOODBATH is a bit of a supergroup, currently featuring members of OPETH, KATATONIA and PARADISE LOST, but what i appreciate about them is their UNRELENTING BRUTALITY. over their six studio albums, they have produced countless tracks that scratch that itch that only the PUNISHING TECHNICAL WIZARDRY and DEMENTED ideations of DEATH METAL can provide. by the time you catch your breath, the song is over and the next wave has already begun.
if you are into CLASSIC NAPALM DEATH, GORGUTS, IMMOLATION, CANNIBAL CORPSE, OBITUARY, AT THE GATES or DEATH, then definitely check out BLOODBATH.
ive been thinking about the whole concept of second chances recently. in so many places ive been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to spend time in abroad, life is a STRUGGLE and is quite basically about SURVIVAL. being such COMMUNITY bonds are TIGHT and there is a definite give and take in terms of ones ability to differentiate themselves and assert their INDIVIDUALITY. the upside is that being part of a TIGHT-KNIT COMMUNITY you are LOVED, VALUED and considered a part of the fabric of SOCIETY which gives one a palpable sense of PERSPECTIVE and PEACE with their surroundings.
i dont find that in AMERICA. you are free to be whomever you wish to be, but beyond your immediate family you are largely on your own in a CUTTHROAT business and cultural environment where your VALUE is COMMODITIZED along the lines of what financial gain you can effectuate with future potential collaborators. PIRATE CAPITALISM it feels like, where one feels SOCIALLY ISOLATED and CULTURALLY DISTANT from those in within the confines of their own immediate surroundings.
whenever i stare to long into this particular sun i keep thinking about the idea of DAVID BOWIE and his fascinating career. one where he was constantly altering and expanding his sound, literary and cultural influences as well as presentation. before the modern conceptualization of avatars and curated social feeds projecting one's INNERMOST ASPIRATIONS, there was BOWIE and his MAJOR TOM (SPACE ODDITY), ZIGGY STARDUST (ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS), THE THIN WHITE DUKE (STATION TO STATION) and HALLOWEEN JACK (DIAMOND DOGS) characters lighting the way to render the whole concept of AUTHENTICITY mute. will the real SLIM SHADY please stand up, or does he even exist in the first place?
maybe that is the answer. in a our POSTMODERN world there is no need for the INDIVIDUAL. we are all just providing data entry for UNTHINKABLY IMMENSE DATA SETS that will eventually spit back ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE-enabled facsimiles of ourselves sans our COLLECTIVE HUMANITY. the world we are entering feels like a conceit to an UNWRITTEN BOWIE song. kind of makes sense that his last CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENT was through the avatar of THE BLIND PROPHET (BLACKSTAR) on his final release days before his death. knowing the future isnt the same as experiencing it. i just adore that PESSIMISTIC and rather NIHILISTIC tone that marked his final incarnation and put a stamp on his WILDLY CREATIVE recording career as a FEARLESS and PEERLESS cultural innovator. i feel like in the end you are defined by your ability to CREATE and SELF-DEFINE, outside of financial valuations and one's place as a COMMODITY in a grand IMPERSONAL marketplace. but that is a MENTAL PRISON one has to navigate on their own.
i look to BOWIE, as well as LOU REED, BJORK, SUN RA, MF DOOM, PRINCE, GEORGE CLINTON, DAMON ALBARN and even EMINEM as prophets of INDIVIDUALISM and SELF-LIBERATION in that regard. none of us are defined, we are always in the process of BECOMING. there will always be another opportunity.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode from the summer of 2019 on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC dedicated to the music of DAVID BOWIE from just about every phase of his career. enjoy!
by the time of his untimely passing in 2006 at the young age of thirty-two from cardiac arrest related to his ongoing battle with LUPUS, LEGENDARY DETROIT HIP HOP producer J DILLA was an INNOVATIVE, highly sought after COLLABORATOR and BEAT-MAKER of the first order whose INSPIRED COMPOSITIONS were appreciated and utilized by the likes of A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, DE LA SOUL, RAEKWON, THE PHARCYDE, D'ANGELO, ERYKAH BADU and COMMON to BUSTA RHYMES, THE ROOTS, EMINEM, MF DOOM, BILAL, REDMAN, MADLIB and TALIB KWELI among many others before and after his passing. his UNIQUE sense of RHYTHM, which he performed by hand on his AKAI MPC3000 sequencer-sampler, made use of disengaging the quantize setting (which when engaged essentially sets everything to a grid).
let's take a moment to make one thing absolutely clear.
J DILLA did not live on the grid. he was his own METRONOME and basically humanized HIP HOP production making the RIGID TECHNOLOGY ebb and flow organically almost like a JAZZ MUSICIAN. he referred to such RHYTHMIC EXPERIMENTATIONS as "drunk funk." his touch is something that has influenced countless producers in his wake, but obviously has not been replicated. DONUTS (STONES THROW, 2006) proved to be his final recording and was created as his DIMINISHED and ENFEEBLED physical limitations rendered him wheelchair-bound as he was losing his battle with LUPUS. the album showcases a SINGULAR composer and BEAT-MAKER at the top of his game (and the profession) as his SOUNDSCAPES and COLLAGES seamlessly transition from one EVOCATIVE aural landscape to the next. it proves that in spite of his physical debilitation, his CREATIVE SPARK and COGNITIVE ABILITIES were as on point as ever right to the end. such can be heard on STANDOUT tracks such as "GEEK DOWN," "TWO CAN WIN," "DON'T CRY," "WORKINONIT," "U-LOVE," "GOBSTOPPER" and "LAST DONUT OF THE NIGHT." my suggestion however is to listen to DONUTS in its entirety as one extended sonic MEDITATION.
it does not disappoint and is a fitting EXCLAMATION POINT on a career and talent cut down way too soon. his legacy is continued by those who take INSPIRATION from his SOUND including current PIONEERING producers and musicians like FLYING LOTUS, PHARRELL WILLIAMS, THUNDERCAT, DANGER MOUSE and TERRACE MARTIN among others. its interesting to consider that in retrospect many critics have considered him to be more of a JAZZ musician than a HIP HOP producer which only further proves his SUBTLE TOUCH and DEFT MUSICALITY that seemingly knew no limitations. his ART very much seemed to be a flawlessly composed, direct EMOTIONAL expression in and of the current moment a la JOHN COLTRANE, MAX ROACH or THELONIOUS MONK.
RIP JAY DEE
FILM REVIEW | OBJECTIFIED
it is quite EXTRAORDINARY and even OVERWHELMING to consider the level at which we are inundated with industrial designed OBJECT. so much in fact that much of that interaction is not consciously considered or even experienced unless said OBJECT malfunctions or lacks in some aspect that we have come to expect at a base INTUITIVE level (i.e. uncomfortable chair, kitschy furniture, car in an undesired color).
the documentary OBJECTIFIED (PLEXI PRODUCTIONS, 2009) takes a closer look at the INTENTION involved in the careful DESIGNING, SOURCING and MANUFACTURING of modern industrial OBJECTS ranging from CONSUMER ELECTRONICS and FURNITURE to AUTOMOBILES and even SOFTWARE. participants include DESIGNERS from CHRIS BANGLE (BMW), JONATHAN IVE (APPLE), DIETER RAMS (BRAUN), NAOTO FUKASAWA (MUJI), KARIM RASHID, AGNETE ENGA & DAN FORMOSA (SMART DESIGN) and BILL MOGGRIGE (IDEO) among many others. at its core, OBJECTIFIED is an examination of that distance between the INTENTION of a MANUFACTURED physical OBJECT and the implications of such with regard to issues related to SUSTAINABILITY, UTILITY, EFFICIENCY and COMPATIBILITY. DESIGN, the film argues, at its best is not about securing a particularly ADVANTAGIOUS niche in a current MARKETPLACE, but rather a specific consideration for a future more PERFECT world. at its heart is a sense of progress and OPTIMISM not just for the product itself, but how such raises the consciousness and life quality of its user base.
now i am not completely bought in on that rather POLLYANNAISH and QUIXOTIC ideations regarding the spiritually elevatory aspects of material OBJECTS. CAPITALISM has provided participants with the need to differentiate themselves from one another via physical OBJECTS which makes the whole enterprise rather ISOLATING and spiritually BANKRUPT in some respect since it separates people from their COMMUNITY. why else would someone by a third IPHONE in five years other than to keep up with their cohort and secure some type of socially-attributed BENEFIT. the film makes reference that WELL-DESIGNED physical objects are constructed with INTENTION to improved ergonomics and other expanded UTILITIES to the user. such may be the case when DESIGNING improved household items that otherwise cause physical pain due to their repetitive use as currently constructed (i.e. peelers, graters, openers and crushers), but in large products such as AUTOMOBILES, FURNITURE and TECHNOLOGY, the opposite seems to be the case. the UTILITY therein is the newness of the OBJECT, in other words it promotes MINDLESS CONSUMERISM. as humans we have a COGNITIVE BIAS towards new things so this ENDLESS cycle is baked into our sense of IDENTITY and interpersonal relationships within our COMMUNITY.
i dont know how you get out of this hamster wheel. these DESIGNERS would probably argue for a better considered and improved hamster wheel itself. the FINANCIAL IMPERATIVE is the original sin of the whole operation. purchasing more shit we dont need. OBJECTS defining you rather than the other way around. i feel like im turning into NAOMI KLEIN over here.
the film caught me as i am in the midst of a semester in a COMPLICATED SUPPLY CHAIN class in pursuit of an MBA. if anything OBJECTIFIED got me thinking about issues that have been percolating over the past year, so i'm glad i found it and look forward to watching the rest of director GARY HUSTWIT's films (HELVETICA, URBANIZED, WORKPLACE, RAMS, etc.).
FRENCH cartoonist DAVID B through his HALLUCINATORY and vividly PHANTASMAGORIC drawing style depicts a series of impenetrably PSEUDO-RELIGIOUS, MYTHOLOGICAL ALLEGORIES within the graphic novel THE ARMED GARDEN AND OTHER STORIES (FANTAGRAPHICS, 2011). based loosely on PERSIAN and CENTRAL EUROPEAN TRADITIONS, the narratives within convey man's inability to discern and appreciate matters related to the DIVINE.
all three narratives depict the search for DIVINE PROVIDENCE and esteem as a potent cudgel to be utilized for POWER and INFLUENCE in the physical realm. its hard not to read into such and deduce that with matters of the METAPHYSICAL REALM, our daily struggles and squabbles are beyond MEANINGLESS. DIVINITY and the concept of PARADISE is seen in these narratives to be beyond constraints of space and time, or even earthly bodily forms for that matter. it is a DEGRADATION of sorts to even involve such in our psychodramas related to POWER and INFLUENCE, but that is what the characters repeatedly do to their own peril.
the highlight of these graphic novels is not the plot or the subtext of the narrative, but just the INCREDIBLE artwork DAVID B provides that seems to split the difference between ESOTERIC MYSTICISM, ISLAMIC FOLKLORE and more than a little AUBREY BEARDSLEY. it is very much a visual treat, even if the narrative itself feels a bit CLUTTERED and UNFOCUSED in comparison.
as a former secondary english teacher i love wading in the pools of OBTUSE references and deliberate OPAQUENESS. but if you dont definitely check out DAVID B's more traditionally written and depicted graphic novel EPILEPTIC (review linked HERE) which is a memoir related to his family's experience living with his older brother's UNCONTROLLABLE and DANGEROUS bouts with epilepsy. that is probably a better starting point than this lovingly depicted yet largely INCOMPREHENSIBLE historical narrative.
as some of you know, my cousin BRIAN is a recording engineer with production credits ranging from MACMILLER, A$AP FERG, and CLAMS CASINO to YEASAYER, DIRTY PROJECTORS, NEIL FINN and RAIN MACHINE among many others. when DEER GOD was still a viable entity as a recording studio a few years back, i had a front row seat to witness both IN-THE-BOX PRODUCTION via PRO TOOLS as well as the interplay of mixing such with our modified MTA 980 console.
in the years since, watching the CELEBRATED veteran recording engineer ERIC VALENTINE (QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979, GOOD CHARLOTTE, THE DWARVES, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, SMASHMOUTH, THIRD EYE BLIND, THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS) deconstruct his WORKFLOW and RECORDING TECHNIQUES at length and in EXHAUSTIVE detail on his MAKING RECORDS WITH ERIC VALENTINE YOUTUBE channel has been an equally EDUCATIONAL experience for an interested layman like me. its also pretty COOL to see the amount of overlap with what my cousin used to do regarding computer PLUG-INS, MICROPHONE PLACEMENT and other general RECORDING STRATEGIES.
VALENTINE has recently begun publishing new content on his YOUTUBE channel after an extended break that saw him sell off his longtime BAREFOOT RECORDING STUDIO in LOS ANGELES and moved with his wife to VERMONT where he converted a large barn on their property into an EXTENSIVE recording facility. in honor of such reengagement, i wanted to post some past video "production deconstructions" of NOTABLE songs he's either engineered, produced and/or mixed. i find this stuff FASCINATING, especially when it comes to the THOUGHT and EXPERIMENTATION that goes into capturing MEMORABLE sounds that fit the intent and vibe of his client's songs. you really get a PALPABLE sense of the ARTISTRY involved with bringing your favorite recordings to life beyond just the physical performance of such. there is so much more involved in he PRODUCTION of such. i also included two INSTRUCTIONAL videos he did for the SOUND ON SOUND magazine's YOUTUBE channel a half decade ago that saw him both explain how he utilized reverb chambers and a myriad of amps to create lush aural textures, such as "GOD OF WINE" on THIRD EYE BLIND's debut THIRD EYE BLIND (ELEKTRA, 1996) album as well as EQ'ing those ICONIC fuzzed-out tones on QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE's iconic SONGS FOR THE DEAF (INTERSCOPE, 2002) album. fun stuff.
whats so cool about VALENTINE is his VERSATILITY, creating both irredeemably CAUSTIC and DOWN-AND-DIRTY PUNK ROCK a la THE DWARVES as well as the immaculately orchestrated SURF ROCK palettes of more pop fair by the likes of SMASH MOUTH at their peak. it is beyond INCREDIBLE that the same dude is responsible for producing such DISPARATE sounds from seemingly opposite ends of the ROCK N ROLL spectrum.
at the very least, his YOUTUBE channel is worth checking out. if not also his extensive production catalogue as well. enjoy!
its quite staggering that amongst the pantheon of CELEBRATED singers that came out of the SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE ROCK movement of the 1990s (including LAYNE STALEY, CHRIS CORNELL, MARK LANEGAN, KURT COBAIN, TAD DOYLE, MARK ARM and even adopted transplants DAVE GROHL and EDDIE VEDDER), arguably the most INFLUENTIAL within the scene is the relatively unknown late MOTHER LOVE BONE / MALFUNKSHUN singer ANDREW WOOD. its pretty evident when listening to tracks like "STARDOG CHAMPION," "STARGAZER" and "CROWN OF THORNS" off MOTHER LOVE BONE's debut APPLE (MERCURY, 1990), that WOOD is explicitly channeling some serious 1970s GLAM ROCK and CLASSIC ROCK arena heavyweights from AEROSMITH's STEVEN TYLER and QUEEN's FREDDIE MERCURY to even LED ZEPPELIN's ROBERT PLANT. there is a certain PERFORMATIVE CHARISMA to his PERSONA that seemingly anticipates a large crowd response.
and there is the kick, since WOOD's unexpected passing at 24 from a heroin overdose before APPLE's release made such a permanent impossibility. for someone with such unbridled OPTIMISM and PASSION for every aspect of his craft (SONGWRITING, RECORDING and PERFORMING), to the point that it rubbed off on others in the scene (including his roommate CHRIS CORNELL of SOUNDGARDEN), his demise was acutely felt and long-lasting. arguably more so than the more FAMOUS later deaths of COBAIN, STALEY, CORNELL and LANEGAN. i know that CORNELL was to prone to say in interviews that the scene lost its innocence in 1990 when WOOD died.
and that is not to say that people copied the sound of MOTHER LOVE BONE or the singing PERSONA of WOOD, far from it. one of the cool things about the SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE ROCK scene of that period was how UNIQUE all the bands were, in terms of both SOUND and PRESENTATION. most of the more well-known bands from that movement, like ALICE IN CHAINS, MELVINS, SOUNDGARDEN, TAD, NIRVANA and SCREAMING TREES, drew inspiration from some variation of PUNK ROCK, INDIE ROCK and METAL sources. what connected them to him was his MAGNETIC PERSONALITY, STAGE PRESENCE and ENTHUSIASM for music. famous tributes to WOOD include the ALICE IN CHAINS song "WOULD?" as well as TEMPLE OF THE DOG's "REACH DOWN" and "SAY HELLO 2 HEAVEN." the latter of which served as a popular introduction to the scene for EDDIE VEDDER, as he had recently joined core surviving members of MOTHER LOVE BONE in the recently formed PEARL JAM. TEMPLE OF THE DOG was a joint creative effort with members of SOUNDGARDEN and MOTHER LOVE BONE / PEARL JAM that sought to begin to heal the gaping wound that was WOOD's passing, both for his former bandmates and the scene as a whole.
my history with MOTHER LOVE BONE, like many my age, is one of rediscovery after years of listening to PEARL JAM. i was happy to discover that listening to MOTHER LOVE BONE, like listening to GREEN RIVER before them, is a SINGULAR experience with little stylistic overlap with PEARL JAM. that undoubtedly has to do with the fact that WOOD and VEDDER (and MARK ARM before both) are very different frontmen with DIVERGENT interests. VEDDER, like COBAIN, was the reluctant voice of a generation who was more inspired by the likes of STREETWISE songwriters and lyricists such as JOHN FOGERTY, JOE STRUMMER, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, HENRY ROLLINS and NEIL YOUNG rather than the more performative and lyrically FANTASTICAL STEVEN TYLER, FREDDIE MERCURY and ROBERT PLANT. and the songs confirm such an interest in both their scope, tone and focus. for me i cant mentally divorce WOOD from VEDDER, they are just married entities to me at this point. arguably opposite sides of the same coin. different expressions that showcase the POWERFUL and TRANSFORMATIVE potential of music to elevate oneself and those around you through song.
APPLE is required listening for anyone interested in COMPELLING, REVOLUTIONARY ROCK AND ROLL, regardless of your interest in the oft-cited and hyped SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE ROCK movement of the early 1990s.
CHECK OUT THIS BAND | WAMPIRE
WAMPIRE is an EXPERIMENTAL PORTLAND-based INDIE ROCK group fronted by the collaborative songwriting duo of ERIC PHIPPS and ROCKY TINDER. their sound is a HAZY, MINIMALIST affair with deep HAUNTING undertones as their songs seem to be the soundtrack to a DAVID LYNCH film set on a BARREN deserted exurban landscape. like something OMINOUS is about to happen just beyond the reach of civilization.
the band had a pair of albums nearly a decade ago and have not been a touring or recording entity since. i havent been able to find any answers as to why online. either way, their two records CURIOSITY (POLYVINYL, 2013) and BAZAAR (POLYVINYL, 2014) are well worth checking out.
my gateway drug to LOVE AND ROCKETS and by extension BAUHAUS and POST PUNK in general was the LEGENDARY ALTERNATIVE ROCK band JANE'S ADDICTION. i worshipped then and still do at the alter of DAVE NAVARRO and his HYBRID style that finds the balance between AMBIENT sonic textures a la ROBERT SMITH and DANIEL ASH and the more standard technical heroism of JIMI HENDRIX and JIMMY PAGE. when i was turning at 18 and found myself living with a relative in SACRAMENTO shortly after 9/11, leaving my family behind in KUWAIT, i basically dove headfirst into all things POST PUNK and GOTH ROCK as well as EXPERIMENTAL AMBIENT MUSIC and even TRIP HOP. in terms of discovering music, this was one of the most FERTILE and FORMATIVE eras of my life.
and discovering ASH specifically was a revelation both in terms of the EMOTIVE and highly AFFECTING soundscapes he produced, but also in terms of his NONTRADITIONAL approach to guitar. utilizing delay, reverb and a handheld device known as an E-BOW (which magnetically vibrated the strings creating a DRONE-like effect) he was able to conjure COMPLEX aural landscapes that reminded me of INDIAN MUSIC of all things. the use of droning notes is something that has been widely adopted and become more conventional in recent years, especially with POST ROCK andPOST METAL outfits ranging from MERZBOW to SUNN O))). within a POST PUNK context with the likes of BAUHAUS and LOVE AND ROCKETS this DRONING backdrop is cut up with SPASTIC drum patterns and ANGULAR bass and guitar lines that make for INTERESTING textural and compositional juxtapositions that challenge the listener. once you are aware of such, it is noticeably easy to see the through line with later ALTERNATIVE ROCK guitarists like KIM THAYIL (SOUNDGARDEN), JOHN FRUSCIANTE (RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS), and the aforementioned DAVE NAVARRO (JANE'S ADDICTION). all three share a love of DISSONANCE, odd time signatures, DRONING notes and ANGULAR guitar riffs. discovering ASH was an education in learning about where these POWERFUL guitar elements i grew up on were sourced and divined to perfection.
beyond all that, whats COOL about ASH's solo career is how he took that SIGNATURE sound and further developed it by incorporated LATIN rhythms in the mix. those DRONING notes and start-stop guitar lines work like a charm in the midst of the push and pull swing that makes SALSA, CUMBIA and SAMBA so infectious. ASH essentially made DANCEABLE POST PUNK music, which seems like a contradiction in terms, but there you go. ASH is someone i am constantly going back and listening to both as a guitar player and as an ACTIVE listener attempting to glean something useful from a NONTRADITIONAL master musician with his own voice and approach to instrument.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode from around FEBRUARY 2020 on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC dedicated to the music of DANIEL ASH from every phase of his career. this is also one of two shows that my father was a guest on which makes it extra SPECIAL for me. enjoy!
when i was in boarding in MASSACHUSETTS they had a specific bus that dropped off students on holiday break whose final stop was at LINCOLN CENTER in NEW YORK CITY. i can distinctly remember coming off that bus and walking north a few blacks to the corner of 66th and broadway, which at the time had a massive TOWER RECORDS. that was where i purchased the MACHINA/THE MACHINES OF GOD (VIRGIN, 2000) album by CHICAGO ALTERNATIVE ROCK juggernaut THE SMASHING PUMPKINS which featured the return of original drummer JIMMY CHAMBERLIN to fold and would proved to be the last recording with the original lineup as bassist D'ARCY WRETZKY departed not long after its release. she was replaced in turn by HOLE's MELISSA AUF DER MAUR.
MACHINA/THE MACHINES OF GOD is a return to form of sorts since its predecessor ADORE (VIRGIN, 1998) was a more MUTED and ELECTRONIC affair, taking its inspiration from SYNTH POP and NEW WAVE rather than BLACK SABBATH and SHOEGAZE as with the rest of THE SMASHING PUMPKINS' catalogue. this is partly due to the adoption of a sampled drums and loops during the recording process of ADORE as CHAMBERLIN had been fired for his involvement in the heroin-related death of keyboardist JONATHAN MELVOIN during the tour in support of MELLON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE SADNESS (VIRGIN, 1995). with CHAMBERLIN back the band seemed to be in the mood for DRAMATIC rhythmic and EMOTIONAL shifts with DISPARATE tracks such as "STAND INSIDE YOUR LOVE," "THE IMPLODING VOICE," "I OF THE MOURNING," "THE EVERLASTING GAZE," "RAINDROPS + SUNSHOWERS," and "TRY, TRY, TRY." i can remember riding the NJ TRANSIT from PENN STATION after purchasing this record and just being blown away by how ECLECTIC and sonically ADVENTUROUS this record was. it felt like the band had returned in top form, albeit with some alterations.
gone was this IRONIC INDIE ROCK aesthetic and POWER POP hooks they had carried with them since GISH and in its place was the more GOTH-tinged outlook, ethos and ART-DAMAGED style of ADORE, which has been a mainstay of their presentation ever since. the roots of which are probably in INDUSTRIAL MUSIC and SYNTH POP. its hard to look at THE SMASHING PUMPKINS from this era and not see the aesthetic influence of contemporaries like MARILYN MANSON and TRENT REZNOR among others. as such it feels like he was following the zeitgeist, not setting it as he had done before with his wildly CREATIVE musical and aesthetic ambitions that seemed to bridge varying sub-genres, from classic METAL to SHOEGAZE to POWER POP and even nerd culture. given his stature, nasally voice and bald head, frontman BILLY CORGAN already had a unique stage presence which long robes and eyeliner only further accentuated as an "other." look no further than the incredible "STAND INSIDE YOUR LOVE" video with its AUBREY BEARDSLEY-inspired illustrations come to life in a LILTING, highly-affecting song that played up the melodrama with the requisite SUFFERING and SELF-INFLICTED PAIN involved in UNREQUITED love. that TORTURED sense of wanting a deep connection with another whom youve projected your dreams and aspirations upon fairly or unfairly. easily my favorite track on the album and the video is particularly inspired by how it draws out that joyously strained ROMANTIC state of the heart. i know, ive been there. INCREDIBLE song.
in retrospect this album is the last statement by the original iteration of THE SMASHING PUMPKINS. i understand the group was public-facing construction that was largely a touring entity at heart, as most of the actual songwriting and recording was done by CORGAN and CHAMBERLIN throughout their catalogue. but for me the later versions of the band from ZEITGEIST (REPRISE, 2007) and onwards felt like cash-grabs and revisitations of a MAGIC and AMBITION that had long dissipated once CORGAN's solo career had flamed out. what we've been left with is the BITTER husk of a once INDOMITABLE cultural force. a shadow of an artist who now aligns himself with agents of INTOLERANCE and imagined WHITE GRIEVANCE. as ive stated before its been really TROUBLING and just SAD to watch him fall down that PATHETIC TRUMP / ALEX JONES / JOE ROGAN rabbit hole given the once incredible ARTISTIC heights he achieved in the 1990s and early 2000s.
filmed shortly before his passing in 2014, DARK STAR: H. R. GIGER'S WORLD (T&C FILM AG, 2014) documents the life and laters years of the brazenly IMAGINATIVE and ENIGMATIC SWISS artist of subconsciously-inspired phantasmagorical BIO-MECHANICAL renderings that call into very question the ethical limits of man's detours into GENETIC ENGINEERING and BIOTECNOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES. his often MONOCHROME paintings are seemingly ELEMENTAL, referencing the ETERNALLY CYCLICAL interplay of BIRTH, SEX and DEATH and the SUBLIME nature of reproduction. with references to MODERN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN and ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGIOUS ART, his paintings often depict a merging of humans with TECHNOLOGY, where one becomes the other to the point that it is impossible to see the symbioses for its composite parts. its all one thing.
like most people, my introduction to H.R. GIGER was his work on RIDLEY SCOTT'S ALIEN film franchise that began in the late 1970s, but was reintroduced time and again by his visual work's association with NEW WAVE singer DEBBIE HARRY, BAY AREA HARDCORE legends DEAD KENNEDYS , PROGRESSIVE ROCK pioneers EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER, and the early SWISS extreme METAL band CELTIC FROST. one surprise from this film was the revelation that CELTIC FROST / HELLHAMMER / TYPTYKON frontman THOMAS GABRIEL FISCHER has worked as GIGER's longtime assistant since the mid-1980s, their relationship being established from an early letter he wrote thanking him for the inspiration to create ART. its fair to say quite a few musicians have found such in the work of GIGER over the years.
much is made in the film about the meaning of his work and its supposed NIHILISTIC overtones, but the HUMANOIDS i experience in his work seem empowered by their connection to TECHNOLOGY, not subsumed by it. in fact id argue that he presents a sort of IDEAL that i am nowhere remotely near with my own relationship to TECHNOLOGY, which seemingly bends me to its will and not the other way around. its interesting to consider when that SINGULARITY will occur between HUMANITY and TECHNOLOGY and what form we will seamlessly evolve into during our next stage. the idea that we deliberately planned and initiated our own evolutionary step that permanently divorces us from the ANCIENT rhythms of nature.
it feels like with the advent of CRISPR TECHNOLOGY and GENETIC EDITING becoming a science fact rather than FICTION, we may be on the doorstep of some version of GIGER's FANTASTICAL vision. whether that is a net benefit or not is another question entirely, but its fair to say that GIGER is a visionary and a prophet who held such ethical dilemmas explicitly as the crux of his intensely SYMBOLIC CREATIVE LIFE.
and we are all better for it.
the music business is notoriously BRUTAL and filled with SHARKS and VAN HALEN were no different as articulated by their former manager, the late NOEL E. MONK in his memoir RUNNIN' WITH THE DEVIL: A BACKSTAGE PASS TO THE WILD TIMES, LOUD ROCK, AND THE DOWN AND DIRTY TRUTH BEHIND THE MAKING OF VAN HALEN (DEY STREET, 2017). for all its BAWDY behind-the-scenes detailing of the MORAL DEPRAVITY, CHEMICAL OVERINDULGENCE, SEXUAL DEBAUCHERY and unrestrained EGOMANIA of this INFAMOUS band at their peak, what actually made the book captivating was its LUCID and SOBER depiction of FRAYED INTER-PERSONAL RIVALRIES and business dealings and maneuverings from a management perspective. the running thesis for the book are THE LENGTHS (EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, SPIRITUAL) a competent manager must endure to keep a growing business intact that is paradoxically DETERIORATING as it is expanding. for me that dynamic of having to appease the unappeasable, of having to manage an UNSTOPPABLE FORCE (VAN HALEN) meeting an IMMOVABLE OBJECT (their INSATIABLE GREED, DRUG ABUSE and utter LACK OF LOYALTY), is what makes this memoir so COMPELLING.
im just gonna come out and say that the band fired MONK after the touring cycle for their blockbuster 1984 (WARNER BROS, 1984) album. there was no financial malfeasance or bad career advice on the part of MONK, the band had just decided to find new management utilizing connections through their expanded family network. they effectively cut MONK out of a merchandising operation he spearheaded to expand their revenue and offered him crumbs as a possible booking agent. all in all it was a brazenly COLD and DISRESPECTFUL end to a relationship that saw the band benefit from his renegotiating their contract with WARNER BROS (due to a clerical mistake the he caught) as well as nurturing their remarkable journey from a promising local act from PASADENA to arenas and world stadiums the globe over. MONK's immediate previous gig to VAN HALEN was ironically the infamously doomed SEX PISTOLS' AMERICAN tour. if anything, surviving that TORTUROUS FIASCO of a moving operation intact proved his worth to the brass at WARNER BROS that initially positioned him with VAN HALEN as their touring manager. he effectively taught them the ropes of becoming an effective entity on the road. its just interesting that this FRANKENSTEIN that he nurtured grew to consume him with it.
it is hard to take any lessons from this memoir. it was his relationships that he leveraged on their behalf and in the end the band BETRAYED him. BETRAYED his efforts. BETRAYED his loyalty. but that in essence is the gig. it seems COUNTERINTUITIVE that in business one must be able to rely on others while concurrently TRUST NO ONE. but that seems to be the message of RUNNIN' WITH THE DEVIL. DAVID LEE ROTH, ALEX VAN HALEN and EDDIE VAN HALEN come off as supremely TALENTED yet overly PETULANT children with next level NARCISSISM. only bassist MICHAEL ANTHONY comes off with his reputation in tact as a PLEASANT, AGREEABLE person who keeps his indulgences relatively in check and his moral compass somewhat unblemished. goes without saying he got SCREWED OUT OF ROYALTIES by the other three in the process as well, relegating him to a wage earner in the band in spite of his sacrifices and years of service to VAN HALEN.
what i learned from this memoir was the INCREDIBLE extent to which both ROTH and the VAN HALEN brothers were irredeemably SELFISH ASSHOLES. that is to say not much since i already had a confirmation bias regarding such going into the book. in business there are seemingly no rules and no moral victories, at least where VAN HALEN is concerned. they make MOTLEY CRUE as depicted in THE DIRT (review linked HERE) come off like a bunch of morally upright choir boys. in odd circuitous way, that group with its legendary EGOMANIA is still a touring entity and its members are still somewhat looking out for the interest of one another in complete contrast to VAN HALEN. who knew?
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO celebrating LOS ANGELES PUNK ROCK icons NOFX!
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the follow-up to their absolutely STELLAR self-titled debut THE CARS (ELEKTRA, 1978), is another record CANDY-O (ELEKTRA, 1979) that likewise keeps the hits coming. being born in the 1980s, i feel like i was inevitably raised surrounded by and indoctrinated into NEW WAVE and POWER POP music, most of which today i am not a fan of. thats not the case with THE CARS, whom i absolutely adore for their SOARING pop melodies and TIMELESS song-craft. in fact id go further and state that i dont understand people who dont like THE CARS, along with other unassailably CLASSIC AMERICAN faire like the BUDDY HOLLY, THE BEACH BOYS, CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL, THE RAMONES, ZZ TOP or CHEAP TRICK. its almost un-AMERICAN to not like THE CARS.
the debut had ICONIC singles like "MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL," "JUST WHAT I NEEDED," "YOUR ALL I'VE GOT TONIGHT" and "LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL" that all seemed centered around the ESCAPISM of new relationships and the potential of future parties hitherto unexplored. traditional lyrical conceits no doubt, but what i like about the singles on CANDY-O is that they seemingly fixate on the risk and reward of getting involved with someone you deep down know is not good for you, who may leave you high and dry and heartbroken. same INCREDIBLE pop sheen with those amazing INTERWOVEN harmonies by BENJAMIN ORR and RIC OCASEK, but here there is a bit of a sinister edge thrown in the mix on BULLETPROOF tracks like "DANGEROUS TYPE," "IT'S ALL I CAN DO," "CANDY-O" and "LET'S GO." it makes getting romantically taken advantage of sound THRILLING and INVITING. for me, both THE CARS and CANDY-O are perfect ROCK N ROLL recordings for the ages, and dont sound dated in the least despite being released nearly 45 years ago. thats INSANE.
i have to mention the artwork as the band commissioned ALBERTO VARGAS out of retirement in his 80s to create the album cover. they recorded the album out of the LEGENDARY CHEROKEE STUDIOS in LOS ANGELES and were surprised to learn that VARGAS still lived in the area. he had been making illustrations for HUGH HEFNER in PLAYBOY for almost twenty years after an extended sabbatical after running into trouble previously with the publication ESQUIRE in the 1950s (the postal service determined his work to be pornographic and denied such a postal permit). when THE CARS reached out to him, he had been retirement after his wife, who was his muse, model and inspiration for his paintings, had passed away. the female model for CANDY-O is drummer DAVID ROBINSON's then-girlfriend. arguably it is the most FAMOUS image VARGAS ever conceived and a fittingly flirtatiously EDGY cover to an absolute CLASSIC of an album.
CHECK OUT THIS BAND | TERA MELOS
ive been down on SACRAMENTO for more than twenty years now ever since i graduated from high school in the boring WHITE BREAD suburb of ROCKLIN in the early 2000s after being shipped there from KUWAIT to live with a relative shortly after 9/11. for years my opinion was that nothing CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT ever came from SACRAMENTO outside of DEFTONES and maybe CAKE. its been a rude awakening and an education these past few years to learn that not only did the area produce a great band before that (THE CRAMPS), but also that there was amazing talent in the surrounding area when i was there. namely bands like HELLA, DEATH GRIPS, CHELSEA WOLFE and TERA MELOS.
celebrated EXPERIMENTAL MATH ROCK / POST HARDCORE / INDIE ROCK / PUNK JAZZ / PROGRESSIVE ROCK band TERA MELOS is fronted by NICK REINHART, who in recent years has become almost a poster boy / wizard apprentice for all things guitar pedal related and the EXTREME SONIC TERRORISM potential therein. this partly due to this past work testing out new product on the PEDALS AND EFFECTS YOUTUBE channel with bassist friend JUAN ALDERATE (RACER X / MARS VOLTA / MARILYN MANSON) and also due to the wildly ECCENTRIC and abruptly juxtaposed SONIC LANDSCAPES that TERA MELOS has produced over four albums on SARGENT HOUSE. listening to his guitar playing makes me remember that there are no rules in music and to have FUN. virtually every-time i listen to their music im already thinking of new combinations to experiment with on my pedal board.
also, like everyone i wish nothing but a complete and speedy recovery to JUAN ALDERATE as his knowledge and passion for experimental sounds is absolutely inspiring and contagious. i wish nothing but the best for him and his time recuperating from his terrible accident. when he is ready to return, we will be there with him again. much love.
im probably biased because i came of age in the 1990s, but it seems that all the great songwriters of that era essentially crystallized the most effective aspects of previous genres. KURT COBAIN seamlessly bridge the gap between late 70s PUNK ROCK, 80s HARDCORE and 80s COLLEGE ROCK / INDIE ROCK. think the SEX PISTOLS meets BLACK FLAG meets R.E.M. and THE PIXIES. with TRENT REZNOR the same could be said for 70s INDUSTRIAL MUSIC, 80s SYNTH POP and NEW WAVE with a bit of POST PUNK thrown in. think SKINNY PUPPY meets GARY NUMAN meets DEPECHE MODE meets THE CURE. and so on down the pantheon of great 90s songwriters.
you cant really say that with BECK.
his influences are so varied and the synthesis of such disparate elements so coherently IDIOSYNCRATIC that he has developed a POSTMODERN pop aesthetic that is entirely his. seamlessly blending everything from FOLK, REGGAE, HIP HOP and R&B to INDIE ROCK, COMMERCIAL JINGLES, POST PUNK, LOUNGE MUSIC, PROGRESSIVE ROCK and even MUZAK, BECK is singular among his peers for pioneering such a style that in retrospect feels like the DEFINITIVE musical expression of the 1990s. COBAIN, REZNOR, VEDDER, LANEGAN, CORNELL, STALEY / CANTRELL, YORKE, ALBARN, GALLAGHER, COCKER and so forth all updated pre-established templates for a new generation of listeners while BECK seemingly created a new template in and of itself.
and that is the fun of listening to new BECK material as it has come out over the past 30+ years. there is always something new being added or subtracted from the mix and wild shifts in genre, presentation and source inspiration are to be expected, much like with BJORK. he literally has conditioned his audience so that he could release nearly anything and itd be artistically valid at this point, which is quite the feat in the age of digital marketing and micro-targeting audiences within audiences. the dude is definitely savvy in that regard.
its difficult to not hear his influences in EXPERIMENTAL recording artists ranging from M.I.A., CIBO MATTO, THE DANDY WARHOLS, GORILLAZ, THE MARS VOLTA, CORNELIUS, GRANDADDY, TERA MELOS and ST. VINCENT among many others.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode from around CHRISTMAS 2019 on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC dedicated to the music of BECK from throughout his CELEBRATED catalogue. enjoy!