parodies by nacrowe
sometimes you come across bands that are too clever by half.
classic case for that is PROGRESSIVE ROCK where VIRTUOSO musicians (cough, cough, DREAM THEATER) are liable to loose the plot and go down CONVOLUTED MODAL and SCALE rabbit-holes with no sense of ARTISTIC INTENT, PASSION or ACKNOWLEDGMENT of the wellbeing of a listener who potentially has to listen to this CHAOTIC, PATRONIZING mess. of course, there are notable exceptions like TOOL, RUSH and KING CRIMSON that use this EXPANDED color-box of TECHNIQUES and MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE sans SELF-INDULGENCE with SPECTACULAR results.
in the 90s there was an explosion of genre-blending at hand where PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES related to HIP HOP and ROCK AND ROLL found new JUXTAPOSITIONS and EXPRESSION. some took that PASTICHE idea and really went for it with ADVENTUROUS expansions into LOUNGE, FOLK, JAZZ, LATIN MUSIC, COUNTRY, PSYCHEDELIA, FOUND SOUND, CHAMBER MUSIC, COMMERCIALS, BLUES, TROPICALIA, AFROBEAT, MUZAK and so on like the BEASTIE BOYS, BJORK and BECK arguably most famously. but i think that STEREOLAB may have done the whole EXPANDED PALETTE thing the most cohesively as their ECLECTIC SOUND and AESTHETIC decades later still sounds MODERN and cutting edge.
part of that is the EXTRAORDINARY quality of the songs themselves and the UNIQUE, SOOTHING SINGING TONE of FRENCH vocalist LÆTITIA SADIER. whatever the SOUND-BED in the background, her VOCALS put you immediately at ease and envision a nice BRISK walk on a BREEZY, MAJESTIC summer afternoon. the MUSIC itself clears away from HARSH JUXTAPOSITIONS a la BECK and the BEASTIE BOYS that consciously drawn attention to themselves in favor of an ALTERNATE aesthetic whereby you are aware of the UNIQUENESS of the PRODUCTION and SONIC TEXTURES at play, but they are blended so adroitly that you arent consciously sussing them apart like a puzzle. instead you just let it all wash over you.
i find the music of STEREOLAB relaxing, which is insane because musically they are particularly TECHNICALLY ADVANCED relative to their peer-base at the time and somehow manufactured a STARTLING achievement of making wildly DISPARATE SONIC ELEMENTS sound COHESIVE and even NATIVE and AUTHENTIC in relation to one another. i know INDIE ROCK snobs love this band, and ive met my share, but this is a band worthy of exploration in spite of such. like MASSIVE ATTACK, DEPECHE MODE or APHEX TWIN, they exceed their own hype.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that includes a playlist celebrating the intensely ECLECTIC and FUN music of STEREOLAB. enjoy!
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
i first learned about the BROOKLYN-by-way-of-AUSTRALIA-and-INDONESIA DREAM POP group YOUNG MAGIC back when i was researching for a DEER GOD RADIO episode about the INDEPENDENT CARPARK RECORDS label. what stood out to me about their EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRONIC sound was how delicately ETHEREAL and particularly EMOTIVE the VOICE of MELATI MALAY was. such a VOCAL PRESENCE was buttressed by a bed of sound that could be described as TRIP HOP-adjacent, with INTERESTING SAMPLES and SYNTH LINES juxtaposed with dreamlike HAZY texturing that effectively presented a BEAUTIFUL and articulate clarion call lifting from a deep void.
YOUNG MAGIC is most definitely worth checking out.