Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pan-Atlantic Pop & Dancefloor Dilemmas

I remember being really struck by OMD's Dazzle Ships album when I listened to it a couple of years ago - the typically English fascination with World War II and skewed glances at industrial progressivism (that continues to this day, think of British Sea Power) in a concept album were more appealing than Pink Floyd to me. British pop musicians from, let's say the late 1960's on to the mid 80's, loved to use children's voices in their singles for some reason. Here are two fine examples. Genetic Engineering was a single, but (strangely) New Musik's On Islands wasn't.

Funk is not just a sound, it's a taste. A taste of the good life.

Nick Straker left New Musik to form his own project, which turned out to be more successful. For the longest time, I thought that the Nick Straker Band was a black R&B group, instead of a project fronted by a white kid from London who used to play in a wedding band. The Gap Band was, however, a black R&B group and proved their mettle in this fine display of special-effect-laden funk, as well as the bajillion other amazing songs they wrote and recorded over the course of their lengthy career.

I'm sure most of you recognize the Electric Light Orchestra song sampled on this remix of the Jungle Brothers. Best song to do the running man to, in my opinion. (For those romantic breakdancers out there, I suggest slow running man to Soul II Soul's Back To Life.) The Michael Zager Band's is a fine enough song, although Mr. Zager reveals an unseemly fascination with Gershwin during his baroque & klezmer brass-off towards in the latter half of the song. Nonetheless, there are hand-claps, disco calls, and that stellar bass-line - which make their way into this hip-house remix of the Ultramagnetic MC's Traveling at The Speed of Thought. Was hip-house as fun a genre as I think it is, or am I just inflicted with nostalgia for the early 90's, in the same way that people a couple of years my junior love Biggie Smalls?

A final thought: I would like to call a moratorium on anyone between the ages of 18 and 34 yammering on about Erik Satie. We know: you just discovered him, you love him, Parisian Bohemian Dadaist, etc. I hope they play Gymnopédie No.1 at your funeral. Did this just get added to Concordia's FFAR 250 curriculum recently? On an Animal Collective mix-tape I missed? I still claim he invented Muzak.

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