Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Exzess und Bestrafung

There are some days when I want to listen to music that sounds like re-imaginings of the score to the film To Live & Die in LA or Michael Mann's Heat, a film which (somehow) is experiencing a real zeitgeist moment amongst friends, acquaintances and peers - in conversations, with musicians (CFCF, in particular), and weird books. Art Linson's What Just Happened? Bitter Tales From The Front Line, for example, I picked up a couple of days ago because I needed something trashy to read and I figured the presence of some David Mamet stories would make it interesting...

And then there are times when tasteful waves of pop washing over an ambient soundscape with a polished studio sheen is so incredibly off-putting that instead of evoking the emotional ennui of two of the American acting profession's greatest talents locked in a moral and mortal battle against each other and their own ennui, etc., I just think of the heavy-handed intros to Don Henley songs from the 80's or commercials for Scandinavian airlines. In other words, the emotional manipulation and trickery that this particular type of music depends on becomes so evident that I think, fuck it, Eno is just some asshole in a turtleneck and linen-pants, (like a new step-father who's also really, really into Eastern mysticism and jazz fusion) and I wish he'd been able to turn up that god-damn harp music and never burdened us with Discreet Music and 30+ years of the horrors it hath wrought.

This weekend, I happened upon Montreal's premier indie-craft fair, Puces Pop, which, already, I mean, right there, in that sentence, there's an intolerable level of genre cues, of a rough-around-the-edges but soft-in-the-centre aesthetic that in small levels is endearing, like a girlfriend in first year at art school, but as you become older evolves into this sexless aesthetic, this way of avoiding engagement with the world. In earlier times involved putting together a K Records-style band that performed in socks and sang about cats. Nowadays, it's selling crafts on Etsy and making clocks out of vintage cameras and fashioning necklaces and earrings with feathers. Anne Geddes for the college-educated! (On the extreme side of that, it's Ariel Pink side-projects and bad facial hair and dream-catchers and Arthur magazine and Fecal Face.) So, yeah, that was distressing.

In moments of distress such as this, I'm not one of those people that goes the other way completely, opting to put on Slayer to clear the air, so I take refuge in what any self-respecting white asshole does when he becomes disturbed at the inauthentic blah-blah in his paltry subculture or suffers some artistic crises, I listen to race music. (Don't like music? Check out The Wire.)

And because New Orleans has recently suffered and continues to suffer, that's gotta be where the soul is, right? So, above, after the obligatory charcoal-grey fluorescent-lit pop snooze-a-thon, you'll find some classic New Orleans songs to assuage during times of crisis and clear the air. If you're looking for something similarly sinister to supplement your recent viewing of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans I'd recommend the 1987 film Angel Heart, which gives you creepiness and soulfulness in equal measure, Charlotte Rampling, Robert DeNiro as a hard-boiled egg eating manifestation of Satan, Mickey Rourke, and Lisa Bonet of The Cosby Show topless.

1 comment:

maya glum said...

replace the word "subculture" with the word "culture". It's more accurate.