A few years ago, I went to a panel discussion on the knotty subject of 'creativity' at Cooper Union, which starred, among others, the lovely Yamataka Eye from Boredoms. Sadly, he wasn't actually speaking on the panel in person, but via live videoconference from Japan. The setup had recurring technical glitches that made him seem like he was speaking through a delay pedal. On top of that, he was speaking through a translator, which added another layer of frustrating opacity to the proceedings. I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the trippy spectacle of it, but I was supposed to write something like 1000 words about it for the Wire, and took intense notes. The 'creativity conference' had a lot of great speakers, but discussing the amorphous subject of creativity proved difficult, if not impossible, and the moderator's questions grew increasingly ludicrous as the day wore on. Carl Craig, who was on one of the panels (with the dreadful title 'Making Beats'--yeucchh!) was so plainly annoyed with the lame questions he was being asked that he flat out stopped answering, or gave very clipped answers. Despite all the mishaps, I managed to glean quite a bit of advice from what all these people said.
One thing that really stuck with me about what EYE said was that he saw no difference between his visual art and his music and any of his other projects over the years. He seemed genuinely bewildered at most of the questions that tried to get him to draw distinctions between the different things he was doing. They were all part of the same continuum, the same cosmic flow of ideas, a sort of abundant overpowering radiance that happened to manifest itself in physically different ways. That was an idea that resonated with me. I don't see music or art or film or brain science or cooking or particle physics as being terribly different from each other. So, when I temporarily lost interest in music about six months ago, I didn't worry about it too much. I realized that my interest in music had just been replaced with interests in art, books, and other things. They were all part of the same flow. Then I moved to Berlin and got really into music again. Then I came back to New York and just wasn't into music anymore. Then everything flipped again. Now I'm obsessed with music again. Lost in music. Feel so alive...
Here are some tunes that I've been feeling recently:
Gavin and Delia - Revelee (Carl Craig remix) [DFA]
A good contender for track of the year, this one. Unfortunately I've only heard portions of it in mixes with people talking on top, and don't actually have a copy, promo or otherwise (it's not out til May), but I've heard enough of it to know that it's an absolute stunner.
Salif Keita - Yamore (Luciano remix) [Cadenza]
To be honest I have mixed feelings on the genius of Luciano. I like him as a DJ when I'm in the right mindset, and I really love some of his productions. And his collaboration with Mathew Jonson, 'Alpine Rocket', is one of my top tunes of all time. But there's something I don't always get with about his music. Perhaps it's that the rhythms are so lithe and slippery and delicate, snaking through his perfectly polished tracks in the most elegant of ways to form these elaborate webs of curlicues. Sometimes I like to look at it more than I want to dance to it. But this remix is really amazing; it's beautiful and really muscular, and it's a monster on the floor.
Pantytec - Maybe / Moriomelo [Perlon]
Guess who's back?
Theo Parrish - Falling Up (Carl Craig remix) [Third Ear]
Mindblowing. More on this later on.
The Orb - God Less America [Kompakt]
I didn't have much hope for this, and I must admit that the Speicher series hadn't been rocking me for a while; the past several 12"s I've heard in the series haven't done much for me. And when I saw it was by The "Mixed Bag is Our Middle Name" Orb, I didn't hold much hope for it either. But this is completely great. Easily one of the best things the Orb has done in years. A genuine rave anthem...in 2006?
Tiga - (Far from) Home [DFA instrumental mix] [DFA]
That bassline! The shimmering harmonics! I swooned!
The Lift Boys - Liftvooyzzzz [No idea what label!]
This is a goofy newish EYE track that's now available as a 12" that you can actually buy in a shop. It's like the most euphoric parts of disco, Boredoms circa 'Vision Creation Newsun', piano house, techno, and synth-pop, dipped in the most nitrous-y elements of happy hardcore and sprinkled with the warm fuzzy feeling that you don't want to admit you feel when you hear a big goopy trance record. No, it's not minimal.
Kelley Polar - Vocalise (Morgan Geist 12" re-edit) [Environ]
To be honest, I didn't really warm up to the Kelley Polar album. I loved the mysterious backstory, the whole misunderstood cellist/vague Arthur Russell connection, the fact that genius Morgan Geist played a big hand in the production. But I kept wishing it was an instrumental album, or that they brought in a proper disco diva to do the singing; I just didn't have time for the fey, vulnerable and slightly off-key male vocals. That said, the album has some really beautiful spacey melodies, and this re-edit is practically an instrumental with a small bit of vocal for texture, and it's fantastic.
And the blast-from-the-past tune:
Mad Mike featuring Davina - Don't You Want It [Soul City, 1996; Underground Resistance, 2002]
House is a feeling!