This was a big surprise. I'd been trying to find a copy of this for years... without any success... but then, suddenly, boom! kid606 decided to sell a few old copies through his Web site. After all, this is the Kid along with Matmos and Lesser. The CD in the package was actually a microwaved CD (literally - you know, all burst up on one side) from some Swedish pop band I'd never heard of, but underneath it was the disc CD itself. I've only listened to the Michael Nyman cutup, but that's making me happy enough 'cuz it's a treatment of Fish Beach (from Drowning by Numbers), which is one of the prettiest songs I know. The distortion hasn't hurt it too much...
Mastered by Guy at The Exchange
This was easily the one CD I was really apprehensive about listening to upon coming home. After all, Max's Some Best Friend You Turned Out To Be is the most amazing CD I'd heard last year (and the year before)... but this one has vocals, on nearly every track, and it's his sister singing, mostly. Hm. I generally don't like singing, and I especially dislike female vocals (save for perhaps Alison Moyet, k.d. lang, and a few others). But... oh my God this is a wonderful CD. It's every bit as dense as Friend, but the vocals really add something here. They're good. Sounds best played loud in the car driving up I-5.
Brainwashed Brain in The Wire compilation
Well, I have to admit that I don't like compilations. It's usually just a bunch of shit you didn't want in the first place, plus one track by one band you like, all for the price of a regular CD. ***YARK*** I had to buy this triple CD set (oooh, $45 a pop, not cheap) because rumor had it there might be a Richard H. Kirk track on there somewhere. Well, there isn't, at least not that I can see. Annoying enough, the third CD has no track listing, but I was able to finagle it out of CDDB. There is a Ku-ling Bros. track there, as well as some obscure Coil and kid606 stuff, so I suppose this has collector's value. (It's a limited edition, even.) Packaging is goofy as hell (metal box, soldering wire, Q-tip, keychain, etc.), but I would have preferred something simpler. I'll rip the CDs tonight and put them away for a while. If you want to download the stuff on the third disk, ask me. I can share it.
As for the other two discs in the set, well, it's just your usual avant-garde stuff. Bands with names like !!!, the obligatory "oooh, cultural" Diamanda Galas thingy, some Thighpaulsandra (love the name - but where's The Boy Anal when you need him?), an indifferent Matmos track, some Cex... and so on. As they would say on South Park, "this poo is cold".
tigerbeat6 C64-Massive SIDplay Party Mix CD
Oh, this is fun. DJ Brotha P-Touch (really J. Lesser) does some wacky stuff with an utterly obsolete sound generating chip that came out of the ancient Commodore C64 personal computer. This brings back memories of playing lame computer games back in junior high school. Most of the stuff I don't recognize, but towards the middle of the disc, you start getting jokey cover versions (Nirvana, for one). Cheap, fun, disposable. Oh, this reminds me: what's with Richard D. James's repeated use of old Williams arcade game noises, especially ones from Defender? Dude, that shit rocks.
All I've done with this thing is read the liner notes, because I know it's probably going to be incredibly painful listening. Although I'm a fan of some parts of Gearhound, I really can't deal with Lesser for very long. This is cool simply because it's a commercial data CD release of a lot of ancient, horrible Lesser shit in mp3 format - a cheap and easy way to satisfy raving fanboys without making anyone feel ripped off. For the record, Severed Heads shipped a data mp3 CD-R called Severything something like six years ago, so this isn't a new idea - but it's nice to see it done so very, very well.
Pet Shop Boys, Release
I've only made it through the first track of this puppy, and my first impression is that it's heaps better than Nightlife, but still pretty bad in a newer, more interesting way. The song was okay, the production was terrific, but it sounded like it had been target-marketed or product-positioned to death along the way. It would have worked well if it'd been a little bit downtempo, a bit more melancholy, but instead it's running right along at the standardized international pop hit BPS. A disappointment.
For the record, this is the second Autechre record I've bought, but only the first I bothered to listen to. (I know. My bad.) I spent a while on the PC trying to get the DVD to play (no go - the Sonic CinePlayer I just blew $20 on doesn't work for whatever reason), so instead I had to go fire up the TV to have a look at this. (It's a two disc set - one DVD, one CD - in a very strange jewel case sort of thing.) I watched the Chris Cunningham video first (not one of his better ones, but still pretty cool), and then watched the gantz_graf video itself. My reaction? Simple. 1. I have never heard anything quite like this. 2. I have no idea how they generated this recording. 3. People actually buy this stuff? 4. Am I getting so old now that I'm totally out of touch with 'hip' music? I don't know what this thing is, and I don't think I could enjoy listening to it, but damn, it's impressive on a very sterile level. Given the choice, though, I'd take this over Shakira or Tupac or just about anything else...
Steel Pole Bath Tub, Unlistenable
God bless the Internet and cheap personal computers, without which I wouldn't have heard that Steel Pole were releasing their unreleased album (was it on London records, I think?), beautifully designed and packaged by Darren Mor-X himself. Sure, there are typos (kind of like the new Dave Eggers novel, which is similar, come to think of it), but it's a treat seeing something obviously handmade by someone who gave a shit. And the music? More of the same. As good as anything post-Tulip. Play loud, but not if you have easily angered neighbors.
Yet to listen to: about sixty CDs. Jandek, Butthole Surfers, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Basement Jaxx, Melvins, Skeleton Key, Michael Snow, The The, Frank Zappa (FZ:OZ), Earth, V/VM, Preston School of industry, DJ/rupture, Soft Cell... should take me until next Spring... :)