Choreographical Studies

Purple Flash Orchestra - Purple Flash Orchestra

There were seven major dancing memoirs in the twentieth century. "Watusi is What You Get," by Tyler Tarski was perhaps the most prominent and most popular. In his memoir, Tarski delved into what he called the mathematical foundations of dance, "the logical possibilities of rhythm instantiated in a human." For every person, Tarski hypothesized, there is an ideal style of dance; for every dance can be quantified based on frequency of movement, degree of torque, and class of robustness, and beyond that it is a simple matter of measuring the person and matching them to the right dance. If need be, Tarski argued, new dances can be tailored to match the person--why build dances around music when people are the ones doing the dancing, not the music? (see Tarski, pg. 212) For a short while, Tarski's philosophies were actually put into practice, which is why today we have such dances as the Riveter, the Syracuse Sadsack, the Bon-bonniere, and the Creep-Crazy Creeper.

[BUY Morgan Geist's UNCLASSICS mix]

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Shoplifting from Armenian Apparel

Royal City - Bad Luck

It's important to not let too much time go by between hearings of this song (one of the best of the last ten years, I think).

Bad Luck is filthy with percussion, and I think that's part of what makes it so compelling. It jumps to life at the start with a binarily weird beat, some upstrummed acoustic guitar, and a banjo that sounds like a manic steel drum. Then a quick word from the electric guitar, just to wind everything up, and it begins for real. Aaron Riches sings about his own unluckiness, the personification of it, and how it 'comes forth/with a gluttinous mind'. But then, for the chorus, he switches to this gloriously sad (maybe bitter?) phrase, which one can only imagine for whom it's intended: "And you will never know/the places that I go to without you/You will never, ever know." It's unclear to me whether or not he's talking to Bad Luck, or whether he's addressing someone who's not the avatar of malchance--apprising this person of the fact that, despite what they might think, they don't realize the full extent of who Aaron (or the narrator, whatever) is.

Also this song is semi-famous for having one of the best and weirdest videos ever, in which a teddy bear and a porcelain doll's relationship is wrecked by a tornado, but salvaged by the teddy bear's persistence and exhumation skills.

[BUY Alone at the Microphone]

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Let’s Get It Together

Orange Juice - Poor Old Soul, Pt. 1

There's really no one who puts their guitars to better use than Orange Juice. [Copyright 2010, all rights reserved under the Terrible Slogans Act of 1953]. "Poor Old Soul, Pt. 1" is one of their best, I think, because it showcases all the great aspects of the band's music: Collins' arch vocals and clever lyrics, the lively rhythm section of Daly and McClymont, and the painterly application of guitars--which in some cases it's difficult to tell how they arrived at the parts they wrote and recorded (via algorithm? endless jams? blackboard equations?). This is definitely one of those songs that, if you give it the chance, will change your brain chemistry, making you happy on a bad day, and making you even happier on a good day. Also fun to dance to.

[Buy the Glasgow School]

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New Home

The Soft Pink Tube - Party Pills

So the server at the old website locked up and died, and I had to move everything over here. New address, new design (still working on that), new strategies, new branding, new staff of interns. My dear eleven readers, please update your bookmarks.

The Soft Pink Tube is the second-degree alias of Matmos’ Drew Daniel. First there was the Soft Pink Truth. Now there is the Soft Pink Tube. Drew is working on an album composed entirely of snippets and samples taken from YouTube clips (which is weirdly in line with Matmos’ usual composition techniques). For “Party Pills,” Drew searched the word “party” on YouTube and built a song out of what he found. There’s sort of a main character in this song who talks about sex, drugs, Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, and people fucking up. The music here is poised and tense, reminiscent of some of the stuff on the last Soft Pink Truth album, “Do You Party?” (esp. something like ‘Soft Pink Missy’). It’ll be interesting to hear what happens with this approach.

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