Monday, November 29, 2010

Sin of Omission: The Octopus Project — Hexadecagon

I've been a fan of The Octopus Project since I laid ears on 2007's Hello Avalanche. I've got a soft spot for good electronic music, and they found it faster than a swarthy ethnic lover.

They brought some obvious looping business to the party, as well as some analog synth, guitar, live drums and this adorable Donna Reed-looking girl playing a theremin. It veered effortlessly from frenetic and squelchy to smooth and lovely. So far, so awesome.

I would liken the evolution between Hello, Avalanche and Hexadecagon to that of Dan Deacon from Spiderman of the Rings to Bromst. A little less noisy, even prettier, more organic and — at the risk of sounding like a pretentious mustache blogging about music — more mature.

I don't know what Pitchfork thought about Hexdecagon, because they didn't deign to review it. They straight ignored it. Which is weird, because they had nice enough things to say about their first two records. It's also quite unfortunate, because sometimes a non-review is almost worse than a bad or lukewarm review — because it seems to send the message that a record is irrelevant. Or at least less relevant than whatever Best Coast and Wavves are saying on Twitter about Katy Perry, anyway. Neat.

The Octopus Project — Fuguefat

BONUS: The too-precious-to-omit "Wet Gold" video from 2009's (also snubbed) Golden Beds EP.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Rebuttal: Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. — Record Collection

I've been aware — and passively respectful — of Mark Ronson for a while now, but mostly uninterested. By that I mean: what he does he does well, it's just not for me.

I recognize how expertly-produced that Amy Winehouse record was, but I don't much care for the sixties throwback stuff. Lily Allen's Alright, Still ... same situation — technically excellent, but that ska/reggae business just makes my wiener soft. And then when his previous solo album Version came out, boasting a tracklist of neo-soul covers of "clever" and "unexpected" modern pop songs, I rolled my eyes so hard I think I heard something pop.

All that to say: I wasn't expecting much (anything) from Mark Ronson and the Business Intl's Record Collection. But as it turns out, no previous Mark Ronson enjoyment is required here. It sports a completely different aesthetic from anything he's been associated with in the past. It's all synthy and fun, all pop and hip-hop. No horns, and way easy on the soul schtick. And this pleases me.

Pitchfork damned Record Collection with a middling 5.4, which I don't get at all. I haven't decided yet how much time I'll devote trying to reason out why they say the foolish things they do in reviews, but off the top of my head this one probably suffered due to its being a major label release, Mark Ronson's being too damn handsome (and successful) and maybe too accessible. Who the hell even knows.

What I know is the thing is just a lot of fun, and should not be dismissed as a 5.anything. Pffft. Below is one super-rad music video and one mp3 so you can see how right I am.

Mark Ronson & the Business Intl. — You Gave Me Nothing