Friday, October 06, 2006

This Friday, I'm in Love with...

Tuesdays with Cary

DJ Shadow - "Turf Dancing" (f/ The Federation and Animaniaks) (mp3)
(purchase here)

Ludacris - "Large Amounts" (mp3)

Beck - "Think I'm In Love" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Oh, please. You think that because I'm lazy and post with the frequency of Beatsie Boys albums that I'm not on my game? Pretty please, indeed.

Still furnishing mi casa, but help is on the way. In the meantime, I will (re-)try establishing a sense of routine around these parts to prep for the big move.

Apparently people like lists. But people who know me know that I loathe makin' 'em. That said, I am willing to answer the more sensible question, "What spins are makin' you spin?" to which I shall respond every Friday. Lucky you, here's the first:
  • DJ Shadow's The Outsider: I already waxed on this a couple weeks ago, but here're s'more elaborations:

    Call it Post-Endtroducing Release Therapy, the album works through a legacy. On one hand, there's Shadow himself working through the mounds of identifiers heaped on him during his relatively sparse career. He titles the album as a literal reference to his feeling of alienation from the music business/pop music world, but also to set himself up as an indefinable defined personality (sound familiar, artists?).

    On the other hand, there's the listener working through his/her idea of Shadow. For an artist who's been active professionally for roughly 16 years, he's taken his time as this is only his third proper album. Yet he has been lauded with reissues and books that focus on the first 5 or 6 years of his work. On a practical, I-don't-have-to-do-shit-for-the-rest-of-my-life level, he has been fortunate to live off that early part of his career, but this pace hasn't worked in his favor: the press and public have spent that time compounding ideas of what DJ Shadow represents, what is the DJ Shadow sound. Hell, I haven't even listened to Endtroducing... in a few years, but all the more reason why my impression of him is frozen in time.

    So take the The Outsider as Shadow’s way of working through this legacy, his way of working out ideas. As he mentions, he chucked the MPC in favor of the modern, holistic studio approach. And technically the album sparkles with a compositional quality that even The Private Press only flirted with; if that second album was a deliberate dig for sounds, techniques and modern Axelrodisms, then this new jawn is Shadow kicking up his feet and enjoying himself. It is a fun record. And it is easy to listen to. Well, maybe "Turf Dancing" isn't that easy. But it's got a nice beat. And I can bug out to it.

    One final note: to the Shadow fan still stuck on that "Hip Hop Sucks in '96" mantra, it's been TEN YEARS. If you're still not happy, maybe that's a sign to exit stage left. Or to buy s'more Madlib records.

  • Ludacris' Pre-Release Therapy: Shoot, Spine is such a tease. Why don't you guys post more tunes from your Top 10? I keed; I'm actually happy because they keep me on my tippy toes. Still keepin' the meanest, cleanest, baddest of releases, Luda has fun over Hov and Pn'tunes familiars and, uh, Pn'tunes originals. I haven't gone through the 5000 Watts disc, but the Green Lantern section is more than enough for me.

    Going back to the typical artist rants, I had to post up "Large Amounts" for its deviation from the typical "mo' money, mo' problems" slant toward accounting tips. Sure, there're the lines about settling his daughter's accounts "before her stankin' butt turned 1," but check the tax rap about "our heroes Redd Foxx and Willie Nelson." Morals of the story, y'all: in a world that can't sit well with its booze or threads, hip-hop will always stay true to the Block.

  • Beck's The Information: Yes, call today's post "obvious." But it's a pretty fun record. Barry Walters at The Voice made the point that there's a profound "blankness" to Beck that makes it difficult to connect with him... which explains why the introspective tracks on Mutations and Sea Changes pleasantly surprised me. That said, as art for art's sake, dude puts in work: Headhunters moog bass over recreated "Trans-Europe Express" rhythms that wash out to Gainsbourg cool. And he samples his own album... on the album you are listening to ("take that / rewind it back"). So modern, you'll feel like an issue of Wire. By the way, why isn't anyone talking about how he got heavy-hitters James Gadson and Harvey Mason to sit in? Sorry, Joey, you've done good, but you're out of your league with these cats.

    Once again, plain'n simple wins the day for me: "Think I'm in Love." Second (or third? fourth? n-th?) time love trepidation at a cruiser's pace -- save it for next summer?
All right, the weekend's calling. Want to join me for this party? I'm the man in black.


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