Tuesday, January 12, 2010

All the Boogies Forever

All hail Lala!

As much as it irritated that Warner Bros. prevented my Shawn Lee videos, it did force me to improvise. Which was to sign up and utilize Lala. And while it's not perfect, I'm glad I did. Very relevant for this, the first of three Kranky releases I've already picked up in 2010.

New Clouds
For whatever reason, whenever I saw this album - White Rainbow's New Clouds (2009) - I couldn't help but think "techno." Part of it was probably the cover, some of it was maybe the band name. Or that I'd heard it was electronic, and not a band but one individual guy. Or maybe that 50% of the song titles have the word "Boogies" in them. Understandable, but I didn't know it was a Kranky release - I mean, that makes me think Charalambides, and that's not techno.

"Tuesday Rollers And Strollers" from New Clouds (2009) [part 2]

No, this is pyschedelectronic ambient-drone improvisation-jams. A double-album of four long exploratory minimalism/maximalism. It's actually kind of in the realm of Animal Collective... Except that I think that band's songs would benefit from more tightening up and less jamming, whereas these go triple the length and work better for my ears. Too late to switch out the 2009 Non-Metal Next 10 slot, huh?

I won't get into the extensive musical history of the guy who is White Rainbow, but apparently he comes from a jazz background and has a reputation for deep improvisation at live shows. And the method sounds like how these tunes were probably formed. Although each song's particular vibe differs from the others, there's not a lot of structural dynamics within each song. A weak point, according to some. (Quick tanget: That's Elliott Sharp reviewing, and it was his Biomusicosophy blog which indirectly lead me down the path to giving this a chance. Ironic.) The overall form of the jam begins immediately and doesn't waver much through the song.

"Major Spillage" [most of it] from New Clouds (2009)

But layers, many layers, of various textures and instruments and voices and sounds get piled up and stripped away and rebuilt. It's drone, but it's a jammy sort of drone. The first side (first video above) is the most engaging, maybe even catchy - "Tuesday Rollers and Strollers." A promotional excerpt appears on the most recent comp, Cleansing the Headspace. The middle two are more mellow, the first even based on some acoustic guitar - "Major Spillage" (part of which is embedded right there). The third one's the most traditionally ambient synthwave drone... and then the last one brings back more engaging tunefulness, everything being relative here - "Monday Boogies Forward Forever."

What's this all have to do with Lala? Well, there's not too much of the record on YouTube (one less than now), for obvious reasons. It's difficult to tell whether this kind of abstract music will appeal based on somebody else's written reviews. And Lala allowed me to listen to the whole thing a few times, to decide whether or not I really wanted to pick it up. And thus I did!

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